Vodafone Launches Mobile Cash Transfer System in Ghana Where 15M People Do Not Have a Bank Account

             

Moving money: The service, called M-Pesa, will be branded Vodafone Cash in the West African state

thisismoney.co.uk - by City & Finance Reporter for the Daily Mail - December 7, 2015

Vodafone has launched its mobile cash transfer system in Ghana where 15m people do not have a bank account.

The service, called M-Pesa, will be branded Vodafone Cash in the West African state. It allows mobile phone users to load money on to their phones, just as pay-as-you-go customers can top up their credit. 

They can send the funds anywhere in the country with a text message. Recipients can pick up the cash at shops that offer the service.

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Mathematical Modeling of the West Africa Ebola Epidemic

eLife 2015;10.7554/eLife.09186 - December 8, 2015
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.09186

Abstract

As of November 2015, the Ebola virus disease (EVD) epidemic that began in West Africa in late 2013 is waning. The human toll includes more than 28,000 Ebola virus disease (EVD) cases and 11,000 deaths in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, the most heavily-affected countries. We reviewed 66 mathematical modeling studies of the EVD epidemic published in the peer-reviewed literature to assess the key uncertainties models addressed, data used for modeling, public sharing of data and results, and model performance. Based on the review, we suggest steps to improve the use of modeling in future public health emergencies.

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Identification of NPC1 as the Target of U18666A, an Inhibitor of Lysosomal Cholesterol Export and Ebola Infection

eLife 2015;10.7554/eLife.12177 - DECEMBER 8, 2015
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.12177

Abstract

Niemann-Pick C1 (NPC1) is a lysosomal membrane protein that exports cholesterol derived from receptor-mediated uptake of LDL, and it also mediates cellular entry of Ebola virus. Cholesterol export is inhibited by nanomolar concentrations of U18666A, a cationic sterol. To identify the target of U18666A, we synthesized U-X, a U18666A derivative with a benzophenone that permits ultraviolet-induced crosslinking. When added to CHO cells, U-X crosslinked to NPC1. Crosslinking was blocked by U18666A derivatives that block cholesterol export, but not derivatives lacking blocking activity. Crosslinking was prevented by point mutation in the sterol-sensing domain (SSD) of NPC1, but not by point mutation in the N-terminal domain (NTD). These data suggest that the SSD contains a U18666A-inhibitable site required for cholesterol export distinct from the cholesterol-binding site in the NTD. Inasmuch as inhibition of Ebola requires 100-fold higher concentrations of U18666A, the high affinity U16888A-binding site is likely not required for virus entry. 

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At Climate Talks, African Nations Pledge to Restore Forests

         

FILE - In this Sunday, March 21, 2010 file photo, shafts of sunlight filtering through the forest canopy strike smoke from fires burning outside family huts at an Mbuti pygmy hunting camp in the Okapi Wildlife Reserve outside the town of Epulu, Congo. Tree by tree, more than a dozen African governments pledged to restore the continent’s natural forests at the U.N. climate change talks in Paris on Sunday, Dec. 6, 2015. (Rebecca Blackwell,File/Associated Press)

CLICK HERE - World Resources Institute - African Countries Launch AFR100 to Restore 100 Million Hectares of Land

CLICK HERE - African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative (AFR100)

CLICK HERE - Global Landscapes Forum

washingtonpost.com - by Lynsey Chutel - December 6, 2015

JOHANNESBURG — Tree by tree, more than a dozen African governments pledged to restore the continent’s natural forests at the United Nations climate talks on Sunday.

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Secretary-General Appoints David Nabarro of United Kingdom Special Adviser on 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

                                                                 

un.org - December 3, 2015

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today announced the appointment of David Nabarro of the United Kingdom as Special Adviser on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  The Special Adviser will work with Member States and other relevant stakeholders to galvanize action on implementation of the Agenda, while also overseeing the Secretary-General’s special initiatives, for example, “Every Woman Every Child”.

Dr. Nabarro has more than 30 years experience in public health, nutrition and development work at the national, regional and global levels, and has held positions in non-governmental organizations, universities, national Governments and the United Nations system.

Since September 2014, he has served as Special Envoy of the Secretary-General on Ebola, providing strategic and policy direction for the international response.  From 2005 to 2014 he was Senior Coordinator for Avian and Pandemic Influenza.  From 2011 to 2015, he served as Coordinator of the Movement to Scale Up Nutrition, and since 2009 he has been the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Food Security and Nutrition, a position he will continue to hold.

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Ebola - Confirmed in Liberia

WHO Urges Ukraine to Declare State of Emergency Amid Polio Outbreak

                                        

CLICK HERE - UNICEF - Ukraine

The Associated Press - December 1, 2015

KIEV, Ukraine - The World Health Organization is urging Ukraine's health ministry to declare a state of emergency due to a polio outbreak, a move meant to prompt more action from the government in Kyiv.

In September, Ukraine announced two polio cases -- the first in Europe since 2010.

The UN health agency recommended that Ukraine declare a state of emergency and "respond to the polio outbreak as quickly and effectively as possible," Dorit Nitzan, head of the WHO's office in Ukraine, told journalists.

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ALSO SEE SAME ARTICLE IN THE LINKS BELOW:

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2015/12/01/world/europe/ap-eu-ukraine-polio-.html?_r=0

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World Leaders Arrive in Paris for Climate Conference

Bill Gates Launches Multi-Billion Dollar Clean Energy Fund

             

Bill Gates has pulled together a multinational band of investors to put billions into clean energy.

money.cnn.com - by Jackie Wattles - November 30, 2015

The Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist announced his latest endeavor, the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, at the climate change summit in Paris. . . .

. . . The new Gates fund will be fed by a group that spans more than two dozen public and private entities -- including national governments, billionaire philanthropists, investment fund managers and tech CEOs.

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CLICK HERE - Breakthrough Energy Coalition

 

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How Climate Change is Behind the Surge of Migrants to Europe

             

Migrants and refugees arrive on Sykamia beach, west of the port of Mytilene, on the Greek island of Lesbos after crossing the Aegean sea from Turkey, on Sept. 22, 2015.  Iakovos Hatzistavrou—AFP/Getty Images

Even as Europe wrestles over how to absorb the migrant tide, experts warn that the flood is likely to get worse as climate change becomes a driving factor.

time.com - by Aryn Baker - September 7, 2015

. . . “You think migration is a challenge to Europe today because of extremism, wait until you see what happens when there’s an absence of water, an absence of food, or one tribe fighting against another for mere survival,” . . .

. . . Security analysts say they are already seeing the impact, particularly in migration patterns from northern Africa and the Sahel region, which is the band of farmland just below the Sahara desert. “All the indicators seem to fairly solidly convey that climate change — desertification and lack of water, or floods, are massively contributing to human mobility . . .

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'No Planet B', Marchers Worldwide Tell Leaders Before U.N. Climate Summit

          

reuters.com - by Megan Rowling - November 29, 2015

Hundreds of thousands of people from Australia to Paraguay joined the biggest day of climate change activism in history on Sunday, telling world leaders gathering for a summit in Paris there is "No Planet B" in the fight against global warming.

In the French capital, where demonstrations were banned by the authorities after attacks by Islamic State militants killed 130 people on Nov. 13, activists laid out more than 20,000 shoes in the Place de la Republique to symbolize absent marchers on the eve of the summit.

Among the high heels and sandals were a pair of plain black shoes sent by Pope Francis, who has been a vocal advocate for action to prevent dangerous climate change, and jogging shoes from U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

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Liberia: 'Blood Transfusion' - Responsible For New Ebola Outbreak

allafrica.com - November 27, 2015

Investigation conducted by this paper has established that unsafe blood transfusion is probably responsible for the new Ebola outbreak in Liberia.

A 15-year-old-boy was last weekend tested positive for Ebola and later pronounced dead on Tuesday. Dr. Francis Kateh, Chief Medical Officer of Liberia, said the boy's parents have also been tested positive for the virus and were undergoing observation.

The Ministry of Health and its partners are yet to disclose the source of the new outbreak, but a weeklong investigation conducted by this paper has established that blood recently transfused into the boy's mother at the Benson Hospital in Paynesville is the probable cause of the new Ebola infection.

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Study Blocks Ebola Virus Budding By Regulating Calcium Signalling

submitted by George Hurlburt

                                                  

scicasts.com - November 2, 2015

CLICK HERE - STUDY - Calcium Regulation of Hemorrhagic Fever Virus Budding: Mechanistic Implications for Host-Oriented Therapeutic Intervention - Ziying Han, Jonathan J. Madara et al. PLOS Pathogens (2015)

Philadelphia, PA (Scicasts) — The Ebola virus acts fast. The course of infection, from exposure to recovery, or death, can take as little as two weeks. That may not leave enough time for the immune system to mount an effective response.

The goal of some anti-viral therapies, therefore, is to buy more and give the immune system a leg up on the virus. A new study led by Bruce Freedman and Ronald Harty in the Department of Pathobiology of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine demonstrates a way to do that, by reducing the ability of the virus to exit a host cell and spread. Their work showed that blocking a calcium-signalling pathway could inhibit not only the Ebola virus, but also Marburg, Lassa and Junin viruses, all sources of deadly infections.

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World Bank Calls for $16bn to Help Africa Weather the Effects of Climate Change

submitted by George Hurlburt

            

A young girl wades into water where the family kitchen once stood in Diamniadio Island, Saloum Delta in Senegal.
Photograph: Jane Hahn/AP

CLICK HERE - World Bank - Accelerating climate-resilient and low-carbon development : the Africa climate business plan

Africa climate business plan, emphasising clean energy, efficient farming and urban protection, will be launched by World Bank chief at Paris climate talks

theguardian.com - by John Vidal - November 25, 2015

The World Bank has devised a $16bn (£10.6bn) strategy designed to help Africa adapt to climate change and prevent millions of people from sliding into poverty.

By fast-tracking clean energy, efficient farming and urban protection, the measures promise to greatly increase renewable energy across the continent, bolster food production and lead to the planting of billions of trees. It is also hoped that the scheme will improve life in cities and reduce poverty, migration and conflict.

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U.N. Study: Natural Disasters Caused 600,000 Deaths Over 20 Years

CLICK HERE - STUDY - The Human Cost of Weather Related Disasters

Extreme weather caused nearly $2 trillion in economic losses

time.com - by Melissa Chan - November 23, 2015

Natural disasters have killed more than 600,000 people and left behind trillions of dollars in damages in the last two decades, the United Nations said Monday.

Hundreds of floods, storms, heat waves and droughts have left about 606,000 people dead and 4.1 billion injured or homeless around the world since 1995, according to a U.N. report.

The extreme weather-related calamities also caused nearly $2 trillion in economic losses.

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