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Pakistani Religious Scholar Speaks In Support Of Polio, Other Vaccines

“A radical Pakistani religious scholar known as the ‘Father of the Taliban’ has issued a fatwa urging parents to immunize their children against polio and other fatal diseases, adding that vaccinations comply with Islamic law,” Agence France-Presse reports. “The edict by Maulana Sami-ul-Haq, who heads the hardline Dar-ul-Uloom Haqqania seminary,…

Humanitarian Efforts Continue In Philippines; Donors Urged To Focus On Long-Term Recovery

“Efforts are intensifying to improve access to much needed humanitarian assistance to remote Philippine islands, one month after the category five Super Typhoon Haiyan” struck, IRIN reports in an analysis. “Some remote areas that are difficult to reach in ordinary circumstances have become even more inaccessible since Haiyan swept through…

USAID Launches HIV Research Project In Cambodia

“The United States government on Wednesday launched an HIV research project in Cambodia, aiming to collect and disseminate critical data that will help the country in the fight against HIV,” Xinhua reports. “Rebecca Black, [USAID's Cambodia mission director], said the [HIV Innovate and Evaluate Project] would work closely with the…

Hong Kong Reports 2nd Case Of H7N9, Quarantines 19

“Hong Kong’s Center of Health Protection said Saturday authorities have quarantined 19 people that had come in contact with a H7N9 bird flu victim,” Forbes reports (Flannery, 12/8). Most of those quarantined have tested negative for the virus, “with the results of one patient pending,” Deutsche Welle writes, noting “Hong…

WTO Reaches Global Trade Deal After Indian Objections Over Food Subsidy Rules

“Delegates to the World Trade Organization [WTO] meeting in Bali, Indonesia, have approved a global trade deal for the first time since the organization was founded in 1995,” VOA News reports. “The deal still must be approved by all 159 member governments,” the news service notes, adding, “Analysts estimate that…

IRIN Examines Maternal Health Challenges In Typhoon-Stricken Philippines

“The massive destruction of health care facilities, with disruption to access and delivery as well as protracted displacement caused by Typhoon Haiyan (local name Yolanda) will further undermine precarious maternal health provision in the Philippines, warn experts,” IRIN reports. “According to the recently released Multi-Cluster/Sector Rapid Assessment (MIRA), produced by…

Still No Consensus On Food Security, Trade Facilitation On WTO Meeting’s Final Day

“A consensus still eludes the 159 member nations of the World Trade Organization (WTO) on issues of trade facilitation and food subsidy on the final day of the ninth ministerial talks of the group,” the Financial Express reports. “After hectic parleys with India and the U.S. that lasted until early…

H7N9 Bird Flu Not Yet Well-Adapted For Human Transmission, Study Says

“The H7N9 bird flu virus has not yet acquired the changes needed to infect humans easily but it would not be wise to dismiss its potential risk, according to a U.S. study published in the journal Science Thursday,” Xinhua reports. “In contrast to some initial studies that had suggested that…

Food Security Becomes Divisive Issue At WTO Ministerial Meeting

“The World Trade Organization’s [WTO] ninth ministerial meeting at Bali, Indonesia, has morphed into a fierce battle between the countries seeking social safety nets for hundreds of millions of poor people and those insisting on having advanced import-facilitation programs in the developing countries on par with the industrialized nations,” Inter…

IRIN Examines Lower Profile Of Pakistan’s Polio Immunization Campaigns

“Attacks on vaccination teams, militant threats and the abduction of teachers facilitating [a polio immunization] campaign in November 2013 have handicapped efforts and led to a new strategy” for conducting vaccinations in Pakistan, IRIN reports. “It means an end to the kind of campaigns seen in the past, often headed…