News / Ebola threat sees new restrictions on box shipping as ports ramp up their security

first_img The spread of deadly Ebola disease in West Africa is seriously disrupting logistics, commodity markets and shipping in the region, and now threatens to stall growth just as container lines are set to deploy bigger ships on connecting tradelanes.For example, Asia-West Africa container carriers are keen to take advantage of the robustness of a market that has spot rates sitting comfortably above $1,800 per teu, despite a substantial capacity increase in the past year.According to tradelane analysis by Drewry, Asia-West Africa traffic volumes increased by 10% year-on-year in August to 132,000teu. However, it warned: “Restrictions on onward port calls and lengthy delays in Ebola-hit Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Senegal and Nigeria are set to take their toll on this trade.”Drewry notes that capacity on the route is up by 24% from the beginning of the year, and is likely to increase further as carriers cascade larger panamax ships onto the trade, thus closing in on the current 5,500teu ship limit at restricted port infrastructure in the region.Measures implemented by West African nations and carriers to help contain the spread of the disease have already caused container lines to alter rotations, and some, such as German carrier Hapag-Lloyd, have imposed surcharges to compensate for lengthy delays and disruptions as a consequence of the heightened checks.Ebola has claimed the lives of an estimated 4,000 people in affected countries, and the World Health Organisation predicts that the number of new cases of the disease, for which there is currently no antidote, could increase to 10,000 a week by December – doubling in number every four weeks.And the ramping up of port entry procedures in the US, Brazil and Argentina this week for all vessels from West Africa serves as a reminder that in the modern world fear spreads faster than disease.Masters of West Africa-originating ships are receiving notices from coastguards saying that any sick crew members showing Ebola-like symptoms are “deemed to potentially affect the safety of the vessel”.And anxiety about the rapid spread of Ebola has added to fears of a new global slowdown and dragged stock markets around the world down this week. Additionally, the Eurozone’s fragile economy is back in the headlines, and in contrast to the last recession, the dependable engine room of the German economy appears to be in trouble.A sharp decline in business confidence and slowing industrial output, blamed on geopolitical tensions such as sanctions on Russia, has hobbled Europe’s biggest economy and does not bode well for trade in coming months. By Mike Wackett 17/10/2014last_img read more

Statement from Minister for Home Affairs

first_imgStatement from Minister for Home Affairs I would like to take this opportunity to thank the hard working men and women of the Home Affairs Department led by Mike Pezzullo and its portfolio agencies for the incredible work they do to keep Australians safe.Secretary Pezzullo has served both sides of politics, but his first priority is to serve our country and he has done an exceptional job.I’m incredibly proud to have been the inaugural Minister for Home Affairs in its modern form.Together we have thwarted 20 terrorist attacks, invested record amounts into ASIO and AFP, seized record amounts of drug importations and worked day and night to keep women and children and the broader public safe from threats.Commissioner Reece Kershaw and his leadership team has turned around the AFP and they go from strength to strength.Mike Phelan and the ACIC contribute to our successes in ways that will never be made public and they deserve our appreciation.I’m incredibly proud of the $70 million investment in establishing the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation. The men and women there who save and protect children on a daily basis are world leaders in their field. Stamping out the exploitation of children has been our greatest achievement in this portfolio. This is a battle we must win and I will continue to be a strong ambassador for this cause.I would like to really honour the leadership of Commissioner Michael Outram and the Australian Border Force in halting the evil people smuggling trade and preventing deaths at sea. Under my watch, there has not been a successful boat arrival or a death at sea.I have worked diligently to clean up Labor’s regional processing mess. The Government has removed every child from Nauru and PNG. Of the remaining adults none are in detention – they all live freely in their local communities. In total, there are now less than 240 individuals in Papua New Guinea and Nauru. We have removed all the children from onshore detention that were put there by Labor.We have dealt with an unprecedented risk of foreign interference and espionage against our country, and committed significant resources, including the establishment of the joint agency Counter Foreign Interference Taskforce to protect our nation and our way of life.Director-General Mike Burgess is one of the finest leaders in this space and ASIO will continue to achieve success under his watch.Since strengthening the character test provision of the Migration Act in 2014, I have cancelled more than 6,300 visas of non-citizen criminals. This included cancellations for domestic violence related offences, child sex and child sexual exploitation offences, assault and armed robbery. These cancellations have made Australia a safer place.AUSTRAC is a world leader and I am proud of their enforcement work and engagement with the private sector. Nicole Rose is an exceptional leader of that organisation.There is no greater honour than to represent the men and women of the Australian Defence Forces in Government.It comes at a crucial strategic time for our country and our region.I am very much looking forward to continuing the work of my predecessor Linda Reynolds who has done an exceptional job in this portfolio.​​​​ /Public Release. This material comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View in full here. Why?Well, unlike many news organisations, we have no sponsors, no corporate or ideological interests. We don’t put up a paywall – we believe in free access to information of public interest. Media ownership in Australia is one of the most concentrated in the world (Learn more). Since the trend of consolidation is and has historically been upward, fewer and fewer individuals or organizations control increasing shares of the mass media in our country. According to independent assessment, about 98% of the media sector is held by three conglomerates. This tendency is not only totally unacceptable, but also to a degree frightening). Learn more hereWe endeavour to provide the community with real-time access to true unfiltered news firsthand from primary sources. It is a bumpy road with all sorties of difficulties. We can only achieve this goal together. Our website is open to any citizen journalists and organizations who want to contribute, publish high-quality insights or send media releases to improve public access to impartial information. You and we have the right to know, learn, read, hear what and how we deem appropriate.Your support is greatly appreciated. All donations are kept completely private and confidential.Thank you in advance!Tags:ACIC, AFP, ASIO, AusPol, AUSTRAC, Australia, Australian, Australian Border Force, Defence, defence force, domestic violence, foreign interference, Government, Guinea, Home Affairs, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, sexual exploitationlast_img read more

Supreme Court ends proportionality review in death penalty cases

first_imgSupreme Court ends proportionality review in death penalty cases Nov 03, 2020 By Jim Ash Senior Editor Top Stories Overturning what it called an “erroneous” precedent, the Supreme Court has decided that there is no requirement to weigh “proportionality” in death sentences.The October 29 decision upheld the death sentence of Jonathan Huey Lawrence for the 1998 murder of 18-year-old Jennifer Robinson in Santa Rosa County.Defense attorneys argued, in part, that the sentence was not proportional when compared with other sentences because of the defendant’s mental-health issues.But by a 5-1 majority, justices ruled that neither state statute nor Eighth Amendment protections against cruel and unusual punishment require a proportionality review.“We cannot judicially rewrite our state statutes or Constitution to require a comparative proportionality review that their text does not,” Chief Justice Charles Canady wrote for the majority. “Nor can we ignore our constitutional obligation to conform our precedent respecting the Florida Constitution’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment to the (U.S.) Supreme Court’s Eighth Amendment precedent by requiring a comparative proportionality review that the (U.S.) Supreme Court has held the Eighth Amendment does not.”Justices Ricky Polston, Alan Lawson, Carlos Muñiz, and John Couriel joined Chief Justice Canady in agreeing with Attorney General Ashley Moody that requiring a proportionality review violates a portion of the Florida Constitution that conforms with the Eighth Amendment.Justice Jamie Grosshans, who became the newest member of the court last month, did not participate in the decision.Saying he could not dissent “more strongly,” Justice Jorge Labarga called the decision “the most consequential step yet in dismantling the reasonable safeguards contained within Florida’s death penalty jurisprudence,” and a “highly unfortunate departure from settled law” that “jettisons a nearly fifty-year-old pillar of our mandatory review in direct appeal cases.”The decision, one of several in recent years, makes Florida even more of an outlier from the states that impose a death penalty, Justice Labarga wrote.“Sixty percent of those twenty-five states, not including Florida, conduct a proportionality review,” he wrote. “Without proportionality review, each death sentence stands on its own. Failing to consider a death sentence in the context of other death penalty cases impairs the reliability of this Court’s decision affirming that sentence.”But in the majority opinion, Chief Justice Canady wrote, “the reliance interests of death-sentenced defendants on this Court’s comparative proportionality review are low to nonexistent, as defendants do not alter their behavior in expectation of such review. In contrast, victims and the State have strong interests in this court’s upholding death sentences obtained in compliance with section 921.141.”The decision, Jonathan Huey Lawrence v. State of Florida, No. SC18-2016, can be found here.last_img read more

New studies on H7N9 raise pandemic concerns

first_imgTwo research teams that conducted a massive number of experiments on the new H7N9 influenza virus found more signs that it could be a pandemic virus, though their animal tests showed that its ability to spread through coughs and sneezes isn’t as robust as seasonal flu.The two studies are among several recent efforts to assess the threat from the new virus, which infected 134 people, 43 of them fatally, before tapering off in early June. Experts aren’t sure if the virus has died out or if it has temporarily retreated due to warmer weather and perhaps the effects of outbreak response measures aimed at live-poultry markets in some of China’s biggest cities.Both studies were published in the same issue of Nature. One of the teams is from Japan and the University of Wisconsin, Madison, lab of Yoshihiro Kawaoka, DVM, PhD. That team conducted several types of tests and comparisons on two novel H7N9 strains from China, an earlier avian H7N9 strain, and the 2009 H1N1 virus. They also examined how the new virus behaves in mice, ferrets, miniature pigs, macaques.The second group includes scientists from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which also studied two novel H7N9 strains from China, focusing on how it infects human cells and how it spreads in ferrets and mice.Pandemic potential in first studyWhen Kawaoka’s team compared two novel H7N9 isolates from the first human cases in Anhui province and Shanghai with an avian H7N9 strain from China and the 2009 H1N1 virus, they found that the new viruses were more pathogenic in mice. All three of the H7N9 viruses that they tested replicated well in the nasal passages of ferrets.In nonhuman primates, the Anhui and avian H7N9 strains replicated efficiently in both the upper and lower respiratory tracts, unlike human flu viruses, which are only known to infect primates’ upper airways. However, when researchers inoculated the nasal passages of miniature pigs, they found that the Anhui strain didn’t replicate well.In their transmission tests the group found that the Anhui strain transmitted in respiratory droplets in one of three ferret pairs. Tests found, however, that the two novel viruses, plus another from Hangzhou province, bind to human receptors, a factor the researchers said may be critical for the viruses to transmit in ferrets.The team wrote that since the H5N1 virus requires several mutations for aerosol transmission in ferrets, “the pandemic potential of A (H7N9) viruses may be greater than that of the highly pathogenic avian H5N1 viruses.”The investigators also included experiments to test sensitivity to neuraminidase inhibitors and to see if humans have any pre-exisiting immunity or cross-protection against the new virus. They found that the Anhui strain was less sensitive to the drugs than the 2009 H1N1 virus, though both were sensitive to favipiravir, an experimental polymerase inhibitor originally developed by a Japanese pharmaceutical company.To gauge human immunity to the H7N9 virus, the scientists tested 500 blood samples from various age-groups in Japan collected from 2010 through 2012. They found no antibodies to the Anhui H7N9 strain.Taken together, the findings suggest that the novel H7N9 strains have several traits in common with human influenza viruses, including efficient binding to human-type receptors, efficient replication in mammal cells, and respiratory droplet transmission in ferrets. The low efficacy of neuraminidase inhibitors and the lack of protection make the new virus “a formidable threat to public health,” the researchers concluded.CDC team finds rapid viral reproductionThe second study was part of an effort by the CDC to better understand the transmissibility and characteristics of the new virus. In a press release today, the CDC said that uncovering clues about the threat in the lab is a critical component of the public health response to the emerging disease threat. The team also conducted several experiments on the Anhui and Shanghai H7N9 strains.In tests on human airway epithelial cells and ferret respiratory tracts, they found that both H7N9 viruses replicated at higher titers compared with the seasonal H3N2 virus. The H7N9 virus showed a 20- to 400-fold increase in replication after 2 days compared with seasonal flu viruses and other avian strains related to H7N9. When matched against seasonal H3N2, the novel virus showed an 80,000-fold increase in replication at 24 hours, according to the study.Overall, they found that the H7N9 viruses are able to reproduce quickly and produce large amounts of virus in mammal and human airway cells, but at a higher temperature most consistent with lower airways.Because conjunctivitis in humans has been reported with other H7 viruses, the team inoculated the eyes of mice and ferrets. Though they didn’t find consistent virus replication in ocular tissue in mice, they did detect nasal H7N9 virus titers in the animals 3 to 6 days after eye inoculation. They said the finding suggests that although H7N9 may not maintain the ocular tropism of other H7 viruses, it is capable of using the eye as an entry for respiratory infections.The CDC said in its press release that the finding supports its recommendation to avoid touching the eyes, nose, or mouth to prevent the spread of infections, as well as its advice for health providers to wear eye protection when caring for confirmed or suspected H7N9 infections.Tests to see how pathogenic the H7N9 viruses were in ferrets found that unlike the H5N1 virus it didn’t spread systemically to the spleen, kidney, liver, or intestinal tract, a signal that it did not cause severe illness. However, the researchers found that the virus was easily able to infect mice and caused a more lethal infection.Their transmission experiments in ferrets showed the virus spread easily through direct contact, but did not transmit readily through respiratory droplets, which they said was accompanied by low binding specificity for human-type receptors. The ratio of transmission in ferrets in the CDC study—with two of six ferrets showing infection by respiratory droplet—echoed the findings in the Kawaoka study.The team concluded that their transmission studies are consistent with the lack of sustained human-to-human transmission in China’s H7N9 outbreak and that their findings suggest that more adaptation in mammals would need to occur before the virus became as transmissible through respiratory droplets as pandemic or seasonal flu viruses.Experts weigh in on risk conclusionsTwo infectious disease experts who were asked to comment on the Kawaoka study praised the comprehensive series of experiments. Marion Koopmans, DVM, PhD, with the National Institute of Public Health and the Environment in the Netherlands, told CIDRAP News that although some of the study’s findings have been described, “the combination is kind of an ‘everything you ever wanted to know about H7N9’ study.”She said the results show that the circulating novel virus strains can infect mammals, cause significant pathology, and may transmit among mammals, though not as efficiently and only in small number.Though Koopmans said she found the group’s conclusion that the viruses pose a formidable pandemic threat a bit strong, given that animal models remain a challenge and human-to-human transmissibility has been limited, she added: “But this is as far as you can get with animal studies, I think.”Michael T. Osterholm, PhD, MPH, director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, which publishes CIDRAP News, said that, despite the exhaustive look at the new virus, unanswered questions still remain about what it would take for H7N9 to go from a virus that doesn’t readily spread human-to-human to one that does.The study findings, taken as a whole, support that the virus could move toward efficient human-to-human transmission. “The virus is still in its early days,” Osterholm said.However, he said the group’s findings, such as the replication in nonhuman primates, are sobering. “Surely, you have to take the pandemic potential with a great degree of seriousness.” He said. “With the data presented here, there’s no reason to rule that out.”Like meteorologists who comb through their readings and data to issue warnings about tornadoes, the researchers are saying that the conditions are ripe for the H7N9 virus to become a bigger threat, Osterholm said. “You’re seeing all the conditions.”Watanabe T, Kiso M, Fukuyama S, et al. Characterization of H7N9 influenza A viruses isolated from humans, letter. Nature 2013 Jul 10 [Abstract]Belser JA, Gustin KM, Pearce MB, et al. Pathogenesis and transmission of avian influenza A (H7N9) virus in ferrets and mice, letter. Nature 2013 Jul 10 [Abstract]See also:Jul 10 University of Wisconsin-Madison news story on the Kawaoka studyJul 10 CDC press releaselast_img read more

Stewardship / Resistance Scan for Nov 20, 2019

first_imgEuropean health group releases ‘roadmap’ to address antibiotic resistanceThe European Public Health Alliance’s Stakeholder Network on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) has released a roadmap outlining the path European leaders should take in their efforts to fight drug-resistant infections.Emphasizing the need for a multidisciplinary, “One Health” approach, the roadmap calls for European Union (EU) member states and institutions to pursue five strategies against AMR:Set targets and performance indicators for progress in reducing antibiotic use and antibiotic-resistance in human and veterinary medicineHelp countries mobilize resources for better implementation of national AMR policiesClose the collaboration gap between civil society and EU policy makersFocus EU policy-making on infection control and prevention and antibiotic stewardship programsTackle the environmental dimension of AMR in the framework of the European green dealThe strategies are aimed at what the Stakeholder Network on AMR sees as some of the current gaps in the EU’s response to rising antibiotic resistance. To date, according to the group, the European Commission has not set any targets or performance indicators for antibiotic use, several EU countries have no national action plan in place, and civil society groups have not been formally brought into the policy-making process.”For Europe to become a global leader and best practice region on AMR the EU must demonstrate ambition, leadership and policy coherence between all AMR-related areas, ensuring that political and policy priorities are translated into action and have a lasting impact,” the roadmap signatories write.Nov 18 AMR Stakeholder Network roadmap EU regulators approve new rapid diagnostic test for clinical useEuropean regulators today granted CE-mark certification for the T2 Resistance Panel, a rapid diagnostic test that can detect antibiotic resistance genes associated with sepsis-causing pathogens from whole-blood samples.Developed by T2 Biosystems of Lexington, Massachusetts, with support from CARB-X (the Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator), the T2 Resistance Panel can detect 13 of the most serious antibiotic-resistance genes identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, directly from blood and within 3 to 5 hours. It’s the first diagnostic test that can detect all of these resistance markers from blood samples, and the first to graduate from the CARB-X portfolio.”This represents a huge step forward for patients, and a critical milestone for CARB-X,” Kevin Outterson, JD, executive director of CARB-X, said in a CARB-X press release. “Rapid diagnosis of drug-resistant infections is essential to improve appropriate treatment for patients, and to save lives.”The CE-mark indicates conformity with the health, safety, and environmental protection standards that govern products sold within European Economic Activity countries, and is legally required to place a medical device on the market in Europe. The certification means that the test can now be used on patients in Europe.The T2 Resistance Panel was granted Breakthrough Device designation by the US Food and Drug Administration earlier this year, but is not yet available for clinical use in US hospitals.Nov 20 CARB-X press release Paper calls for short-term, long-term strategies on antibiotic developmentA new paper in The Lancet Infectious Diseases calls for a two-pronged strategy to address the weakness of the antibiotic research and development (R&D) pipeline.In their assessment of current efforts to stimulate antibiotic R&D, researchers from the United Kingdom note that a combination of push incentives from public-private partnerships like CARB-X and the Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership (GARDP) and pull incentives, such as the antibiotic subscription model recently announced by the UK National Health Service, are currently keeping the antibiotic pipeline from completely running dry.But just barely, they argue. Even with these efforts, a combination of high development costs, low public investment, and low profit margin for new antibiotics is causing many pharmaceutical companies to abandon the market. And companies that do produce new antibiotics are facing financial difficulties.In the short term, the authors of the paper argue, this model needs to be maintained, because the pharmaceutical industry is still the best equipped to undertake antibiotic innovation. Therefore, strengthening current push and pull incentives and creating new ones, like market-entry rewards, is the best course of action for the immediate future. But because the long-term viability of the for-profit antibiotic development model is unclear and antibiotics are a global resource that needs to be distributed equitably, the authors propose the creation of an international, publicly funded, non-profit antibiotic R&D institute to transform how new antibiotics are discovered and developed.”The formation of such an institute would create a permanent, integrated, open, and transparent home for the two key resources produced during pharmaceutical R&D: knowledge and skill,” the authors write. “Novel antibiotics would be a public commodity that could be developed according to a prioritisation process determined by greatest need rather than greatest profit, and disseminated according to a principle of what could be termed shared burden.” The authors suggest the institute could be financed through a variety of mechanisms, including government funding, taxation, antibiotic usage fees, insurance payments, and contributions from the pharmaceutical industry.  Nov 18 Lancet Infect Dis paper FAO manual helps guide prudent antibiotic use for pigs, poultryYesterday the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (abbreviated SLU) launched a manual on the prudent use of antibiotics in pigs and poultry targeted especially to farmers, pharmacists, and veterinarians in non-EU Eastern European and Balkan countries, the Caucasus, and central Asia.”The manual is about how to reduce the use of antibiotics in livestock through disease prevention. We have focused on poultry and pig breeding since it is where most antibiotics are used globally,” Ulf Magnusson, DVM, PhD, SLU professor and lead author of the manual, said in an SLU news release. SLU experts wrote the manual with a working group of international experts, including additional Swedish scientists. Sweden is a world leader in keeping food animals healthy while using minimal antibiotics, according to the release.The manual covers the prevention of infectious diseases without antibiotics, how to use the drugs prudently and effectively, and practical recommendations on combining prudent use with preventive measures for good productivity. Non-drug measures to prevent disease include good animal husbandry and welfare, effective external and internal farm biosecurity, and appropriate vaccine use.The authors detail how to phase out the use of antibiotics for growth promotion, avoid the use of highest-priority antibiotics that are critical for human medicine, use antibiotics only after a veterinarian has diagnosed a disease, strive for individual treatment of animals, and dispose of unused antibiotics, among other stewardship steps.The authors write, “The recommendations are highly relevant for those who have larger, more commercial and professional production systems. However, the principles for disease prevention and use of antibiotics may be applied by all categories of farmers.” The FAO also notes that, although the manual focuses on a specific geographical region, its principles may be applied elsewhere, as well.Nov 19 FAO/SLU report Nov 19 SLU news releaselast_img read more

Cristiano Ronaldo’s sister hits out at Sport on Twitter

first_img Later she added another message. “It’s normal, he’s seen his father score goals that leave you without words, let him breathe, he’s a kid.” 07/03/2016 Sport EN Katia Aveiro, Cristiano Ronaldo’s sister, lit up the social networks with controversial tweets in which she leapt to the defence of the Real Madrid star. Upd. on 08/03/2016 at 00:51 CET Tweets which came in response to a Sport story which pointed out Cristiano Ronaldo’s son wasn’t interested in watching his goals against Celta Vigo and instead prefered to keep playing on his mobile.  It seems Katia Aveiro didn’t like this observation, and she tweeted: “At least he’s accompanying his dad, no? Others prefers to stay at home watching Peppa Pig.” last_img read more

Zidane: I have been told good things about Dybala

first_img As for the return of Morata to Madrid, he said: “He’s played really well in Italy and has grown a lot, but I don’t know what will happen. It is not the moment to think about that.”  01/06/2016 at 21:07 CEST Mar Bianchi During the event, the Real Madrid manager answered questions from journalists about the transfer market, with special mentions for three players key to Juventus: Paulo Dybala, Alvaro Morata and Paul Pogba.  On Pogba, though, he basically closed the door on any possible deal: “He would be good for any team and he is an important player, but he is at Juventus now and that must be respected.” center_img Away from signings, the Italian press also asked him about possible departures. In concrete, about Juve’s interest in Isco. “It’s not the moment to think about that. We have just finished the season three days ago and we’ve not talked about anything.”  Zidane ended by sending a message to Juventus, the club he spent five seasons at before moving to Madrid. “Juventus are in my heart and it’s always emotional to come back here.” Zidane tried not to spark any gossip, but he ended up suggesting he is interested in the Argentine foward, who Barcelona have also been linked with. “People speak very highly about Dybala to me. As well as being a great player, they’ve told me his head’s screwed on. And that’s important: that you’re good and you’ve got a good head,” the French coach said.  Just four days after the Champions League final in Milan, Zinedine Zidane was back in Italy to open a sports facility carrying his name in Borgaro, a municipality of Turin. last_img read more

Noah’s football arc

first_imgWarragul-local Noah Gown has long been known for his prowess on the basketball court, but 2018 has been all about…[To read the rest of this story Subscribe or Login to the Gazette Access Pass] Thanks for reading the Pakenham Berwick Gazette. Subscribe or Login to read the rest of this content with the Gazette Digital Access Pass subscription. By Hayley Wildes last_img

Fire in Nar Nar Goon

first_imgBy Jessica Anstice Emergency services were called to a grass and scrub in Nar Nar Goon about 2.50pm on Friday. Six CFA vehicles…[To read the rest of this story Subscribe or Login to the Gazette Access Pass] Thanks for reading the Pakenham Berwick Gazette. Subscribe or Login to read the rest of this content with the Gazette Digital Access Pass subscription.last_img