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China plans to ban coal use in Beijing by 2020

Chinese workers level coal to be used for generating electricity on a freight train at a railway station in Jiujiang city on June 16, 2014. Imaginechina via AP Images

Image: Chinese workers level coal to be used for generating electricity on a freight train at a railway station in Jiujiang city on June 16, 2014. Imaginechina via AP Images

america.aljazeera.com - August 5th, 2014

China has announced plans to ban the use of coal in its smog-plagued capital by the end of 2020, as the country fights deadly levels of pollution, especially in major cities.

Beijing's Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau posted the plan on its website on Monday, saying the city would instead prioritize electricity and natural gas for heating.

The Chinese central government recently listed environmental protection as one of the top criteria by which leaders will be judged.

(VIEW COMPLETE ARTICLE)

Video - Ebola - A Race Against Time | MSF

MSF - Doctors Without Borders - Ebola Guide

 msf.org

Ebola is one of the world’s most deadly diseases. It is a highly infectious virus that can kill up to 90 percent of the people who catch it, causing terror among infected communities.

Ebola is so infectious that patients need to be treated in isolation by staff wearing protective clothing. MSF has over 670 staff on the ground and we have brought in more than 40 tonnes of equipment and supplies to help fight the epidemic.

Read MSF's response to the World Health Organisation statement declaring the Ebola outbreak "an extraordinary event".

(CLICK HERE, THEN SCROLL DOWN TO VIEW THE MSF EBOLA GUIDE)

Nigeria's President Declares State of Emergency Over Ebola Threat

news.xinhuanet.com - August 9, 2014

ABUJA, Aug. 7 (Xinhua) -- President Goodluck Jonathan declares a national emergency in a statement on Friday, saying 1.9 billion naira (11.6 million U.S. dollars) will be released to prevent further spread of the Ebola Virus.

He also urged Nigerians to desist from spreading rumors about the virus and advised school owners across the country to consider extending the current holiday.

He directed relevant government agencies to ensure that all possible steps are taken to effectively contain the threat of the Ebola virus in line with international protocols and best practices.

(READ COMPLETE ARTICLE)

Ebola: Official MSF Response to WHO Declaring Epidemic an "Extraordinary Event"

           

msf.org.uk - August 8, 2014

In a statement released today, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that West Africa's Ebola epidemic is an "extraordinary event" and now constitutes an international health risk.

"A coordinated international response is deemed essential to stop and reverse the international spread of Ebola," the WHO said in a statement after a two-day meeting of its emergency committee on Ebola.

MSF reaction to WHO Ebola statement

In response, Dr Bart Janssens, Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) Director of Operations said:

“Declaring Ebola an international public health emergency shows how seriously WHO is taking the current outbreak but statements won’t save lives

“Now we need this statement to translate into immediate action on the ground. For weeks, MSF has been repeating that a massive medical, epidemiological and public health response is desperately needed to saves lives and reverse the course of the epidemic.

“Lives are being lost because the response is too slow.

WHO declares Ebola outbreak an international public health emergency

The World Health Organization has declared the Ebola outbreak in West Africa to be an international public health emergency that requires an extraordinary response to stop its spread.

It is the largest and longest outbreak ever recorded of Ebola, which has a death rate of about 50 per cent and has so far killed at least 932 people.

"Countries affected to date simply do not have the capacity to manage an outbreak of this size and complexity on their own," WHO chief, Dr. Margaret Chan, said at a news conference in Geneva. "I urge the international community to provide this support on the most urgent basis possible."

"Statements won't save lives," said Dr. Bart Janssens, director of operations for Doctors Without Borders. "For weeks, (we) have been repeating that a massive medical, epidemiological and public health response is desperately needed ... Lives are being lost because the response is too slow."

In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have already elevated their Ebola response to the highest level and have recommended against travelling to West Africa. On Thursday, CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden told a Congressional hearing that the current outbreak is set to sicken more people than all previous outbreaks of the disease combined.

WHO - List of Members of, and Advisers to, the International Health Regulations (2005) Emergency Committee Regarding Ebola

who.int - 6 and 7 August 2014

CHAIR

Dr Sam Zaramba

Senior Consultant Surgeon, Former Director General of Health Services, Ministry of Health, Kampala, Uganda

VICE-CHAIR

Professor Robert Steffen

Department of Epidemiology and Prevention of Infectious Diseases, WHO Collaborating Centre for Travellers’ Health, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland

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Problem, Solution, SitRep, or ?: 

CSPAN - House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee - Ebola Virus

c-span.org - August 7, 2014

The House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations held a hearing titled, “Combating the Ebola Threat.”

2014 Ebola Outbreak - Live Interactive Healthmap

ZMapp - Information Sheet

                                                        

ZMapp TM is the result of a collaboration between Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc. and LeafBio (San Diego, CA), Defyrus Inc. (Toronto, Canada), the U.S. government and the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC).

ZMapp TM is composed of three “humanized” monoclonal antibodies manufactured in plants, specifically Nicotiana.  It is an optimized cocktail combining the best components of MB-­‐003 (Mapp) and ZMAb (Defyrus/PHAC).

ZMapp TM was first identified as a drug candidate in January 2014 and has not yet been evaluated for safety in humans.  As such very little of the drug is currently available.  

Any decision to use an experimental drug in a patient would be a decision made by the treating physician under the regulatory guidelines of the FDA.

Mapp and its partners are cooperating with appropriate government agencies to increase production as quickly as possible.

CLICK HERE - ZMapp - Information Sheet (1 page .PDF file)

http://www.mappbio.com/

Experimental Ebola Serum Grown in Tobacco Leaves

                                                     

webmd.com - by Brenda Goodman - reviewed by Michael W. Smith, MD

Aug. 4, 2014 -- ZMapp, the experimental treatment rushed to two Americans infected with Ebola in Africa, is grown in specially modified leaves of tobacco -- a plant better known for harming health than healing.

“We complied with a request from Emory University and Samaritan’s Purse to provide a very limited amount of ZMapp last week,” says David Howard, a spokesman for Reynolds American Services, the parent company of Kentucky BioProcessing. The small biopharma company in Owensboro, KY, has been contracted to grow the drug.

(READ COMPLETE ARTICLE)

Q & A - What You Need to Know About the Ebola Outbreak

Where is the Outbreak?

      

Source: United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

nytimes.com - by Joe Burgess, Denise Grady, Josh Keller, Heather Murphy and Sergio Peçanha - August 6, 2014

What are the chances of getting Ebola in the United States?

Two American aid workers infected with the Ebola virus while working in West Africa are being treated at a hospital in Atlanta, in a containment unit for patients with dangerous infectious diseases. But the risk that anyone will contract Ebola in the United States is extremely small, experts say.

Doctors across the country are being reminded to ask for the travel history of anybody who comes in with a fever.

(READ COMPLETE ARTICLE)

9 Questions About this New Ebola Drug

      

cnn.com - by By Jacque Wilson and Danielle Dellorto - August 5, 2014

(CNN) -- Two American missionary workers infected with the deadly Ebola virus were given an experimental drug that seems to have saved their lives.

Dr. Kent Brantly was given the medication, ZMapp, shortly after telling his doctors he thought he would die, according to a source familiar with his case. Within an hour, doctors say his symptoms -- labored breathing and a widespread rash -- dramatically improved. Nancy Writebol, another missionary working with Samaritan's Purse, received two doses of the medication and has also shown significant improvement, sources say.

As there is no proven treatment and no vaccine for Ebola, this experimental drug is raising lots of questions.

(READ COMPLETE ARTICLE)

Landslide and river blockage in Sindhupalchok District in Nepal

 

Nepal is among one of the least developed countries that has been exposed to multiple hazards and with one-third of its population living below the poverty line. Not only socio-economic factors, but also geological, topographical and climatic conditions expose Nepal to multiple hazards, most prominently earthquakes, floods, landslides, fires, thunderbolts, windstorms, hailstorm and avalanches. According to official disaster statistics, out of the total number of affected families, floods/landslides and wind-storms/hailstorms have affected the most damage followed by fires and epidemics.

 

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