The Great Debate UK
Despite widespread knowledge of how the AIDS-causing virus HIV is transmitted, and how to prevent it, the disease is still spreading. An estimated 34 million people worldwide were living with HIV/AIDS in 2010, according to the World Health Organization. Sub-Saharan Africa is the worldwide epicenter, with 22.9 million people living with HIV/AIDS, but epidemics and areas of high concentration abound elsewhere, including in Western Europe and the southern United States. Now, an emerging concept known as treatment as prevention – where patients are given medication for the primary purpose of stopping new infections – is gaining favor as a way to decrease the spread of HIV, if not end it altogether.
Antiretroviral therapy (ART) can halt the progress of HIV in infected people, and prevent them from passing it on by reducing the amount of virus in the body. It is rarely initiated at the time of diagnosis because the disease usually isn’t causing physical deterioration at that point, but the lag between diagnosis and starting ART leaves a wide window for new infections. (WHO guidelines recommend starting ART when the level of CD4 cells – an infection-fighting component of the immune system that is gradually destroyed by the virus – plummets below 350 cells per cubic millimeter, far below the normal range of 500-1,500 cells per cubic millimeter).
For years, studies have explored whether starting ART earlier could help prevent the spread of HIV. A landmark finding published last year in the New England Journal of Medicine came from the large HPTN 052 clinical trial which found that starting ART early reduced the rate of transmission between stable, heterosexual partners by 96%.
Eran Feitelson is a professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The opinions expressed are his own.
Water is essential for life. This is a basic premise underlying the water discourse in all arid and semi-arid regions. Nowhere is this perception better acknowledged than the water-scarce Middle East.
from The Great Debate:
Alistair Cooke was the epitome of the civilized man. His English voice, redolent with informed nonchalance, enchanted millions who heard his Letter from America over BBC radio. His observations of American life were cool, witty, empathetic and insightful. He typed them up wherever he was in America, and for 58 years, until he was 95, unfailingly read his words into a microphone in such a beguiling manner it was as if you and he had just struck up a friendly conversation. He enhanced his reputation for authority about his adopted country as the television host successively of the CBS arts program Omnibus, PBS’s Masterpiece Theater, and the BBC’s America and with his best-selling book Alistair Cooke’s America. His range was extraordinary. He seemed to know every region and every rascal in it. He was the American Oracle.
Can it really be the same Alistair Cooke whom we hear again in a new collation of half a century of Letters, this time focused on race relations? In The Custom of the Country, he acquiesces in the denial of certain inalienable rights for one-tenth of the U.S. population, the black citizens. Can the broadcaster known for celebrating American freedom have been a closet reactionary? In a sense we feel we are eavesdropping when we hear our hero express misgivings about the implications of the seminal 1954 Supreme Court ruling desegregating schools:
–Ian Winham is Chief Information Officer of Ricoh Europe. The opinions expressed are his own.–
Cloud computing is widely regarded by policymakers and business leaders to be one of the biggest keys for unlocking business growth in Europe today. So much so that the European Commission is currently formulating a cloud strategy to promote cloud use across the private and public sectors across all of Europe.
–Laurence Copeland is a professor of finance at Cardiff University Business School. The opinions expressed are his own.–
The LIBOR scandal will run and run, and it is far too soon to say where it will all end. Nonetheless, there are two conclusions that we can already draw from it.
from The Great Debate:
Twenty years after the end of the Cold War, we face a new challenge: how to conserve liberal freedoms once our citizens feel safe enough to take them for granted. Totalitarianism of the left and right, which defined liberalism throughout the 20th century, is no longer there to remind us how precious freedom is. It is up to us all to remember who we are, why liberty matters, why it is a discipline worth keeping to, even when our own sinews tell us to relax.
Today, liberal democracy’s decisive encounter is with post-communist oligarchies – Russia and China – that have no ideology other than enrichment and are recalcitrant to the global order. Predatory on their own societies, Russia and China depend for their stability, not on institutions, since there are none that are independent of the ruling elite, but on growth itself, on the capacity of the economic machine to distribute enough riches to enough people. They are regimes whose legitimacy is akin to that of a bicyclist on a bicycle. As long as they keep pedaling, they keep moving; if they stop, they fall off.
from The Great Debate:
Rupert Murdoch should never go on holiday. It only makes him grumpy. He returned last month from cruising on his yacht off the coast of Croatia looking for a scrap. When Steve Jobs invented the iPad, he could hardly have imagined the havoc caused by one crabby old geezer letting rip on Twitter. Murdoch, a genius with the snappy tabloid headline, didn’t need all 140 characters to reduce Romney’s campaign to toast. “Tough O Chicago pros will be hard to beat unless [Romney] drops old friends from team and hires some real pros,” he wrote, adding the fatal one-word zinger: “Doubtful.”
Romney met Murdoch recently for a secret chat about how things were going on the campaign trail, but the relaxed Republican nominee presumptive, perhaps with his lavish family vacation at Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire, on his mind, said he thought everything was just dandy. As Murdoch’s editors know to their cost, when the antipodean grouch asks how things are going it means he thinks things are going badly. As Romney’s minders did not issue a handout about the disastrous meeting, the lazy fourth estate did not know it was going on and so did not report it. But Murdoch took to his Twitter account to let the world know he was NOT HAPPY.
A hot topic at the moment is whether or not women can have it all, triggered by a thought-provoking article in U.S. magazine The Atlantic, written by the former first female planning director at the State Department, Anne-Marie Slaughter. The author had been a successful academic before she went to Washington to take up her post at the State Department. She left after two years to spend more time with her family, who were living in a different state in the U.S.
Slaughter, who has two teenage sons and, by all accounts, a loving and caring husband who she can rely on, felt that she could not have it all. She believed that the current way the economy and society is set up in America makes it incredibly hard for women to manage a family and a work life simultaneously. Bear in mind, Slaughter travelled to work five days a week in a different state while her husband stayed at home with the kids.
from The Great Debate:
This piece originally appeared in Reuters Magazine.
Henry Ford had to fight to build the Model T, even within the company that bore his name. The Russian immigrant engineer who saved the Chevy Corvette bucked the General Motors brass to do it. Lee Iacocca and Hal Sperlich built the minivan at Chrysler only after the vehicle—and they—had been rejected at Ford.
Those three cars were not just huge commercial successes—each also placed its stamp on American life, much as the iPad has today. Two were utterly practical while the third was ostentatiously stylish, but what they all had in common is this: The people who created them overcame formidable obstacles to put them on the road. Unblinking determination is a common theme in the biggest American business success stories, such as Ray Kroc’s damn the-odds effort to build McDonalds and Steve Jobs’ audacity in reshaping Apple. Luck and timing are involved too, but they aren’t enough. The special sauce (apologies to Kroc) is a strain of determination that blends self-belief with belief in the commercial potential of a product.
Another day, another banking scandal. Last week, it was a software glitch so serious that some people were left homeless and scrabbling around for money to pay the rent. This week, a new scandal over mis-selling of interest rate swaps has so far been buried under the furore over manipulation of LIBOR by Barclays (and apparently other banks). They could at least stagger the scandals a bit – say, one a month – we need time to absorb the last one before we start on the next.
The London Interbank Offered Rate is a hypothetical indicator of the cost of money, based on the answers given each day by a panel of banks to the question: how much would you have to pay to borrow in the interbank market today? It was introduced as part of the Big Bang deregulation of the City in order to provide a benchmark interest rate for pricing the new financial instruments being developed: swaps, options, futures and forwards.