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South Korea Cuts Growth Forecast as MERS Saps Spending

A man walks through tour buses at a parking lot after schools cancel excursions due to concerns over the spreading of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, June 25, 2015. South Korea's finance ministry said Thursday that economic growth will slow this year as the outbreak of MERS saps spending and tourism. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon) - by Youkyung Lee - June 25, 2015

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea's finance ministry said Thursday that economic growth will slow this year as the outbreak of Middle East respiratory syndrome saps spending and tourism.

The ministry cut its forecast for South Korea's growth to 3.1 percent from 3.8 percent. Asia's fourth-largest economy grew 3.3 percent last year.

The outbreak that began last month is having a bigger effect on South Korea's economy than a deadly ferry disaster last year that plunged the country into mourning.


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Liberia: Two-Hour School in Lofa County - Students in Class 8-10am

ALLAFRICA  by Mae Azango                                                                   June 10, 2015

Children in Gorlu, Salayea District Lofa County, are only in school two hours a day, or not in school at all. The reason? Their teachers are either running behind their salaries, or volunteer teachers are trying to get their names on the government's payroll.

Matthew Gahndolo, the school's principal laments, "The government of Liberia says, free and compulsory primary education, but what is the use when the children come to school by 8:00 a.m. and leave the class room after 10:00 a.m. to go on the farms, because their teachers are running behind salaries"

The situation of teachers leaving the classrooms and running behind salaries, and lack of qualified teachers to teach the children in rural Liberia, is not only restricted to Lofa County, but nearly all of the fifteen counties in Liberia. With the situation becoming increasingly alarming and dreadful, the government has also witnessed aggrieved health workers also on the streets demanding the Ebola risk benefits as well.

Read complete story.

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New Data Reveals Which Approach to Helping the Poor Actually Works


An Ethiopian man examines his crop near Korom in northern Tigray province, November 25, 2004.
REUTERS/Radu Sigheti

CLICK HERE - RESEARCH - A multifaceted program causes lasting progress for the very poor: Evidence from six countries - by Dean Karlan - June 17, 2015

For years, policymakers have debated different approaches to helping the poor . . . new data, published in May after a nine-year, six-country study, offers resounding evidence for a strategy that works.  An approach known as a "Graduation" program is such a strategy.

Organizations employing this approach had been offering participants a “productive asset” (an asset that generates income, such as livestock or supplies to sell in a small store), training on how to use it, healthcare to keep them healthy enough to work, a small amount of food or money to support themselves while they learned to make a living (so they didn’t have to sell the asset immediately, merely to eat), access to a savings account to build up a buffer for future emergencies, and weekly coaching in areas like overcoming unexpected obstacles and meeting their savings goals.

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Coal Crash: How Pension Funds Face Huge Risk From Climate Change


Coal is moved on a conveyor belt at the PT Bukit Asam open pit coal mine in Tanjung Enim, South Sumatra province, Indonesia. Photograph: Dadang Tri/Getty Images

Special report: The plummeting coal sector and a growing green divestment movement is leaving firms who still invest in fossil fuels and connected pension holders heavily exposed - by Damian Carrington and Caelainn Barr - June 15, 2015

The pension funds of millions of people across the world, including teachers, public sector workers, health staff and academics in the UK and US, are heavily exposed to the plummeting coal sector, a Guardian analysis has revealed.

It has also found that just a dozen people, including the owner of Chelsea FC, Roman Abramovich, own coal reserves equivalent to the annual carbon emissions of China, the world’s biggest polluter. The UN, which advocates a shift to clean energy, has more than $100m (£65m) invested in coal through its own pension fund.


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As Ebola Crisis Wanes, a Mixed Picture of Economic Recovery for Households in Sierra Leone

THE WORLD BANK                                                                       June 15, 2015

WASHINGTON—Employment in Sierra Leone has returned to pre-crisis levels, though earnings and hours worked still lag behind. This is according to respondents in the latest round of high-frequency mobile-phone surveys, led by Statistics Sierra Leone with support from the World Bank Group, assessing how Ebola is impacting people’s livelihoods.

The survey contacted a sample of 1,715 households during May, 2015, which represents 41 percent of the 4,199 households covered in the baseline, nationally-representative Labor Force Survey conducted in July and August 2014.

 “Sierra Leone is working tirelessly to get to zero cases of Ebola,” said Francis Ato Brown, World Bank Group Country Manager for Sierra Leone. “Our job has to be not only to support the country in eradicating Ebola, but also to look toward economic recovery and toward mitigating the short-, medium-, and long-term impacts of the crisis on the social and economic wellbeing of all Sierra Leoneans.

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Managing the Risk and Impact of Future Epidemics: Options for Public-Private Cooperation

submitted by Denis Gilhooly

World Economic Forum
Prepared in collaboration with the Boston Consulting Group (BCG)

CLICK HERE - Managing the Risk and Impact of Future Epidemics: Options for Public-Private Cooperation

CLICK HERE - REPORT - Managing the Risk and Impact of Future Epidemics: Options for Public-Private Cooperation
(20 page .PDF report)

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa was a public health emergency of new proportions that presented unprecedented challenges for the international community. Aside from the significant social and economic impact it had on many West African countries, the epidemic also triggered a range of innovative, flexible partnership responses from businesses and civil society that complemented the channels of official assistance to affected countries.

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West Africa Struggles to Rebuild Its Ravaged Health-Care System

WALL STREET JOURNAL by Betsy McKay  June 4, 2015
HARPER, Liberia --The deadly disease may have receded, but it is still exacting a heavy toll. Run-down, poorly staffed and equipped health facilities allowed Ebola to explode.

 Since it was identified in early 2014, the epidemic has claimed the lives of 507 health-care workers in three West African countries, all of which already were short of medical professionals. The health-care system was so overwhelmed with Ebola victims that many other patients couldn’t receive care for malaria, heart disease or pregnancy complications. That bill is coming due.

“There are more people who are going to die from Ebola, but not have Ebola,” says Paul Farmer, a Harvard professor and co-founder of the Boston-based charity Partners in Health.

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Ebola Response Reveals the Need for New Models for Collaboration Between the Private and Public Sectors

A Report by the World Economic Forum and BCG Analyzes the Private Sector's Response to the Ebola Outbreak and Distills Lessons for Public-Private Partnerships in Future Health Crises

(Scroll down)


CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA-- The private sector played an important role in the global response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa not only by providing financial and in-kind donations but also by acting as a partner to support response activities.

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Don't Fall Behind as More Climate Legislation Rules the World


London School of Economics - by Michael Mathres - June 4, 2015

CLICK HERE - REPORT - 2015 Global Climate legislation Study

A lot of times businesses look to or blame,  governments for a lack of a national strategic economical direction for tackling climate change. This often leads to climate inertia where each party looks to the other for leadership and action.

However, according to a new report from the London School of Economics, this is no longer the case, and business have plenty of climate laws and policies from which to be inspired or adapt.

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Scientists Release Ebola Sequencing Data to Global Research Community Online

BUSINESS WIRE                                                                       June 3, 2015
CARLSBAD, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--A team of scientists that is part of an international, multi-organizational effort to curb further spread of deadly Ebola in Sierra Leone has released their first dataset of the virus’ genetic structure online.

The genetic analysis is now on virological.organd available for the global scientific community to monitor the pathogen’s evolution in real-time and conduct research that can lead to more effective strategies against further outbreaks.

The team of British scientists, funded by the Wellcome Trust, is using semi-conductor next-generation sequencing (NGS) technology to generate data in a lab facilitated by Public Health England and International Medical Corps.

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