United States of America

Physicists Reverse Time for Tiny Particles Inside a Quantum Computer


By Meredith Fore, Science & Astronomy 

Time goes in one direction: forward. Little boys become old men but not vice versa; teacups shatter but never spontaneously reassemble. This cruel and immutable property of the universe, called the "arrow of time," is fundamentally a consequence of the second law of thermodynamics, which dictates that systems will always tend to become more disordered over time. But recently, researchers from the U.S. and Russia have bent that arrow just a bit — at least for subatomic particles.

In the new study, published Tuesday (Mar. 12) in the journal Scientific Reports, researchers manipulated the arrow of time using a very tiny quantum computer made of two quantum particles, known as qubits, that performed calculations.


Is This the End of Recycling?

Americans are consuming more and more stuff. Now that other countries won’t take our papers and plastics, they’re ending up in the trash.

Americans are consuming more and more stuff. Now that other countries won’t take our papers and plastics, they’re ending up in the trash.

by Alana Semuels

After decades of earnest public-information campaigns, Americans are finally recycling. Airports, malls, schools, and office buildings across the country have bins for plastic bottles and aluminum cans and newspapers. In some cities, you can be fined if inspectors discover that you haven’t recycled appropriately.

But now much of that carefully sorted recycling is ending up in the trash.

For decades, we were sending the bulk of our recycling to China—tons and tons of it, sent over on ships to be made into goods such as shoes and bags and new plastic products. But last year, the country restricted imports of certain recyclables, including mixed paper—magazines, office paper, junk mail—and most plastics. Waste-management companies across the country are telling towns, cities, and counties that there is no longer a market for their recycling. These municipalities have two choices: pay much higher rates to get rid of recycling, or throw it all away.

The same thing is happening across the country. Broadway, Virginia, had a recycling program for 22 years, but recently suspended it after Waste Management told the town that prices would increase by 63 percent, and then stopped offering recycling pickup as a service. “It almost feels illegal, to throw plastic bottles away,” the town manager, Kyle O’Brien, told me.

Without a market for mixed paper, bales of the stuff started to pile up in Blaine County, Idaho; the county eventually stopped collecting it and took the 35 bales it had hoped to recycle to a landfill. The town of Fort Edward, New York, suspended its recycling program in July and admitted it had actually been taking recycling to an incinerator for months. Determined to hold out until the market turns around, the nonprofit Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful has collected 400,000 tons of plastic. But for now, it is piling the bales behind the facility where it collects plastic.

This end of recycling comes at a time when the United States is creating more waste than ever. In 2015, the most recent year for which national data are available, America generated 262.4 million tons of waste, up 4.5 percent from 2010 and 60 percent from 1985. That amounts to nearly five pounds per person a day. New York City collected 934 tons of metal, plastic, and glass a day from residents last year, a 33 percent increase from 2013.

Bales of plastic are piled at a Recology facility in San Francisco. (Alana Semuels / The Atlantic)

Bales of plastic are piled at a Recology facility in San Francisco. (Alana Semuels / The Atlantic)


Tiffany Is Training Africans to Cut Diamonds Sourced From Region

By Pauline Bax


Tiffany & Co. has been expanding its workforce in sub-Saharan Africa -- a region of almost one billion people where the jewelry giant doesn’t have a single store.

More than a quarter of the New York-based company’s 1,500 global diamond cutters and polishers are now based in Africa.

Botswana is the world’s largest diamond producer after Russia, and is the only African country where Tiffany both buys and prepares its stones. While it also sources diamonds from mines in South Africa, Namibia and Sierra Leone .

Ethical Jewelry

The move to hire and train African polishers and cutters comes as Tiffany strives to be completely transparent about how its diamonds progress from deep underground to the engagement rings of wives-to-be.


Sources of Africa News:




Leaders From Sub-Saharan Africa Join Forces To Accelerate Elimination Of Neglected Tropical Diseases

July 10, 2019

africa disease.jpg

Image: public radio international

On the sidelines of the African Union Summit, national and international leaders join the “No to NTDs” movement to reduce the burden of neglected tropical diseases in sub-Saharan Africa

The high-level side event was convened as part of the African Union Summit, by policy and advocacy tank Speak Up Africa, in partnership with the Ministry of Health and First Lady of Niger, H.E Mrs. Aïssata Issoufou. Held under the High Patronage of His Excellency Mr. Mahamadou Issoufou, and chaired by the First Lady of Niger, the convening saw high level speakers from across the region discuss the challenges to NTD elimination and collaborative strategies to accelerate progress against diseases that currently blight the lives of millions of people across the region.

Over 100 participants attended the event including H.E Mrs. Sika Kaboré, First Lady of Burkina Faso, H.E Mrs. Hinda Deby Itno, First Lady of Chad, H.E Mrs. Antoinette Sassou Nguesso, First Lady of Congo and current President of the Organization of African First Ladies for Development (OAFLAD), the Queen of ESwatini, Dr. Matshidiso Rebecca Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Abdourahmane Diallo, Executive Director of the RBM Partnership to End Malaria, Mrs. Joy Phumaphi, Executive Secretary of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA), Dr. Idi Illiassou Mainassara, Minister of Health of Niger, Mrs. Françoise Vanni, External Relations Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

The event provided attending leaders with a platform to assess the progress toward NTD elimination on the continent and learn from best practices for informed decisions on the creation of sustainable partnerships for universal health coverage.

His Excellency Mr. Mahamadou Issoufou, President of Niger, underlined the importance that his government attaches to health, particularly through the implementation of Niger’s Renaissance program, which will help the country achieve its universal health coverage objectives.

H.E Mrs. Aïssata Issoufou, First Lady of Niger, commented: “After all progress, particularly in countries most heavily burdened with NTDs, depends on strong and consistent country leadership and regional coordination, to ensure that all people, particularly the most vulnerable and marginalized, have access to quality health services and NTD prevention methods.”

Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) are a diverse group of communicable diseases which affect more than 1.5 billion people worldwide, 39% of whom live in Africa. NTDs affect the most vulnerable members of society, and whilst there has been some progress in recent years, attendees at the event emphasized that failing to do more to fight NTDs now, including developing new tools and resources, will have significant consequences for future generations in Africa.

In Niger, NTDs including lymphatic filariasis, schistosomiasis, soil-transmitted helminthiasis and trachoma are endemic. A highlight of the event was therefore the formal launch of a new monitoring and accountability tool to help better manage NTD prevention and treatment initiatives in Niger. Launched by the Government of Niger, the new NTD ‘scorecard’ will measure national and sub-national progress against NTDs, including the number of cases of these diseases reported in each region, the number of interventions supplied to prevent cases of NTDs, and the rate of treatment offered to those affected.

Dr Matshidiso Rebecca Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, commented: As we make progress in the fight against NTDs, the momentum presented by universal health coverage is a unique opportunity to harness our synergies to ensure that no one is left behind”.

Ms. Yacine Djibo, Executive Director, Speak Up Africa, commented: “The elimination of neglected tropical diseases is within reach. All of us here, in this room and beyond, have a responsibility to act to accelerate the elimination of these diseases by 2030. More than ever, we need to mobilize our financial and technical resources. The commitment and ownership of this NTD control and elimination by the communities remains crucial to overcome these diseases.”

At the meeting, HE Mrs. First Lady of Niger Aïssata Issoufou stressed the need to adopt new innovative approaches. Three days before the meeting, the government of Niger launched a national coalition against NTDs, which aims to strengthen coordination among partners to maximize available financial and technical resources and diversify partners fighting for the elimination of NTDs. This marks the launch of the ‘No to NTDs’ campaign in Niger, implemented in partnership with Speak Up Africa. The campaign aims to increase commitment and ownership of NTD elimination at all levels of society.


Africa is not poor, we are stealing its wealth

It's time to change the way we talk and think about Africa.

by Nick Dearden

Mapping Africa's natural resources [Al Jazeera]

Mapping Africa's natural resources [Al Jazeera]

Africa is poor, but we can try to help its people.

It's a simple statement, repeated through a thousand images, newspaper stories and charity appeals each year, so that it takes on the weight of truth. When we read it, we reinforce assumptions and stories about Africa that we've heard throughout our lives. We reconfirm our image of Africa.

Try something different. Africa is rich, but we steal its wealth.

That's the essence of a report (pdf) from several campaign groups released today. Based on a set of new figures, it finds that sub-Saharan Africa is a net creditor to the rest of the world to the tune of more than $41bn. Sure, there's money going in: around $161bn a year in the form of loans, remittances (those working outside Africa and sending money back home), and aid.

But there's also $203bn leaving the continent. Some of this is direct, such as $68bn in mainly dodged taxes. Essentially multinational corporations "steal" much of this - legally - by pretending they are really generating their wealth in tax havens. These so-called "illicit financial flows" amount to around 6.1 percent of the continent's entire gross domestic product (GDP) - or three times what Africa receives in aid.

Then there's the $30bn that these corporations "repatriate" - profits they make in Africa but send back to their home country, or elsewhere, to enjoy their wealth. The City of London is awash with profits extracted from the land and labour of Africa.


Future Development

Is trade with India changing Africa’s health care landscape?

Siddharth Dixit, Natalie Emery, and Chinmoy Kumar

Through its various agencies, the government of India has been expanding its engagement in multiple African countries by creating avenues to speed up the two-way trade between India and Africa. Examples include the triennial India-Africa Forum Summit, the Duty-Free Tariff Preference Scheme, and the Pan African e-Network (PAeN). Launched in 2009, PAeN aims to share India’s growing expertise in tele-education, telemedicine, and other information and communications technology (ICT) services with several African countries. The project includes setting up an e-network that connects remote hospitals in 53 African countries to 12 Indian hospitals by installing infrastructure such as satellites and fiber-optic links. As of 2015, 460 telemedicine consultations have taken place and an additional 4,168 continuing medical education sessions were held.

Widening the pathways for the health care trade, and for other goods and services

The World Bank recently conducted a survey of 2000 health professionals, hospital representatives, and patients in nine sub-Saharan African countries: Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia. The Bank identified four main modes of trade in health services:

  1. Cross-border trade, where services are supplied from one country to another via the use of ICT. One such example is the Pan-African e-network.

  2. Medical tourism of patients traveling from Africa to other countries in search of medical care that is either unavailable or unaffordable in the home-country health care systems. According to the World Bank statistics, Africa is expected to lose over $1 billion a year to medical tourism abroad, mainly to India.

  3. Establishing a commercial presence, such as hospitals, through setting up satellite partners in African countries. For example, Dr. Agarwal’s eye hospitals have 10 facilities in African nations while Apollo Healthcare has opened hospitals in Nigeria, South Africa, Mauritius, Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe.

  4. The temporary movement of doctors and nurses to Africa to provide services.


World News Sources