Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 26th 2014 Contents A34
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Brazilian researchers in Rio de Janeiro have
released thousands of mosquitoes infected with
bacteria that suppress dengue fever.
The hope is they will multiply, breed and
become the majority of mosquitoes, thus reducing
cases of the disease.
The initiative is part of a programme also
taking place in Australia, Vietnam and Indone-
sia.The intracellular bacteria, Wolbachia, being
introduced cannot be transmitted to humans.
The programme started in 2012 says Luciano
Moreira of the Brazilian research institute Fiocruz,
who is leading the project in Brazil .
Ten thousands mosquitoes will be released
each month for four months with the first release
in Tubiacanga, in the north of Rio.
The bacterium Wolbachia is found in 60 per
cent of insects. It acts like a vaccine for the mos-
quito which carries dengue, Aedes aegypti, stop-
ping the dengue virus multiplying in its body.
Wolbachia also has an effect on reproduction.
If a contaminated male fertilises the eggs of a
female without the bacteria, these eggs do not
turn into larvae.
If the male and female are contaminated or
if only a female has the bacteria, all future gen-
erations of mosquito will carry Wolbachia.
As a result, Aedes mosquitoes with Wolbachia
become predominant without researchers having
to constantly release more contaminated insects.
In Australia this happened within 10 weeks
The research on Wolbachia began at the Uni-
versity of Monash in Australia in 2008. The
researchers allowed the mosquitoes to feed on
their own arms for five years because of concerns
at the time Wolbachia could infect humans and
Three more neighbourhoods will be targeted
next, and large scale studies to evaluate the effect
of the strategy are planned for 2016.
Dengue re-emerged in Brazil in 1981 after an
absence of more than 20 years.
Over the next 30 years, seven million cases
Brazil leads the world in the number of dengue
cases, with 3.2 million cases and 800 deaths
reported in the 2009-14 period. (BBC)
BOGOTA---Colombia s government and main rebel
movement are releasing parts of a draft peace agree-
ment to deflect criticism that the country s dem-
ocratic institutions are being redrawn behind their
countrymen s backs.
The 65 pages of documents published Wednesday
come from three of the six agenda items on which
the two sides have already reached agreement: agrarian
reform, political participation for demobilised rebels,
and how to jointly combat illicit drugs.
Opponents of the talks have accused President Juan
Manuel Santos of overlooking atrocities committed
by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and
ceding their leaders too much power in closed-door
talks in Cuba.
Santos said Wednesday that by being more trans-
parent, negotiators hope to counter what he called
misleading information spread by opponents of the
The documents released appear to contain few sur-
prises and a large number of unresolved details.
On the sensitive question of how FARC members
will make a transition to a political party, both sides
agreed to temporarily set aside a still to be determined
number of seats in Congress for former guerrillas and
activists representing rural areas hardest hit by 50
years of fighting.
Leon Valencia, a conflict analyst and former guerrilla,
said the release of the documents demonstrates both
sides are increasingly confident a deal will be struck
even though a number of thorny obstacles remain,
among them implementing a ceasefire and holding
rebels accountable for human rights abuses.
"It s clear both sides think the process is on solid
enough ground so that it can withstand scrutiny and
controversy," Valencia said. (AP)
MEXICO---Mexico overcame 75 years
of nationalist pride to reform its flag-
ging, state-owned oil industry. But
as it prepares to develop rich shale
fields along the Gulf Coast, and
attract foreign investors, another
challenge awaits: taming the brutal
drug cartels that rule the region and
are stealing billions of dollars worth
of oil from pipelines.
Figures released by Petroleos Mex-
icanos last week show the gangs are
becoming more prolific and sophis-
ticated. So far this year, thieves across
Mexico have drilled 2,481 illegal taps
into state-owned pipelines, up more
than one-third from the same period
of 2013. Pemex estimates it s lost some
7.5 million barrels worth $1.15 billion.
Pemex director Emilio Lozoya called
the trend "worrisome."
More than a fifth of the illegal taps
occurred in Tamaulipas, the Gulf state
neighbouring Texas that is a corner-
stone for Mexico s future oil plans. It
has Mexico s largest fields of recoverable
shale gas, the natural gas extracted by
fracturing rock layers, or fracking.
Mexico, overall, is believed to have
the world s sixth-largest reserves of
shale gas---equivalent to 60 billion
barrels of crude oil. That s more than
twice the total amount of oil that Mex-
ico has produced by conventional
means over the last century.
The energy reform passed in
December loosened Mexico s protec-
tionist policies, opening the way for
Pemex to seek foreign investors and
expertise to help it exploit its shale
fields. It hopes to draw $10 billion to
$15 billion in private investment each
The attractiveness of the venture
may hinge on bringing Tamaulipas
Energy analyst David Goldwyn said
the Mexico government is going to
have to be a lot clearer about its secu-
rity plan for most shale exploration
and production companies, which
don t have experience working in risky
"What s the government going to
do, what kind of protection, what is
it going to allow the operators to do
inside their fence line?" he said in a
recent conference call with reporters.
Two rival gangs, the Zetas and the
Gulf cartel, long have used Tamaulipas
as a route to ferry drugs and migrants
to the United States and, in recent
years, diversified their business: stealing
gas and crude and selling it to refineries
in Texas or to gas stations on either
side of the border.
At least twice a day, the gangs pull
up to one of the hundreds of pipelines
that crisscross the state. Workers
quickly shovel down a couple of yards
to uncover a pipeline and siphon their
booty into a stolen tanker truck, said
army Col Juan Carlos Guzman, whose
troops have raided a number of such
The knowledge needed to tap into
the pressurised pipelines leads author-
ities to suspect the gangs have infil-
trated Pemex or co-opted company
to fight dengue
Mexican cartels steal
billions from oil industry
Colombia publishes parts
of draft peace agreement
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