Norway unseats Denmark as world’s happiest country: report

UNTV News   •   March 21, 2017   •   3133

 

A girl stands on her hands near Vang, Norway. Svein Nordrum/NTB Scanpix/via REUTERS

Norway displaced Denmark as the world’s happiest country in a new report released on Monday that called on nations to build social trust and equality to improve the well-being of their citizens.

The Nordic nations are the most content, according to the World Happiness Report 2017 produced by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), a global initiative launched by the United Nations in 2012.

Countries in sub-Saharan Africa, along with Syria and Yemen, are the least happy of the 155 countries ranked in the fifth annual report released at the United Nations.

“Happy countries are the ones that have a healthy balance of prosperity, as conventionally measured, and social capital, meaning a high degree of trust in a society, low inequality and confidence in government,” Jeffrey Sachs, the director of the SDSN and a special advisor to the United Nations Secretary-General, said in an interview.

The aim of the report, he added, is to provide another tool for governments, business and civil society to help their countries find a better way to wellbeing.

Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, Finland, Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Sweden rounded out the top ten countries.

South Sudan, Liberia, Guinea, Togo, Rwanda, Tanzania, Burundi and the Central African Republic were at the bottom.

Germany was ranked 16, followed by the United Kingdom (19) and France (31). The United States dropped one spot to 14.

Sachs said the United States is falling in the ranking due to inequality, distrust and corruption. Economic measures that the administration of President Donald Trump is trying to pursue, he added, will make things worse.

“They are all aimed at increasing inequality – tax cuts at the top, throwing people off the healthcare rolls, cutting Meals on Wheels in order to raise military spending. I think everything that has been proposed goes in the wrong direction,” he explained.

The rankings are based on six factors — per capita gross domestic product, healthy life expectancy, freedom, generosity, social support and absence of corruption in government or business.

“The lowest countries are typically marked by low values in all six variables,” said the report, produced with the support of the Ernesto Illy Foundation.

Sachs would like nations to follow United Arab Emirates and other countries that have appointed Ministers of Happiness.

“I want governments to measure this, discuss it, analyze it and understand when they have been off on the wrong direction,” he said. —  By Patricia Reaney | NEW YORK

(Reporting by Patricia Reaney; Editing by Alistair Bell)

EUA on Pfizer vaccine won’t be revoked yet despite Norway deaths, DOH says

Robie de Guzman   •   January 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The emergency use authorization (EUA) issued last week by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to drug-maker Pfizer-BioNTech for its COVID-19 vaccine will not be revoked yet pending an investigation into claims that it caused the death of some elderly people in Norway, the Department of Health (DOH) said Monday.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said Norwegian authorities are still looking into reports that 23 individuals aged 75 to 80 with underlying health conditions died after getting inoculated with COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer-BioNTech.

Vergeire also said that studies need to be done on the matter.

“Pfizer has to submit a report to the Philippine Food And Drug Administration regarding this matter. Once we evaluate the report, base sa kanilang conclusion, that’s the time FDA can decide on the EUA of Pfizer. For now,” Vergeire said.

“Hanggang wala pang sufficient evidence that it was caused by vaccines, status quo tayo on this EUA given to Pfizer,” she added.

The FDA granted EUA to Pfizer last January 14, the first out of four applications it received so far. Other applications are AstraZeneca, China’s Sinovac, and Russia’s Gamaleya Institute.

FDA Director-General Eric Domingo said they are still awaiting a report from Norwegian authorities and that they will “revise the conditions of the EUA as needed,” before starting vaccinations as part of the agency’s protocols on the use of vaccines.

Health authorities also reiterated that COVID-19 vaccines will go through stringent evaluation before it can be approved for use in the country.

“Aside from the safety, and the efficacy na meron ang mga bakuna na papasok, titingnan din nila iyon pong social impact nito, titingnan nila ang affordability and titingnan nila sa response ng equity,” Vergeire said.

“They will be evaluating and then they give their recommendation to the Secretary. Kapag positive ang recommendation, we can procure the specific vaccine,” she added. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

Several areas in Denmark under lockdown over mink coronavirus mutation

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 6, 2020

Several areas in north Jutland in Denmark were placed under lockdown after a coronavirus mutation was discovered in minks.

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen warned that the mutation could threaten the development of a potential vaccine for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The Danish government ordered the of culling 17 million minks due to the virus.

Frederiksen announced that public transport will also be suspended from entering or leaving north Jutland until December 3. Schools, and other establishments such as bars, museums, restaurants will also be temporarily shut down.

Residents in the area are advised to work from home and public gatherings will be limited.

Denmark is known to be one of the largest producers of mink fur with China and Hong Kong as its primary export markets.

Meanwhile, coronavirus cases in mink farms in the Netherlands and Spain were also reported. AAC

Soviet sub that sank off Norway in 1989 still emitting radiation

Robie de Guzman   •   July 11, 2019

Remote controlled robot taking measurements/ “smoke” seen near submarine ventilation hole under water | Courtesy: Reuters

A Soviet nuclear submarine which sank off Norway in 1989 is still emitting radiation, researchers said on Wednesday (July 10) following an expedition that used a remotely controlled vehicle for the first time.

The Komsomolets sank in on April 7, 1989 after a fire broke out on board, killing 42 crew. The wreck now lies at a depth of about 1,700 metres (5,577 feet) at the bottom of the Norwegian Sea, to the southwest of Bear Island in the Arctic.

Authorities have conducted yearly expeditions to monitor radiation levels since the 1990s but this year’s inspection was the first one to use a remotely operated vehicle called Aegir 6000 to film the wreckage and take samples which will be further analysed.

The scientific mission’s samples show levels of radioactivity at the site up to 800,000 higher than normal, the Norwegian Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority said in a statement.

“This is of course a higher level than we would usually measure out at sea but the levels we have found now are not alarming,” said expedition leader Hilde Elise Heldal of the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research.

Radioactivity levels “thin out” quickly at these depths and there are few fish in the area, she said. (REUTERS)

(Production: Ilze Filks)

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