SCINQ Asia: South East Asian leaders declare climate change a health threat

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Climate change is real and a very serious threat to public health in the Asia-Pacific region. That was the message coming out of the 5th Asia-Pacific Parliamentarian Forum on Global Health held in Fiji. Speaker of the Fijian Parliament Honourable Ratu Epeli Nailatikau spoke for everyone when he declared, “Climate change truly is one of the greatest threats to health we face; the implications for health, society and our economy are immense. Increasingly frequent and severe weather events combined with changing weather patterns mean that we are seeing more injuries and deaths, higher rates of infectious and mosquito-borne diseases as well as food and nutrition insecurity. Climate change is also threatening safe water, housing, and employment opportunities; and therefore impacting the physical and mental health of our populations.”

Thailand became the first country in the WHO-South East Asia Region to garner WHO classification for its emergency medical team (EMT). According to the World Health Organization, “This classification makes Thailand EMT the 26th team in the international roster of WHO classified, internationally deployable medical teams.” WHO-South East Asia Region has been investing heavily to improve the quality of its emergency services since 2014.

Virtual teen idols and piano playing robots were on show in Shanghai recently. The Italian robo-pianist was accompanied on stage by a chorus of human singers. The AI+Art Journey of Wonder, a special event that is part of the ongoing 2019 World Artificial Intelligence Conference, was held at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai on Aug 29.

The problem of myopia has become a concern in parts of Asia. A recent Chinese book, Amanda the Panda: Outdoorplay keeps myopia away has focused more attention to the problem. Now, Singapore has joined the crusade. According to Asian Scientist, “The Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC) and Singapore Eye Research Institute (SERI) are stepping up efforts to prevent, control and increase early detection of myopia.”

Charles Kao Kuen passed away a year ago. Known best for his work on the transmission of light through fiber optic cables, he shared the Nobel Prize in physics in 2009, won the Faraday Medal in 1989 and the Alexander Graham Bell Medal in 1985. His widow discussed her husband’s fight against Alzheimer’s with the South China Morning Post. An upcoming exhibition in Hong Kong will remember the scientist and feature many of his artworks.

The Japanese subway system is well-known for its cleanliness, efficiency, and speed. It’s also known for the touchy-feely impulses of some of its male commuters. Now, a Japanese stamp-making company believes it has a solution. Sachihata Incorporated has designed a stamp that can be placed on an offender. According to the Japan Times, “The anti-groping stamp uses a special ink that only becomes visible under ultraviolet light, but not under sunlight or artificial light, according to the company. The black light that comes with the stamp can be used to illuminate the 9-millimeter stamped mark.” Question is: Are women supposed to be carrying these around in their hands at all times while riding?

According to Xinhua, “China’s Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope (FAST), the world’s largest single-dish radio telescope, has identified 93 new pulsars since October 2017.” That’s great news. Really.

Finally, an observation. We get that China’s very proud of its scientific achievements. So are we. But perhaps China’s state run media should, maybe, take a step back from its self-referential headlines. Just a thought.

IMAGE SOURCE: Creative Commons; screenshot

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