Former Cleveland Clinic CEO Toby Cosgrove, MD, Joins InnovaHealth Partners as Senior Advisor

NEW YORK, Nov. 20, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Former Cleveland Clinic CEO, Delos M. "Toby" Cosgrove, MD, has joined InnovaHealth Partners ("InnovaHealth") as Senior Advisor.

Dr. Cosgrove was the Cleveland Clinic's CEO and President from 2004 to May 2017 and now serves as an Executive Advisor, working on growth strategies with the Cleveland Clinic's leadership. As CEO and President of the Cleveland Clinic, he focused on improving patient experience and medical outcomes, reorganizing services and strengthening the organization's finances.

Mortimer ("Tim") Berkowitz III, InnovaHealth President and Chief Executive Officer, said, "We are very pleased to welcome Toby to the InnovaHealth team. As a pioneering surgeon, medical technology innovator and exceptional healthcare leader, Toby shares our strategic vision of expanding market access for innovative medical technologies that meet large unmet clinical needs. His broad global reach and experience will augment our investment pipeline, ability to add value to our portfolio companies and further cement our strategic relationships in the medical technology industry."

After serving as a surgeon in the U.S. Air Force, Dr. Cosgrove joined the Cleveland Clinic in 1975 and was named Chairman of the Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular surgery in 1989. As a recognized cardiothoracic surgeon, Dr. Cosgrove performed more than 22,000 operations before retiring from surgery in 2006 and has earned an international reputation for his expertise in valve repair. Dr. Cosgrove was the first surgeon to complete a minimally invasive mitral–valve surgery in 1996 and holds 30 patents for medical innovations.

Dr. Cosgrove is a member of the National Academy of Medicine, and a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. In 2016, he was a Fortune Businessperson of the Year (No. 14). In 2018, he became an advisor to the Google Cloud healthcare and life sciences team. Three successive presidents of the United States have consulted him on healthcare issues.

Dr. Cosgrove commented, "I am very pleased to be joining the InnovaHealth team. This is a uniquely qualified private equity firm investing in proven medical technologies that advance clinical outcomes, simplify surgeries and lower the costs of healthcare delivery. This is a much–needed activity in the healthcare world and the InnovaHealth investing approach is a win–win for patients, clinicians and investors alike."

About InnovaHealth Partners
New York based InnovaHealth Partners, LP is the leading specialist medical technology growth private equity firm. The InnovaHealth team manages approximately $200 million and has over 100 years of experience investing in the global medical technology market.

Tiffany Cheynier, Manager, Investor Relations
InnovaHealth Partners, LP
T: 1.212.652.3550
F: 1.212.652.3544

Winning the ‘No Food Loss’ Battle: The Case of Japan

Veena S. Kulkarni, PhD is Associate Professor, Department of Criminology, Sociology and Geography, Arkansas State University, USA

By Veena S. Kulkarni
ARKANSAS, Nov 20 2019 – Humankind since almost the time that there is recorded history has grappled with the question of ‘how many is too many?’ The response is expectedly complex as it varies across time and space. The pace of population growth was slow till about approximately 250 years or so. It is only since the middle of the eighteenth century that there has been a palpable acceleration in population growth.

Veena S. Kulkarni

The intervals in which we have added a billion has been consistently narrowing. It took only 12 years for the global population to increase from six billion to seven billion compared to the 123 years that passed between the first and second billion. Thus, an emerging concern is whether there are already too many to the detriment of our own survival? The latter narrative has been a dominant one till very recently and its genesis can be attributed to one of the most influential thinkers, Thomas Robert Malthus. Malthus in his Essay on the Principle of Population in 1798 posited the following. Population, if unchecked will grow geometrically and food supply will increase arithmetically. Malthus’s predictions garnered credence as they coincided with the periods of significant growth in the population, increase in deaths, spread of communicable diseases and famines in Europe and explorations of new lands by Europeans. However, there was an alternative theory being developed by another intellectual stalwart of that time, Karl Marx. Marx’s contention was that it is the exploitative capitalist system and not the people that are responsible for poverty and misery as reflected in rise in deaths and diseases.

More contemporarily, the debate on the sustainability of population growth revitalized in post Word War II period, an era characterized by the emergence of newly independent former colonies in Asia and Africa. Both the number of people and the rate of their growth in those countries was high enough to raise alarms of population ‘explosion’. Thus, what followed were zealous attempts by governments to put in place policies and programs to control population growth. The programs were often funded by international agencies and at times conditional upon disbursement of development aid by Western countries. The arguments proffered by the proponents of concerted efforts to check population growth include economic and environmental. A large population results in swindling of already scarce resources away from income generating investments toward what have been called as ‘demographic overheads’ such as provision of food, education, clothing, shelter and in so doing hindered economic development. Also, scholars of the above school of thought called as neo-Malthusians or ‘doomsters’ believe population growth, if not curtailed, leads to running out of earth’s carrying capacity which is number of people that can be supported relative to the available physical resources. One of the requirements for our survival is natural resources such as land and water for production of food. The population growth rates existing in less developed countries in the 1960s, provoked dire predictions of mass starvations and deaths stemming from unavailability of food and hence led to feverish bids to reduce rates of population growth. India’s family planning program and China’s population policy reflect such endeavors.

While rates of population growth have been on an average on the decline in the world, there was a surge in food supply facilitated by technological revolutions in myriad aspects of agricultural production and the reasonably successful dissemination of the technology to less developed regions. The consistent rise in food availability not only indisputably questions the Malthusian thesis of endangering the existence of humankind owing to scarcity of food supply, it provides validity to the viewpoint of experts, called as ‘boomsters’. ‘Boomsters’ argue that population growth and innovation go handin hand and so ‘the more the merrier’ is a more accurate stance. The other side of the coin of expansion in food production that has been gaining prominence in the past couple of decades bolstered by the rising consciousness of human induced environmental degradation is escalation in food loss and waste. The deliberations surrounding population matters have begun delving into the overpopulation versus overconsumption predicament, a shift away from the sole focus on overpopulation. While acknowledging the need to make systematic and substantial investment on agriculture to augment food supply and subsequent food security in some parts of the world, it is clear that in quite a few regions, efficiency in food production and distribution can be enhanced by cutting down food loss. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that food loss and waste (FLW) is roughly 30% of all food globally amounting to 1.3 billion tons per year. These numbers assume a new meaning when considering the number of people who are undernourished. Around 821 million people or approximately one in every nine did not have adequate food in 2017.

The magnitude and pervasiveness of the problem of FLW along with its coexistence with persistent undernourishment has attracted the attention of the United Nations (UN). The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted at the 2015 UN Summit sets targets for reducing food loss and waste. Thus, bringing down food loss and waste are explicated as Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It may be noted that SDG target on FLW states food loss and waste as two separate goals. In the context of food loss target, FAO has created a food loss index (FLI) that assesses food loss along the supply chain from starting from production stage to the retail outlets. Additionally, Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition (BCFN) in collaboration with The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has developed a comprehensive measure called Food Sustainability Index (FSI). One of the three indicators that are part of FSI is a measure of FLW, the other two being sustainable agriculture and nutritional challenges.

One of the developed countries that recognizes the enormity of the problem of food loss, its implications and the urgency to tackle it is Japan. Japan’s annual food loss is in the order of 6.21 million tones, the loss being defined as food intended for consumption that is unsold, past the expiration date or is left over. The average amount of food thrown by a Japanese person could fill up an entire rice bowl and in aggregate terms, the food wasted is enough to feed 50 million people a year. In monetary terms, the value of food wasted annually is worth United States (US) $ 1.6bn which is about per capita US$1,000. Unsurprisingly, Japan ranks 27 among 67 countries in terms of BCFN and EIU generated FLW and FSI indices. Further, given the estimated (in 2015) Japanese food self-sufficiency rate of 39% and that 3 million children are undernourished, this large volume of food loss presents a rather unique conundrum.

Expectedly, Japan has embarked on multiple strategies to curb food loss and make food availability more sustainable and equitable. Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in collaboration with six other ministries launched No-Food Loss Project in October 2013. Further, in May 2019 a legislation was enacted calling for a ‘national movement’ to promote reduction of food loss. The No-Food Loss project aims at amending policies and programs to minimize food loss at every stage of food supply chain. This Project therefore entails reforming behavior and practices of all the stakeholders. For instance, one of the reasons that has been identified for food loss is what is called as ‘one-third’ rule. The ‘one-third’ rule stipulates that food makers or wholesalers should dispense the food items within the first third of the interval between manufactured date on the product to the expiration date. If the food makers or wholesalers are unable to meet that deadline, then retailers are entitled to refuse to accept the delivery. While the rule is well intentioned as it ensures consumers receive good quality product with a lead time on the expiration, the myriad number of hoops between production and actual delivery make meeting the one-third time threshold impossible for many food makers and wholesalers and consequently edible quality food gets thrown out. The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has set-up a commission to evaluate the one-third time line and proposals to reduce the time frame from one-third to one half for drink products and snacks have been put forward. Other initiatives include increase in number and support for food banks that provide food free of charge to welfare agencies, extension of expiration dates, encouraging use of technology to link consumers to restaurants, appealing to public to change habits via messaging from cafeterias, restaurants, convenience stores and supermarkets, promotion of use of doggy and popularizing recycling processes. The selection of a decade old community program in Nagoya to recycle food from supermarkets and school lunches that would otherwise have been thrown out, to make compost for vegetable farming for the Biodiversity Action Award by the Japan Committee for United Nations Decade on Biodiversity (UNDB) is an illustration of that. Additionally, attempts to increase awareness amongst local governments, grocery shops and consumers along with featuring of benefits of cutting down food loss in the mainstream media and in politicians’ discourses are noticeable.

Based on the above initiatives in conjunction with Japan’s compliance with the SDGs and the Japanese approach to waste exemplified in the idea of mottainai (meaning consciousness toward waste and excesses in Japanese, a term popularized by the first environmentalist to win the Nobel Peace Prize, the late Wangari Maathai,), it is reasonable to expect Japan’s commitment to cutting down food loss will bear fruition in the near future.

Achieving the Possible: “Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone in the Middle East”

Credit: United Nations

By Tariq Rauf
VIENNA, Nov 20 2019 – A historic conference on the Middle East opened at the United Nations in New York on 18th November and will continue until 22nd November. The Conference on the Establishment of a Middle East Zone Free of Nuclear Weapons and Other Weapons of Mass Destruction is presided over by Ambassador Sima Bahous of Jordan.

This matter has been before the international community since 1974 and remains controversial and unresolved to this day. On the one side, the Arab States of the region of the Middle East and Iran have called for the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East and the dismantlement of Israel’s clandestine nuclear weapon programme.

On the other side, Israel supported by the EU member States, Canada and the US, maintain that regional peace and security is a pre-condition for any negotiations on such a zone and that concerns about nuclear programmes in certain Arab States also need to be resolved first.

Thus, this matter has simmered for decades, plagued the proceedings and outcomes of the review conferences of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, the annual General Conferences of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), as well as the First Committee and the United Nations General Assembly.

Now finally, pursuant to a decision by the General Assembly in December 2018, this conference is going ahead albeit without the participation of Israel and the United States.

Nuclear-weapon-free zones

The original concept of establishing nuclear-weapon-free zones (NWFZs) was conceived with a view to preventing the emergence of new nuclear-weapon possessor States.

Efforts to ensure the absence of nuclear weapons in other populated parts of the world have led to five regional denuclearization agreements—the 1967 Treaty of Tlatelolco covering Latin America, the 1985 Treaty of Rarotonga covering the South Pacific, the 1995 Treaty of Bangkok covering Southeast Asia, the 1996 Pelindaba Treaty covering Africa, and the 2006 Central Asian NWFZ treaty, all are in force—thus the entire southern hemisphere below the Equator is covered by NWFZ treaties.

In addition, in 1992 Mongolia declared itself to be a nuclear-weapon-free space that was approved by the Great Hural in 2000 and endorsed by UNGA in 2002.

Also, certain uninhabited areas of the globe have been formally denuclearized. They include Antarctica under the 1959 Antarctic Treaty; outer space, the moon, and other celestial bodies under the 1967 Outer Space Treaty and the 1979 Moon Agreement; and the seabed, the ocean floor, and the subsoil thereof under the 1971 Seabed Treaty.

General Assembly resolution 3472 B (1975) defines a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone as

    • any zone recognized as such by the General Assembly of the United Nations, which any group of States, in the free exercises of their sovereignty, has established by virtue of a treaty or convention whereby:
    a) The statute of total absence of nuclear weapons to which the zone shall be subject, including the procedure for the delimitation of the zone, is defined;
    b) An international system of verification and control is established to guarantee compliance with the obligations deriving from that statute.

NWFZs ban the production, testing and stationing of nuclear weapons, permit peaceful uses, include verification provisions and in some cases an institutional set up; and require security assurances from nuclear-weapon States.

Article VII of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) affirmed the right of States to establish NWFZs in their respective territories and the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference (NPTREC) expressed the conviction that regional denuclearization measures enhance global and regional peace and security.

The NPTREC adopted a Resolution on establishing a zone free of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction as well as delivery systems in the region of the Middle East. The 2000 NPTRevConf reiterated the importance of the 1995 Resolution, and the 2010 RevConf mandated that a conference be held on such a zone by 2012; and the 2015 RevConf came to an inglorious end over disagreements on the Middle East zone.

Earlier in 2000, the IAEA General Conference adopted a Resolution for the IAEA Director General to convene a Forum on Experience of NWFZs Relevant for the Middle East. On joining the IAEA in 2002, the Director General assigned me the task to make the arrangements for holding this Forum – during the course of the summers of 2002-2004, I was able to get agreement on the Agenda but the Forum itself was convened only in November 2011.

Representatives from all five zones and Mongolia attended and made presentations at the IAEA Forum; however, under the-then Director General the Agency acceded to pressure from certain sources to ensure that the Forum was a one-off event and that there would not be any follow-up activities.

In terms of new NWFZs, the Middle East remains an old unfulfilled aspiration. First jointly proposed by Egypt and Iran in 1974 through a General Assembly resolution, the concept was broadened in 1990 through the Mubarak Initiative to cover all weapons of mass destruction.

There is as yet no general agreement on the contours and details of a WMD-free zone (WMDFZ), however keeping to basics it is possible to identify practical measures and elements – as is endeavoured in the draft treaty text prepared by The METO Project.

Middle East

Traditionally, Egypt has taken the lead in promoting efforts for the implementation of the 1995 NPTREC Resolution on the Middle East in the NPT review process, as well as at the IAEA General Conference and at the First Committee of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) on the establishment of a NWFZ in the region of the Middle East.

Last year, UNGA First Committee adopted by voting (103 yes :3 no : 71 abstentions) decision (A/C.1/73/L.22/Rev.1) co-sponsored by Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt,* Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen and State of Palestine on Convening a conference on the establishment of a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction.

The UNGA decision A/73/546, adopted on 22 December 2018 by a vote of 88 to 4 with 75 abstentions, called on the UN Secretary General to:

    • convene a conference for the duration of one week to be held no later than 2019 dealing with the establishment of a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction;
    • the conference shall take as its terms of reference the 1995 NPTREC resolution;
    • all decisions emanating from the conference shall be taken by consensus by the States of the region;
    • all States of the Middle East, the three co-sponsors of the 1995 resolution on the Middle East, the other two nuclear-weapon States and the relevant international organisations (IAEA, OPCW, BTWC ISU) to participate;
    • the Secretary-General to convene annual sessions of the conference for a duration of one week at United Nations Headquarters until the conference concludes the elaboration a legally binding treaty establishing a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, on the basis of arrangements freely arrived at by the States of the region ; .

Accordingly, Under-Secretary General and High Representative for Disarmament Izumi Nakamitsu and the Department for Disarmament Affairs made the preparations to hold the conference on 18-22 November 2019.

The main areas of contention between the Arab States and Israel can be summarized as follows: that there still continues to be a long-standing and fundamental difference of views between Israel, on the one hand, and other States of the Middle East region, on the other hand, with regard to the establishment of a zone free of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction in the region of the Middle East (MENWFZ/WMDFZ).

Israel takes the view that MENWFZ/WMDFZ and related regional security issues, cannot be addressed in isolation from the regional peace process and that these issues should be addressed in the framework of a regional security and arms control dialogue that could be resumed in the context of a multilateral peace process.

These should help reduce tensions, and lead to security and stability in the Middle East, through development of mutual recognition, peaceful and good neighbourly relations and abandonment of threats and use of force by states as well as non-State actors as means to settlement of disputes.

Following the establishment of full and lasting peaceful relations and reconciliation among all nations of the region, such a process could lead to the adoption of confidence-building measures, discussion of arms control issues, and eventually pave the way to regional negotiations of a mutually and effectively verifiable regime that will establish the Middle East as a zone free of chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons as well as ballistic missiles.

Israel also holds the position that any modalities, obligations or provisions should be solely addressed by the states concerned through direct negotiation.

The other States of the region maintain that there is no automatic sequence which links the establishment of the zone, the application of IAEA comprehensive safeguards to all nuclear activities in the Middle East, to the prior conclusion of a peace settlement, and that the former would contribute to the latter.

The Arab States maintain that all of them have acceded to the NPT, while Israel continues to defy the international community by refusing to become a party to the Treaty or to place its installations under the Agency’s comprehensive safeguards system, thus exposing the region to nuclear risks and threatening peace.

Israel’s possession of nuclear weapons is likely to lead to a destructive nuclear arms race in the region; especially if Israel’s nuclear installations remain outside any international control.

Most Arab States of the region of the Middle East consider that:

    • the 2018 UNGA decision A/73/546 on convening a conference on the zone was a breakthrough;
    • the new initiative through the UNGA is directed at all States of the region of the Middle East, the three co-sponsors of the1995 NPTREC Resolution are invited and no States of the region shall be excluded;
    • while the UNGA route was not ideal, it was resorted to as there was no realistic alternative due to the prevailing situation regionally and globally; and
    • the initiative shall be fully inclusive, involve direct dialogue, be based on arrangements freely arrived at, there will be no singling out of any State of the region; however, if any State of the region does not attend, this cannot prevent other States of the region to attend the conference slated for November this year.

Regarding the question of how to deal with the Middle East issue at the 2020 review conference of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the following points are relevant:

    (a) the NPT review process remains the primary focus and the UNGA initiative is not an alternative to the NPT process but should be regarded as parallel and complementary;
    (b) it can alleviate pressure on the 2020 review conference;
    (c) there is no intention to hold the review conference hostage to the Middle East issue and the NPT States of the region want the review conference to be successful;
    (d) the UNGA conference shall be open to all States and now it is important to start engagement and preparations on the modalities and procedural aspects;
    (e) the assertion is incorrect that Israel was not consulted in advance on the 2018 resolution at UNGA, in fact it was consulted in advance of the decision;
    (f) the decision garnered more than 100 affirmative votes at UNGA, which was a clear majority;
    (g) the 2019 NPT PrepCom should take factual note of the UNGA decision to convene the conference in November;
    (h) the Middle East zone issue remains within the NPT process and the 2020 review conference would have to reaffirm and recognize this;
    (i) the November conference provides an opportunity to all States to meet and discuss zone matters, express views, all decisions shall be by consensus, it is an opportunity for direct consultations among the States of the region of the Middle East, and it is up to the States of the region to decide whether to sign/ratify a future MEWMDFZ treaty;
    (j) the Middle East zone now can be considered as the fourth pillar of the NPT;
    (k) it is regrettable that some States (Israel and the United States) had urged the IAEA (and other relevant international organizations) not to attend the November conference;
    (l) the NPT States of the region believe in collective not selective security and this calls for the universalization of the NPT and the cessation of granting privileges to States not party to the Treaty (Israel);
    (m) regarding the three co-sponsors (Russia, UK, USA) of the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference Resolution calling for the establishment of a zone free of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction: the UK has voiced support for the vision of a MEWMDFZ and is attending the November conference; the Russian Federation endorsed the convening of the conference also is attending the November conference which it regards as easing pressure at the 2020 review conference; while the US has indicated support for the goal of a Middle East free of WMD based on direct dialogue and consensus but has condemned the General Assembly decision of 2018 to convene the November conference as “illegitimate” and is boycotting the conference; and
    (n) Israel too has decided not to attend the November conference.

The METO Project

The Middle East Treaty Organization (METO) Project for a zone free of WMD in the Middle East represents a civil society initiative on “Achieving the Possible” was launched and sustained by Sharon Dolev of the Israeli Disarmament Movement and has attracted support from experts from States of the region of the Middle East as well as from other countries. The METO project has developed the elements of a text of a MEWMDFZ treaty that has been shared with the States of the Middle East region and is designed to serve as a catalyst for them to jump start discussions on such a treaty.

Ii is hoped that the States attending the current conference can draw motivation, ideas and elements from the draft treaty text prepared by the METO Project as they discuss the possible elements and provisions of a future treaty that can garner the support of the States of the region.

Some may find shortcomings or omissions in the draft text but States of the region and other concerned parties are invited to further develop, enhance and enrich the elements presented in the draft text.

This effort needs to be joined not by sceptics nor naysayers but by optimists and those who are serious about promoting the cause of a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction and of its transformation into a region of peace, justice and security.


The Conference on the Establishment of a Middle East Zone Free of Nuclear Weapons and Other Weapons of Mass Destruction now underway at the United Nations in New York provides a belated but important opportunity to address regional security, non-proliferation and disarmament matters in the region of the Middle East.

It sets into place an annual process focusing on discussing matters pertaining to eliminating the threats, dangers and risks of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons in the region; achieving universal adherence in the region to the NPT through the verified elimination of Israel’s nuclear weapon programme, and also securing universal adherence in the region to and compliance with the Biological and Toxin Weapon Convention and the Chemical Weapons Convention that prohibit biological and chemical weapons, and signature and/or ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) that prohibits all types of nuclear explosive tests.

Bringing peace and security to the region of the Middle East should be accorded the highest priority by the States of the region as well as by all other States.

The views expressed are the writer’s personal observations.

Evo Morales: Hero or Villain?

By Jan Lundius
STOCKHOLM / ROME, Nov 20 2019 – To be president in a country like Bolivia might be like a precarious act performed by a tightrope-dancer between “the Devil and the deep blue sea”. After 23 years as Bolivia’s President, Evo Morales finally lost his foothold and ended up as political refugee in Mexico, adding his name to a long list of previous revolutionary exiles, like Augusto Sandino, Fidel Castro, and most prominently – Leon Trotsky. The last one was murdered, though the others came back, something Evo Morales has promised to do:

    “Sisters and brothers, I leave for Mexico, grateful for the generosity of the government of that kindred people who gave us asylum to defend our lives. It hurts to leave the country for political reasons, but I will remain vigilant. Soon I will return with greater strength and energy.”1

Morales balance act was performed between an urban, social elite, a hostile U.S. government, suspicious neighbouring countries, big landowners, industrialists, the Army, coca growers, corrupt, political allies, alleged mistresses, regional leaders, environmentalists and not the least dissatisfaction amidst loyal supporters among poor and indigenous communities, suffering inevitable frustrations over his adminstration´s inability to provide everything they hoped for.

Nevertheless, a galloping inflation was checked under Morales´s regime. Foreign currency reserves grew steadily, while millions were spent on subsidies and infrastructure. Contrary to many other Latin American populists, Morales is also a pragmatist who instead of outright nationalizing companies and institutions, while throwing out foreign investors, cut better deals for the State and embraced market-friendly policies.

If he had groomed a successor and accepted power transition Morales, who was born to a poor peasant family in the desolate and isolated Aymara village of Iasallawi, could have been remembered as one of the great political leaders of Latin America. Though as most leaders within a volatile, prejudiced and highly combative political environment he made self-interested moves and occasionally stabbed opponents in the back.

In spite of being known as a “modest person with little interest in material possessions”, who when he became president reduced both his own salary and those of his ministers by 57 percent to USD 1,800 a month, he soon became a brand of vitality and infallibility. One example was his regular, predawn workout in a gym, when he in front of an audience displayed stamina and strength. Later in the day he used to visit a couple of cities or villages, where his image was stamped on murals in subsidized housing complexes, on airport billboards and even on taxis and buses.

I first became acquainted with Evo Morales’s mounting presence when I on behalf of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency in 2000 began visiting Bolivian universities. When I first arrived in Cochabamba, Bolivia’s third largest city, it had recently suffered violent clashes between protesters and army troops. Riots erupted after President Hugo Banzer signed a contract with a private consortium to control the city’s water resources. This was part of a privatization policy initiated by his predecessor, Sánchez de Lozada, meaning that more than 50 percent of former state-owned businesses and enterprises were transferred to private investors. In Cochabamba, the price for water tripled, leading to wide-spread rioting among those who no longer could afford clean water.

My hosts at the San Simon University told me protests were organized by radicalized coca growers from Chapare, a district which population between 1992 and 2016 had doubled from 132,000 to 262,000,2 mainly due to an influx of former miners and smallholders, migrating from the highlands, which since the beginning of the 1980s suffered from an economic crisis shutting down mining enterprises and destroying markets for poor farmers. The majority of the migrants were Quechua and Aymara speaking indigenous people. Among the newcomers had been nineteen-years-old Evo Morales, whose family had left the highlands since violent storms had destroyed their small farm.

Several migrants were former union leaders hardened by decades of work in the mines and had no agricultural experience before their arrival, something that proved to be of great importance. The coca plant is autochthonous to the Chapare region, but had so far not been exploited, since its high concentration of alkaloids makes it unsuitable for akulliku (mastication), the common use of coca at higher altitudes. Nevertheless, Chapare coca was well suited for cocaine production and did not need much care from inexperienced farmers. It could be harvested four times a year and was highly profitable, satisfying an expanding, global market.

When I visited Chapare, roads entering the district were guarded by control stations making me remember the ones I passed while entering East Germany in the 1980s. They were guarded by armed personell from the Bolivian Army and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), controlling in- and outcoming traffic. Inside the district, towns and villages made me think of towns in Western movies – haphazardly constructed buildings, bars and even brothels, but no communal squares. Stores were filled with the latest electronic equipment, refrigerators, air conditioners, computers, motorbikes, etc.

The San Simon University supported experimental plantations for various crops to stimulate farmers to quit coca production. Apart from such plantations I visited coca fields where growers told me that international support to drug eradication had actually made coca growing even more profitable – new roads improved buyers´ access, subsidies for alternative crops were gratefully received, while the coca purchasers offered improved plants with higher alkaloid content occupying less space and being suitable for interplantation with other crops. They considered DEA agents as enemies, as well as a Government, which according to them served a wealthy, urban elite bowing to U.S. pressure to persecute coca growers, of which several wore t-shirts with slogans like Coca no es cocaina, ”coca is not cocaine” and Causachun coca. Wañuchun yanquis, ”Long live coca. Death to the Yankees.”

Their hero was Evo Morales, who had organized the Cocalero Union and now headed the country’s second biggest political party. Adorned with a garland of coca leaves Morales gave arousing speeches presenting coca as an emblem of an Andean culture threatened by U.S. imperialist oppression. He was right about inept politicians and the open meddling of the U.S. in Bolivian politics, as well as coca being an integrated, even religiously important part of Andean culture, though he failed to mention that this was not at all the case of Chapare-produced coca. He was also right about the marginalized position of indigenous people, though he failed to mention progress made after the 1952/53 revolution when indigenous people had risen against a corrupt regime in an uprising that lead to extensive land reforms, universal suffrage, strengthened labour unions and efforts to integrate indigenous people in the ruling of a country where roughly 65 percent of the population identify themselves as ”indigenous people”. In short, to me Morales appeared to be a populist who slightly twisted reality to make it serve his political career.

However, Morales proved to be an able politician transforming his pro-coca and pro-indigenous stance to an effective political agenda that eventually changed Bolivia. Already a few months after Morales assumed the presidency in 2006 the State increased its control of the hydrocarbon industry. Corporations had up until then paid 18 percent of their profits to the State – now the new regime reversed the situation by decreeing that 82 percent of the profits would be passed on to the State. Oil companies threatened to cease all its Bolivian operations, but remained anyway. In 2002 the Bolivian State received USD 173 million from hydrocarbon extraction, but already in 2006 it obtained USD 1.3 billion.3

The increased revenue resulting from this and similar measures was invested in efforts to expand the welfare state. Prices of gas and many foodstuffs were controlled. Local food producers were motivated to sell their produce in the local market, rather than exporting it and the economy grew. Stronger public finances brought economic stability and inflation was curbed. Upon Morales’ election, Bolivia’s illiteracy rate was at 16 percent, the highest in South America. A literacy campaign was introduced and in 2009 UNESCO considered Bolivia to be free from illiteracy.4 By 2014, twenty hospitals had been established and basic medical coverage was guaranteed up to the age of 25, while low-income citizens over 60 received a monthly contribution of USD 344. Cash transfer programs were introduced to keep children of low-income parents in school. The legal minimum wage was in 2006 increased by 50 percent and pension age have successively been lowered from 65 to 58 years.

Nevertheless, Morales’s conservative critics have claimed that too much revenue was wasted on unnecessary projects like football fields and communal auditoriums, warning that projects implemented to ensure continued support for the Government would sooner or later end in a catastrophe, like the one in Venezuela.

Morales’s worst nemesis was his promise to support regional autonomy for Bolivia’s departments. When the country’s more affluent eastern departments tried to implement such policies, Morales backtracked, declaring it as an attempt of the bourgeoisie to preserve its wealth. He has also been accused of “hollow populism”, exemplified by the fact that he during his first presidential term gave ministerial posts to self-declared indigenous persons, though they were gradually replaced by middle-class politicians. Already by 2012 only 3 of the 20 cabinet minsters identified themselves as “indigenous”. Similarly, during his second term Morales’s cabinet contained more than 50 percent women, though the number soon dropped to a third. And the coca? He expulsed DEA and introduced fix quotas for coca production, trying to foment alternative crops. However, alkaloid rich coca is still grown in Chapare and there are conflicting information about whether cocaine production has decreased, or not.

The ultimate nail in Morales’s coffin was his decision to run for a fourth term and his various machinations to realize his intention. In spite of the fact that he lost a 2016 referendum that would allow him to pursue the presidency, he nevertheless participated in the 2019 election and declared himself victorious, though after several voting irregularities had been revealed and triggered off violent protests Evo Morales acknowledged defeat and fled Bolivia. The question is whether his legacy will be judged sympathetically, or if he will join the ranks of other former Latin American dictators and presidents whose vanity and clinging to power eventually obscured all their achievements.

1 Collyns, Dan and Julian Borger (2019) ”Bolivia´s Evo Moarles flies to Mexico, but vows to return with ´strength and energy´,” The Guardian, 12 November.
2 INE, Instituto Nacional de Estadistica, 1992 and 2016.
3 Lasa Aresti, Lisa (2016) Oil and Gas Revenue Sharing in Bolivia. New York: National Resource Governance Institute

Jan Lundius holds a PhD. on History of Religion from Lund University and has served as a development expert, researcher and advisor at SIDA, UNESCO, FAO and other international organisations.

As Donors Ramp up Polio Funding, Worries of Comeback Persist

Polio cases around have declined globally by more than 99 percent since 1988, but the type 1 poliovirus remains endemic in Pakistan and Afghanistan, where it has made a comeback this year and infected 102 people. Credit: Ashfaq Yusufzai/IPS

By James Reinl
UNITED NATIONS, Nov 20 2019 – Efforts to wipe polio off the face of the planet took a step forward this week, with a multibillion-dollar fundraiser in the Middle East helping eradication schemes tackle a virus that disproportionately kills and cripples children in poor countries.

Donor governments and philanthropists pledged $2.6 billion on Tuesday in Abu Dhabi to immunise 450 million children against polio each year — further beating back a bug that is only endemic nowadays in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Some global health experts say mankind is walking its “final mile” towards a polio-free world, but others warn that so-called polioviruses could re-emerge and spread swiftly, as was witnessed to deadly effect in the Philippines earlier this year.

In Abu Dhabi, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organisation (WHO), said “one of the world’s largest health workforces” had been assembled so that medics reach “every last child with vaccines”.


Reem Al Hashimy, Minister of State for International Cooperation for the United Arab Emirates, which hosted the event, said the Gulf nation was working hard injecting Pakistan children so that “together we can consign polio to the pages of history”.

The fundraiser came on the back of last month’s WHO announcement that the second of three types of poliovirus had been successfully eradicated around the world. The other strain was certified as wiped out in 2015.

Polio cases around have declined globally by more than 99 percent since 1988, but the type 1 poliovirus remains endemic in Pakistan and Afghanistan, where it has made a comeback this year and infected 102 people. 

Health workers in South Asia say that conflict prevents them from vaccinating children in Afghanistan’s polio hotspots, while in Pakistan, inaccurate video reports about vaccinations causing sickness have deterred parents from sending their children for jabs.

Polio invades the nervous system and can cause irreversible paralysis within hours. There is no known cure, but the bug can be prevented by vaccination. Immunisation campaigns have reduced worldwide cases in recent decades.

The disease mostly affects children aged under five years. In every 200 cases, one infection will lead to irreversible paralysis. Among those paralysed, between 5-10 percent of victims perish when their breathing muscles stop working.

Nigeria, the last African country to have cases of wild polio, has not seen any such outbreaks since 2016. WHO aims to certify Africa as polio-free next year, under the Global Polio Eradication Initiative’s “endgame strategy”, which culminates in 2023.

Still, polio-eradication efforts have repeatedly faced setbacks. In unvaccinated populations, or in areas where immunity is low and sanitation is poor, the resilient bug can quickly re-emerge and tear through vulnerable populations.

In September, the Philippines said it was planning an emergency vaccination campaign after polio re-surfaced and caused the first two recorded polio cases for 20 years, affecting different parts of the tropical archipelago.

Anomali Demonstrates Intelligence Driven Cybersecurity Solutions at CIO 100 East Africa

NAIVASHA, Kenya, Nov. 19, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Anomali, a leader in intelligence–driven cybersecurity solutions, is demonstrating the Anomali Altitude platform during the "CIO 100 Symposium and Awards' event at the Lake Naivasha Resort (LNR). The Anomali Altitude platform delivers Anomali Lens, Anomali ThreatStream, and Anomali Match. The integrated product suite allows customers to automate the collection, detection, analysis, and response to high–priority external and internal threats. To learn more, visit Anomali at stands 1 and 2. On Nov. 21, at 3 PM, Niall MacLeod, Director, Solutions Architecture EMEA, will present 2020 Vision: Threat Intelligence, Hunting and Automation. This session will demonstrate how Anomali helps customers to turn threat intelligence into actionable information to drive effective security decision making that reduces risk.

Anomali Lens
This first–of–its–kind technology allows anyone, from security operations staff to board members, to automatically and immediately know if their organizations are being attacked, who adversaries are, and if the attacks have been successful. With these key security questions answered, users can make effective decisions about how to respond.

With one click, Anomali Lens scans web–based content, detects and highlights all threats identified within, provides easy–to–understand details about the threats and tells users if any threats are already present in their networks. Anomali Lens scans web content that includes news, blogs, research, bulletins, SIEM logs, other security logs, IR reports, Twitter and other social networks.

Automated threat bulletins created by Anomali Lens are added to Anomali ThreatStream. These can then be shared across organizations, among trusted circles, and ISACs. Bulletins can be directly integrated into security controls for immediate blocking, detection, and mitigation.

Anomali Lens is supported by advanced natural language processing (NLP) and context–aware detection. Currently deployed as a browser plugin, it will soon be available for mobile devices.

Anomali Match
Anomali Match integrates cyber threat intelligence, MISP data, OSINT, SIEM logs, vulnerability assessment tools, and other big data sources to match billions of IOCs and threats against any that are present in customers' networks. By providing automated, retrospective analysis for extended periods, users detect threats and compromises that have been present for short and long durations. Anomali Match replaces Anomali Enterprise and includes all of that solution's former capabilities. Several new features and benefits include:

  • Enhanced Machine Learning for DGA – New deep learning capabilities enable 90 percent–plus accuracy for Domain Generation Algorithm (DGA) detection
  • Big Data Support with Elasticsearch – Integration provides retrospective analysis for high volumes of threat data spanning a year or more
  • Anomali Match Analysis Dashboard "" New visual representations optimize the use of multiple threat feeds
  • Anomali Match Stand Alone "" Automated, direct importation of data from MISP and other sources improves threat scoring and enrichment
  • Anomali Lens "" Integration provides immediate confirmation of when threats are present in networks

Anomali ThreatStream"
Our threat intelligence platform (TIP) integrates threat data from the widest range of feeds to create actionable threat intelligence. Anomali ThreatStream is the foundation for the new freemium tier added to the Anomali Preferred Partner Program. Six partners now providing complimentary feeds include Flashpoint, ReversingLabs, DomainTools, Farsight, Intel471, and Sixgill.

For more information on the new Anomali platform and solutions, visit


About Anomali
Anomali" delivers intelligence–driven cybersecurity solutions. Anomali AltitudeTM platform solutions include Anomali ThreatStream", Anomali MatchTM, and Anomali LensTM. Private enterprises and public organizations use Anomali to harness threat data, information, and intelligence to make effective cybersecurity decisions that strengthen defenses and reduce risk. The Anomali partner program provides access to threat feeds from all layers of the web and delivers seamless integrations into leading security infrastructure technologies. The Anomali Threat Research Team provides actionable threat intelligence that helps customers, partners and the overall security community to detect and mitigate the most serious threats to their organizations. Anomali customers include more than 350 global organizations, many of the Global 2000 and Fortune 500, and large government and defense organizations around the world. Founded in 2013, Anomali is backed by leading venture firms including GV, Paladin Capital Group, Institutional Venture Partners, and General Catalyst. Learn more at

Joe Franscella
News Media Relations