An Indian economist and member of a key government panel which formulates policy on social issues slammed the United Nations’ new development goals on Tuesday, saying that having so many goals and targets would drive governments “nuts”. World leaders are due to adopt a set of new development objectives in September, to replace eight expiring U.N. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Although the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will be finalised only in September, U.N. officials say member states have identified 17 goals and 169 targets.
As President Obama proclaimed diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba for the first time in 50 years, the World Health Organization (WHO) was simultaneously celebrating Cuba Wednesday as the first country ever to eliminate mother-to-child transmissions of HIV/AIDS and congenital syphilis. Dr. Roberto Morales, minister of public health and the first Cuban minister to come to the United States since 1952, visited Washington, D.C., to discuss the historic success. While the monumental public health achievement was the intended focus of his news conference, Obama’s news was critical to the process.
Shells fired by Yemen’s dominant Houthi group killed 18 people near the southern port city of Aden early on Wednesday, local officials and witnesses said, while the United Nations warned a dengue fever outbreak in Aden was rapidly gaining pace. Yemen, which has long struggled with poverty and hunger, has descended into a fullblown humanitarian crisis since a war erupted between the Houthis and allies of the exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, drawing in neighboring Saudi Arabia. The United Nations said in a report on Tuesday that an average of 150 new cases of dengue fever and around 11 deaths were being reported daily.
By Alex Dobuzinskis LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – About 30 makers of low-priced California wines including popular brands Charles Shaw and Sutter Home allow unacceptable levels of arsenic in their products, private attorneys said in a proposed class action filed in Los Angeles on Thursday. The legal action represents a challenge to a segment of the industry that produces wines that consumers can buy for less than $10 a bottle, or in the case of Charles Shaw the so-called Two-Buck Chuck product that retailer Trader Joe’s has popularized at $2. The attorneys who brought the lawsuit said the majority of wineries in the state’s $23 billion wine industry, the nation’s largest, produce a safe product. “There is more regulation in the caramel corn industry in the United States than in the wine industry, as surprising as that is,” attorney Brian Kabateck told a news conference.
By Emma Farge and James Harding Giahyue DAKAR/MONROVIA (Reuters) – Romeo Doe, a 29-year-old tailor who survived Ebola in Liberia, is struggling to cope with the impact of a disease that killed seven members of his family and now threatens his livelihood. There are a growing number of survivors of the disease in the region, between 5,000 and 10,000 according to the United Nations, and some complain of side effects months after their recovery – a condition some doctors are calling “post-Ebola Syndrome” (PES). About 60 percent of Ebola patients have died in the current outbreak, typically from shock or organ failure. Margaret Nanyonga, a doctor who treated Ebola patients in the town of Kenema in Sierra Leone, said she had seen survivors go blind.
The African Union plans to launch an Ebola Solidarity Fund, officials said Wednesday, as aid agency Oxfam warned the continent's leaders needed to keep their promises to boost healthcare. Oxfam called for a “massive post-Ebola Marshall Plan”, referring to the United States aid package to rebuild Europe after World War Two. “This disaster might have been avoided if African governments had made free public health care and spent more on their health systems, under the commitment they made 14 years ago in the Abuja Declaration,” Oxfam said in a statement. “It's clear that Africa’s existing architecture for early disease detection, response and control is wholly inadequate,” Oxfam added, calling for the AU to approve its own plans for an African Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.
By Stephanie Nebehay GENEVA (Reuters) – Ebola is declining but there is no room for complacency and the World Health Organization (WHO) must respond faster to future emergencies, its director-general told member states held talks on Sunday on the WHO's delay in facing the deadly epidemic. The special session in Geneva was called by member states seeking reforms amid strong criticism of the United Nations agency's response to the outbreak that began a year ago in West Africa. Dr. Margaret Chan also said that vaccines and drugs must be brought to the market more speedily so that the world is not caught “empty-handed” when a severe disease causes an epidemic. Some $4 billion has been spent to try to halt its spread and WHO requires a further $1 billion this year, U.N. special envoy David Nabarro said.
By Sharon Begley (Reuters) – Even as government officials express confidence that researchers know the key facts about Ebola, many questions crucial to preventing an outbreak in the United States remain unanswered, scientists told a workshop at the National Academy's Institute of Medicine in Washington on Monday. Virtually all the unknowns have practical consequences, participants emphasized, making it foolish and perhaps dangerous to base policy on weak science. …