Human Tissue Used to Print 3-D Heart

Scientists in Israel have revealed what they say is the world’s first 3D-printed heart, using human tissue. It’s hoped the small heart will pave the way for transplants without donors, when every hospital might have access to 3D organ printers. Faith Lapidus reports.


У Києві перевірять об’єкти культурної спадщини та культові споруди на дотримання прав протипожежної безпеки

Київська міська державна адміністрація перевірить об’єкти культурної спадщини та культові споруди на дотримання протипожежної та техногенної безпеки. Про це повідомили у прес-службі КМДА

Обстежити мають об’єкти всіх форм власності.

Перевірятимуть також наявність охоронних договорів. У разі відсутності договорів на комунальні об’єкти культурної спадщини столична влада обіцяє штрафувати порушників.

На сьогодні у Києві 3552 об’єкти культурної спадщини, з яких: національного значення – 344, місцевого – 1980, щойно виявлених – 1228.

15 квітня в Парижі сталася пожежа в соборі Паризької Богоматері. За попередніми даними, причиною займання стали ремонтні роботи. В результаті пожежі обвалилися шпиль і покрівля собору. Пожежникам вдалося врятувати каркас історичної будівлі.

Президент Франції Емманюель Макрон пообіцяв, що собор буде відновлений упродовж п’ять років. Він заявив, що пожежникам вдалося уникнути найгіршого розвитку подій – обвалення стін храму.

Станом на 17 квітня на відбудову собору вже зібрали близько мільярда євро.


UN: Smartphones, Digital Technology Can Improve Health Care

The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued its first guidelines on digital health intervention.

The U.N. agency said governments can improve the health of their citizens by using digital technology to make health systems more efficient and responsive to their patients.

The United Nations said 51 percent of the world’s population has access to broadband internet service.

Chief WHO scientist Soumya Swaminathan said increased availability and use of digital technology offers new opportunities to improve people’s health.

She told VOA the technology enables people, even in the remotest settings, to leapfrog into the development of a more effective, inclusive health system. With the use of mobile phones, computers and laptops, she said it is possible to bypass the intervening stages many countries have had to go through.

“So, a health worker in Congo can directly start using a mobile phone if the government is able to provide one to the health worker and get away from filling 30 paper registers, which occupy about one-third of front-line health workers time,” she added.

New recommendations

The new guidelines include 10 recommendations on how governments can use digital technology for maximum impact on their health systems.

A WHO scientist specializing in digital innovations and research, Garrett Mehl, said the recommendations deal with issues such as birth notification.

“Knowing that a baby has been born is critical to knowing how to provide vaccinations; knowing that the mother needs different post-natal care visits,” he said. “But without knowing that there was a birth that has happened, it is difficult to trigger those events in the health system.”

The guidelines also address privacy concerns.They have recommendations for ensuring that sensitive data, such as issues of sexual and reproductive health, are protected and not put at risk.


Long-Hidden Kafka Trove Within Reach After Series of Trials

A long-hidden trove of unpublished works by Franz Kafka could soon be revealed following a decade-long battle over his literary estate that has drawn comparisons to some of his surreal tales.

A district court in Zurich upheld Israeli verdicts in the case last week, ruling that several safe deposit boxes in the Swiss city could be opened and their contents shipped to Israel’s National Library.

At stake are untouched papers that could shed new light on one of literature’s darkest figures, a German-speaking Bohemian Jew from Prague whose cultural legacy has been hotly contested between Israel and Germany.

What’s in the vaults?

Though the exact content of the vaults remains unknown, experts have speculated the cache could include endings to some of Kafka’s major works, many of which were unfinished when they were published after his death.

Israel’s Supreme Court has stripped an Israeli family of its collection of Kafka’s manuscripts, which were hidden in Israeli bank vaults and in a squalid, cat-filled Tel Aviv apartment. But the Swiss ruling would complete the acquisition of nearly all his known works, after years of lengthy legal battles over their rightful owners.

Kafkaesque saga

The saga could have been penned by Kafka himself, whose name has become known as an adjective to describe absurd situations involving inscrutable legal processes. Kafka was known for his tales of everyman protagonists crushed by mysterious authorities or twisted by unknown shames. In “The Trial,” for example, a bank clerk is put through excruciating court proceedings without ever being told the charges against him.

“The absurdity of the trials is that it was over an estate that nobody knew what it contained. This will hopefully finally resolve these questions,” said Benjamin Balint, a research fellow at Jerusalem’s Van Leer Institute and the author of “Kafka’s Last Trial,” which chronicles the affair. “The legal process may be ending, but the questions of his cultural belonging and inheritance will remain with us for a very long time.”

Manuscripts not burned

Kafka bequeathed his writings to Max Brod, his longtime friend, editor and publisher, shortly before his death from tuberculosis in 1924 at the age of 40. He instructed his protege to burn it all unread.

Brod ignored his wishes and published most of what was in his possession — including the novels “The Trial,” “The Castle” and “Amerika.” Those works made the previously little-known Kafka posthumously one of the most celebrated and influential writers of the 20th century.

But Brod, who smuggled some of the manuscripts to pre-state Israel when he fled the Nazis in 1938, didn’t publish everything. Upon his death in 1968, Brod left his personal secretary, Esther Hoffe, in charge of his literary estate and instructed her to transfer the Kafka papers to an academic institution.

Instead, for the next four decades, Hoffe kept the papers stashed away and sold some of the items for hefty sums. In 1988, for instance, Hoffe auctioned off the original manuscript of “The Trial” at Sotheby’s in London. It went for $1.8 million to the German Literature Archive in Marbach, north of Stuttgart.

When Hoffe died in 2008 at age 101, she left the collection to her two daughters, Eva Hoffe and Ruth Wiesler, both Holocaust survivors like herself, who considered Brod a father figure and his archive their rightful inheritance. Both have since also passed away, leaving Wiesler’s daughters to continue fighting for the remainder of the collection.

Legitimate inheritance or cultural assets?

Jeshayah Etgar, a lawyer for the daughters, downplayed the significance of the potential findings in Zurich, saying they were likely replicas of manuscripts Hoffe had already sold. Regardless, he said the ruling was the continuation of a process in which “individual property rights were trampled without any legal justification.” He said his clients legitimately inherited the works and called the state seizure of their property “disgraceful” and “first degree robbery.”

Israel’s National Library claims Kafka’s papers as “cultural assets” that belong to the Jewish people. Toward the end of his life, Kafka considered leaving Prague and moving to pre-state Israel. He took Hebrew lessons with a Jerusalem native who eventually donated her pupil’s vocabulary notebook to the library. In recent years, the library also took possession of several other manuscripts the courts had ordered Hoffe’s descendants to turn over.

“We welcome the judgment of the court in Switzerland, which matched all the judgments entered previously by the Israeli courts,” said David Blumberg, chairman of the Israel National Library, a nonprofit and non-governmental body. “The judgment of the Swiss court completes the preparation of the National Library of Israel to accept to entire literary estate of Max Brod, which will be properly handled and will be made available to the wider public in Israel and the world.”

Other scholars question Israel’s adoption of Kafka, noting that he was conflicted about his own Judaism. The German Literature Archive, for instance, has sided with Hoffe’s heirs and aimed to purchase the collection itself, arguing the German-language writings belong in Germany. Dietmar Jaegle, an archive official, said he would not comment on the Zurich verdict as he had not yet seen it.

Balint cautioned that the contents of the hidden archive may not live up to everyone’s expectations.

“It is very unlikely we are going to discover an unknown Kafka masterpiece in there, but these are things of value,” Balint said, noting the fierce competition over any original Kafka material. “There is something about the uncanny aura of Kafka that is attracted to all this.”


Human Tissue Used to Create 3D Printed Heart

Scientists in Israel have revealed what they say is the world’s first 3D-printed heart using human tissue. It’s hoped the small heart will pave the way for transplants without donors, when every hospital might have access to 3D organ printers. Faith Lapidus reports.


China’s Economic Growth Steady Amid Tariff Fight With US

China’s economic growth held steady in the latest quarter despite a tariff war with Washington, in a reassuring sign that Beijing’s efforts to reverse a slowdown might be gaining traction.

The world’s second-largest economy expanded by 6.4% over a year earlier in the three months ending in March, the government reported Wednesday. That matched the previous quarter for the weakest growth since 2009.

“This confirms that China’s economic growth is bottoming out and this momentum is likely to continue,” said Tai Hui of JP Morgan Asset Management in a report.

Government intervention

Communist leaders stepped up government spending last year and told banks to lend more after economic activity weakened, raising the risk of politically dangerous job losses.

Beijing’s decision to ease credit controls aimed at reining in rising debt “is starting to yield results,” Hui said.

Consumer spending, factory activity and investment all accelerated in March from the month before, the National Bureau of Statistics reported.

The economy showed “growing positive factors,” a bureau statement said.

​Recovery later this year

Forecasters expect Chinese growth to bottom out and start to recover later this year. They expected a recovery last year but pushed back that time line after President Donald Trump hiked tariffs on Chinese imports over complaints about Beijing’s technology ambitions.

The fight between the two biggest global economies has disrupted trade in goods from soybeans medical equipment, battering exporters on both sides and rattling financial markets.

The two governments say settlement talks are making progress, but penalties on billions of dollars of each other’s goods are still in place.

China’s top economic official, Premier Li Keqiang, announced an annual official growth target of 6% to 6.5% in March, down from last year’s 6.6% rate.

Li warned of “rising difficulties” in the global economy and said the ruling Communist Party plans to step up deficit spending this year to shore up growth.

Beijing’s stimulus measures have temporarily set back official plans to reduce reliance on debt and investment to support growth.

Also in March, exports rebounded from a contraction the previous month, rising 14.2% over a year earlier. Still, exports are up only 1.4% so far this year, while imports shrank 4.8% in a sign of weak Chinese domestic demand.

Auto sales fell 6.9% in March from a year ago, declining for a ninth month. But that was an improvement over the 17.5% contraction in January and February.

Tariffs’ effect long-lasting

Economists warn that even if Washington and Beijing announce a trade settlement in the next few weeks or months, it is unlikely to resolve all the irritants that have bedeviled relations for decades.

The two governments agreed Dec. 1 to postpone further penalties while they negotiate, but punitive charges already imposed on billions of dollars of goods stayed in place.

Even if they make peace, the experience of other countries suggests it can take four to five years for punitive duties to “dissipate fully,” said Jamie Thompson of Capital Economics in a report last week.

Chinese leaders warned previously any economic recovery will be “L-shaped,” meaning once the downturn bottomed out, growth would stay low.

Credit growth accelerated in March, suggesting companies are stepping up investment and production.

Total profit for China’s national-level state-owned banks, oil producers, phone carriers and other companies rose 13.1% over a year ago in the first quarter, the government reported Tuesday. Revenue rose 6.3% and investment rose 9.7%.


Argentine Presidential Hopeful Massa Says Would Revamp IMF Deal

Argentine presidential hopeful Sergio Massa would renegotiate the country’s unpopular financing deal with the International Monetary Fund if he wins office later this year, the former congressman told reporters on Tuesday.

The $56 billion IMF standby financing agreement includes fiscal cuts that have enraged wide segments of the public, denting the popularity of President Mauricio Macri.

“We need to find a longer-term mechanism to ensure that Argentina meets its debt obligations, ” the 46-year-old Massa said in a briefing with international correspondents.

Macri was forced to negotiate the IMF deal last year amid a sell-off in the peso that raised questions about Argentina’s ability to pay dollar-denominated bond obligations. Many Argentines blame the IMF for policies that set the stage for the country’s 2002 sovereign debt default and economic meltdown.

Popular protests supported by Massa’s Peronist party have gained momentum in recent weeks as the Macri administration pursues IMF-backed public utility subsidy cuts and other austerity measures aimed at erasing the primary fiscal deficit this year, a goal included in the IMF pact.

Massa, who wants to unseat Macri in the October election, spoke just hours after Macri’s government announced that consumer prices shot 4.7 percent higher in March alone, bringing 12-month inflation to 54.7 percent.

More than three years into his first term, Macri’s re-election is less than certain as his government strains to jumpstart a shrinking economy while cutting the fiscal deficit and trying to tame one of the world’s highest inflation rates.

Previous Argentine leader and possible October candidate Cristina Fernandez, a free-spending populist with wide support among low-income voters, has risen in the opinion polls while discontent rises over Macri’s policy of cutting public utility subsidies and other austerity measures.

Massa once served in Fernandez’s cabinet but broke with her over what he called her top-down leadership style. He is running behind both Fernandez and Macri in the opinion polls.

Argentina’s economy will remain subject to shocks until clarity emerges regarding the country’s October presidential election, ratings agency Moody’s said this month.


Мінекології закликає не приносити на цвинтар пластикові квіти та вінки

Міністерство екології та природних ресурсів України закликає не приносити на цвинтарі пластикові квіти та вінки.

«Така практика набуває масштабності у всіх регіонах України напередодні Великодня. Нагадуємо, що у наслідок спалення цих виробів з пластику відбувається великий викид канцерогенів в атмосферу», – пояснили у відомстві.

У міністерстві додають, що час розкладу пластику та паперу, просоченого парафіном, дуже тривалий.


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Hospital: Cholera Cases Rise in Kenya’s Capital

The Kenyan capital has experienced a jump in cholera cases, one of the city’s top hospitals said on Tuesday, adding that eight of its own staff had been infected with the disease.

Cholera, which is spread by ingesting fecal matter, causes acute watery diarrhea and can kill within hours if not treated.

“There is an upsurge of cholera cases in the county of Nairobi. We have had several cases admitted in our hospital.

Unfortunately we had eight staff affected,” The Nairobi Hospital, which is private, said in a statement.

There were 23 cases of cholera admitted at the hospital, said Mohamed Dagane, the executive in charge of health services in the Nairobi county government.

“There is no confirmed cholera fatality at the hospital,” he said in a statement, adding they were tracing all those who had come into contact with the patients to give them prevention treatment.

“We have sufficient stock of medicine and rehydration fluid to cater for any patient.”

The hospital, which has some of the most advanced facilities in the city, said it had put in “all precautionary measures.”

There was no immediate comment from health ministry and local government officials.

At least four people were killed and dozens more treated when another outbreak of the disease hit the city in 2017, causing authorities to shut down some restaurants.