Women take ‘top three spots’ in Norway government

Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg, left, walks with newly-appointed Minister for EEA and EU Affairs, Marit Berger Rosland, second left, Minister of Defense, Frank Bakke-Jensen, second right, and Foreign Affairs Minister Ine Eriksen Soreide outside the Norwegian Castle on October 20, 2017. (AFP)
Updated 20 October 2017

Women take ‘top three spots’ in Norway government

OSLO: Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg on Friday announced a cabinet reshuffle putting women in “the top three spots” of government.
Defense Minister Ine Eriksen Soreide was named the country’s new foreign minister to replace her male colleague Borge Brende, who is stepping down to take over as president of the World Economic Forum.
Soreide, 41, is the first woman to become the top diplomat in NATO member Norway.
She joins Solberg and Finance Minister Siv Jensen in holding “the top three spots” in the right-wing government, according to the expression used by Norwegian media.
“We’re not the first in the world but it is a page in Norway’s history that is being written,” Solberg said at a press conference.
The Philippines, Switzerland and Liberia have already had such a constellation, she noted.
Like its Scandinavian neighbors, Norway is a pioneer when it comes to gender equality: back in 1986, the Labour government of female prime minister Gro Harlem Brundtland had almost as many women cabinet members as men, with eight out of 18.
Solberg also announced that Frank Bakke-Jensen would be taking over as defense minister, while his European affairs portfolio would be handed to newcomer Marit Berger Rosland — a woman.
In power since 2013, the right-wing won a narrow victory in legislative elections on September 11.
According to Norwegian media, Solberg could announce another government reshuffle by the end of the year if the small center-right Liberal Party joins the minority coalition, currently made up of Solberg’s Conservatives and Jensen’s anti-immigration Progress Party.


China asks recovered patients to donate plasma for virus treatment

Updated 41 min 35 sec ago

China asks recovered patients to donate plasma for virus treatment

  • Drugmakers are racing to develop a vaccine and treatment for the epidemic

BEJING: Chinese health officials Monday urged patients who have recovered from the coronavirus to donate blood so that plasma can be extracted to treat others who are critically ill.
Drugmakers are racing to develop a vaccine and treatment for the epidemic, which has which killed 1,770 people and infected over 70,500 people across China.
Plasma from patients who have recovered from a spell of pneumonia triggered by COVID-19 contains antibodies that can help reduce the virus load in critically ill patients, an official from China’s National Health Commission told a press briefing Monday.
“I would like to make a call to all cured patients to donate their plasma so that they can bring hope to critically ill patients,” said Guo Yanhong, who heads the NHC’s medical administration department.
Eleven patients at a hospital in Wuhan — the epicenter of the disease — received plasma infusions last week, said Sun Yanrong, of the Biological Center at the Ministry of Science and Technology.
“One patient (among them) has already been discharged, one is able to get off the bed and walk and the others are all recovering,” she said.
The call comes days after China’s state-owned medical products maker reported successful results from its trial at Wuhan First People’s Hospital.
China National Biotec Group Co. said in a post on its official WeChat account that severely ill patients receiving plasma infusions “improved within 24 hours.”
“Clinical studies have shown that infusing plasma (from recovered patients) is safe and effective,” Sun said.
Blood doners will undergo a test to ensure that they are not carrying the virus, said Wang Guiqiang, chief physician at Peking University First Hospital.
“Only plasma is taken, not all the blood,” he said.
“Other components of the blood including red blood cells and platelets will be infused back into the donors.”