TED 2015: Bill Gates warns on future disease epidemic

The world needs to prepare for the next major health crisis, Bill Gates has told delegates at the Ted (Technology, Entertainment and Design) conference.

While Ebola seems to be being kept under control currently, next time “we may not be so lucky” the Microsoft co-founder warned.

He said that there were plenty of technology tools that could be used to contain the spread of a virus.

And, he added, governments should learn from how nations prepare for war.

“Nato plays war games to check that people are well-trained and prepared. Now we need germ games,” he said.

He also called for a reserve “medical corps” similar to the reserve armies that civilians can join.

Technology can play a big role in helping prevent the spread of a virus, he told the Ted audience.

The proliferation of mobile phones mean that citizens can easily report where disease breaks out and satellite mapping can quickly collate where the problem areas are.

Meanwhile advances in biology have drastically cut the time it takes to develop vaccines for new viruses

During the Ebola crisis, technology firms such as IBM contributed tracking systems that allowed the authorities to create detailed maps of outbreaks based on text messages from citizens.

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Peter Zeihan says Alberta would be better off as 51st U.S. state

American author of The Accidental Superpower argues provinc  should join America

By CBC News

Western separatism is an old theme in Alberta, but Peter Zeihan is bringing it back into the spotlight.

Zeihan’s new book is mostly about the United States and its place in the world, but he’s dedicated an entire chapter to Alberta.

It’s there that he lays out the economic case for why Wild Rose Country should bid farewell to Confederation [Canada] and join the United States. 

“Alberta as a U.S. state would not simply be rich — the richest in the Union, in fact — but would have a vibrantly well-financed and diverse economy that would put its former (and a lot of its new-found) countrymen to shame,” writes the American author in The Accidental Superpower.

”Alberta as a U.S. state would not simply be rich — the richest in the Union, in fact — but would have a vibrantly well-financed and diverse economy.’ – Peter Zeihan, The Accidental Superpower

He argues that demographics are another reason why Alberta should jump ship.”Alberta produces more energy than the rest of Canada put together, their primary export market is the United States and a merger would eliminate everything from tax liabilities to foreign currency fluctuations,” said Zeihan.

Zeihan says the province is a lot younger than the rest of Canada and as a wave of baby boomers starts to retire, the rest of the country will become increasingly dependent on Alberta.

“As the price of that retiree bulge rises, and it’s already pushing the Canadian budget to the limit, there is really only one place that Canadians can tax to fund their retiree system that they have promised their citizens. And that is Alberta,” said Zeihan.

Zeihan says if Alberta ever did choose to go out on its own, he suspects Canada’s second richest province — Saskatchewan — would follow.

Courtesy: CBC
Read more » http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/peter-zeihan-says-alberta-would-be-better-off-as-51st-u-s-state-1.2998453

OECD cuts growth forecast for Canada in 2015 and 2016

Paris-based think-tank of wealthy nations says economy will expand by 2.2% this year

By The Canadian Press

The OECD has reduced its 2015 and 2016 economic growth forecasts for Canada, citing the drag caused by a significant drop in prices for oil and other commodities since its previous outlook in November.

The Paris-based organization is now estimating Canada’s economy will grow by to 2.2 per cent this year, 0.4 less than previously thought. Next year’s forecast has been trimmed to 2.1 per cent, down 0.3.

The OECD says Canada is among the countries that has been affected by the sharp decline in oil and commodity prices while others, particularly in Europe and Asia, will benefit from sharp drop in oil prices to six-year lows.

Read more » CBC
See more » http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/oecd-cuts-growth-forecast-for-canada-in-2015-and-2016-1.2999555

Europe may become irrelevant due to short-sighted policies – Gorbachev

Western policies toward Russia championed by Washington have led to the current crisis, and if the confrontation continues, Europe will be weakened and become irrelevant, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev warns.

Speaking to a forum in Berlin amid the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, he called on western leaders to de-escalate tensions and meet Russia halfway to mend the current rift.

Read more » http://rt.com/news/203475-gorbachev-speech-berlin-wall/