Report: Sudanese man tests negative for avian flu

first_imgApr 20, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – Testing by the World Health Organization has failed to detect the H5N1 avian influenza virus in a Sudanese man suspected of having it, while China’s latest H5N1 patient has died, according to reports published today.Sudanese health officials reported 2 days ago that some chickens and the owner of an affected farm had avian flu. But a team of WHO experts tested a sample from the man and found no sign of the H5N1 virus, according to a Reuters report today that quoted WHO spokeswoman Maria Cheng. The report did not specify what kind of test was used.Sudan has not yet had any confirmed human H5N1 cases, though Egypt, its northern neighbor, has reported a dozen cases.Cheng said the farmer remained hospitalized in stable condition in Khartoum, and it was not clear what illness he has, Reuters reported. Cheng also said there were no other suspected human cases in the country.Meanwhile, the latest avian flu patient in China has died, according to another Reuters report, citing the Chinese news service Xinhua. The patient was a 21-year-old migrant worker who worked as a security guard in Wuhan, capital of the central province of Hubei. His case was the 17th reported in China, and he was the 12th patient to die.Xinhua said no illness had been reported among the man’s contacts, and there were no reports of flu outbreaks in poultry in his home town, Reuters reported.In the United Kingdom, authorities announced plans to lift restrictions imposed after H5N1 was detected 2 weeks ago in a swan found on the east coast of Scotland, BBC News reported today.A ban on the movement of poultry in a 3-kilometer protection zone around where the swan was found will be lifted Apr 22, the story said. Restrictions in a 6.2-kilometer surveillance zone will end May 1, provided veterinary inspectors find no cases in poultry in the zone.Meanwhile, one of Britain’s leading microbiologists, Hugh Pennington, said the 8 days it took to confirm H5N1 in the swan found at Cellardyke in Scotland was too long, according to the BBC. He said 3 days would have been “more acceptable.”In other developments, the Red Cross and affiliated relief agencies appealed today for $13.4 million (17.4 million Swiss francs) to help strengthen countries’ defenses against avian flu and the threat of pandemic flu.In a news release, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said governmental preparedness efforts may not provide enough help to vulnerable groups and communities, especially in west and central Africa.The federation said it is already responding to or preparing for avian flu in 26 countries, emphasizing preventing transmission of the virus from animals to humans.A key part of the federation’s effort will be to train “50,000 volunteers and staff members to respond to the specific nature of the crisis,” the statement said. The federation also promised to increase education efforts in communities and to pre-position relief supplies to deal with new outbreaks.In other news:Authorities in Pakistan ordered the slaughter of 15,000 chickens on a farm near Islamabad on suspicion of the country’s fourth poultry outbreak of H5N1 avian flu, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported today. An agricultural official said there was “very strong clinical evidence” of the virus. The disease was discovered on another chicken farm near Islamabad Apr 16, the report said.A Singapore Airlines plane was detained on landing in Copenhagen because of concern that a passenger had H5N1 avian flu, according to another AFP report. A medical team determined that the passenger, a 31-year-old Swedish woman, had only an upset stomach, the story said.See also:Apr 20 Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies news releasehttp://www.ifrc.org/docs/news/pr06/2706.asplast_img read more

One dead, more than 300 homes destroyed in major Central Sulawesi fire

first_imgTo complicate things, many houses in the district were made out of wood, so they were very vulnerable to fire, Ichsan said. He estimated that there were about 300 homes permanently damaged or destroyed in the fire.“The fire spread too quickly; we only had a little time to recover essential documents,” he said.Toli-Toli Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Hendro Purwoko said the police recovered one body of a man who had been identified as a 50-year-old resident, Mohammad Saleh, in the wake of the fire.“The victim was killed in the fire. He was trapped inside his house,” Hendro said.He said there were about 385 homes burned in the fire, according to a preliminary police report. The police were still investigating the cause of the blaze, he said.According to information obtained by the Post, Sunday’s fire was the biggest recorded in Central Sulawesi in terms of size and the number of affected properties. (rfa)Topics : A major fire broke out in Baolan district, Toli-Toli regency, Central Sulawesi, killing one resident and reportedly engulfing more than 300 homes on Sunday.The fire, which started at about 11 p.m. local time, went on for hours until it was finally put out at about 3:30 a.m. on Monday.“The location was close to the beach. There were strong winds last night, so the fire could spread quickly,” Ichsan Ismail, a local, told The Jakarta Post on Monday morning.last_img read more

Japanese man diagnosed with coronavirus after visiting Hawaii

first_imgHawaii health authorities began a search on Friday for anyone who may have had close contact with a Japanese tourist who fell ill on the island of Oahu and tested positive for a new coronavirus soon after returning to his home country.The case came to public attention at a Honolulu news conference by Governor David Ige and senior state health officials, who said the man in question is believed to have become infected in Japan before embarking on his trip, or while en route to Hawaii.That assumption is based on the 14-day incubation period of the virus, and the fact that the man became symptomatic after less than a week in Hawaii, the state health officials said. The patient and his wife visited the island of Maui from Jan. 28 to Feb. 3, then traveled to Oahu, where they stayed until flying on Feb. 7 back to their home in the Aichi Prefecture of central Japan, the officials said.The man had exhibited no sign of illness until reaching Oahu, where he first developed cold-like respiratory symptoms but no fever, the state’s health direct, Dr Bruce Anderson, told reporters.Once back in Japan, he became more seriously ill and was tested for the coronavirus after going to a hospital, Anderson said.Hawaii officials were notified through the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Friday, and state authorities in turn alerted local health providers to be on the lookout for coronavirus-like illnesses. Topics :center_img “We do believe that this is a serious concern, and I want to assure you that this scenario is exactly what we’ve been preparing for and are prepared for,” the governor said.The greatest immediate focus is to identify and track down individuals who had “prolonged, face-to-face contacts” with the Japanese man after he began showing symptoms on Oahu, said Dr Sarah Park, the state’s chief epidemiologist.Based on what is known about transmission of the disease, the patient was unlikely to have been contagious while on Maui because he was asymptomatic then, and anyone who had fleeting, incidental contact with him after he became ill, such as passing him in a hallway, would be considered at low risk, Park said.The man’s apparent lack of fever while in Hawaii also bodes well because infected individuals are believed to be most contagious when feverish, she said.The man’s precise travel itinerary remained unclear, except that he stayed at a Hilton Grand Vacations time-share condo in the Waikiki section of Honolulu, Anderson said, adding that he only sought medical care upon returning to Japan.State health officials said they were consulting Japanese authorities to get more details of his Hawaii visit.Hawaii, the US Pacific island state closest to the origin of the coronavirus outbreak, has seen no infections documented on its soil, while the number of US cases confirmed nationwide stands at 15, none fatal. Eight cases are in California.The worldwide total now exceeds 66,000 cases, with more than 1,500 deaths, most of them in China’s Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak.Beyond China, nearly 450 cases have been tallied in some 24 countries and territories, and three deaths. Japan is among the nations hardest, with 251 confirmed cases, most of them on a cruise liner quarantined in a port.Japan confirmed its first coronavirus death on Thursday. last_img read more

‘Unhealthy in a democracy’: Concerns mount over govt using ‘influencers’ to promote policies

first_imgEditor’s note: This article has been updated with more statements from Donny.Topics : Antigraft and human rights activists have raised concerns over the government’s use of social media “influencers” to promote its policies, demanding transparency over the partnership amid fears that it could be misused to sway public opinion on problematic issues.Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) researcher Egi Primayogha said ministries and state institutions under President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s administration often involved the so-called influencers for governmental purposes, including to promote programs and public policies.The latest research by ICW — conducted by compiling publicly available data — found that the government had spent at least Rp 90.4 billion (US$6.1 million) on goods and services procurement containing the keywords “influencers” and “key opinion leaders” from 2017 until this year.Read also: Jokowi administration spends Rp 90.4 billion on ‘influencers’: ICWAlthough involving influencers to promote public policies was not wrong, Egi argued that the government appeared to make use of them with intention to cover up problems related to certain policies.”The information conveyed by influencers is not always valid. Sometimes they even spread misinformation,” Egi said in a discussion on Thursday.”The influencers also often spoke beyond their capacity.”One notable case occurred in late February when the government announced it had allocated Rp 72 billion (US$5.2 million) to pay influencers to promote the country’s tourism in an effort to shield the industry from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, which at that time had yet to be detected in Indonesia.The move was met with criticism, since at a time when countries around the world were scrambling to mitigate the virus, the Indonesian government seemed to downplay the threat of the pandemic and send out the message to welcome tourists from around the world instead.Read also: ‘We can’t afford BTS’: Minister talks plan to hire foreign influencers to promote tourismLast week, a number of influencers and internet personalities also came under fire for posting content supporting the controversial job creation bill using the hashtag #IndonesiaButuhKerja (Indonesia Needs Jobs). Some of them claimed they did not know that the campaign — which was reportedly offered to them in return for payment — actually championed the bill.Many, including protesters against the bill, criticized the celebrities, accusing them of lacking knowledge about how the bill — if passed — could heavily affect workers’ rights.A leading expert at the Presidential Office (KSP), Donny Gahral Adian, denied that the campaign was an order from the government.Egi of ICW went on to say that the use of influencers suggested that Jokowi was not confident in his own policies, adding that it could create a trend in which the government uses internet personalities to sway public opinion on controversial policies being deliberated.”This is unhealthy in a democracy because it has the potential to blur the substantial points of certain policies,” Egi said.He urged the government to be more transparent with regard to the amount of state funds they spend on influencers and how they use it, adding that the government should also disclose how they determine which social media personalities to hire.Read also: Indonesia wants civil servants with large social media followings to be ‘government’s influencers’Indonesian Legal Aid Institute (YLBHI) chairwoman Asfinawati said influencers should also disclose paid partnerships with the government in the content they create and post to prevent possible public deception.In response to the concerns, Donny of the KSP said hiring influencers to promote government policies was fair as long as they did not deceive the public.Officials usually briefed the influencers on the substance of certain programs or policies beforehand, Donny said.“These influencers have many followers and subscribers. If they are capable of public communication and understand the substance of the policy, I don’t see any problem,” Donny told The Jakarta Post, “Involving influencers in education and promotional programs is common, similar to public service announcements that use public figures.”Donny explained that the Rp 90.4 billion was actually meant for general public relations activities, including public service announcements and education programs.He also refuted allegations that Jokowi lacked confidence in his own policies, saying that by partnering with influencers, the government could, in fact, reach a broader audience. “These influencers have social media platforms that have a lot of followers and […] a broader reach, especially among millennials.”last_img read more

Governor Wolf on KDKA: We Can Balance the Budget Without Broad Based Tax Increases

first_img Budget News Governor Wolf earlier this morning on KDKA said he believes we can balance the budget, provide an additional $250 million for basic education, and include $34 million to address the heroin crisis without raising the Personal Income or Sales Taxes. Here is an excerpt from the governor’s interview:“There are three things that are key for me and I think for the people we’re talking with. And by the way, the conversations and the negotiations are going, I think, very well. But, we need a balanced budget that is truly balanced. I want $250 million dollars for basic education, an increase, and I want $34 million dollars for the heroin overdose problem, which is really a big problem in Pennsylvania. And I think all this can be done without a broad based tax increase. I’m not asking for a Sales Tax increase or Personal Income Tax increase. I think we can do all this; the balanced budget, the increase in education, and heroin initiatives without a broad based tax increase. So, I think that we’re making some good progress. I think we’re very close.”Click here for the full interview.Like Governor Tom Wolf on Facebook: Facebook.com/GovernorWolf SHARE Email Facebook Twitter Governor Wolf on KDKA: We Can Balance the Budget Without Broad Based Tax Increasescenter_img June 21, 2016last_img read more

Dutch opposition: Support for pensions accord on the line in case of cuts

first_imgGijs van Dijk, PvdA politician (left), and Paul Smeulders, MP for GroenLinksSmeulders described the looming pensions reductions as “a bomb under the pensions agreement”, and demanded a postponement of the cuts for at least one year.Earlier, the minister had promised parliament that he would outline his plans to prevent “unnecessary cuts” next week.Both MPs also chided looming premium rises and accrual reductions, following repeated warnings from several sectors.In Van Dijk’s opinion, these measures would be unacceptable, whereas Smeulders described them as “very bad for younger workers”.The latter said that he expected a solution that was fair to all generations.In Dutch pensions publication Pensioen Pro, Smeulders confirmed that he wanted the measures to be postponed for one year, for example through extending pension funds’ recovery period from five to six years.Earlier this year, GroenLinks, together with the party for the elderly 50PLUS, had tabled initiative legislation aimed at extending the recovery period to seven years.At the time the Raad van State – the highest court in the Netherlands and the government’s legal adviser – concluded that such an extension would be irresponsible.Last week, union FNV warned that the pensions agreement would be in jeopardy if pension rights cuts were to be implemented as legally required. Speaking on the news programme, Van Dijk demanded that the minister prevents pension discounts, “in whatever way”.He said it would be “madness” to implement rights cuts while a new pensions system was under construction.“We are on our way to a new world with new rules, and we shouldn’t lower pensions based on the old rules of a broken pensions system,” he argued.Van Dijk – a former trustee at trade union FNV tasked with pensions – said he was afraid that support in society for the “painfully established pensions agreement” would disappear.He noted that the accord was also meant to prevent rights cuts. Dutch opposition parties have threatened to withdraw their support for the pensions agreement if social affairs’ minister Wouter Koolmees doesn’t prevent rights cuts at pension funds next year.In interviews on television news programme NOS and daily De Volkskrant, Gijs van Dijk and Paul Smeulders, MPs for labour party PvdA and left-wing green party GroenLinks, respectively, made clear they also opposed contribution increases as well as reduction of pensions accrual.In June the cabinet received the support – needed to get legislation in the wake of the accord through the senate – of both parties for the pensions agreement between the social partners and the government.Since then, the financial position of pension funds has deteriorated, due to the significant fall of interest rates which caused the looming rights cuts.last_img read more

Isabela town to get free gov’t services

first_imgThe caravan of services is dubbed“Serbisyo sa Negrosanon,” which is in support for the launching of the RetooledCommunity Support Program.(With a reportfrom PIA/PN) Among the services that will be madeavailable are the issuance of documents – like the Philippine StatisticsAuthority-issued birth or death certificates and National Bureau ofInvestigation clearance; health and medical services; legal services; assistivedevices and food packs; and skills training.      Various national government agenciesin the region will provide corresponding services based on their mandates,according to a report. ILOILO City – The Regional Task Forceto End Local Communist Armed Conflict in Western Visayas is set to delivervarious government services to the people of Isabela town in Negros Occidentaltoday.  Around 1,000 people are expected toattend the activity.last_img read more

Pruitt paces IMCA Stock Cars at Boone

first_imgBOONE, Iowa (July 16) – It was another full night of racing Saturday at the Boone Speedway, where it was Elmquist Towing night.  There was a new face in victory lane in the IMCA Stock Car class, while three other divisions saw repeat winners.Brandon Pruitt scored his first win at Boone this season in the 18-lap IMCA Sunoco Stock Car feature.Cory Bushnell got around Missouri racer Brad Whitney at lap six, to take over as captain of the ship. He soon had Pruitt breathing down his tail pipes, pestering him at each corner. Pruitt’s swing to the outside paid off, as he took the lead on lap 12.A couple laps later, Trent Murphy was applying pressure to the leader, searching everything for a way around Pruitt. But it wasn’t to be, as Pruitt shook off his advances, and took the checkers. Murphy, who started 11th, finished a close second.  Veteran Terry Pruitt came home in third, 10th place starter Jay Schmidt finished fourth and point leader Donavon Smith started 17th and finished fifth in the caution-free feature.Johnathon Logue scored his fifth win of the season in the 18-lap Karl Chevrolet Northern SportMod feature. Logue started 10th and had to run down leader Robert Moore to take control at lap 10.Moore finished in second, Randy Roberts finished third from his ninth starting position, Jake McBirnie, driving a borrowed car after suffering mechanical woes in the heat, finished fourth after starting near the tail of the field, and Curtis Veber completed the top five.  The race went flag to flag.The Xtreme Motor Sports IMCA Modifieds ran a 20-lap feature and Joel Bushore wasted little time in getting to the front.  He passed Albert Wolfgram as lap five was scored and from there on never looked back, repeating his win from last week.Wolfgram held second place, Jimmy Gustin came from 11th to finish third, fourth was Chris Webb, and point leader Mike Van Genderen recovered nicely from an early race skirmish to finish fifth.The IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stocks closed out the night’s racing with their 12-lap feature. Solomon Bennett took charge at lap four and held off Dustin Lynch to take the win in a close finish.  Point leader Eric Stanton came from the 10th starting spot, to finish third, fourth was last week’s winner, Aaron Rudolph, and Chad Legere was fifth.  Bennett won for the fourth time this season in another caution-free event.last_img read more

FSA Encourages Producers to Enroll Soon in Agriculture Risk Loss and Price Loss Coverage Programs

first_imgUSDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) encourages agricultural producers to enroll now in the Agriculture Risk Loss (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs. March 15, 2020 is the enrollment deadline for the 2019 crop year.Although more than 200,000 producers have enrolled to date, FSA anticipates 1.5 million producers will enroll for ARC and PLC. By enrolling soon, producers can beat the rush as the deadline nears.ARC and PLC provide financial protections to farmers from substantial drops in crop prices or revenues and are vital economic safety nets for most American farms.The programs cover the following commodities: barley, canola, large and small chickpeas, corn, crambe, flaxseed, grain sorghum, lentils, mustard seed, oats, peanuts, dry peas, rapeseed, long grain rice, medium and short grain rice, safflower seed, seed cotton, sesame, soybeans, sunflower seed and wheat. Until March 15, producers who have not yet enrolled in ARC or PLC for 2019 can enroll for both 2019 and 2020 during the same visit to an FSA county office unless yield updates are requested. Additionally, farm owners have a one-time opportunity to update PLC payment yields that take effect beginning with crop year 2020. If the owner accompanies the producer to the office, the yield update and enrollments may be completed during the same office visit.last_img read more

West Ham relegation fears heighten after defeat at Spurs

first_imgRelatedPosts Ighalo: My best moment as ‘Red Devil’ EPL: Son fires four past Southampton EPL: Crystal Palace stun sloppy Man U West Ham United’s hopes of avoiding relegation suffered a cruel blow on Tuesday as they were condemned to a 2-0 defeat at Tottenham Hotspur.An own goal by midfielder Tomas Soucek and Harry Kane’s first goal since December gave the hosts the win. The visitors were fortunate just before half-time when VAR ruled out Son Heung-min’s goal for offside, but their luck deserted them after the break at an empty Tottenham Stadium.When a corner kick was swung over in the 64th minute the ball flew through a crowd before striking Soucek’s leg and spinning past helpless goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianksi.West Ham responded well and Jarrod Bowen was denied an equaliser by the upright before Kane was played through on goal and beat Fabianski with a trademark finish.Defeat left West Ham above the relegation zone on goal difference from Bournemouth who have a game in hand.Tottenham’s first win in eight matches in all competitions kept them in the hunt for a UEFA Champions League qualification berth. Jose Mourinho’s side are seventh with 45 points, one behind fifth-placed Manchester United.Reuters/NAN.Tags: Harry KaneJose MourinhoManchester UnitedTottenham HotspurWest Ham Unitedlast_img read more