Dante Labs highlights advancements to its drug discovery development program, demonstrating the value of genomic data to drug discovery

NEW YORK, May 26, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Dante Genomics, a global leader in genomics and precision medicine, highlights significant progress made in its drug discovery development program with six drug candidates currently in the Company's pipeline, applying Dante's internal siRNA and mRNA technology to rare and common diseases.

Since the company's foundation, Dante has invested in a robust R&D program with the goal to create end–to–end solutions from diagnosis to therapy. Dante's program began with a focus on rare disease, in response to a diagnosis of a patient with a rare disease for which there were no treatment therapies. Dante's pipeline has evolved across multiple disease areas with four drug programs in full internal development and two in co–development to achieve validation and partner externally on clinical trials and commercialization.

"Personalized medicine needs personalized data, and our progress in the last 18 months alone demonstrates the value of genomic data to research and discovery drug development," said Andrea Riposati, CEO of Dante Genomics. "When we founded Dante Genomics, we felt we had a responsibility to deliver personalized medicine beyond diagnosis so that no patient would be facing a diagnosis with no effective treatments. It is this holistic approach that challenges and motivates us as a company to accelerate science to save more lives."

Dante has advanced its internal drug programs in muscle rare disease and neurological rare disease into the pre–clinical phase. The newest addition to Dante's discovery program pipeline is an mRNA oncology therapeutic in the molecular discovery phase meant to strengthen the immune system against certain cancer types. In co–development with US biotechnology company Protelica, Dante has therapies in respiratory disease and ovarian cancer, both in the non–regulatory pre–clinical phase.

Dante's mRNA COVID vaccine program development began in early 2021 and has recently completed the regulatory pre–clinical phase and is ready for its first in–human.

"My academic background has taught me the value of RNA therapeutics, and Dante's internal R&D leverages mRNA and siRNA technology to accelerate time to patients from concept to clinic," said Mattia Capulli, Chief Scientific Officer of Dante Genomics. "The data and advanced timeline of our mRNA vaccine program demonstrates Dante's high quality RNA platform and the reproducibility of this model applied to other clinical therapies.

The Company also announced its rebrand to Dante Genomics to better reflect its global efforts in genomic information and personalized medicine. The company name, Dante Genomics, comes from the compound of humanity and science. "Dante" refers to the Italian humanitarian poet and "Genomics" refers to the powerful science that takes place in a genomics lab. Since its foundation, Dante Genomics has delivered hundreds of thousands of people with affordable, quality genomic solutions to inform their healthcare decisions. The Company's holistic approach to medicine spans from sequencing and variant interpretation to discovery drug development.

About Dante Genomics

Dante Genomics is a global genomic information company building and commercializing a new class of transformative health and longevity applications based on whole genome sequencing and AI. The Company uses its platform to deliver better patient outcomes from diagnostics to therapeutics with assets including one of the largest private genome databases with research consent, proprietary software designed to unleash the power of genomic data at scale and proprietary processes which enable an industrial approach to genomic sequencing.

Contact:

Laura D'Angelo
VP of Investor Relations
ir@dantelabs.com
+39 0862 191 0671
www.dantegenomics.com

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All Africa Student Leader says Political Will, Collective Action, Education and Social Packages Can End Child Labour

Samuel Sasu Adonteng’s voice was one of many young voices heard during the 5th Global Conference on the Elimination of Child Labour. He believes the inclusion of the youth means there are better chances that the campaign to end the scourge will succeed. Credit: Fawzia Moodley/IPS

Samuel Sasu Adonteng’s voice was one of many young voices heard during the 5th Global Conference on the Elimination of Child Labour. He believes the inclusion of the youth means there are better chances that the campaign to end the scourge will succeed. Credit: Fawzia Moodley/IPS

By Fawzia Moodley
Durban, May 26 2022 – Samuel Sasu Adonteng, programme officer for the All-Africa Students Union (AASU), believes that the recent 5th Global Conference on the Elimination of Child Labour has taken us closer to ending child labour for the first time because the voices of those affected were heard.

The week-long conference had a strong contingent of child labourers and former children in bondage who spoke out about their horrific experiences and made input on the actions that must be taken to end the practice.

The six-day conference held in Durban, South Africa, concluded with the Durban Call To Action On The Elimination of Child Labour, a blueprint for accelerating the fight at a time when, despite efforts by the ILO and its partners, the number of children in bondage has ballooned to 164 million.

Adonteng played a crucial role in galvanising the child labourers and survivors of child labour from Africa to attend the conference to raise their voices on the international platform.

The 26-year-old Ghanian says that he could easily have become a child labourer.

“I come from a small community in the Greater Accra region where quite a lot of children work and hawk on the streets. At some point in my life, I also had to sell water on the streets. I also had to sell car spare parts. I’d carry them about a kilometre to suppliers or people who wanted to buy them.”

Luckily for Adonteng, he came from a family that’s very invested in education.

“They believed in the power of education and how it can help children achieve the kind of future they want.

His mother passed away when Adonteng was very young, so he was brought up by his aunt, who, he says, “was so much bent on my education, even if it meant that at some point she had to beg from other people to pay for my school fees.

“So, I was able to go to senior high school and university to get my first degree. Currently, I am pursuing my Master’s degree in Total Quality Management. Hopefully, I’ll get a second Master’s degree in International Relations and Development.

He says many parents in Ghana understand the value of education and “are even willing to sell their belongings to ensure that their children go to school.”

“Parents and other family members play a critical role in ensuring that children have access to education. Some parents send their children out to fishing villages and even farms to work rather than send them to school.”

During the Children’s Forum at the conference, there was a strong call for an awareness campaign for parents to understand the importance of educating their children.

He echoed the call by the survivors of child labour on countries to provide “free, high-quality education and social security networks such as school feeding programmes.”

Adonteng attributes his detour into social activism to “seeing how education can be a powerful tool to turn around the lives of anybody, and how if we don’t take certain actions, we will lose an entire generation to child labour.

He says AASU, which works with the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations in Ghana, supports a dual approach of child support and institutional support to end child labour. This, he says, resonates with the call by the survivors of child labour at the conference.

“The AASU first partnered with the 100 million Campaign to end child labour in 2018. Our first initiative was an enrolment programme, and through that, our understanding was that we would ensure that every child of school-going age who is not in school is put back into school.”

In the lead up to the Durban child labour conference, the AASU organised the Africa regional virtual march to send a message to grassroots communities that child labour was not the road to success.

“Keeping children in school gives them a higher chance of becoming better people and contributes to national, continental and global development,” says Adonteng.

Governments alone cannot end child labour, he says, “it needs collective effort; if everybody has that one mindset that children should not be working, then we will succeed.”

Adonteng attributes his participation in the conference as a facilitator and speaker to his involvement in the 100 million Campaign and the Global March Against Child Labour through the AASU.

He says the inclusion of children at the conference, several of whom were rescued by the Kailash Satyarthi Foundation, is a significant breakthrough and will help accelerate the fight’s pace, which has failed to bring down the number of children in child labour.

Adonteng says that the conference organisers have taken on board the issues raised by the youth participants in formulating the Durban declaration.

“I think the thoughts of the children have been valued. So, what’s left is for those key stakeholders who have the power, the political will and funding to do what needs to be done. So, if they do care about children, now is the time to make the right funding and policies available.”

IPS UN Bureau Report

This is one of a series of stories that IPS published about the 5th Global Conference on the Elimination of Child Labour in Durban, South Africa.


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Preql raises $7M to build the future of data transformation

NEW YORK, May 26, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Preql, a no–code data transformation solution, announced that it has raised $7 million in seed funding, led by Bessemer Venture Partners with participation from Felicis, and top founders in the analytics ecosystem including Taylor Brown from Fivetran, Keenan Rice from Looker, Tristan Handy from Dbt Labs, Eldad Fakash from Firebolt, and Benn Stancil from Mode. Preql's platform allows business users to structure data for reporting without having to write SQL or rely on specialized data talent.

Preql builds upon the innovation of tools like Snowflake and Fivetran, which have made aspects of the analytics workflow accessible to organizations without data engineering resources. The next evolutionary step in the modern data stack is to allow business users to manage their own logic for reporting "" something that's not possible today without advanced SQL and data transformation expertise.

Preql's Co–Founders and Co–CEOs, Gabi Steele and Leah Weiss, met while leading data teams at WeWork and went on to found a successful data engineering and visualization consultancy. During their time at WeWork, they experienced a disconnect between business users who need data for decision making and the data teams who structure and prepare data for analysis. Business users have to pass along definitions to data modeling specialists, who maintain logic in code but lack sufficient business context. Even with exceptional data talent, the result of this handoff is often lack of trust in data, frustrated data teams, and costly data investments without a clear path to ROI.

Preql's funding comes at a moment where companies of all sizes are now investing in data cloud data storage and ingestion tools. The cloud storage market is growing 22.3% each year. Despite these investments in modern infrastructure, few companies have the internal resources required to shape their data for analysis. "There's a misconception that simply storing data will help your organization become data driven. Data storage is necessary, but the hard part is agreeing on what you want to measure, how you want to measure it, and then translating that business logic into code," said Leah Weiss, Co–Founder. "Preql gives business users the ability to contextualize their data and customize definitions, but then abstracts away the complex work of data transformation."

Preql's technology sits on top of the data warehouse, predicts the data model required for your business, and then lets business users customize metric definitions. It compiles all of that logic and delivers reporting ready datasets back in your warehouse, something that previously took months of manual effort from highly skilled data teams. "We've seen first hand the pain business users and data teams experience while building out a central source of truth for reporting," said Gabi Steele, Co–Founder. "We are deeply committed to delivering a design forward and intuitive solution that business users will love and understand, and that more mature data teams are grateful for because it saves them so much back and forth."

"We're excited to partner with Preql to make data capabilities more accessible to organizations and verticals that are currently underserved," said Amit Karp, Partner at Bessemer Venture Partners. "We were really impressed with the unique insight the founders bring to this problem and the clarity of their vision." Viviana Faga, General Partner at Felicis adds, "we couldn't be more thrilled to partner with Gabi and Leah, who are on a mission to change the way data is transformed and accessed, better serving the needs of business users at every company."

About Preql
Preql is building automated data transformation for business users. Its technology empowers business users to access analysis–ready data in minutes without having to learn SQL or rely on a data team. Preql is backed by Bessemer Venture Partners, Felicis, and several angel investors. Learn more at preql.com.

About Bessemer Venture Partners
Bessemer Venture Partners helps entrepreneurs lay strong foundations to build and forge long standing companies. With more than 135 IPOs and 200 portfolio companies in the enterprise, consumer and healthcare spaces, Bessemer supports founders and CEOs from their early days through every stage of growth. Bessemer's global portfolio includes Pinterest, Shopify, Twilio, Yelp, LinkedIn, PagerDuty, DocuSign, Wix, Fiverr and Toast and has $9 billion of capital under management. Bessemer has teams of investors and partners located in Tel Aviv, Silicon Valley, San Francisco, New York, London, Boston, Beijing and Bangalore. Born from innovations in steel more than a century ago, Bessemer's storied history has afforded its partners the opportunity to celebrate and scrutinize its best investment decisions (see Memos) and also learn from its mistakes (see Anti–Portfolio).

About Felicis
Founded in 2006, Felicis is a venture capital firm investing in companies reinventing core markets, as well as those creating frontier technologies. Felicis focuses on early stage investments and currently manages over $2.1B in capital across 8 funds. The firm is an early backer of more than 41 companies valued at $1B+. More than 91 of its portfolio companies have been acquired or gone public, including Adyen (IPO), Credit Karma (acq by Intuit), Cruise (acq by General Motors), Fitbit (IPO), Guardant Health (IPO), Meraki (acq by Cisco), Ring (acq by Amazon), and Shopify (IPO). The firm is based in Menlo Park, CA. Learn more at www.felicis.com.

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Not Enough Clean Water in Europe? Who Cares…

It is estimated that more than one third of the European Union will be under “high water stress” by the 2070. Credit: Bigstock

By Baher Kamal
MADRID, May 26 2022 – So busy as they are with strengthening military alliances and devoting billions of taxpayers’ money to double their war budgets and subsidise fossil fuels, European Governments seem not to care about the reiterated alerts that their continent faces a serious risk: the reduced availability -and more polluted– drinking water.

Two specialised bodies –the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), and the European branch of the World Health Organization (WHO)– have warned that plans to make water access possible in the face of climate pressures “are absent” in the pan-European region.

And “in most cases” throughout the region there has also been a lack of coordination on drinking water, sanitation and health during the Thirteenth meeting of the Working Group on Water and Health held on 19-20 May 2022 in Geneva.

 

Water-related disease

From insufficient drinking water supply to contamination by sewage overflow and disease outbreaks from improper wastewater treatment, existing risks from climate change to water, sanitation and hygiene in the pan-European region are set to increase significantly, UNECE/WHO-Europe warned.

The UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) reports that other estimates are even more pessimistic, with up to four billion people – over half the population of the planet – already facing severe water stress for at least one month of the year while half a billion suffer from permanent water stress

On this, a previous report: Drugged Water: A New Global Pandemic Hiding in Plain Sight? informs that people around the world are unknowingly being exposed to water laced with antibiotics, which could spark the rise of drug-resistant pathogens and potentially fuel another global pandemic.

A study elaborated by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), found that, globally, not enough attention is being focused on the threat posed by antimicrobial resistance with most antibiotics being excreted into the environment via toilets or through open defecation.

While 80 percent of wastewater in the world is not treated, even in developed countries treatment facilities are often unable to filter out dangerous bugs.

Already in 2015, 34.8 billion daily doses of antibiotics were consumed, with up to 90 percent of them excreted into the environment as active substances. Since then the amount of daily consumed antibiotics has been increasing considerably.

 

Dangers are real

“Climate change is already posing serious challenges to water and sanitation systems in countries around the world,” said Thomas Croll-Knight, spokesperson for the UN Economic Commission for Europe.

“From reduced water availability and contamination of water supplies to damage to sewerage infrastructure, these risks are set to increase significantly unless countries step up measures to increase resilience now,” warned Thomas Croll-Knight.

It is estimated that more than one third of the European Union will be under “high water stress” by the 2070s, by which time the number of additional people affected (compared to 2007) is expected to surge to 16–44 million.

 

Bad news

Meanwhile, as governments prepare for the next UN climate conference (COP 27) in November 2022 in Egypt and the UN 2023 Water Conference, UNECE painted a potentially grim picture moving forward in parts of Europe.

“From water supply and sewerage infrastructure damage to water quality degradation and sewage spillage, impacts are already being felt.”

For example, increased energy demand and disruption to treatment plants in Hungary are threatening significant additional operational costs for wastewater treatment.

And challenges in ensuring adequate water supply in the Netherlands have increased, while Spain struggles to maintain a minimum drinking water supply during drought periods.

 

Huge risk of water shortage

But if the Governments of wealthy and industrially and technologically advanced Europe are not dedicating enough attention to the looming drinking water shortage, imagine the case of the overwhelming majority of developing regions.

In fact, it is estimated that, globally, over two billion people live in countries that experience high water stress.

 

Four billion people facing severe water stress

The UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) reports that other estimates are even more pessimistic, with up to four billion people – over half the population of the planet – already facing severe water stress for at least one month of the year while half a billion suffer from permanent water stress.”

The situation has been worsening as more than half the global population will be at risk by 2050, due to stress on the world’s water resources.

 

700 million of people displaced…

“Desertification alone threatens the livelihoods of nearly one billion people in 100 countries. Intense water scarcity may displace as many as 700 million people by 2030,” said Munir Akram, president of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) during a UN meeting held already over a year ago.

On that occasion, the UN Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, told the meeting the current rate of progress would have to quadruple to meet the 2030 deadline.

“Moreover, the planetary crisis, including the interlinked threats of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution, will increase water scarcity”, she added.

 

… and 600 million children impacted

“By 2040, one in four of the world’s children under 18 – some 600 million – will be living in areas of extremely high-water stress.”

The UN estimates more than two billion people worldwide still do not have access to safely managed drinking water, while 4.2 billion lack safely managed sanitation.

Meanwhile, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) during the same meeting reported that one in five children worldwide do not have enough water to meet their daily needs.

“The world’s water crisis is not simply coming, it is here, and climate change will only make it worse”, said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore.

“Children are the biggest victims. When wells dry up, children are the ones missing school to fetch water. When droughts diminish food supplies, children suffer from malnutrition and stunting. When floods hit, children fall ill from waterborne illnesses…”

 

Africa, Asia, Middle East…

A UNICEF report found that Eastern and Southern Africa have the highest incidence of children living in “water poverty”, with nearly 60 percent facing difficulty in accessing water every day.

Meanwhile, humanitarian organisations continue to call for scaling up assistance in the Horn of Africa, where the worst drought in 40 years is affecting some 15 million people across Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia.

The drought follows four consecutive failed rainy seasons, and the fear is the number could jump to 20 million if the current below-average rains fail.

UNICEF informes that South Asia is home to the largest number of children living in areas of high or extremely high vulnerability, or more than 155 million.

Meanwhile, the Middle East and North Africa is reported to be the most water-scarce region in the world, as it is home to 15 out of the 20 of the world’s most water-scarce countries.

What’s wrong with the world’s Governments?

Climate Change Poses Risks: COP27 Presents Unique Opportunity for Africa

The flag of the Republic of Angola (centre) flying at United Nations Headquarters in New York. Credit: Africa Renewal, United Nations

By Kingsley Ighobor
UNITED NATIONS, May 26 2022 – Ambassador Maria de Jesus dos Reis Ferreira was appointed in February 2018 as the Permanent Representative of Angola to the UN, the first woman to hold the position.

Among other issues, she has focused on peace and security in Africa and has echoed her country’s strong support for universal vaccination of the global population.

In this interview with Africa Renewal’s Kingsley Ighobor, Ambassador Ferreira discusses women’s empowerment, free trade and what the continent can expect from the UN conference on climate (COP 27) that will be held in Egypt later this year.

Excerpts from the interview:

Q: What has been your journey to this role as the Permanent Representative of Angola to the UN?

My journey has been a long one, I can take hours talking about it. I started in the army and years later I shifted to diplomacy, which has been quite an interesting and challenging journey.

I have worked as a diplomat since 1980. Before my current role, I worked as an Ambassador in Austria, Slovenia, Croatia and Slovakia with residence in Vienna, where I was the Permanent Representative to the United Nations.

I am the first woman to serve in this post since Angola became a UN Member State 46 years ago.

Q: Congratulations! What are your top three achievements so far?

Talking about achievements, with regards to peace and security, it is important to note that as part of Angola´s leadership of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) for the second time, our President João Lourenço, in his capacity as Chair, briefed the UN Security Council in June 2021 at a meeting dedicated to the situation in the Central Africa Republic. He called for an end to the arms embargo imposed on the country.

Ambassador Maria de Jesus dos Reis Ferreira

In addition, Angola continues to contribute and support a peaceful resolution of the conflict in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Also in 2021, Angola presented for the first time its National Voluntary Review at the High-Level Political Forum on the implementation of the 2030 Development Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Another great achievement was that the UN General Assembly, through a resolution in February 2021, granted Angola three additional years [until 2024] to prepare for a smooth transition from the Least Developed Country category to a Middle-Income Country. That was after intense negotiations.

I must mention that Angola is, for the second time, a member of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) for the triennium 2022-2024. The Committee is tasked primarily with examining the programme budget of the United Nations.

Q: What are your priorities for 2022?

Our main priority for this year is to continue to focus on peace and security with particular emphasis on Africa, specifically our sub-region.

We will also continue to pay attention to programmes that foster humanitarian assistance to vulnerable groups, including women and children, environmental protection and sustainable development.

Q: “The role of women in diplomacy is key to reforming the male-dominated nature of international relations,” Ambassador Ferreira

There are only a few African women Permanent Representatives to the UN in New York. What needs to be done to increase that number?

The role of women in diplomacy is key to reforming the male-dominated nature of international relations. Women’s participation in peace and security mechanisms is necessary to deviate from the patriarchal norm of men being decision-makers while women remain in the background.

However, each country has its own national strategy. It is not just a matter of increasing the number of women PRs in New York or in any other position, it is also that women merit it.

In Angola, slowly but surely, positive steps have been taken toward the inclusion of more women in all sectors, including diplomacy. Since President João Lourenço assumed office in 2017, there has been a steady increase in the number of women Heads of Missions. Currently, 14 women lead Diplomatic Missions and three are Permanent Representatives. I am in New York and one each in the UN office in Geneva and at UNESCO in Paris. There is still a gap in terms of gender balance because we have 40 men in the Missions, but we are moving in the right direction.

Q: Why is women’s empowerment important in Africa?

Empowering women in Africa will promote their sense of self-worth, ability to determine their own choices and their right to influence social change in society. Gender equality is achieved when men and women enjoy the same socio-economic rights and opportunities and have equal access to education, health care, decent work, and representation in political and economic decision-making processes.

Women account for about 50 per cent of Africa’s population, but they remain underrepresented in decision-making.

Latest statistics show that women occupy about 24 per cent of parliamentary seats in Africa, significantly close to the global average of 25 per cent. Unfortunately, the sub-regions of Southern Africa with 31 per cent and East Africa with 32.4 per cent largely account for women’s representation in parliament in Africa. The other three sub-regions are way behind.

Of course, the 1995 Beijing Platform for Action has a target of at least 30 per cent while the African Union Agenda 2063 sets a goal of 50 per cent women’s representation.

Q: “Climate change poses systemic risks to our economies, infrastructure investments, water and food systems, public health, agriculture, and livelihoods, which collectively threaten to undo Africa’s development gains,” Ambassador Ferreira

Angola has been at the forefront of the call for universal COVID-19 vaccination. What more needs to be done to achieve success in this area?

Angola, like many developing countries, has been calling for universal vaccination against COVID-19 so that no one is left behind.

In his speech at the at the UN General Assembly in September 2021, President Lourenço called for the waiving of Intellectual Property rights to make it possible for many countries to manufacture vaccines so that they become available to everyone.

Last February, at the High-Level Meeting on Universal Access to COVID-19 Vaccines, our President again urged the richest nations to donate $5 billion through COVAX for urgent purchase of about 600 million vaccines, and to supportthe implementation of national vaccination campaigns.

The pandemic has a global dimension and therefore requires a global response. Its impact has accentuated the interdependence among nations. For this reason, we continue to advocate for the waiver of IP rights to enhance production, distribution and equitable access.

I am happy that Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Tunisia have been selected to receive the technology required to produce mRNA vaccines on the continent, as part of WHO’s effort to replicate what are believed to be the most effective licensed shots against COVID-19.

The world must come together in this fight against COVID-19. Access to vaccines, tests and treatments for everyone who needs them is the only way out.

Q: We’re now in the second year of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). What are your views regarding how African women can benefit from free trade?

There is no doubt that women are key stakeholders in the development of the African economy. First and foremost, women constitute 70 per cent of informal traders, which is why the AfCFTA recognizes the importance of gender in intra-African trade.

But we must take further steps. For example, we must promote policies that close the gender gap. In considering the potential impact of AfCFTA on Africans, let’s consider the question of whether such an impact will help address gender inequality.

The good news is that, according to the World Bank, AfCFTA could potentially lift 30 million Africans out of extreme poverty and increase the incomes of 68 million others who live on less than $5.50 a day. And we have a combined market of 1.3 billion people from which women traders can benefit immensely.

In addition, the AfCFTA can boost women’s roles in jobs across different sectors, for example the agricultural sector.Expanded export markets present huge opportunities for women.

Remember also that increased industrialization and diversification can benefit women in manufacturing industries because it will make higher-skilled and better-paying jobs more available and accessible to them. Significantly, women entrepreneurs, including those in SMEs, will reap rewards from regional value chains.

Q: “A better deal for Africa will mean climate justice for a continent that accounts for only three per cent of cumulative global CO2 emissions but bears the brunt of its effects,” Ambassador Ferreira

Egypt will host COP27 later this year. What does Angola at large want to see come out of it?

First, I would like to congratulate Egypt for being the host of COP27.

Angola considers climate change to be one of the greatest challenges facing humanity due to its direct and indirect effects on the economic and social life of nations. Climate change poses systemic risks to our economies, infrastructure investments, water and food systems, public health, agriculture, and livelihoods, which collectively threaten to undo Africa’s development gains.

Africa is the most vulnerable continent to climate change impacts under all climate scenarios above 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Currently, Angola’s national energy matrix incorporates 62 per cent of non-polluting sources of energy, and we are aiming to reach 70 per cent in 2025. We have clearly defined our concrete contribution to a reduction of carbon in electricity production until 2025. We are also taking complementary actions in the sustainable management of forests, transport and agriculture.

A better deal for Africa will mean climate justice for a continent that accounts for only three per cent of cumulative global CO2 emissions but bears the brunt of its effects. Yet, less developed countries are under increasing pressure to adopt low-carbon development and transition their economies to net-zero by 2050.

In my view, COP27 presents a unique opportunity for Africa to lead the climate conversation and negotiate better climate deals for the continent.

Source: Africa Renewal, United Nations

IPS UN Bureau

 


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What We Know About Mass School Shootings in the US – and the Gunmen Who Carry Them Out

When the Columbine High School massacre took place in 1999 it was seen as a watershed moment in the United States – the worst mass school shooting in the country’s history. Now, it ranks fourth

Around 4000 high school students walked out of school and marched to the Minnesota capitol to demand that legislators make changes to gun control laws.
2018-03-07 This is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution License. Give attribution to: Fibonacci Blue

By External Source
May 26 2022 – When the Columbine High School massacre took place in 1999 it was seen as a watershed moment in the United States – the worst mass shooting at a school in the country’s history. Now, it ranks fourth.

The three school shootings to surpass its death toll of 13 – 12 students, one teacher – have all taken place within the last decade: 2012’s Sandy Hook Elementary attack, in which a gunman killed 26 children and school staff; the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, which claimed the lives of 17 people; and now the Robb Elementary School assault in Uvalde, Texas, where on May 24, 2022, at least 19 children and two adults were murdered.

We are criminologists who study the life histories of public mass shooters in the U.S. As part of that research, we built a comprehensive database of mass public shootings using public data, with the shooters coded on over 200 different variables, including location and racial profile. For the purposes of our database, mass public shootings are defined as incidents in which four or more victims are murdered with at least one of those homicides taking place in a public location and with no connection to underlying criminal activity, such as gangs or drugs.

 

Our database shows that since 1966, when our database timeline begins, there have been 13 such shootings at schools across the U.S – the first in Stockton, California, in 1989.

Four of those shootings – including the one at Robb Elementary School – involved a killing at another location, always a family member at a residence. The most recent perpetrator shot his grandmother prior to going to the school in Uvalde.

The majority of mass school shootings were carried out by a lone gunman, with just two – Columbine and the 1998 shooting at Westside School in Jonesboro, Arkansas – carried out by two gunmen. In all, some 146 people were killed in the attacks and at least 182 victims injured.

The choice of “gunmen” to describe the perpetrators is accurate – all of the mass school shootings in our database were carried out by men or boys. And the average age of those involved in carrying out the attacks was 18.

This fits with the picture that has emerged of the shooter in the Robb Elementary School attack. He turned 18 just days ago and reportedly purchased two military-style weapons. It is believed that the shooter used one miltary-style weapon in the attack, authorities said May 25, 2022.

Police have yet to release key information on the shooter, including what motivated him to kill the children and adults at Robb Elementary School. The picture of the shooter that has emerged conforms to the profile we have built up from past perpetrators in some ways, but diverges in others.

We know that most school shooters have a connection to the school they target. Twelve of the 14 school shooters in our database prior to the most recent attack in Texas were either current or former students of the school. Any prior connection between the latest shooter and Robb Elementary School has not been released to the public.

Our research and dozens of interviews with incarcerated perpetrators of mass shootings suggests that for most perpetrators, the mass shooting event is intended to be a final act. The majority of school mass shooters die in the attack. Of the 15 mass school shooters in our database, just seven were apprehended. The rest died on the scene, nearly all by suicide – the lone exception being the Robb Elementary shooter, who was shot dead by police.

And school shooters tend to preempt their attacks by leaving posts, messages or videos warning of their intent.

Inspired by past school shooters, some perpetrators are seeking fame and notoriety. However, most school shooters are motivated by a generalized anger. Their path to violence involves self-hate and despair turned outward at the world, and our research finds they often communicate their intent to do harm in advance as a final, desperate cry for help. The key to stopping these tragedies is for society to be alert to these warning signs and act on them immediately.

James Densley, Professor of Criminal Justice, Metropolitan State University and Jillian Peterson, Professor of Criminal Justice, Hamline University

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