Tourism Minister Says Countries Can No Longer Ignore Threat of Pandemics

first_img Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says countries can no longer ignore the imminent threat of pandemics, as world tourism could face a myriad of global challenges in the event of such occurrences. Story Highlights The Minister pointed out that experts have also warned that the world is nowhere near safe from the next pandemic, noting that the number of new diseases per decade has increased nearly fourfold over the past 60 years. Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says countries can no longer ignore the imminent threat of pandemics, as world tourism could face a myriad of global challenges in the event of such occurrences.Addressing an International Monetary Fund (IMF)/World Bank forum on the ‘Tourism Industry and Pandemics’, at the World Bank headquarters in Washington, D.C., on October 13, Mr. Bartlett said among the threats are the possibility of location quarantines; fear to use airports and other centres of mass gatherings; fear of not knowing what to do in case of illness in a foreign land; the need for speedy diagnosis; and cross-border medical insurance.The Minister pointed out that experts have also warned that the world is nowhere near safe from the next pandemic, noting that the number of new diseases per decade has increased nearly fourfold over the past 60 years.He said that since 1980 outbreaks per year have more than tripled, with the 2003 SARs outbreak, which started in Asia, quickly spreading to more than 24 countries in North America, South America, Europe and Asia; and the 2009 H1N1 or Swine Flu outbreak that spread to 120 countries and territories in about eight weeks and was ultimately responsible for over 284,000 deaths.The Minister added that there was the Ebola outbreak in 2014 which accounted for over 11,000 deaths; the HIV/AIDS pandemic which has affected more than 75 million people since its detection in 1981 and has resulted in over 35 million deaths; and more recently there have also been deadly outbreaks caused by migratory insect carriers, such as the Chikungunya and the Zika viruses transmitted by the mosquito.Mr. Bartlett suggested a number of measures to counter the threat of pandemics, including the development of a comprehensive knowledge management and response system; conduct targeted communication; factoring the direct cost of medical care; surveillance and diagnosis; public education; financially sustainable basic research to strengthen preparation, mitigation, response and rebuilding; and a real-time, consistent, reliable and accurate flow of information.The Minister emphasised that there needs to be active networks involving all major tour operators, airports, cruise liners, attraction parks and other service providers, reserve human resources personnel with the skills and training to manage emergency cases, regular simulation exercises that include private and public sector participation, and strong participation of international organizations.Mr. Bartlett urged delegates and members of various non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that have a vested interest in both human and healthy security, free movement of human beings across borders, a sustainable tourism sector contributing to economic, social and political stability and a healthy ecosystem and a disease-free world, to support the tourism sector’s initiatives to enhance its response capabilities to pandemics. The Minister emphasised that there needs to be active networks involving all major tour operators, airports, cruise liners, attraction parks and other service providers, reserve human resources personnel with the skills and training to manage emergency cases, regular simulation exercises that include private and public sector participation, and strong participation of international organizations.last_img read more

Theory Music underlies language acquisition

first_imgShare20Rice UniversityOffice of Public Affairs / News & Media RelationsNEWS RELEASEB.J. [email protected] Theory: Music underlies language acquisition HOUSTON – (Sept. 18, 2012) – Contrary to the prevailing theories that music and language are  cognitively separate or that music is a byproduct of language, theorists at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music and the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP) advocate that music underlies the ability to acquire language.“Spoken language is a special type of music,” said Anthony Brandt, co-author of a theory paper published online this month in the journal Frontiers in Cognitive Auditory Neuroscience. “Language is typically viewed as fundamental to human intelligence, and music is often treated as being dependent on or derived from language. But from a developmental perspective, we argue that music comes first and language arises from music.”Brandt, associate professor of composition and theory at the Shepherd School, co-authored the paper with Shepherd School graduate student Molly Gebrian and L. Robert Slevc, UMCP assistant professor of psychology and director of the Language and Music Cognition Lab.“Infants listen first to sounds of language and only later to its meaning,” Brandt said. He noted that newborns’ extensive abilities in different aspects of speech perception depend on the discrimination of the sounds of language – “the most musical aspects of speech.”The paper cites various studies that show what the newborn brain is capable of, such as the ability to distinguish the phonemes, or basic distinctive units of speech sound, and such attributes as pitch, rhythm and timbre.The authors define music as “creative play with sound.” They said the term “music” implies an attention to the acoustic features of sound irrespective of any referential function. As adults, people focus primarily on the meaning of speech. But babies begin by hearing language as “an intentional and often repetitive vocal performance,” Brandt said. “They listen to it not only for its emotional content but also for its rhythmic and phonemic patterns and consistencies. The meaning of words comes later.”Brandt and his co-authors challenge the prevailing view that music cognition matures more slowly than language cognition and is more difficult. “We show that music and language develop along similar time lines,” he said.Infants initially don’t distinguish well between their native language and all the languages of the world, Brandt said. Throughout the first year of life, they gradually hone in on their native language. Similarly, infants initially don’t distinguish well between their native musical traditions and those of other cultures; they start to hone in on their own musical culture at the same time that they hone in on their native language, he said.The paper explores many connections between listening to speech and music. For example, recognizing the sound of different consonants requires rapid processing in the temporal lobe of the brain. Similarly, recognizing the timbre of different instruments requires temporal processing at the same speed — a feature of musical hearing that has often been overlooked, Brandt said.“You can’t distinguish between a piano and a trumpet if you can’t process what you’re hearing at the same speed that you listen for the difference between ‘ba’ and ‘da,’” he said. “In this and many other ways, listening to music and speech overlap.” The authors argue that from a musical perspective, speech is a concert of phonemes and syllables.“While music and language may be cognitively and neurally distinct in adults, we suggest that language is simply a subset of music from a child’s view,” Brandt said. “We conclude that music merits a central place in our understanding of human development.”Brandt said more research on this topic might lead to a better understanding of why music therapy is helpful for people with reading and speech disorders. People with dyslexia often have problems with the performance of musical rhythm. “A lot of people with language deficits also have musical deficits,” Brandt said.More research could also shed light on rehabilitation for people who have suffered a stroke. “Music helps them reacquire language, because that may be how they acquired language in the first place,” Brandt said.The research was supported by Rice’s Office of the Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Initiatives, the Ken Kennedy Institute for Information Technology and the Shepherd School of Music.For the full text of the theory paper, visit http://www.frontiersin.org/Auditory_Cognitive_Neuroscience/10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00327/abstract.-30-Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,708 undergraduates and 2,374 graduate students, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice has been ranked No. 1 for best quality of life multiple times by the Princeton Review and No. 4 for “best value” among private universities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. To read “What they’re saying about Rice,” go to http://futureowls.rice.edu/images/futureowls/Rice_Brag_Sheet.pdf.Follow Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNews. AddThislast_img read more