‘Resilience Bonds’: A Secret Weapon Against Catastrophe

           

Resilience bonds could help places vulnerable to natural disasters, like Mexico, better prepare for catastrophe - not just help clean up after it. (Credit: Alamy Stock Photo)

The costs of natural disasters are becoming too much to bear – and it’s driving up premiums no matter where you live. The solution may be a transformative type of insurance never seen before.

bbc.com - by Amanda Ruggeri - May 16, 2017

 . . . People will have to shift their entire thinking about how disaster recovery is funded – and by whom, experts say. “There’s a perception that, following a disaster, the federal government’s role is to make you whole and rebuild homes and infrastructure and community at the federal taxpayer’s expense. And that is simply not true,” Medlock says. “There are limits to what the federal government can – and should – do.”

 . . . Enter a new idea that could transform not only the global economy, but how disasters affect us: a resilience bond. As well as guaranteeing help to communities after a catastrophe, it would help fund projects and strategies they need to become less vulnerable to begin with . . .

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What Happens to Earth if the US Exits the Climate Deal?

           

Credit:  AP Photo/Jim Cole, File

washingtonpost.com - Associated Press - May 27, 2017

 . . . In an attempt to understand what could happen to the planet if the U.S. pulls out of Paris, The Associated Press consulted with more than two dozen climate scientists and analyzed a special computer model scenario designed to calculate potential effects.

Scientists said it would worsen an already bad problem, and make it far more difficult to prevent crossing a dangerous global temperature threshold.

 . . . “The U.S. matters a great deal . . . That amount could make the difference between meeting the Paris limit of two degrees and missing it” . . . 

While scientists may disagree on the computer simulations they overwhelmingly agreed that the warming the planet is undergoing now would be faster and more intense.

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Miami's Zika Outbreak Began Months Before It Was First Detected

           

A groundskeeper at Pinecrest Gardens sprays pesticide to kill mosquitoes in Miami-Dade County, Fla., in 2016.  Gaston De Cardenas/Miami Herald/TNS via Getty Images

CLICK HERE - STUDY - Nature - Genomic epidemiology reveals multiple introductions of Zika virus into the United States

npr.org - by Greg Allen - May 24, 2017

Last year's Zika outbreak in Miami likely started in the spring of 2016, with the virus introduced multiple times before it was detected, researchers say. And most of those cases originated in the Caribbean.

The study, published Wednesday in Nature, examined more than 250 cases of local Zika transmission in three Miami neighborhoods. Researchers analyzed 39 Zika virus genomes isolated from 32 people who had been infected and seven Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, the species that carries Zika.

Comparison of differences in those genomes finds the virus was introduced by travelers at least four and perhaps as many as 40 different times as early as March 2016. Local transmission of Zika wasn't confirmed in Miami until late July.

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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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Scientists Say the Pace of Sea Level Rise Has Nearly Tripled Since 1990

           

An iceberg is pictured in the western Antarctic peninsula in March 2016. (Eitan Abramovich/AFP/Getty Images)

CLICK HERE - RESEARCH - PNAS - Reassessment of 20th century global mean sea level rise

washingtonpost.com - by Chris Mooney - May 22, 2017

A new scientific analysis finds that the Earth’s oceans are rising nearly three times as rapidly as they were throughout most of the 20th century, one of the strongest indications yet that a much feared trend of not just sea level rise, but its acceleration, is now underway.

“We have a much stronger acceleration in sea level rise than formerly thought,” said Sönke Dangendorf, a researcher with the University of Siegen in Germany who led the study along with scientists at institutions in Spain, France, Norway and the Netherlands.

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Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus: Ethiopian Wins Top WHO Job

bbc.com - May 23, 2017

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus from Ethiopia will be the next director general of the World Health Organization (WHO).

He will be the first African to head up the UN agency, after winning the most votes from 186 member states.

He replaces Margaret Chan, who will step down from her 10-year post at the end of June.

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World Health Organization - Live Webcast from Seventieth World Health Assembly (WHA70)

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Zimbabwe - Mystery Disease Puzzles Doctors - Close to 50 People Admitted, 15 Cattle Dead

thezimbabwedaily.com - by Fairness Moyana - 21 May 2017

CLOSE to 50 people from Change, Dinde and Nekabandama in Hwange District, Matabeleland North have since the beginning of the month been hospitalised at Lukosi Hospital and surrounding health institutions complaining of severe pain which causes paralysis of the backbone, lower and upper body rendering patients immobile.

However, although no deaths have been reported in the area, health officials said they are failing to detect what the disease was or its causes after all patients tested negative for malaria which they were initially suspecting. Apart from the mystery of the disease, local people are now suspecting that there could be some poisonous plant or water source, as during the same time at least 15 cattle died under mysterious circumstances.

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Arctic stronghold of world’s seeds flooded after permafrost melts

The Svalbard ‘doomsday’ seed vault was built to protect millions of food crops from climate change, wars and natural disasters. Photograph: John Mcconnico/AP

Image:  The Svalbard ‘doomsday’ seed vault was built to protect millions of food crops from climate change, wars and natural disasters. Photograph: John Mcconnico/AP

theguardian.com - May 19th 2017 - Damian Carrington

It was designed as an impregnable deep-freeze to protect the world’s most precious seeds from any global disaster and ensure humanity’s food supply forever. But the Global Seed Vault, buried in a mountain deep inside the Arctic circle, has been breached after global warming produced extraordinary temperatures over the winter, sending meltwater gushing into the entrance tunnel.

The vault is on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen and contains almost a million packets of seeds, each a variety of an important food crop. 

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POLIOMYELITIS UPDATE (06): SYRIA (DEIR AL ZOUR), CIRCULATING VACCINE DERIVED POLIOVIRUS SUSPECTED

promedmail.org - 12 May 2017

The current information is that there is a cluster of 23 AFP [acute flaccid paralysis] cases in Miadin district, with one of the specimens having a possible vaccine derived poliovirus (VDPV). Samples were sent to Atlanta for further testing.

A concern is that the VDPV is a cVDPV [circulating vaccine derived poliovirus] which is now considered to be just like a wild polio. (The virus is a type 2 virus).

The investigation will reveal the status of this case and the hope is that it will be ambiguous or perhaps in an immune deficient individual.

(CLICK HERE FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION)

CLICK HERE - ProMED mail - Updates

ALSO SEE RELATED ARTICLE WITHIN THE LINK BELOW . . .

CLICK HERE - Suspected polio cases found in Islamic State-controlled area of eastern Syria

 

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Hospitals On The Brink As Cholera Kills 184 In Yemen’s Capital In Mere Days

submitted by Alison Thompson

           

More than half of the health facilities in Yemen are closed or partially functioning due to severe shortages in medicines, infrastructure, equipment and staff.  AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES

The outbreak in Sanaa is the second in less than a year in the war-torn country.

huffingtonpost.com - by Rowaida Abdelaziz - May 16, 2017

 . . . At least 184 Yemenis have died of cholera just this weekend in the capital, which Houthi rebels have controlled for the past three years. On Sunday, the city declared a state of emergency and called for international help to deal with the crisis. Yemen’s health ministry, run by Houthi rebels, said on its news agency Saba that the outbreak was “unprecedented” and had become impossible “to contain.” There have also been cases of the disease have been reported in other major cities including Hodeidah, Taiz and Aden.

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Chasing Cures for Deadly Scourges, and Getting in Our Own Way

nytimes.com - RETRO REPORT - by Clyde Haberman - May 14, 2017

What do the C.I.A. and Nigerian imams have to do with the fight to end polio? Retro Report examines how the worlds of politics and public health can collide. By RETRO REPORT on May 14, 2017.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/14/us/retro-report-disease-eradication.html

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New Zika Virus Inhibitor Identified

CLICK HERE - RESEARCH - Characterization of the Zika virus two-component NS2B-NS3 protease and structure-assisted identification of allosteric small-molecule antagonists

business-standard.com - ANI - May 17, 2017

A new research has brought a drug to treat Zika infections closer to reality.

The team led by Alexey Terskikh and Alex Strongin from Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP) discovered a compound that prevents the virus from spreading.

"We identified a small molecule that inhibits the Zika virus protease, and show that it blocks viral propagation in human cells and in mice," Terskikh said. "Anti-Zika drugs are desperately needed. The fact that the compound seems to work in vivo is really promising, so we plan to use it as a starting point to make an even more potent and effective drug."

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Are Solar and Wind Really Killing Coal, Nuclear and Grid Reliability?

           

Lessons from the Lone Star State: A surge in wind power on the Texas grid didn’t cause reliability problems (and brought down electricity prices) because regulators improved the efficiency of wholesale electricity markets. Sarah Fields Photography/Shutterstock.com

theconversation.com - by Joshua D. Rhodes, Michael E. Webber, Thomas Deetjen and Todd Davidson - May 11, 2017

U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry in April requested a study to assess the effect of renewable energy policies on nuclear and coal-fired power plants.

Some energy analysts responded with confusion, as the subject has been extensively studied by grid operators and the Department of Energy’s own national labs. Others were more critical, saying the intent of the review is to favor the use of nuclear and coal over renewable sources.

So, are wind and solar killing coal and nuclear? Yes, but not by themselves and not for the reasons most people think. Are wind and solar killing grid reliability? No, not where the grid’s technology and regulations have been modernized. In those places, overall grid operation has improved, not worsened.

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Ebola - West Africa

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