Measles cases tripled globally: WHO
GENEVA • Measles cases nearly tripled globally during the first seven months of the year compared to the same period last year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said yesterday amid growing concern over public resistance to the vaccine.
So far this year, 364,808 measles cases have been reported around the world.
Measles, which is highly contagious, can be entirely prevented through a two-dose vaccine but WHO has, in recent months, sounded the alarm over vaccination rates.
The Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar and Ukraine registered the highest number of cases, said the organisation.
Notre Dame area sealed off to remove toxic lead
PARIS • The Parisian authorities shut down streets surrounding the Notre Dame Cathedral yesterday to decontaminate them after high levels of lead were registered in the area, following the April blaze that damaged the historic landmark.
The painstaking clean-up work inside Notre Dame itself was suspended last month for safety reasons.
Hundreds of tonnes of lead melted in the fire, which destroyed the cathedral's metal and wood roof.
Experts plan to use two decontamination techniques for the surrounding neighbourhoods, according to the culture ministry.
One method will feature high-pressure water jets with chemical agents.
Another involves spreading a gel on public benches, street lights and other fixtures to absorb the lead, letting it dry for several days before removing it.
The overall operation is expected to take about three weeks.
Rains boost African cocoa production
ACCRA (Ghana) • Farmers in the world's top two cocoa growers are upbeat about the next harvest after heavy rains in recent weeks helped support crop development.
It is an important time of the year for farmers in Ivory Coast and Ghana - which together account for more than 60 per cent of global cocoa production - as they prepare for the bigger of two annual harvests.