President Sirleaf Extols Kenya’s Support in Ebola Fight

first_imgPresident Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has extolled the government and people of Kenya for their selflessness in supporting Liberia in the fight of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).According to a dispatch from Nairobi, President Sirleaf was speaking at State House when she led a high-level delegation for bilateral talks between the two countries. President Sirleaf said Kenya indeed proved to be a true friend to Liberia when the East African nation sent medical staff to assist Liberia in the fight against the deadly Ebola virus disease. “You will always know your genuine friends when passing through tough times,” she told the Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and delegation, adding passionately, “Kenya stood with us when we were confronted. We will always remain indebted to you.”In his response, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said the State Visit by President Sirleaf provided an opportunity to rejuvenate the enormous potential between the two countries, build on a foundation of common values of mutual cooperation and interests.He said the level of engagement between Liberia and Kenya, particularly in trade, has been very low but holds much promise. As a manifestation of the two leaders’ commitment to forge closer cooperation, they signed an agreement for the establishment of a Joint Commission for Cooperation and a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Political Consultations.Acting Foreign Minister, Mr. Elias Shoniyin, signed on behalf of the government; while Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Amina Mohammed, signed for Kenya.Acknowledging the signing, President Uhuru Kenyatta said it will provide the necessary legal and political frameworks for enhancing mutual beneficial commercial, cultural and diplomatic exchanges. He challenged both countries and their delegations to “move with speed, identify potential sectors for cooperation and develop strong and sustainable frameworks in order to accrue tangible benefits for our citizens.”Meanwhile, both leaders also signed a Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) to revitalize the air transport connectivity between the two countries. The Kenyan leader also singled out agriculture as one area where his country can share its experiences with Liberia. “Kenya,” President Kenyatta said, “can leverage its vast knowledge, particularly in the livestock sub-sector, to provide capacity building, share best practices in disease and pest control and cooperate in research and technology transfer.”President Kenyatta said Liberia, which is home to the second largest maritime registry in the world, has a wealth of experience in maritime affairs that Kenya could benefit from. He then thanked Liberia for its decision to join the World Trade Organization (WTO), the main decision-making body in the global trade system. “Kenya,” he said, “looks forward to working closely with Liberia and other African countries within the WTO to ensure that the needs of the continent are addressed.”Also making remarks during the bilateral talks, President Sirleaf said she was in Kenya to attend the WTO meeting and to make her country’s voice heard at that world body. She conceded that the time was ripe for Liberia and Kenya to explore new areas of engagements to benefit their citizens. Madam Sirleaf cited great strides Kenya has made especially in the education sector, adding that this is one area of cooperation Liberia was keen to develop. Kenya, she observed, has excelled in providing quality education to its young people and as such Liberia intends to borrow a leaf from Kenya.Later, President Kenyatta and First Lady Margaret Kenyatta hosted a luncheon in honor of the visiting Liberian Head of State and high-powered delegation at State House, Nairobi. In a related development, President Sirleaf and delegation were later taken on a guided tour of the flower farm at Karen on the outskirts of the capital, Nairobi, and the Kazuri Beads Project. The flower farm exports natural flower to several industrialized nations including the United States and Germany. The Kazuri Beads Project aims to empower women through sustainable employment opportunities. The project began as an initiative by Lady Susan Wood and two African women and soon discovered that there were many other women in villages around Nairobi, most of who were single mothers, who were in great need of regular employment. Driven by the desire to provide such opportunities, Kazuri has grown and today has a large workforce skilled in the manufacture of handmade jewelry. Kazuri Beads is specialized in the design and production of pottery ware, which reflects the culture and wildlife of Kenya.Meanwhile President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf was presented Kenya’s highest award – Chief of The Order of The Golden Heart of Kenya (CGH) – at a colorful ceremony held at State House in Nairobi, Kenya. She was given the topmost Kenyan award at an Investiture Ceremony following elaborate celebrations marking the East African country’s 52nd National Independence Anniversary, in ardent recognition of her enormous undertakings in both private and public life spanning over national and international careers.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Chemical spills put Italys underground physics lab in jeopardy

first_img Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe ALASTAIR PHILIP WIPER/Science Source Email Gran Sasso National Laboratory sits within a mountain aquifer that feeds water to a local aqueduct. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Tensions came to a head in 2002 when researchers working on Borexino, which measures neutrinos from the sun, accidentally released some 50 liters of the hydrocarbon pseudocumene, which ended up in a local river. At the time, a judge in Teramo sealed off the hall containing Borexino, putting that detector out of action for 3 years and forcing another experiment to shut down prematurely. The leak also led the government to appoint a commissioner to improve safety at the lab.But now the lab, run by Italy’s National Institute for Nuclear Physics (INFN), again finds itself in trouble. Prosecutors from Teramo, backed by a 1000-page investigative report, accuse Gran Sasso Director Stefano Ragazzi, INFN President Fernando Ferroni, and the heads of the lab’s environmental and technical operations of “negligence and imprudence” for having failed to correct safety flaws dating back to the 2002 spill.The new investigation was triggered after researchers working on the CUPID neutrino experiment in August 2016 accidentally released a dichloromethane solvent, used to clean their detector’s crystals. Small amounts of the solvent somehow ended up in Teramo’s drinking water. The incident only came to light several months later, when the regional government indirectly revealed that the lab’s water had been diverted away from the aqueduct. Augusto De Sanctis, president of the nonprofit environmental group Abruzzo Ornithological Station in Pescara, filed a complaint soon thereafter.De Sanctis points out that other minor accidents have occurred, including a small air conditioner fire in June 2016 that shut down one experiment for several months, and a minor spill of chloroform in November 2016. But he is most concerned about the potential for a larger spill involving the 1300 tons of pseudocumene in Borexino and some 1000 tons of mineral spirits in the Large Volume Detector (LVD), which also studies neutrinos. De Sanctis argues that the use of the chemicals is illegal under a 2006 law forbidding the presence of dangerous substances within 200 meters of drinking water sources.The prosecutors agree. They accuse the Gran Sasso management of failing to adopt “measures needed to remove” the lab’s dangerous substances, particularly those in Borexino and the LVD. They also say the safety improvements ordered after the 2002 spill were never completed. Costing €84 million altogether (including improvements to the road tunnels and aqueduct), this work was supposed to include resealing the lab floors and overhauling the drainage system. Eugenio Coccia, who was director of the lab at the time, says he can’t say how much of the work was completed. “I was not responsible for the safety work,” he says.A spokesperson for INFN says Ferroni and Ragazzi don’t want to speak about the “delicate situation.” They say the lab’s research is carrying on as normal, and the legal action “does not have a direct impact” on research. Spokespeople for Borexino and the LVD declined to comment.In a 2017 statement, INFN argued that the 200-meter rule doesn’t apply to Gran Sasso because the “underground laboratory infrastructure” predates the 2006 law. But earlier laws imposed the same minimum distance, De Sanctis says, and the 2006 law requires the removal of preexisting substances. In 2013, Italy’s National Institute of Health told the lab that the 2006 law requires a “drastic reduction” in the lab’s activities as long as nearby cities rely on groundwater from the mountain. The lab appears to be moving toward this concession: In January, Ferroni wrote to Ragazzi saying it is “indispensable, although painful” to remove most of the pseudocumene and mineral spirits by the end of 2020.If lawyers for Ferroni and colleagues cannot persuade the prosecution to drop the case, a judge will then decide whether to put the scientists on trial. To try to avoid that, the lab could decide to disband Borexino and the LVD before 2020, De Sanctis says. “It would be strange if the lab didn’t do something in response,” he says.Andrew Sonnenschein, a physicist at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois, who worked on Borexino as a postdoctoral researcher just before the 2002 spill, says that accident was caused by “chaos in the management” of the plant used to purify Borexino’s pseudocumene. But he insists the incident was “quite overblown” and says critics of Gran Sasso “don’t think quantitatively” about the tiny risk involved. “Gran Sasso is a wonderful facility and it would be a shame if these experiments had to shut down,” he says. “There is no public benefit to doing that.”De Sanctis sees things differently. “I am a supporter of scientific research,” he says. “But research has to have its limits, particularly when it comes to basic rights such as the right to clean drinking water.”center_img By Edwin CartlidgeOct. 9, 2018 , 2:25 PM Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Chemical spills put Italy’s underground physics lab in jeopardy Scientists fear for the future of Gran Sasso National Laboratory, a world-leading underground physics lab in central Italy, after prosecutors charged four lab leaders with endangering drinking water supplies. Sparked by a number of accidental spills that released small amounts of toxic chemicals into groundwater feeding a local aqueduct, the 28 September legal action could lead to at least two major Gran Sasso experiments being shut down.Gianpaolo Bellini, a particle physicist at the University of Milan in Italy and a former spokesperson for Borexino, one of the lab experiments in jeopardy, says fears of contamination are “groundless.” But he says the lab itself is in a “very delicate situation.” He worries that research groups, particularly from abroad, might be put off by the possibility of legal action and delays to their work. “This [investigation] damages the reputation of the lab,” he says. “People will be more cautious about coming and therefore more cautious about investing their money.”The largest facility of its kind, Gran Sasso consists of three huge experimental halls carved out of a mountain next to a motorway tunnel that connects the cities of L’Aquila and Teramo in Italy’s Abruzzo region. Sheltered from cosmic rays by 1400 meters of rock, the lab draws physicists from around the world to probe neutrinos, search for dark matter, and study other rare subatomic phenomena. But it has also attracted the ire of environmentalists. Some of the experiments rely on large tanks of organic compounds to detect subatomic particles, and critics worry that leaks could contaminate the surrounding mountain aquifer, which provides drinking water to hundreds of thousands of people.last_img read more

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