Tag Archives: Africa

Stuff in the news 6/30/2013 – Wildfires

Fire Danger Level Meme

“…the U.S. Bureau of Land Management is working on a kinder and gentler approach. Though some people are calling it “Whopper Junior,” the BLM pointedly is not. In a preliminary planning document released this month, the BLM’s state director, Jerome E. Perez, said the new approach will be based on what the public wants, science, the law and on the goals of healthy forests, not board feet of timber.”

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Stuff in the news 6/21/2013 – Wildfires

Fire Danger Level Meme

  • I’ve heard this weather referred to as a new dustbowl many times. I don’t think it’s quite that yet but it surely is a drought and something about which we should be concerned. Cross-posted from today’s New Mexico news. 8 Images to Understand the Drought in the Southwest
  • As if a fire weren’t scary enough on its own…  At Chernobyl, Radioactive Danger Lurks in the Trees: For 26 years, forests around Chernobyl have been absorbing radioactive elements but a fire would send them skyward again – a concern as summers grow longer, hotter and drier
  • And elsewhere on the international front, Wildfire training for African locals
  • According to Mammoth Times, Eastern Sierra and other areas of California are really in for it this year (as if it’s been a cakewalk so far)…  Fire season could be ‘worst in 100 years’
  • ESRI Wildfire Activity Map
    ESRI has a current wildfire activity map up. It says that it’s US but it also shows some activity in Canada and in Central America. I believe it is a worldwide tool.
  • Staci Matlock has a good piece in today’s New Mexican about the Jaroso fire and how the IMT is managing it. It was good to see the inclusion of Luke Sheehy’s passing at the beginning of the piece.
  • In Colorado, a Fireworks Company Says They Can Still Shoot Off Displays Safely
    • ““I hate to go there, but I think that a lot of times, these decisions are made and they aren’t thought out, it’s just ‘Hey, we’ve got fire, we’ve got smoke and this is a good story,’ ” Diaz said.”
      • Yeah, given the fire situation in Colorado, probably you don’t want to go there….

IRIN Africa – DISASTERS: Smart weather data can make a difference

Photo: CIMMYT
Farmers are increasingly uncertain about when to plant

NAIROBI, 15 February 2012 (IRIN) – “When should we plant?” is a question increasingly being asked by small farmers in sub-Saharan Africa who depend on rain-fed agriculture. To help answer such questions, climate scientists are being urged to provide more reliable and relevant local climate data, and better communicate their knowledge on climate adaptation techniques. 

“When we think about preparing for imminent disasters it is not possible to prepare for flooding, for example, just a few days in advance, which we get from the weather forecast. We need to think about preparedness further in advance and think in terms of what kind of decisions we can make, say, three months in advance, such as moving important resources away. We need a continuum of information,” said Simon Mason, the chief climate scientist at Columbia University’s International Research Institute (IRI) in the USA.

According to Mason, more effective short, mid-range and seasonal weather forecasting is needed for the development of useful early warning systems. 

Spatial weather tools, including satellite imagery and weather forecasts, allow the processing of weather data over different space and time frames. By allowing better integration of historical data with real-time weather data, such tools can improve the accuracy and impact of forecasts.

Continue reading here: irinnews.org

New Treatment Potential Found in Popular TB Drug (VOA)

http://serve.a-widget.com/service/getWidgetSwf.kickAction

MOROCCO: Arab Spring Brings Little for Women

A couple of nights ago, I watched an interview on NBC Nightly News about a woman in Sudan, who was teaching women to stand up for themselves. It was really quite amazing to see her tell a man what was what and how to treat women properly, especially in light of how much abuse there is and how accepted that behaviour is.

As amazing as Arab Spring was to watch from this end, I actually don’t recall seeing that much mention in the protests of women’s rights. There’s such a long way to go.

CASABLANCA, Aug 10, 2011 (IPS) – Since the beginning of protests in Morocco on Feb. 20 women have been at the
vanguard. Many of the spokespersons of the protest movement have been
women – observers and activists see this as a new phase of feminine
emancipation in this North African country.

“We have waited enough. Women now are out to say it is time for justice to be made,” Safaa Ferradi, a
local activist, told IPS.

“The great majority of women present in our movement are of a high cultural and academic level,”
Rabah Nouami, a local leader of the 20th February movement in Casablanca, told IPS. “It is so
honourable to see that most of the spokespersons on behalf of the movement are women. But women
are not still influential at the level of decisions within the movement.”

In spite of the efforts made by the State and by civil society, women remain victims of violence and
discrimination.

Original continues here: ipsnews.net

Water Is Life: Extreme snowfall blankets parts of South Africa

Extreme snowfall blankets parts of South Africa

Extreme snowfall blankets parts of South Africa

This video shows the snow In South Africa which in some places is only used to a dusting a couple times a year. This following the 32 inches dumped on Chile this past week… Keep connecting those dots. The hydrologic cycle is oversaturated as we keep contributing to it daily while waiting for some magic bullet. Water evaporation in places of intense heat and drought as wel as oceans are now drying out areas of the world and carrying the moisture to other places where it is not usual, while places in the world needing it sit in drought. This is the damage to our agriculture that has been warned about as well as crops dying in either wilting heat and extended drought or extreme floods.
Read the rest of the article here: water-is-life.blogspot.com

allAfrica.com: South Africa: Limpopo Goes Back to Basics to Fight Hunger

BuaNews (Tshwane)

South Africa: Limpopo Goes Back to Basics to Fight Hunger

Nthambeleni Gabara

17 July 2011

Matsila — A community farming project aimed at developing agricultural productivity and to ensure that fewer people in South Africa are food insecure has been unveiled in Limpopo.

The Matsila Community Project, which is situated in Matsila village under the Makhado Municipality, was officially launched by Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson on Sunday.

“The interesting part of this project is that it will not only provide jobs for the local people but it will also provide food to residents. We want government to be the main source of procurement of this project.

“As government, we are very proud to be associated and be part of this successful and well-run project, and we are hopeful that it will go a long way in addressing poverty and hunger in our communities.

“We will sign agreements with other government departments so that they can support the project by buying products as another way of sustaining the project,” said the minister.

She urged residents to make their project grow from strength to strength. “We also urge you to develop vegetable gardens in your backyards, schools and clinics in order to fight hunger.”

Joemat-Pettersson further committed to help the project with tractors.

The launch was part of the build-up to the main celebration of Nelson Mandela Day in Giyani stadium on Monday. Joemat-Pettersson got her hands dirty for 67 minutes collecting, grading, sorting, cleaning and packing eggs.

She was also joined by Limpopo MEC for Sports, Arts and Culture, Joyce Mashamba, MEC for Agriculture, Pinky Duba, and executive mayor of Vhembe, Florence Rumani and Makhado mayor, Mavhungu Luruli.

The packaged eggs were donated to orphans, children with disabilities and the poorest of the poor in the community.

“This is the project which the community must jealously guard against any form of criminality and other ways of derailing it … This project is thriving, it is visible and you can feel it.

“As the provincial leadership, we will be closely evaluation and monitoring this project because we don’t want it to become a white elephant,” said Mashamba.

Her sentiments were echoed by Duba: “We are going to establish a market for this project at an international level and we want to roll-out similar project across the province. We are really proud of what it is happening in this village. This project is also playing a central role in uniting villagers.”

Luruli had this to say about the project: “We’ve since established a committee to work with villagers, but we want to give credit to the visionary traditional leadership of this area for uniting residents to establish this project.”

Through the Matsila Community Development Trust, the project received a whopping R54 million to fight food insecurity over the next three years.

Read more here: allafrica.com

allAfrica.com: South Africa: Limpopo Goes Back to Basics to Fight Hunger

BuaNews (Tshwane)

South Africa: Limpopo Goes Back to Basics to Fight Hunger

Nthambeleni Gabara

17 July 2011

Matsila — A community farming project aimed at developing agricultural productivity and to ensure that fewer people in South Africa are food insecure has been unveiled in Limpopo.

The Matsila Community Project, which is situated in Matsila village under the Makhado Municipality, was officially launched by Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson on Sunday.

“The interesting part of this project is that it will not only provide jobs for the local people but it will also provide food to residents. We want government to be the main source of procurement of this project.

“As government, we are very proud to be associated and be part of this successful and well-run project, and we are hopeful that it will go a long way in addressing poverty and hunger in our communities.

“We will sign agreements with other government departments so that they can support the project by buying products as another way of sustaining the project,” said the minister.

She urged residents to make their project grow from strength to strength. “We also urge you to develop vegetable gardens in your backyards, schools and clinics in order to fight hunger.”

Joemat-Pettersson further committed to help the project with tractors.

The launch was part of the build-up to the main celebration of Nelson Mandela Day in Giyani stadium on Monday. Joemat-Pettersson got her hands dirty for 67 minutes collecting, grading, sorting, cleaning and packing eggs.

She was also joined by Limpopo MEC for Sports, Arts and Culture, Joyce Mashamba, MEC for Agriculture, Pinky Duba, and executive mayor of Vhembe, Florence Rumani and Makhado mayor, Mavhungu Luruli.

The packaged eggs were donated to orphans, children with disabilities and the poorest of the poor in the community.

“This is the project which the community must jealously guard against any form of criminality and other ways of derailing it … This project is thriving, it is visible and you can feel it.

“As the provincial leadership, we will be closely evaluation and monitoring this project because we don’t want it to become a white elephant,” said Mashamba.

Her sentiments were echoed by Duba: “We are going to establish a market for this project at an international level and we want to roll-out similar project across the province. We are really proud of what it is happening in this village. This project is also playing a central role in uniting villagers.”

Luruli had this to say about the project: “We’ve since established a committee to work with villagers, but we want to give credit to the visionary traditional leadership of this area for uniting residents to establish this project.”

Through the Matsila Community Development Trust, the project received a whopping R54 million to fight food insecurity over the next three years.

Read more here: allafrica.com

Gilead License Expands Access, But Several Countries Left Out | Doctors Without Borders

Press Release

Gilead License Expands Access, But Several Countries Left Out

Excluded Countries Should be Ready to Issue Compulsory Licences to Access Needed Drugs

July 12, 2011–>

Take Action

Tweet this:
.@JNJStories, Abbott, Merck, follow Gilead’s first steps into the Patent Pool to make #AIDS drugs affordable. http://bit.ly/or7GNz

Follow @MSF_USA for updates.

Patent Pool Explained

GENEVA/NEW YORK, July 12, 2011 – An agreement announced today by pharmaceutical company Gilead to licence several HIV/AIDS drugs to the Medicines Patent Pool could improve access to medicines for patients, but it excludes several countries with many people living with HIV, the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said today.

“This agreement is an improvement over what other big pharma companies are doing to ensure access to their patented AIDS medicines in developing countries,” said Michelle Childs, policy and advocacy director at MSF’s Campaign for Access to Essential Medicines. “But some caution is needed, because in several key areas Gilead is not going beyond the status quo. More needs to be done to fulfil the vision of the Patent Pool to provide a solution to all people living with HIV. So this licence should not become the template for future agreements,” she said.

On the positive side, the licence covers two promising drugs in the pipeline (cobicistat and elvitegravir), one pipeline combination, and the crucial drug tenofovir. This could help ensure that new treatment options are available in developing countries at the same time as in rich countries.

The licence also allows for new fixed-dose combinations and child-friendly medicines to be developed. Critically, the licence is the first of its kind to explicitly incorporate the potential use of public health safeguards: it allows medicines to be exported to countries excluded from the agreement when their governments choose to override the patent with a compulsory licence. It also allows producers to exit the agreement for any one of the drugs if Gilead loses a patent because of a legal challenge. The agreement has also been made public, which sets an important precedent for transparency.

On the negative side, the agreement falls significantly short of what is needed to fully meet the public health needs for HIV/AIDS: it limits price-busting competition by confining manufacturing to one country (India) and includes narrow supply options for active pharmaceutical ingredients needed to make the drugs.

Most critically, people living with HIV in certain middle-income countries are excluded. This contrasts sharply with the first Pool license granted by the US National Institutes of Health, which covers all developing countries. If voluntary measures like the Patent Pool are unable to ensure people access to the medicines they need, countries that are left out will need to aggressively pursue non-voluntary paths like compulsory licences, MSF said.

Several of the countries that are excluded under the Gilead licences are among the first in which MSF provided HIV/AIDS treatment ten years ago.

“We handed over many treatment programs in Latin America and Asia to local authorities in the confidence that they would be able to provide people with the treatment they needed to stay alive,” said Dr Tido von Schoen-Angerer, executive director of MSF’s Access Campaign. “If people in middle-income countries are left out of such deals, their governments still need to pursue compulsory licences to overcome patent barriers.”

The initial idea of the Patent Pool was to allow access for all people in developing countries. Any producer meeting the right standards should be able to make use of licenses to produce and sell. But in this agreement, manufacturers in Thailand and Brazil, which have capacity to produce, have been left out.

This agreement builds on existing contracts made in 2006 between Gilead and generic producers of tenofovir (TDF), a backbone of improved first-line HIV/AIDS treatment. The new deal will allow these producers to make new drugs coming from Gilead, but has not overcome the issue of supply to countries facing patent barriers, such as China.

“Companies currently negotiating with the Pool should agree to licenses that more fully meet public health needs,” said Childs. “We expect all companies, including Johnson and Johnson, Abbott, and Merck, to also put their patents in the Pool, just as we hope that countries that don’t benefit from this agreement will use all means, including compulsory licenses, to increase access to HIV medicines for their people.”

 

Tags:

Access to Medicines,

HIV/AIDS

Gilead License Expands Access, But Several Countries Left Out | Doctors Without Borders

Press Release

Gilead License Expands Access, But Several Countries Left Out

Excluded Countries Should be Ready to Issue Compulsory Licences to Access Needed Drugs

July 12, 2011–>

Take Action

Tweet this:
.@JNJStories, Abbott, Merck, follow Gilead’s first steps into the Patent Pool to make #AIDS drugs affordable. http://bit.ly/or7GNz

Follow @MSF_USA for updates.

Patent Pool Explained

GENEVA/NEW YORK, July 12, 2011 – An agreement announced today by pharmaceutical company Gilead to licence several HIV/AIDS drugs to the Medicines Patent Pool could improve access to medicines for patients, but it excludes several countries with many people living with HIV, the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said today.

“This agreement is an improvement over what other big pharma companies are doing to ensure access to their patented AIDS medicines in developing countries,” said Michelle Childs, policy and advocacy director at MSF’s Campaign for Access to Essential Medicines. “But some caution is needed, because in several key areas Gilead is not going beyond the status quo. More needs to be done to fulfil the vision of the Patent Pool to provide a solution to all people living with HIV. So this licence should not become the template for future agreements,” she said.

On the positive side, the licence covers two promising drugs in the pipeline (cobicistat and elvitegravir), one pipeline combination, and the crucial drug tenofovir. This could help ensure that new treatment options are available in developing countries at the same time as in rich countries.

The licence also allows for new fixed-dose combinations and child-friendly medicines to be developed. Critically, the licence is the first of its kind to explicitly incorporate the potential use of public health safeguards: it allows medicines to be exported to countries excluded from the agreement when their governments choose to override the patent with a compulsory licence. It also allows producers to exit the agreement for any one of the drugs if Gilead loses a patent because of a legal challenge. The agreement has also been made public, which sets an important precedent for transparency.

On the negative side, the agreement falls significantly short of what is needed to fully meet the public health needs for HIV/AIDS: it limits price-busting competition by confining manufacturing to one country (India) and includes narrow supply options for active pharmaceutical ingredients needed to make the drugs.

Most critically, people living with HIV in certain middle-income countries are excluded. This contrasts sharply with the first Pool license granted by the US National Institutes of Health, which covers all developing countries. If voluntary measures like the Patent Pool are unable to ensure people access to the medicines they need, countries that are left out will need to aggressively pursue non-voluntary paths like compulsory licences, MSF said.

Several of the countries that are excluded under the Gilead licences are among the first in which MSF provided HIV/AIDS treatment ten years ago.

“We handed over many treatment programs in Latin America and Asia to local authorities in the confidence that they would be able to provide people with the treatment they needed to stay alive,” said Dr Tido von Schoen-Angerer, executive director of MSF’s Access Campaign. “If people in middle-income countries are left out of such deals, their governments still need to pursue compulsory licences to overcome patent barriers.”

The initial idea of the Patent Pool was to allow access for all people in developing countries. Any producer meeting the right standards should be able to make use of licenses to produce and sell. But in this agreement, manufacturers in Thailand and Brazil, which have capacity to produce, have been left out.

This agreement builds on existing contracts made in 2006 between Gilead and generic producers of tenofovir (TDF), a backbone of improved first-line HIV/AIDS treatment. The new deal will allow these producers to make new drugs coming from Gilead, but has not overcome the issue of supply to countries facing patent barriers, such as China.

“Companies currently negotiating with the Pool should agree to licenses that more fully meet public health needs,” said Childs. “We expect all companies, including Johnson and Johnson, Abbott, and Merck, to also put their patents in the Pool, just as we hope that countries that don’t benefit from this agreement will use all means, including compulsory licenses, to increase access to HIV medicines for their people.”

 

Tags:

Access to Medicines,

HIV/AIDS