May. 15, 2019
Mayor's comments on judge's ruling that Proposition B is unconstitutional

 
HOUSTON - Video and audio of Mayor Sylvester Turner's 12-minute news conference after today's City Council meeting are here.

All of his remarks concerned a court ruling stating today that Proposition B, the "pay parity" referendum created by the firefighters' union, is unconstitutional.

Excerpts from Mayor Turner's remarks:

-- "This is a tremendous positive ruling for the city as a whole, for keeping the city on solid financial footing and moving the city forward and quite frankly, it is my hope, pulling the city back together."

-- Firefighters "are deserving of a pay raise that the city can afford. I do look forward to sitting down and talking with them about what would be an acceptable pay raise within the confines of the city’s financial capability."

-- The judge's ruling revokes Prop B, meaning the city no longer plans to lay off 220 firefighters, 67 fire cadets and 47 municipal workers to cover the costs of paying remaining firefighters 29 percent more on average. Those unaffordable pay hikes were required by Prop B, which came with no funding source.
May. 15, 2019
15 May 2019 - Today, WHO’s new Science Division launched an online resource to guide the development of new health products for which there are limited markets or incentives for research and development. An essential tool for realizing universal health coverage, the Health Product Profile Directory aims to promote  research and development for products to combat neglected diseases and threats to global health, including antimicrobial resistance and diseases with pandemic potential.


The Health Product Profile Directory is a free-to-use online resource created and developed by TDR, the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases, on behalf of WHO as a global public good. It provides a searchable database of profiles for health products needed to tackle pressing health issues in global health including those prioritized by WHO. The summary of the published profiles outlines 8-10 key characteristics (such as target population, measures of efficacy and dosage) for the development of health products, including medicines, vaccines and diagnostics. Building in these characteristics at an early stage of the development process is essential to ensure that the final products will be accessible to the populations that need them.

The Ebola outbreak of 2014-15 and other recent pandemics have highlighted the urgent need for centralized information to guide and improve coordination of efforts to develop new health products for neglected diseases and populations. Until now, less than 10% of new products that have been submitted for regulatory review have referenced product profiles in the R&D process. This absence of a standard way to describe the health products that are priorities for global health has contributed to uncoordinated and ineffective research and development in these areas.

WHO Chief Scientist invites global health R&D community to contribute to the Directory

“As the first global public good launched by WHO’s new Science Division, the Health Product Profile Directory exemplifies our effort to shape the global health research agenda to achieve health for all,” said WHO Chief Scientist Dr Soumya Swaminathan. “While the Directory is launched with a focus on infectious diseases, we will update and grow the content, so I invite submissions of product profiles on other priority areas such as non-communicable diseases and antimicrobial resistance.”

Currently, the Directory contains 196 product profiles developed by 24 agencies, of which 191 describe a product with an infectious disease as the target. The top four diseases with product profiles are tuberculosis, malaria, HIV and Chagas. The Directory contains only 5 product profiles for conditions other than infectious diseases (one vaccine for breast cancer and four contraception technologies).

“DNDi welcomes the release of this new resource that will help to better understand the priorities of the global health product R&D landscape,” said Graeme Bilbe, Research & Development Director, Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi). “At DNDi, we recognize the importance of product profiles as an essential tool to guide our research strategy and ensure that the products we develop are able to be used by the vulnerable populations we are developing them for. We are pleased to have contributed some of the product profiles used in this valuable new directory and we look forward to using it.”

“In an R&D landscape which is increasingly complicated to navigate, Medicines for Malaria Venture welcomes this new Directory, which will help us ensure that new malaria products that are developed are able to be accessed and used by the populations that need them,” said David Reddy, Chief Executive Officer of Medicines for Malaria Venture.

Links are provided to access full product profile documents that are publicly available.  The Directory includes profiles developed by WHO and other agencies and can also be accessed through the WHO Global Observatory on health R&D, where other key resources to analyze R&D can be found.

Profiles for products prioritized for global action by WHO are clearly marked as authored by WHO.  Other product profiles authored by Product Development Partnerships, commercial companies and other organizations that meet the inclusion criteria are also included.  For non-WHO authored profiles, inclusion in the directory does not imply endorsement by WHO but may help inform research prioritization decisions. Organizations outside WHO stand to benefit from submitting profiles to the Directory by gaining an understanding of the landscape of related profiles and seeing where gaps lie.

Health Product Profiles are already making an impact

As an example of the impact product profiles can make, profiles published by WHO in response to the Ebola outbreak have been used by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness and Innovation (CEPI) to inform its R&D funding strategy. This covers diseases identified by WHO as having the potential to cause global outbreaks. To date, CEPI has distributed more than $350 million to develop new vaccines to combat these diseases.

More information on how to submit a health product profile for inclusion in the Directory
https://www.who.int/tdr/diseases-topics/product-directory/en/

May. 1, 2019
 
Announcing #NCTE19 Speakers
 
NCTE’s Convention is the most historic annual literacy convening for teachers and educators. In this, the 109th meeting, we're excited to share a speaker lineup that celebrates the strong relationship between authors and educators that is a hallmark of the event. Note that this list will continue to grow over the summer, but we couldn't keep it a secret any longer!
 
 
Tonya Bolden
General Session
Friday, November 22
8:00 a.m. - 9:15 a.m.
 
 
Henry Louis Gates Jr.
General Session
Friday, November 22
8:00 a.m. - 9:15 a.m.
 
Meg Medina
All-Attendee Event
Friday, November 22
6:45 p.m. - 8:45 p.m.
 
 
Tommy Orange
General Session
Saturday, November 23
9:30 a.m. - 10:45 a.m.
 
 
Franki Sibberson
General Session
Presidential Address
Sunday, November 24
12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
 
Tara Westover
General Session
Sunday, November 24
12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
 
 
Laurie Halse Anderson
Secondary Section Luncheon
Saturday, November 23
12:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.
 
 
Renée Watson
Secondary Section Luncheon
Saturday, November 23
12:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.
 
Ibi Zoboi
Middle Level Section Luncheon
Friday, November 22
11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
 
 
Elyse Eidman-Aadahl
National Writing Project Brunch
Sunday, November 24
10:30 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.
 
 
Alfredo Celedón Luján
Affiliate Breakfast
Sunday, November 24
7:00 a.m. - 8:45 a.m.
 
Look for new additions
this summer! 
More speaker details are available on NCTE’s website.
 
A Few Highlights
 
Kick off your Convention with a full day of learning on Thursday.
Last year, we piloted having sessions on Thursday afternoon and saw such success that we've implemented a full day of programming beginning at 9:30 a.m. Be sure to plan your travel so you can join us!
 
Enjoy uninterrupted Exhibit Hall time.
It can be hard to find time to visit our extensive Exhibit Hall when you're engrossed in learning from education experts around the country. That's why this year we'll be offering dedicated Exhibit Hall time from 4:45 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Friday evening. Be sure to stick around for the All-Attendee Event starting at 6:45 p.m.
 
Get ready to Build Your Stack!
We'll be celebrating texts and providing inspiration for building classroom libraries with our Build Your Stack initiative. There will be 35 unique sessions featuring authors and educators talking about their favorite books and how to use them in the classroom beginning Friday morning in the Exhibit Hall.
 
Share that you'll be attending with this digital attendee badge!
Apr. 18, 2019

Pope Francis kisses feet of South Sudan’s leaders at ecumenical retreat

 
 
Pope Francis kisses feet of South Sudan’s leaders at ecumenical retreat

Pope Francis kisses the feet of South Sudanese leaders. Photo: Vatican Media

16 April 2019

An ecumenical spiritual retreat led by the Archbishop of Canterbury and Pope Francis at the Vatican ended yesterday with Pope Francis kissing the feet of South Sudan’s political leaders. The unprecedented two-day retreat was organised in an effort to support the country’s fragile peace deal.

The pope’s unprecedented act of humbleness aimed to encourage the leaders in strengthening the African country’s faltering peace process.

“To the three of you who have signed the peace agreement, I ask you as a brother: stay in peace”, Pope Francis said. “I am asking you with my heart. Let us go forward. There will be many problems but they will not overcome us. Go ahead, go forward, and resolve the problems. You have begun a process. May it end well."

“There will be struggles and disagreements amongst you, but let this be within the community – inside the office, as it were – but in front of the people, hold hands, united; so as simple citizens you will become fathers of the nation.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, described the retreat as a “miracle”, saying that “until within 24 hours of it beginning we didn’t know it was going to happen. The atmosphere has been extraordinary and we just see the hand of God in it.”

The military overthrow of Sudan’s longtime president has raised concerns about whether the upheaval will destabilize neighboring South Sudan’s fragile efforts at peace after five years of civil war.