BRIEF-Proteon Therapeutics Qtrly loss per share $0.48

2016-08-08 15:32:40

Aug 8 Proteon Therapeutics Inc :* Proteon Therapeutics announces second quarter 2016 financial results * Line data from first phase 3 study, patency-1, this december Source text for Eikon: Further company coverage:

U.S. warplanes launch bombing campaign on Islamic State in Libya

2016-08-02 06:18:21

SIRTE, Libya/WASHINGTON U.S. planes bombed Islamic State targets in Libya on Monday, responding to the U.N.-backed government's request to help push the militants from their former stronghold of Sirte in what U.S. officials described as the start of a sustained campaign against the extremist group in the city."The first air strikes were carried out at specific locations in Sirte today causing severe losses to enemy ranks," Prime Minster Fayez Seraj said on state TV. Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said the strikes did not have "an end point at this particular moment in time". Forces allied with Seraj have been battling Islamic State in Sirte - the home town of former dictator Muammar Gaddafi - since May. The militants seized the Mediterranean coastal city last year, making it their most important base outside Syria and Iraq. But they are now besieged in a few square kilometers of the center, where they hold strategic sites, including the Ouagadougou conference hall, the central hospital and the university.Seraj said the Presidential Council of his Government of National Accord, or GNA, had decided to "activate" its participation in the international coalition against Islamic State and "request the United States to carry out targeted air strikes on Daesh (Islamic State)."The air strikes on Monday - which were authorized by U.S. President Barack Obama - hit an Islamic State tank and two vehicles that posed a threat to forces aligned with Libya's GNA, Cook said.In the future, each individual strike will be coordinated with the GNA and needs the approval of the commander of U.S. forces in Africa, Cook added.This was the third U.S. air strike against Islamic State militants in Libya. But U.S. officials said this one marked the start of a sustained air campaign rather than another isolated strike.The last acknowledged U.S. air strikes in Libya were on an Islamic State training camp in the western city of Sabratha in February.Although it does not include the use of ground troops beyond small special forces squads rotating in and out of Libya and drones collecting intelligence, the air campaign opens a new front in the war against IS and what American officials consider its most dangerous component outside Syria and Iraq. Obama authorized the strikes after a recommendation by U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter. Washington took part in air strikes in 2011 to enforce a no-fly zone in Libya which helped topple Gaddafi. The country has struggled since then and Obama said in an interview with The Atlantic magazine in April that the intervention "didn't work". OPERATIONS IN SIRTE AND SUBURBS"I want to assure you that these operations are limited to a specific timetable and do not exceed Sirte and its suburbs," Seraj said, adding that international support on the ground would be limited to technical and logistical help."GNA-aligned forces have had success in recapturing territory from ISIL (Islamic State) thus far around Sirte, and additional U.S. strikes will continue to target ISIL in Sirte in order to enable the GNA to make a decisive, strategic advance," said Cook, the Pentagon spokesman.The White House said U.S. assistance to Libya would be limited to air strikes and information sharing. "There are unique capabilities that our military can provide to support forces on the ground and that's what the president wanted to do," White House spokesman Eric Schultz told reporters on Air Force One on Monday. But that coordination will be a challenge, experts said.Local forces in Libya fighting Islamic State are diffuse and fragmented, with no single center of command, said Frederic Wehrey, a Libya expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington who recently spent three days with fighters in Sirte."U.S. and Western diplomatic strategy has been to try to boost this GNA, but I think there are certain limits," Wehrey said. "It's not the sort of conventional military operation we would think of where there's a central point of contact."U.S. and Libyan officials estimate that several hundred Islamic State fighters remain in Sirte. Brigades mainly composed of militia from the western city of Misrata advanced on Sirte in May, but their progress was slowed by snipers, mines and booby-traps. Those forces have complained that assistance from the government in Tripoli and external powers was slow to materialize. At least 350 of their fighters have been killed and more than 1,500 wounded in the campaign.Libyan fighter jets have frequently bombed Sirte, but they lack the weapons and technology to make precision strikes.Islamic State took advantage of political chaos and a security vacuum to start expanding into Libya in 2014. It gained control over about 250 km (155 miles) of sparsely populated coastline either side of Sirte, though it has struggled to win support or retain territory elsewhere in the country.The GNA was the result of a U.N.-mediated deal signed in December to end a conflict between two rival governments and the armed groups that supported them. But it is having difficulty imposing its authority and winning backing from factions in the east.Western powers have offered to support the GNA in its efforts to tackle Islamic State, stem the flow of migrants across the Mediterranean and revive Libya's oil production. But foreign intervention is politically sensitive, and the GNA has hesitated to make formal requests for help.U.S. officials were developing military options in Libya earlier this year. But enormous hurdles, including struggles in the formation of a unified Libyan government strong enough to call for and accommodate foreign military assistance, stood in the way. [nL2N15K24F] Small teams of Western countries' special forces have been on the ground in eastern and western Libya for months. Last month France said three of its soldiers had been killed south of the eastern city of Benghazi, where they had been conducting intelligence operations. (Additional reporting by Ahmed Elumami in Tripoli and Idrees Ali in Washington; Editing by Yara Bayoumy and Dan Grebler)

First baby with Zika-related birth defect born in New York City

2016-07-25 17:23:18

New York City has reported its first case of a baby born with the birth defect microcephaly related to exposure to the Zika virus, health officials said on Friday.New York City Department of Health officials said the baby's mother was infected after traveling to an area with ongoing Zika transmission. They declined to provide further details about the mother or child.So far, the city has reported 346 cases of Zika infections, all related to travel. Of these, four have been linked to sexual transmission, including the first case ever of a woman transmitting the virus to a male partner.U.S. health officials have concluded that Zika infections in pregnant women can cause microcephaly, a birth defect marked by small head size that can lead to severe developmental problems in babies. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have now been 12 confirmed cases of babies born with microcephaly in the United States, and more than 400 pregnant woman in the continental U.S. have evidence of Zika infection.Health officials in Florida have been working with the CDC to determine if Zika has arrived in the United States after two residents who have not traveled to areas infected with Zika tested positive for the mosquito-borne virus. The connection between Zika and microcephaly first came to light last fall in Brazil, which has now confirmed more than 1,600 cases of microcephaly that it considers to be related to Zika infections in the mothers. So far, 1,404 people in 46 U.S. states have contracted Zika, including 15 cases that were sexually acquired. CDC is also investigating one possible case of person-to-person transmission of Zika in Utah. (Reporting by Michael Hirtzer in Chicago; editing by Julie Steenhuysen and Bernard Orr)

Utah reports Zika infection in person who cared for man with virus

2016-07-18 22:48:44

CHICAGO A caregiver for an elderly Utah man who died while infected with Zika tested positive for the virus but has recovered, health officials said on Monday. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it has confirmed that a person who helped care for the man who died last month while infected with Zika contracted the virus. But, it said the patient recovered quickly.Utah officials said the infected caregiver had not had any recent travel to an area where the Zika virus is being transmitted nor had the person had sex with an infected individual. Utah officials are still investigating how the person became infected.Gary Edwards, director of the Salt Lake County Health Department, said the infected individual is a family contact of the man who died.Edwards would not say how old the family contact was nor release the person's gender. "We know that the patient had contact with the deceased patient while the deceased patient was very ill. The exact nature of that contact, we are still investigating," he said.Edwards said the cause of the deceased person's death is still under investigation, but the man was infected with Zika at the time of death and officials believe the virus was a contributing factor. He contracted Zika on a trip to a country with active transmission.The CDC said in a statement that testing showed extremely high levels of virus in the deceased man's blood, which were more than 100,000 times higher than seen in other samples of infected people. “The new case in Utah is a surprise, showing that we still have more to learn about Zika,” Dr. Erin Staples, CDC's medical epidemiologist who is in Utah leading an investigation.“Fortunately, the patient recovered quickly, and from what we have seen with more than 1,300 travel-associated cases of Zika in the continental United States and Hawaii, non-sexual spread from one person to another does not appear to be common.”Tom Hudachko, director of communications for the Utah Department of Health, said the case is unique because the infected individual does not have any of the known risk factors associated with Zika.Hudachko said state officials are not aware of any mosquitoes known to carry the Zika virus within Utah. He said there were a few Aedes aegypti mosquitoes - the kind that carry Zika - discovered in traps in the southwestern parts of the state several years ago, but there have not been any since. He said the state does not have any Aedes albopictus mosquitoes, the other type that has been found capable of transmitting Zika."We're looking at all potential contacts between the deceased patient and the new case," he said."We're also doing mosquito trapping near the residence where these individuals lived to make sure this is not a potential route of transmission," Hudachko said. SKIN LACERATIONS MAY PLAY A ROLE According to the CDC, as of July 13, 2016, 1,306 cases of Zika have been reported in the continental United States and Hawaii; none of these have been the result of local spread by mosquitoes.These cases include 14 believed to be the result of sexual transmission and one that was the result of laboratory exposure."We know bodily fluids like saliva and urine can harbor the virus, said Dr. Amesh Adalja, a spokesman for the Infectious Diseases Society of America.He said it will be important to know whether the family contact of the deceased man had any skin lacerations or skin disease that might have allowed the virus access to the patient's blood. (Reporting by Julie Steenhuysen; Editing by Bernard Orr and Cynthia Osterman)

Beijing vows to ignore high-stakes South China Sea ruling

2016-07-12 11:14:22

AMSTERDAM/BEIJING China said it will ignore a ruling expected on Tuesday by an arbitration court in The Hague in a case in which the Philippines is challenging Beijing's right to exploit resources across the South China Sea.China has boycotted the hearings at the Permanent Court of Arbitration, saying it does not have jurisdiction over the dispute.Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang, asked how China would be getting the ruling, said it would have nothing to do with the court."We won't accept any of their so-called materials, no matter what they are," Lu told reporters. The ruling stands to ramp up tensions in the region, where China's increased military assertiveness has worried its smaller neighbours and is a point of confrontation with the United States.China claims most of the energy-rich waters through which about $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year. Neighbours Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims.The United States and China regularly conduct military exercises in the area and have regularly accused each other of militarising the region.Influential state-run Chinese newspaper the Global Times said in an editorial on Tuesday that China's reaction to the ruling "depends on provocation"."So far, none of the concerned parties want military confrontation. But all are ratcheting up military preparations," it said.U.S. diplomatic, military and intelligence officers said China’s reaction to the court’s decision will largely determine how other claimants, as well as the United States, responded. If, for example, China accelerates or escalates its military activities in the disputed area, the U.S. and other nations will have little choice but to respond with new and possibly enlarged and multinational maritime freedom of navigation and aerial missions, the U.S. officials said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. Contingency planning for such exercises is already completed or in its final stages, said one of the officials, who quickly added: “We hope it doesn’t come to that.”Even if Beijing ignores the decision, it is significant as it will be the first time that a legal challenge has been brought in the dispute, which covers some of the world's most promising oil and gas fields and vital fishing grounds. [hereIt reflects the shifting balance of power in the 3.5 million sq km sea, where China has been expanding its presence by building artificial islands and dispatching patrol boats that keep Philippine fishing vessels away.Around 100 members of a Philippine nationalist group demonstrated outside the Chinese consulate in Manila on Tuesday, calling on Beijing to accept the decision and leave the Scarborough Shoal, a popular fishing zone off limits to Filipinos since 2012. WILL JUDGES "GO BIG"?The case, brought by the Philippines in 2013, hinges on the legal status of reefs, rocks and artificial islands in the Scarborough Shoal and Spratly Island group. Manila's 15-point case critically asks the tribunal to rule on the status of China's so-called "nine-dash line", a boundary that is the basis for its 69-year-old claim to roughly 85 percent of the South China Sea.The tribunal will not decide on matters of territorial sovereignty, but will apply the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in determining which countries can claim economic exploitation rights, based on geographic features. Under the 1982 UNCLOS, islands grant their owners a 12 nautical mile radius of sovereign territorial waters.Manila argued in closed court hearings that none of the islands, shoals and reefs in the Spratlys are large enough to grant an additional 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) for fishing and extracting seabed resources.Manila also contests China's effective control of the Scarborough Shoal, a scattering of rocks off the coast of the Philippines' Luzon island, seeking a ruling that would show it sits within the Philippines' EEZ.A decision on the nine-dash-line's legality would signal that the court's judges had "decided to go big", said Julian Ku, law professor at Hofstra University. "If the nine-dash line were declared invalid, then in theory all the other countries would be emboldened." The court has no power of enforcement, but a victory for the Philippines could spur Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei to file similar cases.Japan, which is involved in a separate territorial dispute with China in the East China Sea, said its military would closely monitor Chinese activity after the ruling."We urge all parties concerned to react in a way that does not raise tensions," Defence Minister Gen Nakatani told a briefing in Tokyo. "We will keep a close watch on the situation in the East China Sea." (Additional reporting by Manuel Mogato and Martin Petty in Manila, Tim Kelly in Tokyo, John Walcott in Washington.; Editing by Anthony Deutsch, Gareth Jones, Lincoln Feast and Nick Macfie)

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