OKEx reveals over 300% growth in trading volumes this year

VICTORIA, Seychelles, Nov. 17, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — OKEx "" a top cryptocurrency exchange and DeFi ecosystem "" today reported 308% growth in total trading volumes over the past year. OKEx's total trading volume of all listed assets grew from $1.8 trillion in October 2020 to $7.4 trillion as of October 2021.

Breaking down this massive growth, perpetual swap products on OKEx saw the highest increase, with trading volume growing by 455% year–over–year. Cryptocurrency spot and futures products also saw impressive growth in terms of trading volumes "" up 365% and 209%, respectively.

In October 2021, BTC, DOGE, SHIB, OKB, ETH and SOL were among the top–10 assets with the highest trading volumes on OKEx spot markets. Total spot trading volumes for the 10 assets combined reached a monthly high of over $6.5 billion, which reflects increasing industry–level interest in dog–themed memecoins, as well as decentralized finance.

OKEx's notable growth in trading volumes is accompanied by the firm's market–leading push into the DeFi, GameFi and nonfungible token (NFT) spaces. This fall, OKEx launched a DeFi mode on both its website and mobile app, featuring a bespoke Web 3.0 wallet, as well as an NFT Marketplace and play–to–earn crypto gaming center. The platform also recently launched an advanced trading feature, portfolio margin, specifically designed to improve capital efficiency for professional and institutional traders.

"We are extremely pleased to witness this positive growth trajectory over the past year," said OKEx CEO Jay Hao, adding:

"This would not have been possible without the support from our valued customers "" the trusted OKEx family. In the past year, we upheld our commitment to better serve our customers with the launch of various offerings, including the new DeFi mode on OKEx, which includes a self–custodial, decentralized wallet, as well as an NFT Marketplace and blockchain game center.

To cater to institutional and professional traders, a CME–like portfolio margin system was introduced as part of our efforts to build the world's most powerful trading platform for crypto traders. As we celebrate our fourth anniversary, we look forward to expanding our offerings and further growing our family in the global markets."


NetSfere and Deutsche Telekom Partner to Deliver a Compliant Mobile Messaging Platform Enabling Instantaneous, Secure Staff Communication for Germany’s St. Augustinus Group

CHICAGO, Nov. 17, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — NetSfere, a global provider of next–generation secure and compliant messaging and mobility solutions, today announces its partnership with Deutsche Telekom, one of the world's leading integrated telecommunications companies, to deploy NetSfere's secure mobile messaging platform in all St. Augustinus hospitals, a leading German healthcare group.

Quick, instantaneous communication tools offer undisputed benefits to streamline staff communication, however, St. Augustinus noticed an alarming increase in the use of personal devices and popular messaging apps like WhatsApp, which pose critical privacy and compliance risks. In response, NetSfere and Deutsche Telekom partnered to implement NetSfere's HIPAA and GDPR compliant messaging platform that offers similar functionality to apps like WhatsApp but provides the highest level of end–to–end encryption through Deutsche Telekom's highly secure data center.

“NetSfere is designed to meet security and compliance requirements in regulated verticals including healthcare,” says Franz Obermayer, NetSfere's Vice President Europe. “Medical professionals do high–pressure, life–changing work, which demands a communication platform that enables them to do so more effectively. Our partnership with the St. Augustinus Group provides secure, compliant, and flexible messaging options that eliminate the need for staff members to turn to risky messaging apps. With NetSfere, the exchange of patient data is protected to the maximum.”

Unlike consumer–grade messaging apps, NetSfere provides enterprise–grade functionalities that boost collaboration and streamline communications including individual and group messaging, HD audio calling, screen sharing, and group video calling. New to the platform, the NetSfere Lifeline emergency broadcast feature allows HR and crisis teams to quickly disseminate high priority, critical alerts and emergency information to targeted teams or an entire organization in an attention–grabbing manner. St. Augustinus is leveraging NetSfere broadcasting within its hospital to keep employees up–to–date on information related to the pandemic through its "Corona Ticker" NetSfere Lifeline channel.

“In the sensitive medical environment, it must be possible to communicate quickly and securely. NetSfere is the specialist for instant messages in companies. Telekom brings its expertise in security, consulting, and service. Together, we can meet the special industry requirements, and that is quite crucial right now,” says Hagen Rickmann, Managing Director Business Customers, Telekom Deutschland GmbH. “In this way, we can directly contribute to relieving the burden on staff and support optimal patient care.”

"It is our responsibility to equip our employees with suitable tools. They must be able to do their work effectively. At the same time, the privacy of our patients must be protected,” says Rainer Pappert, Managing Director of the St. Augustinus Group. “With the introduction of NetSfere, we followed the wishes of our employees: They want to use their personal devices. And they want to do so with an easy–to–use messaging app. So, we quickly introduced NetSfere for internal communication. With it, we quickly achieved better productivity and collaboration. Between teams, but also within our entire group. And that's about 5,600 colleagues.”

St. Augustinus was drawn to using NetSfere as a solution for its staff not only because of its robust functionality, but also its industry recognition. In 2018 and 2019, NetSfere was selected by Entscheiderfabrik, a platform for IT decision makers of over 800 German hospitals, as the winner of the "Digitization Topic of the German Healthcare Industry."

"Key highlights from our recently published VoTE: Digital Pulse, Business Reinvention & Transformation 2021 show that information security, employee productivity and business continuity remain top of mind for IT decision–makers," said Ral Castan–Martinez, Senior Analyst for Workforce Collaboration at 451 Research, part of S&P Global Market Intelligence division. These factors will drive market requirements for business communications and collaboration, particularly for mobile, remote/hybrid and frontline workers across verticals and use cases such as field workers and healthcare providers."(1)

For more information, visit www.netsfere.com.

1. 451 Research, part of S&P Global Market Intelligence division, "The hybrid workplace, Part 3: Emerging requirements and use cases for real–time communications and collaboration" (August 2021)

About NetSfere
NetSfere is a secure enterprise messaging service and platform from Infinite Convergence Solutions, Inc. NetSfere provides industry–leading security and message delivery capabilities, including global cloud–based service availability, device–to–device encryption, location–based features and administrative controls. The service is also offered in partnership with Deutsche Telekom GmbH, one of the world's leading integrated telecommunications companies, and with NTT Ltd., a global information communications & technology service provider, to jointly offer NetSfere to its worldwide customers. The service leverages Infinite Convergence's experience in delivering mobility solutions to tier 1 mobile operators globally and technology that supports more than 400 million subscribers and over a trillion messages on an annual basis. NetSfere is also compliant with global regulatory requirements, including GDPR, HIPAA, Sarbanes–Oxley, ISO 27001 and others. Infinite Convergence Solutions has offices in the United States, Germany, India and Singapore. For more information, visit www.netsfere.com.

About Deutsche Telekom
Deutsche Telekom is one of the world's leading integrated telecommunications companies, with some 242 million mobile customers, 27 million fixed–network lines, and 22 million broadband lines. We provide fixed–network/broadband, mobile communications, Internet, and IPTV products and services for consumers, and information and communication technology (ICT) solutions for business and corporate customers. Deutsche Telekom is present in more than 50 countries. With a staff of some 226,300 (Dec 31, 2020) employees throughout the world, we generated revenue of 101 billion Euros in the 2020 financial year, about 66 percent of it outside Germany.

About St. Augustinus Group
The Christian non–profit St. Augustinus Group is one of the largest and most successful companies in the health and social sector in the Rhineland. Its focus is on somatics, psychiatry, and elderly and disabled assistance. The group has 3,000 beds, over 5,600 employees from 68 nationalities, in 85 locations and a turnover of around 345 million euros (2019).

Media Contact
Brittany Johnson
Uproar PR for NetSfere
bjohnson@uproarpr.com
312–878–4575 x246

A video accompanying this release is available at:

https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/d49c9ba2–b23b–490d–8c39–7cf18d6933df


Business School Applications Surge Proves Not a Fad, Sustaining 2020 Growth

RESTON, Va., Nov. 17, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), a global association of leading graduate business schools, today released its anticipated annual 2021 Application Trends Survey. The survey of nearly a thousand MBA and business master's programs found that in 2021, the volume of applications for graduate business school programs grew 0.4 percent from the year before, sustaining the elevated demand since the onset of a global pandemic in 2020 when business schools worldwide saw unusually high volume of applications due to the economic uncertainty.

"Candidates looked for alternative career options during the COVID induced recession and business schools introduced more flexible admissions policies, resulting in soaring application volumes last year," said Sangeet Chowfla, president and CEO of GMAC. "The question was whether this was a fleeting event caused by the pandemic or the start of a new uptick in applications. In this context, the 2021 application cycle indicates that the surging demand for graduate business education is not a passing fad but has staying power beyond 2020."

Key Findings

International candidates rebound in top–ranked business schools

After years of unwelcoming immigration policies in parts of the world and months of global travel restrictions due to COVID–19, pent–up demand from international students for graduate business schools was evident in this year's data. Weighted absolute year–on–year change in application volumes from international candidates " the applicants whose citizenship differs from that of the country where the program is located " shows an increase of 4.1 percent compared to a decline of 3.8 percent from domestic candidates, the applicants who are citizens of the country where a program is located. More programs in Europe, the U.S., and the U.K reported decline in applications from domestic candidates when compared across regions.

This difference between international and domestic application volume is especially apparent for full–time MBA programs among leading business schools. The share of full–time two–year MBA programs showing growth in applications from international candidates has doubled from 28 percent in 2019 to 57 percent in 2021. Furthermore, twice as many U.S. programs ranked in the top 50 according to the US News & World Report saw an increase in applications from international candidates (73%) as domestic candidates (36%).

"Business school learning is experiential and relies heavily on interactions, discussions and cohort and alumni networks. This is impossible without a diversity of perspectives and backgrounds," said Katy Montgomery, Associate Dean of Degree Programmes at INSEAD and a GMAC board member. "As student mobility gradually returns, the diversity it brings to a classroom will only benefit and enrich campus life."

Women, U.S. underrepresented minorities return to in–person, full time MBA programs

Full–time MBA programs continued gaining traction in 2021. Half of full–time one–year (52%) and two–year (56%) MBA programs report an increase in applications in 2021, above all programs averaged at 41 percent. On the contrary, professional MBA programs such as part–time MBA, executive MBA, and online MBA programs " those geared toward the needs of working professionals " saw their share in those reporting application growth at the lowest level since 2017.

This year's application data also indicates that globally, women candidates emerging from the shadow of the pandemic refocused on their career ambitions, with three in five (60%) full–time two–year MBA programs reporting an increase in applications from female candidates compared to two in five (43%) programs reporting growth from male candidates. In comparison, a much smaller share of online MBA programs (42%) reported growth in applications from female candidates, indicating women's preference to return to in–person, full time learning.

In the U.S., women and underrepresented minorities (URM) reported similar desire to study on campus. More full–time two–year MBA programs reported growth in URM applications in 2021 (56%) compared to pre–pandemic 2019 (37%) or the online program (30%). Even more notably, female URM candidates demonstrated an impressive 22 percent increase between 2019 (38%) to 2021 (60%) in their share of applications for full–time two–year MBA programs.

About the Report

The annual GMAC Application Trends Survey focuses on global demand for graduate management education and analyzes differences by programs and regions for the 2020–2021 admissions season (incoming class of 2021). This survey data was collected between July 8 and August 23, 2021, and garnered responses from 967 programs at 269 business schools worldwide. This is the 23rd year the survey has been conducted, contributing to the greater understanding of the value of graduate business degrees and global and regional trends. More details of the full report, and other research series produced by GMAC, are available on gmac.com/research.

About GMAC

The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) is a mission–driven association of leading graduate business schools worldwide. Founded in 1953, GMAC creates solutions and experiences that enable business schools and candidates to better discover, evaluate, and connect with each other.

GMAC provides world–class research, industry conferences, recruiting tools, and assessments for the graduate management education industry, as well as tools, resources, events, and services that help guide candidates through their higher education journey. Owned and administered by GMAC, the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) exam is the most widely used graduate business school assessment.

More than 12 million prospective students a year trust GMAC's websites, including mba.com, to learn about MBA and business master's programs, connect with schools around the world, prepare and register for exams and get advice on successfully applying to MBA and business master's programs. BusinessBecause and The MBA Tour are subsidiaries of GMAC, a global organization with offices in China, India, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

To learn more about our work, please visit www.gmac.com

Media Contact:

Teresa Hsu
Sr. Manager, Media Relations
202–390–4180 (mobile)
thsu@gmac.com


Dickey’s Barbecue Pit Expands in Egypt

Dallas, Texas, Nov. 17, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Dickey's Barbecue Pit's international expansion continues to move strong into the Middle East with the introduction of the newest location in Cairo, Egypt. The world's largest barbecue franchise partnered with the Swinder Group to open its first location in Egypt.

Swinder's operators, the Toama family, purchased their first Dickey's Barbecue Pit franchise in 2019 but were unable to open due to the COVID–19 pandemic. The Cairo restaurant is now set to open in early December 2021.

"We are excited to bring a truly unique concept to Cairo, featuring iconic premium meats and savory Southern sides that will delight seasoned barbecue fans or newbies alike," says Abdelrahman Toama, a partner at Swinder. "We couldn't be more thrilled with our corner unit location in the City Centre Almaza mall. The location is close to the airport and generates a lot of foot traffic so customers can conveniently satisfy their craving for mouth–watering, slow–smoked Texas–style barbecue."

The unit is a single level with seating for approximately 124 guests.

"The entry into Cairo, as our first stop into Africa is extremely symbolic, as Cairo is complete with history, culture and cuisine. This partnership will anchor our brand and act as an international showcase to the entire continent. I couldn't be happier for Dickey's as well as the man who started this with me, Abdelrahman Toama," says Jim Perkins, Executive Vice President of International Sales and Support at Dickey's Barbecue Pit.

Dickey's Barbecue Pit sells slow smoked beef brisket, beef sausage, smoked turkey, and savory sides.

"Since my family opened the first Dickey's in 1941, we've made it our mission to serve as many guests as possible the very best barbecue out there," says Roland Dickey. Jr., CEO of Dickey's Capital Group. "We are happy to partner with the Swinder Group and welcome them into the Dickey's Family."

To learn more, follow Dickey's Barbecue Pit on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Download the Dickey's Barbecue Pit app from the Apple App Store or Google Play.

About Dickey's Barbecue Restaurants, Inc.

Dickey's Barbecue Restaurants, Inc., the world's largest barbecue concept, was founded in 1941 by Travis Dickey. For the past 80 years, Dickey's Barbecue Pit has served millions of guests Legit. Texas. Barbecue. At Dickey's, all our barbecued meats are smoked onsite in a hickory wood burning pit. Dickey's proudly believes there's no shortcut to true barbecue and it's why they never say bbq. The Dallas–based, family–run barbecue franchise offers several slow–smoked meats and wholesome sides with 'No B.S. (Bad Stuff)' included. The fast–casual concept has expanded worldwide with international locations in the UAE and Japan. Dickey Family Restaurant brands have over 550 locations nationwide. In 2016, Dickey's won first place on Fast Casual's "Top 100 Movers and Shakers" list, was named a Top 500 Franchise by Entrepreneur in 2018 and was named to Hospitality Technology Industry Heroes in 2021. Led by CEO Laura Rea Dickey, who was named among the country's 50 most influential women in foodservice in 2020 by Nation's Restaurant News and was recognized as one of the top 25 industry leaders on Fast Casual's 2020 Top 100 Movers and Shakers list, Dickey's Barbecue Pit has also been recognized by Fox News, Forbes Magazine, Franchise Times, The Wall Street Journal and QSR Magazine. For more information, visit www.dickeys.com.


Redwood Logistics Enables Seamless Access to Freightos.com’s Freight-as-a-Service Platform from Any Global TMS via RedwoodConnect™

Importers and exporters of all sizes can now control for unprecedented supply chain volatility with a powerful integration of Freightos.com's B2B shipping platform via Redwood's iPaaS —

CHICAGO, Nov. 17, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Redwood Logistics (Redwood), one of the fastest–growing supply chain and logistics companies, is partnering with Freightos.com, an online global freight booking platform, enabling global shippers of all sizes to connect any Transportation Management System (TMS) to Freightos.com's Freight–as–a–Service (FaaS) B2B network via a pre–built RedwoodConnect integration.

Since January 2021, 94% of small– and medium–sized businesses (SMB) reported disruptions to their supply chain operations, including transit times nearly doubling and freight prices reaching record highs. To help importers and exporters navigate these challenging market conditions, Freightos.com's FaaS delivers instant multimodal freight pricing and capacity from the largest selection of forwarders across the globe all via real–time API connections. RedwoodConnect, Redwood's proprietary, turnkey supply chain integration platform, will now feature FaaS through Freightos.com to provide customers with more control over global shipments.

"Freight–as–a–Service is a game changer for our customers. It is revolutionizing the way our customers operate by providing an efficient and reliable method to confidently manage international shipments of all sizes from anywhere in the world," said Eric Rempel, Redwood's Chief Innovation Officer. "RedwoodConnect eliminates the need for tedious, drawn–out implementations by pre–integrating with all of our SaaS partners, allowing shippers to seamlessly mix–and–match partners and technologies into their own unique digital supply chain fingerprint."

RedwoodConnect streamlines even the most complex integration use cases, providing customers seamless access to Freightos.com's freight booking platform to book and manage their shipments through any TMS or system of record. FaaS connects users to the world of freight through real–time API connections, delivering instant multimodal freight pricing and capacity via one platform.

"Freight, which has become the main conversation in board rooms across the globe, remains mostly offline in a world where digitization is paramount," said Ian Arroyo, Chief Commercial Officer, Freightos.com. "Together with Redwood, Freightos.com's Freight–as–a–Service provides companies of all sizes digital access to a fast, streamlined shipping experience."

About Redwood Logistics
Redwood Logistics, a leading logistics platform company headquartered in Chicago, has provided solutions for moving and managing freight for more than 20 years. The company's diverse portfolio includes digital freight brokerage, flexible freight management and logistics consulting all wrapped into a revolutionary logistics and technology delivery model""Logistics Platform as a Service (LPaaS). LPaaS utilizes an open platform for digital logistics that empowers shippers to seamlessly mix–and–match partners, technologies and solutions into their own unique digital supply chain fingerprint. Redwood connects a wide range of customers to the power of supply chain management, technology and the industry's brightest minds. For more information, visit www.redwoodlogistics.com.

About Freightos.com

International trade is the core of the world economy. However, the $500 billion global freight market powering trade remains one of the last offline industries, increasing costs and reducing reliability for the world's supply chains.

Freightos is the digital booking platform for global freight, connecting carriers, freight forwarders, and importers/exporters. Freightos makes international shipping faster, more cost–effective and reliable, expanding trade between the people of the world. The Freightos Group is the parent company of three business units including Freightos.com, WebCargo by Freightos, and Freightos Data.

Freightos.com is the largest digital freight marketplace, connecting logistics providers and importers/exporters for instant pricing, booking, and shipment management. Over twelve thousand SMEs and enterprise organizations have sourced shipping services via Freightos. Together with partners such as Alibaba.com, Freightos.com enables smoother global shipping.

Founded by serial entrepreneur Zvi Schreiber in 2012, the Freightos Group is a widely recognized LogTech (logistics technology) leader with a worldwide presence and a broad customer network. Freightos has raised $120 million from leading venture funds and strategic investors.

MEDIA CONTACT:
Tyler Thornton
LeadCoverage
tyler@leadcoverage.com


Double Solution to Ongoing Food and Climate Crises

BCFN’s double pyramid encourages the adoption of eating styles that are people and planet focused. Credit: Joyce Chimbi/IPS

By Joyce Chimbi
NAIROBI, Nov 17 2021 – For the last ten years, Angeline Wanjira’s food stall at Kirigiti Market in Kiambu County has featured the same foods, cabbages, potatoes and carrots, keeping with the community’s most preferred food types.

Over in the Lake Victoria region County of Homabay, Millicent Atieno has sold fish at the Mbita market since 2015. A pattern that Nairobi-based food safety and security expert Evans Kori says replicates itself throughout Kenya’s 47 Counties.

“Our food consumption patterns are in line with their respective food production activities. In Central Kenya, for instance, the community shuns nutrient-rich traditional vegetables in favour of cabbage. Among pastoralist communities, the diet is predominantly animal-based,” he says in an interview with IPS.

“The Lake Victoria region diet is centred on fish. All these foods are important, but we have to adopt diets that include more food types. Our current food habits are not balanced, healthy or sustainable.”

Kori says the imbalance is common the world over, hence the negligible progress towards eradicating global hunger, food insecurity and all forms of malnutrition.

UN experts, in the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World report 2021, reveal that the world has not progressively moved towards ensuring access to safe, nutritious sufficient foods for all people or toward eradicating all forms of malnutrition.

The report cites climate variability as a key concern in slowing down progress towards access to healthy and sustainable diets for all people.

The double food and environmental pyramid model developed by the BCFN Foundation emerged from research and an evolution of the food pyramid, which forms the basis of the Mediterranean diet. Photo courtesy BCFN.

Using the latest evidence on food, health, and the environment to devise the Double Health and Climate Pyramid model, the Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition illustrates that global food goals cannot be achieved within current broken food systems and ecosystems.

Until the escalating food and climate crisis is resolved jointly and not independently and in isolation, progress towards a sustainable, food secure and healthy planet will be slow.

Kori agrees, adding that current “food production systems are not sustainable because they accelerate climate change, biodiversity loss and land degradation. Consequent outcomes affect our health and essentially, human survival”.

He stresses that people worldwide will not access the nutrients they need and sustainably within existing food systems.

In 2020, between 720 and 811 million people faced hunger, according to the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO).

Driving home the urgency for nature-positive food production systems because current systems are broken, FAO estimates show the agricultural sector accounts for one-third of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Food production accounts for the largest share of freshwater withdrawals at 70% on average and 90% of the water footprint of humanity, as well as 12% of land use.

Barilla’s evidence-based Double Pyramid illustrates the linking between climate change and food systems. This promotes health and longevity and reduces the impact of food choices on the ecosystem, and more specifically, on climate change.

The Health and Climate pyramids are placed side by side. The health side shows features of a balanced, healthy, and sustainable diet. The climate side shows the associated impact on health and the climate.

Based on scientific evidence linking food choices in the adult population to health outcomes, the health pyramid arranges food into 18 food groups across seven layers according to the recommended frequency of consumption for people’s health.

Foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole-grain cereals, which should be consumed most often, are placed at the bottom of the pyramid. The second layer includes nuts and seeds, non-tropical vegetable oils, refined low glycaemic index cereals and fermented milk. The third layer comprises pulses and fish as preferred sources of protein. The fourth food layer has poultry, eggs, milk and cheese. The fifth layer includes high glycaemic index foods like white bread, refined rice and potatoes. No more than two servings of this food should be eaten per week.

Animal fats, including butter, tropical oils like palm oil, red meat and sweets and baked goods made with refined flour and sugar are in the sixth layer of the pyramid because eating them is associated with a significantly higher risk of cardiovascular events. The advice is to eat these no more than once a week. There are foods like processed meat like sausages, bacon, and salami in the seventh layer, associated with a high risk of cardiovascular diseases and other chronic diseases and should only be eaten occasionally.

The climate pyramid then classifies different foods based on their carbon footprint or carbon dioxide equivalent emissions. Again, foods are arranged into 18 groups and seven layers, starting with a very low carbon footprint to a very high footprint.

The pyramid shows animal-based products, especially red meat, followed by cheese and processed meat, which causes the highest GHG emissions compared to plant-based products.

As per research by FAO, “cattle raised for both beef and milk, and inedible outputs like manure and draft power are the animal species responsible for the most emissions, representing about 65 percent of the livestock sector’s emissions.”

Barilla’s Double Pyramid is, therefore, an illustration of how people can eat varied, balanced, and healthy diets and, at the same time, reduce their contribution to climate change.

The pyramid recommends a consumption frequency for all food groups and shows their impact on health and the climate.

Additionally, the Barilla Foundation devised seven cultural double pyramids in line with different geographical contexts, including Nordic countries and Canada, USA, South Asia, East Asia, Africa, Latin America and Mediterranean countries.

Each of the seven pyramids reflects and celebrate the global value of diversity while promoting healthy, sustainable eating and consideration for planet health.

On the one hand, the double pyramid summarises key knowledge gained from medicine, nutrition studies, and the impact of people’s food choices on the planet. And, on the other hand, a consumer education tool.

 


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Antimicrobial Resistance Calls for Brainpower of a Space Agency and Campaigning Zeal of an NGO

Antimicrobial resistance is a consequence of overusing and misusing antimicrobials. This is a worldwide problem. But in developing countries antibiotics are easily available without prescription. Credit: Adil Siddiqi/IPS

Antimicrobial resistance is a consequence of overusing and misusing antimicrobials. This is a worldwide problem. But in developing countries antibiotics are easily available without prescription. Credit: Adil Siddiqi/IPS

By External Source
Nov 17 2021 – The cost of infectious diseases is somewhere between staggering and incalculable. Around $8 trillion and 156 million life years were lost in 2016 alone. Throughout human history, pestilences have wiped out more lives than famine and violence.

Then, in 1941, the antibiotic age was born when doctors at the Radcliffe Infirmary and the Dunn School of Pathology in Oxford first tested penicillin in a patient. When I was a medical student there in the late 1970s, we felt a reverence for this world-changing achievement. Penicillin and its successors have saved millions of lives.

It can take 15 years and a billion dollars to develop a new antibiotic. And then, either the poor can’t afford them or consumption must be restricted to stave off future resistance. Meanwhile, companies that have monopoly rights over niche antimicrobials profit with abandon
So, 50 years later, as a doctor visiting Uganda’s Gulu Hospital, I was heartbroken to see patients die despite treatment with antibiotics. Sara, for example, a young Sudanese refugee, died from puerperal sepsis because she was resistant to first-line antibiotics. And modern, expensive versions were unavailable.

Antibiotics are part of a group of drugs called antimicrobials – including antivirals, anti-fungals and anti-parasitics – that prevent and treat infections in humans, animals and plants. But, as coronavirus has reminded us, all living organisms mutate. When that leads to resistant “superbugs”, we get antimicrobial resistance – the drugs are no longer effective.

Antimicrobial resistance is a consequence of overusing and misusing antimicrobials. This is a worldwide problem. But in developing countries antibiotics are easily available without prescription. The residents of Kibera, a low income settlement in Kenya, for example, consume more antibiotics than typical American families. When a poor patient cannot afford the full course, however, they make do with a few pills. That may be harmful if an infection is not fully treated, and antimicrobial resistance may follow.

Meanwhile, the parallel lack of hygiene, water and sanitation in crowded, deprived communities means more sickness. That pushes up the need for antimicrobials.

Antimicrobial resistance also compromises human health via food. Two-thirds of all antibiotics are used in farm animals. Intensive use to fatten up animals and hide poor animal husbandry is a potent source of resistance. Powerful drugs leached into soil and water recycle into us via the food chain. Antimicrobial residues in milk, eggs, meat and fish are worrisome for our health.

Antimicrobial resistance kills around 700,000 people worldwide annually. This could increase to 10 million annually by 2050, at a cost of $100 trillion. It is a top-ten global health threat.

It’s now time for a bold effort on antimicrobial resistance. That requires a dedicated organisation with the universal legitimacy of a UN body, political clout of a G20, deep pockets of a global fund, brainpower of a space agency, campaigning zeal of an NGO, mould-breaking power of a social movement, and leveraging capacity of a public-private partnership.

 

Drug resistance and health

Antimicrobial resistance has devastating consequences. For the ill, it means getting sicker for longer, wasting money they cannot afford, and impoverishing desperate families. Or succumbing to ordinary chest and urinary infections that were easily treatable earlier. Traditional public health threats such as tuberculosis, malaria and HIV are also returning as serious conditions resist first-line drugs.

Drug resistance is especially bad news for seriously ill patients with diseases ranging from COVID-19 to chronic bronchitis who are prone to secondary infections. It also becomes riskier to do organ transplants or give cancer therapy because immune-suppressed patients need antimicrobial cover.

 

A broken market

Drug resistance satisfies the definition of a pandemic and comparison with other pandemics is instructive. Investing massively in coronavirus research was worth it because there are billions of permanent customers for COVID-19 vaccines and treatments. In contrast, nothing new has entered the antibiotics cupboard since the 1980s.

It can take 15 years and a billion dollars to develop a new antibiotic. And then, either the poor can’t afford them or consumption must be restricted to stave off future resistance. Meanwhile, companies that have monopoly rights over niche antimicrobials profit with abandon.

In contrast, 20 preventable and treatable tropical diseases that debilitate 1.7 billion poor people – mostly in Africa and South Asia – are neglected. This is because the remedies are often too cheap for sufficient profit to be extracted. They include river blindness, guinea worm, leprosy, and elephantiasis.

The particular circumstances around antimicrobial supply and demand mean that inequity prevails, as with COVID-19 vaccines where developing countries are denied the intellectual property rights to make them.

An earlier generation struggled similarly at the height of the AIDS epidemic. South Africa and India led the fight to waive restrictive trade rules on generic medicine production, when public health emergencies warrant. That saved thousands of lives as cheap antiretrovirals became available.

A comparable approach is now urgent to help all countries get effective, affordable antimicrobials. But prospects are not good, if the current battle over increasing COVID-19 vaccine supplies – led again by South Africa and India – is a pointer. Polarised geopolitics is not helpful to fix the broken market for essential medicines.

 

One health

The painful lesson from pandemics such as Ebola, HIV, and COVID-19 is that human, animal, and planetary health are intertwined. That is because animals are getting closer to humans. Their habitats get compromised by development practices that create wide scale deforestation. Thus, their microbes jump to us more easily. This is exacerbated by environmental shifts due to climate change. The trend necessitates new antimicrobials to be found for diseases yet to come.

Siloed approaches won’t work in inter-connected contexts. Integrated working is needed to tackle the multi-dimensional causes and consequences of our sickening humanity, ecosystem, and planet. This “one health” approach could tackle antimicrobial resistance. But the concept remains nebulous. Society and institutions don’t have incentives to work across sectoral and disciplinary boundaries.

 

A technocratic approach is not enough

The World Health Organisation has joined up with the World Organisation for Animal Health and the Food and Agriculture Organisation to sound the alarm on antimicrobial resistance with a global action plan, several resolutions of the World Health Assembly, and a high-level global leaders group. Technical tools and guidance are available to national action plans: 89 countries have them but only 18 in Africa and 23 in Asia-Pacific. They include strengthening surveillance, promoting antimicrobial stewardship, training and capacity building.

All this is worthwhile. But there is no time to wait. A technocratic approach and sparse funding have not created the necessary momentum.

The early AIDS activists realised the same in the 1980s when many countries were devastated, especially in Africa. A massive global movement arose to shift social morays, shake up stodgy establishments, galvanise massive funding for research, prevention, and treatment. And it triggered extraordinary innovations in biological and behavioural sciences.

Its legacy has gone well beyond HIV. It also led to the creation of UNAIDS and the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria as specialised institutions to energise and orchestrate an unprecedented global endeavour.

The hugely disruptive COVID-19 crisis has sparked comparable effort with record-time technological breakthroughs, overturned economic orthodoxy, and unprecedented financing. Also innovations in how we work, design social safety nets, re-configure international co-operation, generate solidarity, and hold policy makers accountable. But we also deepened inequalities, and realised that globalisation itself needs a makeover.

There are excellent examples of the elements that could make up a dedicated global organisation to combat antimicrobial resistance. To connect them is the necessary organisational innovation. That means challenging petty institutional turf battles and sectoral boundaries, and overcoming small mindsets.The Conversation

Mukesh Kapila, Professor Emeritus in Global Health & Humanitarian Affairs, University of Manchester

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Why Covid-19 Misinformation Works

President Jair Messias Bolsonaro of Brazil addresses the general debate of the UN General Assembly’s 76th session last September. Credit: UN Photo/Cia Pak

By Noam Titelman
SANTIAGO, Nov 17 2021 – At the United Nations General Assembly meeting in September, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro used his allotted time at the podium to recount his views on Covid-19. He extolled the virtues of treatments that have been rejected by scientists and proclaimed that he had benefitted from the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine.

Bolsonaro’s support for such ‘miracle cures’ is well known. He has appeared regularly in the Brazilian press and on social networks promoting the use of off-label treatments that have no basis in scientific fact. And he is not alone.

During his administration, former US President Donald Trump advocated for a variety of unproven remedies, and the president of Madagascar, Andry Rajoelina, has sponsored a drink derived from the herb artemisia to treat Covid-19.

To the despair of the scientific community, these politicians and others have successfully convinced a large swath of the public of such treatments’ efficacy and safety.

Misinformed people are not ignorant

Misinformation has run rampant during the pandemic, but it is not a new phenomenon. In their seminal work on the perception of welfare in the United States, the political scientist James Kuklinski and his colleagues showed that significant portions of the American population held inaccurate beliefs about the recipients of state support and the benefits they received.

Misinformation is a prime example of motivated reasoning.

They also found that the prevalence of misinformation prevented accurate information from gaining traction. Misinformed people do not simply have inaccurate information; they are heavily invested in their misconceptions.

Noam Titelman

And this is what makes misinformation so powerful: it combines misperceptions about the world with a high degree of confidence in their accuracy.

People do not believe false information because they are ignorant. There are many factors at work, but most researchers would agree that the belief in misinformation has little to do with the amount of knowledge a person possesses. Misinformation is a prime example of motivated reasoning.

People tend to arrive at the conclusions they want to reach as long as they can construct seemingly reasonable justifications for these outcomes. One study published in 2017 has shown that people who have greater scientific knowledge and education are more likely to defend their polarised beliefs on controversial science topics because of ‘nonscientific concerns.’

The role of partisan identity

One of the most powerful of these concerns is the preservation of identity. Political leaders are most effective in pushing misinformation when they exploit citizens’ fear of losing what they perceive to be defining aspects of their culture, particularly its language, religion, and perceived racial and gender hierarchies and roles.

In polarised political environments, the purchase that misinformation gains has little to do with low levels of knowledge or engagement, but rather with how information is interpreted in a way that dovetails with partisan identity. The ‘us versus them’ lens means that the different bits of information people receive are processed in a way that is amenable to their worldview.

This is why individuals can draw strikingly divergent conclusions from the same facts. When political leaders peddle unproven treatments for Covid-19, they are capitalising on this polarising tendency.

But an excessive focus on these leaders may obscure the main reason people buy into these messages. The willingness to believe misinformation is rooted in underlying aspects of cultural identity, which politicians manipulate.

The case of Brazil

Recent research by Mariana Borges Martins da Silva, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Oxford, has shown that one reason Brazilians trust treatments like the ones promoted by Bolsonaro is a deep cultural belief that a ‘serious doctor’ is one who prescribes medicine.

Bolsonaro didn’t have to convince Brazilians of the benefits of ivermectin and chloroquine. He needed only to confirm the norm that potentially serious diseases always must be treated with drugs. He provided a narrative that allowed segments of the population to arrive at their desired conclusion. And that was enough.

Understanding the drivers of misinformation is critical to preventing its spread. To keep people safe from Covid-19 and encourage vaccination, it is not enough to denounce politicians who promote false information. We also must understand the underlying motivations that lead people to believe it.

Noam Titelman is an associate researcher at the Center for Public Systems at the Universidad de Chile, and a PhD candidate in social research methods at the London School of Economics (LSE).

Source: International Politics and Society, Bruxelles, Belgium

 


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LeddarTech Presents Innovative Solutions in ADAS and AD: The Value of Raw Fusion for Perception and the Benefits of a Flexible Platform in Sensor Development in December

QUEBEC CITY, Nov. 17, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — LeddarTech , a global leader in providing the most flexible, robust and accurate ADAS and AD sensing technology, is pleased to announce its participation as a host and co–presenter at various events in December. These events will showcase LeddarTech's comprehensive end–to–end technology platforms, which enable customers to solve critical sensing and perception challenges across the entire value chain of the automotive, mobility and off–road markets. The featured solutions include the LeddarVision sensor fusion and perception platform for Tier 1s and OEMs and the cost–effective, scalable LiDAR XLRator development solution based on patented LeddarEngine technology designed for LiDAR makers and Tier 1–2 manufacturers.

December 2, 2021: The Autonomous, a global member–only organization that comprises technology companies committed to working together in shaping the future of autonomous driving, hosts LeddarTech at this exclusive virtual event:

"Reimagining Autonomy: A Platform Approach"

A stellar lineup of partners will come together to explore the ADAS and AD landscape, the challenges and the emerging technologies that are positioned to solve these challenges. This event will consist of keynote presentations, panel discussions and a roundtable deep dive session.

Presenters:

  • Frantz Saintellemy, President and COO from LeddarTech
  • Marco Angelici, MEMS Micro Actuators Business Unit Director from STMicroelectronics
  • Thomas Brandes, Senior Marketing Manager for Visible and IR Lasers from ams OSRAM Group
  • Eric Hoarau, Head of Automotive Strategic Partnerships from Flex

Register for these limited tickets at this virtual event here.

December 6, 2021: All About Circuits, a leader in tech media, hosts LeddarTech and Omni Design for a global webinar:

"Are Solid–State LiDARs Ready for Mass–Market Deployment?"

LeddarTech and Omni Design are collaborating to address this market requirement to enable mass production of solid–state LiDAR products that meet stringent automotive requirements and provide exceptional performance and significantly lower cost and power consumption while enabling a smaller form factor and faster time–to–market.

Presenters:

  • Pierre Olivier, Chief Technology Officer of LeddarTech
  • Dr. Manar El–Chammas, Vice President of Engineering at Omni Design Technologies

Pierre and Manar will share the synergy of solutions between the two organizations and jointly describe how they collaborate, synergistic benefits to LiDAR manufacturers and Tier 1 suppliers and the roadmap for collaboration.

Register for this virtual event here.

December 9, 2021: Reuters Events, a division of the international Reuters news organization, will be hosting LeddarTech at this global event:

"Sensor Fusion and Perception Solutions for Critical ADAS and AD Applications"

In this exclusive hands–on workshop, LeddarTech and guests will explore why perception software is a crucial enabler and accelerator of ADAS and AD in Level 1–5. While perception continues to represent a big challenge for automakers as they advance to the next levels of autonomy, this workshop will discuss how raw data fusion and perception software can accelerate this advancement by more than three years.

Presenters:

  • Pierre Olivier, Chief Technology Officer of LeddarTech
  • Stav Yoffe, Senior Product Manager, Sensor Fusion of LeddarTech

Register for limited tickets for this virtual event here.

For a complete list of LeddarTech's upcoming live and virtual events, including CES 2022, please visit leddartech.com/events.

About LeddarTech
LeddarTech provides the most flexible, robust and accurate ADAS and AD sensing technology for autonomous vehicles and advanced driver assistance systems. Founded in 2007, LeddarTech has evolved to become a comprehensive end–to–end environmental sensing company by enabling customers to solve critical sensing, fusion and perception challenges across the entire value chain. The company offers cost–effective and scalable solutions such as LeddarVision, a raw–data sensor fusion and perception platform that generates a comprehensive 3D environmental model with multi–sensor support for camera, radar and LiDAR configurations. It is scalable to support all vehicle automation levels. In addition, LeddarTech supports LiDAR makers and Tier 1–2 automotive system integrators with LeddarSteer, a digital beam steering device, and the LiDAR XLRator development solution for automotive–grade solid–state LiDAR development based on the LeddarEngine and core components from global semiconductor partners. The company is responsible for several innovations in cutting–edge automotive and mobility remote–sensing applications, with over 100 patented technologies (granted or pending) enhancing ADAS and autonomous driving capabilities.

Additional information about LeddarTech is accessible at www.leddartech.com and on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

Contact:
Daniel Aitken, Vice–President, Global Marketing, Communications and Product Management, LeddarTech Inc.
Tel.: + 1–418–653–9000 ext. 232
daniel.aitken@leddartech.com

Leddar, LeddarTech, LeddarSteer, LeddarEngine, LeddarVision, LeddarSP, LeddarCore, VAYADrive, VayaVision, XLRator and related logos are trademarks or registered trademarks of LeddarTech Inc. and its subsidiaries. All other brands, product names and marks are or may be trademarks or registered trademarks used to identify products or services of their respective owners.


New Report Exposes America’s Color-Blind Legal System

By Anna Shen
NEW YORK, Nov 17 2021 – Once again, the U.S. faces a test case along racial lines. Will the courts mete out justice in the case of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man who was shot and killed by three white men while jogging in Georgia?

The case is one in a long line of prominent trials with similar racial undertones, highlighting the divide in America’s legal system when it comes to race. Recent cases with mixed and highly charged verdicts include: George Floyd, Trayvon Martin, Walter Scott, and Breonna Taylor.

Anna Shen

Despite widespread attention — the national movement of Black Lives Matter, widespread protests, and federal laws intended to provide equal access — systemic racism in the legal system is flagrant and persistent. Put simply, it must be eradicated, said a new report by the LexisNexis Rule of Law Foundation.

Tackling the ugly truths about the US legal system from all angles – within law school, legal practices, the judicial system, legislation, and representation — the 100-plus page report contains deep insights on the situation in America.

A few pressing questions in the report: How does cash bail punish the poor and impact society at large? How are law school admissions and standardized tests biased? Why are there so few Black partners in law firms? What about women in law?

Twelve LexisNexis Foundation Rule of Law Fellows from the company’s African Ancestry Network (AAN) produced the report, with a goal of shedding light on the underlying causes of racism in the legal system.

The Historically Black Colleges and Universities Law School Consortium joined forces with LexisNexis to award the fellowships, a commitment to eliminate systemic racism in legal systems and foster diversity and inclusion within the company. It is also an acknowledgement of LexisNexis’ membership in the UN Global Compact.

A few of the topics included:
Cash Bail: Minorities are disproportionately jailed due to an inability to pay bail fees, according to the report. Those held in pretrial detention are presumed innocent but are incarcerated until they “purchase their freedom.” The cash bail system — ineffective as a crime deterrent — also penalizes the poor. Many cannot afford to pay, no matter how small the amount. What if the person held is a single parent who loses their job and then can’t pay their rent? The report proposes alternatives such as a model legislative bill that sets conditions for a detainee’s release, as well as an Equality Bail Fund supported by corporations, non-profits, and other.

Bankruptcy: African Americans are more likely advised to file Chapter 13 than Chapter 7. Chapter 7 discharges debts within six months and requires attorneys’ fees up front. Chapter 13 attorneys’ fees are paid over time, debts are not typically discharged, and can take up to five years to settle. The report discussed providing tools to reduce racial bias in bankruptcy, and educating attorneys to provide effective advice.

Law School Admissions: The legal profession is one of the least diverse fields in America, according to the report. This inequality is due to the dominance of the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT), its flawed logic, and the institutional racism that it creates. The report recommends wider selection criteria than the LSAT’s quantitative measures. For example, adding criteria based on leadership, community involvement, and overcoming adversity.

Law Firms: Black lawyers account for slightly over 10 percent of partners at major U.S. law firms, according to the report. Lawyers leave firms due to retention and promotion issues, isolation, lack of guidance, and little professional growth. The report proposes diversity training, championing diverse leaders, and metrics-based approaches to diversity.

Women: Black women attorneys are vastly underrepresented in law firm leadership across the US. How can this be changed? Amplifying their voices, as well as fostering the conditions that help attain partnership can combat underrepresentation.

Access: Consider that less than 6 percent of lawyers are Black, yet they represent over 13 percent of the total U.S. population. Access to a legal education and to the tools needed to become successful in the legal field are different for minorities as for their white counterparts, said the report.

In conclusion, the link between ending systemic racism in the legal system and the mission to advance the rule of law is clear: equal treatment under the law. “When the legal process treats parties unequally in the application of laws, there is an inherent lack of fairness in the system,” said Ian McDougall, President of LexisNexis Rule of Law Foundation.

 


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