Daily Archives: January 16, 2016

The Neglected Dimension of Global Security — A Framework for Countering Infect ious-Disease Crises — NEJM

Peter Sands, M.P.A., Carmen Mundaca-Shah, M.D., Dr.P.H., and Victor J. Dzau, M.D.

January 13, 2016DOI: 10.1056/NEJMsr1600236

Article

Pandemics and epidemics have ravaged human societies throughout history. The plague, cholera, and smallpox killed tens of millions of people and destroyed civilizations. In the past 100 years, the “Spanish Flu” of 1918–1919 and HIV–AIDS caused the deaths of nearly 100 million people.

Advances in medicine have transformed our defenses against the threat of infectious disease. Better hygiene, antibiotics, diagnostics, and vaccines have given us far more effective tools for preventing and responding to outbreaks. Yet the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), and the recent West African Ebola outbreak show that we cannot be complacent (Figure 1Figure 1

Major Emerging and Reemerging Infectious-Disease Outbreaks, Epidemics, and Pandemics, 2002 through 2015.).

Infectious-disease outbreaks that turn into epidemics and potential pandemics can cause massive loss of life and huge economic disruption.

Indeed, Ebola demonstrated how ill-prepared we are for such infectious-disease crises. There were failures at almost every level. Identifying the outbreak in the community and raising alerts took too long. Local health systems were quickly overwhelmed. Response teams did not adequately engage communities and deepened distrust in health authorities. The international response was slow, cumbersome, and poorly coordinated. Rapid diagnostics, protective equipment, effective therapeutics, and a vaccine were lacking. Ultimately, the crisis was contained, thanks to the courage and commitment of medical staff and communities on the ground and a massive deployment of international resources. Yet the cost in human lives and economic and social disruption was far greater than it should have been.

…(read more).

See Report:

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice
Public Health

Ebola virus: New case emerges in Sierra Leone – BBC News

The Ebola outbreak killed almost 4,000 people in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone officials have confirmed a death from Ebola, hours after the World Health Organization declared the latest West Africa outbreak over.

The country was declared free of the virus on 7 November, and the region as a whole was cleared when Liberia was pronounced Ebola-free on Thursday.

Tests on a person who died in northern Sierra Leone proved positive, an Ebola test centre spokesman told the BBC.

The WHO has warned, however, that more flare-ups are expected.

…(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice
Public Health

Liberia Ebola epidemic ‘over’, ending West African outbreak – BBC News

  • 14 January 2016 From the section Africa

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption More than 28,000 people have been infected by Ebola in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone since December 2013 Liberia’s Ebola epidemic is over, says the World Health Organization (WHO), effectively putting an end to the world’s worst outbreak of the disease.

The “end of active transmission” was declared, after 42 days without a new case in Liberia.

It joins Guinea and Sierra Leone, which earned the status last year.

However, the WHO warned that West Africa may see flare-ups of the virus. It has killed more than 11,000 people since December 2013.

Latest updates on Ebola declaration

How Ebola changed the world

Mapping Ebola

‘Most critical’ months

A country is considered free of human-to-human transmission once two 21-day incubation periods have passed since the last known case tested negative for a second time.

…(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice
Public Health

Why was a climate activist persecuted, but the Bundy militia shown patience?A tale of 2 BLM protests

Curtis Morrison January 4, 2016

Tim DeChristopher speaking at the 2011 Power Shift, shortly before being sentenced to two years in prison. (Flickr / Linh Do)

When activist Tim DeChristopher sabotaged a December 2008 Bureau of Land Management, or BLM, oil and gas auction by bidding on thousands of acres of land he had no intention of paying for, he was sentenced to two years in federal prison, a three-year probation and a $10,000 fine. Since Saturday, an armed militia has occupied BLM facilities on the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon, and the BLM’s reaction, so far, has been comparatively subdued.

On Sunday, DeChristopher weighed in on Twitter suggesting the Oregon uprising is a result of the federal government’s capitulation two years ago, when Cliven Bundy threatened to go to war with the government in order to continue using public lands for cattle grazing. “The Bundy Klan pointed loaded weapons at government officials … and faced no consequences,” DeChristpher said. Today, Bundy’s sons are leading participants in the militia’s occupation.

As depicted in the documentary “Bidder 70,” the BLM didn’t “play along” once it was obvious DeChristopher’s paddle was buying up every parcel offered at the oil and gas auction. The auction was stopped and federal agents swiftly took DeChristopher into custody, and he was charged with two felonies three days later. In Oregon, the federal government has closed the Malheur Refuge, effectively providing the militia privacy, on federal public land. Now, in Oregon, unlike in DeChristopher’s auction, the BLM is not intervening to stop a protest, but merely monitoring the situation.

While both conflicts revolve around the BLM’s handling of federal land, DeChristopher’s intentions were quite distinct from the militias. In the last days of the Bush administration, the BLM had quietly attempted to privatize 22,500 acres of federal land, through a discrete auction held the Friday before Christmas. Much of that federal land surrounded Utah’s Arches National Park. DeChristopher showed up at that auction, took a paddle, and pretty much thwarted that scheme. A judge would later rule the auction was illegal, and some of the parcels that DeChristopher “won” would remain federal land. DeChristopher’s intention was to preserve federal public property for public use.

(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Campbell Soup to Begin Disclosing GMO Foods + Health Officials Say Gov’t Caved to Meat Industry with New Dietary Rules

January 08, 2016

Food giant Campbell Soup says it will begin to disclose the presence of genetically modified ingredients in its brands, which include Pepperidge Farm, Prego, Plum Organics, V8 and the Campbell’s soups. The move comes as companies grapple with how to comply with a new Vermont law, which requires labeling genetically modified food. The Vermont law passed after fierce opposition from the food industry and is set to take effect in July.

January 08, 2016

Meanwhile, health and environmental experts are accusing the Obama administration of caving to the meat industry in its new dietary guidelines, released Thursday. While the guidelines recommend consuming less sugar, they do not recommend eating less meat. This comes despite recent findings by the World Health Organization that processed meat is carcinogenic to humans. Advocates are also condemning the government for dropping a proposed recommendation that people eat an environmentally “sustainable” diet. This, too, would have led to recommendations to curb meat consumption, since meat production uses far more water than other forms of food production.

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice
Food-Matters

Tim DeChristopher on Bundy Takeover: Gov’t is More Afraid of Civil Disobedience Than Armed Militias


Democracy Now!

Published on Jan 12, 2016

The armed occupation of a federally owned wildlife outpost in remote Oregon has entered its second week. A self-styled right-wing antigovernment militia calling itself the Citizens for Constitutional Freedom took over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in support of two ranchers sentenced to prison for setting fires that burned federal land. Leaders of the occupation include Ammon and Ryan Bundy, the sons of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, who refused to pay decades’ worth of cattle grazing fees, prompting a standoff with federal rangers in 2014 in Nevada, during which an armed militia rallied to his support. A recent piece by the website Waging Nonviolence compares the federal government’s handling of the Bundy case and that of Tim DeChristopher, a climate activist who spent 21 months in federal custody for posing as a bidder in 2008 to prevent oil and gas drilling on thousands of acres of land controlled by the Bureau of Land Management in his home state of Utah. DeChristopher joins us to discuss.

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice