NEWS SCAN: Avian flu, tainted Baxter flu materials, anthrax attack findings , drug-resistant malaria, homeland security, E coli in well water

first_imgFeb 26, 2009Avian flu detected in Vietnam, EnglandThe H5N1 virus struck poultry in another Vietnamese province, Dien Bien in the northern part of the country, raising the number of affected provinces to 11, Xinhua, China’s state news agency, reported today. Authorities culled about 1,460 ducks and destroyed more than 1,000 eggs to stop the spread of the virus. Elsewhere, British officials have detected avian influenza at two small Bernard Matthews turkey-breeding farms in England, but have so far ruled out H5 and H7 strains, the United Kingdom’s Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) said today[Feb 26 Xinhua story][Feb 26 DEFRA press release]Czech lab incident updateNew details about H5N1-contaminated virus samples that caused a scare at a Czech Republic lab emerged today in a report from the Canadian Press (CP). The tainted Baxter International product was an “experimental virus material” that was supposed to contain the H3N2 virus. The product was distributed to an Austrian company to subcontractors in the Czech Republic, Slovenia, and Germany. Officials continue to investigate.[Feb 26 CP story]Scientists share anthrax investigation findingsThe chemical components of the Bacillus anthracis spores sent in letters in the 2001 bioterrorism incidents don’t match the bacteria in a flask linked to Bruce Ivins, according to experts who presented their findings at an American Society for Microbiology biodefense meeting on Feb 24, Nature News reported yesterday. The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI’s) Jason Bannan, however, said that spores from the flask could have been removed and grown under different conditions that exposed them to different chemicals. The FBI has alleged that Ivins, who committed suicide, mailed letters in 2001 that contained the deadly pathogen.[Feb 25 Nature News story]WHO says drug resistance could stonewall malaria controlParasite resistance to artemisinin detected at the Thailand-Cambodian border could undermine global efforts to control malaria, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a statement yesterday. The parasite can adapt more easily to monotherapies, so health officials have instead supported treating uncomplicated infections with a combination therapy containing artemisinin. The WHO said it has received a $22.5 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to help contain the spread of the resistant parasites.[Feb 25 WHO statement]White House orders homeland security reviewThe Obama administration issued its first presidential study directive (PSD) in Feb 23 ordering an interagency team to review how the White House coordinates its homeland security and counterterrorism capacities, Federal News Radio (FNR) reported yesterday. The White House has replaced homeland security directives with PSDs, FNR reported.[Feb 25 FNR story]E coli turns up in wells near outbreak siteSeventeen of 74 private wells in Locust Grove, Okla., tested positive for Escherichia coli, a pathogen that caused an outbreak linked to a local restaurant, the Tulsa World reported yesterday. The state’s attorney general has said poultry litter from area farms may have contaminated the restaurant’s water supply, which was found to contain poultry DNA earlier this month.[Feb 25 Tulsa World story]last_img read more

Asset management roundup: DWS integrates UN SDGs

first_imgPetra Pflaum, CIO for responsible investments at DWS, said: “Our new SDG rating system significantly enhances our ability to differentiate issuers of equities and bonds based on their contribution to making the world a better place.”UK trade body links with careers group for diversity pushThe UK’s asset management trade body has merged with careers group Investment 20/20 as part of an effort to improve diversity in the industry.In a joint statement, Investment 20/20 and the Investment Association (IA) said they would work to “make the investment industry more accessible and attractive to those from different backgrounds and at all stages of the career path”.They will also seek to improve the number of people returning to the industry after career breaks and attract people from other industries.Investment 20/20 said it had “enabled” more than 1,000 trainees to start careers in the asset management sector in the five years since it was established.Chris Cummings, CEO of the IA, said: “We want to build on the excellent track record of Investment 20/20 to date and ensure greater diversity is firmly at the heart of the investment industry. By joining forces, we can provide more firms access to Investment 20/20’s services.“A diverse workforce and a strong pipeline of talent are key to the success of any forward-looking industry, helping businesses to encourage innovation and new ideas. Our industry must also better reflect the customers it serves and that means raising awareness of careers within our sector and proactively growing an inclusive workforce.”Karis Stander, managing director of Investment 20/20, added that the partnership with the IA would improve the careers group’s “reach and scale”.“Our industry makes a significant contribution to society and provides tremendous opportunities so it is vital that we build a strong pool of talent for the future with young people from all backgrounds to reflect the rich and diverse makeup of the UK,” she said.Investment 20/20 will keep its brand following the merger.La Banque Postale Asset Management pledges 100% SRI managementFrance’s €216bn La Banque Postale Asset Management (LBPAM) has set itself a target of managing all its funds under a “socially responsible investment” (SRI) approach by 2020.In parallel, the asset manager said it would work with those institutional clients whose assets did not yet integrate “extra-financial filters”.Currently just over 50% of its assets – around €109bn – were managed according to an SRI approach, it said.Announcing the commitment last week, president of the board Daniel Roy said the objective was ambitious but the expression of a belief fully shared by the Banque Postale group teams.The asset manager would marshal all its resources to progressively get all its clients adhering to the approach, he added.A 70% subsidiary of La Banqe Postale, LBPAM was ranked 88th in IPE’s 2017 Top 400 Asset Managers report.Two more managers sign up to public sector cost disclosure codeJP Morgan Asset Management and BNY Mellon Investment Management are the latest fund managers to sign up to the Local Government Pension Scheme’s (LGPS) cost transparency code.Both companies were added to the LGPS Advisory Board’s website this week.According to LGPS funds’ annual reports, JP Morgan ran money for at least 14 local authority schemes.The vast majority of groups running money for the LGPS has signed up to the code. Used to illustrate costs, the templates are currently being adapted by the Institutional Disclosure Working Group, following concerns from the UK financial watchdog that costs were not clear enough. DWS – the new brand for Deutsche Asset Management – has said it has “systematically integrated” the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It has implemented a new rating system that uses MSCI’s ESG Sustainable Impact Metrics data to measure how companies and their products or services contribute to the UN’s 17 SDGs. DWS said the system meant it could “identify ESG leaders” through companies’ contributions to the SDGs and their wider compliance with “ESG quality and norm tests”.However, an initial analysis of equity indices found that in each case fewer than half of the underlying companies made a positive contribution, DWS said.last_img read more

Fast ferry service begins operating between Florida and The Bahamas

first_img Share Share Share Bahamas Express. Photo credit: thebahamasweekly.comFORT LAUDERDALE, USA — The Baleària Group has launched its new high speed ferry service between Fort Lauderdale and Grand Bahama, under the Bahamas Express brand.The fast ferry Pinar del Río will operate the new service between Florida and The Bahamas, which completes the 76-mile crossing in two and a half hours. Baleària Bahamas Express operates on a daily basis, except on Wednesdays, departing from Fort Lauderdale at 10:00 and returning at 19:30, allowing US passengers to take day trips to Grand Bahama.The president of Baleària, Adolfo Utor, highlighted the potential of this area of the Caribbean and explained that it complements the routes which the company operates in the Mediterranean. Utor also pointed out that there is a market of over 200,000 passengers per year on this new route, adding that the company is also working on opening another connection to the island of Bimini, also in The Bahamas. He also stated that, despite the fact that at present the company only transports passengers, Baleària’s aim for the future is to bring to the United States the mixed route model (passengers, vehicles and cargo) that the shipping company uses in Spain. Baleària has invested 4 million Euros in the launching of this new route.“The Bahamas Express service provides an important link between South Florida and The Bahamas,” said David Johnson, director general of the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism. “It is an affordable and easily accessible option that appeals to a variety of travelers, particularly families and for those seeking a relaxing and hassle free route to The Bahamas. We look forward to treating guests to our Bahamian hospitality, whether coming for a day or staying for a week.” The Pinar del Río, which travels at a speed of 32 knots, has a capacity to hold up to 463 passengers. Furthermore, the ship boasts different services such as a bar-cafeteria, duty free shop and tourist class and first class accommodation, among others. Fares start at $49 per person one-way, based on a roundtrip purchase.The Bahamas Express service was officially launched on Tuesday with a ceremonial exchange of plaques in Port Everglades.By Caribbean News Now contributor LifestyleTravel Fast ferry service begins operating between Florida and The Bahamas by: – December 22, 2011center_img Tweet 24 Views   no discussions Sharing is caring!last_img read more

Tsunami hits Japan after massive quake

first_img Share News Tsunami hits Japan after massive quake by: – March 11, 2011 Tweet Share Sharecenter_img Sharing is caring! 26 Views   no discussions A massive earthquake has hit the north-east of Japan, triggering a tsunami that has caused extensive damage. Japanese television showed cars, ships and even buildings being swept away by a vast wall of water after the 8.9-magnitude earthquake. The quake has sparked fires in several areas including Tokyo. At least 32 people were killed, officials said. It struck about 250 miles (400km) from the capital at a depth of 20 miles. There have been powerful aftershocks. The tremor, measured at 8.9 by the US Geological Survey, hit at 1446 local time (0546 GMT). Seismologists say it is one of the largest earthquakes to hit Japan for many years.When the earthquake hit, buildings in Tokyo swayed. Walking was like crossing the deck of a ship at sea. People poured down from their offices and stood in the street staring up. A large fire seemed to have broken out in one part of the city and, in another place, injured people were being brought out of a station. The authorities immediately issued a tsunami warning. In Tokyo, public transport has been suspended, elevators are switched off in many buildings and thousands of people have gathered in squares and around train stations.A tsunami warning was extended across the Pacific to North and South America. The Red Cross in Geneva warned that the tsunami waves could be higher than some Pacific islands, Reuters news agency said. Coastal areas in the Philippines, Hawaii and other Pacific islands were evacuated ahead of the tsunami’s expected arrival. New Zealand later downgraded its alert to a marine threat, meaning strong and unusual currents were expected.Wall of waterStrong waves hit Japan’s Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures, officials said, damaging dozens of coastal communities. Kyodo news agency said a 10-metre wave (33ft) struck the port of Sendai in Miyagi. Japan’s NHK television showed a massive surge of debris-filled water sweeping away buildings, cars and ships and reaching far inland. Motorists could be seen trying to speed away from the wall of water. Farmland around Sendai was submerged and the waves pushed cars across the runway of the city’s airport. Fires broke out in the city’s centre. Another fire was reported to be burning in the turbine building of the Onagawa nuclear plant in Miyagi prefecture.The UN’s nuclear agency said four nuclear power plants had shut down safely. Prime Minister Naoto Kan said there had been no radiation leaks. Police and local officials said at least 32 people had been killed in the earthquake and tsunami. It is believed the death toll could rise significantly. A ship carrying 100 people was swept away, Japanese media reported, quoting police in Miyagi. It is not clear what happened to the ship and its passengers. In Iwate prefecture, also near the epicentre, an official said it was difficult to gauge the extent of the destruction. “Roads were badly damaged and cut off as the tsunami washed away debris, cars and many other things,” said Hiroshi Sato, a disaster management official in Iwate.The earthquake also triggered a massive blaze at an oil refinery in Ichihara city in Chiba prefecture near Tokyo, engulfing storage tanks. There were reports of about 20 people injured in Tokyo after the roof of a hall collapsed on to a graduation ceremony. Residents and workers in Tokyo rushed out of apartment buildings and office blocks and gathered in parks and open spaces as aftershocks continued to hit. Many people in Tokyo said they had never felt such a powerful earthquake. In central Tokyo, Jeffrey Balanag said he was stuck in his office in the Shiodome Sumitomo building because the elevators had stopped working. “There’s no panic but we’re almost seasick from the constant rolling of the building,” he told the BBC.Bullet train services to northern Japan were halted and rapid transit in Tokyo was suspended, stranding many workers in the city centre. Narita airport outside Tokyo was initially closed but later opened for departing flights. About four million homes in and around Tokyo suffered power outages. In a televised address, Mr Kan extended his sympathy to the victims of the disaster and said an emergency response headquarters had been set up.Source: BBC Newslast_img read more

One injured in two-vehicle accident

first_imgMetamora, IN— Last week, Franklin County Sheriff’s Deputies were called to the scene of a two-vehicle accident involving injuries on S.R. 229 at the intersection of Haytown Hill Road.Through the course of the investigation, deputies discovered that Jimmy J. Ison, age 44 of Metamora, was driving a 2008 Chevrolet Silverado westbound on Haytown Hill Road.  Ison told Deputies that he went to turn left onto S.R. 229, however, did not see the 2014 Chevrolet Cruze, southbound on S.R. 229.Ison pulled into the intersection, colliding with the Chevrolet Cruze, being driven by Jennilee Collins.  Collins, age 36 of Metamora, told deputies that she was attempting to turn left onto Haytown Road when the collision occurred. Collins was transported by Brookville E.M.S. to Margaret Mary Hospital in Batesville for treatment of minor injuries.last_img read more

Dan Evans urges Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal to play US Open

first_imgLONDON: Britain’s Dan Evans believes Novak Djokovic’s concerns about players having only one member of their support staff at the U.S. Open does not apply to the majority of the field and compromises should be made when action resumes.The US Open organisers are assessing safety measures for the tournament scheduled to begin on August 31 without spectators after the COVID-19 pandemic stalled the season in March. World number one Djokovic said hosting the tournament would be impossible due to ‘extreme’ COVID-19 protocols, but Evans said there has to be some ‘give and take’ from the players. “I don’t think having one person of your team only allowed is such a big deal – the majority of the draw would only travel with one coach,” Evans told BBC 5 Live. “Not everyone’s travelling with physios and fitness trainers like Novak said, so I think his argument there is not really valid for the rest of the draw, apart from the real top guys.” The US Open will be the first Grand Slam to be played after the novel coronavirus outbreak, and will be followed by the French Open which was moved to September. Agencies Also Read: Shopping malls reopen. Aarogya Setu must have to enter mallslast_img read more

At least I can be Wimbledon champion for two years, says Halep

first_img(REUTERS) – Simon Halep is trying to look on the bright side regarding the suspension of the tennis season due to the coronavirus pandemic, which means at least she will be referred to as reigning Wimbledon champion for two years.The Romanian former world number one produced a flawless performance to beat Serena Williams in last year’s final but this week’s cancellation of the grass-court Grand Slam means she will not get to defend her title this summer.Halep, 28, is currently back in her native Romania where she has been locked down at home for 22 days, only popping out briefly to jog around the grounds of her residence. Asked about the Wimbledon cancellation, announced on Wednesday, Halep told Eurosport’s Tennis Legends vodcast: “I take it positively, because I am now the defending champion for two years. So, I have to live with that for one more year so that’s a good thing again.“I am excited that I will be able to play the first match on (the) Tuesday, I think, on Centre Court. So, I really want to make this experience. It’s going to be great for sure.”The WTA Tour and ATP Tour have been shut down until the middle of July, at least, but Halep is geared up for a longer suspension of the season, possibly the whole year. “I know that the worst scenario in my head is that this year is going to be cancelled and, yeah, I’m sure we’re going to overcome this period if we listen and stay home safely,” she said.“For the moment, I think it’s going to be longer than July. We hope for the U.S. Open (scheduled for August 31 to September 13) but it’s not sure because New York is struggling now.” LOTS OF SLEEPAfter so many years jet-setting around the globe, Halep said the enforced time-off from the Tour had been welcome in some respects, even if the circumstances were dreadful.“It’s the longest period that I haven’t touched a racquet. Not the ball, the racquet – since Dubai,” she said. “And I want to keep it that way for one more month. “I just kept it very safe because I am a little bit scared about it. And I just want to stay chilled. I wake up at around 10 or 11. It’s very good to have a lot of sleep.“No alarm clock, no schedule, so I just wake up. I have a late breakfast and then I do some running here in the complex because we are allowed to do it; it’s a private residence.“In the house I work on my core and my other exercises. So, every day I am working and I feel fit, yes.”Halep said that while she missed her job, it was right that sport had faded into the background at a time of global crisis.“It’s just a world problem and I just want to say that it’s safer that everything got cancelled. It’s not a small problem, it’s a huge problem. And we just have to listen to what they say, to stay home and being very safe,” she said.“Tennis is not everything in my life.”last_img read more

Students ask for Middle Eastern language classes

first_imgUSC’s Middle East Studies Student Association is circulating a petition among students asking the university to improve the Middle Eastern language offerings at USC, hoping the petition will lead to major curriculum changes.“USC is not really providing us with the resources we need to study what we want to study,” said Daphne Wu, president of MESSA and a senior majoring in history. “As of now, we only have four semesters of Arabic and Hebrew. With four semesters of Arabic, we hardly learn anything. It’s one of the hardest languages to learn.”Currently, USC only offers three semesters of Modern Hebrew with one semester of Biblical Hebrew and four semesters of Modern Standard Arabic. The Arabic classes are all housed in the linguistics department.The petition has collected a total of 243 signatures as of this week. As soon as the final signatures are collected, MESSA plans to deliver the letter to the Dean of USC College of Letters, Arts & Sciences, Howard Gillman; Vice Dean of Academic Programs Steven Lamy; and Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs Richard Fliegel.Wu said USC is in fact behind in its Middle Eastern languages curriculum compared to schools like New York University and the University of Chicago, which both offer numerous language and critical studies courses that deal with Middle Eastern culture.“The textbook we use is for a three-year curriculum,” Wu said. “Here, in four semesters, we only finish one book [of three].”Wu said the faculty in the Middle East Studies Program has been in talks with the deans for years trying to help the program grow.Wu said this petition shows that students are interested in expanding the curriculum at USC and that the desire to develop Arabic course offerings is a concern that doesn’t just face the faculty.The linguistics department did agree a few years ago to host the teaching of Arabic as a minor. James Higginbotham, chair of the Department of Linguistics, said this is an arrangement that he believes has worked out for the best.“We have a superior [Arabic] teacher, and when odd sections have opened up, we have been able to employ one of our graduate students with an Arabic language position,” Higginbotham said.Higginbotham added, however, that he believed the Arabic language professor would prefer to be employed under “a real department than to be shunted off to a Language Center.”Dan Carino, advisor for Middle East studies, said student interest in the Middle East studies program has remained consistently strong.“The lack of courses is the problem,” Carino said. “We have to hire more faculty to teach these courses, and with so few professors — some away, some on sabbatical, one on maternity leave — they’re hard to find.”The MESSA petition is fighting for two main points: the strengthening of the Arabic language courses and an increase in Arabic courses beyond the elementary level and the addition of Persian and Turkish to the language offerings at USC.Students who want to advance in their Arabic language studies often have to study abroad or spend time and money enrolling in other universities that offer more complete Arabic language programs. After studying outside of USC, they cannot continue their studies here since USC does not offer further courses in the study of Arabic or Hebrew.“It’s a hassle for students who are serious about learning these languages,” Wu said.Though the petition has garnered lots of support among students taking courses on Middle East studies, not many other students are aware of these issues.“Most students don’t know the situation,” Wu said. “They’re not aware of the fact that we’re behind.”last_img read more

Men’s basketball: A quick look at what Wisconsin is up against in the East region

first_imgAfter a miraculous turnaround in the second half of the season under head coach Greg Gard, the Wisconsin men’s basketball team was officially announced as the No. 7 seed in the East region of the NCAA tournament Sunday.The Badgers, coming off a disappointing 70-58 loss to Nebraska in the second round of the Big Ten tournament, missed a prime opportunity to match up with Maryland and Michigan state and potentially improve their seeding.Men’s basketball: Nebraska’s tough defensive effort down BadgersINDIANAPOLIS – Once the final horn sounded on Thursday night, Wisconsin men’s basketball players hung their heads, matching the sentiments Read…Now, as a No. 7 seed, UW’s first matchup will be in St. Louis against No. 10 Pittsburgh, who finished the season in ninth place in the ACC with a conference record of 9-9 and overall record of 21-11. The Panthers failed to beat a ranked team all season until their home finale against Duke, trouncing the Blue Devils 76-62.Should the Badgers survive their outing with Pittsburgh, they’ll likely take on a Xavier team that finished in second place in the Big East with a conference record of 14-4 and overall record of 27-5 and were among the nation’s top-ranked teams all season. The Musketeers, however, had a rough end to the season, losing their regular season finale and in the semifinal round of the Big East tournament to Seton Hall.An upset victory over Xavier would send the Badgers to Philadelphia for the Sweet 16, where they could ultimately run into any combination of No. 1 North Carolina, No. 3 West Virginia, No. 4 Kentucky or even conference rival No. 5 Indiana. Michigan also joins the Badgers and Hoosiers as the third Big Ten team in the region, after they earned a No. 11 seed and will take part in a play-in game against Tulsa.Despite a disappointing end to their season, Wisconsin has a favorable draw for the first couple rounds of the tournament with Xavier being the lowest ranked team of all four No. 2 seeds in the tournament.The Badgers’ meeting with Pittsburgh will tip-off Friday at 5:50 p.m. CST in St. Louis.last_img read more

Kevin Durant injury update: Warriors star had surgery to repair ruptured Achilles tendon

first_imgWhat’s good everybody I wanted to update you all: I did rupture my Achilles. Surgery was today and it was a success, EASY MONEY My road back starts now! I got my family and my loved ones by my side and we truly appreciate all the messages and support people have sent our way. Like I said Monday, I’m hurting deeply, but I’m OK. Basketball is my biggest love and I wanted to be out there that night because that’s what I do. I wanted to help my teammates on our quest for the three peat. Its just the way things go in this game and I’m proud that I gave it all I physically could, and I’m proud my brothers got the W. It’s going to be a journey but I’m built for this. I’m a hooper I know my brothers can get this Game 6, and I will be cheering  with dub nation while they do it.A post shared by 35 (@easymoneysniper) on Jun 12, 2019 at 12:54pm PDT “My road back starts now! I got my family and my loved ones by my side and we truly appreciate all the messages and support people have sent our way,” Durant wrote. “Like I said Monday, I’m hurting deeply, but I’m OK. Basketball is my biggest love and I wanted to be out there that night because that’s what I do. I wanted to help my teammates on our quest for the three peat.”Its (sic) just the way things go in this game and I’m proud that I gave it all I physically could, and I’m proud my brothers got the W. It’s going to be a journey but I’m built for this. I’m a hooper I know my brothers can get this Game 6, and I will be cheering  with dub nation while they do it.” Warriors star Kevin Durant announced Wednesday on Instagram that he ruptured his Achilles tendon and underwent successful surgery in New York after leaving Monday’s Game 5 of the NBA Finals early.He added a heartfelt message with a photo of himself in a hospital bed.  Related News Kevin Durant’s mother opens up about son’s injury: ‘He’s having a rough time right now’ Kevin Durant’s original injury involved Achilles, sports doctor speculates Durant, who had not played in 32 days since suffering a calf injury, went down in the second quarter of Monday’s game and had to be helped off the court. He left the arena on crutches. He had worked his way back into the lineup after going down in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Rockets, forcing him to miss the Warriors’ previous nine playoff games. Coach Steve Kerr said Wednesday that Durant had been cleared by multiple parties, including an outside consultant. The main concern was just about the possibility of Durant re-injuring his calf so they were surprised by the Achilles injury. View this post on Instagram “That was the advice and information we had,” Kerr told reporters. “At that point once Kevin was cleared to play he was comfortable with that so the Achilles came as a complete shock. … Would we go back and do it over again? Damn right.”Kerr added: “If we knew this was in the realm of possibility, we would’ve never allowed Kevin to come back.” Kevin Durant injury update:— Warriors PR (@WarriorsPR) June 12, 2019The Warriors rallied from a six-point deficit late in Game 5 to cut the Raptors’ NBA Finals lead to 3-2. The Warriors host Game 6 Thursday at 9 p.m. ET.last_img read more