Category Archives: News and Views

How the World’s Top Health Body Allowed Ebola to Spiral Out of Control | Bloomberg

Poor communication, a lack of leadership and underfunding plagued the World Health Organization’s initial response to the Ebola outbreak, allowing the disease to spiral out of control.

The agency’s reaction was hobbled by a paucity of notes from experts in the field; $500,000 in support for the response that was delayed by bureaucratic hurdles; medics who weren’t deployed because they weren’t issued visas; and contact-tracers who refused to work on concern they wouldn’t get paid.

Director-General Margaret Chan described by telephone how she was “very unhappy” when in late June, three months after the outbreak was detected, she saw the scope of the health crisis in a memo outlining her local team’s deficiencies. The account of the WHO’s missteps, based on interviews with five people familiar with the agency who asked not to be identified, lifts the veil on the workings of an agency designed as the world’s health warden yet burdened by politics and bureaucracy.

“It needs to be a wakeup call,” said Lawrence Gostin, a professor of global health law at Georgetown University in Washington. The WHO is suffering from “a culture of stagnation, failure to think boldly about problems, and looking at itself as a technical agency rather than a global leader.”

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e-Edge Newsletter |


v.18 n. 40 – Released October 16, 2014

This Week’s Headlines:

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Branding Made Simple | Businessweek

Why did Google GOOG whip Yahoo! YHOO so decisively? How did Apple AAPL become the world’s most valuable company? Why have we all heard of Intel INTC? The answer is simple. Or, to be more precise, simplicity.

The ability to distill highly complex business concepts into simple consumer propositions is one reason why Google, Apple, and Intel are three of the most valuable brands in the world. Google’s breakthrough insight was to make everything about its brand and user experience clean and simple, unlike Yahoo and other search engine companies that thought a busier page somehow communicated more value. Apple rejected complexity in everything from its operating system to product design to advertising. And Intel created a five-note musical signature and two-word catchphrase to make us all believe that a computer was better if it had “Intel Inside.”

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The Great TV Unbundling Has Begun. But Be Careful What You Wish For | WIRED

The distant dream of a la carte television has never seemed closer to reality. On Thursday, just a day after HBO said it would launch a new online streaming service that doesn’t require a cable TV subscription, CBS announced the launch of CBS All Access, a service will let users watch unlimited CBS content, including some live television, on multiple devices for just $5.99 a month.

It’s still too early to proclaim the death of the traditional cable TV bundle. And yet, the two announcements signal a drastic shift in the way both cable companies and networks—so often adversaries of internet TV services like Netflix and Aereo—now view the changing television landscape. Tech savvy consumers and cord cutters have been urging these companies to unhinge themselves from the traditional cable package for years. But now that they are, the question is: are consumers really ready for it?

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Bond limbo: How low can rates go? | Cnn

Investors are running away from stocks as fast as they can.The Dow plunged more than 350 points shortly after the opening bell Wednesday while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq each dropped more than 2%. Stocks rebounded later in the morning but the sell-off worsened as the day wore on. The Dow was down more than 400 points by mid-afternoon. Strangely enough though, it seems that investors are still bullish on America in spite of the market volatility. They are doubling down their bets on U.S. Treasury bonds.

The rate on a 10 Year Treasury plunged Wednesday morning to 1.86% — its lowest level since May 2013. Yields fall when investors are buying bonds. The yield moved back above 2% later on during the day. So rates still have a relatively long way to go before they approach their all-time low of 1.39% from July 2012.

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Google Expands Google Express Service With More Cities and Merchants | Adweek

Google is hoping that if you’re going to shop local, you’ll go with Google Express. This week, the company officially rebranded its former Shopping Express service—which allows people to order items from area retailers for same-day or overnight delivery—and said it was expanding the program to three more cities.

Chicago, Boston and Washington, D.C., are now part of the same-day delivery service area, on top of New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Northern California residents will still be able to enjoy overnight deliveries and adults in the Bay Area can now purchase alcohol via the service. Google also has added regional and national merchant partners, with the number of available merchants varying by location.

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Twitter Launches Mobile Payments Before Facebook But Apple May Have the Last Laugh |

smartphone-on-table-1725x810_27958Both Twitter and Facebook are competing with other tech giants, including Apple, Google, PayPal and the leading credit card companies to own the emerging mobile payment sector, which is immensely popular with consumers and has proven fertile territory for startups. More specifically, the leading technology companies are seeking an advantage in so-called peer-to-peer payments, which are typically smaller payments sent from one person to another. Individuals could use such payments, for example, when they are splitting a bill or to wire money.

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