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Infectious Disease Is the Next Big Global Security Risk

The World Is Not Ready for the Next Pandemic

           

John Hackett and Charles Chiu handle Zika samples at the University of California, San Francisco-Abbott Viral Diagnostics and Discovery Center - Cody Pickens for TIME

time.com - by Bryan Walsh - May 4, 2017

 . . . From Ebola in West Africa to Zika in South America to MERS in the Middle East, dangerous outbreaks are on the rise around the world . . . 

 . . . The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ranks H7N9 as the flu strain with the greatest potential to cause a pandemic--an infectious-disease outbreak that goes global. If a more contagious H7N9 were to be anywhere near as deadly as it is now, the death toll could be in the tens of millions.

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UK Scientists: Samples from Syrian Attack Test Positive for Sarin

           

A crater is seen at the site of an airstrike, after what rescue workers described as a suspected gas attack in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in rebel-held Idlib, Syria April 4, 2017. REUTERS/Ammar Abdullah

reuters.com - reporting by Anthony Deutsch; editing by Janet Lawrence - April 13, 2017

Samples taken from the alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria last week tested positive for the nerve agent sarin, the British delegation at the world's chemical weapons watchdog said on Thursday.

"UK scientists have analyzed samples taken from Khan Sheikhoun. These have tested positive for the nerve agent sarin, or a sarin-like substance," the delegation said during a special session at the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in The Hague.

Earlier testing by Turkish authorities had also said the chemical used on April 4 was sarin.

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CLICK HERE - UK - Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Sir Geoffrey Adams - Speech - 54th Special Session of the Executive Council - April 13, 2017

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'First Chemical Attack' in Mosul Battle Injures Twelve

           

IS has been accused by both US and Iraqi officials of using rudimentary chemical weapons - AFP

bbc.com - March 3, 2017

Twelve civilians have been injured in Mosul in what appears to be the first chemical weapon attack in the battle for the IS stronghold.

A doctor from the International Red Cross (ICRC), based in nearby Irbil, confirmed the incident to the BBC.

An 11-year-old boy has severe respiratory and skin problems and a month-old baby was also injured.

The ICRC doctor said the substance used was still unknown, but it was being treated as a chemical attack.

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ALSO SEE RELATED ARTICLE HERE - Red Cross says chemical weapons used near Mosul

 

 

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Bill Gates Warns Tens of Millions Could be Killed by Bio-Terrorism

           

Bio-terrorism could kill 30 million people in a year, says Bill Gates

Microsoft founder and philanthropist tells Munich security conference genetic engineering could be terrorist weapon

theguardian.com - Bill Gates / Ewen MacAskill - February 18, 2017

A chilling warning that tens of millions of people could be killed by bio-terrorism was delivered at the Munich security conference by the world’s richest man, Bill Gates

Gates, who has spent much of the last 20 years funding a global health campaign, said: “We ignore the link between health security and international security at our peril.”

Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft who has spent billions in a philanthropic drive to improve health worldwide, said: “The next epidemic could originate on the computer screen of a terrorist intent on using genetic engineering to create a synthetic version of the smallpox virus ... or a super contagious and deadly strain of the flu.”

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CLICK HERE - Munich Security Conference

 

 

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U.N. Needs $2.1 Billion to Avert Famine in Yemen

           

Girls stand at the entrance to their tent at a camp for internally displaced people in the northwestern city of Saada, Yemen January 30, 2017. REUTERS/Naif Rahma

reuters.com - by Stephanie Nebehay - February 8, 2017

The United Nations said on Wednesday that 12 million people in Yemen faced the threat of famine brought on by two years of civil war and the situation was rapidly deteriorating.

It appealed for $2.1 billion to provide food and other life-saving aid, saying that Yemen's economy and institutions are collapsing and its infrastructure has been devastated.

"If there is no immediate action, and despite the ongoing humanitarian efforts, famine is now a real possibility for 2017. Malnutrition is rife and rising at an alarming rate," U.N. emergency relief coordinator Stephen O'Brien told a news briefing.

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Climate Change and Mass Migration: a Growing Threat to Global Security

           

Photo: Farid Ahmed/IRIN

irinnews.org - by Jared Ferrie - January 19, 2017

When international leaders met in the Bangladeshi capital last month for ongoing discussions about a new global migration policy, they glossed over what experts say will soon become a massive driver of migration: climate change . . .

. . . Groups like the UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR, and the International Organization for Migration, are well aware of the risks, and say they are working to bring climate change to the forefront of policy discussions . . .

. . . It’s difficult to say exactly how many people around the world will be forced to move as the effects of climate change grow starker in the coming decades. But mass displacement is already happening as climate change contributes to natural disasters such as desertification, droughts, floods, and powerful storms.

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CLICK HERE - 2016 Global Report on Internal Displacement

ALSO SEE RELATED ARTICLES AND SUPPORTING DOCUMENTATION WITHIN THE LINKS BELOW . . .

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'White Helmets' Say Aleppo Residents 10 Days from Starvation

           

Members of the Civil Defence rescue children after what activists said was an air strike by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in al-Shaar neighbourhood of Aleppo, Syria June 2, 2014. REUTERS/Sultan Kitaz

reuters.com - by Alistair Scrutton - November 24, 2016

The inhabitants of besieged rebel-held eastern Aleppo have fewer than ten days to receive aid or face starvation and death from a lack of medical supplies, the head of the Syria Civil Defence, or "White Helmets", said on Thursday.

The volunteer group which works in opposition-held territory and has rescued thousands of people from buildings bombed in the civil war is also running out of basic equipment from trucks to diesel and gas masks . . . 

 . . . With freezing winter conditions setting in, about 275,000 people are trapped in eastern Aleppo, where the last U.N. food rations were distributed on Nov. 13.

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At The U.S.-Mexico Border, Haitians Arrive To A Harsh Reception

           

Haitian nationals at a Mexican government immigration office near the port of entry between Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, and Nogales, Ariz., wait day after day for appointments with U.S. immigration agents so they can enter. As a result of the Haitian influx and a continuing surge of Central Americans on the Texas-Mexico border, the U.S. government has run out of detention space.  John Burnett/NPR

npr.org - by John Burnett - November 23, 2016

Desperate Haitian immigrants have been massing along the U.S.-Mexico border for months seeking humanitarian relief. In the past year more than 5,000 have sought entry into the United States — a 500 percent increase over the previous year.

After the catastrophic 2010 earthquake in Haiti, thousands of citizens migrated to Brazil looking for work. But as Brazil has slipped into recession in recent years, many of them have hit the road again, heading north on a 6,000-mile journey to the U.S. border — by every means of conveyance . . .

 . . . The Homeland Security Department announced new rules in September. All Haitians who show up at the border without papers and who don't ask for asylum are now detained.

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Syria Bombings Leave 1.75 Million Without Running Water in Aleppo

           

People inspect a water-filled hole at the site of an airstrike on the rebel-held Tariq al-Bab neighbourhood of Aleppo. Photograph: Abdalrhman Ismail/Reuters

Unicef says children at risk of outbreaks of waterborne diseases after two pumping stations left out of action

theguardian.com - September 24, 2016

Heavy bombardment of the rebel-held eastern area of Aleppo has left about 1.75 million people without running water, the United Nations has said.

Intense attacks on Friday prevented repairs to the city’s damaged Bab al-Nayrab pumping station, which supplies water to 250,000 people in the eastern parts of the city, according to the UN’s children’s agency, Unicef. 

In retaliation, the nearby Suleiman al-Halabi station, which pumps water to 1.5 million people in the west of Aleppo, was switched off, it said.

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UN Suspends All Aid Convoy Movements in Syria After Airstrike

           

Aid is strewn across the floor in Urem al-Kubra, on the western outskirts of Aleppo, after Monday’s strike on a convoy of lorries. Photograph: Omar Haj Kadour/AFP/Getty Images

Red Cross president says attack on UN and Red Crescent convoy delivering supplies is unacceptable violation of international law

theguardian.com - by Haroon Siddique, Julian Borger and agencies - September 20, 2016

The United Nations has suspended aid convoys in Syria after an airstrike hit a fleet of trucks carrying food to a rebel-held area near Aleppo on Monday.

The UN humanitarian aid spokesman Jens Laerke said: “As an immediate security measure, other convoy movements in Syria have been suspended for the time being, pending further assessment of the security situation.” . . .

. . . The strike on a convoy of Syrian Red Crescent trucks carrying UN-supplied food was described by the International Committee of the Red Cross as a flagrant violation of international law. It took place as a week-old ceasefire brokered by Russia and the US collapsed amid a surge of Syrian government bombing.

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