OeKB CSD et Montran fournissent une plateforme d’émetteur CSD aux clients de OeKB CSD

OeKB fournira une véritable numérisation de bout en bout à ses segments de clientèle en Autriche via les solutions de nouvelle génération de Montran

 VIENNE14 novembre 2022 /PRNewswire/ — OeKB CSD, le dépositaire central autrichien de titres, et Montran, l’un des principaux fournisseurs de logiciels pour le marché des capitaux, ont annoncé aujourd’hui la mise en œuvre réussie de la plateforme d’émetteur CSD de OeKB : une plateforme de gestion numérique des titres basée sur la solution de dépositaire central de titres (CSD) de Montran. Les deux sociétés ont célébré ce lancement réussi avec un événement de mise en service à Vienne.

Il s’agit d’une étape majeure dans la numérisation de l’infrastructure de conservation sur le marché autrichien des capitaux, rendue possible par la récente modification du règlement national sur les dépôts. Cette nouvelle plateforme permet l’émission numérique de titres et gère l’ensemble du cycle de vie des titres dans un système unique. Elle prend en charge l’intégration complète avec les systèmes des clients pour créer un processus transparent et sans papier. Les clients peuvent désormais bénéficier d’une numérisation de bout en bout avec un niveau accru de flexibilité, de rapidité et de commodité. OeKB CSD et Montran sont toutes deux convaincues que cela permettra une nouvelle dynamique pour le marché autrichien des capitaux et constituera une base solide pour la poursuite de la numérisation et de la croissance.

 « Ce projet a été véritablement transformationnel, non seulement du point de vue technologique, car nous avons rationalisé considérablement et remplacé le dernier élément de « legacy » (héritage) de notre architecture informatique, mais il a également impliqué un grand changement organisationnel », a expliqué Laura Hauser, la directrice technique d’OeKB CSD. « Ce fut un excellent travail d’équipe et un effort exceptionnel pendant une période difficile. Nous sommes très reconnaissants à notre équipe, à notre partenaire de solution logicielle, Montran, dont l’équipe s’est avérée fiable avec une expertise exceptionnelle dans notre domaine, en tenant toutes ses promesses ».

Raegan Esca, le directeur général de Montran Europe, a déclaré : « La polyvalence de notre solution CSD nous a permis de fournir une plateforme d’émetteur robuste et efficace pour OeKB CSD. Nos fonctionnalités CSD ont permis la mise en œuvre d’une application moderne pour OeKB CSD afin d’offrir à ses clients une intégration de bout en bout pour la gestion du cycle de vie des titres. Les avantages de cette nouvelle plateforme seront visibles pour toutes les principales parties prenantes, y compris les émetteurs, les fournisseurs de services, les banques et les investisseurs. Nous sommes convaincus que cela deviendra une pierre angulaire pour stimuler l’innovation et la croissance sur le marché autrichien des capitaux. Nous sommes ravis de lancer la plateforme des émetteurs avec notre partenaire stratégique, OeKB CSD. Ensemble, nous sommes impatients de fournir les solutions d’avenir dont OeKB CSD et ses clients ont besoin. »

À propos du groupe OeKB

Les entreprises du groupe OeKB, avec leurs plus de 500 employés, fournissent des services essentiels et pertinents pour l’industrie d’exportation autrichienne, le marché des capitaux et l’industrie du tourisme, offrent des services pour le marché de l’énergie et font partie du financement du développement autrichien. Toutes ces activités ont un avantage économique évident, renforcent l’Autriche en tant que site économique et soutiennent l’économie autrichienne dans la concurrence mondiale. OeKB agit de manière neutre sur le plan concurrentiel, intersectorielle et durablement responsable.

À propos d’OeKB CSD

OeKB CSD Ltd., une filiale à 100 % d’OeKB AG, est le dépositaire central autrichien de titres, un fournisseur d’infrastructures critiques du marché des capitaux jouant un rôle central sur le marché des capitaux autrichien. OeKB CSD accepte des titres d’émetteurs qui lèvent des capitaux pour la garde et l’administration au nom des investisseurs, fournit des services de règlement de titres et traite l’ensemble des opérations sur titres pour les actifs détenus en dépôt.

À propos de Montran

Fondée en 1979, Montran est le principal fournisseur de solutions et de services d’infrastructure de paiement et de marché des capitaux pour de nombreuses institutions financières parmi les plus importantes au monde, leur permettant de garder une longueur d’avance dans le paysage de plus en plus difficile de l’industrie financière d’aujourd’hui. Ayant des installations et des opérations critiques dans plus de 80 pays, Montran est un leader mondial dans le domaine des technologies financières. Pour plus d’informations sur les produits et services de Montran, rendez-vous sur www.montran.com.

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Government of St Kitts and Nevis does NOT accept cryptocurrency as a form of payment for its Citizenship by Investment programme

Basseterre, Nov. 14, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The government of St Kitts and Nevis, along with the Citizenship by Investment Unit of the country, have refuted claims that investors interested in gaining citizenship to the country can pay using cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.

The St Kitts and Nevis citizenship by investment programme is the oldest in the world, having been established in 1984 – it has been providing investors from across the globe with one of the quickest, easiest, and most affordable routes to second citizenship.

Underpinned by a robust multi-layered due diligence process undertaken by international security firms from the USA and the UK, investors need to go through a formal application process consisting of eight main steps, which include:

  • Step 1: Pre-approval by a verified St Kitts and Nevis government agent and preparation of the application
  • Step 2: Submission of the citizenship application
  • Step 3: Application processing by the Citizenship by Investment Unit and internal and external due diligence checks
  • Step 4: Approval in principle letter issued
  • Step 5: Contribution to either the Sustainable Growth Fund or pre-approved real estate
  • Step 6: Bank clearance of source of funds
  • Step 7: Certificate of Registration issued
  • Step 8: Citizen can apply for a St Kitts and Nevis passport

Throughout the whole process, an investor will engage with an approved government agent who will facilitate the application and any payments will be made via registered banks using fiat money – a government-issued currency that is not backed by a commodity such as gold. An example would be the United States Dollar, Euro or Chinese Yuan.

Investors cannot make payments to a government-approved agent or the Citizenship by Investment Unit by using cryptocurrencies directly. These would need to be liquidated into fiat currency first and an applicant would need to provide a supporting affidavit regarding their source of funds as part of the application process.

St Kitts and Nevis has not yet passed any legislation regarding cryptocurrency. The country is participating in the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) pilot program, which aims to study the utilisation of cryptocurrency as a fiat currency.

The program’s purpose is to provide a safe and secure digital financial system by utilising the advantages of blockchain and is designed to exemplify the viability and functionality of the ECCB’s ability to issue Digital Eastern Caribbean Dollars.

The ECCB is the fiscal authority for the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU).

Speaking at the Electronic Cash Conference 2022, which was held on November 12 2022, Prime Minister of St Kitts and Nevis, Dr Terrance Drew, expressed that while Bitcoin Cash – another form of cryptocurrency – is used as a method of tender by some businesses in the country, due diligence checks are presently being prioritised by his government ahead of any major decision concerning that cryptocurrency’s official use.

Prime Minister Drew stated that the financial safety and security of citizens is a matter of high priority, and the government, with the guidance of the ECCB, is prepared to explore the possibility of Bitcoin Cash being introduced as legal tender in the local financial space.

The Prime Minister explained that once all the crucial financial safeguards were in place, Bitcoin Cash could become accepted legal tender in St Kitts and Nevis by March 2023.

Benefits of gaining second citizenship to St Kitts and Nevis

Citizenship by Investment is a legal process to grant individuals – and, in some cases, their families – dual citizenship in exchange for a financial contribution to the country’s economy. The initiative permits countries to channel generated funds into developing healthcare, education, infrastructure, and more.

Being a citizen of St Kitts and Nevis offers investors a myriad of benefits including family reunification, global mobility, enhanced security, and increased economic opportunities.

St Kitts and Nevis offers award-winning and internationally acclaimed education institutions like veterinary and medical universities, attracting global-minded professionals. People from all over the world come to St Kitts and Nevis, over a million a year to be exact, because of its booming tourism sector.

In recent years, the nation has seen growing numbers of American visitors. Around 1,000 US citizens currently reside on the islands. Now, with more work-from-home policies than ever, many see the Caribbean as the perfect destination to get away from the bustle of big cities while continuing to be connected when business calls.

In addition to citizenship and global mobility, St Kitts and Nevis offers its citizens who choose to become tax residents a wide variety of insurance services in a tax-friendly environment. For example, the country guarantees financial privacy by not making any information about offshore business owners and top managers public.

Portfolio diversification is the first step in dispersing your investments so that your exposure is not limited to just one type of asset. An investment in property in St Kitts and Nevis would allow you to diversify your investment portfolio and potentially make a return upon selling that your share in real estate after the end of the minimum hold period.

This will also ensure that you retain a certain amount of your wealth outside of your home country. In uncertain political and economic climates, knowing that a portion of your portfolio is free from the grips of a potentially corrupt government can give you tremendous peace of mind.

PR St Kitts and Nevis
Government of St. Kitts and Nevis
mildred.thabane@csglobalpartners.com

GlobeNewswire Distribution ID 8696223

Winners in the 19th Annual Stevie® Awards for Women in Business Announced

Women-Owned Businesses and Professionals Were Honored at an Awards Ceremony in Las Vegas

Winners named in 19th Stevie Awards for Women in Business program

Top female entrepreneurs, executives, and employees from around the world were named as Stevie Award winners at a ceremony in Las Vegas, NV U.S.A. on Friday, November 11.

FAIRFAX, Va., Nov. 14, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Shining a spotlight on women executives, entrepreneurs, and organizations run by women, winners in the 2022 Stevie® Awards for Women in Business were announced on Friday, November 11.

The Stevie Awards for Women in Business is an international competition produced by the creators of the prestigious International Business Awards® and American Business Awards®. The Stevie is widely considered to be the world’s premier business award.

With nominated working women and their guests in attendance, the awards were announced during a gala event at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada. The 2022 competition attracted nominations from 27 nations.

The presentations were broadcast live via Livestream.

More than 1,500 nominations from organizations and individuals around the world were submitted to the awards this year for consideration in categories including Entrepreneur of the Year, Executive of the Year, Most Innovative Company of the Year, and Startup of the Year, among others. More than 200 business professionals working in seven specialized judging committees determined the Gold, Silver, and Bronze Stevie Award winners.

Grand Stevie Award trophies were presented to five organizations that submitted the best body of entries to the competition, in their own names or in the names of one or more clients. Winners were determined by the number of Gold, Silver, and Bronze Stevie Awards won in the competition. The Grand Stevie Award winners are:

  • The Audacious Agency, Coombabah, QLD, Australia (#1)
  • IBM, Armonk, NY, U.S.A. (#2)
  • Megaphone, Melbourne, Australia (#3)
  • Melissa Sones Consulting, New York, NY U.S.A. (#4)
  • Global Press Institute, Washington D.C., U.S.A. (#5)

The 2022 Gold, Silver, and Bronze Stevie Award winners reflect a diverse group of large and small organizations from around the globe. Notable Gold Stevie Award winners in this year’s competition include:

  • Sandrine Pons, Regional Vice President, Head of Solutions Sales & Innovation, SAP, Paris, France, for Women Helping Women – Business
  • Ann Kaplan, Las Vegas, NV U.S.A, for Woman of the Year – Accounting and Finance
  • Susan McLaughlin, Senior Innovative Media and Creative Operations Manager, Vanguard, Malvern, PA U.S.A, for Woman of the Year – Advertising, Marketing & Public Relations
  • Fatima Sultan Al-Kuwari, Group Chief Human Resources Officer, Ooredoo, Qatar, for Female Executive of the Year – Business Products –More Than 2,500 Employees
  • Shama Hyder, CEO and Founder, Zen Media, Plano, TX U.S.A., for Most Innovative Woman of the Year – Social Media
  • Stephanie Wernick Barker, President, Mondo, New York, NY U.S.A, for Female Thought Leader of the Year – Business Services
  • Gehad Hamdy, Founder, Speak Up, Giza, Egypt, for Social Change Maker of the Year – Gender
  • Michelle John, Founding Director, PEGS, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, United Kingdom, for Woman of the Year – Government or Non-Profit
  • Kelley Higney, Founder & CEO, Bug Bite Thing, Port Lucie, FL U.S.A, for Best Female Entrepreneur – Consumer Products –11 to 2,500 Employees
  • Allison Grafton, President and Founder, Rockwood Custom Homes, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, for Best Female Entrepreneur in Canada

Organizations that won more than one Gold Stevie Award include Anheuser-Busch InBev, Babylist, Brandless, But Bite Thing, Caroline Kennedy Group, Everise, Flock DC, Global Press Institute, Halkbank, Harman International, LickYourPhone Media, Luma Brighter Learning, Megaphone, Primrose Schools, Rockwood Custom Homes, Rubi Laboratories, Sidus Space, and The Tambellini Group.

HCLTech, the global technology company delivering industry-leading capabilities centered around digital, engineering and cloud, powered by a broad portfolio of technology services and products, sponsored awards in four categories called HCLTech Women in Technology Awards. Among notable Stevie winners in those categories are:

  • Monica Williams, Senior Vice President – Digital Products and Content Distribution, NBCUniversal, for New Normal Digital Transformer
  • Karen Oerter, Director of Information Technology, Land O’Lakes, for New Normal Digital Transformer
  • Abby Knowles, Vice President Global Technology Solutions, Verizon, for Leading Through Uncertainty
  • Susan Doniz, CIO & SVP of Information Technology & Data Analytics, The Boeing Company, for Leading Through Uncertainty
  • Tia Ballard, Head of Cloud and Automation, Sempra, for Leadership in Next Gen Technology
  • Constance Metcalfe, Associate Vice President – Enterprise Infrastructure Transformation, Canadian Tire Corporation, for Excellence in Transforming Business

For a complete list of Stevie Award winners and more information, visit http://www.StevieAwards.com/Women.

The Stevie Awards staged the fifth edition of its Women|Future Conference virtually on November 8-10 in conjunction with the Stevie Awards for Women in Business. More than 250 women shared three days of programming highlighted by a keynote presentation by Rashmi Verma, head of D&I at Hugo Boss.

Entries for the 2023 (20th) edition of the awards will open in May. The 2023 awards ceremony will be held at the Marriott Marquis in New York, NY USA in November.

About the Stevie Awards

The Stevie Awards are conferred in eight programs: the Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards, the German Stevie Awards, The American Business Awards®, The International Business Awards®, the Middle East & North Africa Stevie Awards, the Stevie Awards for Women in Business, the Stevie Awards for Great Employers, and the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service. Stevie Awards competitions receive more than 12,000 nominations each year from organizations in more than 70 nations. Honoring organizations of all types and sizes and the people behind them, the Stevies recognize outstanding performances in the workplace worldwide. Learn more about the Stevie Awards at http://www.StevieAwards.com.

Contact:
Maggie Miller
Maggie@StevieAwards.com
+1 (703) 547-8389

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/9aca97a3-922e-46f1-b2cd-9dcf4a1efcb8

GlobeNewswire Distribution ID 8695848

MGA Establishes MGA Studios with $500 million in Cash and Assets; Acquires Pixel Zoo Animation

The move signals MGA’s strong commitment to growing its dominance in the rapidly evolving digital entertainment landscape by pursuing strategic gaming and tech acquisitions or partners

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 14, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — MGA Entertainment, Inc. (MGA), one of the world’s largest and fastest growing privately held toy and entertainment companies, announced today the formation of MGA Studios, an independent subsidiary of MGA, backed with more than a half billion dollars in cash and assets. This move underscores MGA’s continued commitment to a rapidly evolving digital entertainment landscape.  In fact, more than 35 years ago, when it wasn’t usual in the toy industry to incorporate entertainment, MGA embraced it and changed the company name from Micro Games of America to MGA Entertainment, Inc.

“While continued innovation in the toy category remains a key driver for our business, we understand the world is changing and are fully committed to carrying our winning legacy into this new and evolving digital landscape,” said Isaac Larian, Founder and CEO, MGA Entertainment, Inc. “In addition to growing our large catalogue of television, movie and streaming content, through MGA Studios we aim to create smaller and safer mini universes for our children to grow and develop in a seamless digital and physical entertainment ecosystem.”

MGA Entertainment also announced today that Pixel Zoo Animation, one of the leading digital animation studios globally, is MGA Studios’ first acquisition. During the past several years, Pixel Zoo has pushed the limits of high-quality animation and content for children and families. Paul Gillett, Founder and CEO of Pixel Zoo, will continue in his role supporting MGA Studios’ growth into a dominant position globally.

“During the past few years, we have been extremely impressed by MGA’s brands, how they partner with their suppliers, as well as their creative and execution capabilities. Intellectual Property development has always been an important part of our studio and this opportunity allows our team to show the world what we can do,” said Gillett. “Working with MGA has been one of the most rewarding experiences we have had, so partnering with them is the next natural step for us. I am excited for our studio to be the first foundational building block of MGA Studios.”

MGA Studios will be charged with independently developing and growing a digital presence through acquisitions, partnerships, and in-house development of innovative content and original intellectual property (IP). MGA Studios will leverage MGA Entertainment’s existing and future IP including L.O.L. Surprise!™, Little Tikes® Let’s Go Cozy Coupe®, Rainbow High™, Bratz®, Baby Born®, Mermaze Mermaidz™, Na! Na! Na! Surprise™, and more, with great new content and brands coming soon.

“MGA Entertainment has demonstrated time and again our ability to create multiple blockbuster brands from the ground up. The purpose of MGA Studios will be to facilitate the expansion of these brands beyond the toy aisle and turn them into true transmedia franchises, including entertainment, gaming, and online experiences,” said MGA Studios President, Jason Larian. “We are committed to bringing new partners into the fold to help realize our vision and the Pixel Zoo acquisition is the first step of many on this journey.”

MGA Entertainment and Pixel Zoo have collaborated on many notable projects during the last several years including L.O.L. Surprise! The Movie, available on Netflix; L.O.L. Surprise! House of Surprises series, available on YouTube and Netflix; Rainbow High series, available on YouTube and Netflix; Mermaze Mermaidz series, available on YouTube; Let’s Go Cozy Coupe series, available on YouTube and Amazon; and more. Their latest project together, L.O.L. Surprise! Winter Fashion Show movie, premiered on Netflix this past October.

About MGA Entertainment

MGA Entertainment is one of the world’s fastest growing and largest privately held toy and entertainment companies. Headquartered in Chatsworth, Calif. and with offices globally, the company creates innovative, proprietary, and licensed consumer products and entertainment, including toys, games, dolls, apparel, consumer electronics, home décor, stationery, sporting goods, movies, and television series. The MGA family includes award-winning brands such as L.O.L. Surprise!™Little Tikes®, Rainbow High™, Shadow High™, Bratz®, MGA’s Miniverse™, Na! Na! Na! Surprise™, Mermaze Mermaidz™ Color Change, Micro Games of America™Baby Born® Surprise and Zapf Creation®. For more information, please visit us at www.mgae.com or check us out at LinkedIn or Twitter.

About MGA Studios

MGA Studios is an independent subsidiary of MGA Entertainment, Inc. and a Delaware C-corp. The company is focused on developing and growing a safe digital environment for children and families to come together and enjoy wholesome entertainment across digital and physical platforms. MGA Studios has rights to more than 7,000 trademarks, patents, and copyrighted works and has financial backing of MGA Entertainment, Inc. For more information, please visit  www.MGAStudios.com

About Pixel Zoo 

Pixel Zoo is a full-service animation studio that has focused on digital content in both short and long forms. Based in Brisbane, Australia, Pixel Zoo is at the cutting edge of animation, pushing the boundaries and developing new techniques that have continually kept them on top as the industry develops and changes around them. Lead by a team of creatives Pixel Zoo prides itself on delivering a product that speaks for itself.

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NOTE TO EDITOR: Video clips and stills available of animated series and movie on request.

Attachments

Alan Hilowitz
MGA Entertainment, Inc.
+1.818.221.4431
news@mgae.com


GlobeNewswire Distribution ID 8695466

Lebanon, Algeria Condemned Istanbul’s Deadly Attack

BEIRUT– Lebanon and Algeria condemned yesterday, the deadly bomb attack in Türkiye’s Istanbul, that killed at least six people and injured 81.

 

In a statement, Lebanon’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, offered its condolences to the Turkish government and families of the victims, wishing “a speedy recovery for the injured.”

 

It also expressed its “full solidarity with Türkiye in these dire circumstances.”

 

In a phone call with Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Lebanese Prime Minister, Najib Mikati said, his country is “confident that Türkiye will remain stronger than adversity, with the determination of its leadership and the solidarity of its people.”

 

The explosion, which hit the busy pedestrian Istiklal avenue of Istanbul yesterday, was confirmed by the Turkish side to be a terror attack.

 

Meanwhile, Algeria condemned “in the strongest terms the terrorist bombing,” and expressed its full solidarity with the government and the people of Türkiye, during the hard moments, read a statement from the Algerian Foreign Ministry.

 

The statement also urged the international community to intensify efforts to combat terrorism.

 

“Algeria, which has suffered from the scourge of terrorism and triumphed over it, remains convinced that, Türkiye can overcome this scourge, thanks to the unity and steadfastness of its people, and their support for the efforts of its leadership, aimed at preserving the country’s security and stability,” said the statement.

 

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

Activists Continue Fight Against Amazon’s Africa HQ on Historic Cultural Land

Activists fighting construction of the African headquarters of online retail giant Amazon will meet with lawyers Tuesday to plan their next move, after a court lifted an injunction that had temporarily blocked further work on the complex. The activists say the building site in South Africa has historic significance to local tribes. Supporters of the project say it will generate badly needed jobs and respect local sensitivities.

Most recently the site was known as the River Club, with a somewhat rundown nine-hole golf course, a driving range and a conference facility. Now, what’s become known as the Amazon building is rising fast.

A court ruling last week that overturned an injunction to halt construction has been applauded by the developer, Liesbeek Leisure Properties Trust.

The trust argues that the mixed-use development where Amazon will be the anchor tenant will create 19,000 much-needed jobs.

James Tannenberger is the trust’s spokesperson.

“Liesbeek Leisure Properties Trust welcomes the judgement which is a win for all Capetonians who stand to benefit from the R4.6-billion project,” James said. “This judgement sends a clear message to those who are trying to stop the development at all costs with little or no regard to the social development of the surrounding communities.”

Four-point-six-billion rand comes to about 266 million U.S. dollars.

There has been no comment from Amazon on the controversy.

The activists who obtained the injunction, the Observatory Civic Association, which represents some residents of the Observatory suburb where the development is situated, and Tauriq Jenkins, a council member of the Goringhaicona Khoi Khoi, an indigenous group – say the fight is not over.

They argue the land should be declared a World Heritage Site because this is where, in 1510, the first known battle between South Africans and European colonialists took place.

A Khoi Khoi army defeated invading Portuguese who had slaughtered scores of their women and children. The tribes call it the place of the “First Encounter.”environmental concerns as the site marks the confluence of two rivers: the Liesbeek and the Black.

The injunction granted to them in March was rescinded last Tuesday, after the court heard from other members of Jenkins’ tribe, who said he did not have the power to represent them and that the Goringhaicona were in fact in favor of the development.

This effectively means they are siding with a group called the First Nations ecollective, which says it represents the majority of the Khoisan tribes and has been backing the development.

Leslie London is a University of Cape Town professor and chairperson of the Observatory Civic Association. London says he believes Jenkins was outmaneuvered by fellow tribe members.

London, however, says all is not lost as courts still have to conduct a review of whether the development was legally approved.

“The case is still pending. It’s not the end of the case,” London said. “They haven’t thrown out the merits of the case. I don’t want to go down in history as being an interesting case. We still want to win it.”

He says a large part of the 150,000-square meter project has already been built.

“Overall, they probably have built about 40 percent of the whole building. There’s a lot still to come,” London said. “Amazon’s going to get higher and there are going to be a lot more buildings.”

The First Nations Collective’s spokesperson, Zenzile Khoisan, feels strongly that the new development will honor indigenous tribes’ history. It will include a heritage center, a garden of memory and roads and pathways with Khoisan names.

 

 

Source: Voice of America

Invasive Mosquito Threatens Malaria Control in Africa

Malaria exploded this year in the Ethiopian city of Dire Dawa, which saw more than 10 times as many cases between January and May as it did in all of 2019.

What made this spike in cases unusual is that it happened outside the rainy season, when malaria typically surges across Africa, and in an urban area — malaria is more of a rural problem on the continent. Cities are not immune, but they typically don’t see these kinds of outbreaks.

Something new and insidious has arrived in the Horn of Africa. An invasive species of mosquito called Anopheles stephensi threatens to unravel two decades of gains in malaria control. And it may bring the deadly disease to more of the continent’s rapidly growing cities.

“There is real fear that it could start more transmission in these areas that traditionally don’t have as much malaria,” said Arran Hamlet, a disease modeling expert with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “And they don’t have infection control strategies implemented to the same levels.”

The new mosquito arrives at a bad time in the fight against malaria.

Africa’s native mosquitoes have become increasingly resistant to insecticides. (Anopheles stephensi is already resistant.) In addition, the malaria parasite is getting not only tougher to kill, but tougher to spot. Malaria strains that don’t show up on rapid diagnostic tests are becoming more common.

“We don’t want the three to meet — the drug resistance, the diagnostic resistance and the highly efficient vector [Anopheles stephensi],” said Fitsum Girma Tadesse, a molecular biologist at Ethiopia’s Armauer Hansen Research Institute.

“What happens if they coexist? We don’t know,” he said. “It’s really dangerous. You can’t detect the parasite. You can’t kill it with a drug. And the mosquito is wise enough to evade your [control] mechanisms.”

Fitsum and his colleagues linked Anopheles stephensi to the Dire Dawa outbreak in a study presented at the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in Seattle this month. It is the strongest evidence yet that the mosquito is increasing malaria rates in Ethiopia.

A different mosquito

Malaria fighters started the millennium strong.

With insecticide-treated bed nets, indoor insecticide spraying campaigns and new artemisinin-based drugs, deaths from malaria plunged from nearly 900,000 in 2000 to around 560,000 in 2015. But since then, progress has stalled.

And the tools that have worked up until recently won’t help much against Anopheles stephensi.

“This [mosquito] is different and more insidious than some of the other mosquitoes that transmit malaria that we’re used to seeing in sub-Saharan Africa,” said Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs epidemiologist April Monroe.

Africa’s native malaria mosquitoes prefer to bite people inside their homes late at night. That’s why bed nets and indoor spraying have been so effective.

But Anopheles stephensi bites earlier in the evening. When it goes searching for a meal, “people aren’t actually in bed yet, and so they don’t get the same protection” from bed nets, Hamlet said.

It also prefers to take its blood meal outdoors. Or if it does bite indoors, it doesn’t rest there, thereby avoiding indoor insecticides.

The new mosquito’s habitat is different, too. Most malaria mosquitoes live in rural Africa. But Anopheles stephensi is “really highly adapted to urban areas, which isn’t what we typically see,” Monroe said.

It likes to lay its eggs in water storage containers, which are especially common in Africa’s fast-growing unplanned urban areas that lack piped water, Fitsum noted.

Newcomer

Originally from South Asia, Anopheles stephensi was first spotted on the African continent in Djibouti in 2012.

The small nation was on the verge of eliminating malaria at the time. It recorded just 27 cases that year. In 2020, there were more than 73,000.

Besides Djibouti and Ethiopia, the mosquito has turned up in Sudan, Somalia and Nigeria.

One study estimates the mosquito may put an additional 126 million people at risk of malaria in cities across Africa.

In Ethiopia alone, Hamlet and colleagues estimate that Anopheles stephensi could increase malaria cases by 50% and cost hundreds of millions of dollars to control.

“This is very much possibly a cheap option compared to letting Anopheles stephensi spread around the country,” Hamlet said. “There is a lot of economic burden on both individuals and the wider economy in this level of malaria increase.”

The last thing African countries need, however, is new disease vector that is expensive to control.

“Most of the countries affected by malaria have limited resources to deal with already existing prevalent diseases,” Fitsum said.

One bit of relatively good news is that since Anopheles stephensi breeds in the same places as the mosquitoes that carry yellow fever, chikungunya and dengue, efforts that target one would also control the others.

Fitsum says covering water containers with polystyrene beads can help prevent the mosquitoes from laying eggs. He advises people to cover water containers tightly and get rid of any they don’t need.

And keep using bed nets and indoor sprays, he added. Native mosquitoes are still out there.

 

 

 

Source: Voice of America

Clashes in Eastern DR Congo as Envoy Pursues ‘Dialogue’ Initiative

Troops and rebels traded heavy fire in eastern DR Congo on Monday, a military source and local inhabitants said, as an envoy from the East African bloc pursued efforts to hold a “peace dialogue” on the region’s troubles.

Government forces and the M23 militia were fighting in Kibumba, about 20 kilometers (12 miles) north of the strategic city of Goma in the North Kivu province, the sources said, speaking by phone.

M23 fighters were also seen about 40 kilometers to the northwest of the city in the Virunga National Park, a wildlife haven famed for its mountain gorillas, but which is also a bolt hole for armed groups, the sources said.

A mostly Congolese Tutsi group, the M23 — the March 23 Movement — leapt to prominence in 2012 when it briefly captured Goma before being driven out.

After lying dormant for years, the rebels took up arms again in late 2021, claiming the DRC had failed to honor a pledge to integrate them into the army, among other grievances.

They have since won a string of victories against the military and captured swathes of territory, prompting thousands of people to flee their homes.

The resurgence has ratcheted up diplomatic tensions, with the Democratic Republic of Congo accusing its smaller neighbor Rwanda of backing the group.

Kinshasa expelled Rwanda’s ambassador at the end of last month as the M23 advanced, and later recalled its envoy from Kigali.

Rwanda denies providing any support for the M23 and accuses the Congolese army of colluding with the Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) — a notorious Hutu rebel movement involved in the 1994 genocide of Tutsis in Rwanda.

“The Rwandan army and its allies from the M23 don’t stop, every passing day, launching assaults on our different positions in Kibumba,” army spokesman for North Kivu, Lieutenant Colonel Guillaume Ndjike told reporters.

School canteens pillaged

As happened late last week too, witnesses spoke of World Food Program-backed school canteens being pillaged in the rebel-held town of Kiwanja on Sunday and Monday.

“There was corn flour and oil. They took these provisions as food rations,” a resident said.

Another said oil cans, flour sacks and beans had been taken away by truck the previous day.

Eastern DR Congo was the location of two bloody regional wars in the 1990s.

That conflict, along with the Rwandan genocide, bequeathed a legacy of scores of armed groups which remain active across the region but especially in North Kivu.

The heads of the seven-nation East African Community (EAC) on Sunday announced they would hold a “peace dialogue” on the region’s problems.

EAC’s mediator, former Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta arrived in Kinshasa Sunday for talks aimed at paving the way for the meeting, set to take place November 21.


The bloc has not spelt out who will take part in the talks or how long they are scheduled to run.

Another diplomatic path is being explored by Angolan President Joao Lourenco.

He met Friday with Rwandan President Paul Kagame and on Saturday with Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi.

 

 

 

Source: Voice of America