Oct 062014
 

GENEVA, Switzerland, October 6, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Ebola situation assessment – 6 October 2014

The Ebola virus is transmitted among humans through close and direct physical contact with infected bodily fluids, the most infectious being blood, faeces and vomit.

The Ebola virus has also been detected in breast milk, urine and semen. In a convalescent male, the virus can persist in semen for at least 70 days; one study suggests persistence for more than 90 days.

Saliva and tears may also carry some risk. However, the studies implicating these additional bodily fluids were extremely limited in sample size and the science is inconclusive. In studies of saliva, the virus was found most frequently in patients at a severe stage of illness. The whole live virus has never been isolated from sweat.

The Ebola virus can also be transmitted indirectly, by contact with previously contaminated surfaces and objects. The risk of transmission from these surfaces is low and can be reduced even further by appropriate cleaning and disinfection procedures.

Not an airborne virus

Ebola virus disease is not an airborne infection. Airborne spread among humans implies inhalation of an infectious dose of virus from a suspended cloud of small dried droplets.

This mode of transmission has not been observed during extensive studies of the Ebola virus over several decades.

Common sense and observation tell us that spread of the virus via coughing or sneezing is rare, if it happens at all. Epidemiological data emerging from the outbreak are not consistent with the pattern of spread seen with airborne viruses, like those that cause measles and chickenpox, or the airborne bacterium that causes tuberculosis.

Theoretically, wet and bigger droplets from a heavily infected individual, who has respiratory symptoms caused by other conditions or who vomits violently, could transmit the virus – over a short distance – to another nearby person.

This could happen when virus-laden heavy droplets are directly propelled, by coughing or sneezing (which does not mean airborne transmission) onto the mucus membranes or skin with cuts or abrasions of another person.

WHO is not aware of any studies that actually document this mode of transmission. On the contrary, good quality studies from previous Ebola outbreaks show that all cases were infected by direct close contact with symptomatic patients.

No evidence for mutation of this virus

Moreover, scientists are unaware of any virus that has dramatically changed its mode of transmission. For example, the H5N1 avian influenza virus, which has caused sporadic human cases since 1997, is now endemic in chickens and ducks in large parts of Asia.

That virus has probably circulated through many billions of birds for at least two decades. Its mode of transmission remains basically unchanged.

Speculation that Ebola virus disease might mutate into a form that could easily spread among humans through the air is just that: speculation, unsubstantiated by any evidence.

This kind of speculation is unfounded but understandable as health officials race to catch up with this fast-moving and rapidly evolving outbreak.

To stop this outbreak, more needs to be done to implement – on a much larger scale – well-known protective and preventive measures. Abundant evidence has documented their effectiveness.

Oct 062014
 

JOHANNESBURG, South-Africa, October 6, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Today the JSE (http://www.jse.co.za) launched the first currency futures which track the exchange rate between the Rand and select African currencies.

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The JSE listed three new currency futures contracts which track the exchange rate between the Rand and the Zambian Kwacha, Kenyan Shilling and Nigerian Naira. Currency futures allow investors as well as importers and exporters to protect themselves against the currency movement in the foreign country.

“The JSE is very excited about this new groundbreaking initiative as we have been working on this strategy for two years. With Africa being a global investment destination it makes sense for the JSE as a major exchange player in Africa to be involved in providing appropriate products to mitigate currency risk and exposure when dealing in Africa,” says Warren Geers, General Manager: Capital Markets at the JSE.

The latest trade statistics from the South African Revenue Service (SARS) show trade flow between South Africa and Nigeria amounted to R34,4 billion between January and July this year. In the same period, trade between South Africa and Kenya amounted to R4,6 billion and trade between South Africa and Zambia was valued at just less than R18 billion.

The JSE has partnered with Barclays Africa and specialist brokers, Tradition Futures, to bring this new offering to market.

Lourens Harmse of Barclays Africa who looks after sub-Saharan Africa Trading at the Corporate and Investment Banking division says, “Our involvement with the listing of the African currency futures on the JSE further deepens Barclays Africa’s commitment to growing Markets participation in Africa. As part of our vision to be the ‘Go-To’ bank, we strive to give our clients superior execution and access to the continent through world-class and leading innovation.”

Andrew Gillespie of Tradition Futures says “It is a groundbreaking development to have a transparent, independent, well regulated platform to mitigate or assume FX Risk in these African countries, against any other currency of their choice – that does not prejudice anyone, irrespective of size, domicile or nationality. The ability to transact anonymously, through specialist brokers such as Tradition Futures, and to have access to full and fair, timeous price discovery is an international benchmark requirement for a developed market. This allows for a level and fair playing field, where the best price is available to all, without bias or favour, which is a significant facet and feature of this market in African FX on the JSE.

The new futures contracts will provide the market participants with the ability to get exposure on the JSE to the exchange rate between the US Dollar and the Zambian, Kenyan and Nigerian currencies through trading synthetic cross currencies. For example, investors can get exposure to the exchange rate between the US Dollar and the Kenyan Shilling by trading both against the Rand. To promote cross-currency trading the JSE will charge trading fees on only one of the foreign trade logs and not both.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE).

Issued by:

Mari Blumenthal

H+K Strategies South Africa

Tel: +27 11 463 2198

Email: mari.blumenthal@hkstrategies.co.za

JSE contact:

Pheliswa Mayekiso

Media Associate

JSE Limited

ABOUT JSE

The Johannesburg Stock Exchange (http://www.jse.co.za) is based in South Africa where it has operated as a market place for the trading of financial products for 125 years. It connects buyers and sellers in equity, derivative and debt markets. The JSE is one of the top 20 exchanges in the world in terms of market capitalisation and is a member of the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE). The JSE offers a fully electronic, efficient, secure market with world class regulation, trading and clearing systems, settlement assurance and risk management. http://www.jse.co.za

ABOUT CURRENCY FUTURES

A Currency Futures (CFs) Contract is an obligation to buy or sell an underlying currency at a fixed exchange rate at a specified date in the future. For example, a futures contract can give an investor the right to buy dollars at R10 per dollar at the end of December. One party to the agreement is obligated to buy (longs) the currency at a specified exchange rate and the other agrees to sell (shorts) it at the expiry date. A futures contract is therefore an agreement between two investors with different views on the way or extent a currency will move.

The underlying instrument of a currency future contract is the rate of exchange between one unit of foreign currency and the South African Rand. This means that the value of the futures contract moves up and down with this exchange rate – the level of the exchange rate determines the value of the futures contract. Currency futures contracts therefore allow participants to take a view on the movement of the exchange rate as well as to hedge against currency risk. Currency futures are used as a trading, speculating and hedging tool by all interested participants.

Oct 062014
 

LAGOS, Nigeria, October 6, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — In continuation of its commitments to the government and to the United Nations Country Team on a number of preparedness and response areas, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has donated thousands of Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials to the Lagos Ebola Emergency Operation Committee to enhance prevention, preparedness and response efforts.

Making the public presentation of the materials in Lagos today was the UNFPA Country Representative, Ms Rati Ndhlovu, who noted that the IEC materials would strengthen public sensitization about the disease as part of the intervention to prevent a relapse.

The UNFPA Country Representative also commended the Lagos State government for its quick response to the break of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the state, especially the speed with which the index case was picked and all the emergency measures put in place to prevent further spread.

The efforts of the Lagos State Ministry of Health in moving quickly with materials and personnel, and the support of the Federal Government to the state and other flashpoints, she acknowledged, was commendable. “These efforts”, MsNdhlovu continued, “have paid off and now Nigeria’s fight against Ebola is being recognized, globally, as a success story from which other countries should learn.”

The UNFPA Country Representative presented to the Lagos Ebola Emergency Operation Committee, 10,000 copies of Standard information for Ebola virus disease (EVD) contact self-care; 10,000 copies of Screening suspected patients for Ebola Virus Disease in healthcare facilities; 500 copies of Filovirus hemorrhagic fever guidelines; 500 copies of Standard operating procedures for controlling Ebola and Marburg virus epidemics; and 500 copies of Interim infection control recommendations for care of patients with suspected or confirmed filovirus (Ebola, Marburg) Hemorrhagic fever.

Oct 062014
 

NAIROBI, Kenya, October 6, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Royal Philips (AEX: PHIA, NYSE: PHG) (http://www.philips.com) has opened its first Community Life Center in Kenya, an integrated solution for primary health care and service facilities that provides community development from a health care, lighting and healthy living perspective. Developed by the Philips Africa Innovation Hub (http://goo.gl/2bnujk) and introduced in collaboration with the County Government of Kiambu in Kenya, the Community Life Center (located at the Githurai Lang’ata Health Center in Kiambu County) is a proof of concept that provides access to health care and at the same time enables social, educational and commercial activities after dusk and enhances safety and security of the neighborhood. An important focus of the Community Life Centers is to address infant mortality and improve maternal health, linked to the current UN Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5 (MDGs) (http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals), a cause to which Philips remains consistently committed.

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Photo 1: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/index.php?level=picture&id=1415

Photo 2: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/index.php?level=picture&id=1416

Photo 3: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/index.php?level=picture&id=1417

Addressing a critical need: Strengthening the health care system at primary level

Improving access to primary health care is a key challenge across Africa. Primary health facilities in most parts of the continent are not able to offer basic quality services to local communities for a combination of reasons ranging from unavailability of qualified health care workers to lack of electricity, water and basic health care technology. As a consequence, many people do not have access to adequate health care near their homes and are compelled to bypass the primary and secondary levels of care, confronting hospitals with more patients than they can handle.

The Philips Community Life Center goes beyond health care by turning a health facility into a community hub where technology is bundled with services. The technology package includes solar power (for a reliable and clean energy supply), efficient and durable indoor and outdoor LED-lighting (enabling extended opening hours and providing security to patients and staff), health care equipment (to enable patient monitoring, diagnosis and triage), laboratory equipment (especially for antenatal care tests), refrigeration (preventing spoiling of vaccines), IT-solutions (storage of patient data) and water supply and purification (preventing waterborne diseases).

Enabling community development

Philips involves community members in the assessment and design of the Community Life Center in order to create ownership. The solution is tailored to the needs of the facility and the community. Philips trains the staff and mobilizes the community to make use of the improved services of the facility. The Community Life Center serves as a community hub where, in addition to health services, the local community members can buy clean water and sustainable products like Philips’ smokeless cookstoves and home solar lighting products, and benefit from the Philips solar-powered LED outdoor lighting that illuminates the area at night.

“Philips is a leading technology company in health and well-being and our vision is to improve people’s lives through meaningful innovation”, said JJ van Dongen, CEO Philips Africa. “Today the population growth is highest in emerging markets like Africa and innovation can help drive sustainable solutions that bridge the divide between the privileged and lesser privileged sections of society and improve the quality of life at all levels. With the first Community Life Center, we have introduced a new value delivery model and our ambition is to introduce this solution across Africa to drastically improve access to primary health care.”

Philips implemented the first phase of the Community Life Center solution in June 2014. A new maternity building was inaugurated containing a Philips ClearVue 650 Ultrasound (http://www.philips.com/clearvue650) and monitoring equipment, enabling women to deliver their babies safely. Today the facility delivers an average of two babies per day and this number is expected to grow exponentially in the coming months. Health care workers at the site were empowered through clinical coaching and education.

“Our partnership with Philips comes at a time when the County has a high incidence of infant and maternal mortality resulting from preventable causes and lack of medical facilities”, states H.E William Kabogo, Governor of Kiambu County. “With Philips contributing towards solar energy solutions and state-of-the-art equipment, the County Government was able to focus on the construction of the infrastructure and hiring new staff. This co-operation is reflective of the kind of partnerships we seek to participate in with the private sector that results in uplifting the lives of our communities.”

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Royal Philips.

For further information, please contact:

Radhika Choksey

Philips Group Communications – Africa

Tel: +31 62525 9000

E-mail: radhika.choksey@philips.com

About Royal Philips:

Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA) (http://www.philips.com) is a diversified health and well-being company, focused on improving people’s lives through meaningful innovation in the areas of Healthcare, Consumer Lifestyle and Lighting. Headquartered in the Netherlands, Philips posted 2013 sales of EUR 23.3 billion and employs approximately 113,000 employees with sales and services in more than 100 countries. The company is a leader in cardiac care, acute care and home healthcare, energy efficient lighting solutions and new lighting applications, as well as male shaving and grooming and oral healthcare. News from Philips is located at http://www.philips.com/newscenter.

Oct 062014
 

MOGADISHU, Somalia, October 6, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) calls on Kenyan authorities to release a journalist working for an online news network who was arrested in Nairobi, Kenya.

Journalist Ibrahim Said Salah, editor of www.allcarmo.com, is detained since 27 September 2014 after he came from Bossasso, Puntland, where he has been actively working on stories on formation of political parties and Puntland’s democratisation process.

Kenyan police are reportedly carrying out investigations to the website and are frequently asking the journalist questions. A Nairobi court granted Salah’s detention and on-going interrogations.

The motive behind the arrest remains unspecified but journalists believe that some politicians in Puntland who are using Kenyan contacts plotted for the arrest of the journalist due to his reports on formation of political parties in the northeast regions of Somalia.

“The arrest of Ibrahim Said Salah is a disturbing development and we suspect it as an attempt to censor coverage of important political issues in Puntland” said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General.

“We call on the Kenyan authorities to release him immediately and allow Somali journalists in Kenya to do their media without intimidations”.

Oct 062014
 

NEW YORK, October 6, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Tuvako Nathaniel Manongi, Permanent Representative of the United Republic of Tanzania to the United Nations, was elected Chair of the Sixth Committee (Legal) on 18 June 2014. (See Press Release GA/11525.)

Prior to his appointment as Permanent Representative in June 2012, he had served the United Nations as a Principal Officer in the Office of the Deputy Secretary-General, within the Executive Office of the Secretary-General since 2007.

From 2005 to 2006, he was the United Republic of Tanzania Deputy Permanent Representative in New York and had been Personal Assistant to President Benjamin Mkapa from 2002 to 2004. He held the post of Counsellor (Legal) at the Permanent Mission between 1997 and 2001. Having first joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1978 as a legal officer, he later became Second Secretary and then First Secretary at his country’s Embassy in Washington, D.C.

Mr. Manongi received his education at the University of Dar es Salaam, in the United Republic of Tanzania, from which he holds a bachelor’s degree in law, and is also a graduate of the Centre for Foreign Relations in Dar es Salaam. He earned a postgraduate degree in maritime administration from the World Maritime University in Malmö, Sweden.

Born in Same, United Republic of Tanzania, on 6 September 1953, he is married and has four children.

* This supersedes Press Release BIO/4415 of 19 September 2012.

Oct 062014
 

GENEVA, Switzerland, October 6, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The IFRC Ebola Treatment Centre (ETC) in Kenema, Sierra Leone, opened its doors on 14 September and started accepting patients. This is an unprecedented milestone for Red Cross …

Oct 062014
 

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, October 6, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union (AU), Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, is following with deep concern the evolution of the security situation in northern Mali, which has been marked in the past weeks by an upsurge of terrorist attacks, including those targeting the forces of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). In this regard, she strongly condemns the criminal and heinous attack perpetrated yesterday in the Gao region, during which nine peacekeepers from the Niger contingent of MINUSMA were killed, as well as the attacks that took place during the month of September 2014 in the region of Kidal, resulting in the death of ten Chadian soldiers.

The Chairperson of the Commission extends the AU’s heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims of these terrorist acts, as well as to the Governments of Chad and Niger, hailing their continued commitment and that of the other troop and police contributing countries to the promotion of peace and security in Mali. She wishes speedy recovery to the many soldiers who sustained injuries as a result of the attacks carried out by the terrorist groups. The Chairperson of the Commission renews the AU’s full support to MINUSMA, and acknowledges the immense sacrifices made by the uniformed personnel deployed on the ground in the discharge of their mandate. She calls for the mobilization of additional international support in favor of the Mission to enable it more effectively address the situation on the ground.

The Chairperson of the Commission notes that the intensification of the attacks against MINUSMA is occurring at a time when the negotiations undertaken within the framework of the Algiers Process, with a view to finding a political solution to the crisis affecting northern Mali, will soon enter a decisive phase. She urges the armed movements active in this part of the country to provide all necessary assistance to MINUSMA to better prevent attacks against the Mission, in accordance with the commitments they made in their 16 September 2014 Algiers Declaration. The Chairperson of the Commission also urges the armed movements, as well as other relevant stakeholders, to fully cooperate with the Algerian Mediation, supported by the countries of the region and the larger international community, including the AU, to facilitate the early conclusion of the negotiations and the stabilization of northern Mali. She stresses that the situation of anarchy that prevails in this part of the country creates a breeding ground for the worsening of the scourge of terrorism and transnational organized crime.

The Chairperson of the Commission calls for an enhanced action against terrorism and transnational organized crime, as a follow-up to the communiqué adopted by the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC) at its meeting held in Nairobi, on 2 September 2014. In particular, she urges the countries of the region to seize the opportunity of the 6th meeting of their Heads of Intelligence and Security Services, scheduled to take place in Dakar, on 13 and 14 November 2014, within the framework of the Nouakchott Process on the Enhancement of Security Cooperation and the Operationalization of the African Peace and Security Architecture in the Sahel-Saharan Region, to agree on additional measures, in order to enhance the effectiveness of their collective efforts, including through further cooperation with MINUSMA.

Oct 062014
 

MOGADISHU, Somalia, October 6, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia (SRSG), Nicholas Kay, extended his heartfelt greetings to all Somali people as they celebrate Eid-ul-Adha.

“As Somalia celebrates Eid-ul-Adha I wish all Somalis and their families Eid Mubarak. Today is an opportunity to reflect on the universal values of peace, harmony and unity. I hope this spirit of reconciliation and co-operation can contribute to peace across Somalia. Ciid Wanaagsan!” SRSG Kay said.

Oct 062014
 

OTTAWA, Canada, October 6, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today released the following statement:

“Canada strongly condemns the killing of nine peacekeeping officers in an ambush earlier today in Mali.

“The victims, who came from Niger, were part of the United Nations peacekeeping mission, which has sought to bring peace and stability to a country that has been torn apart by despicable acts of terrorism.

“On behalf of all Canadians, we extend our sincerest condolences to the families and friends of the innocent victims of this cowardly attack.

“Canada continues to support the ongoing negotiations in Algiers, which aim to reach a peace agreement between the Malian government and northern rebel groups.”

Oct 032014
 

NEW YORK, October 3, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Secretary-General is shocked and outraged by today’s attack in Mali that killed nine Nigerien peacekeepers on 3 October.

In the deadliest attack committed against the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) to date, a MINUSMA convoy travelling from Ménaka to Ansongo (Gao region) was ambushed this morning. This attack brings the total number of casualties from hostile acts since the beginning of the mission on 1 July 2013 to 30 peacekeepers killed and 90 peacekeepers wounded.

The Secretary-General underscores that attacks on UN peacekeepers constitute a serious violation of international law. He reminds the armed groups operating in Northern Mali of their commitment to cooperate with the United Nations to prevent attacks against peacekeepers in line with their declaration of 16 September in Algiers. At a time when peace negotiations are underway, he insists that all parties must demonstrate good faith and commitment to a political solution and that the perpetrators of these appalling actions are brought to justice.

The Secretary-General expresses his deepest condolences to the families of the peacekeepers who were killed as well as to the Government and people of Niger. He assures the people of Mali of the United Nations steadfast support to their search for peace.

Oct 032014
 

NEW YORK, October 3, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Secretary-General is shocked and outraged by today’s attack in Mali that killed nine Nigerien peacekeepers on 3 October.

In the deadliest attack committed against the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) to date, a MINUSMA convoy travelling from Ménaka to Ansongo (Gao region) was ambushed this morning. This attack brings the total number of casualties from hostile acts since the beginning of the mission on 1 July 2013 to 30 peacekeepers killed and 90 peacekeepers wounded.

The Secretary-General underscores that attacks on UN peacekeepers constitute a serious violation of international law. He reminds the armed groups operating in Northern Mali of their commitment to cooperate with the United Nations to prevent attacks against peacekeepers in line with their declaration of 16 September in Algiers. At a time when peace negotiations are underway, he insists that all parties must demonstrate good faith and commitment to a political solution and that the perpetrators of these appalling actions are brought to justice.

The Secretary-General expresses his deepest condolences to the families of the peacekeepers who were killed as well as to the Government and people of Niger. He assures the people of Mali of the United Nations steadfast support to their search for peace.