Neuroscientists pinpoint part of the brain that deciphers memory from new experience

first_imgYou see a man at the grocery store. Is that the fellow you went to college with or just a guy who looks like him?One tiny spot in the brain has the answer.Johns Hopkins University neuroscientists have identified the part of the hippocampus that creates and processes this type of memory, furthering our understanding of how the mind works, and what’s going wrong when it doesn’t. Their findings are published in the current issue of the journal Neuron. Share on Facebook Pinterest Share Emailcenter_img Share on Twitter “You see a familiar face and say to yourself, ‘I think I’ve seen that face.’ But is this someone I met five years ago, maybe with thinner hair or different glasses — or is it someone else entirely,” said James J. Knierim, a professor of neuroscience at the university’s Zanvyl Krieger Mind/Brain Institute who led the research. “That’s one of the biggest problems our memory system has to solve.”Neural activity in the hippocampus allows someone to remember where they parked their car, find their home even if the paint color changes, and recognize an old song when it comes on the radio.Brain researchers theorized that two parts of the hippocampus (the dentate gyrus and CA3) competed to decide whether a stimulus was completely new or an altered version of something familiar. The dentate gyrus was thought to automatically encode each stimulus as new, a process called pattern separation. In contrast, CA3 was thought to minimize any small changes from one experience to the next and classify the stimuli as being the same, a process called pattern completion. So, the dentate gyrus would assume that the person with thinner hair and unfamiliar glasses was a complete stranger, while CA3 would ignore the altered details and retrieve the memory of a college buddy.This is a cross-section of a rat’s brain, showing where the key decisions are made about what is a new memory being made and what is old and familiar.Prior work by Knierim’s group and others provided evidence in favor of this long-standing theory. The new research shows, however, that CA3 is more complicated than previously thought — parts of CA3 come to different decisions, and they pass these different decisions to other brain areas.“The final job of the CA3 region is to make the decision: Is it the same or is it different?” Knierim said. “Usually you are correct in remembering that this person is a slightly different version of the person you met years ago. But when you are wrong, and it embarrassingly turns out that this is a complete stranger, you want to create a memory of this new person that is absolutely distinct from the memory of your familiar friend, so you don’t make the mistake again.”Knierim and Johns Hopkins postdoctoral fellows Heekyung Lee and Cheng Wang, along with Sachin S. Deshmukh, a former assistant research scientist in Knierim’s lab, monitored rats as they got to know an environment and as that environment changed.Research assistant Jeremy Johnson feeds a rat on the behavioral track. (Credit: Johns Hopkins University)The team implanted electrodes in the hippocampus of the rats. They trained the rats to run around a track, eating chocolate sprinkles. The track floor had four different textures — sandpaper, carpet padding, duct tape and a rubber mat. The rat could see, feel and smell the differences in the textures. Meanwhile, a black curtain surrounding the track had various objects attached to it. Over 10 days, the rats built mental maps of that environment.Then the experimenters changed things up. They rotated the track counter-clockwise, while rotating the curtain clockwise, creating a perceptual mismatch in the rats’ minds. The effect was similar, Knierim said, to if you opened the door of your home and all of your pictures were hanging on different walls and your furniture had been moved.“Would you recognize it as your home or think you are lost?” he said. “It’s a very disorienting experience and a very uncomfortable feeling.”Even when the perceptual mismatch between the track and curtain was small, the “pattern separating” part of CA3 almost completely changed its activity patterns, creating a new memory of the altered environment. But the “pattern completing” part of CA3 tended to retrieve a similar activity pattern used to encode the original memory, even when the perceptual mismatch increased.The findings, which validate models about how memory works, could help explain what goes wrong with memory in diseases like Alzheimer’s and could help to preserve people’s memories as they age. LinkedInlast_img read more

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Frequent alcohol drinking kills new brain cells in adults

first_img“The discovery that the adult brain produces stem cells that create new nerve cells provides a new way of approaching the problem of alcohol-related changes in the brain,” said Dr. Ping Wu, UTMB professor in the department of neuroscience and cell biology. “However, before the new approaches can be developed, we need to understand how alcohol impacts the brain stem cells at different stages in their growth, in different brain regions and in the brains of both males and females.”In the study, Wu and her colleagues used a cutting-edge technique that allows them to tag brain stem cells and observe how they migrate and develop into specialized nerve cells over time to study the impact of long-term alcohol consumption on them.Wu said that chronic alcohol drinking killed most brain stem cells and reduced the production and development of new nerve cells.The researchers found that the effects of repeated alcohol consumption differed across brain regions. The brain region most susceptible to the effects of alcohol was one of two brain regions where new brain cells are created in adults.They also noted that female mice showed more severe deficits than males. The females displayed more severe intoxication behaviors and more greatly reduced the pool of stem cells in the subventricular zone.Using this model, scientists expect to learn more about how alcohol interacts with brain stem cells, which will ultimately lead to a clearer understanding of how best to treat and cure alcoholism.Other authors include UTMB’s Erica McGrath, Junling Gao, Yong Fang Kuo, Tiffany Dunn, Moniqua Ray, Kelly Dineley, Kathryn Cunningham and Bhupendra Kaphalia. Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Pinterest LinkedIncenter_img Researchers from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston recently discovered that alcohol killed the stem cells residing in adult mouse brains. Because the brain stems cells create new nerve cells and are important to maintaining normal cognitive function, this study possibly opens a door to combating chronic alcoholism.The researchers also found that brain stem cells in key brain regions of adult mice respond differently to alcohol exposure, and they show for the first time that these changes are different for females and males. The findings are available in Stem Cell Reports.Chronic alcohol abuse can cause severe brain damage and neurodegeneration. Scientists once believed that the number of nerve cells in the adult brain was fixed early in life and the best way to treat alcohol-induced brain damage was to protect the remaining nerve cells. Share Emaillast_img read more

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ASP Scan (Weekly) for Mar 23, 2018

first_imgOur weekly wrap-up of antimicrobial stewardship & antimicrobial resistance scansStudy finds contact precautions did not reduce drug-resistant infectionsA 9-year single-center study by Columbia University scientists published yesterday in Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology found that decreases in multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs) were likely not due to implementing universal contact precautions (UCPs).The researchers analyzed data from a clinical research database from 2006 through 2014 and compared monthly MDRO rates before and after UCP implementation. They compared three intensive care units that implemented UCP with three that did not.They determined that MDRO rates overall decreased over time, but they found no significant decrease in the trend during the UCP period compared with the baseline period for any of the three UCP units. They also found no significant difference between UCP units (6.6% decrease in MDRO rates per year) and non-UCP units (6.0% decrease per year).The authors concluded, “The results of this 9-year study suggest that decreases in MDROs, including multidrug-resistant gram-negative bacilli, were more likely due to hospital-wide improvements in infection prevention during this period and that UCP had no detectable additional impact.”Mar 22 Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol study Group publishes guidance for monitoring farm-level antimicrobial useThe veterinary antimicrobial stewardship network AACTING this week released experience-based guidelines detailing best practices on setting up systems for antimicrobial use (AMU) data collection, analysis, benchmarking, and reporting at the farm level.AACTING, which is a “network on quantification of veterinary antimicrobial usage at herd level and analysis, communication and benchmarking to improve responsible usage,” said in the guidance, “At the national level, data on the sales of veterinary antimicrobial products have been shown to be important for guiding and supporting general policy making decisions.”The authors add, “Monitoring antimicrobial use at farm or prescriber level, however, is much more targeted than at the national level, as it offers the ability to pinpoint ‘non-prudent’ or excessive AMU and can help guide farm-specific preventive or corrective actions. The information arising from farm-level AMU monitoring is critical for driving antimicrobial stewardship, i.e. the establishment and implementation of measures aimed at combatting AMR by promoting responsible AMU practices.”The guidelines not only provide support for designing or fine-tuning farm-level AMU monitoring systems, they can help sync farm-level data within and among countries, the report says.Mar 21 AACTING guidelinesAACTING website  CARB-X funds potential antibiotic against CRE superbugsOriginally published by CIDRAP News Mar 22In a first for a Japanese company, CARB-X, a public-private collaboration that supports companies to combat antimicrobial resistance, has awarded Shionogi, of Osaka, $4.7 million to support the development of a novel beta-lactam antibiotic with potent activity against the worrisome superbugs that produce carbapenemase, including BL/BLI-resistant carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE), CARB-X said in a news release today.Under the award, Shionogi can receive an additional $2.4 million if it meets certain project milestones, according to CARB-X (the Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator).”We are very excited to welcome the first Japanese company into the Powered by CARB-X portfolio, strengthening the global fight against drug-resistant bacteria,” said Kevin Outterson, JD, executive director of CARB-X. “The world urgently needs innovative approaches, like the Shionogi project, to protect us from drug-resistant bacteria.”CRE bacteria represent a significant and increasing public health threat globally, are difficult to treat because of their high levels of antibiotic resistance, and are associated with high death rates.Since the beginning of 2017, CARB-X has announced awards projects totaling $73.9 million, plus an additional $89.0 million if project milestones are met, to accelerate the development of antibiotics, diagnostics, and other products. The new award increases CARB-X’s reach to seven countries.Mar 22 CARB-X news release Study: Gene sequencing possible to find resistance in low-income nationsOriginally published by CIDRAP News Mar 22Genetic sequencing can be a valuable tool for the surveillance of antibiotic resistance in low-income countries, according to a study today led by World Health Organization experts published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.The investigators conducted population-level surveys in hospitals and clinics in Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Pakistan, Philippines, South Africa, and Ukraine to evaluate the use of genetic sequencing to estimate resistance of Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates to several common antibiotics. They analyzed isolates from 7,094 tuberculosis (TB) patients.Overall pooled sensitivity values for predicting resistance by genetic sequencing were 91% for the rpoB gene (rifampicin resistance), 86% for katG, inhA, and fabG promoter combined (isoniazid resistance), 54% for pncA (pyrazinamide resistance), 85% for gyrA and gyrB combined (ofloxacin resistance), and 88% for gyrA and gyrB combined (moxifloxacin resistance).A commentary in the same issue points out, “Studies on the real-time use of genomics in clinical settings have found whole genome sequencing-based DST [drug susceptibility testing] to be accurate, faster, and cheaper than phenotypic DST.”The commentator, Grant Hill-Cawthorne, MB BChir, PhD, from the University of Sydney, adds, “By showing that population-based surveillance in low-income settings is a reality, Zignol and colleagues have advanced our understanding of how genetic DST can be implemented in real-life scenarios.” He also notes that the researchers in the new study still relied on a culture step, which is a common bottleneck in many healthcare systems, but in the coming years new technologies may help circumvent that step.Mar 22 Lancet Infect Dis studyMar 22 Lancet Infect Dis commentary Alcohol misuse, HIV tied to worse outcomes with multidrug-resistant TBOriginally published by CIDRAP News Mar 22Alcohol misuse and an HIV diagnosis were both tied to unsuccessful treatment outcomes for multidrug-resistant and extensively drug-resistant TB, according to a meta-analysis published yesterday in Scientific Reports.The researchers included 48 studies that involved a cumulative 18,257 participants in their review. They found that the pooled relative risk (RR) of treatment failure unsuccessful outcome was higher in people living with HIV (RR, 1.41; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.15-1.73) and in people with alcohol misuse (RR, 1.45;95% CI, 1.21-1.74). Outcomes were similar in people who had diabetes or in those who smoked.The authors conclude, “Further research is required to understand the role of comorbidities in driving unsuccessful treatment outcomes.”Mar 21 Sci Rep study New e-book provides global primer on antimicrobial stewardshipOriginally published by CIDRAP News Mar 21The British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy (BSAC) today released a free e-book on global antimicrobial stewardship.Antimicrobial Stewardship: From Principles to Practice, published in collaboration with the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ESCMID) and the ESCMID Study Group for Antimicrobial Stewardship, provides an overview of antimicrobial resistance and the challenges it poses in healthcare settings around the world, a synopsis of antibiotic use and misuse, and examples of antimicrobial stewardship in various settings. In addition, it provides tools for setting up stewardship programs, resources to apply stewardship principles to a wide range of populations and clinical/care settings, and guidance on how to make the most of existing stewardship programs.The multimedia e-book also contains links to case studies, videos, presentations, and other resources that illustrate good stewardship practices.”We hope this book has something to offer everyone practicing in this area,” editor-in-chief and BSAC President Dilip Nathwani, OBE, writes in the preface. “It aims to support health care professionals, or teams, or policy makers interested in learning about bringing the principles of stewardship to the bedside.Mar 21 BSAC e-book (download link) BARDA to tackle development of diagnostics, sepsis countermeasuresOriginally published by CIDRAP News Mar 21The US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) is launching a new initiative to accelerate the development of innovative medical countermeasures against natural and man-made threats, with sepsis and pre-exposure, pre-symptomatic diagnostics as its initial targets.In an email to colleagues, BARDA’s Tyler Merkeley said the Division for Research, Innovation and Ventures (DRIVe) will “accelerate the research, development, and availability of transformative countermeasures to protect Americans from natural and international health security threats.” Those threats include biological, chemical, radiological, and nuclear agents, as well as emerging infectious diseasesWhile sepsis and pre-exposure, pre-symptomatic diagnostics will be the initial targeted areas, the email said DRIVe will tackle additional challenges in coming years. DRIVe is looking to recruit staff over the next 60 days to support launch of the initiative.BARDA website TB incidence falling in Europe, but drug-resistant cases risingOriginally published by CIDRAP News Mar 20A new surveillance report from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) shows that the TB incidence rate in Europe is declining by an average of 4.3% a year, the fastest decline in the world compared with other regions. But officials warn that it’s not falling fast enough to achieve the World Health Organization (WHO) goal of TB elimination in Europe by 2050.The report, based on data from 2016, shows that 58,994 cases of TB were reported in 30 European Union/European Economic Area countries in 2016, with decreasing notification rates observed in most countries. Of all notified TB cases in 2016, 70.4% were newly diagnosed and 71% were confirmed by culture, smear, or nucleic amplification test; 33% of all TB cases were of foreign origin, mostly in low-incidence countries.MDR TB was reported for 3.7% of 36,071 cases, and extensively drug-resistant TB was reported for 20.1% of 984 MDR-TB cases tested for second-line drug susceptibility. Diagnosis of MDR-TB patients increased from 33% in 2011 to 73% in 2016, and treatment success for cases with drug resistance rose from 46% in 2013 to 55% in 2016.From 2007 through 2016, TB incidence in the WHO European region, which includes 52 countries, fell from 47 to 32 cases per 100,000 population, and the TB mortality rate dropped from 6.5 deaths to 2.8 deaths per 100,00 population. Overall 26,000 TB deaths occurred in the region in 2016.”It is not enough to ‘walk’ towards ending TB, as this way we would arrive too late for too many people,” Zsuzsanna Jakab, PhD, WHO Regional Director for Europe, said in an ECDC press release. “We need to revamp political commitment at all levels to achieve tangible and immediate results that change and save the lives of all those people suffering from TB today and ensure a TB-free world for our children tomorrow.”Europe accounted for 3% of the 10.4 million global TB cases estimated by the WHO in 2016.  Mar 19 ECDC 2018 TB surveillance and monitoring report Mar 19 ECDC press release Electronic tool helps reduce inappropriate C difficile testingOriginally published by CIDRAP News Mar 20New research from the University of California Irvine School Medicine indicates an electronic tool for enforcing clinically appropriate Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) testing significantly reduced inappropriate testing and rates of hospital-onset CDI.In a research brief published yesterday in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, the researchers describe a pre- and post-intervention cohort study to evaluate the impact of an automated, real-time computer physician order entry (CPOE) alert on CDI testing in adults hospitalized at a 417-bed academic hospital from April 2015 through June 2017. The CPOE alert was developed to enforce appropriate use of polymerase chain reaction–based testing, which cannot distinguish between C difficile colonization and active colitis and can result in unnecessary antibiotic treatment.CPOE verification involves five criteria for ordering CDI testing: (1) diarrhea, (2) no alternate cause for diarrhea, (3) no laxative use within 24 hours, (4) no previous CDI test result within 7 days, and (5) age 1 year or older. Any contraindication to testing results in a “hard stop” that prompts prescribers to either exit the order or submit the name of an approving infectious diseases or gastrointestinal physician to override hospital protocol.The results of the study showed that CDI testing in the hospital-onset period decreased 46%, from 155 tests per 10,000 patient-days pre-intervention (April 2015 through March 2016) to 84 tests per 10,000 patient-days post-intervention (June 2016 through June 2017). Testing while on laxatives decreased 69%, from 77 per 10,000 patient days to 24, and the number of CDI tests reordered within 7 days also decreased 71%, from 28 per 10,000 patient days to 8. Hospital-onset CDI rates decreased 59%, from 17 cases per 10,000 patient days to 7 cases.”As data showing the harms of overtesting and overtreatment for CDI emerge, CPOE strategies can be an effective training tool to improve use and stewardship of diagnostic tests,” the authors write.Mar 19 Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol research brief New assay diagnoses sepsis from a drop of bloodOriginally published by CIDRAP News Mar 20Scientists with Massachusetts General Hospital report that a test that can quickly detect sepsis from a single drop of blood showed high sensitivity and specificity in a small observational study.In a study published yesterday in Nature Biomedical Engineering, the researchers describe the microfluidic assay, which uses a droplet of diluted blood to measure the spontaneous motility of neutrophils in the presence of plasma. Neutrophils are a type of white blood cell that lead the immune system’s response to infection, and neutrophil dysfunction has long been thought to play a role in septic responses.Previous research has shown that a sepsis-specific spontaneous motility signature displayed by neutrophils isolated from blood enabled the prediction of sepsis in patients with major burns. The researchers hypothesized that measuring neutrophil movement using whole-blood samples could amplify these behavioral changes and enable much quicker differentiation of patients with sepsis from those without.The scientists measured the performance of the assay in two independent cohorts of critically ill patients suspected of having sepsis. Using data from a first cohort, they developed a sepsis score that segregated patients with sepsis from those without sepsis. They then validated the sepsis score in a double-blind, prospective case-control study. For the 42 patients across the two cohorts, the assay identified sepsis patients with 97% sensitivity and 98% specificity.The authors of the study say the assay, which requires minimal handling and can be performed in less than 7 hours, will need to be validated in larger and more diverse cohorts of patients. But they suggest it could be a dramatic improvement over current diagnostic tests.Mar 19 Nat Biomed Eng studylast_img read more

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Allied London puts XYZ up for sale after run of lettings

first_imgTo access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week. Would you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletterslast_img

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Hewitt joins Kalmar

first_imgHewitt succeeds Lennart Brelin who is leaving Kalmar at the end of 2014 to pursue other interests. Brelin has successfully developed Cargotec’s operations in the Americas region during the past 26 years.Hewitt has over 25 years of experience in the industrial equipment, transportation, major appliances and retail sectors. He has served as president and ceo at Heil Trailer International, as well as vice president and general manager at Komatsu North America’s construction division.”Greg Hewitt will be focusing on the development of our sales and service and customer interfaces in the Americas region, with the target to increase Kalmar’s market share in the region. We are delighted to welcome him to the team,” says Olli Isotalo, president of Kalmar. www.kalmarglobal.comwww.cargotec.comlast_img read more

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Mumbai metro Line 3 electrification contracts awarded

first_imgINDIA: Mumbai Metro Rail Corp signed contracts on February 21 for the power supply works and electrification of metro Line 3. Larsen & Toubro won the power supply contract. A consortium of Alstom Transport India and Alstom Transport is to electrify the line with a 25 kV AC rigid overhead contact system, and will also supply auxiliary substations. Civil works on the 33·5 km north-south route have been underway since 2016. MMRC expects to open bids for the rolling stock tender on March 21.last_img

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Visa waiver for Jamaicans traveling to the Republic of Namibia

first_imgThe governments of Jamaica and Namibia have agreed to a visa waiver program, the first of several agreements between both countries, as Prime Minister Andrew Holness began a full day of discussions  on Monday with the Namibian President Dr. Hage Geingob.Previously, Jamaica unilaterally waived visa requirements for Namibians entering the country as an expression of solidarity and support during Namibia’s liberation struggle. Namibia today reciprocated this action.Deeper bondSpeaking at a joint press conference with President Geingob in the Namibian capital, Windhoek, Holness said the two countries have now cemented a deeper bond.He declared that his official visit to Namibia, the first by a Jamaican Head of Government to that African country, is of strategic importance.“You know we have two beautiful countries, but we scarcely ever get to enjoy the beauty of our countries. We need to encourage travel between our two countries for tourism. I’ve welcomed the announcement by your President of the waiver of visa requirements for Jamaicans; Jamaica had long ago abolished visa requirements for Namibians,” said Prime Minister Holness.Jamaica and Namibia are also working to secure a stronger relationship in several areas including trade, investment, banking, sports and culture.In addition, Holness said there will be greater opportunities for the people of both countries.Committed to ACPIn the meantime, the Jamaican leader and Namibian President Geingob have recommitted to ensuring the African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group remains.“I also welcome the public support of your President to ensure that the African Caribbean and Pacific arrangement remains intact,” Holness said.Noting that there are some countries who feel it better to negotiate with Europe bilaterally, Holness believes that Jamaica and Namibia can also be efficacious in that regard. “We are stronger together and the liberation struggle may have ended for many Africans but the new struggle is now for our economic independence and our economic liberation and it makes no sense for us to separate on this matter,” he said.The Prime Minister is slated for a series of Government and cultural activities in Namibia for the remainder of his working visit.last_img read more

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US Coast Guard continues to discourage illegal migration

first_imgMIAMI, USA — The Coast Guard continues to discourage migrants from conducting dangerous illegal voyages on unsafe and unseaworthy vessels.On Wednesday, [June 12] a Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew, deployed to Great Inagua, Bahamas, detected a migrant vessel approximately 49 miles southeast of Great Inagua.Watchstanders at the Coast Guard 7th District diverted the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Venturous (WMEC-625) to the vessel. The cutter Venturous crew, along with a Royal Bahamas Defence Force vessel, interdicted approximately 177 Haitian migrants, seven of those being minors, aboard an overloaded 45-foot wooden freighter.On Thursday, [June 13] a Customs Air and Marine Branch aircraft detect a 20-foot pleasure craft approximately 46 miles east of Boca Raton, Florida and notified Coast Guard Sector Miami watchstanders. The watchstanders diverted the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter William Flores (WPC-1103), who interdicted the vessel with 14 Haitian migrants and two suspected smugglers.A total of approximately 4,567 migrants have attempted to illegally enter the US via the maritime environment since October 1, the beginning of the 2019 fiscal year, compared to 4,302 migrants in the fiscal year 2018. Of that 4,567 migrants, 311 are Cuban migrants, 2,785 Haitian migrants, 1,361 Dominican migrants and 172 migrants of various nationalities attempting to enter into the United States illegally from the Bahamas.These numbers represent the total number of at-sea interdictions, landings and disruptions in the Florida Straits, the Caribbean and Atlantic. Once aboard a Coast Guard cutter, all migrants receive food, water, shelter and basic medical attention.last_img read more

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UN says 60,000 people in South Sudan at risk of hunger…

first_imgUN concerned about inter-communal violence in South Sudan Food distribution in Dome town, South Sudan, where river barges are used by the World Food Programme to cut the cost of delivering food. Photo by: WFP / Gabriela Vivacqua Food distribution in Dome town, South Sudan, where river barges are used by the World Food Programme to cut the cost of delivering food. Photo by: WFP / Gabriela VivacquaThe World Food Programme(WFP) and Food Agriculture Organization (FAO) on Thursday warned that 60,000 in South Sudan were staring at hunger due to recent inter-communal violence that has rocked Jonglei and Pibor regions.A joint statement issued by the UN agencies in Juba said they were concerned that the violence has halted farming, which will slash harvests for the rest of the year and deprive communities of their key sources of nutrition.“Recurring violence in Jonglei and the Greater Pibor Administrative Area in the eastern part of South Sudan has already displaced more than 60,000 people and is crippling the food security and livelihoods of growing numbers of people,” said the UN agencies.The violence between Dinka and Murle communities that escalated late last year, has claimed hundreds of lives and has often involved cattle raiding, child abduction and looting.“At the height of the main planting season, insecurity is preventing farmers from going to their fields to cultivate food crops and livestock keepers are not able to follow their traditional migratory patterns to graze their animals,” said Meshack Malo, FAO representative in South Sudan.“When cattle raiding is part of the violence, communities lose animals essential to their livelihoods and cannot participate in productive agricultural activities, leading to greater food insecurity,” he added.More than 430 metric tons of WFP food supplies have been lost due to the looting of warehouses in the regions affected by inter-tribal skirmishes.“We simply cannot replace the calories milk given to children when livestock is taken and a year’s worth of milk is lost, and we barely have sufficient resources to meet current needs,” said Matthew Hollingsworth, WFP country director in South Sudan.He said the violence risks causing long-term food insecurity crises in South Sudan.According to an Integrated Food Security Phase Classification report, the Pibor Administrative Area now faces emergency levels of food insecurity.The report said that earlier this year, three Jonglei counties had people who were classified in a “catastrophe” level of food insecurity.“Their food security was only expected to improve if consistent humanitarian food assistance could be provided. But this has proved impossible because of the fighting in the area,” said the report.It said that violence in eastern South Sudan is adding to the number of hungry people just when the country is currently in its annual lean season, with at least 6.5 million people or more than half of the country’s population already facing severe acute food insecurity and in need of humanitarian assistance.Related UN Security Council urges end to South Sudan violencecenter_img UN alarmed by escalating ethnic violence in South Sudanlast_img read more

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My Voice Counts

first_imgNewsRegional My Voice Counts by: – December 10, 2012 Share Share 11 Views   no discussions Tweetcenter_img Sharing is caring! Share LONDON, Dec 10, CMC – A new report by the London-based international human rights group, Amnesty International, says human rights defenders across the Americas, including the Caribbean, are facing “escalating levels of intimidation, harassment and attacks” at the hands of state security forces, paramilitary groups and organized crime.Amnesty International said 2012 has been a “good and a bad year for human rights”.In an overview of human rights trends and events around the world, during the past 12 months, it noted that, on January 30, Haiti dropped the case against former leader, Jean-Claude Duvalier, who was accused of torture, disappearances and extrajudicial executions between 1971 and 1986.On March 8, Amnesty International said 21 people were killed in Jamaica in what it described as “a wave of police shootings over six days, bringing the total to 45 since the beginning of the year”.The human rights group also noted that on March 27, the Cuban government’s “crackdown against dissidents” increased during the Pope’s visit.From December 7-16, the human rights group said hundreds of thousands of people will be writing letters, sending messages and taking action online as part of an “Amnesty International Day of Action” to mark International Human Rights Day.In a report titled “Transforming Pain into Hope: Human Rights Defenders in the Americas”, Amnesty International said it is based on around 300 cases of intimidation, harassment, attacks and killings of human rights defenders in more than a dozen countries primarily between January 2010 and September 2012.last_img read more

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