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The Neglected Dimension of Global Security - A Framework to Counter Infectious Disease Crises

nam.edu - January 13, 2016

CLICK HERE - National Academy of Medicine - Global Health Risk Framework - The Neglected Dimension of Global Security: A Framework to Counter Infectious Disease Crises

CLICK HERE - REPORT - The Neglected Dimension of Global Security: A Framework to Counter Infectious Disease Crises (144 page .PDF report)

The Global Health Risk Framework (GHRF) initiative will build on lessons from the current Ebola outbreak and other major outbreaks to develop a comprehensive framework for improving our response to future global public health threats. The Commission will rigorously analyze options for improving governance, finance, health system resilience, and research and development for global health security. To foster trust internationally with various levels of government, civil society, academia, and industry, the Commission intends to keep the framework from being influenced by politics or the interests of any one country or organization.

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Texas Woman Diagnosed With Mosquito-Borne Zika Virus

             

Dengue fever, chikungunya virus and Zika virus are spread by the bite of infected Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes. PHOTO: UNIVERSAL HISTORY ARCHIVE/UIG/GETTY IMAGES

wsj.com - by BETSY MCKAY and REED JOHNSON - January 12, 2016

A Houston-area woman who traveled in November to El Salvador has been diagnosed with the Zika virus, public health officials said, raising concern that the mosquito-borne illness linked to a health crisis in Brazil could spread through the Americas. . . .

. . . The Texas case shows how the Zika virus is spreading after sparking an epidemic in Brazil that has led to an estimated 500,000 to 1.5 million cases, public health officials say.

Health officials in Brazil believe the virus is behind thousands of cases of microcephaly in that country—a condition in which infants are born with undersized brains and skulls—though it hasn’t before been linked to that rare condition. . . .

. . . U.S. officials say they are preparing for a possible influx of Zika this spring and summer, when populations of the mosquitoes that transmit it—Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus—flourish. . . .

. . . The department is also urging people to protect themselves from mosquitoes.

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Why Tech Is Accelerating

          

Graphic from Singularity is Near, demonstrating "Law of Accelerating Returns" in the field of computation

huffingtonpost.com - by Peter Diamandis - January 10, 2016

No doubt you've heard of Moore's Law.

What you might not realize is that Moore's Law only refers to the exponential price-performance improvements of integrated circuits (over the last 50 years).

Did you know that exponential growth has been going on for a much longer period? Or that such growth is occurring in other fields outside of computing, such as communication and genomics?

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China Is Headed for a Debt Meltdown Like the U.S. in 2008 - But Worse

               

Empty apartment developments stand in the city of Ordos, Inner Mongolia on September 12, 2011. MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images) | MARK RALSTON via Getty Images

huffingtonpost.com - by Robert Hockett - January 8, 2016

World attention has focused in recent months on an acute refugee crisis occasioned by the mass migration to Europe of hundreds of thousands now fleeing the Syrian civil war. Less noticed has been another refugee crisis at least as ominous as that underway in the Middle East and Europe -- the fleeing of money from China.

What's going on, and why is it ominous? . . .

. . . where Chinese money is going -- to U.S. real estate and other asset markets. . . .

. . . First, it is fueling new real estate bubbles in the U.S. . . .

. . . Second, the shift of investment flows from Chinese to American assets is placing downward pressure on Chinese currency values, and will place upward pressure on the dollar -- yet again. This will ultimately worsen America's trade balance with China, harming America's own economic recovery and fueling mutual Chinese-American resentments -- possibly culminating in financially destabilizing competitive currency devaluations, trade war, or both. . . .

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The Geopolitics of Cheap Oil

             

THE WASHINGTON POST VIA GETTY IMAGES

huffingtonpost.com - by John Feffer - January 7, 2016

The market was supposed to save the planet.

That, at least, was the argument of many economists grappling with the problem of climate change. As fossil fuels became scarcer, they pointed out, the price of oil and natural gas would go up. And then other options, like solar and wind, would become cheaper, particularly as investment flowed into that sector and drove down the cost of new technologies.

And voila: The invisible hand would gradually turn down the global thermostat.

It’s a ridiculous argument.

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Brazil Declares Emergency After 2,400 Babies are Born with Brain Damage, Possibly Due to Mosquito-Borne Virus

            

Rio de Janeiro, which will be the host of the 2016 Olympic Games, is one of the areas in Brazil where the Zika virus has been found, and local officials have been aggressive about trying to eradicate mosquito breeding grounds. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

washingtonpost.com - by Ariana Eunjung Cha - December 23, 2015

Brazilian health authorities are sounding the alarm about a mosquito-borne virus that they believe may be the cause of thousands of infants being born with damaged brains.

The pathogen, known as Zika and first discovered in forest monkeys in Africa over 70 years ago, is the new West Nile -- a virus that causes mild symptoms in most but can lead to serious neurological complications or even death in others. Brazil's health ministry said on Nov. 28 that it had found the Zika virus in a baby with microcephaly — a rare condition in which infants are born with shrunken skulls — during an autopsy after the child died. The virus was also found in the amniotic fluid of two mothers whose babies had the condition.

"This is an unprecedented situation, unprecedented in world scientific research," the ministry said in a statement on its website, according to CNN.

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Global Stock Markets Dive on China Worries

         

The index was at the lowest level in nearly three months.  Associated Press

Wall Street has continued the rout on global share markets, with the Dow Jones, S&P 500 closing down more than 1.5% and Nasdaq down 2%.

bbc.com - January 4, 2016

It followed sharp falls in China, where trading on the main stock markets was halted early after indexes tumbled 7%.

A survey indicating China's manufacturing sector contracted again last month was blamed for the falls. . . .

. . . On Wall Street, all 10 major S&P sectors were lower, led by the 2.4% fall in the technology sector. Bank stocks were also hard hit, with JP Morgan down 3.65%.

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CLICK HERE - The Guardian - US stock markets open with worst performance since 2008

CLICK HERE - Huffpost Business - China Halts Trading After 7 Percent Plunge

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This is How We Got to Zero Ebola Cases in West Africa:

whitehouse.gov - by Amy Pope - December 30, 2015

Summary: The world has now gone over 40 consecutive days without a single reported Ebola case. Here's how we helped make that possible.

For the first time since this outbreak was detected in West Africa in early 2014, the world has now gone over 40 consecutive days without a single reported Ebola case.

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced that Guinea has successfully halted Ebola transmission and now joins Sierra Leone and Liberia in recovering from this devastating disease. This represents a significant milestone for Guinea, West Africa, and the international community.

Today we reflect on what is possible when partners around the world come together to solve a common problem. Through the undaunted courage of local communities and heroes from around the world, West Africa was able to halt Ebola. The United States was proud to offer help along with partners around the world.

Today we remember Ebola’s victims, and embrace the communities, families, healthcare workers, and survivors.

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Freak Heatwave Pushes Temperatures at North Pole Above Freezing

A polar bear walks across the ice in the Arctic near the North Pole

submitted by Albert Gomez

phys.org - by Clément Sabourin - December 31, 2015

Temperatures at the North Pole rose above freezing point Wednesday, 20 degrees Celsius above the mid-winter norm and the latest abnormality in a season of extreme weather events.

Canadian weather authorities blamed the temperature spike on the freak depression which has already brought record Christmas temperatures to North America and lashed Britain with winds and floods.

The deep low pressure area is currently looming over Iceland and churning up hurricane force 75-knot winds and 30-foot waves in the north Atlantic while dragging warm air northwards.

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CLICK HERE - CNN - It was warm at the North Pole

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El Niño Strengthens Amid Warning Millions Could Face Hunger and Disease

             

Sea surface temperatures in October -- orange-red colors are above normal.

cnn.com - by Brandon Miller and Nick Thompson - December 30, 2015

If you're wondering why your white Christmas didn't arrive as scheduled this year, meteorologists have a two-word answer: El Niño.

This year's El Niño weather event -- characterized by warming waters in the eastern Pacific Ocean -- is already one of the three strongest ever recorded. NASA says El Niño conditions are still strengthening, and it could even rival the intensity of the record 1997 event that wreaked worldwide weather havoc.

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