Jan 15, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – A state agriculture minister in India today confirmed that a disease outbreak involving 35,000 recent poultry deaths in West Bengal state was caused by the highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza virus.Anisur Rahaman, West Bengal’s minister for animal resources, told Reuters, “The outbreak is of the deadly H5N1 strain and it has been confirmed to us in a central government notification today.”Over the past few weeks, large numbers of chicken and other poultry deaths have been reported in and around the village of Margram in West Bengal’s Birbhum district, according to the Reuters report. Rahaman told the news service that a second outbreak was detected in West Bengal’s South Dinajpur district but said the sites are not adjacent.Naresh Dayal, India’s health secretary, told Reuters that medical teams have been dispatched to the area, that residents would be monitored for flulike symptoms, and that the government had adequate stockpiles of the antiviral drug osteltamivir.Officials said culling operations affecting about 400,000 birds within a 3-kilometer radius of the outbreak areas would begin tomorrow, Reuters reported.Authorities have sealed off one stretch of West Bengal’s border with Bangladesh, according to Reuters. Bangladesh is also battling H5N1 outbreaks.India’s last H5N1 outbreak in poultry occurred in July 2007 among chickens at a poultry farm in the country’s remote northeastern state of Manipur, near the border with Myanmar, according to previous reports. India has reported no human H5N1 cases.Meanwhile, animal health officials in Bangladesh said on Jan 13 that the H5N1 virus had struck a poultry farm in the northeast. The outbreak killed 500 chickens at the farm in Moulavibazar district, about 155 miles from Dhaka, the capital, according to a Jan 13 Reuters report. About 800 chickens, ducks, and other birds were culled within 1 kilometer of the outbreak site, the report said.The country’s first H5N1 outbreak was recorded in March 2007, according to previous reports. Since then, outbreaks have occurred mainly around Dhaka and in the north.In Vietnam, government officials announced that the H5N1 virus struck a flock of ducks in Thai Nguyen province in the northern part of the country, according to a Jan 11 Thanh Nien News report. On Jan 3 officials said another outbreak in the same province had also affected a duck flock, according to previous reports.In other developments, animal health experts in England have determined that the H5N1 virus strain that infected three swans at a tourist destination in Dorset County on the country’s southwest coast is similar to one that was confirmed in the Czech Republic, Romania, and Poland in 2007, according to a statement today from Hilary Benn, secretary of the United Kingdom Department of Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).Benn said the H5N1 strain found in the swans is also similar to the one that caused outbreaks in November among turkeys at two Redgrave Farms sites in Suffolk.Animal health officials are conducting further tests on a few more dead mute swans at the Dorset County outbreak site, but so far all have tested negative, the UK Press Association reported on Jan 13.Earlier reports said the three infected swans were tested after they were found dead, but today’s DEFRA statement said reports suggest that two of the swans were still alive when found and were euthanized because they were injured and in poor condition.John Houston, general manager at Abbotsbury Swannery, told the Press Association that the number of dead swans at the site is lower than normal because of warmer-than-usual winter weather.See also:Jul 25, 2007, CIDRAP News story “India finds H5N1 in poultry after 1-year hiatus”Jan 15 DEFRA statement
Sweden’s AP7 plans to introduce factor investing into its portfolio for the first time as part of a risk-reduction exercise.The national pension fund that provides the default option in Sweden’s Premium Pension System (PPM) will also lower the gearing on its equity portfolio.The SEK430bn (€41.4bn) pension fund said: “As a step in implementing the new strategic portfolio, which was decided in 2016, AP7 is now starting to invest in factor premiums.”The goal, it said, was to invest 10% of the fund in these strategies over the next few years. “At the same time, the normal level of leverage is being reduced to 25%,” it said. This is reduction from the previous normal level of 35%.However, the actual level of gearing was to be set even lower, at 15% percent, AP7 said, due to its previous assessment of market valuations.At the end of December, the pension fund’s actual level of gearing was around 25%, according to its 2017 annual report.Since 2010, a central part of AP7’s management strategy for its SEK396bn equity fund – which accounts for the vast majority of its overall assets – has been passive exposure to a global index with leverage of 50%. AP7’s default option pension product, known as AP7 Såfa, is a lifecycle fund combining AP7’s equity and bond funds.In 2015, AP7’s board opted to halve the actual level of gearing to 25% because stockmarket valuations were considered high. In December 2016, when presenting a new strategic portfolio to be implemented by 2020, it reduced the normal leverage to 35% from 50% in order to increase the room for manoeuvre associated with the change.The first step in introducing other risks then began in 2017, and involved increased exposure to emerging markets and private equity, AP7 said.The pension fund said the new management strategy was aimed, in particular, at reducing risk through diversification.“Another central part of the strategy is to systematically apply more dynamic risk-taking, where the fund’s overall risk level is adjusted to extreme market valuations,” it said.In February the pension fund put out a tender for advice on “active alpha” procurement, in part of its move to add risk-factor investments to its portfolio.
Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin says the current football season could be lost if it cannot be restarted by the end of June.Most leagues in Europe are suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic, with this summer’s Euro 2020 tournament postponed for another year.Ceferin says seasons could be finished behind closed doors.“If we don’t succeed in restarting, the season will probably be lost,” the Slovenian said.He told Italian newspaper La Repubblica: “There is a plan A, B and C.“The three options are to start again in mid-May, in June or at the end of June.“There is also the possibility of starting again at the beginning of the next [season], starting the following one later. We will see the best solution for leagues and clubs.”As it stands there are nine games to be completed by the majority of Premier League clubs, and up to 12 in the Football League.All football in England is suspended until at least 30 April.Ceferin says that playing remaining games behind closed doors would have to be an option across Europe.“It’s hard for me to imagine all the matches behind closed doors, but we still don’t know whether we’ll resume, with or without spectators,” he said.“If there was no alternative, it would be better to finish the championships.” Source: BBC
Each month I’ll be helping a Mint user analyze their financials in an effort to offer some strategies and ideas for saving better, squashing debt and in, some cases, earning more. [If you’d like to be considered, just email me Farnoosh@Farnoosh.TV]This week we begin with Rebecca [name has been changed to assure privacy] from St. Louis, MO, one of Mint’s original “beta” users since 2006. The 34 year-old government worker says she loves the money tool because it helps keeps her organized and on track.Still, she’s struggling to boost savings, repay debt and raise her income. She’s living paycheck-to-paycheck and wants to get ahead. [As a homeowner, she’d also like to tackle a few home renovation projects.]A little more about Rebecca and her Mint profile: Annual salary: $65,000 (before taxes, health insurance & retirement contributions)Monthly Expenses: $2,200 a month.Biggest Monthly Expense Categories:Mortgage $986Food, Gas, Laundry, Entertainment, Misc.: $760Condo Fees: $307Student Loans: $22,900 (monthly payment is $285)Credit Card Debt: $10,900 (monthly minimum payments total $200) In our conversation I had the chance to learn a little more about Rebecca’s financial profile and the moves she’s willing to make to create some much-needed breathing room in her budget.Here are a few of my recommendations:Cut the Cord on Cable Of all her expense, Rebecca and I discussed that cable is the least desirable and least needed. [I cut the cord back in August and use mainly Netflix and my Apple TV to access my favorite shows] Her cable bill amounts to $60 a month. Slash it and she can save $720 a year.Save on the GoRebecca is conscious about saving. She uses Digit, a new mobile app that saves nominal amounts for you every few days or once a week. It bases its savings decisions on your flow of income and expenses. Since last fall, Rebecca has saved over $400 using Digit. I recommended she stick with it, since it’s totally painless and can serve as a nice “slush” fund for her when she wants to splurge on herself once in a while.Take on a Side GigBecause has a government position, Rebecca’s pay is very structured and it’s not likely she can receive a raise just for asking. She does anticipate a 1.6% raise this year, but I thought that wasn’t really enough to move the needle as far as saving more and squashing debt. (I mean, that’s only a tad better than the year-over-year rise in inflation!) My recommendation: Start looking at private sector jobs. Rebecca has a Master’s degree and could make probably twice what she’s earning now working for a company – or for herself! It’s something she’s considered and will be more proactive about it in 2017.Meanwhile, how about a side gig? Rebecca works from home some days and has a nice two-bedroom house. While she wasn’t keen on my idea of renting her second bedroom out once in a while via sites like AirBnB, she did think she could have fun dog-sitting once or twice a week. We decided this might be an easy way to not only earn extra income. It can also, depending on the dog, serve as a nice stress relief!At Rover.com and DogVacay.com, for example, sitters and dog walkers that take on gigs on a regular basis can earn $1,000 or more per month. Per night, pay can range and vary slightly depending on the neighborhood, but you can earn between $25 and $35 per night.If Rebecca dog-sits twice a week, she could earn an extra $200 to $300 a month. In a year, she’ll have up to $3,600 in her pocket.Maximize Your Tax Refund Rebecca says her tax refund – combining Federal, State and Local tax refunds – will be around $4,000. My suggestion was to place most of that or $3,000 towards her credit card debt and save $1,000 in her bank account.A tax refund can be a huge help in getting you to your financial goals faster. If you have credit card debt, it’s wise to first use the refund to pay that down. And if you lack emergency savings, use some of the IRS windfall to bolster your rainy day account.Transfer Debt to a 0% Balance Transfer CardRebecca pays a little more than the minimum on each of her two credit cards. Together, her cards average an interest rate of about 10%. On a nearly $11,000 balance, she’ll be paying down this debt for the next 6 years.But if she commits to all of the above and applies to her card debt: Have a question for Farnoosh? You can submit your questions via Twitter @Farnoosh, Facebook or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Farnoosh Torabi is America’s leading personal finance authority hooked on helping Americans live their richest, happiest lives. From her early days reporting for Money Magazine to now hosting a primetime series on CNBC and writing monthly for O, The Oprah Magazine, she’s become our favorite go-to money expert and friend.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) Related AND transfers her credit card debt to a 0% balance transfer card then she could be out of debt in about 15 months or so, by the time some balance transfer cards end their 0% introductory rate. [Her credit score is well in the 800s so she shouldn’t have a hard time qualifying for a great card.[Audit Conclusion: By transferring her credit card debt to a 0% balance transfer card, cutting cable and taking on a small side gig, Rebecca will be able to be credit card debt free in a little over a year – as opposed to six! After that, my recommendation is to PRETEND the debt still exists and allocate a minimum of $500 a month towards emergency savings. This time next year, I hope she’ll also have found a new job that pays her more for her skills and education. A greater income will mean she can finally work on some of her pet projects around the house! Existing $200 she is already contributing toSavings from cable ($60)Earnings from dog sitting ($300)A majority or $3,000 of her tax refund Post navigation