United Nations Sustainable Development Summit 2015

      

The United Nations summit for the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda will be held from 25 to 27 September 2015, in New York and convened as a high-level plenary meeting of the General Assembly.

https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/post2015/summit

http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/

 

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UN Ebola response now planned to continue into 2016 after initial hopes it would end by 2015

ASSOCIATED PRESS                               Sept. 23, 2015

(Scroll down for links to WHO reports.)

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — The United Nations says it's now planning for Ebola response activities to last into 2016, suggesting the battle against the virus won't be over by year-end after all.

In a report released Wednesday by the World Health Organization and its humanitarian partners, health officials said that there are plans for the Ebola response to continue until midyear 2016.

Those so-called Phase 3 efforts include stopping transmission, indicating cases are still anticipated.

Read complete story

http://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2015/09/23/un-ebola-response-now-planned-to-continue-into-2016

WHO SITUATION REPORT                      Sept. 23, 2015
http://apps.who.int/ebola/current-situation/ebola-situation-report-23-september-2015

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Danger of Methane Explosions on Yamal Peninsula, Scientists Warn

      

Scientists from the respected Trofimuk Institute of Petroleum Geology and Geophysics insist the process by which a series of craters formed was caused by the melting of gas hydrates and the emission of methane. Picture: Vladimir Olenchenko/Trofimuk Institute of Petroleum Geology and Geophysics

More craters expected to form due to such eruptions as permafrost melts - and they ARE caused by global warming releasing methane gas.

siberiantimes.com - by Anna Liesowska - September 22, 2015

A new expedition to one of the mysterious Siberian giant holes found in recent years has concluded that it is a warning sign of a deadly threat to northern regions as the climate warms. . . .

. . . A pingo believed to be poised to explode 'at any moment' is now being constantly monitored by a Russian space satellite in an attempt to catch the moment when the eruption occurs. . . .

. . . The scientists also warn of a dire threat to both towns and cities in the extreme north, and natural gas exploration facilities and associated pipelines.

(READ COMPLETE ARTICLE)

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Syrian Civil War Prompts First Withdrawal From Doomsday Seed Vault In The Arctic

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault was opened on Feb. 26, 2008. Carved into the Arctic permafrost and filled with samples of the world's most important seeds, it's a Noah's Ark of food crops to be used in the event of a global catastrophe. AFP/Getty Images

Image: The Svalbard Global Seed Vault was opened on Feb. 26, 2008. Carved into the Arctic permafrost and filled with samples of the world's most important seeds, it's a Noah's Ark of food crops to be used in the event of a global catastrophe. AFP/Getty Images

npr.org - September 23rd, 2015

A tall rectangular building juts out of a mountainside on a Norwegian island just 800 miles from the North Pole. Narrow and sharply edged, the facility cuts an intimidating figure against the barren Arctic background. But the gray building holds the key to the earth's biodiversity.

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Ukraine health officials fear big polio outbreak

Many young Ukrainian children are not vaccinated

Image: Many young Ukrainian children are not vaccinated

bbc.co.uk - September 22nd, 2015

Health officials in Ukraine are gripped by fears of a major polio outbreak, after it was announced this month that the disease had paralysed two children in the south-western region of Trans-Carpathia.

Concerns that the virus could cut a deadly swathe through the country has mobilised officials to launch a national immunisation campaign that would embrace all children up to 10 years old.

The threat has also mobilised international organizations, as well as Bill Gates, whose foundation promotes increased vaccinations worldwide and who spoke to President Petro Poroshenko about the polio danger last week.

(VIEW COMPLETE ARTICLE)

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The World Has Pledged To Divest $2.6 Trillion From Fossil Fuels

       

Credit: David J. Phillip / Associated Press

"It is now unstoppable."

huffingtonpost.com - by Nick Visser - September 22, 2015

NEW YORK -- The amount of money the world has pledged to divest from fossil fuels now exceeds $2.6 trillion, a group of policymakers, philanthropists and activists announced Tuesday. The figure is 50 times higher than the $52 billion that had been divested exactly one year ago.

The news was announced at a press conference in New York, hosted by groups including the United Nations, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and environmental and faith leaders. The hosts said the $2.6 trillion figure was calculated by Arabella Advisors, a private consulting company that works with philanthropic groups.

(READ COMPLETE ARTICLE)

CLICK HERE - Arabella Advisors - Measuring the Growth of the Global Fossil Fuel Divestment and Clean Energy Investment Movement (27 page .PDF file)

CLICK HERE - About - 2015 Report - Divest-Invest

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How Research Data Sharing Can Save Lives

CLICK HERE - WHO - Developing Global Norms for Sharing Data and Results during Public Health Emergencies

blogs.bmj.com - by Trish Groves / The BMJ - September 8, 2015

The whole debate on sharing clinical study data has focused on transparency, reproducibility, and completing the evidence base for treatments. Yet public health emergencies such as the Ebola and MERS outbreaks provide a vitally important reason for sharing study data, usually before publication or even before submission to a journal, and ideally in a public repository.

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CLICK HERE - Wikipedia - Ingelfinger rule

 

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Ebola Virus Mutations May Help It Evade Drug Treatment

CLICK HERE - Ebola Virus Mutations May Help It Evade Drug Treatment (2 page .PDF file)

CLICK HERE - Cell Reports - Emergence of Ebola Virus Escape Variants in Infected Nonhuman Primates Treated with the MB-003 Antibody Cocktail

CLICK HERE - Emergence of Ebola Virus Escape Variants in Infected Nonhuman Primates Treated with the MB-003 Antibody Cocktail (11 page .PDF file)

usamriid.army.mil - September 11, 2015

Genetic mutations called “escape variants” in the deadly Ebola virus appear to block the ability of antibody-based treatments to ward off infection, according to a team of U.S. Army scientists and collaborators. Their findings, published online this week in the journal Cell Reports, have implications for the continued development of therapeutics to treat Ebola virus disease, which has claimed the lives of over 11,000 people in West Africa since last year.

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Ebola Assay Card | Elisa-Based Diagnostic - Google Science Fair

submitted by Gavin Macgregor-Skinner

Temperature-Independent, Portable, and Rapid Field Detection of Ebola via a Silk-Derived Lateral-Flow System

googlesciencefair.com - 2015

I developed a “stable and stored at room temperature” Ebola Assay Card, applicable as an ELISA-based diagnostic for diseases such as HIV, Lyme and certain cancers, that will allow for water-activated, timed-release detection of Ebola antigens, with detection limits that are analogous to current sandwich ELISA techniques. Reagents become chemically “stabilized” when mixed into silk, which enables them to remain “chemically active” without refrigeration. This Ebola Assay Card will allow for shipment and storage without refrigeration, and provide detection of the Ebola viral antigens based on color change in as little as 30 minutes.

(CLICK HERE FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION)

 

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Fighting Ebola With a Palm-Sized DNA Sequencer

submitted by George Hurlburt

      

Raymond Koundouno using a MinION - Sophie Duraffour

The MinION, a pocket-sized, USB-powered sequencing machine, lets scientists track the spread of deadly diseases in real-time.

theatlantic.com - by Ed Yong - September 16, 2015

. . . Unlike rival sequencers, which are as big as microwaves or fridges, the MinION is the size of a chocolate bar. . . . These devices quite literally bring the power of modern genomics to the palm of your hand. And at a cost of just $1,000, they herald a new era where sequencing moves away from well-equipped institutions and into places where it is most needed, from hospitals to epidemic-afflicted hot zones.

(READ COMPLETE ARTICLE)

(CLICK HERE - MinION - Oxford Nanopore Technologies)

(CLICK HERE - YouTube - MinION - Oxford Nanopore Technologies)

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India’s rabid dog problem is running the country ragged

wired.com- September 15, 2015 - Mary-Rose Abraham

A pile of puppies cower under a parked car. The men grab one, but two escape down the street, forcing them to give chase. Five scrappy adult shorthairs – of an indiscriminate breed commonly known as an ‘Indian dog’ – appear from nowhere.

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Where Antibiotic Resistance Is Worst Around the World

Staphylococcus. Getty Images.

Image: Staphylococcus. Getty Images.

wired.com- September 17th, 2015 - Sarah Zhang

Instead of the usual doom and gloom about antibiotic resistance, let’s begin with the good news. A new global report on antibiotic use, released yesterday, actually found a drop in Staph bacteria resistant to the antibiotic methicillin in countries seriously tackling drug resistance—places across Europe, the US, Canada, and South Africa. The boring stuff like handwashing and antibiotic stewardship? It works.

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Don't Take A Deep Breath: Outdoor Pollution Kills 3.3 Million A Year

A masked man walks past trees shrouded with pollution haze in Beijing, China. Andy Wong/AP

Image: A masked man walks past trees shrouded with pollution haze in Beijing, China. Andy Wong/AP

npr.org - September 16th, 2015 - Susan Brink

More people die prematurely because of the air they breathe than the 2.8 million who die each year of HIV/AIDS and malaria combined.

That's the startling statistic from a new study in this week's journal Nature. The annual global death toll from outdoor air pollution is 3.3 million. (Premature death is a medical term that means a usually preventable death that occurs before expected — for instance, earlier than the life expectancy of age 78 in the U.S.).

(VIEW COMPLETE ARTICLE)

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Feds to end Ebola screening for air travelers from Liberia

USA TODAY by Bart Jansen                           Sept. 19, 2015

WASHINGTON – Federal authorities will end mandatory Ebola screening Monday for travelers from Liberia to five U.S. airports, but will continue to scrutinize travelers from Sierra Leone and Guinea, federal officials announced Friday.

The Department of Homeland Security's Customs and Border Protection had provided extra screening for more than 30,000 travelers during the past year, after an outbreak of the often fatal disease in West Africa.....

Customs and Border Protection and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention agreed to remove Liberia from the list of countries subject to enhanced visa and port-of-entry screening, effective Monday....

The U.S. will maintain extra screening for travelers from Sierra Leone and Guinea, which still see a handful of new cases each week, and for people who traveled through those countries during the previous three weeks.

Read complete story.
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2015/09/18/ebola-travel-airport-screening-liberia-sierra-leone-guinea-customs-border-protection/72398942/

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Ocean Fish Populations Cut In Half Since The 1970s: Report

CLICK HERE - Living Blue Planet Report 2015

Populations of some commercial fish stocks, such as a group including tuna, mackerel and bonito, had fallen by almost 75 percent.

huffingtonpost.com - by Andy Campbell - September 16, 2015

A disturbing new report published by the World Wildlife Fund found that the world marine vertebrate population declined by 49 percent between 1970 and 2012.

The Living Blue Planet Report -- analyzed by the Zoological Society of London and issued as an update on our oceans' health -- also found that local and commercial fish populations have been cut in half, tropical reefs have lost nearly half of their reef-building coral, and there are 250,000 metric tons of plastic in our oceans.

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