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March 15 2015

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Brits: Polite, prudish, poor personal hygiene.





The British are polite, prudish and have poor personal hygiene, to say nothing of their binge drinking culture and tendency to hooliganism, according to a new book by Spanish author.

For more information about this and other news stories from the Canary Islands and Spain go to:

http://news.thecanaryislander.com

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Source: www.thelocal.es

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http://canaryislandsnews.net/brits-polite-prudish-poor-personal-hygiene/

March 14 2015

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Why is the UN's Ebola response so slow?





17 October 2014

Last updated at 01:46



Mark DoyleBy Mark Doyle

BBC International Development Correspondent, Accra

Ebola has only really hit the big international headlines in the last few weeks. During that same period, readers may well have also heard about the various aid agencies which are helping out.

So, a not unreasonable impression may have formed - that there's a big problem, but it's being dealt with. That there are people dying, but that help is out there to save the others.

Well, I'm afraid it's not like that at all.

There are some extremely brave African and international health workers trying to stop the Ebola epidemic.

The Africans among them - the Liberians, the Sierra Leoneans , the Guineans - have been working for six months.

The international staff, led by the medical aid agency Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) - tend to go in for shorter, but still exhausting stretches of time.

These medics have been warning for months that Ebola is out of control. In fact, they've been screaming it from any platform they can.

"Help", they basically said. "Help, please, we can't cope on our own."

'Lumbering into action'

But it is only now, four or six months later, that the great machine of the so-called "international community", the United Nations, is lumbering into action.



Kofi Annan in Newsnight interview

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Kofi Annan says he is "bitterly disappointed" by the international response

I know this machine well. I've seen it in other disaster zones - in Haiti, in Somalia. I have many friends inside the machine - well-meaning UN officials, peacekeeping soldiers and medics.

Most readers will have seen and heard images of people like these in action - running clinics, bringing security, saving people.

So it's quite reasonable to think that this is what they're doing all the time. But the machine doesn't work like that. The reality is very different.

Imagine trying to set up and run a medium sized multinational company. But then imagine trying to set it up in countries with very bad roads and electricity supply, dodgy telecommunications and mostly badly-educated populations.



Sierra Leone boy whose relatives died of Ebola

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Sierra Leone boy: "I've lost five members of my family"

And, above all, imagine trying to set this up this company in countries where it can be highly dangerous to even touch a fellow human being if they are in the infectious stage of the Ebola disease.

Logistical nightmare

UN aid workers are not saints or superhumans.

To establish your "multinational company" you have to do some mundane tasks.

You have to bring in people from all over the world. Then you have to feed and house them. You have to get them cars and desks and telephones.

You have to make sure each bit of the machine knows what the other bits are doing.

And that's before your aid workers can move to the front line and actually do their job.

This week I saw the first plane that the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) sent from Ghana to the Ebola zone. It wasn't carrying hospital equipment or the protective clothing that medics need.

It was carrying poles and canvas to construct temporary warehouses - to put the hospital gear and protective clothing in at some later date.

Now, it would be most unfair to say that the whole of the UN has been inactive for all these months. Some of the big UN agencies like the World Food Programme or Unicef have been very busy on the front lines.

But the UN Ebola response office, the head, the brains of the great machine, is only just beginning to get into gear.

In fact, because the idea to form it was made during the UN General Assembly and so many UN members were around in New York, UNMEER itself was formed in record time for a UN agency - a matter of days.

What took a long time was deciding to set it up at all.

Incredible challenge

The managing director of the new "multinational", UNMEER, is a straight-talking American, Tony Banbury, who doesn't hide the enormity of his challenge.

But I've seen some of the lists of what he needs to make his "company" work.



UNMEER chief Tony Banbury

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UNMEER chief Tony Banbury tells the BBC what his mission needs most

Quite apart from the staff, he needs hundreds of cars, hundreds of flat-bed trucks to move stuff around, countless ambulances, and ten heavy lift helicopters.

He needs 3,000 tonnes-worth of protective clothing for medics treating the infectious patients, every month, and four tonnes-worth of body bags per month.

All these things have to be in the right places, at the right times. He doesn't have them yet, or anywhere near.

And here's how Tony Banbury puts it.

The man in charge of stopping what the World Health Organization has described as the most serious health emergency of modern times says this: "I need everything. I need it everywhere. And I need it super-fast."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-29654974#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa
rpiitpuapule

Addressing long-standing mysteries behind anti-wear motor oil additive

The pistons in your car engine rub up against their cylinder walls thousands of times a minute; without lubrication in the form of motor oil, they and other parts of the engine would quickly wear away, causing engine failure. Motor oil contains chemical additives that extend how long engines can run without failure, but, despite decades of ubiquity, how such additives actually work to prevent this damage have remained a mystery.

Now, engineers from the University of Pennsylvania and ExxonMobil have teamed up to answer this question.

With a vested interest in the chemistry and performance of lubricants, scientists at ExxonMobil worked with scientists at Penn whose research focuses on nanoscale measurements of friction and lubrication. The team conducted research to probe nanoscale properties and mechanisms of lubricant films and ultimately uncovered the molecular mechanisms behind a common anti-wear additive.

The study was led by Robert Carpick, chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics in Penn's School of Engineering and Applied Science, and Nitya Gosvami, a research project manager in his lab. Jason Bares and Filippo Mangolini, contributed to the study while members of Carpick's lab. They collaborated with two researchers at Corporate Strategic Research, ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company: Dalia Yablon, currently with SurfaceChar LLC, and Andrew Konicek.

Their paper, "Mechanisms of Antiwear Tribofilm Growth Revealed In Situ by Single-Asperity Sliding Contacts," appears in the journal Science, published online ahead of print on March 12.

The anti-wear additive zinc dialkyldithiophosphate, or ZDDP, was essentially discovered by accident in the 1940s. Originally added to prevent rusting, engineers found it increased the anti-wear properties of motor oil by some then-unknown mechanism.

As analysis techniques improved, researchers discovered that ZDDP breaks down and turns into a "tribofilm," a thin, solid layer that adheres to the surfaces in contact and further protects them from wear. The exact process by which ZDDP makes this transformation, however, remained unclear.

"ZDDP has been used for more than 70 years," Gosvami said. "It's one of the most successful antiwear additives we have, but we still don't understand how it works. We do know that everything that happens during sliding is occurring on the first few atomic layers of the surfaces, so we have to use the knowledge we have from nanotechnology and apply it to understand what's going on there."

Researchers would like to find molecules to reduce or replace ZDDP altogether, because, although it reduces wear, it slightly increases friction in the engine. It can also generate byproducts in the exhaust that reduce the lifespan and efficiency of a car's pollutant-reducing catalytic converter. Additionally, ZDDP does not work as well on the lightweight engine materials eyed as potential replacements for steels.

"Our overall motivation is to make engines more efficient and sustainable," Carpick said. "Considering the massive use of vehicles, a small gain in efficiency has a big impact in saving energy and reducing carbon emissions annually."

The surfaces of a piston and cylinder in a car engine may look perfectly smooth to the naked eye, but, zoomed into the nanometer scale, they might look more like mountain ranges. Absent a buffering layer of a protective film, those peaks, known as asperities, would rub against each other and quickly wear down due to very high local stresses through direct steel-on-steel contacts. The resulting debris can further increase the friction between the surfaces and can cause severe abrasion, causing the system to catastrophically fail prematurely.

To see how the dynamics of this kind of sliding contributed to tribofilm growth, the researchers used the tip of an atomic force microscope to stand in for an individual point of roughness on those surfaces.

An atomic force microscope uses a nanoscale tip much like a record needle. Mounted on a flexible arm, or cantilever, the microscope measures the up-and-down movement of the arm as the tip is dragged over a surface, generating a topographical picture with nearly atomic resolution.

In their experiment, the researcher immersed the entire cantilever-tip apparatus in ZDDP-infused oil, simulating the environment surrounding a single asperity on a piston surface. They then slid the tip over an iron surface, which simulated the ferrous composition of engine parts and recorded what happened as the tribofilm formed.

"The surface of a real engine component will have millions of asperities," Gosvami said, "but, if we can understand what is happening to one of them, we can pinpoint the underlying physical mechanism and scale up that understanding. Limiting it to a single point allows us to control the parameters, like contact stress and geometry, and once we do our in situ sliding test, we can use the AFM to get an image of the area."

They found that films only began to form when the tip was slid at a certain pressure. This "stress activated" process meant that, the harder the tip squeezed and sheared the ZDDP-containing oil between the tip and sample, the faster the films grew.

The researchers also found an explanation to why these films grow to a certain thickness and then stop growing.

"It's essentially a 'cushion effect,'" Carpick said. "The film that grows is not as stiff as the steel. When you push on a stiff surface, you get a high stress due to the concentration of force. When you push on a less stiff surface, the force is spread out, so the stress is lower. The thicker the film, the more it acts as a cushion to reduce the stress that is needed to cause the chemical reactions needed to keep growing. It's self-limiting, or in other words, it has a way of cutting off its own growth."

The self-limiting nature of the films is beneficial, as they would otherwise quickly use up the small amount of ZDDP in the oil.

"The tribofilm knows when to stop itself from growing," said Mangolini. "That's one reason it's known as a 'smart material."

When visiting countries with a significant risk of malaria, whenever practical, travellers should take sufficient malaria tablets with them to cover the maximum duration of the trip. It is particularly important that visitors are aware that medicines used for the prevention and treatment of malaria are frequently counterfeited in countries where malaria is a serious threat. Clicking on the following link will bring additional information on Buying Anti-Malaria Tablets

Such a discovery would not have been possible without the team's nanoscale approach. Without being able to control the stress and geometry of a single point of contact and observe the film growth at the same time, there would be no way to connect the pressure threshold with the point at which the film begins to form and when it stops growing.

"This is a fascinating example of what we call 'tribochemistry,'" Carpick said. "The combination of friction and mechanical pressure enhances the probability of chemical reactions by reducing the energy needed to break or form bonds. In this case, it helps break down the ZDDP molecules and also helps them react to form the tribofilm on the surface. And when the pressure drops, the film growth stops as needed."

The study provides a way forward for scientifically testing new anti-wear additives. Being able to pinpoint the level of stress at which they begin to break down and form tribofilms allows researchers to compare various properties in a more rigorous fashion.

"Nanotechnology's not just for doing cool science," Gosvami said. "You can bring your industrial products into the lab and we can do research on them in a big way. We can get a better understanding of them on the molecular scale."

"We think the methods we've developed here can be applied even further," Carpick said. "Ultimately we hope this will help us to rationally design even smarter engine oils; there's a lot of opportunity to improve fuel economy in vehicles, but the scientific understanding of how all the additives work is still in development. So the challenge now is to put this new knowledge to good use."

http://feeds.sciencedaily.com/~r/sciencedaily/~3/B8rDdVYYs5A/150313130937.htm

rpiitpuapule

Cyclone Pam Devastates Vanuatu



Winds from a devastating typhoon that blew through the Pacific's Vanuatu archipelago were beginning to subside Saturday, revealing widespread destruction and unconfirmed reports of dozens of dead.

Malaria is a life-threatening and common disease in many tropical and subtropical areas of the world, especially Africa. There are currently around 100 countries and territories where there is a risk of malaria transmission, and these are visited by more than 125 million international travellers every year. Click on the link for more information on http://www.malariaprevention.co.uk/

Communications in many of the hard-hit outlying islands remained down, meaning it could take some time before the full extent of the damage caused by Cyclone Pam is known.

U.N. officials say they fear the worst after Pam changed course and crossed the main Vanuatu island with 270 kilometer-per-hour winds, destroying entire villages, downing power lines and toppling trees.

Aid agencies hope to begin to fly in relief goods on Sunday when the airport in Port Vila is expected to open.

Authorities in New Zealand are preparing for the storm, which is forecast to pass north of the country Sunday and Monday.

http://www.voanews.com/content/cyclone-pam-devastates-vanuatu/2679945.html

rpiitpuapule

Nigeria 'embarrassed' by Morocco row





13 March 2015

Last updated at 19:19



Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan has said he is "highly embarrassed" that his officials said he had spoken to the Moroccan king when he had not.

Earlier this week, Morocco recalled its ambassador over the affair after the Nigerian foreign ministry insisted the two heads of state had spoken by phone.

The North African kingdom accused Nigeria of using King Mohammed VI as part an election campaign.

But Mr Jonathan denied it had anything to do with campaigning.

An investigation has been ordered into "the controversy".

'Unethical practices'

There were reports that President Jonathan, a Christian from southern Nigeria, had wanted use the conversation to curry favour with Muslim voters in elections later in the month.

But he said he had been trying to speak to various African leaders to seek their support for Nigeria's candidate for the position of African Development Bank (AfDB) president.

His office released a statement saying President Jonathan was "shocked, surprised and highly embarrassed by the controversy that has erupted" and that he had ordered the foreign affairs minister to find out how it had occurred.

"The regrettable furore that has developed over the matter is due entirely to misinformation as President Jonathan has neither spoken with King Mohammed or told anybody that he had a telephone conversation with the Moroccan monarch," the statement said.

The Nigerian foreign ministry had said on Sunday that "both leaders spoke extensively over the phone on matters of mutual interest and concern".

Mr Jonathan said he wanted the investigation "to identify all those who were responsible for the unacceptable act of official misinformation which has resulted in an unnecessary diplomatic row with another country and national embarrassment".

Announcing the withdrawal of its ambassador, Morocco had condemned Nigeria's "unethical practices" - saying the king had declined to talk to the Nigerian leader as it viewed the request to be part of the "internal electioneering".

Mr Jonathan is facing a strong challenge in the 28 March elections from opposition candidate Muhammadu Buhari, who is popular in Nigeria's mainly Muslim north.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-31880798#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa
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Eight terrorist suspects arrested across Spain - The Local





Police arrested eight people as part of an anti-terrorism operation in different areas of Spain early on Friday morning.

For more information about this and other news stories from the Canary Islands and Spain go to:

http://news.thecanaryislander.com

Remember to sign up with your email address for your FREE weekly online copy

Source: www.thelocal.es

See on Scoop.it - Canary Islands

http://canaryislandsnews.net/eight-terrorist-suspects-arrested-across-spain-the-local/
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Kerry: Republican Letter to Iran 'Without Precedence'



U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says the open letter that 47 U.S. Republican senators sent to Iranian leaders about its disputed nuclear program is "completely without precedence."

Kerry, speaking Saturday in Sharm el-Sheikh at Egypt's investment conference, said "let me make it clear" that the letter was "incorrect" in the powers the lawmakers stated they have.

The letter warns Iran that the next U.S. president could revoke a nuclear deal with Iran at any time, and that Congress also could make changes to the deal.

Kerry said with the deadline for the nuclear deal with Iran approaching, it is unclear whether the Republican letter will affect the talks with Iran.

The top U.S. diplomat said the negotiations with Iran will continue and that despite some progress, important gaps remain. Kerry said the purpose of the talks about the nuclear deal with Iran is "not just to get any deal, it is to get the right deal."

Kerry said earlier this week Congress does not have the right to modify an agreement reached between leaders of countries. He has called the Republican letter irresponsible.

The United States and its partners - Britain, China, France, Germany, and Russia - have an end-of-March deadline to reach a framework deal for Iran to cut back on its uranium enrichment program in exchange for lifting sanctions that have destroyed its economy.

When visiting countries with a significant risk of malaria, wherever possible, visitors should take sufficient medicine with them to cover the maximum duration of the trip. It is particularly important that travellers know that medicines used for malaria prevention and treatment are frequently counterfeited in countries where malaria can be a serious risk. Click on the link for more information on http://www.malariaprevention.co.uk/anti-malaria-tablets-doxycycline-lariam-malarone/

Republican opponents of the deal say Iran cannot be trusted.

Iran insists it has no plans to build nuclear weapons and that its nuclear program is strictly for civilian uses.

http://www.voanews.com/content/kerry-republican-letter-to-iran-without-precedence/2679943.html

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March 05 2015

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German Man Drowned At Playa de la Arena



February 25, 2015

playaarena A German man in his seventies drowned at Playa de la Arena, Santiago del Teide this morning.

Emergency services were called in by beach lifeguards who had pulled the man out of the water realising that he had suffered a cardiac arrest.

Lifeguards attempted basic resuscitation and then more advanced techniques were used when the medical helicopter arrived on the scene at about 11.30 am, but to no avail.

Officials warn that Cardiac arrest is a recognized symptom of cold-water shock, and the waters in Tenerife are considered to be technically cold especially in February.

Furthurmore there is currently an alert for high seas and windy conditions in the island, and although local conditions in Playa Arena are reasonably good today, extreme care should always be taken when bathing in the sea, making sure to heed lifeguards' instructions and the warning flags in place at the various beaches.

http://newsinthesun.com/german-man-drowned-at-playa-de-la-arena/

March 04 2015

rpiitpuapule

Namibia president wins $5m award





2 March 2015

Last updated at 17:36



The outgoing Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba has won the world's most valuable individual award, the Mo Ibrahim prize for African leadership.

The $5m (£3.2m) award is given each year to an elected leader who governed well, raised living standards and then left office.

But the previous award was the fourth in five years to have gone unclaimed.

Mr Pohamba, a former rebel who fought for his country's independence, has served two terms as Namibian president.

He was first elected in 2004, and again in 2009. He is due to be succeeded by President-elect, Hage Geingob.

Salim Ahmed Salim, the chairman of the committee that awarded the prize, said that under Mr Pohamba, Namibia had cemented its reputation as "a well-governed, stable and inclusive democracy with strong media freedom and respect for human rights".

Who is Hifikepunye Pohamba?

Born in 1935 in northern Namibia - a region that would become a base for the Swapo liberation movement

Educated by missionaries and employed in a copper mine as a young man

Co-founder of Swapo and close ally of Namibia's first President, Sam Nujoma

Jailed for political activism by South African-backed authorities, later left to study in the Soviet Union

Worked on land reform as minister in post-independence Namibia

Was chosen by Mr Nujoma to succeed him as president in 2004

Gradually emerged from Mr Nujoma's shadow as a soft-spoken consensus builder

A statement from the Namibian presidency said Mr Pohamba was "humbled by this gesture".

According to the statement, the president hoped to use the prize to advance the objectives of the Hifikepunye Pohamba foundation, which helps students from disadvantaged backgrounds to pursue higher education.

Mr Pohamba was a founding member of the South West Africa People's Organisation (Swapo), an armed movement that waged a decades-long campaign against South African rule.

Since the country won independence in 1990, Swapo has dominated politics, usually winning huge majorities in elections.

Before becoming president, Mr Pohamba served as a minister for land affairs. He oversaw a scheme under which some land that had been owned by white farmers since the colonial era was bought by the government, for redistribution to black farmers.

Mr Pohamba, 79, was named recipient of the 2014 Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership at a ceremony in Nairobi, Kenya.

Mo Ibrahim is a British-Sudanese mobile communications entrepreneur and philanthropist who made billions from investing in Africa.

He launched the prize to encourage African leaders to leave power peacefully.

The prize was meant to be awarded annually but only three leaders have been deemed worthy of it since it was instituted, in 2007.

The inaugural prize was given to Joaquim Chissano, Mozambique's former president, who has since acted as a mediator in several African disputes.

The $5m prize is spread over 10 years and is followed by $200,000 a year for life.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-31692093#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa
rpiitpuapule

Namibia president wins $5m award





2 March 2015

Last updated at 17:36



The outgoing Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba has won the world's most valuable individual award, the Mo Ibrahim prize for African leadership.

The $5m (£3.2m) award is given each year to an elected leader who governed well, raised living standards and then left office.

But the previous award was the fourth in five years to have gone unclaimed.

Mr Pohamba, a former rebel who fought for his country's independence, has served two terms as Namibian president.

He was first elected in 2004, and again in 2009. He is due to be succeeded by President-elect, Hage Geingob.

Salim Ahmed Salim, the chairman of the committee that awarded the prize, said that under Mr Pohamba, Namibia had cemented its reputation as "a well-governed, stable and inclusive democracy with strong media freedom and respect for human rights".

Who is Hifikepunye Pohamba?

Born in 1935 in northern Namibia - a region that would become a base for the Swapo liberation movement

Educated by missionaries and employed in a copper mine as a young man

Co-founder of Swapo and close ally of Namibia's first President, Sam Nujoma

Jailed for political activism by South African-backed authorities, later left to study in the Soviet Union

Worked on land reform as minister in post-independence Namibia

Was chosen by Mr Nujoma to succeed him as president in 2004

Gradually emerged from Mr Nujoma's shadow as a soft-spoken consensus builder

A statement from the Namibian presidency said Mr Pohamba was "humbled by this gesture".

According to the statement, the president hoped to use the prize to advance the objectives of the Hifikepunye Pohamba foundation, which helps students from disadvantaged backgrounds to pursue higher education.

Mr Pohamba was a founding member of the South West Africa People's Organisation (Swapo), an armed movement that waged a decades-long campaign against South African rule.

Since the country won independence in 1990, Swapo has dominated politics, usually winning huge majorities in elections.

Before becoming president, Mr Pohamba served as a minister for land affairs. He oversaw a scheme under which some land that had been owned by white farmers since the colonial era was bought by the government, for redistribution to black farmers.

Mr Pohamba, 79, was named recipient of the 2014 Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership at a ceremony in Nairobi, Kenya.

Mo Ibrahim is a British-Sudanese mobile communications entrepreneur and philanthropist who made billions from investing in Africa.

He launched the prize to encourage African leaders to leave power peacefully.

The prize was meant to be awarded annually but only three leaders have been deemed worthy of it since it was instituted, in 2007.

The inaugural prize was given to Joaquim Chissano, Mozambique's former president, who has since acted as a mediator in several African disputes.

The $5m prize is spread over 10 years and is followed by $200,000 a year for life.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-31692093#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa
rpiitpuapule

Scientists plan to create biggest map of the universe

[CAPE TOWN] South African astronomers are gearing up to join international experts to undertake a survey that will create the biggest map of the universe ever made.

The survey, which will generate a three-dimensional (3D) map of the universe, is part of the world's largest telescope project -- the Square Kilometre Array (SKA).

The initial phase SKA's first phase was granted a budget of EUR650 million (about US$735 million) in 2013, according to the SKA Organisation, which is responsible for coordinating the project.

"Knowing what to expect, having simulations of what should be observed and developing tools for the data analysis are crucial if we want to use the SKA in an optimal way and produce world-leading science with the SKA in South Africa."

Mario Santos, University of Western Cape, South Africa

The SKA Organisation's 11 country-members, made up of Australia, Canada, China, Germany, India, Italy, New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, are contributing towards the preconstruction phase which lasts until 2017.

The SKA will be constructed in Western Australia and in the Karoo, South Africa, with outstations in other parts of Africa, and is expected to unravel how the universe has evolved over 14 thousand million years and how stars and galaxies have changed over time, notes SKA South Africa.

The project is aiding Africa's capacity building in astronomy and engineering through opportunities such as grants to students and teaching of astronomy in African countries involved-- Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia and Zambia -- which will host SKA satellite stations.

Members of the SKA community published a series of papers on the telescope last month (19 January) in an online archive called arXiv.org.

Mario Santos, an astronomy research professor at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa involved with the SKA Cosmology Science Working Group -- one of eight different science working groups -- says a huge survey over most of the visible sky will provide a 3D movie of the universe across cosmic times using hydrogen atoms as the source of light.

Santos adds that this is one of the main projects the scientists want to carry out with the SKA, noting that the survey will allow them to tackle fundamental questions in cosmology, such as whether the nature of dark energy is correct on a large scale.

Galactic clusters

Map showing Percentage of dark matter. Credit:    Quantum Diaries    

When visiting countries with a serious risk of malaria, wherever possible, travellers should take sufficient medicine with them to cover the longest possible duration of the trip. It is particularly important that visitors know that tablets designed for malaria prevention and treatment are frequently subject to counterfeiting wherever malaria is a serious risk. Click on the link for more information on Preventing Malaria

According to Santos, the scientists will tackle two interconnected issues: suitably design the SKA to address key questions facing scientists and how well the SKA will be able to probe available models of the universe and produce transformational science.

"Knowing what to expect, having simulations of what should be observed and developing tools for the data analysis are crucial if we want to use the SKA in an optimal way and produce world-leading science with the SKA in South Africa," Santos tells SciDev.Net.

The actual construction of the SKA is due to start after the current preconstruction phase, in 2018 and early science is expected in 2020, he adds.

Radhakhrishna Somanah, an associate physics professor at the University of Mauritius, notes that a more engaged scientific discussion could help improve the project.

Link to abstracts of papers in arXiv.org

This article has been produced by SciDev.Net's Sub-Saharan Africa desk.

 

http://www.scidev.net/sub-saharan-africa/technology/news/biggest-map-of-the-universe.html

March 01 2015

rpiitpuapule

Foreign & Commonwealth Office reminds travellers what it can do to help British nationals overseas



dc80675c-c9fa-4aa4-b628-3ad9c78d4b48.jpg British Consulate

"No madam, we can't find a chef to make you haggis"

Can you recommend a Scottish chef in Brussels who can make haggis? How do I set my antennae to receive English TV channels in Italy? Can you find me cheap flights to New Zealand? These are just some of the recent enquires the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has received from around the world.

Last year the FCO's Contact Centres received more than 365,000 calls from British nationals. The vast majority of these were genuine calls from people who needed our help, but we still receive thousands of enquiries every year relating to issues we are unable to assist with. These enquiries can take valuable time away from those in genuine need of assistance.

Some of the more unusual calls we received in 2014 include:

- A caller asking for help with setting up 'British-style' hanging baskets at a trade show because the professional gardener hired for the purpose had stage fright

- A British woman asking the consulate in Albania how to find out if her son's fiancée was already married

- A caller asking for advice on how to treat a cat's infected paw

- A man called requesting that staff at the Embassy in Mexico City go to the airport to check whether he had left his mobile phone on a plane

- A woman in Italy calling to enquire how she could synchronise her TV antenna to receive English channels

- An event coordinator in Brussels asking for the name of a Scottish chef based in the country who could make Haggis for a Burns Night event

Such enquiries stem from a lack of understanding of what FCO consular teams can do for British nationals overseas, so we are launching an awareness campaign to remind UK travellers and residents overseas of the services we provide, and what we can and cannot do.

The FCO's priority is to protect the welfare of British nationals abroad, and consular staff will always do their best to assist people when they find themselves in difficulty. However, it is important for travellers to understand what services we provide before getting in touch. {If you are considering visiting The Canary Islands the following link has some more information on Discounted Pet Friendly Hotels in Tenerife.|

If you are considering a trip to The Canary Islands this year then you will find that the following link has information particularly useful to those looking for ##LINK~##.|

Situated closer to North Africa than Spain, the guaranteed sunshine of the Canary Islands has been a magnet for British Holidaymakers for many years. If you are considering a trip to The Canary Islands this year then clicking on he following link will provide information particularly useful to anybody looking for ##LINK~##.There are also some simple pre-travel steps that you can take to reduce the risk of getting into difficulty and needing our help, such as taking out comprehensive travel insurance, researching the destination and any health risks and ensuring access to emergency funds.

Foreign Commonwealth Office Minister, David Lidington, said:

"It is important for FCO consular staff to be able to focus on our most vulnerable customers, such as victims of crime, those who have lost a loved one abroad or people who have been detained or hospitalised overseas.

"Consular staff support thousands of British nationals who encounter difficulties overseas every year and we handle over 365,000 enquires annually. We will always try to help where we can but there are limits to what we can do, so it's important for people to be aware of how we can help.

"We can issue an emergency travel document if your passport is lost or stolen, offer support if you become a victim of crime or visit you in hospital or prison, but we aren't able to pay medical bills, give legal advice or get you out of jail, or indeed act as veterinary surgeons."

Head of the FCO's Global Contact Centres, Meg Williams, said:

"The role of the FCO Contact Centres is to help enable consular staff to focus on what is important and to concentrate on those in need, but we continue to receive misdirected enquiries from British nationals. We receive hundreds of thousands of calls every year and while the vast majority of these are from British nationals in genuine need of our assistance and services, in 2014 38% were not related to consular support at all.

"For example, one caller asked us to help find his son's missing suitcase - as it had apparently been lost by a British airline, the caller thought the British consulate would be able to locate it."

Recent research* revealed that the number of people who have knowledge of what embassies and consulates do has dropped to the lowest in three years among young people (aged 16-24), from 62% in 2011 to 55% in 2014.

For more information on how the FCO can help British nationals overseas, please visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/support-for-british-nationals-abroad-a-guide.

For news and information about the Canary Islands:

www.thecanaryislander.com

Sign up for our popular FREE weekly online newspaper - 'News from the Canary Islands'

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For information about expat life, as well as books and apps for mobile devices about the Canary Islands:

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Click below to find out more about the Canary Islands on our iPhone App:

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150227 Consular enquiries

http://canaryislandsnews.net/foreign-commonwealth-office-reminds-travellers-what-it-can-do-to-help-british-nationals-overseas/
rpiitpuapule

S Leone vice-president in quarantine





28 February 2015

Last updated at 22:53



The vice-president of Sierra Leone has put himself into quarantine after one of his bodyguards died from Ebola.

Samuel Sam-Sumana said he would stay out of contact with others for 21 days as a precaution.

There was optimism the virus was on the decline in Sierra Leone at the end of last year but there has been a recent increase in confirmed cases.

Nearly 10,000 people have died in the outbreak, the vast majority in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

'Taking no chances'

Mr Sam-Sumana said on Saturday that he had chosen to be quarantined to "lead by example" after the death of his bodyguard, John Koroma, last week.

He told Reuters news agency that he was "very well" and showing no signs of the illness, but said he did not want to "take chances".

His staff have also been placed under observation.

He is the country's first senior government figure to subject himself to a voluntary quarantine.



4,057 Liberia

3,490 Sierra Leone

2,113 Guinea

8 Nigeria

Getty

Officials in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia have pledged to achieve zero Ebola infections within the next two months.

But authorities in Sierra Leone have reinstated some restrictions in the country after a recent spate of news cases.

Of 99 cases recorded in the region in the week beginning 16 February, 63 were in Sierra Leone, according to the World Health Organization.

The government in the capital, Freetown, said it was gravely concerned about the new cases.

It said many of them had been connected with maritime activities and checks on ferries and other vessels had been increased in response.

President Ernest Bai Koroma has also ordered public transport operators to reduce capacity by 25% to limit physical contact between passengers.

In all, more than 23,500 cases have been reported in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea since the world's worst outbreak began in December 2013.

Ebola virus disease (EVD)

Symptoms include high fever, bleeding and central nervous system damage

Spread by body fluids, such as blood and saliva

Fatality rate can reach 90% - but current outbreak has mortality rate of between 54% and 62%

Incubation period is two to 21 days

No proven vaccine or cure

Supportive care such as rehydrating patients who have diarrhoea and vomiting can help recovery

Fruit bats, a delicacy for some West Africans, are considered to be virus's natural host

Liberia bounces back

The basics: What you need to know

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-31679470#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

February 28 2015

rpiitpuapule

Scientists plan to create biggest map of the universe

[CAPE TOWN] South African astronomers are gearing up to join international experts to undertake a survey that will create the biggest map of the universe ever made.

The survey, which will generate a three-dimensional (3D) map of the universe, is part of the world's largest telescope project -- the Square Kilometre Array (SKA).

The initial phase SKA's first phase was granted a budget of EUR650 million (about US$735 million) in 2013, according to the SKA Organisation, which is responsible for coordinating the project.

"Knowing what to expect, having simulations of what should be observed and developing tools for the data analysis are crucial if we want to use the SKA in an optimal way and produce world-leading science with the SKA in South Africa."

Mario Santos, University of Western Cape, South Africa

The SKA Organisation's 11 country-members, made up of Australia, Canada, China, Germany, India, Italy, New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, are contributing towards the preconstruction phase which lasts until 2017.

The SKA will be constructed in Western Australia and in the Karoo, South Africa, with outstations in other parts of Africa, and is expected to unravel how the universe has evolved over 14 thousand million years and how stars and galaxies have changed over time, notes SKA South Africa.

The project is aiding Africa's capacity building in astronomy and engineering through opportunities such as grants to students and teaching of astronomy in African countries involved-- Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia and Zambia -- which will host SKA satellite stations.

Members of the SKA community published a series of papers on the telescope last month (19 January) in an online archive called arXiv.org.

Mario Santos, an astronomy research professor at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa involved with the SKA Cosmology Science Working Group -- one of eight different science working groups -- says a huge survey over most of the visible sky will provide a 3D movie of the universe across cosmic times using hydrogen atoms as the source of light.

Santos adds that this is one of the main projects the scientists want to carry out with the SKA, noting that the survey will allow them to tackle fundamental questions in cosmology, such as whether the nature of dark energy is correct on a large scale.

Galactic clusters

Map showing Percentage of dark matter. Credit:    Quantum Diaries    

According to Santos, the scientists will tackle two interconnected issues: suitably design the SKA to address key questions facing scientists and how well the SKA will be able to probe available models of the universe and produce transformational science.

"Knowing what to expect, having simulations of what should be observed and developing tools for the data analysis are crucial if we want to use the SKA in an optimal way and produce world-leading science with the SKA in South Africa," Santos tells SciDev.Net.

The actual construction of the SKA is due to start after the current preconstruction phase, in 2018 and early science is expected in 2020, he adds.

Radhakhrishna Somanah, an associate physics professor at the University of Mauritius, notes that a more engaged scientific discussion could help improve the project.

Link to abstracts of papers in arXiv.org

Malaria is a life-threatening and common disease in many tropical and subtropical areas of the world, particularly Africa. There are currently around 100 countries and territories where there is a risk of malaria transmission, and over 125 million travellers visit these area each and every year. Click on the link for more information on http://www.malariaprevention.co.uk/lariam-mefloquine/

This article has been produced by SciDev.Net's Sub-Saharan Africa desk.

 

http://www.scidev.net/sub-saharan-africa/technology/news/biggest-map-of-the-universe.html

February 26 2015

rpiitpuapule

Santa Cruz Bank Robbers Caught



January 22, 2015

fotonoticia_20150120162715_800-600x319 The National Police have arrested two men on suspicion of a robbery committed on January 2 at a La Caixa Bank in Calle Azorin, Santa Cruz, the capital of Tenerife.

The suspects, local men aged 44 and 36-years-old respectively, are accused of intimidating bank staff with large  knives, attacking one of them and forcing customers to lie on the floor, while the pair made off with 62,000 euros.

The men, who had masks over thier faces, fled in a stolen vehicle.

Officers found 37,000 euros in cash in the homes of detainees and at the same time clothing and knives, believed to be used to commit the robbery,were seized.

http://newsinthesun.com/santa-cruz-bank-robbers-caught/
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