Vaccines group seeks $7.5 billion as disease fight reaches peak

admin   •   January 23, 2015   •   2521

Seth Berkley, CEO of GAVI Alliance speaks during the session ‘Rising to a Global Challenge: The 15th Anniversary of GAVI’ in the Swiss mountain resort of Davos January 22, 2015.
CREDIT: REUTERS/RUBEN SPRICH

(Reuters) – The GAVI global vaccines alliance is seeking to raise $7.5 billion at a funding conference in Berlin next week, as its battle to prevent infectious diseases in millions of children reaches an expected peak.

The non-profit organization, launched in Davos 15 years ago, aims to immunize another 300 million children between 2016 and 2020, saving an estimated 5-6 million lives.

The economic benefits of that will be some $80 billion and $100 billion, underscoring the cost-effectiveness of vaccines as a centerpiece of public health, Chief Executive Seth Berkley told the World Economic Forum on Thursday.

Berkley said GAVI had already received extremely strong support from several governments but other major donors that have backed past funding rounds, notably the United States, have yet to show their hand ahead of the Jan. 26-27 Berlin talks.

One factor complicating the financing request is the strength of the dollar. GAVI buys its vaccines in the U.S. currency, while some donors will face higher costs in local currencies.

“We made our original requests almost seven months ago and exchange rates have dramatically changed. That is a challenge that we will have in front of us and will be discussed by the donors,” Berkley said.

GAVI, which is backed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Health Organization, the World Bank, UNICEF, donor governments and others, funds immunization programs for nations that cannot afford standard prices.

The group targets common but deadly diseases such as pneumonia, diarrhea and cervical cancer.

GAVI uses its bulk-buying power to negotiate big price discounts with drugmakers like GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer, although some have argued it should strike even tougher deals with companies.

A full budget will also position GAVI to intervene in emergency situations such as Ebola, where it has already pledged to fund vaccine purchases once products are developed.

The coming 2016-20 period will be the busiest in GAVI’s history, as it ramps up vaccine purchases to 2.7 billion doses from 2.1 billion in the preceding five years.

Beyond 2020, however, GAVI’s immunization programs are set to tail off, as many countries with growing economies become too wealthy to be eligible for its help.

“This is peak GAVI,” Berkley said. “We actually discussed whether we should consider going out of business and we looked at 2030 as a possible date, but the challenge is that there will still be about 20 eligible countries, assuming the modeling is correct, and the majority are pretty fragile states.”

(Reporting by Ben Hirschler. Editing by Jane Merriman)

Trump says U.S. pulling some soldiers out of Germany over NATO spending feud

UNTV News   •   June 16, 2020

President Donald Trump said on Monday (June 15) the United States would cut the number of U.S. troops deployed in Germany to 25,000, a reduction of about 9,500, in a move likely to upset both his fellow Republicans in Congress and NATO allies.

In comments to reporters, Trump accused Germany of being “delinquent” in its payments to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and vowed to stick with the plan unless Berlin changed course.

“So we’re protecting Germany and they’re delinquent. That doesn’t make sense. So I said, we’re going to bring down the count to 25,000 soldiers,” Trump said during a meeting with cabinet members.

Also during the meeting, Trump said he will sign an executive order on police reform and hold a news conference on Tuesday, after several weeks of nationwide protests sparked by the death of African-American George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis.

Trump said the shooting by police of a black man in Atlanta was a terrible situation and very disturbing.

An Atlanta police officer was fired and the police chief resigned after the killing of Rayshard Brooks on Friday night.

No details on Trump’s executive order on police reform have been released. Democrats and Republicans in Congress are working on separate proposals on the issue. (Reuters)

(Production: Deborah Gembara and Gershon Peaks)

U.S., China appear to get little done in removing economic barriers

admin   •   June 25, 2015

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (R) toasts with Chinese Vice Premiers Liu Yandong at a joint banquet at the Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) at the State Department in Washington June 23, 2015. REUTERS/YURI GRIPAS

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (R) toasts with Chinese Vice Premiers Liu Yandong at a joint banquet at the Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) at the State Department in Washington June 23, 2015. REUTERS/YURI GRIPAS

The United States and China urged each other on Wednesday to remove barriers to foreign investment, saying that business ties were vital to overall relations, although they appeared to achieve little beyond rhetoric at a high profile three-day meeting that was overshadowed by security rivalries.

Speaking to leading U.S. and Chinese CEOs on the final day of talks in Washington, Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang said that while investment cooperation had made significant progress, “there are still problems and obstacles and this requires new ways of thinking, cooperation and policy environment.”

While the world’s two largest economies have $590 billion in two-way trade, efforts to secure a bilateral investment treaty have been stalled for seven years.

China upset U.S. firms when it imposed new financial cybersecurity rules that would effectively replace foreign tech products in bank systems after former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden disclosed that U.S. spy agencies had planted code in technology exports.

The move has been characterized by Washington as protectionism and was suspended in April after pushback from banks.

Beijing restricts foreign investment in vast swaths of its economy, and Washington hopes that an eventual investment treaty could open up China’s financial and telecom sectors.

The United States on its part reviews more investments from China over security concerns than it does of any other country, which has helped scuttle Chinese investments in everything from U.S. telecommunications infrastructure to wind farms.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew told the CEO forum it was critical to have markets that foster fair competition.

“And it is also of vital importance that there are non-discriminatory technology policies and open trade in information and communications technology goods,” he said.

Tensions over cyber attacks on U.S. government computers that U.S. officials have blamed on Chinese hackers and China’s pursuit of territorial claims in the disputed South China Sea, have threatened to hamper efforts to deepen economic ties, although U.S. officials have sought to stress that talks aimed at deepening economic relations have continued.

Wang Yang later went with other senior Chinese officials to meet President Barack Obama at the White House.

Zhang Xiangchen, a Chinese deputy trade minister, said on Tuesday Washington should remove barriers imposed for national security reasons, although he acknowledged that China had further to go than America in improving its investment climate.

At the same time as Beijing and Washington struggled over implementing closer economic ties, Europe was weighing whether to open further to China under World Trade Organization rules.

(Reporting by David Brunnstrom and Jason Lange; Additional reporting by Roberta Rampton; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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Siemens CEO says Russia sales have halved: newspaper

admin   •   April 13, 2015

BERLIN

A Siemens mechatronics apprentice works on a bench vice during a class at the Siemens training centre in Berlin, August 30, 2012.
REUTERS/THOMAS PETER

(Reuters) – German industrial group Siemens has seen sales in Russia plunge by about half due to the country’s economic demise, Bild am Sonntag reported, citing chief executive Joe Kaeser.

Automakers and other companies have been making cuts in Russia in response to effects of the weak rouble, which has been hammered by low oil prices, and Western sanctions imposed over Moscow’s role in the Ukraine crisis.

“What’s clear is that business in Russia has taken a strong hit in general and ours has declined by about half,” Kaeser was quoted as saying in an interview published by the newspaper on Sunday, without being more specific.

A senior Siemens source told Reuters last month the Munich-based company was on track to stick to full-year forecasts when it reports quarterly results in May, even as problems at its energy business continue to weigh on earnings.

(Reporting by Andreas Cremer; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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