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

Estonia cuts fee cap, relaxes investment rules for pension funds

first_imgTallinn, EstoniaThe previous classification of second-pillar funds on the basis of equity risk (25%, 50%, 75% funds) has been abandoned, as it was considered inaccurate. Instead, each management company must determine and publish the risk level of each of its funds.Further new rules are intended to accelerate the current decline in management fees.The maximum basic management fee for second-pillar pension funds has been lowered from 2% to 1.2%. The government estimated that this measure would reduce the average basic management fee to 0.62% this month, from its previous level of 0.96%.However, fund managers will, for the first time, and under certain conditions, be able to charge an additional performance fee, provided that the fund’s performance exceeds the benchmark index – the increase in the social security pension component. The maximum fee allowed is yet to be determined.According to Kristjan Tamla, chairman of the board at Swedbank Investment Funds, Estonian pension funds have been criticised because of the small percentage of portfolios allocated to local investments. Tamla told IPE: “As the Estonian economy and local financial market are very small and shallow, most companies do not raise capital from listed markets, and are instead leaning towards direct borrowing or private equity. The new rules should enable better matching of the corporate sector’s funding needs with pension fund investment limits.”Meanwhile, following parliamentary elections in March this year, Estonia’s new coalition government has been working on a new law to allow individuals to cash in all their pension savings, from the start of 2021.Joel Kukemelk, member of the management board at LHV Asset Management, warned:  “While this law has not yet been passed, it is likely to be approved by the end of this year, as long as there are no changes in the current government structure.“This will result in a significantly lower appetite from local pension funds for all low-liquidity investments, where the exit process takes longer than a couple of months.” New investment rules came into force for Estonian second pillar pension funds earlier this month, relaxing some restrictions on riskier investments in order to improve performance and promote investment in local companies. Under the Investment Funds Act, the 75% limit on equity-based assets within portfolios has been removed altogether, except for funds with a conservative risk profile.Conservative funds will now be able to take on some equity risk and make other, previously banned, investments, to the value of 10% of their portfolios. Pension funds may also now make loans of up to 10% of the value of their portfolio. For real estate, the limit for mandatory pension scheme investment in single properties has been increased from 5% to 10% of the portfolio. However, the overall 40% cap on real estate and real estate funds remains for these funds, as does the 70% cap for voluntary third-pillar funds.The limit for investment in derivatives has been raised from 10% to 50% of a fund’s assets, while the limit for unquoted securities also rose to 50%, from 30% previously. This is intended to allow funds to invest more in Estonian companies.Meanwhile, currency restrictions have been lifted, except for conservative funds.last_img read more

For Dodgers’ Max Muncy, new center field backdrop is a painful adjustment

first_imgALSOBlake Treinen, Dennis Santana, Adam Kolarek and Dylan Floro each pitched to teammates in the Dodgers’ intrasquad game Wednesday night. … Edwin Rios hit a home run to left field against Treinen, accounting for the only run in the game. … Each half-inning ended after three outs or when the pitcher reached his limit for the inning, whichever came first. … Roberts said that pitcher A.J. Ramos threw his first bullpen session, approximately 30 pitches, on Tuesday. He and 2020 draft pick Clayton Beeter were the most recent additions to the Dodgers’ 60-man player pool, which currently has nine vacancies. … The Dodgers placed minor leaguers Zach Reks, Cody Thomas and Edwin Uceta on the 10-day injured list Tuesday. No injury was listed for any of the three players. LOS ANGELES – The Dodgers made approximately $100 million in renovations to Dodger Stadium after the 2019 season ended. The nucleus is a brand-new center field plaza, which required a total teardown of the black backdrop facing home plate.The new backdrop is just as black, but it comes with some quirks. The singular tower of speakers just beyond dead-center is gone, replaced with a pair of towers to the left and right. The videographers’ well is wider. There’s also a pedestrian area behind the speaker towers, part of the new walkway that encircles the stadium.None of this figured to be news on July 7. For several Dodger players, that was the first day they stood in the batter’s box facing the new center field backdrop. They have only a couple weeks to get adjusted before Opening Day.For Max Muncy, the adjustment came with a cost: the first baseman was hit by a pitch on his left hand in the Dodgers’ intrasquad game Tuesday. How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire “The batter’s eye will no longer be a tarp, and a scaffold, all this kind of crazy concoction of stuff,” Smith said, “but a real structure that’ll have a very clean look, places for cameras to be positioned that don’t wobble, and a bar on top of the batter’s eye that’ll be out of the players’ view, but it’ll be a fabulous place for those of us who have always been envious of what the camera sees to enjoy the game that way too.”What does that mean for the hitters? It’s early, but Muncy’s experience served as a caution.“You don’t want a player to not be able to see, to put him in harm’s way. For Max to say he couldn’t see the ball because of the background, that’s a little unsettling,” said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts.Related Articles Cody Bellinger homer gives Dodgers their first walkoff win of season Fire danger is on Dave Roberts’ mind as Dodgers head to San Francisco center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Dodgers’ Max Muncy trying to work his way out of slow start Dodgers hit seven home runs, sweep Colorado Rockies “I couldn’t really see the ball,” Muncy said on a conference call with reporters. “I’m trying to adjust to some of the changes out there. (The ball) came up and in on me and hit me in the finger.”The injury is not considered serious. Muncy said he’ll stop swinging a bat while his finger heals, but he expects to be ready by July 23 for Opening Day against the Giants.As for how the new center field background might have caused him trouble, Muncy said, “I don’t know if I’ll comment too much on that. It’s something I have to get used to. It’s different from what we’re used to. Pitchers are pretty happy about the batter’s eye out there.”Dodger Stadium hasn’t opened its doors to fans in 2020 because of public-gathering restrictions triggered by the novel coronavirus outbreak. The stadium might not host fans at all this year, even if the team reaches the playoffs after the 60-game regular season. Since its completion, the new center field area has gotten relatively few up-close looks.In December, the Dodgers’ senior vice president of planning and development, Janet Marie Smith, described the new features to SportsNet LA.last_img read more