China reports H5N1 outbreak in Guangdong

first_imgJun 17, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – China’s agriculture ministry today announced an H5N1 avian influenza outbreak at a village in Guangdong province, not far from Hong Kong, where officials recently found the virus in live-bird markets.The ministry said the outbreak in Guangdong struck 3,873 ducks in Yashan Village, where 17,127 ducks were culled to prevent the spread of the virus, Xinhua, China’s state news agency, reported today. The ministry did not say when the outbreak began.Mainland China’s last reported outbreak occurred in early April at a poultry farm in Tibet, according to a report from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). A few weeks before that outbreak, officials reported an outbreak in Guangdong province that hit chickens at a market in the city of Guangzhou.On Jun 7, animal health officials in Hong Kong, located on Guangdong’s south-central border on the Pearl River delta, announced they had found the H5N1 virus in chicken droppings gathered at poultry markets. A few days later they found the virus in droppings at additional markets, which led to the culling of all market poultry.Authorities suspended all shipments of birds from the mainland and local farms for 3 weeks. Officials haven’t yet found the source of the virus.Elsewhere, the news media in Vietnam are reporting an H5N1 outbreak at a household in the central province of Quang Ngai, according to a report from Xinhua today. The virus has struck 690 chickens since Jun 12 and was also responsible for outbreak in Tra Vinh province, in southern Vietnam, the newspaper The People, Vietnam’s Communist Party publication, reported.Bui Ba Bong, an agriculture minister, told the Vietnam Economic Times that though the number of new outbreaks has declined, the country should maintain its prevention efforts and spur more research on the disease, Xinhua reported. He said the country is exploring more than 30 variants of the avian flu virus that have been isolated from poultry and wild birds.In other developments, the United Kingdom today published an epidemiology report on a highly pathogenic H7N7 outbreak that was confirmed at a farm in Oxfordshire on Jun 4. The report from the Department of Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) said that as of Jun 11 the outbreak was confined to a single farm, but an investigation into the source of the virus would continue, according to a DEFRA press release.The report said the highly pathogenic H7N7 strain found at the farm could have evolved from a low-pathogenic strain that was already present there, though authorities are investigating a number of other possibilities, the press release said.Nigel Gibbens, DEFRA’s chief veterinary officer, said in the press release that the United Kingdom has a steady but low risk for avian influenza outbreaks. “The report highlights the need for flock owners and poultry vets to remain vigilant for signs of the disease, including the possibility of low pathogenic avian influenza,” he said.Meanwhile, the agriculture ministry in Haiti on Jun 12 reported three outbreaks of low-pathogenic H5N2 avian flu in birds at three locations in the central, northern, and southern parts of the country, according to a report from the OIE. The outbreaks began on May 20 and appeared to be ongoing.Among the three sites, 87 birds were exposed to the virus and 11 were sickened. No deaths were reported, according to the report. Birds at the locations included chickens, a turkey, and fighting cocks. Some did not show clinical signs of disease.The report listed illegal animal movements and the introduction of new live animals as sources of the infection. Some officials in Haiti have suspected the H5N2 virus could have come from the Dominican Republic, which reported H5N2 outbreaks in late 2007, according to a Jun 15 report from Prensa Latina, a news agency based in Cuba. However, Haitian ambassador Jose Serulle said the virus could have come from anywhere.See also:OIE reports on 2008 Chinese H5N1 outbreaksJun 11 CIDRAP News story “Hong Kong finds more H5N1, culls all market poultry”Jun 17 DEFRA press releaselast_img read more

Primary kids told ‘don’t come back’

first_imgNZ Herald 1 Feb 2012Nearly 2000 primary school children were sent home last year following serious disciplinary matters – including 75 whose behaviour was so bad they were told not to bother returning. In many cases the disciplinary action was a last resort by desperate principals – not designed to teach the child a lesson but to get help for them or protect other students following violent, antisocial and occasionally sexually motivated behaviour. Figures released to the Herald under the Official Information Act reveal that in the 11 months to November more than 21,000 school students faced serious disciplinary action. Of those, 1874 were aged under 10 – including 170 5- and 6-year-olds – and 75 were banned from returning to their school after going before the board of trustees for a disciplinary hearing….Of the 1874 primary school cases in the year to November, 1602 children were stood down for up to five days before being allowed to return. A further 197 were suspended, usually indicating more serious behaviour, until they could go before the board of trustees. Of those students, the behaviour of 75 was so bad that they were formally excluded from the school – meaning they had to re-enroll at another school. While the figures provided for last year were incomplete, the numbers were on a par with 10 years ago. In 2001, 1963 primary-aged students faced serious disciplinary action.http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10782578last_img read more

U.S. Retail Sales Up 17.7% In Partial Rebound From COVID Plunge

first_imgBALTIMORE (AP) — U.S. retail sales jumped 17.7% from April to May, with spending partially rebounding after the coronavirus had shut down businesses, flattened the economy and paralyzed consumers during the previous two months.The Commerce Department’s report Tuesday showed that retail sales have retraced some of the record-setting month-to-month plunges of March (8.3%) and April (14.7%) as businesses have increasingly reopened. Still, the pandemic’s damage to retail sales remains severe, with purchases still down 6.1% from a year ago.The virus-induced recession not only diminished spending in most sectors of the economy. It has also accelerated shifts in where people shop and what they buy.The changes have in many cases intensified the financial strain on traditional physical stores and boosted online purchases. Sales at non-store retailers, which include internet companies like Amazon and eBay, rose 9% in May after posting growth of 9.5% in April. Clothiers achieved a stunning 188% monthly gain, but that was not enough to offset a 63.4% drop over the past 12 months.Retail sales account for roughly half of all consumer spending, which fuels about 70% of total economic activity. The rest of consumer spending includes services, from cellphone and internet contracts to gym memberships and child care.Last month’s bounce-back comes against the backdrop of an economy that may have begun what could be a slow and prolonged recovery. In May, employers added 2.5 million jobs, an unexpected increase that suggested that the job market has bottomed out.Nearly 80% of small retailers and restaurants tracked by the scheduling tool Homebase that were closed in mid-April have since reopened. Yet these smaller businesses remain under pressure. Their stresses in part reflect changes emerging as social distancing has become essential and shopping habits evolve.One such retailer, CPW, a women’s clothing store, has been in business for 30 years on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. A three-month shutdown resulting from the virus sent the store’s sales sinking 20% to 30% even as the owner, Linda Wolff, packed and delivered orders to customer homes. Though CPW reopened for curbside pickup a week ago, Wolff said she hasn’t rung up a single such sale.“This is my heart and soul,” she said. “I am exhausted from all the worrying.”Some national chains, by contrast, say they have so far avoided their worst fears, a sign of how the damage from the shutdowns has varied widely across the retail landscape.Macy’s CEO Jeff Gennette has said that his company’s reopened stores are regaining 50% of their typical business. Teen retailer American Eagle Outfitters is faring even better, averaging roughly 95% of its normal sales levels.But analysts caution that some of the gains thus far probably reflect the impact of temporary government aid and expanded unemployment benefits in the face of a deep recession. The jobless rate is a historically high 13.3% by the government’s standard measure and an even worse 21.2% by the broadest gauge of unemployment. For now, Americans are spending disproportionately more on essentials and less on luxuries.“Our wants and our needs have changed permanently until we find a health fix,” said Stacy Widlitz, president of SW Retail Advisors, a retail consultancy. “Shoppers are focusing on comfort, home and well-being.”The lockdowns sent many mall-based chains further into peril. These retailers furloughed workers, slashed costs to preserve dwindling cash reserves and, in the cases of Nieman Marcus, J.Crew and JC Penney, filed for bankruptcy protection.These troubles have contrasted with renewed strength for Walmart, Target and Home Depot, which were deemed essential businesses from the start and were allowed to remain open.For a group of 35 non-essential retailers, including department stores and jewelry chains, combined losses reached $2.5 billion for the three-month period that ended in May, according to GlobalData Retail. That compares with their combined profit of $8.9 billion in the year-ago period.Far better off were essential retailers, including dollar chains, discounters and food stores. For that group, profits reached $8.9 billion for the quarter, down only slightly from $9.1 billion from the year-ago period. Some of these companies had invested heavily in their online operations.Coresight Research, a retail research firm, expects between 20,000 and 25,000 stores in the United States to close this year, about 60% of them in malls. That’s up from the firm’s previous estimate in mid-March of 15,000 closings, and it would surpass the record 9,000 stores closures last year. In the past week, Zara, Children’s Place and Signet Jewelers all announced hundreds of store closures and stressed the rising importance of their online presence.“The retail sector was already overstored before COVID reared its ugly head,” said Craig Johnson, president of Customer Growth Partners, a retail consultancy. “This is a forced rightsizing.”last_img read more