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Stories of Hope: a teen's foggy brain, rash, itch, fatigue, nausea
USA Created: 9 Jan 2021
"I threw up most days; I felt like the life was being sucked out of me; It was like my body was exploding".

Starting in grade 8, Solveig's life became a nightmare.

"I was the most itchy you've ever been times 100. I would have to dig my nails into my skin to distract myself in class. By noon I had to call my mom in tears to pick me up from school."

Hear her EHS story by watching the video at the source link:
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Source:, 14 Dec 2020

Plane-Crash Risk Seen Rising on FCC Expansion of 5G Spectrum
USA Created: 29 Dec 2020
A plan to redeploy spectrum for super-fast 5G wireless networks is sparking concern among aviation safety experts that it could result in interference with the electronics on aircraft, potentially leading to crashes.

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission is scheduled to begin an auction on Tuesday for airwaves in the so-called C-band frequencies that are used by satellite providers but the agency wants to re-assign for 5G. The agency says the sale is an important step in maintaining U.S. leadership in the next generation of wireless service.

But some fear that assigning the frequencies to ground transmitters near airports that will be used for 5G networks could interfere with electronics used by aircraft as they land.

“I see a very significant safety issue here unless we find a way to mitigate it,” said Terry McVenes, president of RTCA Inc., a Washington-based nonprofit that studies technical issues involving aviation.

The FCC says there’s enough of a buffer between the spectrum used by 5G and the altimeters aboard aircraft for them to safely co-exist. “We continue to have no reason to believe that 5G operations in the C-band will cause harmful interference,” said FCC spokesman Will Wiquist.

But the RTCA, formerly known as the Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics, produced a 217-page study laying out potential hazards, including the potential for planes to crash near airports such as Chicago’s O’Hare International.

“It takes a lot to wind me up,” said McVenes, a former safety chief for the Air Line Pilots Association. “If left to go the way it is, our data shows very serious problems.”

McVenes didn’t recommend what steps should be taken to mitigate the problem, and said a solution might emerge from more talks with the communications industry. He said it would take years to design and replace altimeters.

Airlines for America, a trade group for large U.S. carriers, said it “appreciates the RTCA’s findings.”

“We encourage the FCC to reassess and better understand the interference risks associated with their proposal and make sure safety-critical aviation systems will continue to be protected,” the trade group said in a statement.

A coalition of 15 aviation-industry groups representing airline pilots, private business-jet operators and cargo carriers sent a letter to the FCC on Monday, saying they’d been raising concerns since 2017 and asking the agency to suspend the auction.

Moving ahead “would be a disservice to the safety of the traveling public and put our nation’s airlines, business and general aviation, and helicopter operations at risk,” the group said in the letter.

Representative Peter DeFazio, chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, echoed those sentiments in a letter to the FCC on Monday, calling the RTCA findings “alarming.”

“There is no question that additional study is needed to understand the full extent and severity of 5G interference with radio altimeters and whether any mitigations are feasible—or even possible—to ensure flight safety,” the Oregon Democrat wrote.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration says it is concerned about potential interference with altimeters “and is working closely with our interagency partners at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration and the Federal Communications Commission on this important issue.”

Aviation regulators in France have gone further and have slowed the deployment of 5G around airports while they study the matter.
The Waves Around Us

The portion of the electromagnetic spectrum known as the C-Band offers the best mix of coverage and capacity to carry 5G wireless communications, which promise data speeds 100 times faster than those of recent years.

The dispute comes as the FCC prepares for an auction that’s something of a capstone for Chairman Ajit Pai. The Republican, who is leaving office in January, has made it a priority over his four years as chairman to reassign frequencies from long-established communications to mobile uses.

Under Pai’s guidance satellite providers such as Intelsat SA and SES SA agreed to give up the C-band frequencies and operate in a smaller swath. In return they are to receive a portion of the billions of dollars expected to be bid for them by mobile providers such as Verizon Communications Inc. and AT&T Inc.

The sale would dedicate a large chunk of airwaves considered particularly suitable to 5G operations, ones that travel far and can carry rich information streams. That makes them useful for the lightning-fast “internet of things” coming to factories, offices, homes, farms, roadways and airports.

‘Important Milestone’

The auction is an “important milestone,” Meredith Attwell Baker, president of the CTIA trade group representing carriers, said in an Aug. 6 blog post. “Promoting American leadership in 5G is a national priority, and keeping the C-Band auction on schedule is critical to making sure we have the mid-band spectrum we need to lead the emerging 5G economy.”

The FCC considers the auction, which begins Tuesday and could last for weeks, to be “a very important event for American consumers and U.S. leadership in 5G,” Wiquist, the agency spokesman, said. “The FCC is paving the way for Americans to receive fast 5G wireless services.”

The airwaves to be reassigned, however, are near in frequency to those used by radar altimeters -- devices that calculate an aircraft’s height above the ground. According to the RTCA study, 5G signals from base stations on the ground would confound the altimeters during crucial phases of landing, when commercial aircraft are descending at 600 to 800 feet each minute.

“It just creates these totally inaccurate signals,” McVenes said. “It would do it any time the airplane went into the area where the 5G signal was happening. It would happen pretty much every time.”

For its report, RTCA plotted the landing approach to Chicago O’Hare’s Runway 27L, the most-used for arrivals. The group analyzed the effect on altimeters if existing telecommunications base stations below the incoming aircraft were converted to the new 5G signals.
Catastrophic Effects

It found “significant impacts throughout the approach with the potential for catastrophic effects.”

The result could be altimeter failures, including one like the fault that doomed a Turkish Airlines that crashed and killed nine people near Amsterdam in 2009, according to the report. In that crash the altimeter erroneously concluded the Boeing Co. 737-800 had reached ground level and the plane’s equipment automatically reduced engine thrust. Pilots didn’t notice and the jet plunged into a field.

The issue also raises safety concerns with helicopters, which operate at low altitudes where the radar altimeters are critical. The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board has cited issues with the altimeters in several copter crashes.

The FCC and CTIA have asserted that interference isn’t likely because there is plenty of buffer between the envisioned 5G uses and the airwaves assigned to the altimeters.

The RTCA’s study was “severely lacking” and reached “unsupported” conclusions, CTIA, with members including AT&T and Verizon, said in a filing.

“The test criteria that aviation created is more exacting than existing altimeter standards, and some tested altimeters, operating to manufacturer specifications, would not pass even without any external C-Band operations present,” CTIA said in a Nov. 17 filing.
Study Disputed

In a statement, CTIA said the FCC had concluded there’s no issue with “well-designed” aeronautical equipment. “Nothing in RTCA’s report changes that determination,” CTIA said.

The FCC concurred.

The U.S. plan for the airwaves offers more separation between altimeters and 5G than is the case in some other countries, Wiquist said. He cited CTIA’s concerns with the RTCA study and said, “the commission’s experts have concerns with this study as well.”

French regulators are on a different tack. The country’s aviation authority, DGAC, has told operators to slow mobile 5G deployment while it reviews its impact on aerial navigation. The delay has affected the start of 5G deployments around Nice airport and Paris-Charles de Gaulle, north of the capital. The DGAC consulted the RTCA report for its study, which continues.

The FCC in its February order establishing the auction called for a working group that included telecommunications and aviation experts to examine the altimeter issue. Meetings began in May, but the group ceased operating in November after its members failed to reach consensus and decided more talks wouldn’t serve a useful purpose.

The FCC in the February order said it expects the aviation industry “take appropriate action, if necessary, to ensure protection” of electronic devices.

Mitigation might include new altimeter designs and changes to 5G base stations, Lee Nguyen, an FAA official, said in a comment appended to the RTCA report. Nguyen was among three dozen aviation-industry representatives who joined the committee that issued the report.

McVenes said it would take years to design and replace altimeters.

“I’m not against 5G. I want 5G out there so my cell phone has more capability,” McVenes said. “We just wanted to make sure they did it safely.”
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Source: Bloomberg, Todd Shields, Alan Levin and Helene Fouquet, 07 Dec 2020

The military is scrambling to understand the aviation crash risk from a new 5G sale
USA Created: 24 Dec 2020
As part of a broader move to boost the 5G industry in the United States, the Federal Communications Commission on Dec. 8 began auctioning a portion of C-band electromagnetic spectrum, a move the committee’s chairman, Ajit Pai, celebrated as “a big day for American consumers and U.S. leadership in 5G.”

But, in the weeks leading up to the auction, more than a dozen commercial aviation groups warned the sale could, as one study put it, lead to “catastrophic failures” with the potential for “multiple fatalities.”

At the core of the concerns are radar altimeters, a critical piece of aviation technology used by military, commercial and civil aircraft of all types — including helicopters and unmanned aerial systems — to measure the distance between an aircraft and the ground.

The aviation groups worry that 5G operations on the spectrum sold by the FCC could cause interference that would provide inaccurate readings on altimeters or cause their failure outright, in essence leaving pilots unaware of how far they are from the ground and potentially leading to crashes over the United States.

According to a memo obtained by Defense News, those concerns are shared by the head of the Federal Aviation Administration and the number two at the Department of Transportation, who are calling on the FCC to pause the sale so the safety issue can be studied more closely. The FCC, in turn, has said its own technical studies show little to no risk involved and it intends to continue moving forward.

Now, with the auction underway, the Defense Department is scrambling to catch up. The Pentagon has yet to determine the effect on military aircraft and has not established a formal position on the sale, with officials rushing behind the scenes to set up meetings and understand the potential long-term impacts.

A Pentagon official, in response to questions from Defense News, would only say the department’s policy board on federal aviation and aviation cyber initiative task force — an interagency organization led by the FAA — are reviewing reports by industry groups about the risk of 5G interference.

Senior leaders from the Defense Department, Department of Homeland Security, and the aviation cyber initiative plan to meet Dec. 21 “to discuss findings and to establish an interagency way ahead to validate and respond to these reports,” the official stated.

Among those expected to attend are Brig. Gen. Robert Barrie Jr., the official who manages Army aviation assets; Brig. Gen. Eric DeLange, director of the Air Force cyberspace operations and warfighter communications office; and several cyber experts from the FAA and DHS.

Perhaps most notably, Honeywell Industries, a key producer of radar altimeters, has also been invited to discuss possible alternatives to current systems — a sign that the defense industry is taking the issue seriously. Honeywell declined to comment.

If the spectrum sale continues, some experts are warning a best case scenario may be that the department has to spend millions of dollars and thousands of man hours to design, procure and install new radar altimeters across the military’s fleet of airborne systems.

The worst case?

As one senior government official with experience in aviation said, “There will be accidents, property’s going to be destroyed and people are going to die.”

The ongoing dispute

Under the Trump administration, the FCC has focused on the sale of spectrum in order to goose the nascent 5G industry, which administration officials see as a driver for American economic growth. Branded as the 5G FAST Plan, the commission has moved quickly to sell C-band spectrum.

This particular auction involves spectrum in the 3.7–3.98 GHz frequency, with the hope of selling more than 5,000 new flexible-use overlay licenses. Satellite operators using the C-Band have agreed to repack their operations out of the band’s lower 300 megahertz (3.7-4.0 GHz) into the upper 200 megahertz (4.0-4.2 GHz), in two stages. They expect to complete the move in December 2023. As of Dec. 17, more than 50 bidders had reportedly put forth over $15 billion in offers for the spectrum rights.

Currently, the 3.7–3.98 GHz frequency portion of the C-Band is relatively quiet, occupied predominantly by low-powered satellites. For decades, this made the neighboring 4.2-4.4 GHz frequency a perfect place for the operation of radar altimeters, which are also called radio altimeters.

But that frequency may not stay quiet for long. Once 5G telecommunications are introduced in the 3.7-3.98 portion of the band, there is a “major risk” that those systems will create “harmful interference” to radar altimeters, according to an October study from the RTCA, a trade organization that works with the FAA to develop safety standards.

“The results of the study performed clearly indicate that this risk is widespread and has the potential for broad impacts to aviation operations in the United States, including the possibility of catastrophic failures leading to multiple fatalities, in the absence of appropriate mitigations,” the RTCA stated in its report. Research for the report was conducted by the Aerospace Vehicle Systems Institute, a cooperative research organization based out of Texas A&M University.

Radio altimeters are critical during landings, once an aircraft moves below 2,500 feet from the ground. At that point, no other instruments provide an accurate measurement of a plane’s distance from the ground.

“It’s so important to have an accurate reading, because if it’s a bad reading it could lead to the airplane doing something you don’t want it to do.” explained Terry McVenes, the RTCA president and chief executive. McVenes is a former Boeing safety executive with 30 years’ experience in the commercial aviation industry.

“If your airplane thought it was 1,000 feet above the ground but was only 50 feet above the ground, well… you could have a problem,” he said.

The trade group filed the report with the FCC in early October, and shortly afterward met with an FCC engineering team. But since then, “We’ve heard nothing back from the FCC, had no other direct interactions with them” outside the official filling process, he said.

The release of the study triggered a last-minute request by 12 trade groups, including the Aerospace Industries Association, which represents military aviation companies, to consider mitigation efforts based on the report. The groups called the findings “the most comprehensive analysis and assessment to date on this subject, based on the best assumptions, parameters, and data… It has been peer reviewed for accuracy and validity and should not be dismissed by the Commission.”

The report has also gained the attention of Steven Bradbury, the acting deputy secretary for transportation, and Steve Dickson, the FAA administrator, who in a Dec. 1 letter obtained by Defense News warned that the spectrum sale could specifically damage both the Terrain Awareness Warning System, a major safety function for aircraft, and Autoland features relied on for pilots when landing a plane.

“Given the scope of the safety risk, and based upon our current knowledge, it is unclear what measures will be necessary to ensure safe operations in the [National Aerospace System], or how long it will take to implement such measures,” the two leaders wrote. “Depending upon the results of further analysis, it may be appropriate to place restrictions on certain types of operations, which would reduce access to core airports in the U.S. and, thus, reduce the capacity and efficiency” of commercial aviation.

That letter, sent to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, or NTIA, was requested to be added to the FCC’s public docket. However, the letter has not been posted to the FCC’s public docket as of press time.

The FCC and supporters of expanding 5G argue that the concerns are overblown.

“In the C-Band Order, the Commission concluded that our rules would protect radio altimeters used by aircraft, and we continue to have no reason to believe that 5G operations in the C-Band will cause harmful interference to radio altimeters,” Will Wiquist, a spokesman for the FCC, said in a statement. “Among other things, these altimeters operate with more than 200 megahertz of separation from the C-band spectrum to be auctioned, more protection than is afforded in some other countries.

“Moreover, the RTCA report was prepared outside of the joint aviation/wireless industry group that was set up at the Commission’s request and is not a consensus position of that group. Indeed, at least one other member of that multi-stakeholder group has expressed significant concerns with the study and several of its assumptions, and the Commission’s experts have concerns with this study as well.”

The member group that expressed concerns about the study is the wireless trade association CTIA, which in December filled with the FCC a document that called the findings “lacking and unreliable” and “unsound and unsupported.” Among the specific concerns raised by CTIA were that altimeter requirements used in the report were overly stringent, that it did not break down results by altimeter brand and model, and that the report relied on “unrealistic” scenarios during testing.

McVenes said RTCA is open to conducting the research again if presented with new data to work with, but has yet to see that information from CTIA or the FCC.

Risks to military aviation

Although the RTCA study looked exclusively at civil and commercial aircraft, almost all military aircraft are equipped with radar altimeters that are very similar to their commercial counterparts, said the senior government official. Defense News granted anonymity for this official to speak candidly about the risks to pilot safety.

While radar altimeters made for military aircraft are sometimes built to slightly more stringent requirements — having the ability to function in extremely cold or hot environments, for instance, or to withstand higher gravitational forces — they still reside on the same portion of the spectrum as commercial ones and are vulnerable to the same interference, the senior government official said.

The cargo planes and aerial refueling tankers operated by the Air Force’s Air Mobility Command would be most hindered by the interference produced by 5G due to their similarities to commercial aircraft, said Mike Holmes, a retired Air Force four-star general and former head of Air Combat Command. Holmes reviewed the RTCA report at Defense News’ request.

Many of the Air Force’s mobility assets are either based on commercial passenger jets, such as the Boeing 767-derived KC-46 tanker, or are equipped with commercial off-the-shelf avionics. As such, certain mobility aircraft are approved to conduct landings in bad weather conditions when the pilot has to rely on the aircraft’s instruments — such as the radar altimeter — instead of visual cues.

“You wouldn’t be able to fly that approach if your radar altimeter was being interfered with and you couldn’t get a good signal,” Holmes said. “For the military…you’d probably divert someplace else.”

For tactical aircraft, the bigger concern would be low-level flights over terrain such as mountains. Fighter pilots use their radar altimeters when flying close to the ground to evade enemy radar or surface-to-air threats. However, Holmes noted that not all fighter jets — such as the 1970s era F-15C — have radar altimeters, and that pilots would still be able to rely on visual cues.

Still, he said, if a radar altimeter is offering faulty information due to interference, that could lull pilots into a false sense of security about how far they are from the ground.

“Part of [the problem] is going to be trying to know whether you’re getting interference or not,” he said.

The senior government official noted that the special operations community could be particularly hurt by 5G interference. Certain aircrews of platforms, such as the C-130 or C-17, receive specific training to fly special operations low level missions, which involve flying close to the ground and inserting or extracting special operators, and those training missions may become more difficult to execute if 5G interference is a problem.

This training “is often executed under the cover of darkness. Depth and obstacle perception can be hindered in darkness due to the human eye’s cell structure,” the official said. “Night vision goggles provide compensation but still limit the pilot’s situational awareness.”

If the sales go through, the military will likely have to modify or replace its altimeters to meet whatever new safety standards the FAA eventually approves to mitigate the risks of 5G interference, Holmes said.

“If you go ahead and give up this part of the spectrum, the interference will drive changes that have to be made either to modify the equipment that is being used for 5G, to modify the equipment that are on airplanes, or to modify the procedures that determine how you use that equipment,” Holmes said.

Replacing or modifying altimeters will take time and funding — two commodities defense experts predict will be in short supply over the coming years — as defense budgets flatten.

In the near term, Holmes projects the services will change their training practices to eliminate any added risk to pilots caused by altimeter interference, such as restricting pilots of certain aircraft from landing in bad weather or ensuring that pilots of fighter aircraft take off with enough fuel so that they can divert to another airport if their radar altimeter no longer works.

In short, the military will have to give up money, time and effectiveness to fix the problem.

“The outcome would be lack of efficiency. You wouldn’t fly [certain] approaches in bad weather. So there would be times you couldn’t go do what you were [planning on] doing, whether that’s moving passengers or cargo in the civilian world or whether that was passengers or cargo in the military,” Holmes said.

“But ultimately, I would think the impact is going to be greater on the commercial airline world than it was on the military world.”

A billion dollar problem

While the satellite operators who currently operate within 3.7-3.98 GHz will receive some proceeds of the sale, allowing them to move to another portion of the spectrum, no funding is set to be given to the civil, commercial and government entities that rely on radar altimeters for safe aerospace operations.

As a result, it is likely that the U.S. military will have to replace “many or most” of the radar altimeters currently onboard its airplanes, helicopters and drones, the senior government official said. And because radar altimeters have all been developed to operate on the same portion of the spectrum, there is no off-the-shelf replacement already on the market for which interference wouldn’t be a concern.

On the commercial side, McVenes said if industry has to replace altimeters across its fleet, a price tag of “several billion dollars is probably on the low estimate.” That price tag could well jump for the military side, given the complexity of work on military systems - it is easier to swap out a part on a commercial plane than a stealth-coated fighter - and the infamous prices of defense procurement.

Meanwhile, the Defense Department could need to invest hundreds of millions of dollars into the engineering work necessary to develop new altimeters, procuring those systems, testing and recertifying each platform for normal operations, and finally, installing the new hardware on potentially hundreds or thousands of aircraft across the military’s inventory.

“It will take many years, if not decades,” the senior government official said.

In the two months since the report was released, industry has jockeyed to get more time to study the issue and to put measures in place to mitigate the risks.

In a Nov. 17 letter to the chairmen and ranking members of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, the Aerospace Industries Association and 13 other aerospace trade groups implored members of Congress to take action to protect the frequency bands used by radar altimeters.

“We are concerned that without this congressional intervention to understand potential implications and ramifications, decisions will be made with a frightening lack of understanding of aviation requirements,” the groups stated.

Help from Congress seemingly came Dec. 7, when Rep. Peter DeFazio, the Oregon Democrat who leads the House committee, sent a letter to FCC Chairman Pai calling for the commission to postpone the sale.

“These RTCA findings are alarming; they not only align with earlier research identifying harmful effects of 5G networks to radio altimeters, but they reflect a clear need for the FCC to return to the drawing board with this premature plan,” he wrote. “There is no question that additional study is needed to understand the full extent and severity of 5G interference with radio altimeters and whether any mitigations are feasible — or even possible — to ensure flight safety.

“We must never take a chance with aviation safety — and at no point should commercial interests be placed above it.”

A day later, the FCC pressed forward with the auction.
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Source: Defense News, Valerie Insinna and Aaron Mehta, 21 Dec 2020

Here's Why Verizon's Nationwide 5G Is Actually Slower Than 4G For Most Customers
USA Created: 23 Dec 2020
We reported last month that Verizon's nationwide 5G network isn't all it's cracked up to be. While it’s true that Verizon's mmWave 5G network (which it dubs UWB 5G) is among the fastest around offering speeds that can approach 1Gbps in some instances, it has limited range, has trouble penetrating buildings, and is available in relatively few locations. The company's nationwide 5G network -- which uses low- and mid-band spectrum -- is what most customers will be accessing daily, and it leaves much to be desired.

New testing from PC Magazine confirms the previous assessment of Verizon's nationwide 5G network, and its test results shows that customers should probably go ahead and turn off 5G on their phones when possible. Wait, what? Why exactly would customers want to turn off what has supposedly been the biggest reason to upgrade for most customers during the past year?

According to PC Magazine, Verizon's existing 4G LTE network is typically faster than its nationwide 5G network. It all boils down to Verizon's use of Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (DSS), which allows the carrier to reuse certain 4G channels for 5G connectivity. However, as you might expect, this results in lower performance than what you'd see with a dedicated 5G channel. In reality, DSS means that customers on 5G are actually just getting the leftover table scraps, which can result in performance that is actually slower than 4G LTE.

The publication performed testing using iPhones and Android devices, and found that on average, Android devices operating on Verizon's nationwide 5G network performed about 33 percent worse than when using 4G LTE. This performance difference was highly repeatable, even when standing in the exact same spot while flipping back and forth between 5G and 4G LTE. It was much the same with iPhones, as 5G performance generally lagged well behind 4G LTE, with the lone exception being when the tester stumbled across a site that had Verizon UWB 5G coverage. In that case, the iPhone operating on 4G LTE recorded download speeds of around 400Mbps, while when switched to UWB 5G hit 750Mbps.

Our own testing has shown similar results, with 5G generally resulting in worse performance. Using an iPhone 12 mini with 4G LTE enabled, I typically see download speeds in excess of 200Mbps at home (see images above). Flip over to 5G, and that performance drops to just 135Mbps. These tests were performed on Spectrum Mobile, which is one of Verizon's MVNOs.

At this point, it's suggested that if you have a 5G-capable phone and you're on Verizon's network (or one of its MVNOs), that you simply turn off 5G. The performance benefits now just aren't there for customers, and in most cases, you're going to see a downgrade in network performance. Couple that with the increased battery drain that can come with enabling 5G on your device, there's really no reason to put up with these drawbacks.

That's probably not what customers that bought into the 5G hype want to hear, but things probably won't get any better for Verizon until is started gobbling up more mid-band spectrum (as T-Mobile has done in recent years) to improve its nationwide 5G coverage and performance.
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Source: Hot Hardware, Brandon Hill, 23 Dec 2020

Why The Race To 5G Is A Mirage
USA Created: 19 Dec 2020
You may have heard that we are locked in a technology battle with China over commercializing 5G. That conflict turns out to be more hype than happening, designed to whet American appetites for competition and pave the way for more subsidies to the global multi-trillion dollar telecom industry.


Former national finance minister, Lou Jiwei warned last month that existing 5G technology in China is immature and quite expensive.

The next stimulus package should contain billions of dollars to produce, distribute, install, build out, maintain and monitor municipal fiber-optic broadband cable around the nation.

Until and unless a much safer, more cost-effective and less-energy intensive system can be produced, we should revise plans for continued expansion of the 5G albatross.

Former national finance minister, Lou Jiwei warned last month that existing 5G technology in China is immature and quite expensive. Increased electricity costs to fuel 5G in 2019, he recently warned look to be 10 times the profit of China Telecom -- one of three state telecom companies of China.

Not missing a beat or a chance for tapping heavy government subsidies, a China Telecom official, speaking at a Groupe Speciale Mobile Association seminar in Beijing last month, called for the government to directly underwrite telecom electricity costs. He minced no words voicing his fear that without this support 5G could prove a colossal failure.

"The existing 5G technology is very immature. Hundreds of billions of investment have been deployed, and the operating cost is extremely high. No application scenarios can be found, and it is difficult to digest the cost in the future," Jiwei warned last month in a speech that has been independently confirmed.

The Chinese Academy of Information and Communications Technology, concluded a white paper on the topic of 5G and the economy, “It is difficult for ordinary consumers and industry users to see the long-term benefits and rewards of 5G.”

"Based on a recent survey of Chinese consumers, 73.3% of the people polled said they believe that there is no need for the public to buy 5G mobile phones. The study released last month by iiMedia, a market research group, also found that the main reason for not buying 5G mobile phones is because there is no such need," the report read.

Important warnings came from Huawei’s founder, Ren Zhengfei, who bluntly added that the benefits of 5G have been exaggerated and are not needed at this time.

"In fact, human societies do not have an urgent need for 5G,” said Huawei CEO, Ren Zhengfei in November. “What people need now is broadband, and the main content of 5G is not broadband.”

What exactly does that mean?

Broadband relies on wired cables that provide faster, safer and more secure access. Much of it can be installed through or added onto existing infrastructure. Whether teens or the rest of us, it has always been tricky to distinguish between wants and needs. Those cool foldable phones may turn dad into a wide-angled photographic genius, but they provide no increase in connectivity between people, nor are signals less likely to be dropped.

Yes, 5G devices reduce the time needed to download movies to your wristwatch or another device. Yes, you can use your phone to turn on your coffee pot or clothes dryer or even handle three teens using devices at once.

But, all that comes with a price the full toll of which remains unknown, but is not unknowable, as two recent reports make clear.

Thus, the latest Government Accountability Office(GAO) Report notes that limited information on 5G is quite troubling, including the projected tripling or more of energy and permanent compromise of the night sky because more 5G satellites could be launched than there are visible stars.

Further, the 2020 New Hampshire State Commission, concludes that the absence of evidence on environmental impacts of 5G on plants, insects and wildlife from new 5G antennas should not be confused with proof of safety.

Other warnings come that 5G could drastically damage navigation for airplanes and ships, as well as set back weather prediction decades.

Goaded by demands that the commitment to expand wired access to the internet be honored, New York City has secured wired broadband to and through the premises for more than half a million previously underserved residents that now have wired access that provide among the fastest speeds in the nation of more than 1 gig a second.

The next stimulus package should contain billions of dollars to produce, distribute, install, build out, maintain and monitor municipal fiber-optic broadband cable around the nation. Given the undeniable importance of internet access to our society, it is critical that we provide universal access to a reliable backbone that speeds up transmission universally without compromising security, public safety or endangering the climate. Any gains in antenna efficiency will be swamped by massive growth in demand.

Until and unless a much safer, more cost-effective and less-energy intensive system can be produced, we should revise plans for continued expansion of the 5G albatross. Whatever our real differences with China, and they are not likely to be trivial, it is time for a reset on the rush to 5G.

Dr. Devra Davis, founder of Environmental Health Trust served as a Clinton Appointee from 1994-1999 and was a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change team awarded the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.
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Source: International Business Times, Dr. Devra Davis, 13 Dec 2020

PRESS RELEASE: Global Campaign Reveals Why Smart Phone Users Have Become “Test Dummies” For Telco Industry.
USA Created: 18 Dec 2020
MOBILE PHONE USERS are being urged to boycott the next generation of 5G phones and join a global movement calling on urgent changes to existing safety standards because “the test is rigged”.

The creatively-charged We Are Not SAM campaign has this week been launched by Northern Rivers for Safe Technology, a high-profile community group based in Byron Bay, Australia. Thanks to intense lobbying by the group, the Byron Shire has so far remained 5G free, one of the few municipalities in Australia to do so.

We Are Not SAM campaign creator Rinat Strahlhofer, an ex-telecommunications insider who’s now intent on exposing the truth about the industry, said people would be shocked to discover the truth about their smart phones.

“Telcos have been getting away with certifying mobile devices as safe for years because the test is rigged,” Ms Strahlhofer said. “In the same way truth and public health suffered at the hands of the tobacco and asbestos industries, 5G phones are being pushed on the market despite a lack of independent, long-term studies to show they are safe.”
She said it was not widely known that the global telecommunications industry conducts safety tests about the heating effects of mobile phone wireless radiation on a plastic dummy called SAM, also known as a Specific Anthropomorphic Mannequin.
During the test, which has not changed since the mid-nineties, the SAM plastic head is filled with liquid to see if it heats up one degree Celsius within a 6-minute call. SAM is based on a 100kg, six-foot tall adult male military recruit with a five-kilogram head.
If the liquid heats under one-degree within that time, the phone is deemed “safe” and ready for sale.
“The problem is that only 3% of the population fit the profile of SAM. Most people, such as women, children and the elderly, have smaller and thinner skulls than SAM, which means they will absorb substantially more radiation,” Ms Strahlhofer said.
“Essentially, we’ve become the test dummies for the multi trillion dollar telco industry with so much to gain from pushing out 5G phones on an unsuspecting market. Its safety standards are an absolute joke – which is devastating for our health and planet.”
She said many mobile phone users were already exposing themselves to multiple health risks from existing wireless 3G and 4G devices.

Over 2000 peer reviewed research papers demonstrate harm to human health from wireless radiation. Effects include: short-term memory and concentration, sleep disruption, headache and dizziness, fatigue, immune disruption, skin rashes, changes in cardiac function, issues with fertility and cancer.

The We Are Not SAM campaign is calling on mobile phone users to demand better safety tests and “help expose the dummy in the room” by boycotting 5G phones and signing a PETITION
We Are Not SAM has already gained the support of leading independent electromagnetic radiation scientists and doctors globally, along with high-profile activists. These include Robert F Kennedy Jr (founder and chairman of the Children’s Health Defense), Dr Devra Davis (President of the Environmental Health Trust), Dr Olle Johansson (a global authority on EMF radiation) and many more.
“Technology can either be used to bring value to our lives, or as a destructive force. We urge people to start questioning the way they’re using their wireless devices, and what kind of agenda the telco industry is driving,” said Ms Strahlhofer.
“Our greatest hope is for technology to be safe for current and future generations. This means authorities regulating to minimise harmful health effects and individuals taking responsibility to end their addiction to screens.
“We believe it’s crucial for humanity to rediscover their connection with nature and with each other, in real life and real time.”

More information, to keep up to date with the campaign or to join the movement.


Facebook: WeAreNotSAM
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Check out the scientific research:
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Source: EHTrust, 04 Dec 2020

Report Points to Microwave ‘Attack’ as Likely Source of Mystery Illnesses That Hit Diplomats and Spies
USA Created: 5 Dec 2020
A government-commissioned report provides the most definitive explanation yet for “Havana syndrome,” which struck scores of American employees, first in Cuba and then in China, Russia and other countries.

WASHINGTON — The most probable cause of a series of mysterious afflictions that sickened American spies and diplomats abroad in the past several years was radiofrequency energy, a type of radiation that includes microwaves, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has concluded in a report.

The conclusion by a committee of 19 experts in medicine and other fields cited “directed, pulsed radiofrequency energy” as “the most plausible mechanism” to explain the illness, which came to be known as Havana syndrome, though they said that they could not rule out other possible causes and that secondary factors may have contributed to symptoms, according to a copy of the report obtained by The New York Times.

The report, which was commissioned by the State Department, provides the most definitive explanation yet of the strange illness that struck scores of government employees, first at the U.S. Embassy in Havana in 2016, and then in China and other countries. Many of the officers suffered from dizziness, fatigue, headaches, and loss of hearing, memory and balance, and some were forced into permanent retirement.

C.I.A. officers visiting overseas stations also experienced similar symptoms, The Times and GQ magazine reported in October. The officers were traveling to discuss countering Russia covert operations with foreign intelligence agencies, a fact that adds to suspicions that Moscow is behind the episodes.

Though couched in careful, scientific language, the new report reveals strong evidence that the incidents were the result of a malicious attack. It attributes the illnesses to “directed” and “pulsed” — rather than “continuous” — energy, implying that the victims’ exposure was targeted and not the result of more common sources of microwave energy, such as, for example, a cellphone.

It also said the committee found the immediate symptoms that patients reported — including strange sensations of pain, pressure and sound that often appeared to emanate from a particular direction, or occurred in a specific spot in a room — were more consistent with a directed “attack” of radiofrequency energy.

The committee considered other causes, like chemical exposures and infectious diseases, but said they appeared unlikely.

The report said that the variability of the incidents, which appeared to affect different people in different ways, left open the possible influence of “psychological and social factors.” And it said that some of the victims may be experiencing a condition called “persistent postural-perceptual dizziness,” a nervous system disorder that produces a prolonged feeling of vertigo or unsteadiness.

The episodes have been the subject of much speculation and controversy. Many of the victims, as well as some government officials and outside scientists, have long argued that radiofrequency energy was the most likely cause, potentially the result of a weapon wielded by a foreign power.

But since 2018, the U.S. government has declined to speculate publicly on the cases, and some scientists have promoted alternate theories, like a kind of psychological illness that spread in the stressful environment of foreign missions.

Amid the controversy and confusion, some of the afflicted officers have complained that the United States has failed to support them. In several cases, the government initially refused to grant leave and provide the necessary medical care, the officers said. And with the government silent on the possibility of a foreign attack, many of the victims were left feeling that the public believed they had made it all up.

Several of the victims have accused Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other Trump administration officials of downplaying the issue in an attempt to avoid disrupting international ties. They now ask how President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his nominee for secretary of state, Antony J. Blinken, will respond, especially given the new scientific findings.

The State Department gave the report to some congressional officials and others on Thursday and Friday and told them not to share it, after lawmakers had pressured the agency for months to release the report. The Times and NBC News separately obtained the report on Friday, and NBC earlier reported the findings.

“We are pleased this report is now out and can add to the data and analyses that may help us come to an eventual conclusion as to what transpired,” the State Department said in a statement on Saturday.

The department also said that “each possible cause remains speculative” and that various factors, including the committee’s lack of access to some information because of potential security concerns, “limit the scope of the report,” though “they do not lessen its value.”

For the Trump administration, acknowledging that the incidents were the result of a foreign attack could have necessitated evacuating American missions in China, disrupting an important economic relationship. The administration did take a harder approach in Cuba, which aligned with its larger goal of reversing President Barack Obama’s diplomatic opening with Havana.

The question of Moscow’s possible culpability is a thorny one, given the sensitivities around President Trump on any matters involving Russia or President Vladimir V. Putin. Moscow has denied any role, and Gina Haspel, the C.I.A. director, has not concluded the Kremlin was responsible. But some C.I.A. analysts who are Russia experts, diplomats and scientists contend that evidence points to Moscow, which has a long history of experimenting with the technology.

The report does not point to a perpetrator, though it mentions “significant research in Russia/U.S.S.R.” on pulsed radiofrequency technology, as well as the exposure of military personnel in Eurasian communist countries to microwave radiation. The Soviet Union bombarded the American Embassy in Moscow with microwaves in the 1970s and ’80s. In a 2014 document, the National Security Agency discussed a microwave weapon used by a hostile country, which people familiar with the document said was Russia.

Mark Lenzi, a diplomatic security officer who was afflicted with the symptoms while working in Guangzhou, China, in early 2018, said that the administration’s treatment of its employees, including its efforts to “deny and cover up inconvenient scientific and medical facts,” had left him angrier at his own government than the government that injured him.

“My government looked the other way when they knew I and my family were injured,” he said. “This report is just the beginning and when the American people know the full extent of this administration’s cover-up of the radiofrequency attacks in China in particular they will be outraged.”

Mr. Lenzi has sued the State Department for disability discrimination. The Office of Special Counsel has been pursuing two investigations into the State Department’s conduct.

Some family members of the affected U.S. government employees also fell ill overseas, including Mr. Lenzi’s wife. And at least 14 Canadian citizens in Havana said they had experienced similar symptoms.

The report by the National Academies also contains a stark warning about the possibility of future incidents, and the U.S. government’s ability to detect them, or to mount a response. The fact that American government employees reported afflictions not only in Cuba and China but also in Russia and other countries raises questions about how widespread the incidents may be.

The committee was not in a position to assess “specific scenarios involving malevolent actors,” Dr. David Relman, a Stanford University professor who led the committee, wrote in a preface to the report. Yet, he said, “the mere consideration of such a scenario raises grave concerns about a world with disinhibited malevolent actors and new tools for causing harm to others.”

The report recommends that the State Department act now to establish plans and protocols so it can immediately begin an investigation if similar incidents occur in the future.

“The larger issue is preparedness for new and unknown threats that might compromise the health and safety of U.S. diplomats serving abroad,” the report concludes. “The next event may be even more dispersed in time and place, and even more difficult to recognize quickly.”

The panel said its findings were hampered by the government’s slow and uneven response to the incidents, in which different patients were evaluated by various methods and clinicians at different points in their illness. It also said that the information made available on patients from China was “too sparse and fragmentary to be able to draw any substantive conclusions about these cases,” and therefore the report focuses on events surrounding the U.S. Embassy in Havana.

The scientists sent the report to the State Department in August, and agency officials there then put it under review. Lawmakers pressed the department to publicly disclose the findings, saying its failure to release the information fit with a pattern of secrecy and inaction by the Trump administration. In interviews in October, Dr. Relman criticized the department for not acting faster to release the report.

Some victims said at the time that the Trump administration was trying to avoid addressing its shortfalls toward the safety of U.S. government employees overseas, especially ahead of the November elections. Asked in late October by a reporter about the illnesses, Mr. Pompeo did not mention the report and said only that the government was unable to determine the cause.

Several lawmakers have forcefully pressed the State Department to be more accountable and provide proper health and work compensation benefits to all of the victims and affected family members. Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Democrat of New Hampshire, has inserted a provision on long-term benefits into the latest defense budget bill that Congress is expected to pass this month, though Mr. Trump has threatened to veto the measure for reasons unrelated to the provision.

“Their illnesses and suffering are real and demand a response from Congress,” Ms. Shaheen said. “While I’m encouraged by the progress we’re seeing, much more must be done to uncover the source of these incidents and ensure that no other public servant suffers in this way.”
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Source: New York Times, Ana Swanson & Edward Wong, 05 Dec 2020

Speaking Out on Electrosensitivity as 5G Expands
USA Created: 3 Dec 2020
As the march to install superfast 5G wireless service continues across the country, advocates for patients with electro-sensitivity are questioning the technology's safety.

Noah Davidson of Sacramento began lobbying to have 5G antennas moved away from people's homes and offices because his five- and seven-year-old nieces got sick for two months straight, right after Verizon installed a 5G box on a light pole next to their home.

The family hired an expert to measure the radio-frequency levels.

"He conducted some measurements and told us it was the highest indoor measurements that he'd ever recorded," Davidson claimed. "So, we ended up installing some shielding in the home, moving the kids into a back room. And within a few days, their symptoms went away."

Verizon's website quotes the Federal Communications Commission's guidance that there's no scientific evidence linking radiation from cell phones to health problems in humans. And 5G boxes do meet all legal standards.

Davidson wants the decades-old standards updated, saying the technology hasn't been proven safe.

Cell antennas for 3G and 4G signals are typically mounted on towers 50 to 200 feet above ground. But the 5G small cell boxes are more localized, generally placed every seven or eight houses, about 30 feet off the ground.

Dr. David Carpenter, director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University of Albany and an expert on RF radiation, said some people do fall ill when exposed to non-ionizing radiation from cell phones, smart meters, and components of the 5G cell sites, boxes that are now being installed across the nation.

"There are a lot of people that get ringing in their ears or get headaches, and feel fatigued and their brain isn't working quite right, that never think about the fact that it may be coming from the Wi-Fi in their house, or the smart meter on the outside door," Carpenter explained.

A recent study from UC Irvine in the medical journal Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders finds extreme RF exposure can produce severe illness that mimics MS.

It looked at the case of 47-year-old Rick Garwood, a former cell phone tower technician from Southern California. He was exposed to massive radiation amounts in 2011, when a Verizon worker switched the towers back on after they'd been shut down for maintenance.

Garwood said he's now on permanent disability, suffering with nodules on his lungs and painful lesions on his brain, kidney and spinal cord.

"The person I was, is gone," Garwood said. "I mean, I've lost everything in life. I had to move back to my parent's home. I'm on permanent disability; I went from an $80,000-a-year career to all of a sudden, I was on worker's comp for four-and-a-half years. And then they finally said, 'You're not going to get any better.'"

Garwood sued, went to mediation, and received about a year's pay.
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Source: Public News Service, 09 Oct 2020

Poor Sleep Linked with Future Amyloid Build Up (Parkinsons, Alzheimers)
USA Created: 22 Nov 2020
Accumulation of the protein was more likely to be found in the brains of people who slept less well years earlier, according to a new study.

There’s evidence in people and animals that short-term sleep deprivation can change the levels of amyloid-β, a peptide that can accumulate in the aging brain and cause Alzheimer’s disease. Scientists now show long-term consequences may also result from sustained poor sleep. In a study published September 3 in Current Biology, researchers found that healthy individuals with lower-quality sleep were more likely to have amyloid-β accumulation in the brain years later. The study could not say whether poor sleep caused amyloid-β accumulation or vice versa, but the authors say that sleep could be an indicator of present and future amyloid-β levels.

“Traditionally, sleep disruptions have been accepted as a symptom of Alzheimer’s disease,” says Ksenia Kastanenka, a neuroscientist at Massachusetts General Hospital who was not involved in the work. Her group showed in 2017 that improving sleep in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease, in which the animals’ slow wave sleep is disrupted as it usually is in people with the disease, halted disease progression.

Collectively, the results from these studies and others raise the possibility that “sleep rhythm disruptions are not an artifact of disease progression, but actually are active contributors, if not a cause,” she says, hinting at the prospect of using these sleep measures as a biomarker for Alzheimer’s disease.

As a graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley, Joseph Winer, who is now a postdoc at Stanford University, and his colleagues were interested in whether or not sleep could predict how the brain changes over time. They collaborated with the team behind the Berkeley Aging Cohort Study, which includes a group of 32 cognitively healthy adults averaging about 75 years of age. They participated in a sleep study, then had periodic cognitive assessments and between two and five positron emission tomography (PET) scans to check for the presence of amyloid-β in their brains for an average of about four years after the sleep study.

The researchers found at their baseline PET scan, which happened within six months of their sleep study, that 20 of the 32 participants already had some amyloid-β accumulation, which was not unexpected based on their average age. They also showed that both slow wave sleep, an indicator of depth of sleep, and sleep efficiency, the amount of time sleeping compared to time in bed, were both predictive of the rate of amyloid change several years later. In other words, people with lower levels of slow wave sleep and sleep efficiency were more likely to have faster amyloid build up.

The subjects all remained cognitively healthy over the duration of the study, says Winer. “We do expect that they’re at higher risk for developing Alzheimer’s in their lifetime because of the amyloid plaque.”

The strengths of the study include the well-characterized participants with detailed sleep assessments, as well as cognitive testing and longitudinal amyloid PET imaging, says Brendan Lucey, a sleep neurologist at Washington University in St. Louis who did not participate in the work.

There are still open questions about the link between sleep and amyloid deposition over time. “Amyloid accumulation on PET increases at different rates in amyloid-negative and amyloid-positive individuals, and even within amyloid-positive individuals,” Lucey explains. “Without adjusting for participants’ starting amyloid [levels], we don’t know if some participants would have been more likely to have increased amyloid compared to others, independent of sleep.”

“It is very hard to untangle this question of baselines,” acknowledges Winer. Because the sleep measures the team identified in the study are related to amyloid levels, to actually tease apart the effect of sleep quality on amyloid deposition and vice versa, it’d be necessary to study people starting as early as their fifties, when they’re much less likely to have amyloid accumulation, he says.

This study is “a great start,” David Holtzman, a neurologist and collaborator of Lucey at Washington University in St. Louis who did not participate in the work, tells The Scientist. In addition to controlling for the amount of amyloid deposition that is present in a subject’s brain at the beginning of the study, it would be important to see if the findings bear out in larger numbers of people and what role genetic factors play.

“The most important question down the road is to test the idea in some sort of a treatment paradigm,” Holtzman adds. “You can do something to improve the quality of sleep or increase slow wave sleep, and then determine if it actually slows down the onset of Alzheimer’s disease clinically.”

J.R. Winer et al., “Sleep disturbance forecasts β-amyloid accumulation across subsequent years,” Current Biology, doi:10.1016/j.cub.2020.08.017, 2020.
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Source: The Scientist, Abby Olena, 11 Sep 2020

Apple Dodges IPhone Radiation Class Action Suit
USA Created: 7 Nov 2020
A federal judge Thursday nixed a class action claiming Apple failed to warn consumers about dangerous radiation from iPhones, finding it has twice demonstrated that its smartphones comply with the Federal Communications Commission’s radiation exposure limits.

Impelled by a Chicago Tribune article indicting iPhone and Galaxy smartphones for surpassing federal safety limits, lead plaintiff Andrew Cohen sued cellphone makers Apple and Samsung in August 2019. Samsung was voluntarily dismissed as a defendant in the case in January.

The plaintiffs commissioned their own independent tests in 2019 and cited tests conducted by the Canadian Broadcasting Company in 2017 and French National Frequencies Agency in 2018, all of which found radiofrequency radiation exposure from iPhones exceeded federal safety limits.

In response to the Tribune’s investigation, the FCC’s lab tested commercially-available iPhones as well as a model iPhone at separation distances of five millimeters, pursuant to federal guidelines, finding they fell well within the safety limits. It published the results of those tests in December 2019.

U.S. District Judge William Alsup sided with Apple in a ruling issued late Thursday, since the FCC has broad authority under the Federal Communications Act of 1934 to enact uniform regulations for wireless radio communications devices and any related emissions.

“If successful, plaintiffs’ claims could set the stage for a patchwork of state-required testing procedures, increasing the burden on manufacturers and thereby upsetting the efficiency that the uniform standards and testing procedures provide,” Alsup wrote.

Alsup also found a jury trial unnecessary, as the FCC’s lab tests indicated that Apple’s smartphones meet its RF exposure standards.

“The Lab found no evidence of violations of the technical standards. Apple’s iPhones have thus demonstrated compliance with its exposure limits not once but twice,” Alsup wrote. “Allowing a federal jury to now second-guess the agency determinations would interfere with the balance struck in the equipment-authorization program. The federal regulations must displace plaintiffs’ claims.”

Attorneys for Apple and the class did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment Thursday evening.

The ruling follows a judgment in favor of a wireless industry trade group rendered by U.S. District Judge Edward Chen earlier this year on similar grounds.

The Cellular Telephone Industries Association had challenged the city of Berkeley’s ordinance requiring cellphone retailers to provide guidance on avoiding radio-frequency exposure. Chen agreed that the FCC’s regulatory actions on radio frequency emissions preempt the local law.
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Source: Court House News, MARIA DINZEO, 29 Oct 2020

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