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September 2018 News Round Up

News:

Measles cases hit record high in Europe Over 41 000 children and adults in the WHO European Region have been infected with measles in the first 6 months of 2018. The total number for this period far exceeds the 12-month totals reported for every other year this decade.
Birling Gap chemical haze stopped helicopters flying Birling Gap was evacuated and more than 150 people needed hospital treatment when the strange haze was spotted on the Seven Sisters last summer.
Yemen cholera epidemic ‘controlled’ by computer predictions For the first time ever, measurements from NASA Earth-observing research satellites are being used to help combat a potential outbreak of life-threatening cholera. Humanitarian teams in Yemen are targeting areas identified by a NASA-supported project that precisely forecasts high-risk regions based on environmental conditions observed from space.
Are We Ready for the Future of Warfare? Warfare has always been about exerting political will. In the most basic way, that’s accomplished by one side inflicting enough pain on the other to compel them to acquiesce—and technology has always played a key role in doing that.
Vostok 2018 war games: China’s chance to learn Russia’s military lessons from Syria The Chinese armed forces will have the chance next month to learn from Russia’s combat experience in Syria when PLA personnel take part in Moscow’s biggest war games in decades, Chinese military sources and observers said.
Salisbury Novichok 999 vehicles buried near Cheltenham Emergency service vehicles used in response to the Salisbury Novichok poisoning have been buried in a Gloucestershire landfill site, the government confirmed.
Salisbury Attack: Joint Statement by Leaders of France, Germany, the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom We, the leaders of France, Germany, the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, reiterate our outrage at the use of a chemical nerve agent, known as Novichok, in Salisbury on 4 March.

Visual guide: how the novichok suspects made their way to Salisbury
Police have named and charged in absentia two Russian suspects in the novichok attack on Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury.
Trump denies wanting Bashar al-Assad killed after chemical attack
U.S. warns against “reckless” Syria assault in Idlib as Russia hammers rebels Russian airstrikes resumed Friday morning in Syria, pounding rebel positions in Idlib province. Syrian government forces resumed shelling of rebels there. At least one person was killed and several others wounded.
Experts Debate Biological Weapons Challenges The meetings of experts of states-parties to the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) on Aug. 7–16 discussed the potential for abuse of advances in gene-editing technology, along with other issues related to the treaty that bans biological arms.

Technology:

Can Wi-Fi signals reveal hidden explosives?
Ordinary WiFi can easily detect weapons, bombs and explosive chemicals in bags at museums, stadiums, theme parks, schools and other public venues, according to a Rutgers University–New Brunswick-led study.
Superbugs might meet their match in oxygen weaponized by light The life-threatening bacteria MRSA can cripple a medical facility since it is resistant to treatment. But scientists report that they are now making advances in a new technique that avoids antibiotics, instead using light to activate oxygen, which wipes out bacteria.
Cheap paper device detects bogus antibiotics Antibiotics – medicines that treat bacterial infections – have saved millions of lives worldwide since their discovery in the early 20th century. When we fill a prescription at the doctor’s office or pharmacy today, most of us take for granted that these commonly prescribed medicines are real, and of good quality.
New antibiotic candidates were inside us all along The human body produces many antimicrobial peptides that help the immune system fend off infection. Scientists hoping to harness these peptides as potential antibiotics have now discovered that other peptides in the human body can also have potent antimicrobial effects, expanding the pool of new antibiotic candidates.
ACS Enzyme-based nanobots neutralize nerve agents while administering antidote
Once in the territory of science fiction, “nanobots” are closer than ever to becoming a reality, with possible applications in medicine, manufacturing, robotics and fluidics. Today, scientists report progress in developing the tiny machines: They have made nanobot pumps that destroy nerve agents, while simultaneously administering an antidote.
Promising new universal flu vaccine may be just a few years away from market A universal flu vaccine that protects people against most influenza strains is one step closer to reality, with a study from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
Natural blue clay may kill germs in wounds Researchers at Arizona State University and Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, have found that at least one type of blue clay may help fight disease-causing bacteria in wounds, including antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The findings appear in the International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents.
Special sand could let us drink stormwater from the streets UC Berkeley engineers have created a new way to remove contaminants from storm water, potentially addressing the needs of water-stressed communities that are searching for ways to tap the abundant and yet underused source of fresh drinking water.
Gas-sensing drones that map clouds of harmful pollution from the air Rice University researchers, in a collaboration with Baylor College of Medicine and Houston nonprofit Technology For All (TFA), are developing a fleet of autonomous aerial drones that coordinate with each other to detect, track and model the environment and let neighborhoods know of airborne perils that can be especially hazardous following extreme weather events.
New superbug breaks through the last line of antibiotic defence In parts of Europe, some strains of the latest superbug are already resistant to all known antibiotics – but researchers don’t yet know how it is spreading internationally
MIT study sees nuclear power as integral to a low-carbon future How can the world achieve the deep carbon emissions reductions that are necessary to slow or reverse the impacts of climate change? The authors of a new MIT study say that unless nuclear energy is meaningfully incorporated into the global mix of low-carbon energy technologies, the challenge of climate change will be much more difficult and costly to solve.

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