Chikungunya cases in the Caribbean top 33,000The Caribbean chikungunya outbreak grew by 3,499 cases in the past week, reaching 33,260 suspected, probable, or confirmed cases, according to an update today from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). The case count is up from 29,761 in the agency’s Apr 22 report.Martinique continues to report the largest numbers, with 17,630 suspected (up from 16,000) and 1,515 confirmed or probable cases, the ECDC said. Guadeloupe reported the second-most cases, with 6,000 suspected and 1,328 confirmed or probable cases. The French side of St. Martin is third, with 3,030 suspected and 793 confirmed or probable cases.Also reporting cases are Dominica, 1,063 suspected and 98 confirmed cases; the Dominican Republic, 767 suspected and 17 confirmed cases; St. Barthelemy, 480 suspected and 135 confirmed or probable cases; the Dutch side of St. Martin, 301 confirmed cases; French Guiana, 36 confirmed locally acquired and 18 imported cases; Anguilla, 33 locally acquired confirmed cases and 1 likely imported; British Virgin Islands, 9 confirmed cases; St. Vincent and the Grenadines, 3 cases; and Aruba, St. Lucia, and St. Kitts and Nevis, each with 1 confirmed case.The chikungunya outbreak is the first known in the Americas and began in December 2013 on the French side of St. Martin. So far 6 outbreak deaths have been confirmed, 3 on the French side of St. Martin, 2 on Martinique, and 1 on Guadeloupe.Apr 28 ECDC update Scientists propose alternate origins for 1918 pandemic flu virusThe 1918 H1N1 pandemic influenza virus may have originated from reassortment between a human flu virus lineage and an avian flu virus, researchers speculate today after conducting a phylogenetic evolutionary analysis. The findings run contrary to previous estimates of the virus’s evolution.US and UK researchers analyzed full-length gene sequences from human, bird, and swine viruses over the years involving H1, H2, H5, and N1 subtypes, according to their study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.Their results indicate that human H1 (the “H” is for the hemagglutinin [HA] protein) emerged from an avian source well before 1918 but after 1895. They also noted that the classic swine flu lineage is nested completely within the 1918 genetic diversity of human H1 but the seasonal human H1 HA line is only distantly related to the pandemic 1918 HA.”This pattern indicates that the swine influenza lineage emerged directly from the human pandemic virus but that postpandemic seasonal H1N1 did not,” they write. “Rather, there is strong phylogenetic evidence that it descended from a distinct H1 lineage that shared a common ancestor with the 1918 pandemic ~1907.””These results are consistent with an avian-to-human movement of H1 in the first decade of the 20th century,” the authors conclude. They say their theory fits with the age-related pattern of extensive morality in 20- to 40-year-olds, because people that age would have been primarily exposed to an H3N8 virus, which would afford little cross-immunity.Previously, predictions that the 1918 strain was of avian origin and did not reassort with a human strain have predominated.Apr 28 Proc Natl Acad Sci abstract CIDRAP overview on pandemic influenza, which includes 1918-origin theories
North American organisation Spacestation Gaming has co-founded Spacestation Mobile with content creators Lance “Powerbang” Frisbee and Tim “Ash” Evans.The company will house all of Spacestation Gaming’s mobile initiatives and operations, including its expansion into new mobile titles and working with mobile brands.Screenshot via: Spacestation GamingRELATED: Spacestation Gaming announces Uber Eats sponsorshipShaun “Shonduras” McBride, Owner of Spacestation Gaming discussed the venture in a statement to Esports Insider: “You know a partnership is going to work out when it starts with a friendship. That’s how we knew this was the right move. Powerbang and Ash both view the mobile gaming space in the same way we always have at Spacestation Gaming, with a heavy emphasis on content and community! Adding their experience and creativity to what we are building was the best possible partnership any organization could ask for.”Spacestation Mobile will work with creators, professional players, and members of the community, aiming to grow mobile esports and bring in new brands as partners and sponsors.Shawn “Unit” Pellerin, Co-Owner and General Manager of Spacestation Gaming also discussed the move with Esports Insider: “We are excited to bring on like-minded individuals like Lance and Tim, to use their endless knowledge of the space to guide us in the right direction and push the boundaries of opportunities in the fast growing Mobile space.”RELATED: ESL calls in LG as phone provider for Mobile OpenAsh – otherwise known as Clash With Ash – is a prominent content creator in Supercell titles, namely Clash Royale and Brawl Stars. At the time of writing, he has almost 800,000 subscribers on YouTube. Powerbang, on the other hand, is perhaps best known for his videos on PUBG Mobile – amassing almost 1.4 million YouTube subscribers at the time of writing.Powerbang explained why he entered this venture to Esports Insider: “SSG offers an amazing, well staffed organization of professionals who know how to have fun, field competitive teams in games that command attention, and create engaging content that far surpasses the quality of almost every organization out there. I’m excited to lend my industry connections in mobile, and lean on my reputation amongst players and fans to help build an absolute juggernaut in mobile esports that drives the scene forward in a way everyone can be proud of.”Spacestation Gaming fields competitors in PUBG Mobile, Call of Duty: Mobile, and Auto Chess Mobile. It also has North American, Brazilian, and Southeast Asian rosters in Brawl Stars.Esports Insider says: Spacestation Gaming has been an avid supporter of mobile esports for quite some time, housing teams and finding success along the way. This new venture – and bringing in two prominent mobile gaming figures to co-run it – shows just how dedicated the organisation is to mobile.ESI Autumn Forum – Find out more
31 December 2007The decision by US-based business process outsourcing (BPO) giant TeleTech to establish a facility outside Cape Town is proof that the country’s marketing campaign to attract new foreign investment is a success, says the International Marketing Council of South Africa (IMC).IMC chief executive Yvonne Johnston says TeleTech’s decision will stimulate further global interest in the country’s advantages in the fields of BPO and call centres.“The BPO industry is poised for significant growth in the near future and South Africa is an ideal location to set up base,” Johnston said in a statement following TeleTech’s announcement in November.“We deliver competitive advantages compared with other countries in terms of our geographic location and time zone, the quality of our infrastructure, our human resources and the widespread usage of English.”The IMC, the custodian of Brand South Africa, is responsible for promoting the country as a preferred trade and investment destination.Construction of the new TeleTech facility at the Old Match Factory in Salt River, Cape Town, kicked off in late November with a sod-turning ceremony attended by Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and Trade and Industry Minister Mandisi Mpahlwa.Colorado-based TeleTech Holdings is the first multinational company to benefit from a new incentive plan launched by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), which has identified the BPO sector as a major future source of employment.“BPO is critical to our economic development strategy, and we see TeleTech as an anchor company for this new industry,” Mpahlwa said at the ceremony.SA a ‘high quality location’TeleTech has already announced that it plans a number of new facilities in South Africa, which will create thousands of new jobs in the BPO industry. The company already employs more than 50 000 people in 18 countries, and Cape Town is its first base on the African continent.“Africa’s future is in services, and South Africa is a virtually untapped market for offshore BPO,” TeleTech Africa general manager Craig Reines said in a statement. “We are attracted by the country’s excellent infrastructure, talented and growing labour pool, and the widespread use of English.“South Africa is a high quality location linking Africa into the global BPO supply chain.”Johnston said the TeleTech investment was a high-profile example of the success of the trade and investment missions jointly organised by the IMC and the DTI.“For the past five years we have conducted at least one mission a year – twice to the USA, Europe and the UK, and in October this year we went to India for the first time,” Johnston said. “We use these missions to inform the business communities in these countries about opportunities and prospects for trade and investment and to connect them with local contacts.“I am optimistic that we will see an increasing flow of trade and investment from companies that have come to know South Africa better through these visits.”SAinfo reporter Want to use this article in your publication or on your website?See: Using SAinfo material
By Shandria SuttonJul. 5, 2018 , 11:40 AM New ‘light-eating’ protein discovered in the Sea of Galilee Alina Pushkarev In their quest to find “light-eating” proteins, cellular components that help plants and microbes harvest light from the sun, a team of scientists has stumbled upon the first new kind in nearly 50 years—at the bottom of the Sea of Galilee. The unexpected discovery could help researchers better understand how microbes sense light, and it could power new kinds of light-based research and data storage techniques.Many organisms use light-sensitive proteins to gather the sun’s energy and help them survive. Some use chlorophyll to convert sunlight during photosynthesis and others use rhodopsins, proteins that bind to a form of vitamin A called retinal to capture light. The best known rhodopsin is embedded in the rod cells of our eyes, where it helps us see in the dark. But another form of rhodopsin helps small organisms, such as algae and bacteria, absorb light to make chemical energy.Researchers were searching for the second type of rhodopsin when they collected DNA samples from the Sea of Galilee in Israel. They returned to their lab and screened the DNA for genes that coded for the light-reacting proteins. When they added retinal to Escherichia coli bacteria hosting the DNA, it turned purple—a sign that rhodopsins might be present (above). When they tested the DNA further, they discovered a completely new light-eating protein, a type of rhodopsin they named heliorhodopsin, the team reported last month in Nature.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Scientists don’t know much about how heliorhodopsin works. Its DNA is similar to the rhodopsin that creates chemical energy. But because it takes so long to finish its light-conversion cycle, the researchers suspect that—similar to the rhodopsin in our eyes—it is a light-sensing protein. What they know for sure: The new protein seems to be everywhere, in bacteria, algae, archaea, and even viruses in the soil and in every major body of water on Earth. This new protein family is even found in bacteria and other microorganisms that were never known to sense light until now.The light-sensing protein could lead to applications in everything from data storage to optogenetics, which allows scientists to manipulate genetically modified nerve cells with light. But first, scientists must answer many questions about the protein’s fundamentals.
HALIFAX – African Nova Scotians and other minority communities will have input as the province remodels schools administration under sweeping reforms, the education minister says.Zach Churchill said he wants full community involvement in the selection process for the new education advisory council that is to replace the province’s seven English-language regional school boards.“I want that to happen,” Churchill said. “We want this to be a fair process where we get good people who can contribute to good outcomes for kids in our province.”Minority groups have voiced concerns about losing their elected representatives through legislation introduced Thursday that will eliminate the school boards by March 31.Archy Beals, the African Nova Scotian representative on the Halifax Regional School Board, said Friday his community is concerned about losing its voice to a large bureaucratic body.“We need to have a strong voice at the table and we need to have a non-partisan voice and a transparent voice so that we are not just rubber-stamping what governments ask,” said Beals.Beals says there are concerns about who will be appointed to the 15-member council.He said the members of the African Nova Scotian school board caucus have written to Churchill but have received no response. He said they’ve also submitted the names of four people to sit on a transition team that will shepherd in the creation of the new advisory council, but have not heard back.“The problem with that is, you are hand-picking people,” said Beals. “Where’s the transparency in that? Where’s the non-partisan piece in that?”Beals said he believes a system of community nominations could be a part of the change process.However, he also defended the school boards as they are currently constituted, saying minority representation on the Halifax board has worked to make substantial changes. He pointed to reports on the incidents of racism and discrimination under the board’s auspices, and work on culturally relevant teaching methods.“Granted there are some things that we need to change and work on, but throwing the baby out with the bathwater is not the solution.”Churchill said there would be minority input as part of the transition team that will advise his department on the terms of reference and selection process for the advisory council.In addition to minority seats on the council, two new executive director positions representing the African Nova Scotian and Mi’kmaq communities will also be created at the Education Department as part of sweeping reforms based on a recent report by education consultant Avis Glaze.