British Journalist and Brazilian Indigenous Affairs Expert Missing in the Amazon

 
Last Sunday, a British journalist, Dom Philps, who works for The Guardian as an Amazon specialist contributor, and a Brazilian indigenous affairs expert, Bruno Araújo Pereira went missing in the Vale do Javari, the Amazon jungle. The families of the pair are asking the authorities to intensify the effort in their search. The journalist from Britain was approaching news of illegal mines and drug trafficking in the Amazonian jungle with the Brazilian indigenous affairs expert.
According to CNN,

“The British journalist, Dom Phillips, and Bruno Araújo Pereira were first reported missing in the remote Javari Valley, in the far western part of Amazonas state on Sunday. They had reportedly received death threats just days prior.”

Phillips’s wife, Alessandra Sampaio, posted a video on Tuesday pleading for the federal government to step up in their search operations, saying, “We still have a little bit of hope that we’ll find them.”

“Even if they don’t find the love of my life alive, they have to be found, please,” she said.

The area of the Javari Valley is home to 16 isolated groups and thousands of indigenous people in the Javari Valley, and it isn’t easy to reach out to the communities. The area has come under different rules for life, and the area is continuing to become home to increasing numbers of illegal miners, loggers, hunters, and international drug traffickers exploiting the peoples who live in the jungles.

They were supposed to arrive at the borders of the valley and Peru to take a two-hour trip to Atalaia do Norte on Sunday, but they didn’t show up.

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Joseph to Leave and Dr. Henry to be new PM of Haiti

Since July 7, Haiti’s President, Jovenel Moïse’s assassination, there was a political power struggle between Claude Joseph, the Interim prime minister (PM), and Dr. Ariel Henry (named PM by late President two days before his assassination).

Joseph has since accepted and decided to honor the late president’s wishes. 71-year-old neurosurgeon Dr. Ariel Henry will be the new Prime Minister of Haiti until the new election. According to NPR, “officially taking office as prime minister will be Ariel Henry (71),” as “it was part of the plan and wishes of late President Jovenel Moïse that he should lead a new coalition to be prime minister and form a new government,” said Mathias Pierre, Minister of Elections in Haiti.

Pierre stated that the transfer of power will take place in a public ceremony this Tuesday. Dr. Henry posted a brief address to the nation online Sunday night, saying “unity” and that he would soon announce a consensus government that leads the country until elections can be held to elect a new president.

Henry applauded the Haitian people for maturity in the face of “what could be called a coup d’état,” and that the president’s assassination was “unspeakable,” and “odious and revolting.” Henry has support from foreign powers including the U.S. diplomat, representatives from the United Nations, and the Organization of American States.

“I received calls from certain American diplomats in Haiti,” said Senate Lambart. “Also I received calls from diplomats in the U.S. State Department, who asked me to postpone so we had time to build a larger consensus.” He said that while the majority of Haitians don’t appreciate the postponing of certain Haitian events by foreign powers, Haiti remains influenced by them nonetheless due to its precarious state both as a developing country and as a country dealing with a lot of recovery efforts.

Mr. Joseph said he would now become the foreign minister in Mr. Henry’s cabinet.

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Cuba : The First Country to Run Phase 3 Clinical Trials In South America

Cuba will take the phase 3 clinical trials as the first country amongst in South American continent. Cuba kept very low Covid-19 cases compared with other South American countries before reopening to the travelers last November. At least 44,000 people will take this phase 3 trial, according to NPR.

Cuba has been independently developing the Covid-19 vaccine. Dagmar Garcia Rivera, the research director at the Finlay Vaccine Institute in Havana stated that one of five vaccine candidates, Soberana 2 is to be very effective and entering the final stage of clinical trials.

A second vaccine candidate, Abdala has entered a phase 3 trial. Cuba is a self-sustaining country that never asked for any help from WHO or multinational corporations. Normally vaccine development takes a decade or more. Eduardo Ojito, the head of the Cuban Center for Molecular Immunology proudly announced that by the end of summer, all Cuban will be immunized enough doses with the Soverana 2.

Ojito stated that “We are preparing to produce between one and two million doses each month, and the country is on track to have 1 million doses available in April.” The Cuban government has started to distribute the vaccine to Iran, Mexico, and Venezuela.

Helen Yaffe, a specialist at the University of Glasgow, wrote about the country’s pharmaceutical sector and its previous success in developing another vaccine, such as cancer vaccine. Yaffe states there’s talk about offering vaccines to the tourists who enter the country at the airport upon arrival in Havana.

The Cuban government would provide the vaccine to international tourists and be open to international tourism again if this phase 3 vaccine trials succeed.

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UN PEACEKOR Hosts The 1st Global Virtual Forum Amidst Covid-19 Pandemic

On September 16, UN PEACEKOR (Chairman Dug-Ryong Kim) held the global meeting through Zoom and Youtube live for the first time ever in history due to coronavirus pandemic.

This forum was held by foreign compatriots from around the world with different time zones on the actual conditions and prospects of North Korea’s three sufferings (sanctions, corona, flood damage), and where to find clues for the recovery of South-North relations in this difficult situation. We had time to express each other’s opinions using the internet space as a place.

The forum was hosted by Jun-Hyuk Huh, Secretary General of UNPEACEKOR, and led to discussions by Yong-Han Choi, head of the National Security Strategy Research Institute, Jong-Cheol Park, a Research Fellow at the Institute for Unification, Yoo-seok Jeong, a senior research fellow at the Northeast Asia Research Center at Export-Import Bank of Korea, and Dae-jin Jeong, a professor at Ajou University.

The chairman of the organization stated that despite US’ distraction during a presidential election year, and North Korea focusing on its internal structure, there is still tremendous responsibility to bring to awareness, the importance of restarting the peace process on the Korean Peninsula.

The members of the forum focused heavily on the kind of development necessary in North Korea, and talked about the impact of Covid-19 on both the social and economic infrastructure of China and North Korea, but also how this could require heavier interest by South Korea or the US to improve relationship with North Korea, especially in the area of trade.

The forum garnered much interest, as almost 400 people tuned in to watch the forum.

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BTS Hits Billboard 100 with a Dynamite #1

After landing with Billboard #4 with the last single “On,” in March, K-Pop boy band BTS debuted with an all-English single, “Dynamite” at the top of the Billboard’s Hot 100.

BTS is the first K-Pop group to lead the Hot 100. Released on August 21, 2020, showed a result of 33.9 million US stream, 300,000 sold, and drew 11.6 million radio airplay audience impressions the week ending August 30.

BTS’ “Dynamite” made the best digital sales since One Direction’s “Drag Me Down” 5 years ago, and marks BigHit entertainment’s first #1 on the Billboard chart. Consultations to BTS!

Of course, much of BTS’ success comes from BTS’ use of technology (mainly YouTube and V Live) to gain followers, interact with them, and establish themselves as serious brands. Many analysts tout that the globalization of Broadband access has made not only information flow throughout the world, but also allow easier means for fans to gain access to their favorite bands’ music and show clips.

 

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Covid-19’s Real Problem: Organ damage

As US sees 150,000 deaths from COVID-19, some of those who are for quick reopening tout the relatively low death percentage rate as an argument against the severity of COVID-19. However, those who are recovering from COVID-19 show something more sinister from coronavirus infection: organ damage.

Two German studies found that many patients recovering from COVID-19 had heart abnormalities that didn’t exist before. The study included 100 patients from the University of Hospital Frankfurt COVID-19 Registry.

1/3 on the registry recovered at the hospital, while the other 2/3 recovered at home; however, in the 78 of the original 100, there were now heart abnormalities, with 60 of them showing inflammation in the heart muscle from COVID-19.

This abnormality would not be found on the echograms more frequently used to detect heart abnormalities.

Such results are quite damaging; those who have this weakness will likely require more extensive treatments and be at risk for abnormal heart beats and other heart problems.

So yes, maybe COVID-19 only kills around 1 percent of those infected; however, the true harm of COVID-19 isn’t necessarily the fast death, but the lasting impact on the majority of those that recover from the disease; mostly, the weakening of the organs in the rest of the body.

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BTS and Its fan club donate $2 Million to BLM

photo from Wikipedia

K-Pop Megastar BTS and its fan group, “One in An ARMY” has raised funds to support the Black Lives Matter movement and donated $2 million.

BTS initially donated $1 million to Black Lives Matter, and its fan club raised the additional $1 million more, matching the group’s donation.

BTS tweeted last week, “We stand against racial discrimination. We condemn violence. You, I and we all have the right to be respected. We will stand together.#BlackLivesMatter” on its tweet account.

The BTS is the first donor to donate to Black Live Matter movement as a foreign figure.

BTS, also known as the Bangtan Boys, is a seven-member South Korean boy band formed in Seoul in 2010 and managed under Big Hit Entertainment. The group is ranked #4 in Billboard’s Top Social Artists of the 2010s, and the highest group on the list.

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COVID-19 strains now in 30 different mutations, says Study from China

(Photo from CDC)

US is seeing a death toll at 42,897, with confirmed 799,515 cases as of April 21, and extreme rightists protesting to end quarantine.

A new study from professor Li Lanjuan and colleagues from Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China  published in a non-peer review paper released on website medRXiv.org on Sunday, says that COVID-19 now has at least 30 different variation of mutations, which could make finding vaccine even more difficult.

Li Team stated that some of the COVID-19 mutations could generate as much as 270 times the normal viral load as the weakest strains, showing variety in danger to humans based on the mutation of the strain.

Assuming this study is accurate (as it has yet to be peer-reviewed amidst growing skepticism towards validity of information streaming out of China from the global community), this could make treatment immensely difficult, as so far, all COVID-19 patients have been treated in the same way.

Li says, “Drug and vaccine development, while urgent, need to take the impact of these accumulating mutations into account to avoid potential pitfalls.”

It is unclear at this time when the study will be peer-reviewed and its information, verified, however, the amidst growing tension in economic, political, and social structure of much of the western world, many hope that this study is not reflective of reality.

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First Person-to-Person Coronavirus Spread Happens in US

Photo from NBC News : Washington State (1), California(2), Arizona(1), Illinois(1) as of Jan.30.2020 source from CDC

CDC confirmed that a woman who recently traveled to China and returned through Chicago airport spread the virus to her husband. Now with confirmed 6 cases, Illinois is attempting to verify 21 possible cases. CDC is verifying 92 more people for possible coronavirus infection. CDC already cleared 68 as testing negative for the coronavirus.

There are currently 7,800 confirmed infections globally, with most in China. CDC does not see a need to wear masks to protect oneself in public but did advise washing hands with soap for at least 20 seconds and to avoid close interaction with people who were sick.

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Sun’s surface is like Rice Cake: Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope produces Photo of the Sun

(Photo from Google Images)

The National Science Foundation’s 4-meter, preeminent solar telescope on the summit of Haleakala, Maui in Hawai’i captured the clearest image of the Sun’s surface to date, which showed a pattern of turbulent “boiling” plasma, covering the entire star.  Each cell-like structures’ sizes are comparable to the State of Texas.

These cells represent signature of violent motions which allow transportation of heat from the inside of the Sun to its surface, before collapsing back below the surface once cooled by the vacuum of space, in a process called convection.

National Science Foundation’s Inouye Solar Telescope will also be used to map the magnetic fields within the Sun’s corona, and will be used to help predict and understand the Sun’s effect on space weather and Earth.

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