Connect with us
NOT IN USE

World News

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Calls for International Collaboration to Protect People Everywhere from the Coronavirus

Published

on

5e97aa8f8427e9253e192ca3

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation today announced an expansion of its funding for the global response to COVID-19. The increase includes an additional $150 million of grant funding plus a commitment to leverage the resources of the foundation’s Strategic Investment Fund, which could be deployed to catalyze the rapid procurement of essential medical supplies and help life sciences companies secure financing to produce COVID-19 products. In announcing the funding, the foundation called on world leaders to unite in a global response to COVID-19 to ensure equitable access to diagnostics, treatments, and vaccines.

“It is increasingly clear that the world’s response to this pandemic will not be effective unless it is also equitable,” said Gates Foundation co-chair Melinda Gates. “We have a responsibility to meet this global crisis with global solidarity. In addition to contributing to the development of diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines, these funds will support efforts against COVID-19 in low-and-middle-income countries, where local leaders and healthcare workers are doing heroic work to protect vulnerable communities and slow the spread of the disease.”

The foundation’s new $150 million commitment will fund the development of diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines, as well as new efforts to provide partners in Africa and South Asia with resources to scale their COVID-19 detection, treatment, and isolation efforts.

The foundation will also leverage a portion of its $2.5 billion Strategic Investment Fund, which uses a suite of financial tools to address market failures and incentivize private enterprise to develop affordable and accessible health products. These funds, which can include equity investments, loans, and volume guarantees, will be used to help health systems in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) facilitate the rapid procurement of personal protective equipment for health care workers, COVID-19 diagnostics, oxygen therapeutics, and other essential medical supplies. Any financial returns generated by the Strategic Investment Fund are re-invested in Gates Foundation philanthropic programs.

The funding announced today builds on the $100 million the foundation has committed to date to support the global response, as well as $5 million in resources to support public health agencies and frontline response organizations in the greater Seattle region. Initial foundation funding has helped to kick-start the search for COVID-19 diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines; enhanced virus detection capacity in Africa; and contributed to the response in China. The foundation has also directed its programmatic technical expertise to support multilateral, national, and sub-national responses to the pandemic.

“COVID-19 doesn’t obey border laws. Even if most countries succeed in slowing the disease over the next few months, the virus could return if the pandemic remains severe enough elsewhere,” said foundation co-chair Bill Gates. “The world community must understand that so long as COVID-19 is somewhere, we need to act as if it were everywhere. Beating this pandemic will require an unprecedented level of international funding and cooperation.”

While there is not yet global consensus on the total resources required to turn back COVID-19, the figure is more than any one contributor will bear. A coordinated, international effort bringing together all sectors will be required to mobilize the billions in funding needed in the months ahead. Institutions such as the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance are in place to coordinate the development and delivery of COVID-19 vaccines, but they require an influx of new resources to do so. Other organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO), national governments, and private companies will need to be involved in funding the at-risk manufacturing of vaccine candidates and deciding how to ensure equitable access to essential products for populations worldwide.

“This pandemic has unleashed an extraordinary philanthropic response. While significant, it is still only one small part of what must be a coordinated effort to beat this global crisis,” said foundation CEO Mark Suzman. “Philanthropy cannot-and should not-supplant the public and private sectors. What philanthropy is good at is testing out ideas that might not otherwise get tried, so governments and businesses can then take on the successful ones. With all sectors working together, we can avoid the worst-case scenarios of human, economic, and social costs.”

In announcing its new $150 million commitment, the foundation identified four priority areas for investment:

Accelerating Virus Detection
The foundation will provide partners in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia with funding to scale their COVID-19 detection, treatment, and isolation efforts. In some countries, this will include leveraging emergency operations centers normally deployed to support polio eradication and malaria elimination efforts toward COVID-19 detection.

Protecting the Most Vulnerable
Foundation funding will help partners in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia pilot different approaches to physical distancing and infection suppression in settings where stay-at-home policies and other physical distancing strategies may not be practical. The goal will be to identify infection suppression strategies that can be effectively sustained over time with minimal social and economic disruption. A key focus will be building on lessons learned from two decades of experience in implementing infectious disease prevention programs, specifically the importance of community-designed and community-led engagement efforts.

The foundation is also considering gender equality issues in its response, and it will support research into the differential health, economic, and social impacts of the pandemic on women and girls in LMICs. This will help to inform the foundation’s short-, medium-, and long-term policy response to the pandemic and global policy responses. This effort will build on the foundation’s existing work to improve gender data by designing and implementing gender-specific metrics and surveys to capture data that reflects the experiences of women and girls.

Minimizing Social and Economic Impact
The foundation will provide non-medical funding to help LMICs strengthen social and economic support for people who are living in extreme poverty or who are at risk of falling back into extreme poverty due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia together account for 85 percent of the 629 million people around the world who live on less than $1.90 per day, and past pandemics have had a disproportionate impact on people who cannot afford adequate nutrition, safe sanitation, and quality housing. People living in extreme poverty are also less likely to be able to practice physical distancing because they cannot afford to stop working.

The foundation will work with partners to help expand access to social payment systems to communities that are most at risk of serious social and economic disruption due to public health measures undertaken to suppress COVID-19 transmission.

Develop Products for a Sustained Response
The foundation will continue to invest in efforts to accelerate the development of diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines for the COVID-19 response while working with governments, the private sector, and multilateral institutions to ensure scaled manufacturing and the equitable procurement and distribution of these products as they become available.

This work will include efforts to develop affordable and accessible point-of-care diagnostics, as well as support for the development of treatments and vaccines whose production can be quickly scaled once clinical trials have demonstrated their safety and efficacy. The foundation has committed to working with governments, CEPI, and the private sector to help provide financing for the at-risk enhancement of vaccine manufacturing capacity. This will allow the production of vaccine candidates so that global vaccine supply can be quickly scaled once clinical trial results are available.

The foundation will work with national governments and international organizations such as the WHO; UNICEF; Gavi; and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to ensure that LMICs have equitable access to essential commodities and to ensure that supply and distribution chains are well prepared to facilitate their rapid and widespread delivery to Gavi- and Global Fund-eligible countries.

Detailed summaries of previous commitments can be found at https://www.gatesfoundation.org/media-center/press-releases.

For more on the foundation’s response to COVID-19, please see this post by Mark Suzman on The Optimist.

Advertisement

World News

Is Cristiano Ronaldo worth what’s being offered?

Published

on

Ronaldo

If asked who the greatest football player of the modern era is, most people will say Lionel Messi of Argentina. A large minority will instead name the Portuguese legend Cristiano Ronaldo. A significant proportion of those in both camps – especially those under the age of fifty – will say that Messi and Ronaldo are the two greatest players of all time, eclipsing even Pele and Diego Maradona. Both men have lit up the world football stage for the past two decades, but both are entering the twilight of their careers. Messi will play another season for Paris Saint Germain before deciding what he wants to do next. Ronaldo’s future is less clear. He’s currently playing at the 2022 Qatar World Cup as a free agent, having been released early from his Manchester United contract after falling out with the club.

When Ronaldo first asked to leave Manchester United over the summer, the reason given was that he wanted to continue playing in the UEFA Champions League, which is an experience the Red Devils were unable to offer him this season after their poor performance in the 2021/2022 season. At the age of 37, Ronaldo is aware that he cannot defy the effects of ageing forever, and he doesn’t have long left at the peak of his game. That’s why he wanted to ensure that he had the chance to play at the highest level of them all for as long as he could – but it’s beginning to sound like an enormous cash offer might have turned his head.

As has been reported on numerous websites, including our own, Ronaldo has received an offer from the Saudi Arabian club Al-Nassr that would make him the highest-paid athlete in the history of world sport. The deal would last for three years, taking him to the age of forty and, presumably, retirement, and would pay him £173m per year. There are even rumours that another Saudi Arabian club will attempt to beat that offer. Ronaldo is already rich, but offers of that kind are difficult to turn down. Spending three years earning such a figure would mean that not only is Cristiano Ronaldo financially secure for life, but he could ensure the same for his children, his grandchildren, and perhaps generations of the Ronaldo family beyond that. Furthermore, becoming the highest-paid athlete in history would suit Ronaldo’s already-inflated ego.

The big question we’re asking in this article is whether there’s any metric that would make Cristiano Ronaldo worth that kind of money. He’s a global star, of course – he’s the most followed man on Instagram, and as we’ve already said, he’s one of the greatest football players of all time. It would be an incredible boost for football in Saudi Arabia to have him play in the country. It’s difficult to see how Al-Nassr could bring him in without violating FIFA’s financial fair play rules, but the effect of those rules appears to be minimal in Saudi Arabia. The club would have more people at its games than ever before and would also sell more replica shirts next season than in every previous season combined, but that might still not be enough to recoup such a monstrous spend.

To fully get its money’s worth out of Ronaldo, Al-Nassr would have to explore other commercial activities involving the superstar forward’s likeness and image. Eyecon, a casino game development company, has demonstrated how to do this without even holding an official licence. The company operates a casino game called “Striker Goes Wild,” starring a player who looks virtually identical to Cristiano Ronaldo. There are dozens of football-themed slots and games available to casino networks and their sister sites, but “Striker Goes Wild” is one of the most popular of them. Some of the credit for that can be laid at the feet of its Ronaldo clone, even if it isn’t Ronaldo himself. We can only imagine how much more money could be made by a casino game that stars the real Ronaldo. Maradona’s name and license have been used to sell casino games in the past year, so this might be something Al-Nassr could consider for Ronaldo, too.

There’s no way that the Saudi Arabian club could make its money back on the pitch. Even if television viewership increased by fifty per cent for Al-Nassr games because of Ronaldo’s presence – which is probably too much to hope for – it wouldn’t make a meaningful dent in the club’s costs. Shirt sales, as we touched on earlier, would improve, but there’s still the question of whether football fans outside Saudi Arabia would spend money on a replica shirt for a Saudi Arabian team. The answer to that might be a hard “no” regardless of the fame of the name and number on its back. Ultimately, what this might come down to is how much Al-Nassr might be willing to pay purely for the privilege and bragging rights of having Ronaldo line up for the team – and we already know the answer to this question.

In the end, it’s possible that none of this will matter. It was initially reported that Ronaldo was interested in the move, but more recently, that’s been refuted by Piers Morgan – the man to whom Ronaldo gave the interview that brought his Manchester United career to an end. Morgan believes that the Portuguese is steadfast in his desire to play for a club in the European Champions League, and that would rule all but the top teams in Europe out of contention. The question then becomes one of which big European club might take him at this stage of his career, with questions about his form and attitude. One of the leading contenders is Chelsea. How Ronaldo would fit into Graham Potter’s team is unknown, but the club’s (relatively) new owner Todd Boehly is known to be a huge Ronaldo fan and would view him as a marquee signing regardless of his age. Bayern Munich is another possible – but less likely – solution.

In the end, nothing’s ever boring where Ronaldo is concerned. His is a name that’s always in the headlines and always attracts attention – and perhaps that explains why Al-Nassr is willing to pay such big money better than anything else.

Continue Reading

Listen

From Apple Music With Love: DJ Khaled’s Ultimate 2022 MegaMix in Spatial

Published

on

unnamed 2

Apple Music is getting into the giving spirit this holiday season with the return of From Apple Music With Love, a special countdown to the holidays. Each day at 8:00a PST from November 25 – 30, Apple Music subscribers will receive exclusive gifts from some of the biggest and brightest names in music, stamped with love and ready for unwrapping. This year, gifts range from live concert recordings, new renditions of favorite songs, a classic album rerelease alongside a brand new holiday album, and party-crushing mixes to close out the year. Do yourself a favor and enjoy the musical experiences we’ve put together with Apple Music listeners in mind.

Today’s exclusive gift comes from DJ Khaled. Following up 2021’s year-ending MegaMix, Khaled returns with a final holiday gift for Apple Music subscribers. “I was just thinking of this year and all the great hits that came out,” he tells Apple Music. “It was real special because this was the first year in a while that we all been back outside! Know what I’m saying—from the pandemic, and dodging all this corona and all that. First of all, God is the greatest, and we blessed—so when I got this opportunity to make this MegaMix, I was like, ‘It’s only right that we do it big and play nothing but all the hits of the whole year,’ know what I’m saying?”

Look back at all of the From Apple Music With Love gifts this year, and hear Khaled’s MegaMix now, which includes smashes from Taylor Swift, Jack Harlow, Lizzo, and Beyoncé—plus a couple of Khaled’s own highlights from 2022 HERE

Continue Reading

World News

Kanye West and Kim Kardashian settle divorce, Ye to pay $200k a month in child support

Published

on

kim and ye

Kim Kardashian and Ye have reached a settlement in their divorce, averting a trial that had been set for next month, court documents filed Tuesday showed. (more…)

Continue Reading

Watch

Future Releases Music Video For “712pm” Directed By Travis Scott

Published

on

future

– Ready to blow up the internet yet again, Future presents the blockbuster music video for “712PM” directed by none other than fellow game-changer Travis Scott. Watch “712PM”

(more…)

Continue Reading

Listen

From Apple Music With Love: Listen To Sam Smith’s Royal Albert Hall Set In Spatial

Published

on

unnamed 1

Apple Music is getting into the giving spirit this holiday season with the return of From Apple Music With Love, a special countdown to the holidays. Each day at 8:00a PST from November 25 – 30, Apple Music subscribers will receive exclusive gifts from some of the biggest and brightest names in music, stamped with love and ready for unwrapping. This year, gifts range from live concert recordings, new renditions of favorite songs, a classic album rerelease alongside a brand new holiday album, and party-crushing mixes to close out the year. Do yourself a favor and enjoy the musical experiences we’ve put together with Apple Music listeners in mind.

Today’s exclusive gift comes from Sam Smith, and features their stunning October 2022 performance at London’s Royal Albert Hall.

“I definitely wanted this to be different to my other shows,” Sam Smith tells Apple Music. “I come from a theatre background and really missed that feeling on my last tour. It takes a village of talent to put on my shows, and it’s important for me now to showcase and celebrate the artists around me.” In Live From Royal Albert Hall, which arrives to Apple Music listeners as part of the From Apple Music With Love series, Smith celebrates their body of work with a curated selection of songs from the evening.

Though Smith was mostly performing songs from their catalogue, the singer says the set was imbued with the spirit of their fourth studio album Gloria, scheduled to release in January 2023. “With this show it was about adding a little Gloria to all my songs,” Smith says. “I always want to change all the songs a little to fit the mood and the tones of whatever project I’m currently releasing. But I am also passionate about playing the songs the way people love them.” One listen to Live From Royal Albert Hall and you’re sure to have found that Smith couldn’t lose either way.

Tune in every day at 8am PST to keep counting down the holidays with an exclusive gift on Apple Music and check out Sam Smith’s October 2022 performance at London’s Royal Albert Hall HERE

Continue Reading

World News

Brazilian photographer uses the model as a human sticker album in a project about Brazilian passion for the World Cup

Published

on

unnamed 2

Inspired by the World Cup, Brazilian photographer Carlos Locatelli innovated the idea of a record that refers to the national passion for women and football. The artist used the body of a model and influencer, Wanessa Moura, to produce a “human sticker album.”

 

The influencer said she was a little uncomfortable when she received the invitation, but she accepted the challenge after understanding the proposal. “At first, I didn’t understand the idea, but I accepted the challenge of artistically approaching the woman’s body and sensuality.

 

Today, masculinity and the objectification of women’s bodies are outdated figures, and they don’t complete the album”, explains the model.

 

Wanessa gained worldwide fame after being compared to actress Penélope Cruz in 2019 and was on the cover of Vietnam’s Baazar magazine.

 

Always active on the networks, she always seeks to exalt the female body and power, encouraging women of all body types to seek their space in the world of fashion and catwalks.

 

The model has performed a provocative test in favor of female empowerment before. In 2018, the year of the last World Cup, the model took pictures with phrases and expressions stamped on her body, asking for respect, freedom, and rights for women. “I will always raise this flag. In the same way that we root for Hexa, we should hope that women are respected and stop being objectified”, completes Wanessa.

Continue Reading

Trending