Month: November 2020

Georgia protests: Tbilisi police fire water cannon at demonstrators

first_imgThe ruling party denies the opposition’s claims of electoral fraud in the parliamentary vote.- Advertisement –last_img

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US election: Joe Biden backs Covid vow with new task force

first_img– Advertisement – The vaccine is a “significant step” forward for getting life back to normal, but challenges remain. ‘Milestone’ vaccine offers 90% Covid protection- Advertisement –last_img

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Sheffield Wednesday: Phil Neville on the list of candidates to be next manager | Football News

first_imgPaul Cook, Manager of Wigan Athletic reacts following the Sky Bet Championship match between Barnsley and Wigan Athletic at Oakwell Stadium on July 11, 2020 in Barnsley, England. Football Stadiums around Europe remain empty due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in all fixtures being played behind closed doorsImage:Paul Cook is one of the favourites to take over at Hillsborough Sheffield Wednesday manager Garry Monk Image:Garry Monk was sacked after just three wins from their opening 11 games of the season 1:56 preview image In April, Neville announced he would not be renewing his contract with the FA when it expires in July next year and is known to be considering a move into club football. The Owls finished 16th last season and had just climbed off the bottom of the table last weekend after a points deduction for breaking EFL rules was halved from 12 points to six on appeal. If he were to become Wednesday’s next managerial recruit, Neville would be expected to forego his role as manager of Great Britain’s women at the Tokyo Olympics next year.Former Wigan boss Paul Cook is one of the bookies early favourites alongside Tony Pulis.- Advertisement – A run of four straight league defeats was ended with last week’s 1-0 win against Bournemouth but Saturday’s goalless draw with Millwall at Hillsborough left them 23rd in the table. England Women manager Phil Neville is on a list of potential candidates to replace Garry Monk at Sheffield Wednesday.Monk’s sacking was exclusively revealed by Sky Sports News on Monday night with the Championship club languishing in 23rd spot in the table.- Advertisement – Ex-Leicester and Watford manager Nigel Pearson, a former Wednesday defender, has also been linked with a return to Hillsborough. Highlights of the Sky Bet Championship match between Sheffield Wed and Millwall. However, Pearson has previously suggested he would not want to manage in the city where his family home is.The former Swansea and Leeds boss had been in charge of the Championship outfit for just over a year.- Advertisement – – Advertisement –last_img read more

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What Todd Gloria, San Diego’s New Mayor, Hopes to Accomplish in Office

first_imgThis week, I spoke with Mr. Gloria about his win and his priorities. Here’s our conversation, lightly edited and condensed:Tell me about how you’re feeling and what it means to have all these historic distinctions, especially in the context of Kamala Harris’s win. As a native San Diegan, this feels particularly sweet because growing up, I didn’t see a lot of people like me in government and that is now changing. And I think about what this accomplishment may mean for children of color, young L.G.B.T.Q. youth, who question if there’s a place for them in the city. And I hope that my election tells them that there is, if they’re willing to work hard.- Advertisement – It often feels like a smaller town, though — especially in its local politics. As the Voice of San Diego reported recently, its mayor-elect, Todd Gloria, currently a state assemblyman, aims to change that.Mr. Gloria will be the city’s first mayor of color and first openly gay mayor.He may also be the most powerful mayor the city has ever had, The Los Angeles Times reported, as a Democrat leading a Democratic-majority council in the city’s “strong mayor” system. (Mayor Kevin Faulconer is known as a moderate Republican, more in line with past mayors. And he will be termed out.)- Advertisement – I’m hopeful that a Biden-Harris administration will be a better partner from a federal perspective, particularly as it relates to very low-income housing, Section 8, public housing.But from a local level, there’s a lot we can do.San Diego has long had a low-income housing trust fund, and that has successfully financed and built thousands of low-income housing units. I believe it’s time that we create a middle-income housing trust. That would construct housing that is priced for working- and middle-class people — the folks who don’t earn enough for the market rate housing being built, but earn too much to qualify for the low-income programs that currently exist.I think where we start to see opposition is when people feel that houses are being constructed without adequate infrastructure to protect quality of life.That’s where we have to focus some of our time and attention to make sure that this density happens in these communities where it makes the most sense, that those communities are receiving the investment in parks and mobility and other assets to make sure that what they like about their community is actually enhanced.San Diego County was just moved into the most restrictive purple tier of the state’s reopening plan after hanging on in the red tier for weeks. What’s your reaction to that? And how are you thinking about the city’s role in the response?Obviously, it’s regrettable. And I know there are a lot of small businesses that are very concerned about this development, and particularly the sort of whipsaw back and forth, being open and being closed. That kind of uncertainty is bad for business generally. But it may be deadly. The only solution is to contain the virus.The city can play a cooperative role in this effort by making sure that we continue to fight whatever pandemic fatigue there is, reinforce messaging around our individual responsibility to our collective challenge. And as much as we talk a lot about business — and it’s understandable — I feel that we need to talk more about schools. In San Diego, where the city does not oversee the school district, there’s historically been a temptation to say that is therefore not our responsibility. I’m not willing to say that — it goes back to the small town, big city thing. You know, if you’re in the business of building a great city, you can’t do it without good schools.[See California coronavirus case counts.]Right now, our public schools are largely closed. And that’s because they can’t provide the testing and personal protective equipment and other precautions that are necessary to safely reopen.I think that through working with the county, the state, the federal government, and I think particularly working with the creative relationship with the University of California, San Diego, that we can provide more resources, specifically in the form of testing, to allow our schools to more safely reopen.I think that is going to be critical for businesses to reopen, for employees to be able to go back to work, to ultimately get our economy reopened.(This article is part of the California Today newsletter. Sign up to get it delivered to your inbox.)California Today goes live at 6:30 a.m. Pacific time weekdays. Tell us what you want to see: [email protected] Were you forwarded this email? Sign up for California Today here and read every edition online here.Jill Cowan grew up in Orange County, graduated from U.C. Berkeley and has reported all over the state, including the Bay Area, Bakersfield and Los Angeles — but she always wants to see more. Follow along here or on Twitter.California Today is edited by Julie Bloom, who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from U.C. Berkeley. [See California election results.]Can you say more about what you mean when you say, and I’m paraphrasing, that San Diego is a big city, so it should act like one?So I hate to start with a negative, but it doesn’t mean turning San Diego into Los Angeles. In fact, it’s in my DNA to resist that.But here are a couple of quick examples of what I do mean: A good chunk of the primary election was spent debating vacation rentals and scooters. And these are our issues, but they’re not the biggest issues, and frankly, they’re issues other cities have successfully addressed. And we have not.Another example is we’re spending more than we ever have on homelessness, but we’re not seeing the progress that San Diegans expect. And I think that’s largely because we’re not spending the money in following national best practices.We’re doing things like buying indoor skydiving facilities to convert into homeless services centers that don’t have any housing. That’s small-town thinking in a big city.I want to talk more about housing. I saw that you didn’t support S.B. 50, for instance, but you’ve been supportive of zoning for greater density in some areas. What’s your plan?From where I sit as a state legislator, I see San Diego making efforts and I see a lot of cities doing nothing. So the state’s involvement in this, I think, is important. [Read the background on California’s key races this election.]I’m sure you’ve been over this, but for those of us who aren’t fortunate enough to live in San Diego, can you tell me about your background?So my background is a little more complex and I love our vice president-elect because she’s making “multiracial” understandable. I remember growing up and basically having Tiger Woods and Mariah Carey to point to.I describe myself as being a quintessential San Diegan. I am Native American, Filipino, Puerto Rican and Dutch. And the way that happened is that all four of my grandparents came to San Diego because of the military and to work in the defense industry.You have these people from these very different backgrounds who are able to come here and make a life for themselves and I worry very much that stories like theirs are not replicable in San Diego in 2020. My public service is about trying to make sure those pathways of opportunity continue to exist. Good morning.San Diego is California’s second biggest city. Its population of roughly 1.4 million also makes it the nation’s eighth biggest city, just after San Antonio and before Dallas.- Advertisement – – Advertisement –last_img read more

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Goldman strategist who made big market call this week says these stocks are the ‘best opportunity’

first_imgTraders work the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.NYSE – Advertisement – – Advertisement – – Advertisement – (This story is for CNBC Pro subscribers only.)David Kostin, Goldman Sachs chief U.S. equity strategist, said historically cheap health care stocks are due for a rally, calling them the “best opportunity” after the election.The strategist turned heads this week with a bullish outlook for the market on the back of a possible successful vaccine. On Wednesday, he hiked his year-end S&P 500 target to 3,700 from 3,600. But the bigger call was that he expects the broad equity benchmark to rally to 4,300 by the end of 2021, which represents a 21% gain from here.last_img read more

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Realme Buds Air Pro Review

first_imgAlthough not quite as detailed-sounding as the Oppo Enco W51, the Realme Buds Air Pro is a comfortable, easy-going pair of earphones. The sound was clean, entertaining, and free of irritations. I used my OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren Edition to test the Realme Buds Air Pro, with Spotify, YouTube Music, and Tidal to stream music over the AAC Bluetooth codec.Starting with Tidal Masters, the Realme Buds Air Pro sounded decent enough, but didn’t seem to be putting the excellent audio stream quality to any real use. The sound was clean and enjoyable, but the level of insight and detail that the Lypertek Tevi can bring out with this same track and streaming service was missing.Even compared to the similarly positioned Oppo Enco W51, the Realme Buds Air Pro wasn’t doing too much to draw out the detail and definition in the Tidal Masters tracks; Supalonely by Benee sounded just the same as when playing a lower quality stream on Spotify, with a safe sonic signature. The catchy beat was enjoyable, with strong bass response, comfortable mids and highs, and enough detail to make this a pleasant pair of earphones to listen to.While there was some detail to be heard in the sound, it wasn’t a vast amount; instead, I could hear small hints of definition and detail rather than the more natural and balanced approach that the Oppo Enco W51 and Lypertek Tevi bring to the music. Switching to compressed audio on Spotify retained the decent soundstage and the level of detail, suggesting that the Realme Buds Air Pro is being held back by its drivers and tuning, rather than codec support.Active noise cancellation on the Realme Buds Air Pro is decent for the price, offering slightly better performance than on the similarly priced Oppo Enco W51. This is still budget performance, offering an audible reduction of most background sound, but the ANC isn’t as intelligent and sensitive to changes in the environment as on more expensive pairs of headphones.realme buds air pro review case Realme Realme Buds Air ProThe charging case has a USB Type-C port Which are the best truly wireless earphones under Rs. 10,000? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.Affiliate links may be automatically generated – see our ethics statement for details. realme buds air pro review main 2 Realme Realme Buds Air ProThe Realme Buds Air Pro is among the most affordable true wireless earphones to feature active noise cancellation Although the changes from product to product have been gradual, Realme has come a long way in a short time. The Realme Buds Air Pro looks considerably better than most of the company’s earlier earphones. It also fits a lot better and more comfortably, thanks to a proper in-canal design, unlike the outer-ear fit of the Realme Buds Air and Buds Air Neo. I quite liked the glossy plastic finish of the Realme Buds Air Pro, and I’m of the opinion that the black version looks a bit better than the white one that I was sent for review.The charging case is a bit larger and nicer looking than what I’ve seen on earlier Realme true wireless headsets. The earphones latch into the case and the lid snaps shut magnetically. The easy-to-miss pairing button is on the right side, while an indicator light at the front tells you the charge status of the case itself.Each earpiece has three microphones – two for active and environmental noise cancellation, and one to capture your voice on calls. The earphones are IPX4 rated for water resistance, and are powered by 10mm dynamic drivers. For connectivity, the headset uses Bluetooth 5 with support for the SBC and AAC codecs. There is also a super-low-latency mode, which Realme claims can bring down the audio delay to 94ms.- Advertisement – Realme’s foray into audio started with the basics; the affordable wired Realme Buds wasn’t the most impressive offering in its segment even back then, but it was a reasonable first attempt from a company that only started selling smartphones in India in 2018. Since then, Realme has launched many more models, including wired, wireless, and true wireless headsets. The Realme Buds Air Pro is its most expensive pair of earphones yet.Priced at Rs. 4,999, the Realme Buds Air Pro offers premium features that are rare in this price segment, including active noise cancellation and app support. Like many of Realme’s other audio products, the Buds Air Pro is feature-filled and rather impressive on paper. but how do these earphones perform? We review the Realme Buds Air Pro to find out.- Advertisement – – Advertisement – These earphones tended to reduce low-end frequencies more than high-frequency ones. This was particularly evident with a cleaning robot; the low rumble of the air exhaust was made quieter, but the high-pitched whirring of the suction motor didn’t seem to be affected at all.There is also a transparency mode, which sounded very natural to me. It didn’t completely open up the microphones, only allowing a bit of sound in for a natural ambient listening effect. Gaming mode worked well in terms of a noticeable reduction in latency (at the slight cost of detail), and the Realme Buds Air Pro also performed well on voice and video calls.VerdictRealme’s slow and calculated approach to the audio segments it enters has finally come to fruition with the Buds Air Pro. This is a good pair of true wireless earphones that offers a lot for the price, and unlike most of Realme’s earlier audio products, has no significant drawbacks. It’s a well-designed, feature-filled headset, and sounds decent as well.If you’re looking for a good pair of true wireless earphones for less than Rs. 5,000, the Realme Buds Air Pro is among the best you can buy from an all-round perspective. Although it isn’t exceptional in any single way, it offers capable and entirely functional performance overall, including sound quality, ANC, and battery life. The Oppo Enco W51 may sound a bit better at the same price and does also support wireless charging, but the Realme Buds Air Pro offers better app support, features, and active noise cancellation, making this a worthwhile alternative.Price: Rs. 4,999ProsGood looks, comfortable fitActive noise cancellationLots of useful featuresDecent, safe sonic signatureConsNot very detailed soundANC isn’t very sensitive to changes and high-frequency soundsAverage battery lifeRatings (out of 5)Design/ comfort: 4Audio quality: 3.5Battery life: 3.5Value for money: 4.5Overall: 4 There are touch sensors on the outer part of each earpiece, and the Realme Buds Air Pro recognises simple tap-based controls. These can be customised through the Realme Link app for Android. Although I did occasionally have misfires, the tap controls usually worked well for me. You can assign four different functions to the double-tap and triple-tap gestures on either side, including the ability to control playback, cycle through noise control modes including ANC and hear-through, invoke the default voice assistant on your smartphone, or deactivate the gesture.The app also lets you see the battery level of each earpiece and the case, change the noise control mode, and activate one of the three special modes – Game, Volume Enhancer, and Bass Boost+. You can also update the firmware for the earphones, if or when updates are made available. The app worked well for me, but I didn’t need it for much beyond the initial setup of the headset.The key addition that sets the Realme Buds Air Pro apart from the rest of the company’s true wireless product range is active noise cancellation. There is also support for Google Fast Pair, and once connected and linked to your Google account, you can check the battery levels of the earphones and case through a pop-up display on the Android system itself, which can be seen in your notification shade. This pop-up shows up every time the earphones are connected to the smartphone.You get a total of four pairs of ear tips in the box, along with a USB Type-C cable for charging. The case supports fast charging for a claimed three hours of playback time from 10 minutes of charging. I was able to fully charge the earphones and case in about two hours. The earphones ran for around four hours per charge with active noise cancellation usually enabled and with music playing at moderate volumes. The charging case added three full charges to the earphones, for a total battery life of around 16 hours per charge cycle.The Realme Buds Air Pro sounds pretty goodSome pretty impressive true wireless headsets have launched over the last couple of months, including the Huawei FreeBuds 3i and Oppo Enco W51, that have pushed the boundaries of what’s possible on a budget. With the Buds Air Pro, Realme joins this group in producing true wireless earphones that truly defy expectations attached to the price. This is a capable pair of earphones with good sound, decent active noise cancellation, and worthwhile features, all at a very good price.realme buds air pro review single Realme Realme Buds Air ProThe earphones have touch controls, which are customisable through the Realme Link app Lots of features in the Realme Buds Air Pro- Advertisement –last_img read more

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EasyJet q4 2020 earnings

first_imgDespite the troubling times for the business, EasyJet’s CEO said the company was on track to benefit from a recovery phase.“We also know the attraction to the brand in terms of the trust it generates for customers, and also, the value for money that we represent gives a good foundation and bounce back strongly when the recovery comes,” Johan Lundgren, EasyJet CEO, told CNBC’s Squawk Box Europe Monday.Shares of EasyJet are around 45% lower since the start of 2020. EasyJet reported revenue of £3 billion for its full 2020 fiscal year, marking a drop of 52.9% from the previous year.The number of passengers also sank by 50% over the same period on the back of stay-at-home orders, quarantine policies and other Covid-related restrictions.Other highlights for the year:Capacity down by 45.7% from 2019.Revenue reached £3 billion vs £6.4 billion a year ago.Load factor down by 4.3 percentage points.- Advertisement – – Advertisement – Sean Gallup | Getty Images center_img LONDON — Revenue at EasyJet fell more than 50% in the year to the end of September, the company said on Tuesday, after the coronavirus pandemic brought the travel industry to a halt. The British airline said it was only expecting to fly about 20% of its planned capacity in the final three months of 2020. – Advertisement – – Advertisement –last_img read more

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The great T20 XI that never was: Historical cricketers who would have loved shortest form | Cricket News

first_img– Advertisement – Graeme Pollock (South Africa)Pollock’s Test career, which was ended at the age of 26 by South Africa’s exile from international cricket, was already a great one. In his 23 Tests he had scored 2,256 runs at an average of 60.97. His off-side play was elegant and the fact that he was a stroke-maker always gave the bowler hope that they might end up having the better of him, but few did. In 1974 he scored the first double-hundred in List A cricket, with his unbeaten 222 remaining one of the highest individual scores in that form of the game to this day.Zaheer Abbas (Pakistan)By the time he retired, the man universally known as ‘Zed’ was renowned as one of the most elegant players of all time and the first – and so far, only – batsman from the subcontinent to score a hundred first‐class centuries. His ODI record was superb, averaging 47.62 at a strike rate of 84.80, and he was the first player to score three successive centuries in that form of the game. To put that into context, the overall strike rate in ODI cricket over the course of his career was just 70.60 – a far cry from the exaggerated scoring rates of modern times – so he was scoring 20 per cent faster than the average batsman over that period.Denis Compton (England)Compton was possibly the first ‘film star’ cricketer, with looks to match his talent on the field. As a batsman he had all the strokes, and memorably played his famous sweep shot to regain the Ashes at The Oval in 1953 after they had been in Australian hands for 19 years. The following year, he struck his highest Test score of 278 against Pakistan at Trent Bridge, which included 173 runs between lunch and tea on the second day – still the record for the most runs by an individual in a single session of play in a Test. He could bowl, too, taking 622 first‐class wickets with his left‐arm wrist‐spin. – Advertisement – West Indies legend Clyde Walcott's powerful batting would have seen him succeed in Twenty20 cricket, says Benedict Bermange
West Indies legend Clyde Walcott's powerful batting would have seen him succeed in Twenty20 cricket, says Benedict Bermange

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Monkeys serve as first animal model of smallpox

first_img The authors say that the ideal animal model of smallpox would more closely resemble ordinary smallpox in humans, with a longer clinical course and without hemorrhagic manifestations, but would still cause high mortality. They tried to achieve this by giving monkeys lower doses of virus, which resulted in both reduced hemorrhage and lower mortality. “The demonstration that variola virus strains can produce lethal disease in monkeys is a significant advance toward the development of antiviral drugs and improved vaccines, as well as an improved understanding of variola pathogenesis,” says the report by Peter B. Jahrling of the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) and colleagues from USAMRIID, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Stanford University. Under the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) “animal efficacy rule,” treatments and vaccines can be approved on the basis of animal data alone if human trials are impractical or unethical, as in the case of smallpox. The FDA rule requires that the actual pathogen be used and that “the disease process be faithful to the human disease,” the report notes. Nineteen of 21 monkeys that received the highest doses of virus died, most of them within 6 days after exposure. Of 12 monkeys that received a lower dose, only one died. Both strains of virus were lethal to most of the monkeys at the highest doses, and the infections were mostly fatal regardless of whether exposure was by injection and aerosol or by injection alone. Oct 14, 2004 (CIDRAP News) – Federal researchers report they have succeeded in infecting monkeys with fatal smallpox, creating the first animal model of the disease for use in testing vaccines and treatments for humans. The team previously reported exposing two groups of monkeys to a variola virus aerosol, which caused infection but not serious illness. In the present experiment, the researchers used two other variola strains (Harper and India 7124). Groups of monkeys received either an intravenous injection of virus accompanied by aerosol exposure or an IV injection alone. Analysis of tissue from the infected monkeys has already yielded some information about how smallpox changes gene activity in cells attacked by the virus, yielding clues about how it overcomes host defenses, according to a separate report in PNAS. “The i.v. inoculation of high doses of variola virus produced an overwhelming, hemorrhagic disease course, ending in acute deaths, usually within 6 days of inoculation,” the report states. Postmortem examination showed high levels of virus and widespread hemorrhages in the monkeys’ organs. Researchers exposed cynomolgus macaques to high doses of variola (smallpox) virus, causing most of them to die of the hemorrhagic form of smallpox within a few days, according to an online report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Scientists previously thought that humans were the only species susceptible to smallpox.center_img Jahrling PB, Hensley LE, Martinez MJ, et al. Exploring the potential of variola virus infection of cynomolgus macaques as a model for human smallpox. Proc Nat Acad Sci 2004 Oct 11 (published online before print) (Full text) The use of IV inoculation of the virus eliminated the incubation and prodromal stages of natural smallpox, causing “instantaneous viremia” and resulting in a much shorter clinical course than was typical when smallpox still existed in humans, the authors note. “Yet, the sequence of events in the monkeys is similar to human hemorrhagic smallpox, a form that was almost always fatal.” In humans, only about 2% to 3% of smallpox cases were hemorrhagic. Rubins KH, Hensley LE, Jahrling PB, et al. The host response to smallpox: analysis of the gene expression program in peripheral blood cells in a nonhman primate model. Proc Nat Acad Sci 2004 Oct 11 (published online before print) (Full text) David Relman, MD, of Stanford University, and colleagues analyzed how the smallpox infection altered gene expression in the monkeys’ blood cells, according to a news release from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which supported the research. The researchers used DNA microarrays, a fairly new tool, to examine changes in levels of gene expression and expression of some proteins in the blood of infected monkeys. The success of Jahrling and his team in inducing lethal smallpox in monkeys has been no secret, having been described in Richard Preston’s 2002 book The Demon in the Freezer. But the current PNAS report is apparently the first full description of the research in a journal. “This new research fills in some of the gaps in our understanding of smallpox,” NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci, MD, said in the news release. “Now we are better positioned to speed the development of protective measures.” The article says that variola and monkeypox viruses cause very similar diseases in monkeys. Accordingly, the authors hope to test most smallpox countermeasures in the monkeypox model. “The variola primate model would be reserved for testing only those countermeasures that have passed all other FDA requirements for drug or vaccine licensure,” they state.last_img read more

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Asian nations vow cooperation on avian flu

first_imgDec 2, 2004 (CIDRAP News) – As public health ministers and officials from 13 Asian countries conferred in Bangkok last week on how to prevent the spread of H5N1 avian influenza, experts offered troubling predictions.The highly lethal H5N1 strain, which has claimed tens of millions of poultry across eastern Asia this year, is the world’s likeliest candidate to cause global devastation in the form of a human flu pandemic, according to experts from the World Health Organization (WHO).While acknowledging that all estimates are essentially guesses, WHO experts have predicted in recent weeks that a pandemic could kill anywhere from 2 million to 100 million people.Confirmed H5N1 avian flu has already killed 32 people and sickened 12 more in Vietnam and Thailand this year. What is keeping the disease in check, for now, is the virus’s inability to spread easily from person to person.Under the shadow of that threat, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and other Asian countries sought to reach agreements on how to collaborate to prevent the spread of the disease at a conference that ended Nov 26.In a joint closing statement, delegates pledged to collaborate through prompt and open communication, research, and allocation of resources, according to a press release from the WHO’s Western Pacific Region Office. The nations also agreed to prepare contingency plans for a human flu pandemic.”We believe a pandemic is highly likely, unless intensified international efforts are made to take control of the situation,” said Dr. Shigeru Omi, WHO western Pacific regional director, in the press release. “When I contemplate the ‘where, how, and when’ of a possible influenza pandemic, I find myself faced with an inescapable conclusion—that we who are assembled in this room have an historic role to play in addressing a global health threat that continues in our region.”In a Nov 29 speech in Hong Kong, Omi predicted that a pandemic could cause 20 million to 50 million deaths, or possibly up to 100 million, according to a Nov 29 New York Times report.Omi’s opinion that a pandemic is highly likely was echoed in a report released recently by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academies. “The danger mounts as the world’s capacity to produce vaccines shrinks and H5N1 reaches endemic levels in poultry in many parts of Asia,” says the report, titled “The Threat of Pandemic Influenza: Are We Ready?” The 300-page report is a summary of a conference held in June.Meanwhile, members of ASEAN are addressing local avian flu problems.Thai government officials made several recent announcements about progress against H5N1, although they encountered setbacks as well. They announced that a vaccine to protect humans against avian flu is expected to be ready by 2007, following clinical trials in Thailand, according to an Associated Press story Nov 24. A Dec 1 story from the Thai News Agency said the government was claiming success in efforts to prevent the H5N1 virus from mutating. The same story noted the plans have not worked everywhere because villagers sometimes hid news of dying birds for fear of having their flocks culled.In addition, the story said authorities in northern Thailand’s Chiang Mai province will meet with owners of cock-fighting rings later this month to discuss reopening rings and how to prevent fighting cocks from spreading H5N1. An 18-year-old Thai man who often sucked fluids from the mouths of his fighting birds died from H5N1, according to a New York Times story on Nov 7.Thailand reported to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) that between Nov 18 and 25 it logged 17 new H5N1 outbreaks, leading to the deaths of more than 16,000 fowl.Hong Kong authorities said on Nov 29 they may bar shopkeepers from slaughtering poultry, a popular practice for assuring shoppers that their purchases are fresh, according to a story compiled from news agencies and published on the China Daily web site yesterday.Scientists have struggled against the practice of killing chickens at markets since Hong Kong’s first bout with human H5N1, which killed six people in 1997. The poultry industry has strongly opposed the ban in the past, the China Daily report said. However, the government is pursuing the plan, which could include creating one large central slaughterhouse or limiting the slaughter to a few areas, the story said.See also:IOM report “The Threat of Pandemic Influenza: Are We Ready? Workshop Summary”http://www.nap.edu/books/0309095042/html/last_img read more

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