Worldwide Travel Alert | U. S. Department of State

The State Department alerts U.S. citizens to possible risks of travel due to increased terrorist threats.

travel.state.gov - November 23, 2015

Current information suggests that ISIL (aka Da’esh), al-Qa’ida, Boko Haram, and other terrorist groups continue to plan terrorist attacks in multiple regions.  These attacks may employ a wide variety of tactics, using conventional and non-conventional weapons and targeting both official and private interests.  This Travel Alert expires on February 24, 2016.

Authorities believe the likelihood of terror attacks will continue as members of ISIL/Da’esh return from Syria and Iraq.  Additionally, there is a continuing threat from unaffiliated persons planning attacks inspired by major terrorist organizations but conducted on an individual basis.  Extremists have targeted large sporting events, theatres, open markets, and aviation services.  In the past year, there have been multiple attacks in France, Nigeria, Denmark, Turkey, and Mali.  ISIL/Da’esh has claimed responsibility for the bombing of a Russian airliner in Egypt. 

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World Leaders Seek New Path to Slow Warming of Planet

             

The Eiffel Tower is seen at sunset in Paris, France, November 22, 2015. The capital will host the World Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21) from November 30 to December 11.  REUTERS/CHARLES PLATIAU

CLICK HERE - Paris 2015 - COP21/CMP11 - UN Climate Change Conference - INDCs

reuters.com - by Alister Doyle - November 23, 2015

Next week, in the waning days of what is set to be the hottest year on record, world leaders meet on the outskirts of Paris for a summit that seeks nothing less than to steer the global economy away from its ever-growing reliance on fossil fuels.

The challenge is enormous and has proven elusive in the past. The U.N.-sponsored talks are aimed at getting 195 countries to agree on a path for cutting the greenhouse gas emissions which scientists say have raised global temperatures and begun upending the earth's climate.

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Paris Pact May Hinge on ‘Loss and Damage’ Dispute

If rich countries don’t agree to help poorer ones recover after storms amplified by global warming tear villages apart, or help communities prosper even as their homes sink into rising seas, climate negotiations in Paris risk being scuttled.

climatecentral.org - by John Upton - November 11, 2015

A long list of disagreements is bedeviling diplomats as they prepare for a historic two-week session of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, beginning Nov. 30. A hoped-for Paris agreement could be history’s most far-reaching climate pact, with nations pledging to take a variety of steps under it to slow and adapt to climate change.

Of those disagreements, experts say the two that have the greatest potential to derail negotiations relate to money.

(READ COMPLETE ARTICLE)

CLICK HERE - ADDITIONAL IMAGE SLIDERS - Global Icons at Risk from Sea Level Rise: Pictures

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Antibiotic resistance: World on cusp of 'post-antibiotic era'

The resistance was discovered in pigs, which are routinely given the drugs in China. Getty Images.

Image: The resistance was discovered in pigs, which are routinely given the drugs in China. Getty Images.

bbc.com - November 19th, 2015 - James Gallagher

The world is on the cusp of a "post-antibiotic era", scientists have warned after finding bacteria resistant to drugs used when all other treatments have failed.

They identified bacteria able to shrug off the drug of last resort - colistin - in patients and livestock in China.

They said that resistance would spread around the world and raised the spectre of untreatable infections.

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Interferon-γ Inhibits Ebola Virus Infection

submitted by George Hurlburt

                                                         

CLICK HERE - STUDY - Interferon-γ Inhibits Ebola Virus Infection

scicasts.com - November 19, 2015

The recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa has claimed more than 11,300 lives and starkly revealed the lack of effective options for treating or preventing the disease. Progress has been made on developing vaccines, but there is still a need for antiviral therapies to protect health care workers and local populations in the event of future outbreaks.

A new study led by University of Iowa virologist Dr. Wendy Maury, suggests that gamma interferon, which is an FDA-approved drug, may have potential as an antiviral therapy to prevent Ebola infection when given either before or after exposure to the virus.

The study, published in the journal PLOS Pathogens, found that gamma interferon, given up to 24 hours after exposure, can inhibit Ebola infection in mice and completely protect the animals from death.

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Unmitigated Climate Change to Shrink Global Economy by 23 Percent, Researchers Find

CLICK HERE - STUDY - Global non-linear effect of temperature on economic production

reuters.com - by Ben Gruber - November 16, 2015

Berkeley, California (Reuters) When the world heats up, economies around the globe will cool down. That's according to a new study which predicts that rising temperatures due to climate change will wreak havoc on economic output.  

"Our best estimate is that the global economy as a whole will be 23 percent smaller in 2100 than if we would avoid climate change entirely," said co-author of the study Solomon Hsiang, an associate professor of public policy at the University of California Berkeley. 

The study looked at the relationship between temperature and economic activity in 166 countries over a 50 year period.

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CLICK HERE - Berkeley News - Study finds climate change will reshape global economy

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Paris Attacks: Terrorists Using Suicide Vests Stage Multiple Attacks and Take Hostages

            

French President Francois Hollande said at least 127 were killed on Friday in a series of six coordinated attacks in Paris that he described as an "act of war" -- blaming ISIS for the violence that included shootings, explosions and a hostage situation at a concert hall.

CLICK HERE - The Guardian - Paris Attacks

CLICK HERE - Reuters - Paris Attacks: Live Updates

CLICK HERE - The Guardian - (7) - Paris Attacks: As It Happened

CLICK HERE - The Guardian - (6) - Paris Attacks: As It Happened

CLICK HERE - The Guardian - (5) - Paris Attacks: As It Happened

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CDC - Ebola Virus RNA Stability in Human Blood and Urine in West Africa’s Environmental Conditions

cdc.gov

Janvier F, Delaune D, Poyot T, Valade E, Mérens A, Rollin PE, et al.

CLICK HERE - Ebola virus RNA stability in human blood and urine in West Africa’s environmental conditions
Emerg Infect Dis. 2016 Feb. http://dx.doi.org/10.3201/eid2202.151395

DOI: 10.3201/eid2202.151395

Abstract

We evaluated RNA stability of Ebola virus in EDTA blood and urine samples collected from infected patients and stored in West Africa’s environmental conditions. In blood, RNA was stable for at least 18 days when initial cycle threshold values were <30, but in urine, RNA degradation occurred more quickly.

 

 

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Society 'to be hit by climate change'

A man wades across a flooded area.

Image: A man wades across a flooded area.

bbc.com - November 16th, 2015 - Roger Harrabin

Human societies will soon start to experience adverse effects from manmade climate change, a prominent economist has warned.

Prof Richard Tol predicts the downsides of warming will outweigh the advantages with a global warming of 1.1C - which has nearly been reached already.

Prof Tol is regarded by many campaigners as a climate "sceptic".

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Global Partnership on Sustainable Development Data Launched in NY

                                        

unsdsn.org - September 29, 2015

On September 28, 2015, a new Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data was officially launched on the margins of the UN General Assembly in New York. The Partnership brings together governments, private companies, academia, scientists and civil society in support of data-driven decision-making, by catalyzing more open, new and usable data to help end extreme poverty, combat climate change and promote inclusive growth. The Partnership will specifically look to provide more, better quality data to help monitor and achieve the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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The White House - Memorandum -- Distribution of Department of Defense Funded Humanitarian Assistance in Syria

whitehouse.gov
Office of the Press Secretary - November 13, 2015

MEMORANDUM FOR THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE

SUBJECT: Distribution of Department of Defense Funded Humanitarian Assistance in Syria

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, including section 2249a(b)(1)(B) of title 10, United States Code, I hereby:

Determine that section 2249a(a) of title 10, United States Code, would impede the distribution of urgently needed humanitarian assistance in Syria to alleviate the current refugee crisis, as well as other United States Government objectives in the Middle East for stability and humanitarian relief; and

Waive the prohibition in section 2249a(a) of title 10, United States Code, for humanitarian reasons and to the extent necessary to allow the Department of Defense to carry out the purposes of section 2561 of title 10, United States Code, for the distribution of humanitarian assistance into Syria.

You are authorized and directed to publish this determination in the Federal Register.

BARACK OBAMA

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Ebolavirus Evolution: Past and Present

PLOS PATHOGENS  by Marc-Antoine de La Vega,  Derek Stein, and GaryKopinger, University of Manitoba, Canada , Nov. 12, 2015    

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada The past year has marked the most devastating Ebola outbreak the world has ever witnessed, with over 28,000 cases and over 11,000 deaths. Ebola virus (EBOV) has now been around for almost 50 years. In this review, we discuss past and present outbreaks of EBOV and how those variants evolved over time. We explore and discuss selective pressures that drive the evolution of different Ebola variants, and how they may modify the efficacy of therapeutic treatments and vaccines currently being developed. Finally, given the unprecedented size and spread of the outbreak, as well as the extended period of replication in human hosts, specific attention is given to the 2014–2015 West African outbreak variant (Makona).

Read complete article.

http://journals.plos.org/plospathogens/article?id=10.1371/journal.ppat.1005221

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How Technology Can Help Reboot Ebola-Free Sierra Leone

submitted by George Hurlburt  

             

The new Sensi Technology Innovation Hub hopes to help the country rebuild after its Ebola crisis

cnn.com - by Peter Guest - November 7, 2015

(CNN) - Morris Marah was working in the Sierra Leonean High Commission in London when the devastating Ebola outbreak struck his country last year.

Desperate to help, he went home; first to volunteer in a community health center, then by applying his technology skills to build an SMS-based platform that disseminated weekly information and advice on how to avoid contracting the disease to more than 500,000 people.

"I felt, sitting in London there wasn't much I could do from that far away. I wanted desperately to come out here and see how I could be useful," he says over the phone from the capital, Freetown.

Working on that platform, called Sensi, and on other public health initiatives demonstrated how successfully technology could be leveraged for social good, and inspired him to look for ways to bring the country's small, but talented, tech community together to help restart the country's stalled economy.

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Guinea Releases Last 68 People from Ebola Quarantine

reuters.com - Reporting by Saliou Samb; Writing by Makini Brice; Editing by Digby Lidstone - November 14, 2015

The final 68 people who had been in contact with an Ebola patient were released from quarantine on Saturday, said a senior health official, raising hopes of an end to the disease in the last West African country with confirmed cases.

The world's worst Ebola epidemic, which hopped borders to kill more than 11,300 people and devastate already fragile West African economies, has already been declared over in Liberia and Sierra Leone. But Guinea, where the outbreak began, has had a more difficult time eradicating the disease.

Dr. Abdourahmane Bathily, head of the Ebola center in Forecariah in western Guinea, said the 68 contacts had emerged from quarantine at midnight on Saturday morning.

"There are no longer any people who had contact with a person infected by the Ebola virus," said Bathily.

He added that the last confirmed Ebola case was a baby in isolation, who should be released from a treatment center next week, allowing for the West African nation to begin its own countdown clock.

(READ COMPLETE ARTICLE)

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Podcast - Epidemics on the Move

submitted by Carrie La Jeunesse  

                                             

foreignpolicy.com - by Amanda Silverman - November 10, 2015

2013 Global Thinker Caroline Buckee and FP Voice Laurie Garrett discuss how human migration — and the refugee crisis — poses an immense problem to treating disease.

CLICK HERE - Podcast - Epidemics on the Move

 

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