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Flashermac

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  1. This San Francisco apartment building's parking spot will cost you $100,000 SAN FRANCISCO -- One hundred thousand dollars can get you a house in many places across the U.S. In San Francisco, the only listing for $100,000 is a parking spot, and the agent says he's getting calls. "One block from the ballpark and one block from the Embarcadero so it's not only a good place to park your car, and to park your money," said Bill Williams with Compass Real Estate. The parking spot is located in the South Beach neighborhood one of the most coveted areas in the city. "I had a picture of it and everything and my phone was ringing off the hook. Because people thought $100,000 for property in San Francisco they were clamoring for that," said Williams. The average parking price around the area is $15. According to Williams they got a verbal offer for $90,000 but his clients didn't take it. "It's all driven by supply and demand. We're surrounded by blocks of multimillion-dollar properties and they came with one parking space," said Williams. Neighbors in the Townsend building are shocked, "It's ridiculous," said Peggy Chou. "The thing that makes it so unique is that you don't have to live in the building to use it. So, somebody might just want to have their private parking for when they go to the ballpark or to park their antique car," said Williams. As more buildings are going up in the city, parking is harder to find. Sirine Khalifa got a $72 parking ticket across the Townsend listing and even though she was upset about the fine, she said she would use $100,000 for other things. "For example for the homeless people there are a lot of people living on the street and for me that is not very human," said Khalifa. Henry Luong is a San Francisco parking enforcement officer who was also shocked by the listing. "One hundred thousand dollars for a spot, no that's too much," Luong said. "You just have to be careful, just follow the rules." Like every other unit in the building, whoever buys the parking spot will have to pay property taxes and an HOA fee of $28 a month. https://abc7news.com/5896007/?fbclid=IwAR2vHxk1xpSXY19VT1ldYWSHaoTEy8kT7Wjg5Z-2_a0EPoKBO0_ge1UTRl8
  2. The baht has weakened a bit. You should be able to be a few more flowers now.
  3. From the Galeries Lafayette in Paris to the Erawan Shrine in Bangkok, tourist havens are feeling the absence of Chinese visitors, who normally would be flooding the globe during this Lunar New Year. Ananta Warisnaratorn, 43, sells flowers outside the shrine, where Chinese come to pray. "Usually we will welcome over 100 buses of Chinese tourists, the shrine is crowded, and tourists are overflowing the footpath," she said. "Now it's empty." An amulet seller nearby said his daily income has dropped to about $5 from $30. Tour guides said they had to little to do in what should have been one of their busiest weeks of the year. The cause of their unlucky fortunes is the new coronavirus that has struck nearly 6,000 people and killed more than 130 in China. Concerns about spreading or catching the virus were causing travelers to cancel plans even before China on Monday stopped allowing tour groups to leave the country. Individual travelers can still leave, but many are also opting to cancel, according to tourism officials. A minor part of the global tourism trade until the 2000s, Chinese visitors are now the most lucrative group for many countries. Nearly 168 million residents of China went outside the country in 2018, according to the U.N. World Tourism Organization, and spent some $277 billion. That is more than three times the travelers and five times the spending of a decade earlier. One reason is relaxation of travel rules, both in China and in destination countries like Japan, making it easier for the burgeoning Chinese middle class to pop over to Osaka or Oahu for a bit of shopping and leisure. In Asia, "the share of Chinese tourism in the overall tourism industry rose quite dramatically within five or six years," said Rajiv Biswas, IHS Markit's chief economist for the Asia-Pacific region. "Now they're already starting to feel slack, and cancellations are coming." On the Indonesian island of Bali, more than a quarter of visitors are Chinese, leading many tour operators to hire Mandarin-speaking guides. But with that tourism now curtailed, an early February festival to celebrate the legendary love story of a Balinese king and Chinese princess--featuring a parade of elephants and a traditional dance with performers in lion costume--has been suspended, the governor's office said. Determining the broad economic impact of the tourism slowdown is difficult because no one knows how long the virus and travel restrictions will last. SMBC Nikko Securities chief economist Junichi Makino said if the Chinese government banned travel abroad for six months--among the more severe scenarios--spending by Chinese group tourists would decline $83.1 billion world-wide and take 0.1 percentage point off global economic growth. Shuji Tonouchi, an economist in Tokyo at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities, said a falloff in tourism resembling the slowdown during the 2003 SARS virus outbreak would reduce Japan's gross domestic product growth by 0.2 percentage point. If the consequences of the outbreak last only through March, "that wouldn't be terrible," said Bernard Arnault, chief executive of luxury-goods maker LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, which just recorded record profits thanks in large part to Chinese shoppers. "If it lasts two years, that would be another story." About the only people in tourism centers benefiting from the Chinese coronavirus are those selling hygienic face masks and other health goods. Steven Wang, a 33-year-old tourist from Shanghai, arrived in Tokyo Tuesday afternoon with his girlfriend. His first purchase, at a drugstore in the Ginza shopping district, was 100 masks for friends and relatives back home. In France's capital, the Galeries Lafayette shopping emporium is usually packed with Chinese visitors and the typical luxury shop has at least one Chinese-speaking employee on hand. This week, it was a nearby pharmacy that was drawing some of the heaviest traffic. Wen Si of Beijing and her friend were looking for a particular brand of mask when they saw an older Chinese couple buying some. They asked the couple where to find them but were told none were left. "Since we begin to hear about coronavirus, it's totally different. Chinese customers are really scared," said pharmacist Daniel Machover. He said the store recently has been selling 1,000 masks a day, compared with the typical one to five. Paris, hit by several cases of the new coronavirus, has canceled its Lunar New Year Parade. A tourist from Nanjing who gave his surname as Chen said he and his wife had decided to extend their stay in the city for a week because they were too afraid to go home and risk being quarantined. He purchased a thermometer at another pharmacy and, while waiting for his wife to finish her shopping, took his temperature. It was normal. The stress of virus news had eaten into their travel plans. "We just feel tired," Mr. Chen said. "We will go to the hotel to sleep." https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1847279#cxrecs_s
  4. I foresee a group lawsuit in the near future. Kobe Bryant helicopter firm was not allowed to fly in fog The company that owns the helicopter that was carrying basketball great Kobe Bryant, his daughter and seven others when it crashed was not licensed to fly in foggy conditions, officials say. Island Express Helicopters was limited to operating when the pilot was able to see clearly when flying. ... https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-51332546
  5. Virus-hit Wuhan has two laboratories linked to Chinese bio-warfare program The deadly animal virus epidemic spreading globally may have originated in a Wuhan laboratory linked to China’s covert biological weapons program, according to an Israeli biological warfare expert. Radio Free Asia this week rebroadcast a local Wuhan television report from 2015 showing China’s most advanced virus research laboratory known the Wuhan Institute of Virology, Radio Free Asia reported. The laboratory is the only declared site in China capable of working with deadly viruses. Dany Shoham, a former Israeli military intelligence officer who has studied Chinese bio warfare, said the institute is linked to Beijing’s covert biological weapons program. “Certain laboratories in the institute have probably been engaged, in terms of research and development, in Chinese [biological weapons], at least collaterally, yet not as a principal facility of the Chinese BW alignment,” Mr. Shoham told The Washington Times. Work on biological weapons is conducted as part of a dual civilian-military research and is “definitely covert,” he said in an email. Mr. Shoham holds a doctorate in medical microbiology. From 1970 to 1991 he was a senior analyst with Israeli military intelligence for biological and chemical warfare in the Middle East and worldwide, holding the rank of lieutenant colonel. China in the past has denied having any offensive biological weapons. The State Department, in a report last year, said it suspects China has engaged in covert biological warfare work. A Chinese Embassy spokesman did not return an email seeking comment. Chinese authorities so far have said the origin of the coronavirus that has killed scores and infected hundreds in central Hubei Province is not known. Gao Fu, director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, told state-controlled media initial signs as of Thursday indicated the virus originated from wild animals sold at a seafood market in Wuhan. One ominous sign, said a U.S. official, is the that false rumors since the outbreak began several weeks ago have begun circulating on the Chinese Internet claiming the virus is part of a U.S. conspiracy to spread germ weapons. That could indicate China is preparing propaganda outlets to counter future charges the new virus escaped from one of Wuhan’s civilian or defense research laboratories. The World Health Organization is calling the microbe novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV. At a meeting in Geneva Thursday, the organization stopped short of declaring a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. The virus outbreak causes pneumonia-like symptoms and prompted China to deploy military forces to Wuhan this week in a bid to halt the spread. All travel out of the city of 11 million people was halted. The Wuhan institute has studied coronaviruses in the past, including the including the strain that causes Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS, H5N1 influenza virus, Japanese encephalitis, and dengue. Researchers at the institute also studied the germ that causes anthrax – a biological agent once developed in Russia. “Coronaviruses (particularly SARS) have been studied in the institute and are probably held therein,” he said. “SARS is included within the Chinese BW program, at large, and is dealt with in several pertinent facilities.” It is not known if the institute’s array of coronaviruses are specifically included in biological weapons program but it is possible, he said. Asked if the new coronavirus may have leaked, Mr. Shoham said: “In principle, outward virus infiltration might take place either as leakage or as an indoor unnoticed infection of a person that normally went out of the concerned facility. This could have been the case with the Wuhan Institute of Virology, but so far there isn’t evidence or indication for such incident.” After researchers sequence of the genome of the new coronavirus it might be possible to determine or suggest its origin or source. Mr. Shoham, now with the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar Ilan University in Israel, said the virology institute is the only declared site in China known as P4 for Pathogen Level 4, a status indicating it uses the strictest safety standards to prevent the spread of the most dangerous and exotic microbes being studied. The former Israeli military intelligence doctor also said suspicions were raised about the Wuhan Institute of Virology when a group of Chinese virologists working in Canada improperly sent samples to China of what he said were some of the deadliest viruses on earth, including the Ebola virus. In a July article in the journal Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, Mr. Shoham said the Wuhan institute was one of four Chinese laboratories engaged in some aspects of the biological weapons development. He identified the secure Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory at the institute as engaged in research on the Ebola, Nipah, and Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever viruses. The Wuhan virology institute is under the Chinese Academy of Sciences. But certain laboratories within it “have linkage with the PLA or BW-related elements within the Chinese defense establishment,” he said. In 1993, China declared a second facility, the Wuhan Institute of Biological Products, as one of eight biological warfare research facilities covered by the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) which China joined in 1985. The Wuhan Institute of Biological Products is a civilian facility but is linked to the Chinese defense establishment, and has been regarded to be involved in the Chinese BW program, Mr. Shoham said. China’s vaccine against SARS is probably produced there. “This means the SARS virus is held and propagated there, but it is not a new coronavirus, unless the wild type has been modified, which is not known and cannot be speculated at the moment,” he said. The annual State Department report on arms treaty compliance stated last year that China engaged in activities that could support biological warfare. “Information indicates that the People’s Republic of China engaged during the reporting period in biological activities with potential dual-use applications, which raises concerns regarding its compliance with the BWC,” the report said, adding that the United States suspects China failed to eliminate its biological warfare program as required by the treaty. “The United States has compliance concerns with respect to Chinese military medical institutions’ toxin research and development because of the potential dual-use applications and their potential as a biological threat,” the report added. The biosafety lab is located about 20 miles from the Hunan Seaford Market that reports from China say may have been origin point of the virus. Rutgers University microbiologist Dr. Richard Ebright told London’s Daily Mail that “at this point there’s no reason to harbor suspicions” the lab may be linked to the virus outbreak. https://m.washingtontimes.com/news/2020/jan/24/virus-hit-wuhan-has-two-laboratories-linked-chines/?fbclid=IwAR35pRFII5QfLIF8Jl-yavDJW2J59gbq-xejD4-EpLWObRl47OlHG3cuiV4
  6. It's official! The PRC is trying to kill us all. The new coronavirus has been declared a global emergency by the World Health Organization, as the outbreak continues to spread outside China. "The main reason for this declaration is not what is happening in China but what is happening in other countries," said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. The concern is that it could spread to countries with weaker health systems. At least 213 people have died from the virus in China. ... https://www.bbc.com/news/world-51318246
  7. Dershie defended OJ. Why shouldnt he defend Trump? That's where the money is.
  8. Beyoncé Set To Perform At Trump Impeachment Halftime Show IN a desperate bid to garner interest from the lethargic American public, officials involved in the Trump impeachment proceedings have announced that Beyoncé Knowles will perform at today’s Superbowl-styled halftime show, along with an array of supporting acts, WWN can confirm. Citing poor concentration skills and general apathy among American voters, it was decided entertainment during an interval was needed to increase interest in the country’s latest impeachment proceedings, which was initially billed as “the most entertaining impeachment of them all”. “Queen Bey will perform 5 songs halfway through today’s impeachment proceedings, followed by Daft Punk and a special appearance by Kanye West,” organisers confirmed. The investigation into president Trump’s alleged scheme to coerce Ukraine’s president into opening an investigation into an election rival or face military aid being withheld is now into its second day, with its findings expected to change “fuck all” in the minds of Trump supporters. “God damn witch hun’ if ya ask me,” spat Alabama soybean farmer Randy Stevens, who said he will vote for Trump again despite losing thousands in revenue this year due to the ongoing trade war with China, “Mr. Trump is a good man and understands small folk like me more than anyone else I know… he even killed ISIS,” Stevens added, hocking out a large brown pile of tobacco. The halftime show will also feature an indoor fireworks display. Ever the restrained and dignified leader, president Trump has vowed to continue to incriminate himself and justify the impeachment inquiry on Twitter before ultimately taking to the stand to scream ‘You want the truth? You can’t handle the truth’. https://waterfordwhispersnews.com/2019/11/14/beyonce-set-to-perform-at-trump-impeachment-halftime-show/
  9. Believe it or not, American football (and Canadian football) "evolved" from rugby. What went wrong?
  10. At least one country has good sense. Coronavirus: Britons on Wuhan flights to be quarantined Hundreds of British citizens being flown back to the UK from Wuhan on Thursday will be put in quarantine for two weeks on their arrival. It is believed passengers will be required to sign a contract agreeing to commit to the quarantine period. It comes as British Airways suspended all direct flights to and from mainland China because of the coronavirus outbreak. ... https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-51292590
  11. Arizona Makes Waves, Introduces Bill BANNING Transgenders From Female Sports Teams! The measure is intended to prevent female athletes from being forced to compete against biological males, Barto said in a statement. It would apply to K-12 schools, community colleges and state universities, but only to female teams. She said most people view the issue as one of basic fairness. “When this is allowed, it discourages female participation in athletics and, worse, it can result in women and girls being denied crucial educational and financial opportunities,” Barto’s statement said. ... https://en-volve.com/2020/01/26/arizona-makes-waves-introduces-bill-banning-transgenders-from-female-sports-teams/?fbclid=IwAR34BoTS-hGjwxz8IK1jNc8W2B4fW-sx9gzRWBaOtIyl-syHWsFiFMQn2Mc How dare they!
  12. And Biden, Pelosi, Kerry and Romney are Ukrainians. Trump guilty!
  13. If the Dems thought they could have overturned the results by a recount, they definitely would have tried. But they didn't ... and it is far too late to try that now. Impeachment is the only thing they could come up with. Everything you see going on now is an attempt by the Dems to turn enough voters against the Donald so they won't vote for his this year. They've known all a long he won't be convicted. And now for something completely non-political!
  14. Expert: China's animal trade to bring more outbreaks SHANGHAI: The animal-borne Sars virus 17 years ago was supposed to be a wakeup call about consuming wildlife as food, but scientists say China's latest epidemic indicates that the practice remains widespread and a growing risk to human health. Like Sars (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), which was traced to bats and civets, the virus that has killed dozens in China and infected almost 2,000 people is believed to have originated in animals trafficked for food. Final findings are yet to be announced, but Chinese health officials believe it came from wildlife sold illegally at a meat market in the central city of Wuhan that offered everything from rats to wolf puppies and giant salamanders. The so-called "bushmeat" trade, plus broader human encroachment on wild habitats, is bringing us into ever-closer contact with animal viruses that can spread rapidly in our uber-connected world, said Peter Daszak, president of EcoHealth Alliance, a global NGO focused on infectious disease prevention. The Global Virome Project, a worldwide effort to increase preparedness for pandemics, which Mr Daszak is a part of, estimates there are 1.7 million undiscovered viruses in wildlife, nearly half of which could be harmful to humans. Mr Daszak said the project's research indicates we can expect around five new animal-borne pathogens to infect humanity each year. "The new normal is that pandemics are going to happen more frequently," he said. "We are making contact with animals that carry these viruses more, and more, and more." Viruses are a natural part of the environment, and not all are the stuff of sci-fi horror. But the recent track record of animal-hosted viruses that "jump" to humans is sobering. Like Sars, which killed hundreds in China and Hong Kong in 2002-03, Ebola also was traced to bats, while HIV has roots in African primates. Today, more than 60% of new emerging human infectious diseases reach us via animals, scientists say. Even familiar menu items like poultry and cattle — whose pathogens we have largely adapted to over millennia — occasionally throw a curveball, like bird flu or mad-cow disease. "For the sake of these wild species' future, and for human health, we need to reduce consumption of these wild animals," said Diana Bell, a wildlife disease and conservation biologist at University of East Anglia who has studied Sars, Ebola and other pathogens. "But, 17 years on [from Sars], apparently that hasn't happened." Wild-meat consumption itself is not necessarily dangerous — most viruses die once their host is killed. But pathogens can jump to humans during the capture, transportation, or slaughter of animals, especially if sanitation is poor or protective equipment not used. On Thursday, the southern province of Guangdong, a centre of rare-species consumption, said it was immediately halting trade in wild animals. Similar promises were made following Sars, yet conservationists say the trade continues, aided by loophole-riddled Chinese laws regarding many species, and episodic or just plain lax enforcement. Chinese authorities have addressed the problem partly by encouraging a farmed-animal industry. This has included for endangered species like tigers, whose parts are prized in China and other Asian countries as aphrodisiacs or for other uses. But that comes with its own downside, by providing a channel for more sought-after wild-caught beasts to be laundered as "farmed," Ms Bell said. She adds that wildlife traders also have become more savvy, avoiding market scrutiny by selling directly to restaurants. 'Difficult to stop' Environmental groups say Chinese demand, fuelled by rising consumer buying power, is the biggest driver of the global bushmeat trade today. Some rare species have been prized in China as delicacies or for unproved health benefits since ancient times. Traditionally, a host gains "face" by serving guests or business partners expensive, hard-to-acquire wild fare. Yang Zhanqiu, a pathogen biologist at Wuhan University, said modern demand also is bolstered by widespread distrust of a Chinese food industry tarnished by years of repeated safety scandals. "People will think: wild is natural, natural is safe," Mr Yang said. "Everyone wants to eat better, so there is a market for wild animals." Mr Daszak said "it's very difficult to stop an activity with 5,000 years of cultural significance." But recent surveys strongly indicate that China's younger generation — swayed partly by animal-rights campaigns involving popular Chinese celebrities — are much less inclined to tuck into bat, rat, or salamander, he added. "I think that in 50 years this will be a thing of the past," Mr Daszak said. "The problem is that we live in such an interconnected world today that any pandemic like this can spread globally in three weeks. "The new normal is that pandemics are going to happen more frequently," he said. "We are making contact with animals that carry these viruses more, and more, and more." Viruses are a natural part of the environment, and not all are the stuff of sci-fi horror. But the recent track record of animal-hosted viruses that "jump" to humans is sobering. Like Sars, which killed hundreds in China and Hong Kong in 2002-03, Ebola also was traced to bats, while HIV has roots in African primates. Today, more than 60% of new emerging human infectious diseases reach us via animals, scientists say. Even familiar menu items like poultry and cattle — whose pathogens we have largely adapted to over millennia — occasionally throw a curveball, like bird flu or mad-cow disease. "For the sake of these wild species' future, and for human health, we need to reduce consumption of these wild animals," said Diana Bell, a wildlife disease and conservation biologist at University of East Anglia who has studied Sars, Ebola and other pathogens. "But, 17 years on [from Sars], apparently that hasn't happened." Wild-meat consumption itself is not necessarily dangerous — most viruses die once their host is killed. But pathogens can jump to humans during the capture, transportation, or slaughter of animals, especially if sanitation is poor or protective equipment not used. On Thursday, the southern province of Guangdong, a centre of rare-species consumption, said it was immediately halting trade in wild animals. Similar promises were made following Sars, yet conservationists say the trade continues, aided by loophole-riddled Chinese laws regarding many species, and episodic or just plain lax enforcement. Chinese authorities have addressed the problem partly by encouraging a farmed-animal industry. This has included for endangered species like tigers, whose parts are prized in China and other Asian countries as aphrodisiacs or for other uses. But that comes with its own downside, by providing a channel for more sought-after wild-caught beasts to be laundered as "farmed," Ms Bell said. She adds that wildlife traders also have become more savvy, avoiding market scrutiny by selling directly to restaurants. 'Difficult to stop' Environmental groups say Chinese demand, fuelled by rising consumer buying power, is the biggest driver of the global bushmeat trade today. Some rare species have been prized in China as delicacies or for unproved health benefits since ancient times. Traditionally, a host gains "face" by serving guests or business partners expensive, hard-to-acquire wild fare. Yang Zhanqiu, a pathogen biologist at Wuhan University, said modern demand also is bolstered by widespread distrust of a Chinese food industry tarnished by years of repeated safety scandals. "People will think: wild is natural, natural is safe," Mr Yang said. "Everyone wants to eat better, so there is a market for wild animals." Mr Daszak said "it's very difficult to stop an activity with 5,000 years of cultural significance." But recent surveys strongly indicate that China's younger generation — swayed partly by animal-rights campaigns involving popular Chinese celebrities — are much less inclined to tuck into bat, rat, or salamander, he added. "I think that in 50 years this will be a thing of the past," Mr Daszak said. "The problem is that we live in such an interconnected world today that any pandemic like this can spread globally in three weeks. https://www.bangkokpost.com/world/1844024/expert-chinas-animal-trade-to-bring-more-outbreaks?fbclid=IwAR0fMCelbjwjtAVWhYn-EGAX8UheZ5cW0mrpXlrmzfwAksHVWQvEx-X9tK4#cxrecs_s
  15. China coronavirus spread is accelerating, Xi Jinping warns The spread of a deadly new virus is accelerating, Chinese President Xi Jinping warned, after holding a special government meeting on the Lunar New Year public holiday. The country is facing a "grave situation" Mr Xi told senior officials. The coronavirus has killed at least 56 people and infected almost 2,000 since its discovery in the city of Wuhan. The US has announced that staff at the Wuhan consulate will be evacuated on a special flight on Tuesday. The State Department said that private Americans most at risk will also be able to board the flight to San Francisco. Meanwhile, UK-based researchers have warned of a real possibility that China will not be able to contain the virus. Travel restrictions have come in place in several affected cities. From Sunday, private vehicles will be banned from central districts of Wuhan, the source of the outbreak. A second emergency hospital is to be built there within weeks to handle 1,300 new patients, and will be finished in half a month, state newspaper the People's Daily said. It is the second such rapid construction project: work on another 1,000-bed hospital has already begun. Specialist military medical teams have also been flown into Hubei province, where Wuhan is located. The urgency reflects concern both within China and elsewhere about the virus which first appeared in December. Lunar New Year celebrations for the year of the rat, which began on Saturday, have been cancelled in many Chinese cities. Across mainland China, travellers are having their temperatures checked for signs of fever, and train stations have been shut in several cities. In Hong Kong, the highest level of emergency has been declared and school holidays extended. Several other nations are each dealing with a handful of cases, with patients being treated in isolation. What is the coronavirus, and what does it do? A coronavirus is a family of viruses which include the common cold. But this virus has never been seen before, so it's been called 2019-nCov, for "novel coronavirus". New viruses can become common in humans after jumping across the species barrier from animals. The Sars [Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome] outbreak of 2003 started in bats and transferred to the civet cat which passed it on to humans. his new virus also causes severe acute respiratory infection. Symptoms seem to start with a fever, followed by a dry cough and then, after a week, lead to shortness of breath and some patients needing hospital treatment. There is no specific cure or vaccine. Coronavirus: How worried should we be? Based on early information, it is believed that only a quarter of infected cases are "severe", and the dead are mostly - though not exclusively - older people, some of whom have pre-existing conditions. The Chinese authorities suspect a seafood market that "conducted illegal transactions of wild animals" was the source of the outbreak. Why is there concern about containing the virus? Scientists at the respected MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis in the UK have warned that it may not be possible to contain the virus to China. They say self-sustaining human-to-human transmission of the coronavirus is the "only plausible explanation" for the scale of the epidemic. Their calculations estimate each infected person is passing it onto, on average, 2.5 other people. The centre praised the efforts of the Chinese authorities, but said transmission of the virus needed to be cut by 60% in order to get on top of the outbreak. This is a massive challenge, the scientists suggest, which will require finding and isolating even patients with only mild symptoms that could easily be confused with other diseases. Elsewhere, a team at Lancaster University have published their estimates of the number of cases suggesting 11,000 have been infected this year. If true, that would be more than Sars. Where has it spread? There are now 1,372 confirmed cases across China, though most are concentrated in those provinces closest to Hubei. But it has also spread abroad - in isolated cases affecting small numbers of patients. On Saturday, Australia confirmed its first four cases - first in Melbourne, and then three more in Sydney. It has also spread to Europe, with three cases confirmed in France. Tests in the UK on 31 people have come back negative, the government has said. Officials are trying to trace around 2,000 people who have recently flown to the UK from Hubei province. The cases largely involve people who had recently travelled from the affected region in China. China's neighbours in the Asia region are on high alert, however, with cases reported in Thailand, Singapore, Japan, Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam, South Korea and Nepal. There are also two cases in the United States, including a woman in her 60s who had returned home to Chicago from Wuhan on 13 January. Canada has a "presumptive case" of the virus, but the condition of the person suffering from it is deemed stable, according to a government statement. ... https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-51249208
  16. Meanwhile, back at the Senate ...
  17. Despite research establishing the risks associated with ultra-fine PM2.5 particulate matter, and the fact it is both odourless and invisible, many people fail to appreciate the damaging impact it has on their health, said Khate Sripratak, cardiologist and president of the Chest Disease Institute's medical staff organisation. "It affects the health of people in all walks of life, but children, the elderly and those with congenital diseases are likely to suffer more," he said. Though there are no official figures yet, Dr Khate has noticed a distinct rise in the number of people being admitted in hospital due to PM2.5-related complaints. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), PM2.5 is particulate matter (PM) that is less than 2.5 micrometre (μm) in diameter, or about about 3% of the diameter of a human hair. PM2.5 also comprises ultra-fine particles that have a diameter of less than 0.1μm. PM that is between 0.1μm and 1μm in diameter can stay in the atmosphere for days or weeks and can be subject to long-range transboundary air transport. These ultra-fine dust particles can have short- and long-term effects, such as respiratory and cardiovascular morbidity, aggravation of asthma, respiratory symptoms, greater mortality from cardiovascular and respiratory diseases as well as from lung cancer. Dr Khate also voiced concerns about Thailand's safe standard for PM2.5. WHO stipulates that the presence of PM2.5 per cubic metre (m3) of air cannot exceed 25 microgrammes per cubic metre [µg/m³] on average over 24 hours, and can be no more than 10µg/m³ on an annual average. Thailand's Pollution Control Department (PCD), meanwhile, has set a safe level of 50µg/m³ on average over 24 hours and an average of 25µg/m³ per year. "There's no study showing that Thais have more natural resistance to pollution than other people in the world. The Pollution Control Department should make changes and launch clear measures," he said. He added that he agrees with the government's decision to halt construction, close schools and encourage people to work from home on days when the air pollution is particularly bad. "The severity of the situation was made clear by the sheer number of schools that were forced to close recently," he said. "However, these measures cannot be imposed forever, and it is important that people protect themselves." For those who cannot afford air purifiers and proper N95 masks, using ordinary sanitary face masks is recommended. "Being partially protected is better than not being protected at all," Dr Khate said. Medical staff should wear face masks to boost people's awareness of the need to protect themselves, he said. "If those who are directly involved with health issues do not set an example, people might not take the issue seriously enough," he said. https://www.bangkokpost.com/thailand/general/1843849/dont-under-estimate-pm2-5-risk-doctor-says#cxrecs_s
  18. It's not so long ago that the PRC had "domestic passports". A friend taught there in the early 1990s, and he said everyone had to have permission just to visit a neighbouring province, and getting permission was very hard. Also, there were special department stores for the Communist Party members, where they could buy items not available to the ordinary proles. He was one of the very few foreign instructors at a university, and he knew that spies had been planted in all of his classes. He dared not say anything the CP didn't approve of. I image it's about the same in N Korea. p.s. I am totally puzzled by the presence of the U.S. Peace Corps in the PRC. WTF? The Peace Corps was intended to help third world countries, not a world power house like the PRC.
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