China’s pig disease continues to spread and confound

first_img BBC News reports that Chinese authorities knew of the S suis cases about a month ago but did not release that information until Jul 25. Local reporters have been banned from visiting areas where cases have occurred, with orders to newspapers to use dispatches from Xinhau, the state news agency, according to an MSNBC story. The Western Pacific office of the World Health Organization (WHO) put the number of cases as of today at 181 with 34 deaths, but New Scientist reported 198 cases with 36 deaths. The disease is concentrated in the Sichuan province in the southwest, but a case was reported Saturday in the southern province of Guangdong, says an Associated Press (AP) story. The lethality of the current cases and the symptom variations have called into question the S suis diagnosis. Robert Dietz of Asia-Pacific WHO is reported to have said that his organization is not convinced. Samson Wong, a microbiologist at the University of Hong Kong, told Reuters, “It could be another disease altogether, it need not be Streptococcus suis because the presentation is so atypical.” Chinese authorities have not allowed any independent analysis of the cases to date. S suis has just been declared by the Chinese government as a notifiable infectious disease, according to the Chinese business newspaper The Standard. The decision was made because of the vast scale of the infection and the high associated mortality. Extensive control measures have been undertaken quickly in China, according to WHO, focusing on accurate identification of infected pigs, educational efforts informing people not to butcher or eat infected swine, and identification and treatment of human cases. Officials in Sichuan claim to have distributed more than 2 million posters to farmers and to have sent 50,000 heath workers and officials to 1.4 million hourseholds to register every pig in the region, according to a United Press International story. Chinese experts have completed genetic sequencing of S suis, a Jul 28 Xinhua story reported. Scientists at the Chinese Center for Disease Control are studying how closely the pig and human bacteria are genetically correlated to investigate how the disease spreads from animals to humans. Eleven cases have been reported in Hong Kong since May 2004, according to MSNBC. Two of them coincide with the Sichuan outbreak, but whether they are related has not been determined. The disease has been identified by the Chinese Ministry of Health as being caused by Streptococcus suis, a bacterium not uncommon in pigs. Human cases have been very rare, however, with mortality rates of less than 10%. Symptoms usually include high fever, vomiting, and hearing loss resulting from inflammation of the brain. Current cases are showing hemorrhaging under the skin, a very rare manifestation; only isolated hearing loss; and a mortality rate of 20%, according to various reports. Aug 1, 2005 (CIDRAP News) – Reports on the mysterious pig-borne disease spreading among humans in China are numerous, with the number of cases closing in on 200 and fatalities standing at 34. Several sources today said the Yongshun pharmaceutical company in Guangdong shipped enough vaccine to Chengdu, capital of the Sichuan province, on Sunday to treat 350,000 pigs. The company claims they will be producing and shipping vaccine for another 10 million pigs shortly, according to a China Daily story today. To acquire immunity, pigs must be given two doses within a 15-day period; protection will last for more than 4 months. China is the largest pork producer in the world, with production concentrated in the Sichuan province. About 80% of China’s pork comes from small backyard farms, according to the Pacific News Service. Most of the current cases have occurred in farmers and butchers who have slaughtered or had contact with infected pigs.last_img read more

EPA Announces Two Actions on Upper Hudson River PCB Cleanup

first_imgImage source: EPAThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking two distinct steps on the Upper Hudson River PCB cleanup in New York state.These steps include:The issuance of the five-year review, which includes EPA’s decision to defer a determination of the protectiveness of the remedy in the Upper Hudson River until more years of Hudson River fish tissue data are gathered.In a separate action from the issuance of the five-year review, EPA also issued a “Certification of Completion of the Remedial Action” today to GE (General Electric Company) for activities it conducted that were components of the remedy selected for the cleanup of the Upper Hudson River.This is the second certificate in a series of three – the first was issued in 2012 and the third is not expected to be available to GE for more than five decades. Consequently, the third certificate, the “Certification of Completion of the Work” is not being contemplated and is not a part of today’s announcement.“EPA greatly respects and honors the engagement of the many concerned individuals and organizations who are so passionate about restoring the iconic Hudson River and we look forward to continuing these important partnerships with the River’s many stakeholders,” EPA Regional Administrator Peter Lopez said.“Many of us share a personal connection with this living resource, and value its connection to commerce, recreation, tourism, the arts and more.  This work is critically important not only for today, but for future generations. We take this effort seriously. No person or organization will be let off the hook for the contamination of this historic and valuable waterway.”Certification of Completion of the Remedial ActionIn a distinctly separate action from the issuance of the five-year review, EPA also issued a “Certification of Completion of the Remedial Action” today to GE for activities it conducted that were components of the remedy selected for the cleanup of the Upper Hudson River.Image source: EPASpecifically, the certification confirms that the dredging, capping, habitat restoration, and deconstruction / decontamination of the sediment processing facility conducted with EPA oversight between 2009 and 2016 (at a reported cost to GE of more than $1.7 billion) were properly performed in accordance with the 2006 legal agreement (Consent Decree) between EPA and GE.This certification does not cover, and does not in any way release GE from, any obligation to continue its operation, maintenance and monitoring (OM&M) responsibilities under the Consent Decree (which is specific to the work in the Upper Hudson) – a responsibility GE will bear for decades, said EPA.The issuance of this certification is not based on the findings of the five-year Review, including the protectiveness of the remedy; rather it is an acknowledgement that certain activities were carried out by GE, as required.Under the terms of the Consent Decree, GE can be compelled to conduct further actions, potentially including additional dredging, should EPA conclude in the future, based on the semi-annual sampling that will occur under the ROD and any other relevant information, that the remedial action carried out in the Upper Hudson is not protective of public health or the environment.Additional EPA WorkDredging the River is not the only work that EPA is advancing to clean up the Upper Hudson.Comprehensive investigations to assess and mitigate PCB contamination that may be present in sediment carried onto local floodplains and landlocked segments of the old Champlain Canal are actively underway.EPA is also working closely with NYSDEC to advance assessment of the Hudson River from the federal dam in Troy to the mouth of New York Harbor, and to determine what additional studies should be performed.More infolast_img read more

ELECTED: GARY DOHERTY (SF) AND FRANK McBREARTY (IND)

first_imgGary celebratesELECTED: GARY DOHERTY (SF) AND FRANK McBREARTY (IND)STRANORLARStranorlar – Six seat electoral area Electorate – 19,396Total poll – 10,775Spoiled Votes – 147Total Valid Poll – 10,628 Quota – 1,519Doherty, Gary (SF) 1967McBrearty, Frank (Ind) 1591McGowan, Patrick (FF) 1414 1439Crawford, Gerry (FF) 1220 1247 Harley, Martin (FG) 1136 1153Doherty, Liam (SF) 1054 1356Galbraith, Bert (FG) 694 701Kee, Seamus (Ind) 434 474 McMenamin, Alan (Ind) 312 319Kennedy, Claudia (FF) 303 309McDyer, Charlotte (Charlie) (PBPA) 237 247McCrea, Brian (Lab) 228 234Meehan, Tim (Ind) 38 39 ELECTED: GARY DOHERTY (SF) AND FRANK McBREARTY (IND) was last modified: May 25th, 2014 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:Frank McBreartyGary DohertySinnFeinlast_img read more

Science Writer Advocates Debate with Creationists

first_img(Visited 11 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 The Darwinist monopoly on science has backfired, suggested Michael Balter in the Los Angeles Times in a Sunday commentary.  A human evolution writer for Science magazine (e.g., 09/09/2005, 03/04/2005, 11/12/2004, 02/27/2004, 02/15/2002), Balter advocated engagement with the opposition.  “A national debate over how best to explain the complexity of living organisms would better serve our children, and adults too.”    Balter is confident that “science” (evolution) would win such a contest, but cited several reasons why a national debate is necessary.  “Most scientists don’t want any debate,” he wrote.  To them, evolution has already won, and deserves a monopoly in science classrooms.  The success of the Discovery Institute in finding hundreds of scientists unconvinced of Darwinian evolution, added to the consistent findings of polls that the majority of Americans do not accept evolution, Balter argues, “suggests that scientists have won few converts during at least the last two decades – despite a 1987 U.S. Supreme Court decision banning the teaching of creationism in the classroom.”    The failure of evolutionists to win “converts” is only partly a reflection of the continuing influence of religion, he said.  “Yet it also implies that scientists have not been persuasive enough, even when buttressed by strong scientific evidence that natural selection alone can account for life’s complexity.”  Part of their lack of persuasiveness has been their very reluctance to engage their opponents.  It’s time for a change, Balter argues:Pro-evolution scientists have little to lose and everything to gain from a nationwide debate.  Let’s put the leading proponents of intelligent design and our sharpest evolutionary biologists on a national television panel and let them take their best shots.  If biblical literalists want to join in, let them.  Let’s encourage teachers to stage debates in their classrooms or in assemblies.  Students can be assigned to one or the other side, and guest speakers can be invited.  Among other things, students would learn that science, when properly done, reaches conclusions via experimentation, evidence and argument, not through majority view. (Emphasis added in all quotes.)To those who worry about injecting religion in science class, Balter said it’s too late.  “Religious faith and thinking are already in the classroom, as the opinion polls strongly suggest,” he wrote.  “And the courts should stay out of it because educators would not be required nor allowed to advocate a religious point of view.”    Balter spoke of a long history of “bitter debates between religion and science,” and claimed that after Darwin seemed to have refuted the arguments of William Paley, “Darwin’s theories were rigorously tested and criticized before they won over the majority of scientists.”    For these reasons, today’s evolutionists should not break tradition, but engage the critics.  “The best way to teach the theory of evolution is to teach this contentious history.  The most effective way to convince students that the theory is correct is to confront, not avoid, continuing challenges to it.”    Balter’s surprising declaration of support for “teaching the controversy,” a policy the intelligent design movement has long advocated, goes against the grain of positions taken by scientific institutions like Nature (see 04/27/2004).  He argues, though, that evolutionists should engage the debate with gusto: “Bring it on.”Anyone watching the controversy over evolution should see this as a major shift in strategy by someone pretty high up in the Science establishment.  It’s good that Balter wants this to be a debate in the open marketplace of ideas rather than the courts, and if the Darwinists are really willing to put their best arguments toe-to-toe with those of intelligent design, that would be a refreshing change.    Watch out for stealth tactics, though.  Incumbent presidents, for instance, have been known to rig debate rules to give themselves the media advantage.  We don’t want to see twelve Nobel Laureates go against Kent Hovind on national TV with a Darwinist moderator, and subject the results to biased editing the way the last episode of PBS Evolution rigged the contest, and have the Darwin Party announce afterwards, “So there.  There was your debate, and you guys lost.”  But the fact that Balter encourages this kind of debate in school classrooms and assemblies should preclude that, if his advice takes hold.    His history is flawed; Darwinism did not take hold because it was rigorously tested.  It won a huge propaganda blitz intentionally conducted by Charlie’s Four Musketeers (01/06/2004), Asa Gray, Thomas Huxley, Charles Lyell and Joseph Hooker, with help from Darwinist radical Ernst Haeckel on the continent.  It won also because leading Darwinists obtained power over publishing and gained leadership of prestigious universities and museums, where they controlled the curriculum and content.  Darwin’s own theory of natural selection went through a long period of eclipse after his book, until it was resurrected as neo-Darwinism more by consensus than by rigorous testing.  Creationism and design science has always been a strong influence bucking this current of usurpation by the philosophical materialists.    Balter is confident that “students would learn that science, when properly done, reaches conclusions via experimentation, evidence and argument, not through majority view.”  That would be a great lesson.  Currently, students are learning that “evolution is a fact because all scientists agree it is a fact.”  Balter believes that engagement will remove the claim that Darwinian theory is shielded from “challenges that, when properly refuted, might win over adherents to evolutionary views.”  When the views are compared, however, each Darwin convert is likely to be outnumbered by converts to the other side, based on the history of creation-evolution debates.  And if the Darwinists are finally forced to “reach conclusions via experimentation, evidence and argument,” it will be their downfall.  Balter may have unintentionally heralded the end of the Darwin Party Storytelling Welfare State.  Bring it on.last_img read more

South Africa’s Ubuntu awards: winners

first_img15 February 2016“Today we honour those who hold our beautiful flag high, and who contribute to not only telling, but demonstrating the good story of the Republic of South Africa,” said President Jacob Zuma at the second Annual Ubuntu Awards held on 13 February in Cape Town.“The men and women that have been honoured here today are inspirational examples of this. In their various industries they have truly excelled, thus promoting a positive image of our nation across the globe.”The aim of the awards is to recognise organisations or individuals who have, through excellence, innovation, creativity, inventiveness, social responsibility or patriotism, distinguished themselves as true ambassadors of South Africa.Nkoana-Mashabane: #UbuntuAwards is about I am because you are. The human qualities of compassion and humility. Community above self-interest— carien du plessis (@carienduplessis) February 13, 2016Best lessons are learnt in this word… What are we without one another? #UbuntuAwards pic.twitter.com/p7tDMbEu7z— J’Something™ (@jsomethingmusic) February 13, 2016WinnersUbuntu Economic Diplomacy Award: Standard Bank and DiscoveryUbuntu Arts and Cultural Diplomacy Award: DJ Black Coffee and musician Hugh MasekelaUbuntu Social Responsibility Award: Rescue SA and the Motsepe FoundationUbuntu Sport Diplomacy Award: Runner Wayde van NiekerkUbuntu Youth Diplomacy Award: Former Miss Earth, LeadSA executive and Play your Part ambassador Catherine ConstantinidesOR Tambo Lifetime Achievement Award (Minister’s Award): Agnes Msimang and the late Johnny Makhathini for their contribution to the anti-apartheid struggleUbuntu Ambassadorial Excellence Award: Ambassador Bene L M’pokoCongratulations to all the #UbuntuAwards winners. We are because you are! Continue showing Ubuntu – Botho – humanity pic.twitter.com/wuDthc17XN— DIRCO South Africa (@DIRCO_ZA) February 13, 2016Upon receiving his award, Masekela urged the audience to never forget the late Miriam Makeba, the award-winning songstress and icon. She “made everyone know about South Africa”, he said, when she performed in foreign countries during the days of the struggle.Source: South African Government News Agencylast_img read more