The real Ronson

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£300m West End investment flurry

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Stanhope loses Sainsbury’s job

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Keep calm, eat pork: Bali official changes tune, saying swine fever not confirmed yet

first_imgThe illness has killed over 880 pigs over the past two months. No deaths were reported in the past week, Wisnuardhana said.“It’s not a matter of whether it is [ASF] or not. The important thing is that there are no dead pigs anymore. The task is done,” said Wisnuardhana, adding that his team would continue to closely monitor the outbreak daily.The official’s change of tune could quiet concerns that the fatal virus will hurt Bali’s pork industry. Parts of the island’s population depend on pig farming for a living. The agency has been spreading public awareness that the illness is not contagious to humans and Bali-bred pork can be consumed safely. It is also presenting information about how to properly feed pigs and handle suspected ASF-infected pigs to prevent further spread Agriculture Ministry animal health director Fajar Sumping Tjatur Rasa said the ministry had not yet released an official statement on the matter as of Thursday. But just like Wisnuardhana, Fajar argued that seeking ways to mitigate infections was more important than declaring the causes of an outbreak. He added that the illness did not affect exports as the country was still “freely” sending live pigs from Pulau Bulan in Batam to Singapore with Singapore-approved biosecurity standards. Fajar estimated that the ministry was currently exporting 25,000 live pigs every month from Pulau Bulan while the country currently did not import live pigs.Statistics Indonesia (BPS) data shows that Indonesia’s pig export value was US$44.9 million between January and September of last year, up 9.22 percent from $41.01 million in the same period in 2018. About 14,893 tons was sent to Singapore in the first half of 2019, higher than the 13,194 tons recorded in the previous year.Farmers have complained that the unconfirmed announcement could ruin farmers’ earnings due to falling prices and low demand from the widespread worries ahead of religious festivities like Galungan, which usually causes a spike in pork consumption. Galungan this year will begin on Feb. 19 and end on Feb. 29.Bali Pig Farmers Association (GUPBI) chairman Ketut Hari Suyasa said on Thursday that Balinese officials should have waited for ministries to deliver an official statement as only ministerial-level officials were allowed to declare an outbreak.This is because lengthy procedures need to follow such an announcement, starting with the containment of pigs in affected areas and followed by the culling of sick pigs, which he estimated could cause trillions of rupiah in losses. “If regional officials are confident that the outbreak is true, how ready are they to mitigate the ASF?” Ketut said. “I don’t think that the decision was wise for the current situation.”Read also: ‘It’s safe to eat pork’: Bali launches campaign against swine fever outbreak with delicacies No pigs have been culled as of Friday and pork prices in the market remain normal, the Bali Agriculture and Food Security Agency reported.The agency’s head estimated that the deaths of the 888 pigs caused Rp 2.66 billion in direct losses at an average price Rp 3 million per pig.But Bali is not alone in facing the illness. North Sumatra has also identified pig diseases following an ASF outbreak that killed more than 50,000 pigs across the province last year. The epidemic also perturbed China in August 2018. It moved south to Vietnam, onto Luzon Island in the Philippines and reached Timor Leste by October 2019. It has resulted in the death of hundreds of millions domestic pigs, driving up meat prices and causing economic problems, especially in pork’s top-consuming country: China.According to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), ASF is caused by “a large-DNA virus of the Asfarviridae family”. While ASF is not a risk to human health, the disease can be transmitted to other pigs through direct and indirect contact, such as through “ingestion of contaminated material”.There is currently no antidote or vaccine, and the only known method to prevent the disease from spreading is a mass cull of the infected livestock.Topics :center_img African swine fever, a disease previously blamed for the deaths of nearly a thousand pigs in Bali, is now being called unconfirmed, according to an official, backtracking from a previous confirmation.Bali Agriculture and Food Security Agency head Ida Bagus Wisnuardhana said on Friday he only “suspects” that Afrian swine fever (ASF) killed the pig. The Agriculture Ministry will likely take another three months to obtain lab test results and confirm the source of the outbreak, he added.Read also: Bali confirms swine fever outbreak amid numerous pig deathslast_img read more

Saudi deportations of Ethiopians could fuel COVID-19 spread: UN

first_imgSaudi Arabia has deported nearly 3,000 Ethiopian migrants in recent days, despite concerns that such operations could hasten the spread of the coronavirus, the United Nations says.Since mid-March, the UN’s International Organization for Migration (IOM) has registered 2,870 Ethiopian returnees, all but 100 of whom were sent back from Saudi Arabia, IOM spokesman Alemayehu Seifeselassie said on Monday. A humanitarian worker familiar with the deportations, speaking to AFP on condition of anonymity, put the total at “about 3,000” and said most had arrived from Saudi Arabia in the past 10 days. “The expulsion and deportation of Ethiopian irregular migrants while their country’s COVID-19 response is under-prepared puts them in harm’s way,” Catherine Sozi, the UN humanitarian coordinator for Ethiopia, wrote in a position paper seen Monday by AFP.The migrants are kept in detention facilities in Saudi Arabia before being flown back to Ethiopia, and it is unclear how thoroughly Saudi authorities are screening them for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. The Ethiopian government had requested that such deportations be halted until it could set up 30 quarantine centers in Addis Ababa, Sozi said in her paper.But they have continued even though “only seven quarantine centres can host returnees” and “much work remains” to make Ethiopian quarantine centers compliant with World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines, Sozi wrote. The Ethiopian Public Health Institute on Monday referred questions about the deportations to the country’s foreign ministry, which did not respond to a request for comment.Ethiopia has reported just 74 cases of COVID-19 and three deaths, but testing remains limited and experts fear the country’s weak health system could quickly be overwhelmed. Ethiopians have long looked to Saudi Arabia as an escape from poor economic prospects and state repression, hoping to find work despite not having legal status. To get there, many board overcrowded boats that are at constant risk of sinking during sea crossings that can last up to 24 hours. Up to half a million Ethiopians were in Saudi Arabia when officials there launched a crackdown on illegal migration in 2017, according to the IOM.Since then, around 10,000 Ethiopians on average have been deported monthly, including in January and February.The humanitarian worker said there was a two-week break in deportations beginning around the time Ethiopia announced its first COVID-19 case on March 13. But flights have resumed despite the fact that Ethiopia is straining to accommodate the migrants.”The quarantine measures currently in place need to be improved, and the current medical staff needs to be increased and better prepared and equipped to assist… all newly arrived migrants,” the aid worker said. “These migrants are very vulnerable. They have undertaken an extremely dangerous journey and many arrive in Ethiopia with high medical and mental health needs.” Topics :last_img read more

Oil rebounds in Asia after Saudi Arabia output cut

first_imgOil rebounded in Asian trade Tuesday, buoyed by Saudi Arabia’s decision to cut output more than it had pledged as the virus-hit world economy cautiously emerges from lockdown.United States benchmark West Texas Intermediate for June delivery was up 1.37 percent at US$24.47 a barrel in morning trade.Global benchmark Brent for July was trading 0.71 percent higher at $29.84 a barrel. Both contracts settled lower Monday after big week-on-week gains Friday.”Oil prices drew some relief overnight after Saudi Arabia announced they would cut a further 1 million barrels per day in June, bringing their daily production to just under 7.5 million barrels per day,” AxiCorp global market strategist Stephen Innes.”This reduction in production provided excellent optics encouraging other OPEC+ members to comply and even offer additional voluntary cuts, which should quicken the global oil markets’ rebalancing act,” he said, referring to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and their partners.ANZ Bank said the move would take Saudi Arabia’s output to the lowest level since mid-2002. Top crude producers agreed last month to slash output by 10 million barrels a day from May 1 after prices crashed to below zero as lockdowns to contain the coronavirus pandemic sapped global demand and supplies swelled.Kuwait said it would cut an additional 80,000 barrels per day and the United Arab Emirates announced it would slash 100,000 bpd to support Saudi Arabia’s move.Doubts, however, remain about “the ability of producers to implement and sustain the cuts,” ANZ Bank said in a note.”Producers also seem ready to increase output as soon as prices rebound.”At the same time, analysts said moves to gradually reopen businesses have increased the risks of a second wave of virus infections.Innes said there remains a “high degree of trepidation around… the risk of new outbreaks of the virus arising,” citing pick ups in infections in Germany and South Korea.”Unfortunately for global markets in general, this will continue to be a theme likely until effective vaccines are made available to the masses,” he said.Topics :last_img read more

Coronavirus behaving differently in China’s northeast clusters, expert says

first_imgHe did not say where he though they might have come from but both Jilin and Heilongjiang border Russia.China reported five new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, down from six a day earlier.Four of the new cases were local transmissions and one was imported by a traveller coming from abroad, the commission said in a statement, compared with three imported cases reported the previous day.China’s total number of coronavirus infections stands at 82,965, while the death toll 4,634.  “This causes a problem, as they don’t have any symptoms. So when they gather with their families they don’t care about this issue and we see family cluster infections,” Qiu told state broadcaster CCTV in a program broadcast late on Tuesday.Patients in the northeastern clusters were also carrying the virus for longer than earlier cases in Wuhan, and they were taking longer to recover, as defined by a negative nucleic acid test, he said.Patients in the northeast also rarely exhibited fever and tended to suffer damage to the lungs rather than across multiple organs, he said.He said the virus found in the northeastern clusters was probably imported from abroad, which could account for the differences. The novel coronavirus is behaving differently in patients in northeast China who have contracted it recently compared with early cases, indicating it is changing as it spreads, a prominent doctor said.China, which has largely brought the virus under control, has found new clusters of infections in the northeastern border provinces of Jilin and Heilongjiang in recent weeks, raising concern about a second wave.Qiu Haibo, an expert in critical care medicine who is part of a National Health Commission expert group, said the incubation period of the virus in patients in the northeast was longer than that of patients in Wuhan, the central city, where the virus emerged late last year.center_img Topics :last_img read more

Atlanta police chief resigns after black man dies from officer’s bullet

first_imgA second videotape from the restaurant’s cameras shows Brooks turning as he runs and possibly aiming the TASER at the pursuing officers before one of them fires his gun and Brooks falls to the ground.Brooks ran the length of about six cars when he turned back toward an officer and pointed what he had in his hand at the policeman, said Vic Reynolds, director of the GBI at a separate press conference.”At that point, the Atlanta officer reaches down and retrieves his weapon from his holster, discharges it, strikes Mr. Brooks there on the parking lot and he goes down,” Reynolds said.Lawyers representing the family of Brooks told reporters that Atlanta police had no right to use deadly force even if he had fired the TASER, a non-lethal weapon, in their direction.”You cant shoot somebody unless they are pointing a gun at you,” attorney Chris Stewart said.Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard, Jr., said in an emailed statement that his office “has already launched an intense, independent investigation of the incident” while it awaits the findings of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.Bottoms said Shields, a white woman appointed chief in December 2016, would be replaced by deputy chief Rodney Bryant, a black man who will serve as interim chief.Topics : Atlanta’s police chief resigned on Saturday as protesters took to city streets to decry the fatal shooting by an officer a day earlier of a black man trying to escape arrest, an incident caught on video and sure to fuel more nationwide demonstrations.Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said she accepted the prompt resignation of police chief Erika Shields following the death on Friday night of 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks in the parking lot of a Wendy’s fast food restaurant.”I do not believe that this was a justified use of deadly force and have called for the immediate termination of the officer,” Bottoms said at an afternoon news conference. Authorities have not yet released the names of the two officers involved in the shooting, both of whom were white. Brooks was the father of a young daughter who was celebrating her birthday on Saturday, his lawyers said. His death from a police bullet came after more than two weeks of demonstrations in major cities across the United States in the name of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man who died on May 25 under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer.Street protests broke out in Atlanta on Saturday near the scene of the shooting, with more than 100 people calling for the officers to be charged criminally in the case.Police were called to the Wendy’s over reports that Brooks had fallen asleep in the drive-thru line. Officers attempted to take him into custody after he failed a field sobriety test, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.Video shot by a bystander captures Brooks struggling with two officers on the ground outside the Wendy’s before breaking free and running across the parking lot with what appears to be a police TASER in his hand.last_img read more

Scientists warn of potential wave of COVID-linked brain damage

first_imgThe team said it would normally see about one adult patient with ADEM per month at their specialist London clinic, but this had risen to at least one a week during the study period, something they described as “a concerning increase”.”Given that the disease has only been around for a matter of months, we might not yet know what long-term damage COVID-19 can cause,” said Ross Paterson, who co-led the study. “Doctors need to be aware of possible neurological effects, as early diagnosis can improve patient outcomes.”Owen said the emerging evidence underlined the need for large, detailed studies and global data collection to assess how common such neurological and psychiatric complications were.He is running a international research project at covidbrainstudy.com where patients can sign up to complete a series of cognitive tests to see whether their brain functions have altered since getting COVID-19.”This disease is affecting an enormous number of people,” Owen said. “That’s why it’s so important to collect this information now.” “Whether we will see an epidemic on a large scale of brain damage linked to the pandemic – perhaps similar to the encephalitis lethargica outbreak in the 1920s and 1930s after the 1918 influenza pandemic – remains to be seen,” said Michael Zandi, from UCL’s Institute of Neurology, who co-led the study.COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, is largely a respiratory illness that affects the lungs, but neuroscientists and specialist brain doctors say emerging evidence of its impact on the brain is concerning.”My worry is that we have millions of people with COVID-19 now. And if in a year’s time we have 10 million recovered people, and those people have cognitive deficits … then that’s going to affect their ability to work and their ability to go about activities of daily living,” Adrian Owen, a neuroscientist at Western University in Canada, told Reuters in an interview.In the UCL study, published in the journal Brain, nine patients who had brain inflammation were diagnosed with a rare condition called acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM) which is more usually seen in children and can be triggered by viral infections. Scientists warned on Wednesday of a potential wave of coronavirus-related brain damage as new evidence suggested COVID-19 can lead to severe neurological complications, including inflammation, psychosis and delirium.A study by researchers at University College London (UCL)described 43 cases of patients with COVID-19 who suffered either temporary brain dysfunction, strokes, nerve damage or other serious brain effects.The research adds to recent studies which also found the disease can damage the brain.center_img Topics :last_img read more

Indonesia’s COVID-19 mortality rate still tops global average: Task force

first_imgThe country recorded a 6.68 percent mortality rate in May and 5.56 percent in June. Meanwhile, the average mortality rate in July was 4.81 percent.“But we must keep working to press the national COVID-19 mortality rate below the global average,” he added.Read also: Indonesia’s latest official COVID-19 figuresAccording to Health Ministry data on Tuesday, 86 people had died from the disease, bringing the nationwide death toll to 5,388. On Tuesday, East Java recorded 40 deaths, the highest number of COVID-19-related fatalities in one day compared to other regions, bringing the provincial death toll to 1,781, which was also the highest fatality rate compared to other regions. Jakarta came second with 14 deaths on the same day, bringing the total number of COVID-19 related deaths to 874 in the capital city.Nevertheless, the ministry also said East Java had recorded the highest number of recoveries with 14,877. Jakarta was second with 12,775 recoveries, followed by South Sulawesi (6,552), Central Java (5,620) and West Java (3,908).Wiku also said the country was optimistic now that the average recovery rate had reached 61.79 percent, a considerably high rate. (trn)Topics : Indonesia continues to record a high COVID-19 death rate, with the rate being higher than the global average, an official has reported.According to COVID-19 task force spokesperson Wiku Adisasmito, the country’s average mortality rate on Monday was 4.68 percent. “It’s not good news, considering that the global mortality rate is 3.79 percent,” he said on Tuesday as quoted by kompas.com.However, Wiku added that the death rate in Indonesia had progressively declined since April, when the rate was 8.64 percent.last_img read more

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