Month: November 2020

first_imgCOMMUNITY SPOTLIGHT is dedicated to finding great writing by community members that isn’t getting the visibility it deserves.To add our rescued stories to your Stream, click on the word FOLLOW in the left panel at our main page or click on Reblogs and read them directly on the group page. You can also find a list of our rescued stories by clicking HERE.An edition of our rescue roundup publishes every Saturday at 1 PM ET (10AM PT) to the Recent Community Stories section and at 6:30PM ET to the front page. Mercy Ormont’s observation parallels what many others said. “I really prefer to write thought pieces. They’re not current news, but rather my thoughts and analysis on subjects informed by current news. They take a long time to get right, and none of them has ever gone anywhere. On the other hand, I’ve done a few of the ‘this just happened to me’ variety. Those usually make the rec list. But I have to wonder why; they take 10 minutes to write and are probably not worth reading more than a day later. It has led me to write very few stories, but plenty of comments.” The poll in Edition 4 asked readers if they were satisfied with the stories they publish. Of the six answer choices, this one was chosen most often (34%): “I like the result but rarely have enough reader response to offset the time and energy invested in writing.” When you care about your ideas and take the time to devise a strong story, you want to reach people, hear their responses, and know your story connected with readers. The primary way Community members can measure impact on Daily Kos is through comments and recommendations. Even comments picking apart an element of a story—if handled as constructive criticism rather than demeaning slams—tell writers their story was read and considered. Mutual support is at the heart of how we blend individuals into a Community, and what we accomplish through unified action. We sabotage ourselves when we act as if there’s a finite number of recommendations so we must use them hesitantly. The Daily Kos Rules of the Road encourage members to reward writers. “Be generous in praise, encouragement, and positivity. Make new people feel welcome, remind old timers that you appreciate their work. Drop in a nice comment and recommend positive contributions.”The one thing you can do right now to ensure great stories is to stop using your recommendation as the Daily Kos version of a Pulitzer Prize, an award released rarely and only for exceptionally outstanding work. Why be stingy with your appreciation when everyone benefits from encouraging a writer to continue publishing stories? Instead, view your recommendation as a recognition of the writer’s effort, or a reward for their positive contribution—even if you didn’t agree with every word. – Advertisement – More Than Ever, Politics in 2020 Reminds Me of Summer-Camp Color War GrafZeppelin127, a former high school English teacher, joined DK in 2009 and has written 269 stories. This week’s rescue begins with Graf describing  a realization from working as a summer camp sports official during the camp’s color wars. “(T)wo teams, designated by colors … would compete in various athletic and non-athletic events over five days.” Graf observed that the color wars taught kids that no one loses fairly; they either won or were cheated of the win due to conditions such as field conditions or poor equipment.“Instead of being taught to take lessons from defeat and use them to spur the students toward success, their first instinct, would be to look for some inequity, some unfairness, to explain the outcome.” Graf then applies this concept to 2020 politics and Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick’s assertion that any Democratic electoral wins must be the product of cheating. “(W)e have actual elected officials and candidates for office—right up to and including the fricking President of the United States—openly declaring that the only way they can lose is if the other side cheats….”It Feels Sorta Like House Arrest, Without the Ankle BraceletsLeftOfYou has written 844 stories since joining in 2007. Left is a retired lawyer from Missouri, an amateur historic preservationist, veteran, and political junkie, per their profile page. This story describes a personal experience of the pandemic overruling plans. While noting they are more fortunate than many, thanks to the financial security of a two-career family, Left asserts that the current limitations are particularly discouraging for septuagenarians. “After a life of planning, sacrifice, care and hope, I can’t really do much of any of what we had hoped and planned for. So much for travel, culture, fine dining, theater and all the rest.”It’s time somebody pointed it out: Obama kicked Trump’s a** on health careDiogenes Bartleby reminds us to celebrate the powerful victory Democrats won with the passage of ObamaCare by ticking off the obstacles and assaults. “Obama got a supermajority and put his groundbreaking new law through, despite everything the ‘We Put Insurance Companies First’ Party could do. Think about those 67 anti-healthcare votes over the space of six years and 10 months. That’s an average of 10 a year.” Since joining in 2016, Diogenes has written 80 stories, and as is common for the period from 2016 up to the present, the common theme appears to be Trump and his cabal. I found no bio info, so we’ll leave this person as a mystery obscured behind an intriguing user name. One is an actual person, Diogenes, a complex character we’d label socially inept today but he’s also called a wise man. Bartleby is a fictional character by Herman Melville who may represent passive resistance. This Week in the War on Women: Happy Halloween! And Election Edition 2Elenacarlena’s profile page reports she lives in Kentucky and is a cartoonist, although she has moved to upstate New York to care for her parents. A member since 2014, elena has written 324 stories, many of them for WOW or the PWB Peeps group. This week’s WOW is a well-documented discussion of news related to women’s rights issues with a Halloween theme. As it was also the pre-election edition, elena reviewed some Senate candidates and their positions on abortion and women’s equality.”(T)he GOP want to set us back to the only abortions occurring in back alleys or obtained only by wealthy women who can afford to travel; the Dems will at least protect as many rights as we’ve wrestled out of the system so far, and some would push them further.”Pro-science Joe Biden deserves our vote  SkepticalRaptor has a longer bio on their profile page, but here’s the gist: “Progressive. Pro-science. Baseball and hockey lover. Supporter of science based healthcare, opposed to woo wherever it occurs. Native Californian.” They joined in 2014 and have 312 stories, most follow a similar theme: pointing out where science advocates differ from science deniers or scammers. This week’s rescue contrasts the two presidential candidates’ support for science. “In the USA, trust in science has become a political issue—more people on the left of the political scale support science than on the right. And only about 6% of U.S. scientists are Republicans.” Yankee Spring   PGowins joined on Nov. 2 and published their first story the same day. The only biographical info is in their story about personal experiences with protests, and a meeting with a Native American thinker/writer Jack Forbes which resulted in “poignant insights into the American psyche and culture.” PGowins examines contemporary evil deeds “from a Native American perspective; and, second, from a perspective as free as possible from assumptions created by the very wetiko disease being studied. Finally, I will look at these evils not simply as ‘bad’ choices which men make, but as a genuine, very real, epidemic sickness.”WOMEN: THANK YOU for Saving the Republic. Again.DoctorWho joined in 2004, has published 52 stories since 2012, and has a bio more obscure than that of their namesake Time Lord. This story was written before the election, so the assumption that women saved the republic was premature, but the data DoctorWho cites confirms that women are the largest group supporting the Biden/Harris campaign. “Call me crazy but seems to me if you were looking at a demographic that was showing unprecedented numbers in an election you’d want to spend some time informing the electorate, highlighting your narrative to reflect this historic event, or at least crank out puff pieces on what it means to be a ‘Biden Woman’ (yes, cringe, sorry). But that hasn’t happened. In fact it seems like literally every other demographic breakdown is obsessed over.”REASONS TO WEAR HELMET—OR NOT. A CCU RN EXPLAINS TBI.Portland True Blue joined last month and has published 23 stories, many centered on COVID-19 healthcare. In a previous well-received (873 recs) story, they offered this bio: “I am an RN, BSN, CCRN with over 10 years clinical experience in CCU/ICU. I care for the critically ill and those seriously injured, I am familiar with death and dying. Since the pandemic started, I have worked in a COVID CCU.” This week they focus on traumatic brain injury, the steps a person goes through during hospitalization after surviving a crash, and the importance of signing the organ donor card. “One patient’s death can give another 5-7 patients a second chance at life. How amazing is that? (O)ne person is able to save that many lives.” Even Harder Truthsleif wellington, who wrote 25 stories since joining in 2016, offers a brief bio in this story describing themselves as “someone who makes a living by consulting in and around politics.” As the headline promises, this story, published right after the election, reminds us of some Election 2020 truths. For example, if we’d been promised in 2019 the election results we saw Wednesday morning, we’d have been just fine with that. “No one really understands just how hard it is for an incumbent American president to lose, no matter how terrible he is … to consolidate voters in a majority coalition (Biden will win more than 50 percent of the vote, an historically tall order for Dems despite recent popular vote history) against a sitting incumbent is a difficult task.” To accomplish what we just did shouldn’t just be overlooked.  Leif also offers a warning and suggestions for how to reconcile with Trump voters. “As a result of my work and family (my brother is a born-again Christian minister) I actually know a number of Trump voters and … most of them do not resemble the people at Trump’s rallies. But they are not likely to budge quickly, or easily, from their views, let alone their religion, and particularly about what they think of as racism.”A Story from the Front Line of DemocracyByrnne has written five stories since joining in Nov. 2016, right after the previous presidential election—and now they wrote a firsthand account of being an election official for a Minnesota polling place on Nov 3. Despite early vote by mail, plenty of people kept poll workers busy. “(T)hroughout the day we witnessed our Democratic (DFL), Republican, and Independent neighbors voting peacefully, waiting patiently, and fulfilling their civic duty in the middle of a pandemic. It gave me hope that—at least in our own corner of the universe—partisan divisions have not destroyed our basic human decency.”A personal gripe … or just call it a rambleManinthemiddle joined in 2012 and published their first story in 2016 and five more since then. The author downplays the story as “ramble that has been bouncing around in my head and had to be put to pixels in order for it to go away,“ however the central idea is especially cogent right now. “Here’s the gripe. The way we all talk about these final states as they count and record the remaining ballots is not healthy … we all know the media love themselves a horse race—to the point where they manufacture narratives, build false equivalencies, and ignore stark realities in order to profit from races they help create.” It wasn’t close.Shock joined in 2004 and is this week’s member with the longest tenure. They’ve written 39 stories, but the first 38 were published over 12 years ago. The beginning of this week’s rescued story tells us why: “ I used to be active here a long time ago, but moved to Canada 15 years ago. After moving, I became less active in U.S. politics in general (although I still vote and pay attention, of course), and I’ve moved to being a lurker here.” It wasn’t the election itself that drew this author out of lurker mode, but the reaction to the presidential election. Shock cites data to support the contention stated in the headline—that this election was not close—and looks back at how closely divided other elections have been, in spite of what the media and others would have us believe. “Just because vote counting in some states seemed to take longer this year (thanks to Republicans) does NOT mean that this election was necessarily any closer than in recent past elections … high stress levels associated with lack of certain knowledge are easily mis-attributable, in this case to the conflation between uncertainty in our state of knowledge about the vote totals and uncertainty in the actual margin of victory.” I’m not saying you should hand recs out like participation trophies, but find the middle ground between false praise and stinginess. Positive feedback fuels our energy to invest in our writing.  Writers will continue to work hard on their stories when they know their effort has impact. By supporting “good enough” writers, we motivate people to continue writing and developing their skill. Liberal use of recommendations and comments encourages Community writers to keep sharing their ideas, improving their writing, and becoming worthy of a Daily Kos-Pulitzer Prize.Rescued Stories from Friday Oct. 30, 2020 7PM EDT to Friday Nov. 6, 2020 7PM ESTThis week’s 13 rescued stories and their comments illustrate constructive criticism that launches discussion and thoughtful comments that spur more writing. We rescued one new member’s first story and the welcoming comments prompted PGowins to respond, “Thank you all for your generous and kind responses to my reflections. I am greatly encouraged.” That encouragement motivated PGowins to write their second story on their second day as a DK member. Another writer, with the longest tenure as a DK member (16 years) of this week’s writers, was inspired by current events to  published their 39th story on Friday—12 years after publishing their 38th.Biographical information for each of these Community members comes from what they have shared in stories, comments, or on their profile pages. Thus, I have robust information for some people, less for others. Differences in their bios do not reflect the value these writers bring to their stories, just the amount of self-reveal.- Advertisement –center_img In past editions of the Rescue Spotlight, we’ve encouraged Community writers to express their ideas using their unique voices, and offered advice on crafting a good story. This week, I’m turning it around and encouraging readers to throw their support behind writers. When you read a story, do you add a recommendation if you thought the story worth reading? When you agree or disagree with a writer’s ideas, have you posted a thoughtful comment to spark a discussion? Through recommendations and comment interactions, Community members can reward writers for their stories. However, the return on one’s investment can be skewed when more spontaneous stories, such as a viral tweet and one-sentence of text, are more popular than those with a significant amount of research and carefully crafted writing. Why bother organizing thoughts, finding citations to back up facts, and polishing your work when the lazy tweet dropper gets rewarded? Commenters in previous Community Spotlight editions questioned why they should continue to write when their stories receive little attention.  – Advertisement – – Advertisement –last_img read more

first_imgKeep scrolling to see photos of Drake’s son, Adonis, from family portraits to toy time. – Advertisement – Curly-haired cutie! Drake and Sophie Brussaux’s son, Adonis, arrived in October 2017 and made his social media debut more than two years later.The rapper posted pictures of himself and the toddler in March 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic, writing, “I love and miss my beautiful family and friends and I can’t wait for the joyful day when we are all able to reunite.”- Advertisement – Pusha T first revealed in May 2018 that Drake was a dad, sharing the news in “The Story of Adidon,” rapping, “You are hiding a child / Let that boy come home / Deadbeat motherf–ka, playin’ border control.”The “God’s Plan” rapper confirmed the news  the following month. “Yesterday morning was crazy / I had to come to terms with the fact that it’s not a maybe / That s–t is in stone, sealed and signed / She not my lover like Billie Jean, but the kid is mine,” the Degrassi alum rapped in “March 14,” released in June 2018. “[My mom] Sandi used to tell me all it takes is one time, and all it took was one time / S–t, we only met two times, two times.”The Canadian star went on to rap directly to his baby boy, saying, “Fairytales are saved for the bedtime stories I tell you now / I don’t want you to worry about whose house you live at / Or who loves you more or who’s not there / Who did what to who ‘fore you got here.”- Advertisement – In December 2019, the Grammy winner opened up about why he waited to address the news about Brussaux’s birth. “To be honest with you, I did a DNA test for my son and it came back to us and it said the DNA test got ruined in transit and they couldn’t be 100 percent sure that that was my son or not,” he said during a “Rap Radar” podcast episode. “I was in a really weird pending situation where I didn’t want to go tell the world that that was my son and it wasn’t.”Drake now has “no desire” to mend his and Pusha T’s relationship. “He told the world that the biggest artist at the time has a kid that he hasn’t told you about,” the American Music Award winner explained at the time. “I knew, for me, it was over at that point. It wasn’t even about battle rap.”- Advertisement –last_img read more

first_img– Advertisement – The network echoed her statement, posting a photo of Houska’s family. “From watching her journey as a young mother committed to doing everything possible for her daughter, to seeing her relationship with Cole blossom into a happy marriage to becoming an entrepreneur, our viewers have been there through it all and always looked to Chelsea for inspiration and advice,” the Teen Mom 2 Instagram account wrote.The news of her exit was first revealed by her dad, Randy Houska, who retweeted a report claiming she was leaving last month.“Well kids, that’s a wrap. Been a fun run,” he tweeted on October 30. “What’s next? Seriously, tho, it has been a part of @ChelseaHouska entire adult life. We all expanded our horizons and grew as people #NoRegrets See ya all on the flip side.”- Advertisement – Chelsea Houska is focused on the future. The reality star, who is currently pregnant with her fourth child, is leaving Teen Mom 2, she announced via Instagram on Tuesday, November 10.“MTV’s Teen Mom 2 has been a big part of my life for almost 11 years. After much thought and discussion with my family and friends, Cole and I have decided that this season will be our last. We are forever thankful to MTV and our crew, who are like family to us,” Houska, 29, wrote. “We’re parting on the best of terms and will stay in touch long after this. We’re proud to have been able to share our story and are so grateful to the fans who have followed our journey from the beginning. Our next chapter in life will focus on developing our brand and taking things to the next level with new endeavors and expanding family businesses. Please tune into our last moments on the show and continue to follow along our journey on social media. We are so excited for this next phase of our lives and hope you all will be a part of it in some way.”Chelsea-Houska leaving Teen Mom 2Chelsea Houska MTV- Advertisement –center_img The 16 & Pregnant alum, who has been part of Teen Mom 2 since its 2011 premiere, announced that she and husband Cole DeBoer are expecting their third child, a daughter, in August. The couple, who married in 2016, also share son Watson, 3, and daughter Layne, 2. She also shares daughter Aubree, 10, with her ex Adam Lind.Listen to Watch With Us to hear more about your favorite shows and for the latest TV news!last_img read more

first_img– Advertisement – U.S President Donald Trump returns to the White House after news media declared Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Joe Biden to be the winner of the 2020 U.S. presidential election, in Washington, U.S., November 7, 2020.Carlos Barria | Reuters Still, analysts say that the outlook for the yuan isn’t purely strength gained on optimism for the Biden administration, but includes a myriad of factors, including geopolitical motivations, a weaker dollar and China’s economy. The Trump effectEven before Biden’s win, China has been advocating for greater use of the yuan globally.ANZ Research’s Raymond Yeung, chief economist for greater China, attributed that to the Trump effect.“The Trump administration has taught China a lesson in economic security,” he said in a report late last week. “This concern covers not only the supply of chips for Huawei but also the ability of some entities to transact in the USD-centric financial system.”The trade spat between both countries has expanded into technology, as Washington increasingly targets Chinese tech giants, from phone maker Huawei to video-sharing app TikTok. The attitude toward China in Washington is unlikely to change much with a Biden administration. While Biden has slammed Trump’s trade war with China for hurting businesses, he has also said that the U.S. must “get tough on China.” Under the Trump administration, the U.S. moved to restrict Chinese companies from listing on American exchanges, fueling concerns about financial decoupling as tensions continue to rise.Analysts have said China has been seeking to reduce its reliance on the dollar to manage its risk. Many companies have corporate debt denominated in the dollar, making them highly exposed to the greenback. Beijing has gradually reduced its purchase of U.S. Treasurys and pushed for much of its trade and other cross-border settlements to be conducted in the yuan — using its Belt and Road vehicle to do that.Yeung noted that the share of global trade that’s being settled in the yuan has gradually increased since Trump took office. Around the beginning of 2017, more than 16% of global trade was denominated in yuan and by the middle of this year, that figure jumped to nearly 22%, according to Yeung.With more U.S.-listed Chinese companies flocking back home to Shanghai or Hong Kong to launch secondary listings, a “significant portion” of those flows have been conducted in the yuan rather than the dollar, according to ANZ Research.Overall, cross-border settlements using the renminbi (RMB) — another name for the yuan — amounted to 19.67 trillion yuan ($2.97 trillion) in 2019, increasing 24.1% from the previous year, according to a 2020 report by the People’s Bank of China (PBOC). In 2019, the RMB settlement between China and countries in its mammoth Belt and Road initiative accounted for 13.9% of total global settlement – a year-on-year jump of 32%.The report said that, by the end of 2019, China had signed bilateral local currency swap agreements with 21 countries as part of its Belt and Road initiative. The ambitious project aims to build a complex network of rail, road and sea routes stretching from China to Central Asia, Africa and Europe. It is also aimed at boosting trade.Yuan strength will depend on weaker dollarThe strength of the yuan will also depend on the performance of the dollar, which has weakened in the past few months.“This is very much going to be determined by how the U.S. dollar behaves over the next 6 to 12 months,” said Wayne Gordon, senior investment analyst at UBS Global Wealth Management. The Chinese yuan, which has steadily strengthened this year, spiked even further in the days leading up to and after Joe Biden’s projected election victory.Analysts have flagged that a Biden win is likely to be more bullish for the Chinese currency. And indeed, investors seem to think so.As Biden’s victory seemed to grow increasingly likely last week, the offshore yuan rallied to below the 6.60 mark. It hit a 28-month peak on Monday after he became the projected winner and appreciated even further after.- Advertisement – “Generally speaking, you would expect the dollar would start to weaken on the back of stronger global growth, and emerging market growth begins to recover. Obviously, people start to look for higher yields elsewhere,” he told CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia” on Tuesday.The record spreads between Chinese and U.S. treasury yields have been flagged as bullish for the yuan. With Chinese treasury yields higher as compared to those in other major markets. That could draw investors to Chinese government bonds, leading to an inflow into the yuan, which would bode well for the exchange rate.But volatility from uncertainty may linger after the U.S. election, and the dollar — a safe-haven currency — could reverse direction, according to Mizuho Bank’s Varathan.“So it stands to reason that despite the conditions for an underlying weak USD trend lining up, the potential for outbursts of USD strength from haven demand cannot be dismissed lightly; especially as US political uncertainty takes time to unpack,” he said. The Trump administration has taught China a lesson in economic security.Raymond YeungANZ Research’s chief economist for greater China “Ostensibly, (offshore yuan) reactions suggest that a Trump victory is deemed to be far more negative for China, in contrast to a Biden Presidency, seen to lend some semblance of stability and interim relief,” Vishnu Varathan, head of economics and strategy at Mizuho Bank, wrote in a note late last week.He noted U.S. President Donald Trump takes a “unilateral, zero-sum game approach that has turned increasingly antagonistic and unpredictable.”While Biden shares concerns about the geopolitical and technological threat that China poses, the former vice president is “likely to adopt multilateral and rules-based engagement,” Varathan wrote.- Advertisement – – Advertisement –last_img read more

first_imgMar 24, 2005 (CIDRAP News) – A 28-year-old man has become Cambodia’s second person to die of avian influenza, health authorities there announced today.The man, named Meas Ran, fell ill earlier this week and died late Mar 22, Cambodian Health Minister Nuth Sokhom told Agence France-Presse (AFP) today. The virus has been confirmed as H5, and a sample was being sent to France as a formality to confirm it is H5N1, said Jean-Louis Sarthou, director of the Pasteur Institute in Phnom Penh.Cambodia’s second victim lived in the village of Tram Sasor in Kampot province, only about 20 kilometers from the first victim, a 25-year-old woman who died Jan. 30, AFP reported.More than 600 chickens have died in half a dozen villages in Kampot during the past 3 weeks, and another 120 were culled yesterday, said Yim Voeunthan, secretary of state at the ministry of agriculture, in an AFP story. Villagers hadn’t revealed the outbreak because they didn’t want their remaining chickens to be culled, he added. Now that fear is being realized.”Many people have cooked the sick or dead birds to eat because they are very poor, but no one fell sick,” The Standard of Hong Kong quoted Voeunthan as saying. He was quoted by AFP as also saying, “Villagers were eating the dead chickens even though we warned them not to . . . now the villagers are afraid. They dare not eat chicken anymore.”It’s not clear whether Ran had been in contact with poultry. Media reports described him variously as a traveling businessman who sometimes worked in Vietnam and as a man who owned chickens. Dr. Heng Taykry, director of the Calmette hospital in Phnom Penh, where Ran died, said Ran appeared to have been infected after eating dead chickens, according to a Reuters story today. Several of his relatives have tested negative for avian flu, the doctor added.Sarthou said there are no other suspected human cases of avian flu in Cambodia, according to AFP.Suspected cases in Vietnam still under investigationIn neighboring Vietnam, authorities are still investigating whether there is any truth in an earlier report that up to 195 people had signs of avian flu in the central province of Quang Binh.A senior provincial health official in Quang Binh, Truong Dinh Dinh, challenged state media reports, telling Reuters that no one was in serious condition and nobody had symptoms requiring medical care.A doctor in central Vietnam said tests on several residents in Quang Binh’s Chau Hoa commune have all been negative, AFP reported today. A Reuters story indicated several people were being monitored, including a 41-year-old man from Chau Hoa who walked out of a hospital on Wednesday.Peter Horby, a World Health Organization (WHO) epidemiologist in Hanoi, told AFP there was “no serious information so far to substantiate media reports.”At least one case occurred in Chau Hoa recently: A 5-year-old boy was hospitalized Mar 15 and tested positive for H5N1. His condition was described today as stable. His sister had died Mar 9 of a similar illness, but she was not tested.Hong Kong takes precautionsHong Kong reacted yesterday to the reports from Quang Binh by creating a hotline to handle questions from Vietnamese tourists or from Hong Kong residents who might feel ill after traveling in Vietnam. Hong Kong already had been conducting temperature screening and distributing health information at the airport for passengers heading to or returning from Vietnam. Travelers going to countries with avian flu among poultry have been advised to avoid visiting farms and avoid contact with chickens or poultry feces.In addition, Hong Kong’s Centre for Health Protection has been collaborating with the WHO and the Vietnamese consulate to keep current on the situation in Vietnam, according to a government news release yesterday.In other developments, this week brought rumors of a flu outbreak among poultry in Myanmar, but the government has denied the reports. Myanmar authorities responded to a United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) request for information today by assuring the FAO the country had no cases of avian flu.Elsewhere in Southeast Asia, the Indonesian government announced this week it will spend 1 billion Indonesian rupiahs (about US $106,100) to compensate small poultry producers for recent losses due to avian flu, according to a story yesterday in the Jakarta Post online. More than 12,000 birds died of avian flu in January and February on the island of Java, although that outbreak that didn’t come to light until early this month.Compensation was capped at US 21 cents (2000 Indonesian Rupiahs) per chicken and 5,000 chickens per producer. Each Indonesian farmer who is reimbursed will receive roughly US $1,050, under today’s exchange rate.See also: Hong Kong government news release avian flu case-count tables read more

first_imgJan 23, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – There’s no standard playbook on communicating with the public during an influenza pandemic, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is working to educate public health officials and businesses about how to tailor successful messages.In a conference call for clinicians today, Barbara Reynolds, a CDC public affairs specialist and crisis communications expert, said that engaging the public during a pandemic will be a different problem than those encountered in any other type of crisis because communicators will be enlisting the public’s help in reducing illness and death.The three most important components to include in messages to the public or employees in the event of a pandemic are empathy, some type of action to take, and respect, she said.Communicators need to show empathy within the first 30 seconds of a crisis message, she said. “If not, they won’t hear your message because they’re so overwrought with their emotions,” said Reynolds, who traveled to several Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) district offices last year to train employees on pandemic crisis communications. She has also served as a risk communication consultant for several other countries and authored books on the topic.During a pandemic, a public health communicator’s job is to help people manage their emotions so that they can still function and not be “hopeless or helpless,” Reynolds said.She outlined several mistakes to avoid, such as:Mixed or late messages. When it’s critical to send a message quickly, “Don’t worry about grammar or punctuation,” she said.Paternalism. “It’s not reasonable to tell people to not be afraid. Address that they are afraid, then give them information that may help alleviate that fear,” Reynolds said.Ignoring rumors or myths. The longer rumors are allowed to circulate, the more likely they are to take hold.Power struggles between government agencies, which erode pubic confidence in crisis response.Communities and businesses should be planning their communications strategies now for scenarios such as the first H5N1 avian flu outbreak in poultry on US soil, she said.Withholding information during a pandemic is risky, Reynolds said, because honesty and openness during a crisis help build the public’s trust. “Consider what it means to withhold, and question why you’re doing it, and if it’s being done for reasonable reasons,” she said, adding that news reporters are more likely to interpret events themselves when they have fewer facts and less background information.From her experience in Hong Kong during the 1997 H5N1 outbreak in humans and from observing other health crises, Reynolds said she developed a concern about stigmatization of people, animals, and even products. Public health communicators should be careful not to unnecessarily or unconsciously link people or things to specific health threats.During a question-and-answer session, a financial services communications employee asked Reynolds how to combat pandemic influenza “fatigue” in employees. “Don’t expect everyone to have a high level of interest,” she said, adding that companies should make sure their employees know where to get information about pandemic influenza. “Sometimes they have other concerns, such as who’s on ‘American Idol’ or paying off credit cards after the holidays,” she said.Another audience member asked Reynolds about the role of blogs and other information sources during a pandemic. “One of the things we have to be humble about is we’re competing to get information out. Credibility is more important than ever,” she said.Blogs and other social networking sites might be useful for helping people feel connected if social distancing measures are needed to reduce the spread of the disease, she said. Blogs and Web sites might also be useful for people mourning the loss of loved ones if funerals are prohibited or discouraged in the name of social distancing.last_img read more

first_imgJan 10, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – Animal health officials in the United Kingdom today announced that samples from three mute swans found dead at a swan sanctuary in Dorset County on England’s southwest coast tested positive for H5N1 avian influenza.The birds were found and tested as part of a routine surveillance program, according to a statement today from the UK Department of Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). The site where the birds were found, Abbotsbury Swannery, is home to about 600 swans, according to a report today from BBC News.Established by Benedictine monks in the 1040s, the swannery is a tourist attraction that boasts the world’s only managed colony of mute swans, according to the Abbotsbury Tourism Web site.A wild bird control and monitoring area that has been established around the swannery includes Chesil Beach, an 18-mile stretch of English Channel coastline, and a nearby island called Portland Bill, according to the DEFRA statement. Bird keepers in the area are required to house their birds or isolate them from contact with wild birds. Officials have also restricted bird movements and banned bird gatherings in the area.The H5N1 virus has not been found in domestic birds, and a wild bird surveillance program is underway. “There will be no culling of wild birds because such action may disperse birds further and would not aid control,” DEFRA said.”While this is obviously unwelcome news, we have always said that Britain is at a constant low level of risk of introduction of avian influenza,” said Fred Landeg, DEFRA’s acting chief veterinary officer.John Houston, a representative of Abbotsbury Swannery, said the establishment is working with the UK Health Protection agency to ensure that the staff and public are protected, the BBC reported.In March 2006, a dead bird that was first reported to be a mute swan washed up on a beach in Scotland and was found to be infected with H5N1, signaling the UK’s first H5N1 finding, according to previous reports. The bird was later identified as a wild whooper swan, according to a report from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). The virus has also turned up in mute swans in other European countries, including France and Hungary.Last year England had two H5N1 outbreaks in Suffolk turkey farms, one at the Bernard Matthews farm in February and another at two Redgrave Farms sites in November.See also:Jan 10 DEFRA statement Swannery site 29, 2007, CIDRAP news story “UK: H5N1 outbreak may be linked to wild birds, lax biosecurity”last_img read more

first_imgSep 18, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – A study conducted in Bangladesh suggests that an influenza shot during pregnancy lowers the risk of influenza both for the woman and for the baby in the first 6 months of life.The study by a team from Bangladesh and the United States showed that vaccination lowered the risk of lab-confirmed flu in babies up to the age of 24 weeks by 63%, according to the report, published online yesterday by the New England Journal of Medicine. The immunization also appeared to reduce the risk of febrile respiratory illness by 29% in the infants and 36% in their mothers.”Our data show that a single dose of maternal influenza vaccine provides a considerable two-for-one benefit to both mothers and their young infants,” says the report by K. Zaman of the International Centre for Diarrheal Disease Research in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and colleagues from that center and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore.”The study is the first to demonstrate that the inactivated influenza vaccine provides protection to both mother and newborn,” Johns Hopkins Bloomberg officials said in a news release.In the United States, pregnant women have been advised to get an annual flu shot since 1997, but a survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that only about 13% did so in 2007. The shots are not recommended or approved for babies younger than 6 months, who have a high risk of hospitalization if they contract flu. The CDC has recommended flu vaccination for 6- to 23-month-olds since 2003.63% flu reduction in babiesIn the randomized, blinded trial, the researchers recruited 340 healthy, unvaccinated pregnant women who had no history of pregnancy complications. The women were randomly assigned to receive either inactivated flu vaccine or a 23-valent pneumococcal vaccine. After the women gave birth, their babies were assigned to receive either a pneumococcal conjugate vaccine or a haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) vaccine.The mothers and infants were observed from August 2004 though October 2005. Most of the women were followed from 2 weeks after immunization through delivery, and all were interviewed weekly to check for illnesses from the time of childbirth until the babies were 24 weeks old. Of the 340 women recruited, 316 mother-infant pairs completed the 24 weeks of surveillance.Among the 159 infants whose mothers received flu shots, 6 had lab-confirmed flu, versus 16 of the 157 infants whose mothers were in the control (pneumococcal vaccine) group. That signified a 63% reduction in risk of flu (95% confidence interval [CI], 5% to 85%), the report says.In addition, febrile respiratory illnesses occurred in 110 infants in the flu-vaccine group and 153 infants in the control group, signaling a 29% reduction in risk (95% CI, 7% to 46%). Similarly, 50 of the immunized mothers had a febrile respiratory illness, compared with 77 of those in the control group, indicating a 36% lower risk (95% CI, 4% to 57%).Further, flu vaccination was associated with improvements in other clinical outcomes in the infants, including a 42% reduction in clinic visits for respiratory illness with fever and a 49% reduction clinician testing for influenza, the report states.Although the confidence intervals were wide, the estimated reductions in confirmed flu and other clinical outcomes were similar to those reported in flu-immunization trials in infants older than 6 months, the authors write.They observe that the pneumococcal vaccination of control-group mothers might have reduced the rate of pneumococcus-related respiratory illness in the babies, which would have reduced the apparent effectiveness of maternal flu vaccination in preventing overall febrile respiratory ailments.The authors conclude that every 100 flu shots in pregnant women prevented febrile respiratory illness in 14 infants and 7 mothers. “In other words, five pregnant women would need to be vaccinated to prevent a single case of respiratory illness with fever in a mother or infant,” they write. The results also indicate that it took fewer than 16 maternal flu shots to prevent one confirmed flu case in their babies.Applicable to temperate climes?Janet Englund, MD, an associate professor in pediatric infectious disease, allergy, and rheumatology at the University of Washington in Seattle, called the study “an interesting paper with an expected outcome” and one that “shows the potential utility of flu vaccine in pregnant women.” She expressed a hope that it will spur efforts to increase the vaccination rate among pregnant women.Englund, who serves on the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, said one caveat is that the study was conducted in a tropical country where flu circulates year-round, unlike the United States, with its winter flu season.”The fact that this shows a potential benefit could potentially be related to the fact that the study was conducted year-round and the flu virus was there year-round,” she told CIDRAP News. She suggested it might be difficult to demonstrate the same benefits in a US study: “You’d have to have a bigger study that was restricted in time, which would be potentially difficult to do.”Zaman K, Roy E, Arifeen SE et al. Effectiveness of maternal influenza immunization in mothers and infants. N Engl J Med 2008 (early online publication) [Full text]last_img read more

first_imgThe Croatian Chamber of Commerce has been carrying out the action for 22 years in a row Tourist flower – Quality for Croatia, as part of which awards are given to the best economic entities in the tourism sector.This year, the evaluation is conducted in nine categories, and the best will receive awards at a ceremony at the end of October at the Days of Croatian Tourism, the largest gathering of tourism professionals in the country, which are held this year on Hvar. The aim is to encourage the improvement of the quality of tourist products and services and to raise the competitiveness of the tourist sector.The evaluation uses financial and physical performance indicators of economic entities, but strong emphasis is also placed on the quality of services. We invite hostels, camps, agencies, marinas and charter companies to apply to compete in their categories. ”Point out from the Croatian Chamber of Commerce.You can apply here:HostelsCamps of the Agency forMarine Charter companies Related news:CROATIAN TOURISM DAYS THIS YEAR WILL BE HELD IN HVARlast_img read more