Not Just Theory Anymore: Gates Foundation Funds Malarial Mosquitoes, Being Bred In Labs To Destroy Their Entire SpeciesBy Staff, 5:18 pm
In Africa, scientists are preparing to use genetics to end malaria. The Gates Foundation is exploring technology that involves altering mosquitoes so that new generations are almost all male. Male mosquitoes don’t bite people, and a population without females can’t reproduce. It’s never been done before. No one knows if a gene drive, once released into the wild, could jump to other species. Malaria is one of the greatest public health threats on the planet. If we have the power to end it, should we?
Health: Latest News
Peter Pedroncelli, 7:40 am AFKI Original
The rich will pay more tax. That’s one of the most riveting things to come out of South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s 2017 budget speech. Income tax increases across the board did not materialise, but wealthy South Africans will be taxed at a higher bracket. Taxpayers earning more than $115,000 a year will pay a 45% tax rate. Around 100,000 taxpayers will be affected. Investors and global credit agencies were keen to hear Gordhan’s speech — his second one in his second stint as finance minister. Here is a closer look at 12 things you should know about the 2016 South African budget speech.
Peter Pedroncelli, 7:28 am
Barcelona and Argentina star Lionel Messi was in Egypt this week as part of an initiative to raise awareness and bring attention to a specific health campaign in the North African country. The incredibly talented attacking player travelled to Egypt on Tuesday as part of a campaign to inform and encourage Hepatitis C sufferers in the country to seek treatment for their illness. It is hoped that Messi’s fame and popularity will give further attention to the important health initiative in the North African nation.
Dana Sanchez, 2:37 pm
Marijuana is illegal in South Africa, but the country is a step closer to legalizing it for medicinal purposes. The South African government plans to soon publish proposed guidelines for production of cannabis, known locally as dagga. “This is a major breakthrough and fantastic news for freedom of choice,” said Narend Singh, MP for the Inkatha Freedom Party. The hemp industry is interested in legalizing the strain of cannabis used for hemp. SA imports $76 million worth of hemp products a year, Singh said. There’s also a case due to be heard in the Constitutional Court calling for full legalization including for recreational use.
Dana Sanchez, 8:53 am
A combination of native African armyworms and Fall armyworms from the Americas are ravaging staple crops in southern Africa. Uncontrolled, they have the potential to cause food shortages. Damage to maize is likely to have the biggest impact because it’s the main staple food crop. The Fall armyworm destroys the cob itself. In parts of their native range in the Americas, genetically-modified Bt maize is grown to combat the Fall armyworm. This may be an option for South Africa and other countries where GM crops are already grown. But many parts of Africa do not allow or welcome GM varieties.
Julia Austin, 5:40 pm
Plastic surgery can be expensive and risky. The best surgeons charge more. So how do those searching for a little nip-tuck reduce the cost without adding risk? Some travel to South Africa, where the exchange rate is good and many of the country’s surgeons are top notch. South Africa has seen a significant increase in black men and women opting for cosmetic procedures in the last decade or so. Black women prefer buttock augmentations, breast reductions, lip reductions and nip-tuck procedures. White women prefer nose jobs and liposuction, according to a South African plastic surgeon.
Dana Sanchez, 5:05 pm
The Asian strain of Zika responsible for the outbreak in Brazil and the U.S. has not been reported on the African mainland. Cape Verde has reported nine cases of the Asian strain. It’s not known if exposure to the African strain gives protection against the Asian strain. A $54.2 million grant in 2016 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is funding a candidate Zika virus vaccine now in its first phase of trials
Dana Sanchez, 5:26 pm
South Africans supported Semenya overwhelmingly on social media with the hashtag #handsoffcaster during the Rio Olympics. She experienced open hostility and protests from other runners who said the race was unfair because they were competing against a man. Semenya was born without ovaries. Instead she has internal testes and testosterone levels three times higher than most women. “If I was a woman 800-meter runner right now, I’d be looking to change careers,” a sports scientist said. SA is the only African country where same-sex marriage is legal.
Kurt Davis Jr., 7:57 am AFKI Original
In cities from Victoria Island in Lagos, Nigeria to Maputo, Mozambique, gym memberships can be above $100 per month. Africans are paying higher fees than in more mature markets. Zumba classes are abundant, yoga is everywhere, and biking and running are an ever-growing trend in Africa. Putting cash into the facilities for these types of activities is lucrative. Scalability is still a concern but branding across borders and within regions is necessary for growth.
Dana Sanchez, 4:10 pm
Around 60% of all products in South African stores are halal certified. Despite Muslims forming 1.5% percent of the population, this huge percentage of halal products is due to the large quantity of exports sent north in the continent, much of which is Muslim. South African traders make up about half of Africa’s fast-moving consumer goods sector, and 35 percent of these traders are Muslim. SA has helped other African countries set up halal certification including Zambia, Namibia, Botswana and Mozambique.
Dana Sanchez, 12:01 am
Tanzania, Rwanda and Malawi have a permissive approach to drone regulations, helping make them attractive places for trials. Madagascar has also tested drones to reduce the time it takes to transport life-saving supplies in areas where roads are impassable or transport infrastructure is nonexistent. How useful are drones for carrying out human welfare tasks? The work is still too new and the data too thin to know. One study said humanitarian cargoes are often much heavier than a drone can handle.
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