President Obama will meet with Dallas nurse Nina Pham, White House said Oct 24, 2014 12:41PM

President Obama will meet with Dallas nurse Nina Pham, White House said.


FCC Delays Airwave Auction Until Early 2016 Oct 24, 2014 12:35PM

(Updated - October 24, 2014 12:35 PM EDT)

FCC delays auction of airwaves until early 2016, according to Bloomberg headlines.

UPDATE - The following is a blog post from Chair of the FCC's Incentive Auction Task Force, Gary Epstein:

When Chairman Wheeler arrived at the Commission last November, he described the incentive auction as taking a cutting edge concept to market on deadline. At that time he wrote in a blog post, “managing a complex undertaking such as this also requires an ongoing commitment to continuously and honestly assess its readiness and its project plan.”

Now is a good time to take stock of where we are and where we are going. It is also time to carefully consider and recalibrate our proposed timing for the commencement of the incentive auction.

Following the Commission’s adoption of the Report and Order in May, we have made consistent progress implementing the incentive auction. Of particular note, the Commission has followed through on commitments made in the Report and Order and initiated rule-makings to address the operations of important services affected by the incentive auction, including unlicensed white spaces devices, wireless microphones and Low Power Television. And just last week, the Commission addressed several broadcast and wireless interference issues.

We are continuing our march toward implementing the incentive auction. Importantly, we anticipate the Commission will vote on the Comment PN before the end of the year. The Comment PN will propose and seek comment on the detailed directions for how the auction will be conducted, including the methodology to be used to establish opening bids for the reverse and forward auctions; how to define “impaired” markets subject to interference; and the components of the final stage rule. In the coming weeks, the Commission will also consider a notice of proposed rule-making to preserve one vacant TV channel post-auction for use by unlicensed devices.

Crafting the right policy decisions and designing a novel two-sided auction are important, but those decisions by themselves are not sufficient to ensure the auction’s success. We also need broadcasters to participate. Earlier this month, we sent every auction-eligible station owner an information package prepared for the FCC by the investment banking firm Greenhill and Co. The information package explains this unparalleled business opportunity and included high-end estimated compensation values for every DMA generated by FCC staff. We will continue our dialogue with broadcasters in town hall discussions and confidential meetings with individual station owners in markets around the country.

Amidst this multi-front progress, however, there are undeniable impediments to our efforts to implement a successful auction. As Chairman Wheeler indicated several weeks ago, the court challenges to the auction rules by some broadcasters have introduced uncertainty. Earlier this week, the court issued a briefing schedule in which the final briefs are not due until late January 2015. Oral arguments will follow at a later date yet to be determined, with a decision not likely until mid-2015. We are confident we will prevail in court, but given the reality of that schedule, the complexity of designing and implementing the auction, and the need for all auction participants to have certainty well in advance of the auction, we now anticipate accepting applications for the auction in the fall of 2015 and starting the auction in early 2016. Despite this brief delay, we remain focused on the path to successfully implementing the incentive auction.


Dallas Ebola Nurse Nina Pham now cured - NIH Says Oct 24, 2014 10:47AM

Dallas Ebola Nurse Nina Pham is now cured and is going home, the NIH said Friday.

Pham and one other nurse contracted Ebola after helping treat Thomas Eric Duncan, the first U.S. Ebola victim who died from the virus on Oct. 8 after travelling from West Africa.

In a media statement, the NIH said, "NIH officials will brief reporters about the discharge of Nina Pham, the Dallas nurse who was admitted to the NIH Clinical Center on October 16 with Ebola virus disease, and is now virus free."


Mali reported its first case of Ebola in a 2-year old girl Oct 23, 2014 05:47PM

Mali reported its first case of Ebola in a 2-year old girl.

Ebola stocks: iBio, Inc. (NYSE: IBIO), Lakeland Industries (Nasdaq: LAKE), Alpha Pro Tech Ltd. (NYSE: APT) , Versar (NYSE: VSR), Tekmira Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: TKMR) , Chimerix (Nasdaq: CMRX), Sarepta Therapeutics (Nasdaq: SRPT) , Hemispherx Biopharma (NYSE: HEB) , BioCryst Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: BCRX), Cerus Corp (Nasdaq: CERS) , NewLink Genetics (Nasdaq: NLNK).


UPDATE: Microsoft (MSFT) co-Founder Allen Commits $100M to Fight Ebola Oct 23, 2014 03:26PM

(Updated - October 23, 2014 3:26 PM EDT)

Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) co-founder Paul Allen is donating $100 million to fight the spread of the Ebola virus.

According to the NY Times, the donation will quadruple his earlier commitment of $26 million. The donation will be spread among agencies such as the CDC.

The move makes Allen one of the largest individual donors since awareness began to spread earlier this year.

Everybody feels called sometimes to really pursue a certain thing that resonates with them, and this has resonated with me, Allen told the Times.

Allen has also setup a website, www.TackleEbola.com, to allow individuals to donate on a smaller basis.

News comes following Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla recently committing $25 million to the effort.

UPDATE - The following is a press released made late Thursday afternoon:

Philanthropist Paul G. Allen today increased his commitment to Tackle Ebola to at least $100 million and called on the global community to join the cause. This crisis requires a multi-pronged approach to solving it. As such, Mr. Allen is leading the following initiatives:

Humanitarian Aid Worker Medevac Fund and Medevac Transport: Effectively addressing the Ebola crisis requires the continued commitment of medical professionals. One of the key challenges in their recruitment is the lack of a clear medevac pathway should they become infected and require treatment.

Mr. Allen has committed to solving this challenge by funding the development and manufacture of two medevac containment units, which the U.S. State Department will use to safely evacuate medical professionals from West Africa. In addition, Mr. Allen has partnered with the World Health Organization to increase its capacity to coordinate the logistics required to transport international aid workers.

Cost of medevac transport can also be a barrier for organizations to commit to sending their critical care professionals. To address this, Mr. Allen has established the Ebola Medevac Fund, designed to address the gap between what insurance will cover and the actual transport costs. The $2.5 million fund is designed as a dollar to dollar matching grant with the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation.

University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS): Another important component to tackling this crisis is ensuring education, supplies and medical professionals are on the ground. Mr. Allen is donating to UMMS to help provide training, medical workers and lab equipment for relief efforts in Liberia. The partnership with UMMS will focus on providing decontamination and lab equipment to district hospitals as well as community outreach and education to provide monitoring and support to staff in order to reopen closed district hospitals.

Fund a Need: Mr. Allen also has created a way for individuals to contribute to specific organizations and fund critical response needs through TackleEbola.com. The donation platform is designed to coordinate and optimize individual global giving.

Donations of all sizes will go to funding the solutions required to treat, contain and prevent the spread of Ebola. Donors will be able to select the need that they are most interested in funding and 100 percent of that contribution will be applied to that need. The site also offers a way for donors to view the impact of their combined contributions with updates on progress towards goals.

Supporting Quotes: "The Ebola virus is unlike any health crisis we have ever experienced and needs a response unlike anything we have ever seen," Mr. Allen said. "To effectively contain this outbreak and prevent it from becoming a global epidemic, we must pool our efforts to raise the funds, coordinate the resources and develop the creative solutions needed to combat this problem. I am committed to doing my part in tackling this crisis."

"We thank Paul Allen and his foundation for their contribution on this crucial issue," said Andrew O'Brien, Special Representative for Global Partnerships, U.S. Department of State. "We hope that this sets a much needed example for what will be robust and rapid private sector leadership, working in partnership with the U.S. government. Mr. Allen's #TackleEbola campaign is providing an important catalyst to help us get medical responders to West Africa to fight Ebola at its epicenter. His leadership is timely and greatly augments the work that the U.S. government, international organizations, NGOs, and others are doing on the ground every day."

"We at the University of Massachusetts Medical School are grateful for the support of the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, which will allow us to specifically work with our strategic partners and our Liberian colleagues to help stem the Ebola epidemic and strengthen Liberia's fragile health care system," said Michael F. Collins, MD, Chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Medical School. "Our academic collaborative has worked productively in the past with the Liberian leadership and health care workforce, and we look forward to continuing that partnership by engaging directly with our Liberian collaborators and providing on-the-ground relief, training and supplies."

Mr. Allen's Contributions to Date: From the early days of the outbreak, Mr. Allen and the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation have focused on finding, funding and coordinating strategic solutions that could be deployed quickly and would address some of the most critical needs. To date, Mr. Allen has already helped implement the following solutions:

  • A contribution to the American Red Cross to fund equipment, volunteers and educational materials in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. (August 2014)
  • A matching grant to Global Giving, which more than 700 donors doubled in only four days. Ten groups received funding to distribute sanitation supplies, conduct training sessions and produce public service announcements. (August 2014)
  • A partnership with UNICEF to airlift 50,000 protection kits into Liberia. (September 2014)
  • A partnership with Airlink to execute a continuous air bridge to deliver critically needed medical protective gear and pharmaceuticals. (September 2014)
  • A grant to the CDC Foundation to establish CDC emergency operations centers in the most-affected countries, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. These centers are helping to develop a systematic response with improved data management and communication systems for disease and patient contact tracing, which will ultimately help to detect and stop the disease from spreading. (September 2014)
  • Funding to Medical Teams International (MTI) to help provide infrastructure, housing and transportation needs for MTI's staff in Liberia. (September 2014)
  • A partnership with Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) to support their existing Ebola emergency programs in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. (September 2014)
  • A grant to BBC Media Action to support education and communications programs in the affected countries aimed at increasing public knowledge and awareness, supporting the government in responding to the crisis and instilling safer health practices among local audiences. (October 2014)

The Ebola Medevac Fund will be administered by the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. For more information, visit www.tackleebola.com and follow @TackleEbola and @PaulGAllen on Twitter or Facebook.


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