What does the AUKUS deal mean for Asia? #SootinClaimon.Com

#SootinClaimon.Com : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation.

https://www.nationthailand.com/blogs/perspective/40006690


Last week President Biden, in announcing on video the Australia/United Kingdom/United States called Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison “that fellow from Down Under” in what appears to be a senior moment. Considering that the military alliance has upset a lot of people from China, France and even their own commentators should not have been surprising.

Has Australia, one of the four advanced OECD countries from the Asian region (Japan, South Korea and New Zealand) seriously thought through AUKUS implications on her Asian neighbours?

First, do eight nuclear submarines by 2040 make serious military sense for Australian security? We can understand that a maritime power in the South Pacific with lots of coastal waters to patrol needs a strong navy. But as former Prime Minister Paul Keating rightly pointed out, China is a land-based power and being over 2,000 miles away from Australia, does not present a military threat to Australia. Assuming that the nuclear submarines will be similar to those planned by the United States, which will acquire 12 of the Columbia class nuclear submarines for $128 billion by 2030 (US GAO), Australia may be paying at least $85 billion for equipment that may be obsolete by the time they come onstream. By 2040, even the US Director of National Intelligence has admitted that China’s GDP (22.8% of world GDP) would outclass the US (20.8%). 20 years is a long time to improve defences against submarine attacks. Submarines have at best deterrent effects under conventional warfare, but their real threat comes from carrying nuclear missiles. But even the potential of carrying such missiles would invite enemy nuclear retaliation.

This is exactly why ASEAN countries like Malaysia and Indonesia showed serious concern that the AUKUS deal may become a catalyst to the nuclear arms race. If that is the case, Australia would lose her status as a haven for nuclear-free living, something that New Zealand cares seriously about, which is why she distanced herself from the deal.

Second, which businessman would spend nearly the same amount of money that he earns to point a gun at his best customer? China imported $100 billion in 2020 from Australia, with the latter earning a trade and service surplus of $55.5 billion. Then to spend $85 billion (with likely huge over-runs based on past experience) on defense against your top trading customer defies business logic.

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Third, the Anglosphere military alliance created a split with Europe, already sore after Brexit and Kabul. France is not only the first foreign ally of the United States (helping in the US Independence War against Britain), but also has serious Indo-Pacific interests with 93% of her maritime economic exclusivity zone (10.2 million sq.km), the second largest in the world, located there.

Fourth, you have to ask whether Australian military intelligence is an oxymoron when they recently ordered 70-tonne US Abram tanks that are too heavy to carry by train nor across Northern Territory bridges by road to defend the Northern Australia coast.

Her Asian neighbours would be much happier if Australia took the lead in the Asia-Pacific region on climate change, rather than spending on arms. Amongst the rich countries, Australia has the highest per capita emission rate, similar to the US. But out of 200 countries, Australia ranks fifth or sixth as biggest global emitter, so her voice on fulfilling the requirements of the Paris Accord matters. Unfortunately, given the huge influence of the mining lobby, Australia may not even achieve her Paris agreement to cut emissions by 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2030, let alone improve on that commitment by COP26.

Australia may be rich enough to mitigate against her own risks of climate warming, but the effect of climate change on her neighbours, particularly the Pacific Islands is going to be devastating. In 2019, Pacific island nations such as Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Timor Leste and Tonga declared that by 2030, their lands could become uninhabitable by rising seas, water salination, reef destruction and more natural disasters.

The latest World Bank model suggests that the global decline in biodiversity and collapse in ecosystem services such as wild pollination, food from marine fisheries and timber from native forests could result in $2.7 trillion decline in global GDP by 2030. The injustice is that the poorest countries, including those in Asia-Pacific will bear most of such eco-system and GDP losses. In particular, many indigenous people whose livelihood depends on nature will bear the costs of loss of habitat and livelihoods.

Why are we not surprised that on 13 September 2007, when the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was adopted by 144 member countries, the four votes against were Anglosphere countries of Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States? In all four rich countries, the record of treatment of the Indigenous People have been shameful, such as the unmarked graves of Indigenous school children in forced assimilation schools in Canada. According to Human Rights Watch, Aboriginal and Torres Islander people comprise 29% of the Australian adult prison population, but just 3% of the population. In the US, states with large native populations have incarceration rates for American Indians up to 7 times that of whites.

The AUKUS military alliance essentially signals to the world that money spent on real war is preferred to money spent on social justice at home and concerns for people and planet. Who really profits from the nuclear submarine contract? Look no further than the exclusive submarine suppliers such as General Dynamics (US) and British Aerospace (UK).

The AUKUS deal confirms essentially that Australia opts to sink or swim with their rich Anglosphere few, rather than the global many.

Who said the world was fair?

Andrew Sheng writes on global issues from an Asian perspective.

Published : September 27, 2021

Will global charter help accelerate action on NCDs to prevent untimely deaths? #SootinClaimon.Com

#SootinClaimon.Com : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation.

https://www.nationthailand.com/blogs/perspective/40006434


A report released recently by NCD Alliance during the Annual Global Week for Action on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), calls for integration of NCDs prevention and care into global health initiatives and universal health coverage.

Will global charter help accelerate action on NCDs to prevent untimely deaths?

Jointly produced by the George Institute for Global Health and NCD Alliance, the report makes a call for breaking down the existing silos in global health, and reorienting NCDs services to be people-centric and to be integrated. It argues that political commitments to integrate NCDs care and control with services for priority groups – such as people living with HIV, people affected by TB and malaria, and key populations from reproductive, maternal, neonatal and child health programmes – have not translated into reality on the ground in low- and middle-income countries.

Ignoring the interconnections between these target populations, and the reality of the epidemiological shift to NCDs, is resulting in drastic consequences, more so as co-morbidities between infectious diseases and NCDs are becoming more entrenched.

Even though NCDs are the leading causes of death and disability worldwide, and co-morbidities between infectious diseases and NCDs are becoming more entrenched, healthcare in many countries does not yet respond to the needs of people living with NCDs. Covid has further intensified the need to ensure that people can more easily access simultaneous services that prevent and treat both infectious diseases such as HIV, TB and malaria, and NCDs such as cardiovascular diseases, cancers, respiratory diseases, and diabetes.

At an event organised during the report launch, the NCDs community and experts voiced their concerns and shared personal experiences regarding NCDs care and control, especially in low- and middle-income countries.

Integrated healthcare is a compelling need since very long!

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Global health data is an evidence that year after year, infectious diseases and NCDs have been deeply entrenched but our healthcare responses have failed to integrate effectively to prevent needless human suffering and avert untimely deaths. Even progress on health and development cross-connections has been abysmal – for instance, malnutrition and TB both continue to fuel each other.

Katie Dain, who leads the global NCD Alliance said that, “Integrated care is the future of healthcare. The reality today is that ever more people are living with multiple chronic conditions. If we have to mount an effective public health response to the world’s biggest killer NCDs, we need to ensure that people living with NCDs are recognised as equal partners with the government, the scientific community and the private sector, across policy development, implementation and monitoring, and accountability. When policies, programmes and services are co-designed with communities they are much more likely to be relevant and appropriate to their needs, scalable and sustainable. It is nothing about us without us.”

70% global deaths attributed to NCDs

NCDs account for 70% of the global deaths, killing 41 million people worldwide every year. and almost 66% of these deaths are linked to preventable causes like tobacco, alcohol, unhealthy diets, physical inactivity and air pollution. Also, the great majority (15 million) of these deaths are in people between 30 and 70 years. Then again, as per a Lancet Commission Report, 1 in 3 diseases affecting the poorest 1 billion people globally are NCDs and half of these are affecting children and young adults.

Even before the Covid pandemic less than 20 countries were on track to achieve SDGs target 3.4 (that is, reducing by one-third premature mortality from NCDs, by 2030). One of the reasons for this lack of progress could be a chronic lack of investments, as less than 2% of global financing is directed towards NCDs prevention and care even when NCDs are the major drivers of death and disease worldwide.

Globally, health systems are inequitable, inefficient and underfunded. Global health and development communities have for too long overlooked NCDs by either wrongly treating them as rich countries’ issues, or they have dismissed NCDs care as too costly. This reflects in deeply entrenched silos in global health programmes and funding, which is a real barrier to developing nations in adapting to real health needs. This siloed approach to treat all these diseases as very separate programmes is counterproductive, said Nina Renshaw, Policy and Advocacy Director, NCD Alliance.

Information is power: treatment literacy helps

Sally Agallo, a patient advocate from Kenya, shared her personal experience as a person living with HIV as well as cancer. Despite enormous odds, she somehow managed to live with HIV, which she contracted in the 90s, when no treatment was available for it. But it was not easy. She had severe mental health issues, lost two babies and faced stigma from her husband and in laws.

For Sally, lack of information about the disease is the biggest road block. “As a patient advocate I can say that a lot of people are dying not because of their disease but because of lack of information and because of not getting the required care. Lack of information also brings stigma. My husband left me when I was diagnosed with cervical cancer because he thought I could not give him a baby. What really helped me was treatment literacy training. If this compact model (of sharing correct information and treatment literacy with the patients) can be borrowed for all NCDs it would be very good. Another hurdle is the cost of treatment, which is very high. And the doctor’s room is a place where one cannot bargain”, she says.

Sally cautions that information sharing and treatment literacy training should not leave anyone behind. We must include each and everyone, including those who are visually or hearing impaired or differently abled.

People-centric approach

Jaime Barba, from Mexico is a Covid survivor who is also living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), as a consequence of his tobacco smoking. He lamented that some decision makers pretend to believe that people with NCDs either do not exist or that they are collateral damages and so they do not pay any attention to them.

Comparing the NCD response to a bicycle factory that manufactures the best bicycles aimed at winning races, but with hardly any focus on the persons or the community for whom they are meant, he said that the people living with NCDs, should not be made to ride bicycles that are either too small or too big for them to fit in. “Policy makers should heed our experiences, and our needs for an efficient response. Active participation of people living with NCDs will help to change the system and focus action on people”.

Covid has further increased mortality in people living with NCDs. Their prognosis has been more severe and their access to healthcare services for their existing health conditions has been severely reduced due to the pandemic. Like many others, Jaime has not been able to visit any doctor in the past 18 months for he could not get any appointment. Then he tested positive for Covid in October 2020. He managed to survive, but psychologically it devastated him. For many days he lived with the fear of impending death. Even now, after 6 months, he suffers from post Covid problems. Some of his colleagues died for want of timely medical care- one died due to shortage of drugs to treat her hypertension.

Holistic healthcare approach

Guro Sorenson, Head Nurse at International Health Care Centre in Accra, Ghana, roots for a fully integrated and client-centred healthcare services. Although the main focus of the facility where she works are HIV positive persons, it also works as a general clinic and provides a variety of healthcare services, including for NCDs, for all. So any person who comes to the facility goes through the same patient flow at the facility. They are all seen by the same staff in the same consulting room and they all pick their medication at the same pharmacy.

“As a service provider we must provide holistic care, and when services are integrated it becomes easy to provide full care for the client. It also helps to ensure treatment adherence. In case of a client who comes because of HIV status, we are also able to take care of their other existing conditions like hypertension, diabetes etc. To our clients we are basically a one stop shop for several health services and that makes it much more convenient for them”, she says.

Global charter on meaningful involvement of people with NCDs

The NCD Alliance has also recently launched the inaugural Global Charter on Meaningful Involvement of People Living with NCDs, aiming to harness the value of lived experience in health policy, programming, and decision-making. The Global Charter lays out 10 key strategies to guarantee that the voices and concerns of people living with NCDs are considered in the response to the epidemic. It underlines that meaningful involvement is crucial at all stages – from design and planning, through to implementation, monitoring and evaluation of NCD initiatives.

By Shobha Shukla – CNS (Citizen News Service), shared under Creative Commons (CC)

(Shobha Shukla is the award-winning founding Managing Editor and Executive Director of CNS (Citizen News Service) and is a feminist, health and development justice advocate. She is a former senior Physics faculty of prestigious Loreto Convent College and current Coordinator of Asia Pacific Regional Media Alliance for Health and Development (APCAT Media). Follow her on Twitter @shobha1shukla or read her writings here http://www.bit.ly/ShobhaShukla)

Published : September 21, 2021

Will inclusion and accountability take centrestage at the Generation Equality Forum? #SootinClaimon.Com

#SootinClaimon.Com : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation.

https://www.nationthailand.com/blogs/perspective/40006183

Will inclusion and accountability take centrestage at the Generation Equality Forum?


Undoubtedly, the Generation Equality Forum which took place earlier this year, was a milestone to galvanize US$ 40 billion financial commitments for gender equality and human rights worldwide. This is the largest amount of investment to advance gender equality and women’s rights ever.

It also launched a 5-year action journey (till 2026) “to achieve irreversible progress towards gender equality, founded on a series of concrete, ambitious and transformative actions, as well as ambitious policy and programme commitments from governments, philanthropy, civil society, youth organizations and the private sector.”

But 92 intersectional feminist groups have raised an issue that cannot be ignored: why was the entire region of Asia and the Pacific on the blindspot in this process? These 92 groups have written an open letter seeking inclusion and accountability in the Generation Equality Forum process. Addressed to UN Women, the statement cites the “lack of engagement and resources provided for the Asia Pacific region in the Generation Equality Forum, and its development”.

Generation Equality Forum which took place in Paris from 30th June to 2nd July 2021, did not feature any government representatives from Asia Pacific nor did it have enough representation from groups like sex workers and transgender people.

“Notwithstanding our concerns, as intersectional feminists, we ask UN Women to provide space for civil society organizations to strengthen the commitments of Generation Equality Forum. We will continue to engage in good faith but we will seek increased accountability and transparency in content, structure, and process,” said Alexandra Johns of the Asia Pacific Alliance for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, a Bangkok-based SRHR network.

“We fear that the de-prioritization of the largest region in the world will result in missed opportunities to advance the gender equality agenda,” said Natassha Kaur of the International Planned Parenthood Federation East & South East Asia and Oceania Region (IPPF ESEAOR).

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The statement also cited concerns about the lack of accessibility of the online platform used by the Generation Equality Forum. “We were faced with barriers that are not only due to the technology-related challenges but also because of the timing and language”, said Marevic Parcon of the Philippine-based Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR).

The feminists provided recommendations as to ways forward for the Generation Equality Forum rocess. These include establishing regional communities that collaborate with regional UN offices and support engagement of intersectional feminists and women in all their diversity; establishing a strong and effective accountability framework at regional, national and global levels; engaging with intersectional feminists and civil society groups to properly resource and implement a robust and inclusive accountability framework that evaluates transformative impact at the grassroots level; and strengthening engagement with multi-stakeholder groups across the region as the GEF process continues to be planned and implemented.

Climate Justice also merited its own recommendation with the feminists asking for “urgent fundraising” to fund a global campaign to increase political will on climate change, ecological and gender equality. The Asia-Pacific region is the most vulnerable to climate-related disasters, disproportionately affecting women and marginalized groups, according to the statement.

The open letter rightly puts the spotlight: “Asia Pacific is home to the world’s largest population, with over 60% of the world’s youth. It is the most vulnerable to climate-related disasters, disproportionately affecting women and marginalized groups. Almost 40% of women in South-East Asia and up to 68% of women in the Pacific experience sexual and gender-based violence from intimate partners. The Pacific region has some of the lowest rates of women in national legislative bodies on the globe. Generation Equality Forum was envisioned as a space to position some of these issues with our governments and we expected that the Paris Forum would provide a platform to raise our critical collective advocacy issues. Yet, we observed that no government from Asia or the Pacific took part in the Paris opening or closing ceremonies; feminist leadership was not well represented throughout the forum and specific groups like sex workers and trans people were excluded. This is a huge missed opportunity to advance the gender equality agenda across our region and accurately represent global Generation Equality realities.”

The open letter added “Without guaranteeing the participation of those marginalized by ableism, heteronormativity, patriarchy and colonial legacies, we shall never achieve gender equality, and ‘leaving no one behind’ will simply be empty rhetoric. The Generation Equality Forum must adhere to and exemplify the core Action Coalition principles of intersectionality, feminist leadership and transformation.”

The open letter recommended:

* Transforming the Action Coalitions into inclusive Communities of Practice with full accessibility, and establishing regional communities of practice with resources for regional UN offices and development institutions to support engagement of intersectional feminists and women in all their diversity, including those in urban poor, informal settlements, rural and maritime areas, sex workers, LGBTQIAP, fluid, and non-binary people and people living with disabilities, from across the region;

* Making available adequate, sustainable and flexible funding to civil society, feminist, women, community and grass-roots, and youth-led organisations;

* Establishing a strong and effective accountability framework at regional, national and global levels by the end of the year to monitor commitments made by all Action Coalition leaders and commitment-makers;

* Engaging with intersectional feminists and civil society groups in the region to advocate with governments, regional development institutions and funders to properly resource and implement a robust and inclusive accountability framework that evaluates transformative impact at the grassroots level;

* Urgent fundraising by Generation Equality Forum for the work of the Feminist Action and Climate Justice Action Coalition, and a global cross-Action Coalition campaign to increase political will on climate change, ecological and gender equality;

* Strengthening engagement with multi-stakeholder groups across the region as the Generation Equality Forum process continues to be planned and implemented, including all future fora and accountability mechanisms, to ensure that no one in our region is left out in the future.

By Bobby Ramakant – CNS (Citizen News Service)

Published : September 15, 2021

White Man’s Media. A short history #SootinClaimon.Com

#SootinClaimon.Com : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation.

https://www.nationthailand.com/pr-news/perspective/40005778

White Man’s Media. A short history


To be fair, modern media is white men’s invention. Even though the Chinese invented paper and printing, Gutenberg’s type-set printing of the Bible and papal indulgences launched media into the religious, commercial and cultural space which, in turn, kicked off the Industrial Revolution and imperialism. Western science, driven by religious fervour for capitalism, paved the way for the information revolution that became global.

Nothing succeeds like success. White Man’s Media became successful through both new technology and its business model. The medieval Catholic Church grew rich by issuing indulgences (forgiving “sins” of divorce, abortion and crime) and granting letters patent, franchises and charters to go out and conquer colonies. As the commercial class rose in power, so did its demand for information. Venetian merchants created political and war news sheets in 1566. By 1609, Germany was printing the first newspapers. The new printed media spread information and knowledge beyond the hands of the royalty, clergy and elites to the masses. This paved the way for the first French and American revolutions with populist cries for equality, freedom and democracy. American media invented advertising, pushing the right of everyone to consume, enter into debt and freely erode our natural resources.

But the power of media cuts both ways. Just as markets need true, fair and timely information to perform effectively, society needs a courageous media to speak truth to power. Sound political decisions cannot be made with bad or corrupted information. Thus, as early as 1695, Britain abolished the licensing of the press, and by 1791, the newly independent United States of America institutionalised the freedoms of speech, press and assembly into the First Amendment to the Constitution.

Armed with these freedoms, the White Men’s media played a crucial role in the advancement of science, technology, and colonisation. Media, power and technology formed a formidable toolbox that gave the West the decisive edge of knowledge to dominate the rest of the world. As the 20th-century Arab Orientalist scholar Edward Said lamented, mental colonisation through religion and ideology was more powerful than physical colonisation and this was achieved largely through education in Western languages, taught through Christian schools.

Ergo, media is power that can be used to dominate others, inseparable from war and beliefs. As Kenyan independence fighter Jomo Kenyatta quipped: “When the missionaries arrived, the Africans had the land, and the missionaries had the Bible. They taught us how to pray with our eyes closed. When we opened them, they had the land and we had the Bible.”

Nazi propaganda chief Goebbels understood the power of media in politics when he realised that a lie repeated enough becomes the truth. This prompted Winston Churchill to proclaim that “in wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies”.

Fast forward to today, the drums of war are again being beaten by White Man’s Media, again attended by a bodyguard of lies. Internet guru Yochai Benkler, in his 2018 book “Network Propaganda” summed up the dangers: “First, having a segment of society that is systematically disengaged from objective journalism and the ability to tell truth from partisan fiction is dangerous to any country. It creates fertile ground for propaganda. Second, it makes actual governance difficult … Third, the divorce of a party base from the institutions and norms that provide a reality check on our leaders is a political disaster waiting to happen.”

These disasters are unfolding by the day.

Former CIA media analyst Martin Gurri stated succinctly in “Revolt of the Public” (2016) that, “We live in an age of misinformation – an age of spin, marketing and downright lies. Of course, lying is hardly new, but the deliberate propagation of false or misleading information has exploded in the past century, driven by new technologies for disseminating information – radio, television, the internet – and by the increased sophistication of those who would mislead us.”

In short, White Man’s Media is today being challenged by the rise of new media channels such as Al Jazeera, CGTN, RT and myriad of small social media channels (eg johnmenadue.com) that provide a whole range of information that portray different perspectives and views in different languages from White Man’s Media. And that is what should be the case, because truth comes not from “my way or no way”, but from a myriad different colours of opinions and perceptions. Global media cannot be controlled by a small minority that has only its own interests at heart.

The debacles of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars show that wars fought on the basis of outright lies end up badly for everyone. What role did the White Man’s Media play in such disasters by not speaking truth to power?

The American writer James Baldwin wrote in 1962 about racism in his country: “Whatever white people do not know about Negroes reveals, precisely and inexorably, what they do not know about themselves.” Events have shown that White Man’s Media know far less about the rest of the world than they admit, and that they know themselves even less.

We have a situation where the white man is still dominant in global economics, finance, military, technology and media, but may lose that dominance with rapidly changing circumstances. We have a majority that feels insecure because it realises that soon it may be a global minority, in both population and power. No minorities can feel secure when the majority is insecure.

That is not a good foundation for global peace and stability.

The article was first published in Australia-based Pearls and Irritations public policy platform https://johnmenadue.com/a-short-history-of-white-mans-media/

Andrew Sheng writes on global affairs from an Asian perspective. He is a former central banker and financial regulator.

Published : September 06, 2021

Next iPhones cater deftly to creators and influencers #SootinClaimon.Com

#SootinClaimon.Com : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation.

https://www.nationthailand.com/perspective/40004808

Next iPhones cater deftly to creators and influencers


For many consumers, this falls Apple iPhone lineup may not be a “must have” with its modest improvements compared with last years big 5G upgrade. But the smartphone maker is doing something, well, smart.

The company is focusing feature enhancements for its new models toward a key constituency: creators and influencers. And it will pay dividends.

Last week, Bloomberg News’s Mark Gurman reported that the next-generation iPhones will have designs similar to the 2020 models but with a faster main chip and better screens. Here’s where it gets interesting. Gurman says the models will have new camera and video capabilities – including an AI-driven filter system that stylizes photos and a higher-quality video-recording format. The filters will let users adjust the color temperature, shadows and contrast more precisely than with traditional software app methods, while the video offerings will enable more editing flexibility and the ability to change the amount of background blurring afterward.

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At first blush, it may not seem like much, but these additions are tailor-made for online creators such as short-video makers on TikTok and the fashion and beauty stars of Instagram. Nearly every influencer is going to need to get the new iPhones to compete. According to SignalFire, a venture capital firm that tracks industry data, more than 2 million people work full time creating content for social media and video sites. That means any edge they can get to publish the highest quality photos and videos, along with the ability to edit and manipulate quickly, is critical.

And then there’s the follow-on marketing effect. According to a Piper Sandler survey earlier this year, 90% of teenagers said their next phone would be an iPhone – the highest level ever in the teen survey’s history. Anecdotally, it seems as if the vast majority of creators use iPhones. With the top influencers sporting the latest Apple devices, it should keep the smartphone giant on top of the most sought-after brand rankings with the younger demographic, driving more sales.

In addition, catering to the creator economy should plant the seeds for future growth at Apple. First, as large technology companies invest large amounts of money to expand the category, it is only going to get bigger. For example, Facebook, Inc. announced last month that it would pay more than $1 billion by 2022 to creators who make content on its social media platforms. Alphabet Inc.’s YouTube and ByteDance Ltd.’s TikTok have also disclosed similar payout funds for the next two to three years. Second, Apple also benefits from keeping the creator community loyal to its hardware in another way. It can then track their activities closely for clues about which innovative ideas it should add next before the competition.

Ultimately, will influencer-driven demand be enough to spark a big upgrade cycle this coming year? Probably not. But it should buttress demand with minimal engineering effort, allowing Apple to bide its time before the better iPhone release next year. That’s a pretty good deal for the company.

– – –

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners. Tae Kim is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering technology. He previously covered technology for Barron’s, following an earlier career as an equity analyst.

Published : August 18, 2021

By : Syndication Washington Post, Bloomberg Opinion · Tae Kim

The Moral Vacuum at the heart of modernity #SootinClaimon.Com

#SootinClaimon.Com : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation.

https://www.nationthailand.com/perspective/40004659

The Moral Vacuum at the heart of modernity


Man and Nature are running out of time. That’s the core message of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report released this week. UN Secretary-General António Guterres called the report a “code red for humanity”. “The evidence is irrefutable: greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel burning and deforestation are choking our planet and putting billions of people at immediate risk.”

Man and Nature are running out of time. That’s the core message of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report released this week. UN Secretary-General António Guterres called the report a “code red for humanity”. “The evidence is irrefutable: greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel burning and deforestation are choking our planet and putting billions of people at immediate risk.”

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What can we, individually and collectively, do about it?

Many animals, including humans, cannot survive at high temperatures. Seattle, a temperate climate city, hit 104 degree Fahrenheit in June, only 4 degrees below the maximum 108 degrees where humans can’t survive. Like the pandemic, the twin effects of climate warming and biodiversity loss are hurting the bottom half of society who are most vulnerable to natural and/or man-made disasters. Indeed, indigenous and native people who live closest to nature, comprising 5-6% of world population scattered in remote areas, are likely to face loss of culture, lives and habitat because all their water, food and livelihoods will be devastated by climate change. .

In essence, we are in an existential situation whereby nature is being destroyed by human excess consumption, which creates pollution and carbon emission, but all this is made possible by monetary creation by bankers and businesses who seem to care more about their profits than the human condition. Thus, decisions over climate change, human activities, financialization and globalization are essentially moral questions over the power to lead us out of the wilderness of nuclear destruction through war or planetary burning..

In his monumental History of Western Philosophy (1946), British philosopher Bertrand Russell argued that those in power understand that they have twin powers over nature and political power to rule other human beings. Traditionally, the limits to such power have been God and truth. But today, religions are also in turmoil on what is their role in finding pathways out of the current mess. Furthermore, FakeNews obscures what is truth.

The current mess is not unlike the Lost People wandering in the desert waiting for a Moses to find the 21st century version of the Ten Commandments. Unfortunately, the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are aspirations and not commandments. As economists say, climate change is a market failure, but there is no modern day Moses, nor operating manuals to translate SDGs to environmental, social and governance (ESG) projects and programmes for businesses, governments and social institutions.

In this twin injustices against man and nature, people sense that there is both a moral vacuum in globalized modernity, as well as lack of a shared, practical pathway out of planetary destruction. If secular science or politics cannot help us, Is religion the solution?

Ironically, religion has played a far larger role in the current quandary than meets the eye.

Two Papal Bulls empowered the Portuguese and Spanish conquests of new lands in the second half of the 15th century. Papal bulls are public decrees, letters patent or charters issued by a Catholic pope. The Papal Bull Romanus Pontifex issued by Pope Nicholas V in 1455 gave Portuguese King Alfonso the right to “invade, search out, capture, vanquish and subdue all Saracens and pagans whatsoever, and other enemies of Christ whatsoever placed, and the kingdoms, dukedoms, principalities, dominions, possessions and all movable and immovable goods whatsoever held and possessed by them and to reduce their persons to perpetual slavery,..to convert them to his profit..[such assets becoming] justly and lawfully acquired.”

The Papal Bull Inter Caetera, issued after Christopher Columbus returned from America in 1493, not only reinforced the Spanish right to property and slavery seized or colonized from non-Christian kingdoms or pagan natives, but also established the Doctrine of Discovery. This doctrine formed the basis of national and later international laws that gave license to explorers to claim vacant land (terra nullius) on discovery. Vacant land meant land not populated by Christians, and thus the Christian discoverers and occupiers could have legal title to them, regardless of the rights of the indigenous people.

In short, historically it was the Church that gave the moral blessing for colonization, slavery and genocide during the Age of Globalization. The tragedy is that the Doctrine of Discovery is now embodied in US laws. In the historic case of Johnson vs McIntosh (1823), Supreme Court Justice John Marshall ruled, “According to every theory of property, the Indians had no individual rights to land; nor had they any collectively, or in their national capacity; for the lands occupied by each tribe were not used by them in such a manner as to prevent their being appropriated by a people of cultivators. All the proprietary rights of civilized nations on this continent are founded on this principle. The right delivered from discovery and conquest, can rest on no other basis; and all existing titles depend on the fundamental title of the crown by discovery.”

If humanity still treats nature as a free asset to be mastered, and other human beings to be dominated and disenfranchised because of the Doctrine of Discovery, how can we move forward morally to create human inclusivity and planetary justice?

Under secular science, the elites that control the media, military, economy, political or social institutions have forgotten that they are not masters of man and nature, but stewards to protect human well being and nature for future generations. In this polarized age, we forget that the shamans of the indigenous people carry ancient wisdoms about how to live with nature and each other through traditional values, medicine and shared rituals. The shamans are not seers but healers and carriers of tribal memories and values.

When modern scientists and technocrats have no solutions to present problems except more speed, scale and scope in the rush to modernity, isn’t it time to listen to traditional wisdoms from those who have living but dying memories of how to live with nature and each other?

Without moral bearings, no wonder we have no maps out of the current mess.

Published : August 14, 2021

By : Andrew Sheng for Asia News Network

Why the delta variant threatens the economic recovery #SootinClaimon.Com

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Why the delta variant threatens the economic recovery


The U.S. economic recovery is being threatened by the covid-19 delta variant. Increasing vaccination rates is the most important thing the U.S. can do to sustain the economy over the next few months. Beyond that, however, full recovery might require creating new vaccines against delta and other emerging variants.

U.S. stock markets and Treasury yields took big dips in recent days before rebounding. Despite the bounce-back, the volatility is evidence that investors are worried about the health of the recovery. It’s not just markets, either – there are some concrete signs of economic weakness, such as a week with an unexpectedly high number of initial jobless claims. The lights aren’t flashing red yet, but these are clear warning signs.

The obvious reason is the delta variant of covid. This variant, which is both more infectious and more resistant to vaccines than previous versions of the virus, has become the dominant strain in the U.S. As a result, cases are rising again. If the U.S. ends up looking anything like the U.K., the country is in for another big wave of disease.

The economic risk isn’t a renewed policy of lockdowns and mandatory social distancing; the American populace and government officials seem to have had their fill of such restrictive measures. But in fact, lockdowns were never a very big contributor to the economic devastation of 2020. Evidence on the timing and the strictness of government-mandated social distancing measures has shown that economic harm occurred pretty much regardless. Nor did state-level reopenings give economies much of a boost.

But if lockdowns weren’t what hurt the economy, what was it? It was simply widespread fear of the virus. The existence of a deadly, highly contagious plague is a powerful reason to order from Amazon.com instead of going to a store, or to dine at home instead of going to a restaurant. Some people went out, heedless of the danger, but that paltry demand wasn’t enough to sustain local service businesses, which laid off workers.

After the initial wave, when masking became commonplace and people began to understand the risks of what they were facing, economic activity wasn’t so hobbled by fear, even during the disheartening fall and winter surge in late 2020 and early 2021. But it was only after vaccines became widely available that local economies really began to roar back to life.

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Delta puts that rapid recovery under threat. Its high infectiousness means that even a fairly substantial percent of vaccinated Americans won’t be enough to protect the unvaccinated from getting the virus. And America has quite a lot of unvaccinated people, thanks in part to a right-wing campaign against the (safe and highly effective) vaccines. Even an apparent recent positive shift in Fox News’ tone toward vaccines is unlikely to counteract the corrosive effect of months of highly politicized anti-vaccination propaganda. And while some of those unvaccinated Americans will doubtless be as macho in their defiance of delta as they were with the original version of the coronavirus, some will deem it more prudent to avoid crowded indoor spaces just a little bit more.

Meanwhile, even vaccinated Americans may be hesitant to go out in the face of delta. The mRNA vaccines from Moderna Inc. and Pfizer Inc.-BioNTech SE significantly lower the risk of becoming infected with delta, and in the vast majority of cases they prevent the vaccinated from getting sick enough to be hospitalized or die. But they don’t entirely eliminate the risks – there’s a fairly substantial number of “breakthrough” infections, even among the fully vaccinated. And while that’s rarely life-threatening, there remains the possibility of the protracted symptoms called “long covid,” even among young people.

Perhaps if this were March 2020, this level of risk wouldn’t be enough to deter Americans from going out to eat and shop. But they’ve had a year to adapt to the habits of social distancing, and many may just decide to extend their pandemic life a little while longer until the threat of delta has passed. To monitor whether this is happening, keep an eye on OpenTable restaurant reservation data. So far it doesn’t look too bad, but if that changes, watch out:

What can anyone do to allay this possibility? As before, only defeating the virus through more comprehensive vaccination will bring the economy fully, reliably back. We need an intensified public information campaign – including the right-wing media – to make that happen. But in the longer term, confidence might improve with rapid government approval of vaccine boosters specifically designed for delta and other variants that may now be emerging. Ultimately, it may take several iterations of vaccination to clean covid out of the U.S. economy.

– – –

Noah Smith is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He was an assistant professor of finance at Stony Brook University, and he blogs at Noahpinion.

Published : July 27, 2021

By : Syndication Washington Post, Bloomberg Opinion · Noah Smith

One size does not fit all when it comes to preventing HIV #SootinClaimon.Com

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One size does not fit all when it comes to preventing HIV


Great strides have been made in the prevention of HIV, treatment and care since the first case was reported 40 years ago. Thanks to the work of the HIV community, activists and medical fraternity, 27.5 million of the 37.7 million people living with HIV now have access to lifesaving antiretroviral therapy. However, governments’ promise of ending HIV/Aids by 2030 is still far from our sight.

The recently concluded 11th International IAS Conference on HIV Science shed light on important progress in HIV prevention, treatment and cure efforts despite major disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Keeping in mind that there were 1.7 million new HIV infections in 2020 (which is three times higher than the UNAIDS 2020 targets), HIV prevention must remain a key focus.

Prof Linda Gail Bekker, who is director of Desmund Tutu HIV Centre at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and former president of the International AIDS Society (IAS), said HIV prevention options should be in line with humanity and its many shapes and forms.

This article showcases an array of prevention options that are either already at our disposal or are in various stages of development.

Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP): Once daily pill

It has been 10 years since it was proved that adherence to antiretroviral-based oral PrEP provides robust protection against HIV.

But, in some users, the daily oral PrEP can be a barrier to adherence and can lead to pause or discontinuation. This has led to the next discovery of taking the pill on-demand at the time of exposure and not daily. So we have PrEP 1.5, TDF/FTC as oral HIV prevention on-demand. The dosing for PrEP on Demand is 2-1-1, that is, two tablets taken two to 24 hours before engaging in sex, one tablet taken 24 hours after the first two, and another tablet 24 hours after that. But it can be used only by men who have sex with men.

While nearly 1 million people have accessed the PrEP prevention option globally, the oral daily or on-demand PrEP is not feasible for everyone. Many people may find it difficult to remember to take the pill daily or at the right time. If it is taken off and on, there is a risk of poor coverage of exposure, as substantiated by a study on Global Evaluation of Microbicide Sensitivity, which found high rates of HIV drug resistance in some individuals who were diagnosed with HIV while participating in HIV PrEP rollout programmes in Eswatini, Kenya, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

The level of the drug in their blood suggested they were taking PrEP at least four times a week, which was not enough to prevent HIV infection, but enough for the resistant virus to emerge. The moral of the story is to take PrEP every day as prescribed, to stay free of HIV.

So for those who cannot adhere to a daily regimen, the solution lies in having long-acting agents in different formulations – like the once-a-month pill or a long-acting injection or the vaginal ring.

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Dapivirine Ring: Once a month vaginal ring

This monthly vaginal ring, developed by the International Partnership for Microbicides, is the first woman-controlled, topical long-acting HIV prevention method to reduce the risk of acquiring HIV through vaginal sex. It is a silicon ring that contains the antiretroviral drug, dapivirine, and when worn inside the vagina, it releases the drug slowly for 28 days, after which it should be replaced by a new ring. The dapivirine ring offers a discreet and long-acting alternative to daily oral PrEP.

Interim results from the REACH study show encouraging levels of adherence to dapivirine ring and oral PrEP among adolescent girls and young women in Africa. High adherence was observed in 50 per cent of users as against 22 per cent of oral PrEP users. Moreover, 88 per cent of the participants preferred the ring.

The European Medicines Agency and the World Health Organization have already approved the ring for use as an additional prevention choice for women in high HIV burden settings.

Zeda Rosenberg, CEO of International Partnership for Microbicides, said Zimbabwe has already given the go-ahead for its use and many other African nations are expected to follow suit. Rosenberg also said that studies are underway for its use in pregnant and breastfeeding women and for those who are 15-18 years old.

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A 90-day dapivirine ring has successfully completed Phase-1 clinical study in which it was found to be well-tolerated and delivered target levels of the drug over three months, showing the potential to provide long-acting and sustained HIV protection. Next phase studies are to begin this year and Rosenberg is hopeful that results would be available by 2023.

Long-acting Cabotegravir: Once every eight weeks injection

This belongs to a new class of HIV drugs called integrase inhibitors and is delivered once every eight weeks via intramuscular injection. Long-acting Cabotegravir has been found to be safe and well-tolerated. Two studies (HPTN 084 and HPTN 083) done in sub-Saharan Africa have found it to be statistically superior to daily oral PrEP in preventing HIV infection among cisgender women, cisgender men and transgender women who have sex with men.

This much-awaited prevention method is now in the implementation phase and is moving towards licensing.

However, neither the long-acting dapivirine ring nor Cabotegravir offers contraceptive benefits. Women of reproductive age need multipurpose prevention technology products to address two or more overlapping health risks, such as unintended pregnancy and HIV. The dual prevention pill is an answer to their prayers.

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Dual Prevention Pill: A daily oral pill for women for protection against HIV and pregnancy

Dual prevention pill, a co-formulated tablet containing oral PrEP and a combined oral contraceptive, is currently being developed for daily use to prevent both HIV and pregnancy and is likely to be a new multipurpose prevention technology to go to market. Since both the ingredients of dual prevention pill are already approved for individual use, their combination pill just needs to undergo a bio-equivalence study to determine if they are as safe and effective in combination. Regulatory timelines suggest that dual prevention pill could receive US FDA approval by 2024.

Several other multipurpose prevention technologies for HIV and pregnancy prevention are in various stages of development but are still many years away from market launch.

Islatravir: Once a month oral PrEP

Islatravir is the first nucleoside reverse transcriptase translocation inhibitor currently being evaluated across a variety of dosing regimens, for both treatments as well as prevention of HIV infection. It has a novel mechanism, as it can persist in the body for a long time and is being developed as a monthly pill and also as a subdermal implant for prevention that could provide protection for one year.

Interim data from a Phase-2a study show that it is safe and generally well-tolerated through 24 weeks. Monthly doses of Islatravir also achieved the pre-specified efficacious pharmacokinetic threshold for PrEP.

Two Phase-3 clinical studies to evaluate its efficacy and safety in cisgender women, men, and transgender women who have sex with men, have already begun. But it could be another two to three years from now until we have it. Phase-2 studies for the once-a-year removable Islatravir implant are also underway.

Lenacapavir Long-Acting: twice-yearly injectable for HIV prevention

Lenacapavir as a once every six months injectable for HIV prevention is in the early stages of development. Two studies to evaluate its efficacy and safety are to take place – one in South Africa and Uganda (in adolescent girls and young women) and the other in the US, Brazil, Peru and South Africa (in cisgender men, transgender women, transgender men and gender non-binary individuals). It is also being developed as a long-acting treatment and implant.

Broadly neutralising antibodies

Broadly neutralising antibodies provide a new approach to HIV-1 prevention and treatment. But they are still in very early stages of development.

HIV Vaccine

There is currently no vaccine available to prevent or treat HIV infection. However, scientists are working on one. Research efforts undertaken by the US National Institutes of Health include two late-stage, multinational vaccine clinical studies called Imbokodo and Mosaico.

Basket of choices to prevent HIV

We need a basket of HIV prevention options. It is about choices and preferences depending on where people are in their life cycle, local realities, and contexts. Moreover, prevention options should be accessible, affordable, simple to use, and easy to adhere, for everyone! It is only then that we may expect better coverage of all people and of all exposures, rightly said Bekker.

Shobha Shukla is the founder of CNS (Citizen News Service) as well as a feminist, health and development justice advocate. Follow her on Twitter @shobha1shukla or read her work on www.bit.ly/ShobhaShukla

Published : July 26, 2021

By : Shobha Shukla/Special to NationThailand

Tale of two pandemics: Follow the science and do not forget one at the cost of the other #SootinClaimon.Com

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https://www.nationthailand.com/perspective/40003598

Tale of two pandemics: Follow the science and do not forget one at the cost of the other


Covid-19 has posed innumerable health, economic, and social challenges for all, including people living with HIV. It has exposed the fragility of health systems around the globe and has diverted political attention and funding from other infectious diseases like TB and HIV. The opening session of the 11th International IAS Conference on HIV Science (#IAS2021) held virtually from Berlin, saw a lively panel discussing the tale of the two most horrendous recent pandemics in the history of our civilisation: Covid-19 and HIV/AIDS.

Here is a glimpse of what the scientists, politician and activist had to say:

Intersectionality of Covid-19 and HIV

Dr Anthony Fauci, Director of National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, USA, said that we cannot forget HIV just because we happen to be in the middle of Covid-19. Decades of investment and science in HIV research, albeit as yet unsuccessful in developing an HIV vaccine, has played a major role in the development of highly successful Covid-19 vaccines in a very short period of time. But the fact that we have a Covid-19 pandemic does not lessen the importance and devastation associated with the HIV pandemic that has resulted in substantial mortality and morbidity during the last 40 years.

Dr Fauci said that in terms of preparedness for future pandemics (which will be there) we are better prepared in some respects, but in others we are not. To deal with any emerging outbreak there is a public health response and there is a scientific response. The public health response for Covid-19 has been fragmented in many countries. It was characterised by a disturbing degree of divisiveness when there was a politicisation of how one approaches an outbreak. When you are dealing with a pandemic, the common enemy is the virus, and not the people you may have disagreements with. A global pandemic requires a global response in a synergistic way, and not just an individual country response.

Fortunately, the scientific response has been tremendous and resulted in the rapid development of effective and safe vaccines, said Dr Fauci. The challenge now is to get equitable distribution of these vaccines throughout the world. The rich countries of the world have a moral obligation to ensure that the low and middle income countries are able to access these life saving vaccines in real time.

Dr Fauci shared that an important lesson learnt is to have a global system so that life saving scientific interventions can be rapidly distributed to people in real time without them having to suffer unnecessarily.

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Lessons learnt from HIV to address inequalities in the Covid-19 response

Dr Soumya Swaminathan, Chief Scientist at the World Health Organization (WHO); former Director General of Indian Council of Medical Research; former Secretary, Department of Health Research, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India; and former head of National Institute for Tuberculosis Research, said that the HIV response was successful when affected communities were actively engaged. When anti retroviral therapy (ART) was not available for many people living with HIV in Africa, they rallied around and fought for access to treatment. A record 27 million people living with HIV are now on ART globally. Unfortunately we are seeing a sort of repeat of the same with inequity in the distribution of Covid-19 vaccines.

Dr Soumya Swaminathan said that it was the community-led and community-based health delivery solutions that worked in Covid-19 as well. Countries with strong primary healthcare systems, where community health workers play an important role, have better managed to keep the pandemic under check. Role of political leadership is also critical. Countries where there has been a strong scientific evidence based data led response to the pandemic, where data is collected, disseminated and used transparently to inform the public- those are the countries that have done well in managing the pandemic. We have to redouble efforts to scale up infection control measures and vaccinations, and at the same time not take the focus away from diseases like HIV and TB that still kill millions every year.

Trust, transparency and proper communication with the public are extremely important in dealing with any public health challenge, rightly said Dr Swaminathan. We saw stigma for people affected with Covid-19 just as we saw it in those affected by HIV or TB. In countries where people generally have a higher trust in the government and in public health authorities, there has been more public acceptance of preventive social measures, and vaccination as well. Also, the data that has been available in many countries is far removed from the ground reality. This brings out the importance of investing in data systems (especially for mortality and cause of death statistics) to really understand the burden of any disease.

But along with having the scientific tools- whether for diagnostics, treatment, or prevention (including vaccines), we also have to focus on making them accessible to all and the private sector plays an important role in delivering these tools, said Dr Swaminathan.

Multilateral and inclusive response to global health challenges

Jens Spahn, Federal Minister of Health, Germany, said that HIV has taught us that a multilateral response, that includes people and affected communities, is the way to get through it, and this applies to Covid-19 response as well. What we have learnt from HIV is that universal health coverage is the key. Primary healthcare makes a big difference in fighting all these diseases. But we are yet not there. That is why Germany, Ghana, and Norway have asked for a global action plan for healthy lives.

It is one thing to have a drug or a vaccine, but you still need to be able to deliver and administer it in all countries. And for that you need a working healthcare system. So, besides multilateral cooperation on certain diseases, we also need strong primary healthcare systems in every country, said Germany’s Health Minister Jens Spahn. While the world coming together very quickly to speed up the Covid-19 response is a humanitarian help, it is in our own national interests to vaccinate the world, because no one is safe until everyone is safe. That should be the motto of our engagement. If we put our heads together and really want to make a difference to science and public health, we can. I accept that there is not yet equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines, but it would be there soon within months and not within years, he said.

Jens Spahn rightly underlined that there is no vaccine against hate or fear that we have seen manifesting during these pandemics. The demonstrations against Covid-19 control measures- the fears and blunt aggression in people’s eyes- reminds us that liberal democracy is about having a good sober debate which presumes that the other person might be right too. I do hope that we leave behind us all the hatred, false information and the nationalist view that many had, and learn from the good that happened- having a vaccine in a very short a time within a pandemic situation.

Personal experience as a Covid survivor as well as a black woman living with HIV

Yvette Raphael, Executive Director of APHA (Advocates for Prevention of HIV), South Africa, shared her experience of not only living with HIV as a black woman since last 20 years, but also as a Covid-19 survivor. She said that “I carried 3 burdens- being black, being a woman and being poor. My journey started when I was diagnosed with HIV in the midst of HIV denialism and lack of political will in South Africa at that time. My involvement with HIV struggle started due to my experiencing stigma myself for being HIV positive. Never did I imagine that I would be infected with HIV and also recover after getting very sick from Covid-19 infection only a few days ago. Never did I imagine I would be at the centre of fighting for the rights of people living with HIV, fighting for access to HIV treatment and also be in the forefront of fighting for the research and development agenda.”

She added that many countries and governments have spent billions of dollars on Covid-19 response, while diverting resources from HIV and TB – like TB is the poor cousin of HIV and Covid-19 is the rich aunt. We did not act how we should have acted! The biggest mistake was to not have proactively engaged the HIV sector globally and make community leaders part of the Covid-19 response. Leadership is needed at all levels. Community action and information must be available in real time for local responses and for communities to be able to act, embrace the science, and innovations while protecting human rights. Advocates and scientists must speak through to power. Now is the time to start planning for the next pandemic today, as it might be there tomorrow, alerted Yvette.

“Most of us have lost so many family members, friends, leaders globally to Covid-19 (as well as to HIV). I see faces where scientists see statistics. For us, our own lived experiences matter more than mere data. Treat people not as numbers, but as human beings so that HIV does not become a forgotten pandemic” was Yvette’s important message to remember while we shape global health responses.

Germany’s Angela Merkel speaks at IAS 2021

It would be pertinent to end this piece with some of the remarks made by Angela Merkel, the Federal Chancellor of Germany, (and a scientist herself) during her welcome address at #IAS2021. “The Covid-19 pandemic is not the first event to teach us that infectious diseases know no borders. AIDS has sadly been proof of this for decades. Infectious diseases confront us with global challenges. So the fight against these diseases is only conceivable in the form of worldwide cooperation. During the Covid-19 pandemic we have seen how international cooperation has enabled multiple effective vaccines to be developed in record time. However, we have also witnessed how in the shadow of the pandemic, the achievements made in the fight against HIV have slipped from our grasp. AIDS must not be allowed to fade into the background due to Covid-19. In fact the international community must redouble its efforts to reach the global SDGs relating to HIV, because the ongoing fight against AIDS too can succeed through global cooperation. Germany stands ready in its capacity as a hub for science and research to partner with others so that together we can continue to make progress in the fight against AIDS and other infectious diseases.”

And as the US President Joe Biden told Dr Fauci, no matter what, we must follow the science. We may not be right all the time but if we are not, we are going to correct it and we are going to go in the right direction. That is going to be a pathway to ending this terrible pandemic.

(Shobha Shukla is the award-winning founding Managing Editor and Executive Director of CNS (Citizen News Service) and is a feminist, health and development justice advocate. She is a former senior Physics faculty of prestigious Loreto Convent College and current Coordinator of Asia Pacific Regional Media Alliance for Health and Development (APCAT Media). Follow her on Twitter @shobha1shukla or read her writings here http://www.bit.ly/ShobhaShukla)

Published : July 22, 2021

By : Shobha Shukla – CNS

The CFO as the driver of Sustainability #SootinClaimon.Com

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https://www.nationthailand.com/perspective/40003495

The CFO as the driver of Sustainability


Sustainability has a variety of impacts – and now that competitive advantage is at risk, companies can no longer afford to ignore it. The ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) issues are not only important to company’s profitability goals, but also regulatory requirements for compliance with non-financial (ESG) requirements.

As ESG issues are all interconnected and are relevant for several departments, companies need to designate one overarching position to steer sustainability prerequisites, identify opportunities, connect the dots and communicate the derived insights across the entire organisation.

Companies need to expand the role of chief finance officer (CFO) to include sustainability issues, if they want to satisfy all internal and external demands as well as ensure long-term success. CFO are not only key stakeholders in a company’s successful transition to a sustainable enterprise, they are predestined to take the lead thanks to their organisational network and in-depth overview of data, processes and reports. In order to make it more clear in CFO expanding role, we can see the Characterisation of the CFO based on the model “Four Faces of the CFO”.

1. Catalyst : Implementing strategy and steering operations

CFOs can stimulate and drive timely transition, not only within the Flfinance department, but also across the entire organisation. Using the power of the purse strings, they can prioritise initiatives that add value to the company. CFOs can also promote the transition to sustainability by rethinking their company’s underlying performance model to be aligned with the organisation sustainability strategies. Ensuring that the non-financial KPIs become a central pillar of the incentive system, CFO can create more drive towards sustainability within the organisation.

2. Strategist : Setting strategic goals, making decisions and deriving finance strategy

CFOs have a key role in the strategy development and help steer the future direction of the company. They are vital in providing financial leadership and aligning business and financial strategies. We are seeing the shift in the CFO role around the world as a result, encompassing a broader mandate through increased involvement in sustainability strategies and investments. CFOs must use their core finance skills from financial analysis and resource allocation to reporting systems as part of the transition to a sustainable enterprise. As key executives, CFOs can help quantify the financial value that is created with investments in sustainability and resolve potential conflicts that come from embedding sustainability into the corporate strategy.

3. Steward : Managing compliance and control systems

It is the CFO’s job to protect the vital assets of a company, to ensure compliance with various financial regulations, to close the books and to communicate value and risk issues to investors, boards, and other stakeholders. CFOs also have a key role to play in making sure that the sustainability information is relevant, compliant, and accurate. In addition, CFOs must ensure that the company has understood and complied with the increasingly complex sustainability legislation in order to avoid penalties. It is also essential to develop a good understanding of the most pressing ESG issues and quantify their impact on long-term performance. By expanding the process of risk identification, CFO can make sure they address and measure sustainability related risks. The entire C-suite needs to be involved in this process, because sustainability risks can arise in all areas of the company. Once quantified, it is important to separate the material issues to manage sustainability in the most effective way.

4. Operator: the skills, quality and efficiency of the finance function

Demands for more reliable sustainability information are increasing. Finance departments have a key role to play in ensuring companies can report non-financial information. In this sense, the CFO’s overview of both financial and non-financial performance is unique. Moreover, finance departments need to integrate new systems, new flows of data and new data sources. Finance professionals need to be equipped with sufficient knowledge of ESG issues and the related legislation as well as data modelling capabilities – while still keeping their expenses at an acceptable level. And as ESG impacts factor into more C-suite decisions, the finance team must be able to quickly access, transform and interpret this vital data.

In summary, regardless of your industry or business model, sustainability has become one of the corporate success factors for the future. That said, finance departments are the essential departments to transform and pave the way for a sustainable enterprise. CFO who are head of finance departments will have to change their role. Using the “Four Faces of the CFO” as describe above, which is assist CFO to define strategy and evaluate the financial impacts of sustainability initiatives to ensure that the company stays on track.

(Kasiti Ketsuriyonk is partner, Audit and Assurance, Deloitte Thailand)

Published : July 20, 2021

By : Kasiti Ketsuriyonk, Special to Nation Thailand