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IMF and EU approve aid for Georgia

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The International Monetary Fund and the European Union approved aid packages to help Georgia recover from its conflict with Russia, which occurred in early August. The IMF approved a US$750 million loan which will allow Georgia to rebuild its currency reserves. The European Union also approved an aid package of 500 million in aid by 2010, which is expected to help internally displaced people (IDPs) and economic recovery in the form of new infrastructure. Only €100 million of the EU aid will be given to Georgia this year.

These loans are aimed to restore confidence in Georgia’s economy and send a signal to international investors that Georgia’s economy is sound. According to the IMF, international investors have been “critical to Georgia’s economic growth in recent years.”

Takatoshi Kato, Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chairman of the IMF executive committee, said the loan will “make significant resources available to replenish international reserves and bolster investor confidence, with the aim of sustaining private capital inflows that have been critical to Georgia’s economic growth in recent years.”

Georgia has requested $2 billion in international aid to help it recover from the conflict. So far, the United States has pledged $1 billion in aid. Further assistance and loans to Georgia are expected from other organizations. Kato noted that “…Georgia is expected to receive financial assistance from multilateral and bilateral donors and creditors in support of the reconstruction effort.” It is expected that an international donors’ conference will take place next month to solicit more aid for the country.

Georgia’s government expects that economic growth will be more than cut in half as a result of the conflict. Last year, Georgia’s GDP increased 12.4% and it is predicted by the IMF that growth will be less than 4 percent in the coming year.



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First bird flu case reported in North Korea

Monday, March 28, 2005

North Korea’s official news agency, KCNA, reported an outbreak of bird flu in the capital of Pyongyang. KCNA reported three separate outbreaks at poultry farms in the capital, and said hundreds of thousands of chickens have been culled in an attempt to stop the spread of the disease.

Radio Pyongyang said, “countermeasures are underway to prevent an epidemic and stem the spread to other poultry farms”. Experts warned that a bird flu epidemic in North Korea would deprive the population of its main source of protein.

Kim Yong-Taek of the Korea Centre for Disease Control and Prevention said, “Upon its outbreak on those farms the committee lost no time to take emergency measures and meticulously organised veterinary and anti-epizootic work to prevent its spread to other poultry farms.”

According to the state-run media, there have been no human fatalities from this outbreak.



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Interview with Reggie Bibbs on his life with neurofibromatosis

Friday, December 14, 2007

Neurofibromatosis (NF) is a genetic condition causing benign tumors (neurofibromas) to grow along certain types of nerves and, in addition, it can affect the development of bones or skin. There are several variants of the disease but type 1 and type 2 NF account for the vast majority of cases.

The disease manifestations can vary from very mild to severe. Major symptoms include growths on and under the skin; skin pigmentations called café au lait spots in type 1; acoustic nerve tumors and consequent hearing loss in type 2. Growths can affect nearly all parts of the body, and pressure on nearby structures can cause a wide variety of complications. There is a small risk that the tumors transform into malignant cancerous lesions.

NF is one of the most common single-gene human diseases; around 1 in 2,500-4,000 live births are affected by NF-1, whereas NF-2 occurs in about 1 in 50,000-120,000. Both type 1 and 2 are autosomal dominant conditions, meaning that only one copy of the mutated gene need be inherited to pass the disorder. A child of a parent with neurofibromatosis and an unaffected parent will have a 50% chance of inheriting the disorder. The gene responsible for NF-1 and possibly NF-2 is thought to function as a tumor suppressor gene.

In most cases of neurofibromatosis 1, patients can live normal and productive lives. In about 25-40% of patients there is an associated learning disability with or without ADHD. In some cases of neurofibromatosis 2, the damage to nearby vital structures, such as the cranial nerves and the brainstem, can be life-threatening. When tumors are causing pain or disfiguration, surgery is thus far the only proven beneficial treatment option.

Reggie Bibbs is a 43-year-old-man living in Houston, Texas. Mr Bibbs was born with a genetic disease called neurofibromatosis (NF), which causes him to develop tumors on his body (see infobox on the right). NF can be a subtle disease, but in Bibbs’ case it has left him with a disfigured face and deformed leg. But he is happy with the way he looks, and doesn’t want to change his appearance to please other people. He has launched a successful campaign entitled “Just Ask”, and that’s just what Wikinews did in a video-interview.

The interview was prepared by Wikinews reporter Michaël Laurent with the help of Bertalan Meskó (who has a popular genetics and web 2.0 blog). Their questions were sent to a close friend of Mr. Bibbs, Lou Congelio, who kindly conducted the interview.

Contents

  • 1 Infobox: What is neurofibromatosis?
  • 2 The interview
    • 2.1 On neurofibromatosis
    • 2.2 Growing up
    • 2.3 A head to toe body tour
    • 2.4 The daily life of Reggie Bibbs
    • 2.5 Raising awareness and his campaign
  • 3 Sources
  • 4 External links
This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.



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Hindi poet and songwriter Gopal Das Neeraj dies, aged 93

Friday, July 20, 2018

Yesterday, Hindi poet and songwriter Gopal Das Neeraj died at the AIIMS trauma centre in Delhi, India. The poet was 93-years-old.

According to reports, Gopal Das had a head injury at his home in Agra and was taken to Aligarh for treatment. The chief of AIIMS trauma centre of New Delhi, Dr Rajesh Malhotra, said, “He was shifted to the trauma centre here [the night before he died] in a critical condition. He had suffered from kidney failure, had infection all over his body and head injury”.

Born in the Etawah district of Uttar Pradesh on January 4, 1925, Gopal Das was a resident of Agra and taught Hindi literature at the Dharma Samaj College in Aligarh. Gopal Das had received some of the highest Indian civilian honourary awards, receiving Padma Shri in 1991 and Padma Bhushan in 2007.

Gopal Das also wrote songs for Bollywood movies and won the Filmfare Best Lyrics award on three occasions for his songs Kaal Ka Pahiya ((hi))Hindi language: ???? ?? ?????, Bas Yehi Apradh Main Har Baar ((hi))Hindi language: ??? ??? ????? ??? ?? ??? and Ae Bhai Jara Dekh Ke Chalo ((hi))Hindi language: ?? ???! ???? ??? ?? ???. He also wrote the songs Likhe Jo Khat Tujhe ((hi))Hindi language: ????? ?? ?? ????, Dil Ne Phir Yaad Kiya ((hi))Hindi language: ???? ?? ??? ??? ???? and Dil Aaj Shayar Hai ((hi))Hindi language: ???? ?? ???? ??.

Gopal Das’s body was reportedly to be taken to Aligarh today.