Swedish climate activist Great Thunberg, 16, is the youngest person to be named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year. Thunberg is leading a new generation in the fight against climate change, organizing school strikes and climate marches around the world. Time says they selected Thunberg for raising the alarm on climate change and “showing us all what it might look like when a new generation leads.” Freestyle snowboarder and US Snowboard Team member Luke Winkelmann, 18, of Blowing Rock, NC will compete in the Visa Big Air event at Atlanta’s SunTrust Park December 20-21. The event is part of a multi-year commitment by U.S. Ski and Snowboarding to bring big air events to the public leading up to the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing. Thunberg is reportedly “a bit surprised” by the honor and is dedicating the recognition to other young activists. Speaking at the U.N. Climate Conference this week, Thunberg told the audience, “There is hope. I have seen it. But it does not come from the governments or the corporations. It comes from the people.” A biology professor at the University of North Carolina Asheville, Graham Reynolds, has received a grant from National Geographic to help save the Silver Boa, the most endangered species of boa in the world. In 2015, Reynolds discovered the Silver Boa while in the Bahamas. Now, his $32,822 grant will make him a National Geographic Explorer through 2022 and give him a chance to help save the species he discovered. “Our goal is to use this grant to immediately intervene to prevent the extinction of the Silver Boa,” Reynolds said. “By the end of the grant term we will have a complete conservation plan in place and in action to ensure that the species has a path to survival.” UNCA professor receives grant from National Geographic to study the world’s most endangered boa Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg is named ‘Time’ Person of the Year Blowing Rock, NC native and Olympic qualifier to compete in Atlanta’s Visa Big Air During the big air competition, Winkelmann and his competitors will launch themselves off of a 15-story steel scaffold structure covered in snow and travel up to 70 feet in the air to perform their biggest tricks. The Visa Big Air event is the first of its kind to come to Atlanta and is expected to draw up to 20,000 fans.
Mar 21, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – World Health Organization (WHO) officials will propose new ideas about producing H5N1 avian influenza vaccines to Asian health ministers next week in Jakarta in the hope of resolving an impasse with Indonesia over sharing of virus samples, according to press reports.The WHO said it would press pharmaceutical companies to expand vaccine manufacturing in developing nations to lower the cost of the vaccines to those countries, Bloomberg News reported today.”Some companies might be able to transfer some of their bulk capacity to developing-country industries,” David Heymann, WHO’s acting director-general for communicable diseases, told Bloomberg, adding that the solution could take 10 years to achieve. He said WHO officials will discuss the plan with as many as 12 countries at the Mar 26 and 27 meeting in Jakarta.In early February, Indonesia announced it would stop sharing H5N1 samples with the WHO because the government believes it is unfair for foreign countries to use the samples to develop vaccines that poor nations can’t afford. The country also signed a memorandum of understanding with US vaccine producer Baxter International that laid the groundwork for future collaborations or supply agreements.Unrestricted sharing of avian flu virus samples is vital to the research community for developing vaccines and monitoring the virus’s evolution and global spread.On Feb 16 Indonesian Health Minister Siti Fadilah Supari met with Heymann, and it appeared that Indonesia had agreed in principle to resume sharing its H5N1 samples. However, the agreement has not been finalized, and Supari announced on Mar 14 that Indonesia would not share any more samples until it has a “legally binding” guarantee that the samples won’t be used to develop vaccines that the country couldn’t afford.Supari told reporters today that an inability of poor countries to access vaccines during an influenza pandemic could threaten world peace, Reuters reported. “If we want the world to be a harmonious place, the poor should be helped with the technology. If the situation remains like this, poor nations will become poorer, sicker, and more helpless,” she said.Heymann told Bloomberg that WHO Director-General Margaret Chan will meet with flu vaccine manufacturers after the Jakarta conference to discuss options for maintaining access to samples.However, he told Canadian Press (CP) today that it is difficult to discuss access to vaccines when the world capacity for making them is so limited. The WHO has estimated the world’s annual production capacity for trivalent flu vaccine at a maximum of about 350 million doses.Despite this limited capacity, Heymann said his team could still make proposals to the developing nations that are concerned about access to vaccines, CP reported. One option is to create a “virtual stockpile” from supplies held back by vaccine producers that would be earmarked for use by developing countries in the early days of an emerging pandemic, he said.See also:Mar 14 CIDRAP News story “Indonesia wants legal pact on sharing H5N1 samples”
Categories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionDid you know that New York state has a moratorium on fracking? Most of us haven’t had to think about it because we believed that we had been protected from fracking’s harms. But there are other activities related to fracking that are still allowed. We import fracked gas in pipelines through our state from Pennsylvania. This means that people living in Pennsylvania are hurt by fracking so that people in New York and beyond can have the advantages of natural gas products. There are dangerously noisy and polluting compressor stations in some New York state communities. When this infrastructure is not in our neighborhood, we can ignore it.If we continue to allow these ancillary activities, it puts us behind in working towards a future run on renewables. The industry and our government say that natural gas is a clean-burning fuel.They say it’s a cheap fuel. Drilling and other activities are only cheap because subsidies exist; health and safety impacts aren’t figured into the price we pay when the natural gas is delivered to our homes.Some of the people most affected are children, the elderly, the chronically ill, and poor and minority communities. We pay for it one way or another.Google the Solutions Project to see what a 100 percent renewable energy mix would look like for New York and the 260,000 jobs that going renewable would create. Even Forbes magazine finds that solar energy employs more people in the United States than oil and gas combined. You can’t beat that.Florence CarnahanSchenectadyMore from The Daily Gazette:Foss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusTroopers: Schenectady pair possessed heroin, crack cocaine in Orange County Thruway stopSchenectady NAACP calls for school layoff freeze, reinstatement of positions
Photo: © Leinsterrugby.ie Leinster look to get their 13th straight win over the Cardiff Blues this evening.The Blues’ head-coach Leo Cullen has made four changes with James Tracy, Rhys Ruddock and Jack Conan coming into the pack and Luke McGrath getting the nod at scrum-half.Devin Toner wins his 200 cap for Leinster in the Kick-off at the RDS is at 7.35pm.