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      Cuban medicine achieves over 95% heart surgery survival rate

      October 9, 2015 (Granma News)

      Cuba has achieved a heart surgery survival rate of over 95%, including coronary and vascular operations and those linked to congenital heart defects, a figure which places the island among the most advanced countries in this field. The information was provided during the Cardiovilla 2015 International Congress, which is being held in the Euro Star Hotel in Cayo Santa María.

      According to statements by Dr Eduardo Rivas, president of the Cuban Society of Cardiology, the result corresponds to the will of the Cuban government to improve the population’s quality of life, together with the efforts of the existing cardio-surgical network across the country.

      He also revealed the excellent results in pediatric heart surgery, with a high rate of effectiveness, as a result of early diagnosis of sick children, with immediate intervention before the disease develops. He stressed that heart disease remains one of the leading causes of death in Cuba, hence the importance of the work carried out by the 600 doctors who make up the Society of Cardiology in combating these conditions.

      The president of the Cuban Society of Cardiology acknowledged the work of the Comandante Ernesto Che Guevara Cardiology Center, which hosted the event, an institution that has the best indicators of the country in the majority of the measurable parameters in this field, including a survival rate for vascular surgery of over 99%. The event, which brings together cardiac surgeons and other specialists, began on Thursday, October 8, and will continue until Saturday morning. 278 delegates from 21 countries are attending, to discuss various topics of interest related to the specialty, Dr. Raul Dueñas, director of the Cardiology Center, based in Villa Clara, explained.

      Among the main topics to be addressed are cardiac and vascular surgery, interventional cardiology, electrophysiology, cardiac imaging and all areas relating to preventive care.

      The event will also see the presentation of products from several leading international firms in the manufacture of equipment and supplies for the treatment of heart disease.

      CELAC to Present First Joint Agreement at a COP Meeting

      November 2 ,2015 (TeleSUR English)

      The 33 member countries of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) are set to agree on a joint position that for the first time ever the bloc will present at a COP climate change summit. The CELAC is meeting this week in Ecuador to discuss their position to be presented in the upcoming COP21, also known as the 2015 Paris U.N. Climate Conference, officials said Monday.

      The foreign and environment ministries of the regional organization will meet on Thursday and Friday in the Ecuadorean capital Quito, to elaborate the draft that will be presented in December in Paris, which has been billed as the most important climate summit in history. The meeting will take place at Union of South American Countries (UNASUR) headquarters.

      Latin America and the Caribbean are expected to play a very important role at the COP21, since the region has over the past years shown a strong commitment in forging very important global agreements to address climate change.

      The Bolivian city of Cochabamba last month held the Second World People’s Conference on Climate Change, during which President Evo Morales along with his colleagues from Ecuador, Rafael Correa, and Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, agreed to speak for the “Pachamama,” or Mother Earth, and civil society during the COP21 summit in Paris.

      The three Latin American leaders also agreed to push forward the creation of an agency for environmental justice, which will force the most polluting countries in the world to recognize the damage they have caused in other nations through exploitation of natural resources and pollution. The proposal also includes the economic reparation for damages caused by those nations.

      The main goal of the COP21 meeting is to agree on ways of maintaining global warming below the 2-degree-Celsius threshold, as well as to implement viable solutions worldwide to combat the adverse effects of global climate change.

      Thousands of world leaders, high-level officials, experts and representatives are expected to attend the summit in Paris, as well as pressure groups. Massive protests are also expected to be carried out during the summit which is scheduled to last 12 days.

      Venezuelan Housing Mission Builds 100,000 Homes in 10 Months

      October 20, 2015 (TeleSUR English)

      The Venezuelan government's housing mission has constructed nearly 100,000 new homes since the start of the year, according to figures released Tuesday.

      The mission has now constructed a total of 752,585 housing units, Housing Minister Manuel Quevedo said. In January the ministry put the number of completed housing units at just under 676,000, suggesting the government is building an average of more than 200 units each day.

      “At this rate, 1 million people will be provided with homes by the end of 2015,” Quevedo said.

      One of the Venezuelan government's most popular social initiatives, the housing mission was first launched to provide shelter for people who lost their homes in devastating floods that hit the country in 2010. However, since then, the mission has expanded to provide low-cost housing to the wider population, with poor families receiving priority. Units are generally provided fully furnished. The houses are offered either for free or at a low cost, depending on the means of the prospective owners.

      In 2011, then-President Hugo Chavez explained that the mission would address the “social debt” left behind by former governments that failed to provide quality housing to all Venezuelans.

      The current administration of President Nicolas Maduro has vowed to continue expanding the mission, aiming to provide low-cost housing to 40 percent of Venezuelans by the end of the decade.

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