H5N1 strikes poultry in India again

first_imgJan 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 statementlast_img read more

Promising tourism outlook profits Thai Airways International

first_img<a href=”http://www.etbtravelnews.global/click/20084/” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://adsvr.travelads.biz/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=10&amp;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> Source = e-Travel Blackboard: G.A Thai Airways International’ shares gained almost four per cent following the news of forecasted growth in Thailand’s visitor arrivals.As Thailand returns to normalcy after months of anti-government demonstrations, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) upgraded its 2011 visitor arrivals forecast to 15.5 million, adding Bt600 billion to the economy.As faith in Thailand’s recovering tourism industry returned over the past month, Thai Airways International’ shares gained more than 13 per cent, reported the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation.However, in the absence of real political reform, investors run the risk of further civil unrest affecting the airline’s future share prices, said Reuters.“No one really knows when there’ll be attacks and gunfire in the streets again; people see more risk,” Aberdeen Asset Management Fund Manager Adithep Vanabriksha told the news service.”We could see some peace and quiet for a while and everything looks fine. But who can tell you what will happen in three, four or five months? There are more questions and concerns,” said Adithep, who manages $727 million in Thai assets.In June, Thai Airways International admitted that its second quarter revenue and cabin load factor would be hurt by the recent turmoil in Thailand.April’s cabin load factor was 72 per cent but this dropped to 56.8 per cent in May, Thai Airways International President Piyasvasti Amranand told reporters.Before the demonstrations began, the airline was aiming for a 2010 cabin factor of 75 per cent.Thai Airways International is due to announce their second quarter results in August.last_img read more

NSF drops preproposals deadlines for biologists seeking funding

first_img JEFFREY ROSS-IBARRA/UC DAVIS Email Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe By Jeffrey MervisOct. 11, 2017 , 1:20 PM Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*)center_img NSF drops preproposals, deadlines for biologists seeking funding The National Science Foundation (NSF) will no longer require biologists applying for grants to submit preproposals and to adhere to an annual deadline for submissions. The changes pull the plug on a 5-year pilot project in two NSF divisions—and mark the agency’s latest attempt to reduce the burden of the grant review system on its staff and outside researchers without lowering its standards.In 2012 the divisions of Environmental Biology (DEB) and Integrative Organismal Systems (IOS) within NSF’s Directorate for Biological Sciences limited scientists to two proposals a year, submitted annually rather than twice a year, and added a four-page preproposal as the first step in the merit review process. The hope was that in addition to easing workloads for NSF staff, the revamped system would improve the quality of the reviews and boost an applicant’s chance of success.Based in Alexandria, Virginia, NSF is constantly tinkering with its grant review system, which varies across the six research directorates and reflects the culture of a particular scientific community. But workload concerns are a constant. Three years ago, for example, NSF’s astronomy division asked scientists to submit only one proposal a year to ease the burden on program managers, and several programs within the geosciences directorate saw the number of applications drop by half after they eliminated twice-a-year deadlines and allowing rolling submissions. Last year NSF asked the consulting firm Abt Associates to analyze the impact of the biology directorate’s pilot. Some of the results were clear cut, according to its newly released report. Scientists strongly disliked the annual deadline, according to a survey of some 2500 applicants, and they felt the preproposals didn’t give them enough space to describe their idea.The report laid to rest NSF’s fears that the changes might discourage certain types of proposals or have a disproportionate effect on certain groups, such as younger scientists. “The change in review had little effect on the characteristics of funded investigators,” the authors note. “Similarly, we found either no or positive changes in institutional diversity, percentage of collaborative projects, and reviewer and applicant interdisciplinarity.”However, the report says the impact of the changes on workload was much harder to interpret, if not contradictory. Data provided by NSF show that program officers in the two divisions now handle many more proposals—an increase of 96% and 56% for DEB and IOS, respectively, compared with before the pilots began. (Program officers managing programs not in the pilot have seen their workload rise by only 16%.)Yet the program officers didn’t appear to notice they were handling many additional proposals. “Most NSF staff interviewed reported that their proposal-associated workload has not changed, or declined slightly. … We are uncertain how to reconcile these findings,” Abt reported.Alan Tessier, DEB’s deputy director, thinks the apparent contradictory findings are because of the wildly uneven workload that the pilot created. Applicants submitted significantly more preproposals than they had submitted full proposals in previous years, causing a severe work crunch early in the annual cycle. “That resulted in a very stressful spring,” Tessier says. But because the number of full proposals had dropped sharply, program managers spent much less time later in the year recruiting reviewers and running panels than they had spent under the old system.In a 5 October “Dear Colleague” letter, directorate head James Olds predicted that removing a fixed deadline will allow scientists to “think more creatively [and propose] more complex, interdisciplinary projects.” He also expects it to smooth out the workflow for NSF program managers and to ease a work crunch for university administrators that must process the applications. Preproposals are being jettisoned, Olds tells ScienceInsider, because “they did not generate the evidence of clear-cut improvement in merit review that would warrant continuing them.”The new no-deadline, full proposal mechanism applies to the directorate’s three core divisions—DEB, IOS, and Molecular and Cellular Biosciences, as well as some programs within its Division of Biological Infrastructure. Although preproposals are off the table, Olds doesn’t rule out making other changes in the future if he feels they would improve the review process. The National Science Foundation supports work on mapping the maize genome.last_img read more