U.N. Study: Natural Disasters Caused 600,000 Deaths Over 20 Years

CLICK HERE - STUDY - The Human Cost of Weather Related Disasters

Extreme weather caused nearly $2 trillion in economic losses

time.com - by Melissa Chan - November 23, 2015

Natural disasters have killed more than 600,000 people and left behind trillions of dollars in damages in the last two decades, the United Nations said Monday.

Hundreds of floods, storms, heat waves and droughts have left about 606,000 people dead and 4.1 billion injured or homeless around the world since 1995, according to a U.N. report.

The extreme weather-related calamities also caused nearly $2 trillion in economic losses.


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Another American Ebola Survivor Had Eye Problems

Ebola survivor Dr. Richard Sacra experienced eye problems, including vision loss, pain and redness, shortly after he recovered from the disease.

Credit: Chancellor JR, Padmanabhan SP, Greenough TC, Sacra R, Ellison RT III, Madoff LC, et al. Uveitis and systemic inflammatory markers in convalescent phase of Ebola virusdisease. Emerg Infect Dis. 2016 Feb

CLICK HERE - STUDY - CDC - Uveitis and Systemic Inflammatory Markers in Convalescent Phase of Ebola Virus Disease

livescience.com - by Rachael Rettner - November 25, 2015

Ebola survivor Dr. Ian Crozier wasn't the only American to experience eye problems following the disease — a new report describes eye problems in another American doctor who lived through the disease.

Dr. Richard Sacra, who works for the Christian mission organization SIM USA, contracted Ebola last year while caring for pregnant women in Liberia during the rise of the Ebola outbreak there. He was evacuated to the United States for treatment in early September 2014, and was declared Ebola-free after spending about a month in the hospital.

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Ebola - Confirmed in Liberia

Worldwide Travel Alert | U. S. Department of State

The State Department alerts U.S. citizens to possible risks of travel due to increased terrorist threats.

travel.state.gov - November 23, 2015

Current information suggests that ISIL (aka Da’esh), al-Qa’ida, Boko Haram, and other terrorist groups continue to plan terrorist attacks in multiple regions.  These attacks may employ a wide variety of tactics, using conventional and non-conventional weapons and targeting both official and private interests.  This Travel Alert expires on February 24, 2016.

Authorities believe the likelihood of terror attacks will continue as members of ISIL/Da’esh return from Syria and Iraq.  Additionally, there is a continuing threat from unaffiliated persons planning attacks inspired by major terrorist organizations but conducted on an individual basis.  Extremists have targeted large sporting events, theatres, open markets, and aviation services.  In the past year, there have been multiple attacks in France, Nigeria, Denmark, Turkey, and Mali.  ISIL/Da’esh has claimed responsibility for the bombing of a Russian airliner in Egypt. 

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World Leaders Seek New Path to Slow Warming of Planet


The Eiffel Tower is seen at sunset in Paris, France, November 22, 2015. The capital will host the World Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21) from November 30 to December 11.  REUTERS/CHARLES PLATIAU

CLICK HERE - Paris 2015 - COP21/CMP11 - UN Climate Change Conference - INDCs

reuters.com - by Alister Doyle - November 23, 2015

Next week, in the waning days of what is set to be the hottest year on record, world leaders meet on the outskirts of Paris for a summit that seeks nothing less than to steer the global economy away from its ever-growing reliance on fossil fuels.

The challenge is enormous and has proven elusive in the past. The U.N.-sponsored talks are aimed at getting 195 countries to agree on a path for cutting the greenhouse gas emissions which scientists say have raised global temperatures and begun upending the earth's climate.


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Paris Pact May Hinge on ‘Loss and Damage’ Dispute

If rich countries don’t agree to help poorer ones recover after storms amplified by global warming tear villages apart, or help communities prosper even as their homes sink into rising seas, climate negotiations in Paris risk being scuttled.

climatecentral.org - by John Upton - November 11, 2015

A long list of disagreements is bedeviling diplomats as they prepare for a historic two-week session of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, beginning Nov. 30. A hoped-for Paris agreement could be history’s most far-reaching climate pact, with nations pledging to take a variety of steps under it to slow and adapt to climate change.

Of those disagreements, experts say the two that have the greatest potential to derail negotiations relate to money.


CLICK HERE - ADDITIONAL IMAGE SLIDERS - Global Icons at Risk from Sea Level Rise: Pictures

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Antibiotic resistance: World on cusp of 'post-antibiotic era'

The resistance was discovered in pigs, which are routinely given the drugs in China. Getty Images.

Image: The resistance was discovered in pigs, which are routinely given the drugs in China. Getty Images.

bbc.com - November 19th, 2015 - James Gallagher

The world is on the cusp of a "post-antibiotic era", scientists have warned after finding bacteria resistant to drugs used when all other treatments have failed.

They identified bacteria able to shrug off the drug of last resort - colistin - in patients and livestock in China.

They said that resistance would spread around the world and raised the spectre of untreatable infections.


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Interferon-γ Inhibits Ebola Virus Infection

submitted by George Hurlburt


CLICK HERE - STUDY - Interferon-γ Inhibits Ebola Virus Infection

scicasts.com - November 19, 2015

The recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa has claimed more than 11,300 lives and starkly revealed the lack of effective options for treating or preventing the disease. Progress has been made on developing vaccines, but there is still a need for antiviral therapies to protect health care workers and local populations in the event of future outbreaks.

A new study led by University of Iowa virologist Dr. Wendy Maury, suggests that gamma interferon, which is an FDA-approved drug, may have potential as an antiviral therapy to prevent Ebola infection when given either before or after exposure to the virus.

The study, published in the journal PLOS Pathogens, found that gamma interferon, given up to 24 hours after exposure, can inhibit Ebola infection in mice and completely protect the animals from death.

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Unmitigated Climate Change to Shrink Global Economy by 23 Percent, Researchers Find

CLICK HERE - STUDY - Global non-linear effect of temperature on economic production

reuters.com - by Ben Gruber - November 16, 2015

Berkeley, California (Reuters) When the world heats up, economies around the globe will cool down. That's according to a new study which predicts that rising temperatures due to climate change will wreak havoc on economic output.  

"Our best estimate is that the global economy as a whole will be 23 percent smaller in 2100 than if we would avoid climate change entirely," said co-author of the study Solomon Hsiang, an associate professor of public policy at the University of California Berkeley. 

The study looked at the relationship between temperature and economic activity in 166 countries over a 50 year period.


CLICK HERE - Berkeley News - Study finds climate change will reshape global economy

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Paris Attacks: Terrorists Using Suicide Vests Stage Multiple Attacks and Take Hostages


French President Francois Hollande said at least 127 were killed on Friday in a series of six coordinated attacks in Paris that he described as an "act of war" -- blaming ISIS for the violence that included shootings, explosions and a hostage situation at a concert hall.

CLICK HERE - The Guardian - Paris Attacks

CLICK HERE - Reuters - Paris Attacks: Live Updates

CLICK HERE - The Guardian - (7) - Paris Attacks: As It Happened

CLICK HERE - The Guardian - (6) - Paris Attacks: As It Happened

CLICK HERE - The Guardian - (5) - Paris Attacks: As It Happened

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CDC - Ebola Virus RNA Stability in Human Blood and Urine in West Africa’s Environmental Conditions


Janvier F, Delaune D, Poyot T, Valade E, Mérens A, Rollin PE, et al.

CLICK HERE - Ebola virus RNA stability in human blood and urine in West Africa’s environmental conditions
Emerg Infect Dis. 2016 Feb. http://dx.doi.org/10.3201/eid2202.151395

DOI: 10.3201/eid2202.151395


We evaluated RNA stability of Ebola virus in EDTA blood and urine samples collected from infected patients and stored in West Africa’s environmental conditions. In blood, RNA was stable for at least 18 days when initial cycle threshold values were <30, but in urine, RNA degradation occurred more quickly.



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Society 'to be hit by climate change'

A man wades across a flooded area.

Image: A man wades across a flooded area.

bbc.com - November 16th, 2015 - Roger Harrabin

Human societies will soon start to experience adverse effects from manmade climate change, a prominent economist has warned.

Prof Richard Tol predicts the downsides of warming will outweigh the advantages with a global warming of 1.1C - which has nearly been reached already.

Prof Tol is regarded by many campaigners as a climate "sceptic".


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Global Partnership on Sustainable Development Data Launched in NY


unsdsn.org - September 29, 2015

On September 28, 2015, a new Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data was officially launched on the margins of the UN General Assembly in New York. The Partnership brings together governments, private companies, academia, scientists and civil society in support of data-driven decision-making, by catalyzing more open, new and usable data to help end extreme poverty, combat climate change and promote inclusive growth. The Partnership will specifically look to provide more, better quality data to help monitor and achieve the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


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The White House - Memorandum -- Distribution of Department of Defense Funded Humanitarian Assistance in Syria

Office of the Press Secretary - November 13, 2015


SUBJECT: Distribution of Department of Defense Funded Humanitarian Assistance in Syria

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, including section 2249a(b)(1)(B) of title 10, United States Code, I hereby:

Determine that section 2249a(a) of title 10, United States Code, would impede the distribution of urgently needed humanitarian assistance in Syria to alleviate the current refugee crisis, as well as other United States Government objectives in the Middle East for stability and humanitarian relief; and

Waive the prohibition in section 2249a(a) of title 10, United States Code, for humanitarian reasons and to the extent necessary to allow the Department of Defense to carry out the purposes of section 2561 of title 10, United States Code, for the distribution of humanitarian assistance into Syria.

You are authorized and directed to publish this determination in the Federal Register.


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Ebolavirus Evolution: Past and Present

PLOS PATHOGENS  by Marc-Antoine de La Vega,  Derek Stein, and GaryKopinger, University of Manitoba, Canada , Nov. 12, 2015    

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada The past year has marked the most devastating Ebola outbreak the world has ever witnessed, with over 28,000 cases and over 11,000 deaths. Ebola virus (EBOV) has now been around for almost 50 years. In this review, we discuss past and present outbreaks of EBOV and how those variants evolved over time. We explore and discuss selective pressures that drive the evolution of different Ebola variants, and how they may modify the efficacy of therapeutic treatments and vaccines currently being developed. Finally, given the unprecedented size and spread of the outbreak, as well as the extended period of replication in human hosts, specific attention is given to the 2014–2015 West African outbreak variant (Makona).

Read complete article.


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