1. ALGERIA DECLARED MALARIA-FREE, THIRD AFRICAN COUNTRY TO ACHIEVE FEAT
Algeria, the nation where malaria was discovered – is officially free of malaria, making it the third African country to eliminate one of the world’s leading killer diseases.
World Health Organization (WHO) said with no recorded cases of malaria in three consecutive years, Argentina was also declared malaria-free – the second country in the Americas after Paraguay in 45 years to wipe out the disease, which kills more than 400,000 people a year.
Matshidiso Moeti, WHO’s a regional director for Africa, said Algeria is where the malaria parasite was first discovered in humans almost a century and a half ago, and that was a significant milestone in responding to the disease.
Algeria is the third African nation to become malaria-free, after Mauritius in 1973 and Morocco in 2010, which brings economic benefits, such as health, development, and improving worker productivity and school attendance.
Crisis-hit Venezuela is one of the countries that has seen a sharp rise in malaria cases as its health system collapses amid hyperinflation and recession.
2. UN: RISK OF NUCLEAR WAR NOW GREATER THAN AT ANY TIME SINCE 1945
A senior United Nations (UN) security expert has warned that the risk of conflict involving nuclear weapons is at its highest since the Second World War.
Renata Dwan, director of the UN Institute for Disarmament Research, told reporters in Geneva the arms control landscape is changing, partly due to strategic competition between the US and China.
Calling it an “urgent” issue the world should take more seriously, Ms Dwan said all states with nuclear weapons have nuclear modernisation programmes underway.
She added that traditional arms control arrangements are also being eroded by the emergence of new types of war, with the increasing prevalence of armed groups and private sector forces and new technologies that blur the line between offence and defence.
Ms Dwan said the world should not ignore the danger of nuclear weapons.