Daily Archives: August 25, 2016

PRB Projects World Population Rising 33 Percent by 2050 to Nearly 10 Billion

WASHINGTON, Aug. 25, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — The world population will reach 9.9 billion in 2050, up 33 percent from an estimated 7.4 billion now, according to projections included in the latest World Population Data Sheet from the Population Reference Bureau (PRB).

Photo – http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160823/400585

The rankings of the world’s biggest countries by population will reshuffle between 2016 and 2050, according to PRB’s World Population Data Sheet

The world population would hit the 10 billion mark in 2053 if the assumptions underlying PRB’s 2050 projections are applied to subsequent years.

“Despite declines in fertility rates around the world, we expect population gains to remain strong enough to take us toward a global population of 10 billion,” said Jeffrey Jordan, president and CEO of PRB. “Significant regional differences remain, though. For example very low birth rates in Europe will mean population declines there while Africa’s population is expected to double.”

PRB’s projections show Africa’s population will reach 2.5 billion by 2050, while the number of people in the Americas will rise by only 223 million to 1.2 billion. Asia will gain about 900 million to 5.3 billion, while Europe registers a decline from 740 million to 728 million.  Oceania (which includes Australia and New Zealand) would rise from 40 million to 66 million.

PRB’s widely referenced Data Sheet (www.worldpopdata.org) has been produced annually since 1962. This year’s edition provides the latest data on 19 key population, health, and environment indicators for the world, major regions, and more than 200 countries. PRB also added six indicators and analytical graphics that explore the balance between providing for human needs and sustainably managing the natural resources on which people depend.

The Data Sheet’s midcentury population projections indicate that:

  • The combined population of the world’s least developed countries in the world will double by 2050 to 1.9 billion. There are 48 least developed countries, based on United Nations criteria, most of which are in Africa.
  • The population in 29 countries will more than double. Nearly all of these countries are in Africa. In Niger, the country with the highest birth rate, the population will more than triple.
  • Forty-two countries will register population declines. These countries are scattered throughout Asia, Latin America, and Europe. Some European countries will post significant declines, such as Romania, which is projected to have a population of 14 million in 2050, down from 20 million today.
  • The population of the United States will be 398 million, up 23 percent from 324 million today.

According to the Data Sheet’s estimates of current population:

  • Over 25 percent of the world’s population is under 15 years old. The figure is 41 percent in least developed countries and 16 percent in more developed countries.
  • Japan has the oldest population profile, with over a quarter of its citizens older than 65. Qatar and the United Arab Emirates are at the other end of the spectrum, with each having only 1 percent over 65.
  • The top ten fertility rates in the world are in sub-Saharan African countries, with nearly all above 6 children per woman, and one topping seven. In Europe. The average is 1.6.
  • The fertility rate in the United States is 1.8 children per woman, down from 1.9 in 2014. “Replacement” fertility in the United States–that is, the rate at which the population exactly replaces itself from one generation to the next, excluding the effects of migration—is 2.1 children per woman.
  • Thirty-three countries in Europe and Asia already have more people over age 65 than under 15.

Human Needs, Sustainable Resources

As part of this year’s Data Sheet theme, “Human Needs and Sustainable Resources,” PRB compiled statistics that speak to the environmental and resource aspects of human development. The Data Sheet included measures of carbon emissions (related to climate change), access to electricity, power from renewable energy resources, how much land countries have set aside for protection, and population per square kilometer of arable land. A few key figures include:

  • Globally, there was a 60 percent increase in annual carbon emissions between 1992 and 2013, to 9.8 billion tons. China posted the largest increase by volume over this period, from 735 million metric tons to 2.8 billion metric tons—which was also the largest amount of any country in 2013.
  • Forty-three countries reduced their carbon emissions over the same period. The largest reduction by volume was in Ukraine, where carbon emissions declined by 98 million tons to 74 million tons.
  • Eighteen percent of the world’s energy comes from renewable sources, which include hydroelectric power.
  • There is an average of 526 people per square kilometer of arable land. The number is 238 in more developed countries and 697 in less developed countries.

PRB informs people around the world about population, health, and the environment, and empowers them to use that information toadvance the well-being of current and future generations. The World Population Data Sheet is one of many PRB informational products that make evidence-based knowledge easily accessible to the general public and a range of policy stakeholders. Find out more atwww.prb.org.

Contact: Peter Goldstein, datasheet@prb.org, tel: 1.202.939-5407

IBM Research Opens in South Africa; Cognitive Computing and the IoT help Track Diseases and Forecast Air Quality

Projects include tracking the spread of tuberculosis, anticipating wildfires and searching for new discoveries in the universe

JOHANNESBURG and ARMONK, New York, Aug. 25, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — IBM Research (NYSE: IBM) today opened its second research location on the African continent and announced several new project collaborations in the areas of data driven healthcare, digital urban ecosystems and astronomy.

IBM Corporation logo.

Logo – http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20090416/IBMLOGO

IBM researchers in South Africa with backgrounds in machine learning, mathematics, computer science, robotics, genomics and computational biology, are exploring the use of cognitive computing, the Internet of Things and Big Data to support South Africa’s national priorities, drive skills development and foster innovation-based economic growth.

“South Africa is a tremendous growth and transformation story, yet its increasing population and healthcare delivery shortfalls continue to pose challenges in the country,” said Solomon Assefa, director, IBM Research – Africa. “With the ability to detect patterns and discover new correlations, cognitive and cloud computing and the Internet of Things can provide potential solutions.”

The lab’s team of scientists are already collaborating extensively with local universities, research institutions, innovation centers, start-ups and government agencies. This will help foster South Africa’s emerging technology ecosystem and develop and scale new innovations.

As part of a 10-year investment program through South Africa’s Department of Trade and Industry and working closely with the Department of Science and Technology, the new research lab is based at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits). The university was recently ranked amongst the top 10 in emerging economies by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings.

“The launch of the IBM Research laboratory is an exciting milestone in the move towards a new era of globally competitive research, innovation and entrepreneurship that will be emerging out of the Tshimologong Precinct in Braamfontein. Wits is delighted to be collaborating with IBM. We look forward to seeing top talent congregate to address the continent’s most intractable problems and work on the world’s next game changing technologies,” said Professor Adam Habib, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of the Witwatersrand.

Aligned with areas of strategic national importance, the lab’s focus areas include:

Data Driven Healthcare

  • In support of the World Health Organization’s End TB (Tuberculosis) Strategy, IBM scientists are designing wearable sensor technology connected to the Watson Internet of Things to trace the spread of highly infectious, communicable diseases. This innovation will help healthcare organizations and health officials develop prevention strategies and respond effectively.
  • IBM scientists are developing cognitive learning approaches to transform cancer reporting, prevention and precision medicine in Africa. In a proof of concept study, IBM scientists have discovered a basic molecular link between cancer causing genes and those associated with metastasis, the cause of 90% of cancer related deaths*. Preliminary results from this work have been presented recently. Using anonymous, unstructured data provided by the National Cancer Registry in South Africa and in collaboration with the University of Witwatersrand Medical School, the team is developing cognitive algorithms to automate the inference of national cancer statistics in South Africa. This technology is expected to reduce a five-year time lag in cancer statistics reporting to real-time.
  • With the support of the City of Johannesburg, IBM scientists have collected 65 samples of microbes and bacteria from 19 bus stations across the city as part of the global Metagenomics and Metadesign of the Subways and Urban Biomes (MetaSUB) international consortium. Once the samples are processed the results will be available to city planners, public health officials and scientists who will use the data to help officials predict and prepare for future disease outbreaks and discover new species and biological systems.
  • In early September, scientists from IBM, H3ABioNet and the University of Notre Dame will host a hackathon on anti-malarial drug resistance and drug combination prediction.

Digital Urban Ecosystems

  • Building on IBM’s global Green Horizons initiative, researchers at the new lab are working closely with experts from South Africa’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research to analyze historical and real-time data from environmental monitoring stations. Using machine learning and cognitive models, the data collected in the City of Johannesburg, the City of Tshwane and the Vaal Industrial Triangle will help provide more insight about air pollution and model the effectiveness of intervention strategies. The project has recently been extended to predict ground level ozone and air quality forecasting.
  • Commuters in the City of Johannesburg currently spend 35 minutes extra travel time per day due to traffic congestion, according to the TomTom Traffic Index. Unreliable traffic light infrastructure provides challenges to traffic light management in the city. Using real time anonymized traffic data from TomTom combined with Twitter, IBM scientists have developed a traffic optimization recommendation tool which can help city officials dispatch traffic volunteers, known locally as pointsmen, to the intersections where they are most urgently needed.
  • The City of Cape Town often battles with devastating wild fires, due to its unique topography and vegetation. Using data from The Weather Company, an IBM business, and the City of Cape Town’s Open Data portal, IBM scientists have developed a cognitive dashboard. This can assess fire incidence risk and severity to help officials raise public awareness and prepare for emergency response.
  • The number of people living off-the-grid in Africa has grown by 114 million since 2000**. To help meet the energy needs of communities who are living remotely or would like to make use of renewable energy, IBM scientists have developed a mobile app which uses analytics to determine the solar requirements of users based on their energy needs and location.

Exploring the Universe

  • In 2018 the, Square Kilometer Array (SKA), the world’s largest radio telescope, will be built in South Africa and Australia. IBM scientists are collaborating with SKA South Africa (SKA-SA) on the development of unsupervised algorithms which can make groundbreaking astronomical discoveries. Scientists expect to eventually apply the cognitive technology to other applications, including the development of new pharmaceuticals and genomics. IBM and SKA-SA have signed an agreement to explore the advancement of this technology and to lead some major developments in data science over the next decade.
  • IBM scientists in South Africa are joining NASA, the SETI Institute and Swinburne University to develop an Apache Spark application to analyze the 168 million radio events detected over the past 10 years by the Allen Telescope Array (ATA). The volume and complexity of the data requires advanced machine learning algorithms to separate noise from true signals of interest. These requirements are well suited to the scalable in-memory capabilities offered by Apache Spark when combined with the big data capabilities of the IBM Cloud and IBM Bluemix Spark.

Open Infrastructure, Sustainable Design

The new lab features an Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) platform based on OpenStack connected to IBM Storwize for efficiently provisioning 80TB of storage for research projects.

The lab is located in the Tshimologong Precinct in Braamfontein – an inner-city area which is today re-emerging as a vibrant Johannesburg district. The two-level, 900 square meter lab has a DIY maker space with electronic design equipment and a 3D printer.

Agile work spaces provide a collaborative environment for IBM scientists to train and mentor Wits students and local start-ups. Developer communities across Africa will also have access, at no charge, to a LinuxONE Community Cloud located in Johannesburg, which acts as a virtual R&D engine for creating, testing and piloting emerging applications via the cloud.

IBM Research Innovating for Africa

IBM has operated in Africa for almost 100 years. Today, its operations span 24 countries, including South Africa, Morocco, Egypt, Nigeria, Ghana, Angola, Kenya and Tanzania. IBM Research – Africa is the first commercial research organization on the continent, conducting applied and far-reaching exploratory research into Africa’s grand challenges and committed to delivering commercially-viable innovations that impact people’s lives.

IBM’s first African research lab was opened in Nairobi, Kenya in 2013. The South African research facility supports IBM’s Equity Equivalent Investment Programme (EEIP). In recent years, IBM has also invested in the development of an IBM Client Centre, an Innovation Centre, Service Delivery Centre and a number of offices and data centers across South Africa.

About IBM Research

For more than seven decades, IBM Research has defined the future of information technology with more than 3,000 researchers in 12 labs located across six continents. Scientists from IBM Research have produced six Nobel Laureates, 10 U.S. National Medals of Technology, five U.S. National Medals of Science, six Turing Awards, 19 inductees in the National Academy of Sciences and 20 inductees into the U.S. National Inventors Hall of Fame. For more information about IBM Research, visit www.ibm.com/research.

Continue the conversation on Twitter @IBMResearch #IBMResearchWITS.

Photos are available here: https://www.flickr.com/gp/ibm_research_zurich/3j9Md4

*Weigelt, B., Peterse, J. L. & van ‘t Veer, L. J. Breast cancer metastasis: markers and models. Nat. Rev. Cancer 5, 591–602 (2005)

**Off-Grid Solar Market Trends Report 2016, published by Bloomberg New Energy Finance and Lighting Global, an innovation of the World Bank Group. In cooperation with Global Off-Grid Lighting Association

Hulisani Rasivhaga Chris Sciacca
IBM Media Relations South Africa Communications Manager, IBM Research EMEA
+27 76 790 8175 +41 78 60 44 092
Hulisani@za.ibm.com cia@zurich.ibm.com


South Africa: Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu Admitted to Hospital for Treatment

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu admitted himself to a Cape Town hospital today for treatment to a recurring infection.

He is expected to remain in hospital for a week or two.

The Archbishop underwent similar treatment last year.

Updated information would be released to media as it came to hand, the Archbishop and Mrs Tutu’s daughter, Ms Thandeka Tutu-Gxashe, said.

Source: Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation


President Jacob Zuma has, on behalf of government and the people of South Africa, extended the country’s deepest condolences to Italy following the earthquake which struck central Italy Wednesday.

The earthquake affected the regions of Lazio and Umbria, resulting in the deaths of scores of people and extensive damage in several towns.

“I wish to extend our condolences to H.E. President Sergio Mattarella, the government and the people of Italy. The people of South Africa share the pain and loss of the loved ones, their homes and property, and our thoughts and prayers go out to all the affected families. We also wish the injured a speedy recovery,” President Zuma said here Wednesday.

South Africans in Italy or family members in South Africa requiring assistance are requested to contact the South African Embassy in Rome or the Department of International Relations and Co-operation here.


CIA Declassifies Presidential Briefings from the 1970s

The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency has released 2,500 previously classified daily foreign intelligence briefings given to Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford during the 1970s that shed new light on a crucial era of Cold War and Third World events.

Included in the 28,000 pages of documents are nuggets of fascinating information about world affairs, including the controversial Vietnam War that claimed the lives of more than 58,000 U.S. service members.

The briefings were given to Nixon and Ford when they occupied the White House during an eight-year period beginning on January 20,1969. They offer insight into events such as Nixon’s historic visits to China and the Soviet Union, the first such visits by a U.S. president, and Nixon’s fall from grace that led to his resignation.

The Ford years

The briefings during Ford’s years as president detail historic developments like the end of the Vietnam War and the death of the founding father of the People’s Republic of China, Mao Zedong.

When Nixon arrived in Beijing on February 21, 1972, the briefing meticulously noted which Chinese officials attended the various events, an attempt to better understand the operations of the politburo, which is still closely observed today.

The briefings, which were about 10 pages long, revealed how little the CIA knew about China, the world’s most heavily populated country, which was just beginning to re-establish a global presence after more than two decades of isolation.

The CIA summary later informed Nixon that his visit to China rattled the Soviet Union and Japan and motivated European countries to engage with China. China, the briefing noted, was “generally pleased” with Nixon’s visit.

On August 10, 1974, one day after the resignation of Nixon, the briefing to the newly sworn in Ford provided details about the world’s response to Nixon’s exit from office.

“None of the potential troublemakers has produced even a rumble,” the briefers said.

During a briefing a year-and-a-half later, President Ford was informed of the death of Mao Zedong, who was described as the “dominating force in Chinese politics.”

The high-level CIA briefings, released Wednesday, do not provide much insight into how much they impacted Nixon’s decision-making, given that he was aloof and tended to isolate himself. Nixon chose not to get in-person briefings from CIA officials, opting to receive them, instead, from his national security advisor, Henry Kissinger.

A declassified CIA history, also released Wednesday, noted that CIA officials were discouraged at their lack of access to Nixon, who carried a grudge against the intelligence agency for his loss to President John F. Kennedy in the 1960 election. Nixon believed the CIA had failed to discredit Kennedy’s erroneous assertion that the U.S. had relinquished its lead in intercontinental ballistic missile technology to the Soviet Union.

In a 1973 summary, Nixon was briefed about an upcoming May 26 meeting of the heads of the Organization of African Unity. It said Israel’s presence in Africa would be the primary issue at the conference, precipitated by demands from Libyan President Moammar Gadhafi that “African states sever their ties with Israel or face loss of Libyan aid to them and to African liberation groups.”


In the South American nation of Chile, the 1970 election of Salvador Allende as president worried Nixon, who thought Chile could become “another Cuba,” a communist country in the Western Hemisphere.

Nixon and Kissinger spent the next three years using the CIA to secretly support Allende’s opponents with the intent of forcing him out of office or inciting a coup. Allende was killed in a coup in September 1973 led by army commander Augusto Pinochet, igniting decades of debate about the role the CIA had in the putsch. The briefs did not confirm direct CIA support for the overthrow of the Chilean government.

The briefings devoted a great amount of attention to developments in Indochina, where the U.S. was attempting to withdraw from the Vietnam War and support faltering governments in nearby Cambodia and Laos.

Not all of the CIA’s information was accurate. As the Vietnam War was winding down, an analysis given to President Ford on March 28, 1975 predicted the U.S.-trained South Vietnamese troops would maintain stability until “early 1976.” The communist troops from North Vietnam captured Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam, a month later.

Ford approached the daily CIA briefings much differently from Nixon, becoming the first president to receive them orally by a CIA official.

The release of the briefings is part of a continual endeavor to publicize presidential intelligence briefings. These latest summaries were released by CIA Director John Brennan and National Intelligence Director James Clapper at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library in Yorba Linda, California.

Source: Voice of America