first_imgThe North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is encouraging all North Carolinians to be aware of the risk of Zika virus infection before traveling to Central America, South America or the Caribbean.To date, no cases of Zika virus infection have been reported in North Carolina.“Pregnant women are urged to take note of the recent CDC travel recommendations advising that travel to areas with active virus transmission be postponed if possible,” said Randall Williams, MD, State Health Director. “Suspected cases of Zika are now required to be reported. Our State Laboratory for Public Health is currently coordinating testing of Zika virus with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and has a history of rapidly implementing testing for emerging threats.”Zika virus is transmitted through the bite of an infectious mosquito. Symptoms include rash and red eyes. Less common symptoms include fever, joint pains and muscle aches. Only about one in five people infected with Zika virus will show symptoms.A pregnant woman infected with Zika virus can pass the virus to her unborn baby. A serious birth defect of the brain called microcephaly, and other adverse pregnancy outcomes have been reported in some mothers who were infected with Zika virus while pregnant.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a travel advisory recommending pregnant women consider postponing travel to any area with active Zika virus transmission. Women who are trying to become pregnant should talk to their doctors about the risk of Zika virus infection before traveling.State health officials are in constant communication with local health departments to work with health providers, including obstetricians and gynecologists, to ensure they have the latest information, as well as access to guidance and testing. Testing for Zika virus should be done for anyone who displays signs or symptoms within two weeks of travel to an area with active Zika virus transmission. Pregnant women who have ultrasound findings of microcephaly or other abnormalities, and have reported travel to areas with Zika virus activity should also be tested.While the primary mosquitos that carry Zika virus are not believed to be widespread in North Carolina, individuals are always encouraged, as a routine precaution, to take steps to prevent mosquito bites, such as:Wear insect repellent registered with the Environmental Protection Agency.Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants.Use air conditioning or make sure window and door screens are in place.Again, no cases of Zika virus infection have been reported in North Carolina to date.last_img read more

first_imgAfrican maths students are to benefitfrom a network of training centres, whichwill boost the continent’s complementof skilled scientists and researchers.(Image: AIMS South Africa)MEDIA CONTACTS • Lisa LambertCommunications, Perimeter Institute+1 519 569 7600, x5051• Arun SharmaNextEinstein South AfricaRELATED ARTICLES• SA hosts world science meet• New online university to fight cancer• Science university for Botswana• R50m for new research posts• SA-Uganda science agreementJanine ErasmusThe Cape Town-based African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS), a postgraduate academic institution, is to be the model for three maths training centres on the continent.The three centres are expected to serve as a nurturing ground for more world-class African mathematicians.According to cosmologist Neil Turok, founder of AIMS South Africa, the goal is to build 15 such centres across Africa by 2020, possibly in countries such as Botswana, Egypt, Rwanda, Madagascar, Mozambique and Uganda.The project, dubbed NextEinstein, is Turok’s brainchild and has already led to the opening of a second AIMS centre at the African University of Science and Technology in Abuja, Nigeria.NextEinstein aims to boost capacity for scientific and technological education, research and development in Africa.The South African-born Turok is currently the executive director of Canada’s Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, taking up his position after a stint as the Chair of Mathematical Physics at the UK’s Cambridge University. The non-profit Perimeter Institute, which focuses on scientific research and educational outreach, is to disburse the funds.Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the new venture in July 2010, saying that his government was pleased to support research into science and technology, as millions of people in developing countries already lead better lives because of it.The first centre is to be launched in Senegal in September 2011, with others in Ghana and Ethiopia following soon afterwards. The Senegalese government has allocated about US$1.3-million (R9.4-million) towards the facility, and has donated a parcel of land near the coastal city of M’bour, about 80km south of Dakar.The Canadian government has also pledged its financial support for the project, to the tune of C$20-million (R140-million). The money will go towards the construction of AIMS centres over the next four years.“With the announcement of major support for the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences, Canada is also pioneering the sharing of knowledge and expertise as a route to development,” said Turok. “Just as ideas and innovation are the foundation of Canada’s new economy, they will be the basis of Africa’s future economic, educational, scientific and governance self-sufficiency.”Africa’s young EinsteinsAll of the new centres will be based on the Cape Town model, established by Turok in 2003. AIMS South Africa receives sponsorship and support from British philanthropist Sir Bob Geldof, eminent physicist Stephen Hawking, South African entrepreneur Mark Shuttleworth, US actor Forest Whitaker, and business tycoon Sir Richard Branson, among others.Academic partners include the Stellenbosch, Cape Town and Western Cape universities locally, and the Cambridge, Oxford and Paris-Sud-XI universities abroad. An enthusiastic teaching body of both local and visiting lecturers ensures that tuition is of the highest quality, and often at no charge.According to the centre’s director Prof Barry Green, there is no shortage of willing teaching staff, and he felt confident that the other AIMS centres wouldn’t have any problem in attracting lecturers either.“AIMS is now generating a stream of well-prepared students entering many advanced areas of science,” said Hawking in 2008. “The NextEinstein plan, to create AIMS centres all over Africa, is even more exciting. Its implementation will have a major impact on the continent’s development. Not only will this be vital for Africa, I believe it will be important for the future of science because science needs Africa’s talents.”The theoretical physics genius, who attended the Canadian announcement, added that he was looking forward to meeting Africa’s potential young Einsteins.AIMS South Africa has already seen over 300 mathematics graduates from various African countries successfully complete the training course. With their skills and knowledge now at a globally competitive level, these students are able to apply to universities around the world for admission to postgraduate degrees. Many have been accepted into courses in Europe and the US, while others have successfully completed postgraduate degrees at South African universities.About 60 students are currently enrolled, but the expanded AIMS network of 15 centres will see about 750 scientists graduating across the continent each year. This bodes well for the future of African science and technology.The M’bour institute will take in 35 students for the 2011-2012 academic year. The centre’s director Mamadou Sangharé said that it would employ local lecturers, but also draw foreign teachers from its own pool of partnerships, particularly those with French universities.last_img read more

first_imgThe union says the deal, announced on 12 December, is the first of its kind in the world. It also includes an agreement for the union and government departments to work together to develop broader science integrity policies and guidelines. It will include rules to protect government scientists from political interference in their work, and from having their findings manipulated to support a particular political position.The union began pushing for the provision in 2014, in response to the restrictive communications policies of the previous Conservative government led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The policies left many researchers feeling they had been muzzled, unable to speak about even the most uncontroversial aspects of their work. A report by the union in 2013 found that 86% of federal scientists felt that they could not publicly share concerns about government policies that could harm public health, safety, or the environment without facing retaliation from their department leaders.The broader scientific community has welcomed the deal, says Kathleen Walsh, executive director of the scientific advocacy group Evidence for Democracy in Ottawa. “It’s a signal of the change in science in Canada in the past year,” she says. Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government, which came to power last year, has reversed many of the Harper government’s communication policies, and stated that federal researchers are free to speak about their work. Scientists working for the Canadian government have successfully negotiated a clause in their new contract that guarantees their right to speak to the public and the media about science and their research, without needing approval from their managers.“Employees shall have the right to express themselves on science and their research, while respecting the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector … without being designated as an official media spokesperson,” the new clause states. The ethics code says that while federal employees may talk about their own work, they should not publicly criticize government policy.“This agreement was extremely important in order to ensure that Canadians could trust public science and the decisions that governments make with that science,” says Debi Daviau, president of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, the Ottawa-based union representing about 15,000 federal scientists. “The Institute is proud to be able to be in a position to ensure that no government will be able to take this away from Canadians again.”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(*)last_img read more

first_imgWorld number one Simona Halep overcame a sluggish start to beat Wang Qiang 7-5 6-1 at the BNP Paribas Open on Tuesday and book a quarter-final against Petra Martic in the California desert.The turning point came after a string of unforced errors left Halep trailing 5-4 in the first set, prompting coach Darren Cahill to tell the defensive specialist to work longer points and reduce the error count.Halep went on to lose only one more game, easily seeing off the challenge of the world number 55 from China.The 26-year-old Romanian showed no sign of the foot injury that forced her to withdraw from the Qatar Total Open in Doha last month and is well positioned to make a run at reclaiming the Indian Wells title she won in 2015.First she will have to get past unseeded Croatian Martic, who advanced to the last eight with a 6-3 7-6(4) win against Marketa Vondrousova.”She is a very tough opponent because she is serving pretty strong and also the forehand has a lot of top spin … So I will have to work hard,” Halep told the Tennis Channel.Former world number one Karolina Pliskova used her powerful serve to overwhelm 16-year-old Amanda Anisimova and reach the quarter-finals for the third year in a row.Pliskova’s 6-1 7-6(2) win ended a remarkable run for the young American, a wild card who beat ninth seed Petra Kvitova in the third round for the biggest win of her fledgling career.Pliskova will face 20-year-old Naomi Osaka of Japan, who claimed her 50th career match by defeating Maria Sakkari 6-1 5-7 6-1 to reach her first Indian Wells quarter-final.advertisement(Source: Reuters)last_img read more

first_imgMONTREAL – During a recent meeting of Montreal’s police oversight body, Insp. Pascal Richard made a shocking claim: city police officers dressed in civilian clothing and wearing masks would infiltrate protests pretending to be protesters.Richard was responding to a question from a young woman regarding a Dec. 8, 2015, protest where masked officers in civilian dress were reportedly aggressive with demonstrators and pushed some to the ground.“I know what incident the woman is talking about, and since Dec. 8, 2015, we no longer use this strategy during protests,” Richard told the public security committee meeting.Richard didn’t say how many years this practice was used, but the fact he said anything about it at all reflects a change in attitude following a series of high-profile scandals that have shaken the public’s confidence in its police force.Alex Norris, chairman of the oversight committee, said he too was surprised by the revelation.“I heard allegations … but I had never seen an acknowledgment before that these practices were actually in effect,” he said in an interview Thursday.Norris is part of a new municipal government that has promised to make City Hall — particularly its police force — more transparent.Meetings of the oversight body are now open to members of the public, who can ask police questions directly. Nine such meetings have been held since Mayor Valerie Plante won the November 2017 election, Norris said, adding that before Plante, public meetings on policing were the exception, rather than the rule.Problems in the city’s police force surfaced in 2016 when it was revealed police electronically surveilled the telephones of several journalists in order to catch sources of embarrassing leaks to the media. The Quebec government ordered a public inquiry, which resulted in a new law protecting journalists’ sources.In February 2017, two retired officers alleged members of the police’s internal investigations department embellish or fabricate evidence against lower-ranking officers who fall out of favour. Spurious investigations were allegedly launched to obtain phone records and other surveillance warrants in order to intimidate colleagues, they claimed.In response to the allegations, the Quebec government mandated a former deputy justice minister to investigate. Michel Bouchard’s report, released in November 2017, was damming.He wrote about a “climate of tension and suspicion” in the force and noted officers testified how colleagues were investigated based on unjustified, biased evidence, or as a result of a personal grievance or act of revenge.“We believe there has been a weak culture of public oversight of the police for a long time and that’s why we’ve experience (these) kinds of problems,” Norris said. Bouchard’s “general findings were devastating to the credibility of the internal affairs division.”As a result of the scandals, the city’s police chief, Philippe Pichet, was suspended, and ultimately lost his job.The province installed Martin Prud’homme, chief of the provincial police, to temporarily take over from Pichet and initiate reforms.Denis Barrette, lawyer and spokesman for Quebec’s civil liberties advocacy group, attended the most recent public security meeting at City Hall and said the Plante administration’s transparency policy is a good first step.“We’ll see where it goes, it’s a very good policy,” he said. “Police corps are generally very opaque. They don’t have an open culture and need to work harder to have more transparency.”Despite its problems, Norris insists Montreal’s police force has integrity.“We have always been talking about a minority of officers,” he said. “The (Montreal police) has a proud 175-year-long history and has accomplished many great things. Montrealers and visitors to the city can of course have confidence in the protection that is offered by the police.”last_img read more