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DRC declares end to Ebola outbreak

first_imgThe Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) health minister today declared the end of the country’s ninth Ebola outbreak, coming just 11 weeks after health officials sounded the alarm in early May.Ebola outbreaks are typically declared over when two incubation periods have passed after the last patient is released from treatment with no new confirmed cases.  Over the course of the outbreak, the DRC recorded 54 cases, 33 of them fatal. Of the 54 cases, 38 were lab-confirmed and 16 were classified as probable.Fast response to early-warning signsThough the country is experienced in managing Ebola outbreaks, health minister Oly Ilunga Kalenga, MD, said in a statement today that officials noted early warning signs that the outbreak had the potential to evolve into a major crisis. Illnesses emerged in two remote, heavily forested health zones at the same time and health workers were infected, a factor known to intensify the spread of the virus.He said the fears were confirmed when the first cases were found in the city of Mbandaka, the capital of Equateur Province. The urban center has river connections that posed a threat to Kinshasa, the DRC capital, and neighboring countries. “Although the scale of the crisis we were facing was unprecedented, the speed and effectiveness put in place by the government and its partners were also exceptional,” Kalenga said.Response strengths included excellent collaboration of all responders under the government’s leadership, deploying within 24 hours a rapid response team from Kinshasa, installing in less than 48 hours an air bridge between Kinshasa, Mbandaka, and Bikoro with assistance from United Nations groups, first-time administration of a vaccine against Ebola to help break disease transmission chains, deploying three mobile labs to help rapidly confirm cases, and introducing free healthcare in seven of the province’s health zones that covered nearly 1 million people.Kalenga praised the dedication and professionalism of DRC health providers as well as partners who aligned themselves with the government’s priorities. “Beyond the response to the epidemic, this unprecedented alignment of all stakeholders is the only way that will allow us to achieve our sole objective, namely to improve the health and well-being of the Congolese population,” he said.Praise for DRC, donorsWorld Health Organization (WHO) officials joined Kalenga in Kinshasa for today’s announcement. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, the WHO’s director-general, said in a statement, “The outbreak was contained due to the tireless efforts of local teams, the support of partners, the generosity of donors, and the effective leadership of the Ministry of Health. That kind of leadership, allied with strong collaboration between partners, saves lives.”Tedros urged the DRC and the international community to build on the momentum of the quick Ebola containment to tackle other outbreaks affecting the DRC, including polio and cholera. “We must continue to work together, investing in strengthened preparedness and access to healthcare for the most vulnerable,” he said.The WHO said within hours of the May 8 outbreak declaration, it released $2 million from its emergency contingency fund, deployed a team to help DRC responders, and activated an emergency incident management system.Matshidiso Moeti, MD, who directs the WHO’s regional office for Africa, said the response in the DRC also showed the response capacity of the African region, with more than three quarters of 360 people deployed coming from within the region. “Dozens of experts from Guinea spent weeks leading Ebola vaccination efforts here, transferring expertise which will enable the DRC to mount an effective response both within its borders and beyond,” she said.Overall, the WHO spent $4 million from its contingency fund. The WHO and its partners appealed for $57 million to curb the spread of Ebola in the DRC, which resulted in $63 million from donors. Support came from numerous donors, which included Italy, the United Kingdom, Germany, the United States, Norway, Canada, Japan, and the European Union. Financial assistance also came from groups including the United Nations, Wellcome Trust, and the World Bank.Technical expertise came from many sources, including Guinea, and Merck provided vaccines that were used to protect more than 3,300 people, the WHO said.The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which has worked in the DRC since 2002, today in a statement commended the DRC and its response partners for ending the outbreak of the disease, first detected in the country in 1976. “This good news reinforces the importance of having efficient surveillance systems in place and strong leadership to stop outbreaks at their source and save lives,” it said.Doctors Without Borders (MSF) teams supported treatment, surveillance, and safe burials in the outbreak’s four hot spots and its teams vaccinated about 1,673 people in the Bikoro and Itipo areas. Micaela Serafini, MD, MPH, medical director for MSF in Geneva, said today in a statement that the group welcomes today’s announcement.MSF analyzing vaccination dataAs for the investigational VSV-EBOV vaccine, she said, “The data is still being analyzed, but we are encouraged that this vaccination—as well as the rapid international response and concerted outreach efforts into remote communities—contributed to stemming the spread of this deadly virus. Vaccination provides an additional tool for fighting such epidemics.”Serafini said though Ebola remains a threat to the DRC, the group is heartened by some advances made in the latest outbreak. “We also hope that the resources dedicated to this Ebola intervention in Equateur Province will have a long-term positive impact in the future by strengthening the capacity of DRC’s health system,” she added.Enhanced surveillance continuesAfter Ebola outbreaks are declared over, enhanced surveillance for the disease typically continues for 90 days. Health officials will be on the lookout for flare-ups that can occur due to the lingering threat in survivors.The virus can survive for extended periods in immune-protected body sites such as eyes and testes. Sexual transmission, for example, has been suspected as the source of illness clusters that occurred in the wake of West Africa’s outbreak.See also:Jul 24 DRC health ministry statementJul 24 WHO statementJul 24 CDC statementJul 24 MSF statementlast_img read more

The Summer Of Our Discontent: Theater During Covid-19

first_imgTrading cards packaged in cigarette boxes in the early 1900s. Imagine a world where you chose your cigarette brand based on your collection of Shakespeare trading cards… Courtesy/ISCFrom the International Shakespeare Center BoardSanta FeWe want to say that we are thinking of you, your family, and all those whose lives have been affected by this pandemic. Theater has always been a communal activity and we consider you a part of our community. We trust you are staying safe and well.During these days of isolation, the board of the International Shakespeare Center (ISC) has had to make some distressing decisions.First and foremost, of course, we hold the health of our actors, volunteers and audience members as our top priority. Even before the state’s stay-at-home order was issued, we sadly suspended the Santa Fe Summer Shakespeare activities until summer 2021.Next, we chose to postpone the ISC season of Coriolanus and Julius Caesar—first we postponed from May until July, and then, as the stay-at-home order lengthened, we postponed again until October.But there is a resiliency in our staff, readers, actors, and audience for the love of the language of Shakespeare:Looking forward to the time they will be physically together again, the casts of Coriolanus and Julius Caesar are engaged in weekly close-reads of both plays with the directors and dramaturg. Each cast will spend six to eight weeks with each title, going in-depth with the text in preparation for their rehearsals and performances.The Shakespeare reading groups had to abandon our wonderful communal meetings, but recently started a free online close-read and discussion of Love’s Labor’s Lost, led by Robin Williams. If you like Shakespeare’s witty banter, magnificently playful linguistics, and feminist women, this is the play for you. To read and discuss with us, click here to join our Meetup site and get the link.Ariana Karp, Artistic Director of the ISC, has planned a little celebration for Shakespeare’s birthday today, April 23, to enjoy in your isolation: She compiled clips of our actors and friends speaking a favorite Shakespeare line or couplet. The final composite clip is posted here.These unpredictable days make it unwise to invite people in to our theater in the near future—not only for ISC productions, but for the other theater groups in Santa Fe who rent our facility. So for the time being, both The Swan and the Shakespeare Reading Room are closed.From the ISC, thank you for your patience and understanding.Take care of yourselves.See you at The Swan,Robin Williams, President, and all of us at the ISCThe Upstart CrowsThe youth troupe that we partner with, the Upstart Crows, are continuing their productions online and have added a few extra ways to enjoy Shakespeare at a safe distance from each other:“Reputation, reputation, reputation”: Scenes from Othello, meets twice a week online to work on scenes in preparation for the time when we can be in the same room togetherTaming of the Shrew close-reading group for Crows of all ages.Crows Monologue Festival: Actors rehearse one- and two-person scenes to record and post on our YouTube page.See their website for all the details: UpstartCrowsOfSantaFe.orglast_img read more

M&S store closure announcement: Property reacts

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The Top Scam Awards

first_imgGet your free guest access  SIGN UP TODAY Subscribe to Building today and you will benefit from:Unlimited access to all stories including expert analysis and comment from industry leadersOur league tables, cost models and economics dataOur online archive of over 10,000 articlesBuilding magazine digital editionsBuilding magazine print editionsPrinted/digital supplementsSubscribe now for unlimited access.View our subscription options and join our community Subscribe now for unlimited access Stay at the forefront of thought leadership with news and analysis from award-winning journalists. Enjoy company features, CEO interviews, architectural reviews, technical project know-how and the latest innovations.Limited access to building.co.ukBreaking industry news as it happensBreaking, daily and weekly e-newsletters To continue enjoying Building.co.uk, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGINlast_img read more

Steel and project cargo weakens at Antwerp in first quarter

first_imgThe main factor in the double-digit fall in this sector has been the fall in steel movements across the port, a reflection of the general economic troubles affecting much of the steel consuming sectors.During the first quarter of 2012 a steel volume of 1.5 million tonnes was handled, which is 20.3 percent less than the 1.9 million tonnes for the corresponding period in 2011.During the first quarter of 2012 there were 3,629 calls by seagoing ships in the port of Antwerp, down 3.0 percent on the same period last year while gross tonnage was almost static at 0.4 percent to 77.5 million tonnes.  www.portofantwerp.comlast_img read more

N2 roadworks on track

first_imgThe Department of Transport and Public Works is making good progress with a R186 million project to rehabilitate a 7km portion of the N2 between Borcherds Quarry Road and the R300, and to add a third lane in both directions.About 82 000 vehicles travel on the affected stretch of road every day. The project, which began in January this year, is expected to be completed in mid-2017. So far, the project is 30% complete, with phase 1 of the work on the third lane nearing completion, and the widening of the Borcherds Quarry Bridge complete. Current work in progress include the rehabilitation of the existing middle and left lanes, as well as piling and earthworks to prepare for the future construction of a bridge and interchange from Eisleben Road onto the N2.The upgrade will improve the carrying capacity of the road, especially for buses and taxis during peak periods, the quality of the road will be improved and better street lighting will be installed. The department said every attempt will be made to facilitate the flow of traffic and minimise delays.last_img read more

Trump picks ExxonMobil CEO Tillerson for secretary of state

first_img SHARE Do you see a typo or an error? Let us know. Published: December 13, 2016 6:22 AM EST Updated: December 13, 2016 6:24 AM EST Trump picks ExxonMobil CEO Tillerson for secretary of state (CNN)– President-elect Donald Trump has chosen ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson to serve as secretary of state, the transition team announced Tuesday, setting up a heated Senate confirmation battle and signaling a desire to ease Washington’s estrangement with Russia.Like Trump, Tillerson, 64, has no formal foreign policy experience, but has built close relationships with many world leaders by closing massive deals across Eurasia and the Middle East on behalf of the world’s largest energy company.“His tenacity, broad experience and deep understanding of geopolitics make him an excellent choice for Secretary of State,” Trump said in the statement.Tillerson was originally a dark horse for the secretary of state nomination, but emerged from a lengthy public interview and vetting process that included better-known quantities like former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney and Sen. Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations committee.Romney confirmed he was not the pick in a Facebook post Monday night, and Trump tweeted that he will announce his pick Tuesday morning.I will be making my announcement on the next Secretary of State tomorrow morning.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 13, 2016Trump has called Tillerson a “world-class player” and the transition team is likely to stress that his mastery of complex negotiations and knowledge of geopolitical factors shaping the oil industry are directly relevant to heading US diplomacy and managing the State Department.Tillerson was recommended to Trump by former secretaries of state Condoleezza Rice and James Baker and former Secretary of Defense Bob Gates, sources told CNN.Trump and Tillerson possess similar dealmaking business backgrounds and similar views of the world, sources said, and there was a level of comfort that Trump hadn’t found with anyone else.Trump’s decision to press ahead with the Tillerson nomination could ignite the first big showdown between the new White House and Capitol Hill and set a benchmark for Republicans worried about the direction of the President-elect’s own foreign policy. It will also embolden Democrats who see Tillerson as perhaps the most vulnerable Trump Cabinet appointee to a bruising Senate confirmation battle.One Trump official told CNN there’s a plan to sell Tillerson to skeptical senators and the transition team believes the more lawmakers get to know him, the more comfortable they will be.Republican hawks such as Sens. John McCain and Marco Rubio are deeply perturbed by the close relationship Tillerson forged with Russian President Vladimir Putin. They fear Trump and Tillerson would bring US policy far more in line with Russia, which is locked in the worst confrontation with Washington since the Cold War and is seeking to again become a great power rival to the United States.Tillerson, a multi-millionaire, he will be an easy fit in the roughly one-third of Trump’s emerging Cabinet which is made up of corporate titans and wealthy Wall Street players. He is also another down-payment by the President-elect to tear down the political establishment in Washington and to replace the inhabitants of what he has called a “swamp” with new blood and potential cabinet secretaries with real world experience.But in order to be confirmed, Tillerson must satisfy senators that there is more to him than a businessman eyeing a new challenge in statesmanship.Not much is known, for instance, about his personal views on international relations as distinct from the positions of his company.His views on the alliances like NATO and in Asia that have sustained American power and global security since World War II — on which Trump cast doubt during the presidential campaign — are largely unknown.He will have to explain why his own lack of formal foreign policy experience is not a disqualifying feature of his resume. After all, negotiating is just one aspect of the job of secretary of state. The top US diplomat must also frame a coherent foreign policy doctrine for the United States, exemplify its values, have a deep grounding in history and understand the complicated motivations of its international partners and adversaries.The confirmation hearing would also force Tillerson to develop positions on issues ranging from global warming to North Korea’s nuclear program and US humanitarian aid in the developing world.Order of friendship from PutinTillerson developed his close ties with Putin as he negotiated a deal with Russian oil giant Rosneft to provide access to lucrative oil resources in the Arctic. The agreement will be at the center of his confirmation hearing.For his efforts, Putin awarded Tillerson Russia’s prestigious Order of Friendship in 2013. The deal has so far not yielded its promise.Exxon was hit hard by a round of US and European Union sanctions that targeted Russia in 2014 for its intervention in Ukraine. Exxon said it could have lost up to $1 billion due to the sanctions, according to regulatory filings.The sanctions issue will provide ammunition for Democratic senators keen to probe apparent glaring conflicts of interests across the nascent Trump administration.Even if Tillerson were to sever all links and investments related to ExxonMobil, action he took as secretary of state — for instance, advocating the lifting of sanctions against Russia over its annexation of Ukraine — could clearly benefit the firm and his former industry.Experience at ExxonMobilTillerson, a native of Wichita Falls, Texas, has worked for ExxonMobil for 40 years after joining the firm as a production engineer and has steered the giant global firm since 2006.Through the end of 2015, he had made more than $240 million as CEO, according to an analysis from board and executive data provider Equilar.That total includes his base salary, bonuses, stock awards and other compensation over 10 years.His nomination will be greeted with dismay by climate activists and environmentalists who will see it as tantamount to a takeover of US foreign policy by Big Oil.But he worked to somewhat soften ExxonMobil’s stance on climate change since. When he took over in 2006, the company was struggling with how to balance its corporate interests with a growing public consensus on global warming, according to Steven Coll’s book “Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power.”Under the previous CEO Lee Raymond, ExxonMobil promoted skepticism about the science of climate change. But Tillerson quietly adjusted the company’s position on the issue, according to Coll.“Greenhouse gas emissions could prove to be significant,” Tillerson said in a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations in 2007. “So it has been ExxonMobil’s view for some time that it is prudent to take action while accommodating the uncertainties that remain.” Related Articles: Author: CNN last_img read more

Penningtons buys Manches in pre-pack deal

first_imgTop-100 firm Manches has been sold to rival Penningtons in what appears to be the legal sector’s latest pre-pack administration deal.The agreement to acquire Manches was announced yesterday and completed following the appointment of PricewaterhouseCoopers as administrators to enable a sale of the business and assets to take place.Penningtons Manches will be the new name for the merged firm, incorporating 265 Manches employees, including 46 partners.The combined turnover of Penningtons and Manches’ practices is £58m. Penningtons Manches is now represented in seven locations – London, Basingstoke, Cambridge, Godalming, Guildford, Oxford and Reading, with 115 partners and over 600 staff.David Raine (pictured), chief executive of Penningtons who will remain in charge of the new firm, said: ‘The legal market is constantly evolving and we do not believe that standing still is an option for any strong, progressive law firm. Our two practices have recognised credentials, providing high-calibre advice to UK and international clients.‘We will continue to seek opportunities to enhance the quality and efficiency of every aspect of our work and to ensure that we service clients of both Penningtons and Manches to the very best of our ability.’In addition to adding depth to its corporate, commercial, employment, property and litigation practice areas, the business transfer will integrate its private client team with Manches’ market-leading family practice. It also reinforces its sector capabilities, particularly in technology, education and banking.’Penningtons is based in the City of London, Cambridge, Hampshire and Surrey and has 67 partners and 360 staff in total.Its main areas of practice are dispute resolution, corporate and commercial, real estate and private client, provided through its business services, real estate and private individuals divisions.It merged with Dawsons Solicitors and acquired City firm Wedlake Saint in 2011.last_img read more

Kenya’s President cancels Angola visit to condole with Mandera attack victims’…

first_imgKenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta’s visit to Angola was cancelled following the deadly attack in a guesthouse that left at least 12 dead in a north-eastern Kenyan town Mandera on Tuesday.Manoah Esipisu, the State House spokesman said in a statement that the President called off the visit to attend a security summit “in solidarity with the families who have lost their loved ones and those injured, whom he wishes a speedy recovery.”Somalia-based Islamist group Al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility of the attack, which targeted a guesthouse in the border town of Mandera in the early hours of Tuesday.“The president condemns in the strongest terms this heinous attack by these depraved individuals,” the statement said.“Kenyans will not allow themselves to be divided along religious lines, which is what the terrorists want,” it said.Earlier this month, an attack on a residential plot in Mandera town, which is near the Somali border, killed six people. It is said militants targeted non-Muslims in the two attacks.North Eastern Regional Coordinator Mohamud Saleh has however ruled out direct involvement of Al-Shabaab militants in the early Tuesday attack, saying “inside elements radicalized by the Al-Shabaab” were behind the two attacks this month.Saleh said the deceased included 11 men and a woman but added their bodies had not been identified.Militants used improvised explosive devices to blow up a section of the hotel in the attack. Some occupants were buried in the debris of the building, which partly collapsed.Police earlier said ten people had been pulled out of the rubble and that four injured people were in serious condition.Saleh said a search and rescue operation as well as investigations were under way.“Following the last attack at a residential plot where six people were killed, the border with Somalia has remained closed from dawn to dusk and there was no way the attackers could have crossed into countries,” he told journalists in Garissa.Saleh revealed that five people had been arrested in connection with the residential plot attack, saying three of them were members of the Al-Shabaab Harakat intelligence wing.Kenya has faced a threat from Al-Shabaab since it sent troops to Somalia to battle the militants in 2011, as part of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) force.last_img read more

Kazakhstan looks to help Dominica

first_img Share LocalNews Kazakhstan looks to help Dominica by: – September 15, 2015 Share 585 Views   2 comments Sharing is caring!center_img Tweet His Excellency Konstantin Zhigalov presented his Credentials to the Secretary-General of CARICOM, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, on Tuesday, 15 September 2015 at the CARICOM Secretariat Headquarters (Photo credit: CARICOM SecretariatKazakhstan is seeking to assist Dominica in its recovery efforts in the wake of Tropical Storm Erika, a press release from the CARICOM Secretariat dated Tuesday 15 September 2015 indicates.Ambassador Konstantin Zhigalov presented his credentials to Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) on Tuesday at the headquarters of the CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Guyana. Ambassador Zhigalov expressed his country’s regrets at the loss of life and property in Dominica and indicated Kazakhstan’s interest in rendering assistance.Secretary-General LaRocque, recently returned from a visit to the stricken island, cited the situation there along with the climatic events in Saint Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines in 2013 as evidence of the devastating effects of climate change. He pointed out that the unusual patterns of rainfall in our Region were a manifestation of the phenomenon of climate change.“We are in need of support and resources to address the severe challenges of the effects of climate change in order to build our resilience,” he added.In welcoming Kazakhstan’s first ever Ambassador to the Community, Secretary-General LaRocque alluded to discussions held in New York between the Foreign Ministers of the CARICOM and Kazakhstan last year in the margins of the United Nations General Assembly. He recalled that the CARICOM Ministers had proposed that the two sides work together to develop projects in sustainable energy. In pointing out that the proposal should be followed upon quickly, Ambassador LaRocque said “that form of energy will not only be powering our future development but will also be a means of safeguarding our very special but fragile natural environment.”The Secretary-General referred to the Community’s support for Kazakhstan to host EXPO 2017 which will be held in that country’s capital Astana. He noted that theme “Energy of the Future” was most apt as it focused on renewable energy.Ambassador Zhigalov, in his remarks, stressed the importance of maintaining a high level of engagement and informed that his country was eager to assist in the development of the renewable energy sector in the Region. He said there was much that Kazakhstan can learn from the Region particularly in the development of its tourism product and cultural industries.The two sides signed an agreement for Kazakhstan to support the Development of an Integrated Water Resource Management Policy for CARICOM and have almost concluded discussions on a Memorandum of Understanding to provide a better structure for future co-operation. Sharelast_img read more