Scary news from Down Under, a new disease seems to be erupting, killing humans and livestock. Cause is increased heat and flooding, making a perfect incubator for the virus.
“It started with Vic Rail’s horses, in September 1994. First one, then another, they died horrible deaths, 13 horses in all over the span of just two weeks, frothing from their noses and mouths, thrashing in agonizing pain. Then Rail died too.
Weeks later Australian officials isolated a newly discovered virus they ultimately named Hendra, after the Brisbane suburb where Rail and his horses died. For 17 years, Hendra virus smoldered in its host population of fruit bats killing nearly 50 horses and claiming three more human lives.
Then in May, something happened.
Flying Fox, a type of bat, in Australia passed deadly virus to humans
It was as if Hendra virus awoke from a slumber and roared fully into life. There have been more outbreaks of Hendra in 2011 — 18 at last count — than in the 16 previous years…
“The interesting change was the big floods in January,” said Raina Plowright, a disease ecologist at the Pennsylvania State University’s Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics. “Floods are expected more frequently with climate change — so, if they are linked, climate change may increase disease.”
Hendra virus is just one of a number of newly emerged zoonotic diseases, so called because they have their origins in animals but somehow make the leap to humans, and in doing so, wreak enormous havoc. While zoonotic diseases may sound exotic, one of the most devastating is also one of the most familiar: AIDS, which made the jump from primates to humans sometime at the beginning of the 20th century, and now kills an estimated 2.7 million people a year. Hendra, far newer but fearsomely lethal, has claimed the lives of four of the seven people infected.”
Horses could soon be butchered in the U.S. for human consumption after Congress quietly lifted a 5-year-old ban on funding horse meat inspections, and activists say slaughterhouses could be up and running in as little as a month.
Slaughter opponents pushed a measure cutting off funding for horse meat inspections through Congress in 2006 after other efforts to pass outright bans on horse slaughter failed in previous years. Congress lifted the ban in a spending bill President Barack Obama signed into law Nov. 18 to keep the government afloat until mid-December.
It did not, however, allocate any new money to pay for horse meat inspections, which opponents claim could cost taxpayers $3 million to $5 million a year. The U.S. Department of Agriculture would have to find the money in its existing budget, which is expected to see more cuts this year as Congress and the White House aim to trim federal spending.
The USDA issued a statement Tuesday saying there are no slaughterhouses in the U.S. that butcher horses for human consumption now, but if one were to open, it would conduct inspections to make sure federal laws were being followed. USDA spokesman Neil Gaffney declined to answer questions beyond what was in the statement.
The last U.S. slaughterhouse that butchered horses closed in 2007 in Illinois, and animal welfare activists warned of massive public outcry in any town where a slaughterhouse may open.
"If plants open up in Oklahoma or Nebraska, you’ll see controversy, litigation, legislative action and basically a very inhospitable environment to operate," predicted Wayne Pacelle, president and chief executive of The Humane Society of the United States. "Local opposition will emerge and you’ll have tremendous controversy over slaughtering Trigger and Mr. Ed."
But pro-slaughter activists say the ban had unintended consequences, including an increase in neglect and the abandonment of horses, and that they are scrambling to get a plant going — possibly in Wyoming, North Dakota, Nebraska or Missouri. They estimate a slaughterhouse could open in 30 to 90 days with state approval and eventually as many as 200,000 horses a year could be slaughtered for human consumption. Most of the meat would be shipped to countries in Europe and Asia, including France and Japan.
Dave Duquette, president of the nonprofit, pro-slaughter group United Horsemen, said no state or site has been picked yet but he’s lined up plenty of investors who have expressed interest in financing a processing plant. While the last three slaughterhouses in the U.S. were owned by foreign companies, he said a new plant would be American-owned.
"I have personally probably five to 10 investors that I could call right now if I had a plant ready to go," said Duquette, who lives in Hermiston, Ore. He added, "If one plant came open in two weeks, I’d have enough money to fund it. I’ve got people who will put up $100,000."
Sue Wallis, a Wyoming state lawmaker who’s the group’s vice president, said ranchers used to be able to sell horses that were too old or unfit for work to slaughterhouses but now they have to ship them to butchers in Canada and Mexico, where they fetch less than half the price.
The federal ban devastated “an entire sector of animal agriculture for purely sentimental and romantic notions,” she said.”
Attorneys for thousands of Haitian cholera victims have announced a lawsuit against the United Nations for bringing the disease to Haiti and then failing to contain it. Some 450,000 Haitians have been sickened, and more than 6,000 have died, since the cholera outbreak erupted in October 2010. The…
Who will rule the New Europe? Obviously, the private European banks and Goldman Sachs.
The new president of the European Central Bank is Mario Draghi. This person was Vice Chairman and Managing Director of Goldman Sachs International and a member of Goldman Sachs’ Management Committee. Draghi was also Italian Executive Director of the World Bank, Governor of the Bank of Italy, a member of the governing council of the European Central Bank, a member of the board of directors of the Bank for International Settlements, and a member of the boards of governors of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the Asian Development Bank, and Chairman of the Financial Stability Board.
Obviously, Draghi is going to protect the power of bankers.
Italy’s new prime minister, who was appointed not elected, was a member of Goldman Sachs Board of International Advisers. Mario Monti was appointed to the European Commission, one of the governing organizations of the EU. Monti is European Chairman of the Trilateral Commission, a US organization that advances American hegemony over the world. Monti is a member of the Bilderberg group and a founding member of the Spinelli group, an organization created in September 2010 to facilitate integration within the EU.
Just as an unelected banker was installed as prime minister of Italy, an unelected banker was installed as prime minister of Greece. Obviously, they are intended to produce the bankers’ solution to the sovereign debt crisis.
Greece’s new appointed prime minister, Lucas Papademos, was Governor of the Bank of Greece. From 2002–2010. He was Vice President of the European Central Bank. He, also, is a member of America’s Trilateral Commission.
Jacques Delors, a founder of the European Union, promised the British Trade Union Congress in 1988 that the European Commission would require governments to introduce pro-labor legislation. Instead, we find the banker-controlled European Commission demanding that European labor bail out the private banks by accepting lower pay, fewer social services, and a later retirement.
The European Union, just like everything else, is merely another scheme to concentrate wealth in a few hands at the expense of European citizens, who are destined, like Americans, to be the serfs of the 21st century.
Ask the Siri, the new iPhone 4 assistant, where to get an abortion, and, if you happen to be in Washington, D.C., she won’t direct you to the Planned Parenthood on 16th St, NW. Instead, she’ll suggest you pay a visit to the 1st Choice Women’s Health Center, an anti-abortion Crisis Pregnancy Center (CPC) in Landsdowne, Virginia, or Human Life Services, a CPC in York, Pennsylvania. Ask Google the same question, and you’ll get ads for no less than 7 metro-area abortion clinics, 2 CPCs and a nationwide abortion referral service.
Ask in New York City, and Siri will tell you: ‘I didn’t find any abortion clinics.’
If true, this is extremely important. Not just because of the subject matter but because its important to understand that our access to news and INFORMATION may increasingly be funneled through large companies like Apple, Facebook, Google and Amazon, who have hidden agendas, policies or biases we don’t know about.
Here’s another, more detailed post that illustrates the failures of this program using actual screencaps. Apparently it has no problem directing you to pharmacies when you need Viagra but it’ll get really snarky if you try to search for female birth control options. Or try to seek help after sexual assault.
“What may I help you with?” So begins Siri — the unique voice-activated assistant of the iPhone 4s that promises to deliver accurate and tailored answers for your every need. Unless you’re a woman in search of health services like birth control, emergency contraception, abortion, or even mammogram tests. Then the interactive search wizard draws a blank.
Interesting. I imagine some more widespread testing is needed to prove this, but it seems like there is something going on right now.
Some stories in the European press (La Stampa - Zero Hedgelink) suggest that Italy is working on a very big loan package from the IMF. I have no doubt that there are ongoing discussions. There have to be. Either someone puts a finger in the dike or Italy goes tapioca.
That thought is difficult for me to fathom. How could we be so close to the brink? At this point there is zero possibility that Italy can refinance any portion of its $300b of 2012 maturing debt. If there is anyone at the table who still thinks that Italy can pull off a miracle, they are wrong. I’m certain that the finance guys at the ECB and Italian CB understand this. I repeat, there is a zero chance for a market solution for Italy. Either the ECB (aka Germany) steps in and underwrites the debt with some form of Euro bonds or the IMF (aka the USA) steps in with some very serious money.
I have acknowledged in recent articles that I misread the Italian story. I didn’t see this coming at the pace that it has. Italian bond yields more than doubled in a month. I was not alone in this very big misread. I believe it has caught everyone flatfooted. Central bankers and finance officials all over the globe are crapping in their pants.
I think the Italian story is make or break. Either this gets fixed or Italy defaults in less than six months. The default option is not really an option that policy makers would consider. If Italy can’t make it, then there will be a very big crashing sound. It would end up taking out most of the global lenders, a fair number of countries would follow into Italy’s vortex. In my opinion a default by Italy is certain to bring a global depression; one that would take many years to crawl out of. The policy makers are aware of this too.
So I say something is brewing. And yes, if there is a plan in the works it must involve the IMF. And yes, it’s going to be big.
Please do not read this and conclude that some headline is coming that will make us all feel happy again. I think headlines are coming. But those headlines are likely to scare the crap out of the markets once the implications are understood.
In the real world of global finance the reality is that any country that is forced to accept an IMF bailout is also blocked from issuing debt in the public markets. IMF (or other supranational debt) is ALWAYS senior to other indebtedness of the country. That’s just the way it works. When Italy borrows money from the IMF it automatically subordinates the existing creditors. Lenders hate this. They will vote with their feet and take a pass at Italian new debt issuance for a long time to come. Once the process starts, it will not end. There will be a snow ball of other creditors. That’s exactly what happened in the 80’s when Mexico failed; within a year two dozen other countries were forced to their debt knees. (I had a front row seat.)
I don’t see a way out of this box. The liquidity crisis in Italy is scaring us to death, the solution will almost certainly kill us.
Note: The news announced last week where the IMF is providing EU countries a new “crisis” lending facility equal to 5Xs their IMF quota is a joke. What has been offered is a drop in the bucket against what is required. The La Stampa story today and this discussion are about something separate and distinct. What would be required is a step without precedent. It would dwarf what the IMF put forward just a few days ago.
1. One in three women die or are seriously injured as a result of gender-based violence. Violence against women results in more deaths among women ages 15 to 44 than the total number of women who die because of war, malaria, and cancer.
4. Approximately 96 million young women in developing countries still cannot read or write. Globally, girls account for 55 percent of children not in school.
5. Nearly 75 percent of those displaced by violent conflict are women. Displacement leaves women without access to health care, proper nutrition or education. Displaced women face a higher threat of gender-based terrorism and violence.
6. The 1994 genocide in Rwanda resulted in hundreds of thousands of violent sexual assaults, resulting in an estimated 250,000 women falling victim to HIV/AIDS. While many women awaiting treatment died, their perpetrators receive antiretroviral therapies in prison.
7. Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that actually denies women the right to vote by law. In other parts of the world, where women are legally allowed to vote, many women still struggle to exercise their rights. For example, in Afghanistan, some women were denied the right to vote in 2009 because the country lacked the necessary amount of female staff members to provide enough polls for women.
9. In 1974, Isabel Peron became the world’s first woman president, when she was elected President of Argentina. Around the world, 68 women have served as head of state in their country (not including monarchies). Currently, 38 women serve as head of government around the world. In 1997, Ireland became the first country to succeed power from one female president to another.
10. African nations have more women in parliament than most western nations. Rwanda ranks number one in world rankings for the highest representation of women at 49 percent.
Golda Meir was an elected head-of-state before Isabel Peron, though, in 1969.
Isfahan is home to Iran’s uranium conversion facility, which operates under IAEA surveillance. Photograph: Caren Firouz/Reuters
Conflicting reports have emerged from Iran over an explosion heard in the central city of Isfahan, close to the country’s sensitive nuclear facilities.
Iran’s semi-official Isna news agency quoted a judiciary official in Isfahan, saying that an explosion had been heard.
"We heard a sound similar to that of an explosion but we have received no reports about its causes and the consequences so far," said Gholamreza Ansari, in quotes carried by Isna. He said the explosion did not appear to be of any significance.
Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency was one of the first media organisations to report the explosion, saying it was heard at 2.40pm local time (1110 GMT). Fars quoted the deputy governor, Mehdi Ismaili, as confirming a sound that the news agency reported was loud enough to be heard across the city. The agency, however, removed the article from its website sometime later.
Ismaili then spoke to another semi-official agency, Mehr, denying his quotes as reported by Fars. “I have heard no sound whatsoever in Isfahan,” he said. Ismaili also told the Irna state news agency that he had not spoken to Fars in the first place.
Several residents of Isfahan told the Guardian that they had heard a loud blast. One said that it rattled the windows of their home.
Isfahan is home to Iran’s uranium conversion facility (UCF), which operates under IAEA surveillance. Iran’s main uranium enrichment facilities are situated in the city of Natanz to the north-east of Isfahan, where many of the country’s centrifuges are installed. In recent years, Iran’s nuclear activities at Natanz have been at the centre of an international dispute.
Earlier this month, a huge explosion at a missile base in the west of Tehran killed more than 30 members of Iran’s revolutionary guards, including Major General Hassan Tehrani Moghaddam, a senior commander described as the architect of the country’s missile programme.
In recent years, Iran’s nuclear and missile programmes have experienced a series of setbacks in what has been widely seen as a covert war against the Islamic republic.”
“…With last week’s very-public collapse of the super committee’s work here, Obama is certain to face questions from the Europeans about whether Washington is capable of similarly bold action to confront American debt.”
Medicare’s prescription coverage gap is getting smaller and easier to manage this year for millions of older and disabled people with high drug costs.
That gap — known as the “doughnut hole” — will shrink about 40 percent for those unlucky enough to land in it this year. That’s according to new Medicare figures in response to a request from The Associated Press.
The savings are thanks to discounts and other provisions in President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul law.
It’s roughly the difference between $1,500 without the law and $900 after the savings.
More than 2 million beneficiaries already have gotten some help.
But it’s unclear if the discounts will overcome older people’s skepticism about the law, which cut Medicare to expand coverage for the uninsured.
Palestine, (Pal Telegraph) - Israel’s prime minister on Wednesday blasted anyone who supports the Arab Spring and said the Arab world was “moving not forward, but backward,” media reports said.
Benjamin Netanyahu said history would prove him right about the “Islamic, anti-Western, anti-liberal, anti-Israeli and anti-democratic wave”, as he termed it, sweeping the region.
“In February, when millions of Egyptians thronged to the streets in Cairo, commentators and quite a few Israeli members of the opposition said that we’re facing a new era of liberalism and progress … They said I was trying to scare the public and was on the wrong side of history and don’t see where things are heading,” he said.
But time has proved him right, Netanyahu said, according to Israel’s Haaretz daily.
He also slammed Western leaders, and especially US President Barack Obama, and called them “naive,” the report said. “I ask today, who here didn’t understand reality? Who here didn’t understand history?”
“Israel is facing a period of instability and uncertainty in the region. This is certainly not the time to listen to those who say follow your heart,” he was quoted as saying in a Knesset speech.
Netanyahu used the upheaval in the Arab world to justify inaction vis-a-vis the peace process, the report said. “I remember many of you urged me to take the opportunity to make hasty concessions, to rush to an agreement.”
“But I will not establish Israel’s policy on illusions,” he said.
“There’s a huge upheaval here … whoever doesn’t see it is burying his head in the sand”.
Oh I’m sorry.. I didn’t know revolting against murderous, oppressive dictators, who may or may not have been “voted” in, constituted as “anti-democracy”.