Vietnam reports two H5N1 cases

first_imgJun 13, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – Vietnamese health officials announced yesterday that two more patients tested positive for H5N1 avian influenza, while animal-health officials suggested that unvaccinated ducks may be to blame for Vietnam’s recent rash of poultry outbreaks.Nguyen Huy Nga, director of Vietnam’s preventive medicine administration, said tests at a Vietnamese laboratory confirmed that a 28-year-old man from Tranh Hoa province and a 29-year-old woman from Ha Nam province, both in the northern part of the country, were infected with the H5N1 virus, according to an Associated Press (AP) report yesterday.Other media reports were unclear on the patients’ exact ages and the gender of the patient from Tranh Hoa. However, most reports, including stories today from two Vietnamese news services, said the patient from Tranh Hoa got sick after eating meat from an infected duck and was released from a hospital after recovering from pneumonia-like symptoms.Vietnamese news services also reported that the woman from Ha Nam province was in critical condition at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Hanoi. Officials were trying to learn how she was exposed to the virus.If the World Health Organization (WHO) confirms the two cases and two others reported by Vietnam over the past few weeks, the country’s H5N1 case count will rise to 97. For now, the count stands at 93 cases and 42 deaths.Since early May, Vietnam has battled H5N1 outbreaks in 15 provinces. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and Vietnamese agriculture officials recently conducted a joint investigation of outbreaks in Nam Dinh province, one of the affected areas. In a report released 2 days ago, the FAO said this year’s outbreaks are occurring later in the year than expected.Historically, January and February have been the worst months for the spread of H5N1, because of high consumer demand for poultry products during Lunar New Year (Tet) celebrations and because cooler temperature have been thought to favor the virus’s survival in the environment, the FAO report said.Investigators believe an increase in the numbers of ducks, many of which are unvaccinated, released to graze on newly harvested rice paddies are the reason for the later-than-usual spike in bird outbreaks this year, the report said. Farmers typically bring ducks that are hatched in nearby provinces to graze on harvested paddies in Nam Dinh province. Investigators found that unvaccinated young ducks, whose breeding cycles may not have corresponded with local vaccination campaigns, were released onto the rice paddies.”Free range duck production is an excellent system for farming, but there are risks and challenges involved,” said Andrew Speedy, FAO’s Vietnam representative, in the report. The agency recommends that officials ensure that all ducks are vaccinated, require hatcheries to meet basic biosecurity standards, and discourage small hatcheries.The FAO said current poultry vaccines are still effective and that it was assisting the government with the study of the H5N1 virus circulating in poultry. Jeffrey Gilbert, chief technical advisor of the FAO’s avian influenza program in Vietnam, said, “So far, genetic sequencing of recent viral isolates has shown no significant changes in the antigenicity of the virus.”Elsewhere, the health ministry in Malaysia said yesterday that five people in two central states have been quarantined for suspected H5N1 infection, Agence-France Presse (AFP) reported. The patients include three children and two adults. An 11-year-old boy was isolated at a hospital in Selangor state, while the others were hospitalized in Pahang state, the AFP report said.Chua Soi Lek, a health ministry official, told AFP all the patients had had contact with dead chickens. He added that 16 other people who were hospitalized with flulike symptoms have tested negative for the virus.The H5N1 virus resurfaced in Malaysian poultry early this month, marking the country’s first outbreak since February 2006, but it has never had a confirmed human H5N1 case.Meanwhile, the WHO yesterday confirmed the latest H5N1 case reported in Egypt, in a 4-year-old girl from Qena governorate who got sick on Jun 7 and was hospitalized 3 days later. She was reported to be in stable condition. An initial investigation revealed the girl had been exposed to dead birds. The case confirmation brings Egypt’s H5N1 total to 36 cases, of which 15 have been fatal.See also:Jun 7 FAO reporthttp://www.fao.org/avianflu/news/vietnam.htmlJun 12 WHO statementhttp://www.who.int/csr/don/2007_06_12/en/index.htmllast_img read more

‘Stupendous deal’ nets £1bn for right to revive West Coast fortunes

first_imgON FEBRUARY 19, Virgin Rail was awarded a 15 year franchise to operate InterCity services on Britain’s West Coast Main Line between London, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester and Glasgow. Handover of the operation took place at 02.00 on March 9. Announcing the details of the award, Franchising Director John O’Brien hailed the package as a ’fabulous deal for the taxpayer’ which could see trains covering the 646 km from London to Glasgow in under 4h within 10 years.Virgin Rail will pay the Office of Passenger Rail Franchising £1237m in premiums for the right to run the franchise, converting the £92m subsidy paid to BR in 1996-97 into a £220m premium in 2011-12 – by comparison, ICWC took just £219m in ticket revenue during in 1995-96. Virgin will continue to receive subsidies averaging £61m a year until upgrading work is completed in 2002, after which the money flow swings to a £52·7m premium almost overnight. Over the entire franchise, the average premium is £62m.Virgin is also committed to investing ’hundreds of millions of pounds’ into the franchise, on top of £1·5bn which Railtrack is to spend on upgrading the track, signalling and power supplies. Virgin Group Chairman Richard Branson said he was ’very excited to fulfil a dream, with Eurostar (UK), CrossCountry and now West Coast. Over the next 15 years we will be working to create a rail network that Britain can be proud of, and the envy of Europe.’ He recognised the scale of work needed to revitalise ICWC, but ’we wouldn’t want to take on the challenge if we didn’t think it would enhance the Virgin name.’Upgrading essentialThe West Coast Main Line accounts for 12% of the Railtrack network. Following the completion of electrification in 1974, the route attracted substantial business from road and air, earning 50% more revenue than the ’rival’ East Coast route from London to Edinburgh.However, a planned fleet re-equipment in the early 1980s was scuppered by the abandonment of the Advanced Passenger Train, and subsequent attempts also foundered due to recession and the run-up to privatisation. As a result ICWC saw what Virgin Rail director Will Whitehorne described as ’15 years of slow and sad decline’, to the point where barely 76% of trains arrive within 10min of the advertised time, and failures and cancellations are rife. The Franchising Director acknowledged there were problems: ’I know how important this route is, and how much investment it needs … it is the real litmus test of the franchising process.’ Back in 1994 we also identified West Coast modernisation as one of the biggest challenges to Britain’s rail privatisation process (RG 4.94 p217).Last October OPRAF and Railtrack reached agreement to spend an extra £150m on upgrading in addition to the £1·35bn ’core investment plan’ for infrastructure refurbishment, paving the way for the possible operation of 200 km/h tilting trains from 2002. O’Brien said he was ’delighted that this upgrading approach has been vindicated’, noting that Virgin Rail has already started negotiating a supplementary upgrading package with Railtrack to lift maximum speeds to 225 km/h by 2006.Virgin Rail is committed to ordering a fleet of 40 tilting trains capable of 225 km/h, which will enter service at 200 km/h in 2002. With a similar number of diesel trainsets pledged for the CrossCountry franchise it took over on January 5, the company will be spending £800m on new rolling stock. Director Brian Barratt said Virgin Rail would be looking to negotiate ’bulk purchase’ deals for the two fleets, having ’identified a lot of commonality’ between the requirements.Branson said he hoped work would start next year, and that ’by 2003 almost all Virgin trains will be brand new’. With a snipe at East Coast franchisee Great North Eastern Railway, he noted that ’we are buying 80 new trains against their two!’. Unified fleet management will have other benefits; refurbished 200 km/h diesel HSTs replaced by new CrossCountry stock will be available to cover West Coast duties during the infrastructure upgrading, and perhaps for through services onto non-electrified routes.Journey times are forecast to fall dramatically as the new trains come on stream and Railtrack completes the infrastructure works (Table I). This makes Virgin highly dependent on Railtrack delivering to schedule, but Branson says the companies will ’work very closely together … we are looking to work in partnership with Railtrack to build a new network, which is not the way it has happened over the past two or three years.’ But he warned ’we will be sitting on top of them if they get it wrong.’Railtrack Commercial Director Michael Howells was quick to ’endorse all the promises made by Virgin … we are fully confident that the work will go forward as planned.’ He later confirmed that the start of upgrading is not dependent on having the innovative transmission-based signalling ready, although ’we will be looking to the maintenance cost savings from TBS to provide the return further down the road.’ TBS will be compulsory for the planned step up to 225 km/h operation in 2006, but Howells says ’following discussions with our suppliers, there is a high level of confidence that TBS will deliver.’The ambitious programme was also endorsed by the West Coast 250 group which has been campaigning for substantial improvements to the corridor. Carlisle MP Eric Martlew, who jointly chairs the all-party parliamentary West Coast Main Line Group said the campaigners looked forward to working with Virgin and Railtrack ’to ensure that the promised investment is achieved’.Investing in qualityVirgin is to invest another £200m on ’non-rolling stock’ projects including substantial station improvements, although no details were released beyond an initial £2m for passenger information systems. Whitehorne noted that ’lack of information is the biggest single source of customer complaints’ at present. He felt that ’sales to the public is an area where rail has not kept up with its market competitors such as the airlines.’ CrossCountry was opening a new telephone ticket sales office in March, with 100 staff initially and later up to 250. This will be expanded to cover West Coast tickets from October, and Virgin ’will offer the facility to other franchisees as well.’ Virgin Rail has negotiated backing from four investment groups for its spending programme, although a public share offering has not been ruled out. Asked how Virgin will be able to generate enough income to fund the investment and the huge premia payments, O’Brien said that extra revenue would come from higher patronage and increased services; the deal was ’not about taking costs out of the business.’ Branson emphasised that there were ’many areas where using our expertise will make West Coast more efficient and earn more’, highlighting recent changes designed to bring CrossCountry train catering back into profit.Substantial growth in patronage will be needed to generate enough revenue to fund the agreed premia, but Whitehorne is confident that the target is achievable. ’There is a huge market out there if we can tap it; rail currently has around 5% market share in the M6 corridor, with air at 3%, coaches 2% and private cars no less than 90%. A step change in the attractiveness of this line after 2002 means we can take market share and grow the business. We are not talking rocket science; the numbers are easily attainable.’Virgin Rail is committed to increasing the present service levels on most West Coast corridors, with a 15min interval service to Birmingham to be launched ’early in the next century’. Branson felt there were a lot of opportunities for ’point to point services as well as the existing stopping trains’, in effect overlaying a ground-level airline onto the classic railway operating patterns.Whitehorne sees considerable scope for winning business from short-haul domestic air services as pressure on runway slots increases at the busiest airports; ’CrossCountry and West Coast together are ideally placed to offer the first integrated rail/air network in the United Kingdom’. With a few minor infrastructure works, ’we could be running direct services from Manchester Airport to London Heathrow in 2h by 2001.’Virgin Rail has agreed to look at the scope for launching new services off the present electrified network, notably restoring through inter-city services to Shrewsbury and Blackpool, which lost them in the early 1990s. It will also look at electrification of the ’missing link’ between Manchester and Preston, used by CrossCountry, and on the branches from Crewe to Chester and Preston to Blackpool.Innovation is also expected in fare structures; Barratt felt that ’the classic first and standard classes are no longer appropriate to today’s market’. He plans to offer four levels of service on most Virgin trains. At the upper end the ’first class’ coaches with 2+1 seating will offer Business Class for those wanting to work on the train and ’Premium Class’ for passengers who just want to be pampered and enjoy the journey. The 2+2 standard class coaches will provide a Luxury Economy with tables for family groups or seat-back videos, whilst high-density face-to-back airline seating will meet the demand for very cheap leisure fares.Asked about the £19 London – Scotland single fare offered by GNER to compete with budget airlines, Branson was quick to emphasise the trade-off between quality and price. ’There is a balancing act between making quality better and having the most competitive fares; our aim is to run a high-quality operation, but Virgin is not famous for being outpriced. We will be in there fighting.’Wait and seeDespite his ambitious aspirations, Branson was keen to emphasise that Virgin had a long haul ahead. ’Passengers must not expect too much too quickly … they are not going to walk onto a train tomorrow and find everything is different. New trains are 4 1??2 years away, and Railtrack has to spend a fortune on the track.’ Even so, Virgin can be expected to start making much-needed improvements as soon as it takes over the franchise. Brian Barratt said punctuality on CrossCountry improved by 5% within the first month as a result of better communication between the train operating company’s staff on the ground and those of Railtrack. Virgin has pledged to lift West Coast’s dismal performance record and get the on-time punctuality of ’most’ services to 90% within a year. Refurbishment of the existing rolling stock is already getting under way, and the first train was available for service on March 10. Some London – Birmingham and London – Manchester services will be speeded up by 5min from the May 1998 timetable change. Fixed-price taxi links will be introduced to feed in and out of major stations, and a dedicated coach link from Watford Junction to Heathrow airport will be reinstated. oTABLE: Table I. ICWC journey time cuts 1997 2002 2006London – Birmingham 1h 40min 1h 20min n/aLondon – Manchester 2h 30min 2h ’Under 2h’ London – Liverpool 2h 45min 2h 15min n/aLondon – Glasgow 5h to 4h to ’Under 4h’ 5h 30min 4h 20min CAPTION: West Coast is Britain’s busiest inter-city route, earning on its own 10% of all passenger revenue. Virgin also has the CrossCountry franchise, making it the biggest private operator of inter-city serviceslast_img read more

Airbnb Offers Free Housing to Dorian Evacuees, Rescue Workers

first_imgAirbnb says it has launched its “Open Homes Program,” which provides free housing to displaced residents and disaster relief workers, to those affected by Hurricane Dorian.More than 800 Airbnb hosts will be available in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Alabama. Check available listings here.As of Monday morning, more than 30 Airbnb locations were available around our state in St. Petersburg, Tampa, Tallahassee and Miami-Dade.Kellie Bentz, Airbnb’s head of global response and relief, says, “Airbnb’s Open Homes Program continues to be activated for those affected by Hurricane Dorian across the southeast U.S. region. We encourage hosts to open up their homes, and those who need housing to take advantage of the program.”last_img

‘The Last Dance’ reactions: Episodes 7-8 prompt ‘Error Jordan’ jokes, epic pickup game reflection

first_imgCraig Sager casually accusing Jerry Krause of backstabbing is a MOOD— Charlotte Wilder (@TheWilderThings) May 11, 2020Craig Sager to Jerry Krause:”Are you surprised the team has stayed together and the chemistry has been that good with all the backstabbing between you and coach and everything else?”Craig Sager still making the World smile. pic.twitter.com/Lbd8jSFmP3— The Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) May 11, 2020Here’s the great Craig Sager achieving a journalistic triumph: Asking a question that makes your subject storm off #LastDance pic.twitter.com/nPZPWFj5nr— Vulture (@vulture) May 11, 2020LaBradford SmithOne of the most entertaining stories of the night was that of LaBradford Smith’s 37 points against Michael Jordan in 1993, followed the next night by Jordan absolutely demolishing Smith with 36 points in the first half and 47 points for the game.almost 30 years since MJ gave him 37 in the first half and LaBradford Smith probably still wakes up every hour in a cold sweat bemused if he said “nice game” to Michael. dozes off *flash* another bucket. Jordan’s laugh echoing in his head. lets hope he’s finally found some peace.— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) May 11, 2020LaBradford Smith vs. Michael Jordan part 2 #TheLastDance pic.twitter.com/wuH3CoMEAS— SportsNation (@SportsNation) May 11, 2020LaBradford Smith’s mentions after saying “Good game Mike” #TheLastDance pic.twitter.com/L3RITqww6h— B. W. Carlin (@BaileyCarlin) May 11, 2020Nick Anderson’s famous ’45 isn’t the same as 23′ commentsWhen Jordan returned to the NBA during the 1995 season, he wore No. 45 instead of his previous No. 23. That change was short-lived, though. After Game 2 of the 1995 Eastern Conference Finals against the Magic, when Nick Anderson stole the ball from Jordan in the waning seconds and threw it ahead to Horace Grant for the game-winning dunk, Anderson infamously said that “45 isn’t the same as 23; I couldn’t have done that to 23.” Yeah, everyone knew that was a bad idea.When Nick Anderson said “45 isn’t the same as 23” … #TheLastDance pic.twitter.com/oaUvxCV4uF— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) May 11, 2020Our family was camping when that Nick Anderson game happened. I vividly remember listening to the postgame on the radio around the fire when they relayed the “45 isn’t 23” quote.My dad looked at me and just said, “He shouldn’t have done that.”— Robert Mays (@robertmays) May 11, 2020’Space Jam’ pickup gamesWhile Jordan was recording for “Space Jam” during the summer of 1995, he used the other NBA players on set to continue to sharpen his game by playing pickup basketball every single day. And everyone had fun speculating on what those games looked like.we gotta see the whole tape of these late night Space Jam pickup games because you just know Reggie Miller was taking charges in a call your own fouls run.— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) May 11, 2020MJ taking down the players’ moves at the Space Jam runs like: #TheLastDance pic.twitter.com/aLzA5nfPi2— ESPN (@espn) May 11, 2020(1995) Pick up games at the ‘Jordan Dome’ where MJ played against Reggie Miller, Juwan Howard, Dennis Rodman and others.Mike would film ‘Space Jam’ during the day and play these pick up games at night. 🎞pic.twitter.com/KszRV8ZvxL— Timeless Sports (@timelesssports_) May 11, 2020 Episodes of 7 and 8 of “The Last Dance” primarily covered the stretch of Michael Jordan’s career from when he first retired from basketball in 1993 to play baseball through the beginning of his second NBA championship three-peat.There were many emotional moments, including the death of Jordan’s father and the toll it took on him, as well as the psychological effects Jordan’s harsh leadership style had on his teammates. There were also a lot of lighter moments, like Scottie Pippen taking himself out of Game 3 of the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals and Jordan getting revenge on poor LaBradford Smith. Here’s a look at some of the best social media reactions to Episodes 7 and 8 of “The Last Dance”:MORE: Pippen quit on the Bulls in 1994 and put his legacy at riskDeath of James JordanEpisode 7 covers the death of Michael Jordan’s father, James Jordan, and the impact it had on Michael.MJ on his father James Jordan.“He’s a voice of reason that always drove and challenged me. That’s the type of father I had. Like a friend.” #TheLastDance pic.twitter.com/xt7ner9udN— The Sports Archive (@SportsArchive_) May 11, 2020The 1996 NBA Finals, chronicled in Episode 8, included a series-culminating Game 6 win on Father’s Day that led to an incredibly emotional moment for Jordan.home game to close out the greatest season of all-time on Father’s Day only three years after his dad’s passing. even God was losing that by double digits.— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) May 11, 2020One of the best moments in sports history. Winning on Father’s Day as the best team ever. 🐐 pic.twitter.com/pnMrks0ZVg— THIS LEAGUE (@thisleague) May 11, 2020Tony Kukoc’s buzzer-beater in the 1994 Eastern Conference FinalsThere were lots of jokes on Twitter when the documentary talked about Game 3 of the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals, the game in which Scottie Pippen subbed himself out on the last possession after head coach Phil Jackson drew up a play for Tony Kukoc instead of Pippen.Kukoc went on to sink the game-winning shot.Pippen when Phil said Kukoc was taking the final shot: #TheLastDance pic.twitter.com/yF3n8X61zI— SportsNation (@SportsNation) May 11, 2020It really is a massive indightment of mid 90s media that Scottie Pippin sat out that final shot that Kukoc made and we didnt have a “are the bulls better without MJ and Scottie Pippin?” in every newspaper in America— PFTCommenter (@PFTCommenter) May 11, 2020Scottie when Phil drew up the play for Kukoc: #TheLastDance pic.twitter.com/i91UIlgfL3— The Draft Class (@the_draftclass) May 11, 2020I hope MJ called Pip a ho for sitting out bc Phil drew up the last shot for Kukoc— Aye throw that Boyz II Men on (@DragonflyJonez) May 11, 2020the great what if for me about this play where pippen checked himself out — what the hell was gonna happen had kukoc missed the shot? #thelastdance— bomani (@bomani_jones) May 11, 2020I like to imagine that Kukoc is at home watching this like the rest of us and just going, “Oh, so that’s why they did that to me” every five minutes or so.— Paolo Uggetti (@PaoloUggetti) May 11, 2020Terry Francona says Jordan could have played in MLBIndians manager Terry Francona, a two-time World Series winner with the Red Sox, was the manager of the Birmingham Barons when Jordan joined the team. In his interview during Episode 7, Francona said Jordan could have made it to the majors if he could have gotten more at-bats. Some were amazed at Francona’s praise, while others were just amazed at the coincidence that the two crossed paths.Terry Francona 2 World Series as a manager:“With 1500 at bats he would’ve found a way to get into the major leagues.” #thelastdance— Cassidy Hubbarth (@CassidyHubbarth) May 11, 2020That Terry Francona was the manager of Michael Jordan’s AA baseball team is such a great quirk of crossed paths— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) May 11, 2020Error JordanDuring his attempt at a pro baseball career, Jordan went through a rough stretch of play, resulting in several negative headlines saying he was making a mockery of the sport. One headline that got fans laughing was “Error Jordan,” an objectively clever play on words on his Airness — er, his errorness.the editor who typed “ERROR JORDAN” pic.twitter.com/cIC1wEiVLP— sreekar (@sreekyshooter) May 11, 2020“Error Jordan” is a hell of a headline— Kevin Love (@kevinlove) May 11, 2020credit where it’s due, “Error Jordan” is an elite headline— Mike Golic Jr (@mikegolicjr) May 11, 2020Gary Payton vs. Michael JordanOne of the big narratives of the 1996 NBA Finals was the matchup between Jordan and Gary Payton, but Payton didn’t guard Jordan for the first three games. Seattle was able to win a couple of games after Payton started guarding him, but Jordan laughed at the idea that Payton actually changed his game.Gary Payton thought he found a way to get to MJ … Mike wasn’t sweating the Glove 😂 #TheLastDance pic.twitter.com/Z8NG7qN5hW— ESPN (@espn) May 11, 2020Craig Sager cameoThe late Craig Sager made an appearance at the beginning of Episode 7 in film of a news conference during the 1998 season when he asked Bulls’ GM Jerry Krause about backstabbing going on between him and head coach Phil Jackson. Krause didn’t appreciate the question, but fans loved it.last_img read more