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WHO Releases First-Ever list of Health-Threatening Fungi

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The World Health Organization (WHO) has released a report highlighting the first-ever list of 19 fungi that are considered to be the greatest threats to public health. The WHO Fungal Priority Pathogens List (FPPL) is the first global initiative to systematically prioritise fungal pathogens, taking into account the unmet research and development (R&D) needs and the importance thought to have for public health. Based on research conducted by the Australian University of Sydney, this report.

New research suggests that as a result of global warming, increased international travel, and increased trade, both the prevalence and geographic range of fungal illnesses are increasing globally. Invasive fungal infections were observed to occur more often among hospitalised patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. The likelihood of more severe infections in the general population is rising as the fungi that cause common illnesses (such candida oral and vaginal thrush) become more difficult to treat.

Dr. Hanan Balkhy, WHO Assistant Director-General for Antimicrobial Resistance, noted that fungal infections were “emerging from the shadows of the bacterial antimicrobial resistance pandemic, expanding, and becoming ever more resistant to therapies, creating a public health concern worldwide” (AMR).

Three categories of importance

The three priority levels on the WHO FPPL list are critical, high, and medium.

  1. The crucial group consists of Candida albicans, Cryptococcus neoformans, Aspergillus fumigatus, and Candida auris, all of which have caused several outbreaks in hospitals all over the world and are highly medication resistant.
  • The high group has a number of other fungi from the Candida family as well as others, such as Mucorales, a group including the fungi that cause mucormycosis or “black fungus,” an infection that spiked dramatically in very ill persons during COVID-19, notably in India.
  • The medium group includes several additional fungi, such as Cryptococcus gattii and Coccidioides spp.

Treatment for fungus

Only four kinds of antifungal medications are now available, and there aren’t many candidates in the clinical pipeline, making fungal diseases a serious threat to public health, according to WHO.

Dr. Haileyesus Getahun, WHO Director, AMR Global Coordination Department, stated that additional information is required to inform and enhance the response to these important fungal pathogens.

Who is more susceptible to a fungus infection?

Patients with severe illnesses and those who have serious underlying immune system-related problems are frequently affected by these invasive fungal infections.

Cancer patients, HIV/AIDS patients, organ transplant recipients, those with chronic respiratory diseases, and people who have had post-primary tuberculosis infection are among the groups most at risk for invasive fungal infections.

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In a $200 million deal, Estonia will purchase American rocket artillery

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Estonia will purchase American rocket artillery

According to defense officials, Estonia, a NATO member and Russia’s neighbor, will increase its defense capabilities by investing in the most sophisticated rocket artillery system ever produced by the United States.

A contract for the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System that was signed on Friday is worth more than USD 200 million.

According to a statement from the Estonian Center for Defense Investment, the package includes HIMARS rockets with a range of 70–300 km (43–186 miles). The initial deliveries are anticipated to be made by Lockheed Martin Corp. 

According to Lt. Col. Kaarel Mäesalu of the Estonian Defense Forces’ capability development division, the HIMARS multiple rocket launchers represent a significant new step in the development of Estonia’s defense capabilities. The enemy can now be decisively influenced even before coming into contact with our infantry units thanks to this, according to the author.

The Baltic neighbors of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, either already possess HIMARS or are in the process of doing so. During the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, Washington has given Ukraine rocket launchers.

The Estonian Defense Ministry claims that the HIMARS systems have enabled the destruction of Russian military ammunition depots, transport nodes, and command and control centres with pinpoint accuracy that is beyond the capability of the howitzers Ukraine has been using.

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Alex Jones’ $1.5 billion bankruptcy filing Sandra Hook verdicts

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Alex Jones' $1.5 billion bankruptcy filing

Alex Jones, a conspiracy theorist, filed for bankruptcy on Friday after being forced to pay almost $1.5 billion for fabricating details of the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting.

Jones requested Chapter 11 protection from creditors at the Houston bankruptcy court of the United States, according to a court record.

The declaration claims that Jones’ liabilities range from $1 billion to $10 billion and his assets range from $1 million to $10 million.

 Uncertainty surrounds Jones’ personal riches.

Jones has long maintained that the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, involved actors and led to the deaths of 20 students and six staff members and was part of a government plan to seize American firearms.

Although he has finally confessed to the incident, the plaintiffs claimed Jones made a fortune for years by lying about the massacre.

Chris Mattei, a lawyer for the Sandy Hook families, stated that this bankruptcy “will not work, like every previous shameful move Alex Jones has done.” The statement continued, “Alex Jones will be held accountable by the American legal system, and we won’t give up attempting to make the jury’s verdict stand.”

Jones had engaged in deliberate and outrageous attacks, according to Mattei, and the bankruptcy system would not shield him.

Jones’s lawyer did not respond to requests for comment right away.

A Connecticut jury determined in October that several families of Sandy victims should receive close to $1 billion in damages from Jones and Free Speech Systems, Infowars’ parent business.

Later, Jones was required to pay $473 million more in punitive penalties by the Connecticut court.

The families’ weeks-long emotional testimony throughout the trial, in which they described how Jones’s lies about Sandy Hook made their grief worse, served as a defining feature of the proceedings.

In July, a bankruptcy petition was filed by Free Speech Systems.

In a different Texas case, a jury determined in August that Jones must pay the parents of a 6-year-old boy murdered in the Sandy Hook shooting $45.2 million in punitive damages in addition to the compensatory damages of $4.1 million.

The Connecticut and Texas verdicts will be appealed, according to Jones’ attorneys.

Debts that the debtor caused “willfully or maliciously” cannot be discharged through bankruptcy.

According to Susan Block-Lieb, a professor of bankruptcy law at Fordham University School of Law, Jones’ lies seem to fit this criterion.

“Defamation is very obviously an intentional tort, and in Alex Jones’s instance, it is extremely clear,” said Block-Lieb.

Jones runs the prospect of having to reveal all of his assets in court as a result of the petition, according to bankruptcy attorney Sidney Scheinberg.

Sheinberg claims that because he filed for bankruptcy, his assets are now known to the general public. A federal offence is hiding assets while a bankruptcy is being processed.

Jones’ net worth in Texas is estimated to be between $135 million and $270 million, according to an economist.

The plaintiffs who obtained judgments against Jones are listed as his biggest unsecured creditors in the bankruptcy filing.

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This Winter, France Could Experience “some days” of Power Outages. Operating a Grid

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Government representatives from the region have been asked to make sure that patients receiving life-saving medical attention are informed three days in advance of any power outages so they can be moved to alternative facilities.

As the government informed local authorities on how to handle any potential outages, the president of French power grid operator RTE indicated on Thursday that France may see “several days”this winter, when a lack of electricity could cause blackouts.

Xavier Piechaczyk said on France Info radio that while there are hazards in the circumstances, power outages are not necessarily a given.

Piechaczyk adhered to the final supply forecast issued by the agency, which had warned of potential shortages in January.

As of December 1, we had 35 gigawatts of nuclear power available; our goal is to increase that to between 40 and 41 on January 1 and to roughly 43 by the end of the month, compared to a total capacity of 61.

The projection, according to Piechaczyk, was based on the EDF nuclear maintenance timetable, and some extra delays were already foreseen.

EDF’s network of nuclear reactors has experienced an unprecedented number of outages, bringing nuclear output to a 30-year low as Europe rushes to replace Russian gas supplies that Moscow shut off in response to sanctions the European Union imposed over its invasion of Ukraine.

According to RTE’s scenario, there is a chance that “some days this winter” may see Ecowatt, the nation’s electricity monitoring app, flash a red warning. It would be necessary to load customers partially off the power grid as a result.

Piechaczyk stated that the app has not yet been used by enough individuals.”Our app has been downloaded by around 300,000 people, and we have 470,000,000,000 SMS alert subscribers. We need to conduct more advertising because that is not enough, he remarked.

According to analysts cited by Reuters, the first power outages might start as early as Monday due to the chilly weather.

If we remain at 35 GW, Monday of the following week might become quite tight, warned Refinitiv analyst Nathalie Gerl. We forecast consumption at typically seasonal average levels, but 35 GW of nuclear power would not be enough to meet a fictitious peak demand of 73 GW.

We don’t anticipate a red alert until the end of 2022, said Frederic Lefort, head of business and administrative clients at Engie, one of the major power providers, during a Thursday event.

PARTIAL LOAD SHEDDING

According to Reuters, the French government has delivered legally binding guidelines outlining the proper way to prioritize electricity allocation to regional government authorities. Additionally, it exhorts them to consult with local businesses and authorities to ensure that all emergency power generators are operational.

The government stated in the instructions that any planned outages “should not affect more than 4 million people at the same time,” and that any local load-shedding procedures should not run longer than two hours and will be announced by RTE at 5 p.m. local time the day before.

According to the rules, critical locations like hospitals can be exempted, but schools should be closed on days when there aren’t enough supplies available.

Additionally, regional government representatives were requested to make sure that patients seeking life-saving medical attention had three days’ warning of potential power outages so they could be moved to alternative places.

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