Post-blast Lebanon says hospitals nearly at COVID-19 capacity

first_img ‘Out of service’ The minister said the situation was exacerbated after several Beirut hospitals were hit by the colossal port explosion and left “out of service”.The World Health Organization on August 12 said more than half of 55 healthcare facilities evaluated by the agency were “non-functional”, three major hospitals were out of operation and another three were running at well below normal capacity.The minister said chaos in Beirut after the blast, Lebanon’s worst peacetime disaster, made it difficult to enforce compliance with pandemic precautionary and preventive measures.”Our ability to control behavior in the face of the virus is more limited,” the minister said.He cited “families going to hospitals to look for the wounded or missing,” but also the mobilization of healthcare workers and citizens to seek or provide aid after the blast.The explosion was caused by a fire in a warehouse where, according to authorities, a huge amount of ammonium nitrate had been stored for years.A judge leading investigations into the blast issued a preliminary arrest warrant Monday against customs director-general Badri Daher, a judicial source told AFP.  Since the explosion, thousands of volunteers have helped clean up rubble-strewn streets and distribute aid, while protesters have taken to the streets against a government widely blamed for the negligence that led to the disaster. Health officials have warned that the chaos following the blast risked creating a further spike in infections.The head of a major public hospital, Firass Abiad, has cautioned that, as attention has shifted away from the pandemic after the explosion disaster, “we cannot afford to allow the virus to go unchecked”. Lebanon’s health minister warned Monday that hospitals are reaching maximum capacity to treat novel coronavirus patients after the deadly Beirut blast overwhelmed clinics and triggered a spike in COVID-19 cases.”Public and private hospitals in the capital in particular have a very limited capacity, whether in terms of beds in intensive care units or respirators,” the minister, Hamad Hassan, told a press conference.”We are on the brink, we don’t have the luxury to take our time,” he warned, urging authorities to take the “hard decision” to impose a new two-week lockdown to stem the spread of the virus.  Topics : Lebanon has seen a spike in coronavirus-related cases and deaths in recent weeks, and they have hit new records in the aftermath of the massive explosion that ripped through large parts of Beirut on August 4.The disaster killed 177 people and wounded more than 6,500, many hit by falling debris and flying glass as windows shattered.That sparked pandemonium in the capital’s already pandemic-stricken hospitals.Lebanon reported a one-day record of 456 new infections on Monday, bringing the total number of infections to 9,337, including 105 deaths since the start of the outbreak in February. A previously planned lockdown was scrapped in the wake of the explosion, which flattened neighborhoods near the port and left thousands homeless.”In the capital, the intensive care units and the departments set up for the coronavirus in public hospitals are full,” the minister told Voice of Lebanon radio.”In most private hospitals that receive coronavirus patients, intensive care unit beds are [already] occupied” by COVID-19 patients, he added.last_img read more

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Activist groups campaign against Australian supers’ fossil fuel holdings

first_imgTwo activist groups are upping the ante in their campaigns to force Australia’s largest super funds to totally divest from fossil fuels and other stocks whose activities they say are contributing to climate change.The two groups, Healthy Futures and Market Forces, have been conducting online campaigns to gather support from super fund members.Market Forces, which keeps tab on super funds and their fossil fuel investment, last week focussed on UniSuper, a A$85bn (€50.3bn) scheme with 450,000 members working in the higher education and research sector.Healthy Futures has its sights on six super funds, including AustralianSuper, HESTA, First State Super, QSuper, SA Super, GESB, the West Australian public sector super fund, and TasPlan, a small Tasmanian fund.Collectively, these super funds manage close to A$450bn.Market Forces was able to mobilise 10,000 UniSuper members to sign an open letter published in the Australian Financial Review last week. The letter called on the UniSuper board to divest from all companies that are actively undermining climate change action.“Specifically we demand the fund divest from the companies that are expanding the scale of the fossil fuel sector; and/or relying on scenarios incompatible with the climate goals of the Paris Agreement to justify their future business prospects,” the letter said.“We expect this action to be taken across the entire fund by the end of the financial year ending 30 June, 2020.” The letter added that, as the default superannuation fund for Australia’s academics, scientists, researchers and university employees, UniSuper should be leading investor action on climate change.“Instead, billions of dollars of members’ retirement savings are invested in companies whose operations and plans are completely incompatible with the climate goals of the Paris Agreement,” it said.When approached by IPE, UniSuper declined to comment.In a parallel campaign co-ordinated by Healthy Futures, more than 400 doctors and other health professionals have publicly called on HESTA to sell down shares in 19 fossil fuel producers.The activist group met with HESTA executives at its certified carbon emission-free head office in Melbourne last week to stress its points.It has stepped up its campaign in the wake of Australia’s recent bushfires, which aside from huge economic and financial losses, has caused health issues for many. Market Forces was able to mobilise 10,000 UniSuper members to sign an open letterSince 2015, a group of well-known medical professionals, students and other community workers has lobbied HESTA to pull out of companies with primary businesses in fossil fuel extraction, transportation or power generation.In an open letter to HESTA, Healthy Futures said it was “unconscionable” for the fund to continue to invest in fossil fuel companies, pointing to the health effects of air pollution, coal combustion and fracking for unconventional gas.“All fossil fuels, when burned, contribute to climate change, which has been identified as the greatest global health threat of our time,” the letter said.Sonya Sawtel-Rickson, HESTA CIO, told IPE: “Our best chance at managing the long-term financial risk of climate change is by using our influence to drive companies to better understand, manage and reduce their carbon emissions.“We believe that if all we do is simply sell these companies, it is very unlikely to change their behaviour and drive long-term climate action. Using the leverage ownership is more effective than divestment at achieving climate action and the transition to a low carbon future.”“We believe that if all we do is simply sell these companies, it is very unlikely to change their behaviour and drive long-term climate action”Sonya Sawtel-Rickson, HESTA CIOSawtel-Rickson said active ownership was producing significant results. For example, by co-operating with other investors, HESTA had successfully pushed for companies like BP to set emission-reduction targets and link these to executive pay.BP last month announced that it would aim to be net carbon neutral by 2050.“Divestment would mean we have no influence to encourage climate action, and would limit our ability to protect members’ investments,” Sawtel-Rickson added.HESTA is an active member of Climate Action 100+ global investor collaboration that engages with the world’s biggest emitters. In the Australian context, mining giants such as Rio Tinto and Glencore have signalled that they have taken significant steps regarding transition planning.Other initiatives by HESTA include seeking to explicitly link the pay of top executives of oil and gas companies to their performance on reducing carbon emissions.Along with other like-minded super funds, it has discussions with companies such as Woodside and Santos, urging them to follow the lead of international energy giants BP and Shell in directly tying executive remuneration to emission reductions.last_img read more

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Eboue Considers Suicide after Split with Wife

first_imgHe played in a UEFA Champions League final, earned millions in a seven-year English Premier League career, slept in a palatial home and drove expensive cars.But in a shock revelation former Arsenal cult figure Emmanuel Eboue admitted to UK’s Mirror he’s penniless and has been close to suicide.The 34-year-old from Côte d Ivoire who appeared for Arsene Wenger‘s side between 2004 and 2011 has admitted he’s seriously considered taking his own life after financial mismanagement has left him skint and a bitter divorce that has meant he is estranged from his three children.At the height of his career at the Emirates he took home a seven-digit sum every year during his time in North London, earning a further £1.5 million annually playing for Turkish giants Galatasaray.However, with his former wife Aurelie being awarded of all the couple’s assets, he has been forced to dodge police and bailiffs following a court order – insisting he hand over his home in Enfield to her.Heartbreakingly, the former Gunner – whose infectious smile and unorthodox defending helped build a cult following among football fans across the globe – has been unable to visit his kids since the estrangement from Aurelie in June.Eboue is inconsolable at not being able to see his nine-year-old son Mathis and two daughters Clara, 14, and Maeva, 12, this Christmas.To add to that he has been grieving since his late grandfather Amadou Bertin, who brought him up, sadly died after a brave battle against cancer. To top it all he lost his brother N’Dri Serge, who died in a motorbike crash.Eboue, who won the free-kick that led to Sol Campbell’s goal for Arsenal against Barcelona in the 2006 Champions League final, has been hit hard with misfortune which has brought him to the brink of suicide.Speaking to The Sunday Mirror he said: ‘I want God to help me. Only he can help take these (suicidal) thoughts from my mind. It hurts me a lot (not to see his children). They used to call me. But now, no contact. It pains me to be alone without them.’A deadline for troubled Eboue to surrender ownership of the mansion he once shared with Aurelie passed earlier this month, meaning a judge will sign the transfer if Eboue doesn’t.The Mirror also reported his former wife will rent out the Enfield property but he says he lacks the funds for a barrister or lawyer to help fight his cause.So now he waits with his bags packed in the hallway for the dreaded knock on the door which will see the law force him to vacate the property he bought in happier times.He added: ‘I am in the house but I am scared. Because I don’t know what time the police will come. Sometimes I shut off the lights because I don’t want people to know that I am inside. I put everything behind the door.‘My own house. I suffered to buy my house but I am now scared. I am not going to sell my clothes or sell what I have. I will fight until the end because it is not fair.’His plans to return to the Premier League for one final payday with Sunderland last season faded after FIFA slapped him with a year’s ban following a dispute with a former advisor.The former Ivory Coast international who gained 79 caps for his country is remarkably free of bitterness at his former partner Aurelie – but blames previous advisors for FIFA imposing their damaging 12-month playing ban on him.Eboue, who admits he had a limited education growing up in his country’s capital Abidjan, as he focused on trying to become a professional footballer, also concedes he was ‘naive’ with his fortune.He accepts he allowed his former wife to take control of their financial affairs, but claims hangers-on bled him dry as they saw him as an easy target because he was never given good advice on how to manage his fortune.Staggeringly Eboue even recalls having to sign financial paperwork while he was supposed to be training when he was visited by bank staff at London Colney, Arsenal’s training ground.The Arsenal cult hero now sleeps on a friend’s floor, washes his clothes by hand because he can’t afford a washing machine and can just about find the money for an Oyster card – despite once having a bank-busting balance in the black.But he thanks the PFA for their help and is sharing his story as a cautionary tale to help young African footballers learn from his errors.He needs a job and would love a role at his former club Arsenal to help tide him over – but says he would be ’embarrassed’ if he saw some of his former team-mates, including Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp, because of the current plight he finds himself in.Eboue’s is a tragic situation which, despite the glamour and undreamed riches available at the top tier of English football, is a heart-breaking and salutatory tale for those in charge of the Premier League.Yet despite his troubles he is still fighting hard, as he thanks God, adding: ‘I didn’t want what has happened. I don’t wish it on anybody.’Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more

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