North Korea confirms avian flu outbreak in poultry

first_imgMar 28, 2005 (CIDRAP News) – North Korea yesterday confirmed recent reports of an avian influenza outbreak among poultry, but officials did not specify whether it involved the H5N1 virus, which has struck nine other Asian countries in the past 16 months.The state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said the outbreak had led to the killing and burial of hundreds of thousands of chickens on two or three farms in Pyongyang, the capital, according to news services.The statement did not say which strain of avian flu was involved, according to Associated Press (AP) and Reuters reports. Officials said no human cases had been discovered. Only Vietnam, Thailand, and Cambodia have had human cases of the illness since it began spreading in late 2003.South Korea had a number of H5N1 avian flu outbreaks in the winter of 2003-2004, but no outbreaks had been reported in North Korea until about 2 weeks ago. That was when South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported an outbreak in Pyongyang, saying the information had come from a South Korean businessman who met North Korean officials in Beijing. The North Korean government initially denied the report.The AP quoted the KCNA report yesterday as saying, “A dynamic work is now under way in different parts of the country to combat bird flu that plagues the world.”South Korean government officials yesterday offered to help North Korea prevent the spread of avian flu, according to a report today in the Korea Herald, a South Korean newspaper. The government called an emergency meeting yesterday to discuss the possibility of holding talks with North Korea on technology and tools to fight the disease, the story said.The report also said the South Korean government would step up efforts to keep avian flu from spreading from the north. Plans called for banning poultry products from North Korea and disinfecting vehicles coming from there.When reports of the North Korean outbreak first surfaced, a South Korean company immediately canceled plans to import 40 tons of chicken from the North, the Herald story said.The AP story said the outbreak is a blow to the food supply of a nation that already suffers from food shortages and relies on foreign aid to feed its people.Two days ago, the United Nations’ World Food Program launched a new appeal for food gifts to the secretive communist country, the AP reported. The agency said a lack of supplies was forcing it to cut aid to children and the elderly.In other developments, Cambodian officials said a suspected human case of avian flu had been ruled out in a village where another person had died of the illness last week, according to a Mar 26 Agence France-Presse report.The story said Hon Sopheap, 18, had tested negative for the H5N1 virus. He is from the village of Keatha Vong Leu, near the Vietnamese border, which was also the home of Meas Ran, 28, who died of avian flu last week. He was Cambodia’s second human victim.The same story said 2 of 31 poultry in the village had tested positive for the virus. But Agriculture Minister Chan Sarun said the poultry outbreak had been contained after the culling of 139 chickens and ducks.Unofficially, 74 human cases of avian flu, including 49 deaths, have occurred in Asia since late 2003. Those include 55 cases with 35 deaths in Vietnam, 17 cases with 12 deaths in Thailand, and 2 fatal cases in Cambodia.last_img read more

Netherlands roundup: Company pension funds announce indexation

first_imgThe pension fund for the sheet glass industry wants to merge with a larger industry fundMartin Meijer, independent chairman of the sheet glass industry fund since September last year, explained the plans in the fund’s newsletter. At the end of 2017 the €770m sector scheme had an average ‘policy coverage’ of 96.7%. The policy coverage is the average funding level over the previous 12 months, and the main criterion for rights cuts or indexation.In the newsletter, Meijer stated that merging is the pension fund’s preferred option. Remaining independent was the second option.Vlakgas’ plans to merge with Pensioenfonds Nederlandse Groothandel, the Dutch scheme for employees in the wholesale industry, ended in 2016 in disagreement over the demarcation between BPF Schilders, the sector scheme for painters and decorators. In the event of a merger, the compulsory scheme membership in the window industry needs to be amended, to which the painters’ scheme objected.The social partners from both sectors have been in talks with each other for years to find a solution to this dispute, but still haven’t reached an accord.“This creates an obstacle to a possible merger with another fund,” Meijer said. “We as a pension scheme cannot do anything about this – it’s up to the social partners. I assume a solution will be found within the foreseeable future. This situation is not desirable for either of the two sectors.”The Vlakglas scheme, which has 25,000 members including close to 9,000 active members and pensioners, struggles with a low funding ratio and relatively high administration costs. If the policy coverage does not exceed 104.4% by the end of 2019, the scheme will have to cut its pensions in 2020. The fund spent €337 in administration costs per scheme member in 2016 (this includes active members and pensioners).“These costs fell sharply in 2017 and are expected to decline further in the coming years”, Meijer said. AZL is the pension fund administrator.Multi-company fund Transavia splits The multi-company pension fund for Dutch airline Transavia’s ground and cabin crew has split. Ground personnel will accrue their pensions in the general pension fund (APF) Stap from the start of this year. Cabin crew will transfer to BeFrank, the Premium Pension Institution (PPI) that has been managing the Transavia pilots scheme since 2016. A PPI is a vehicle offering a defined contribution (DC) plan for the accrual of additional pensions. Pension fund Transavia has been one of the few multi-company schemes (multi-OPF) in existence in the Netherlands. The split was already in the air because the employer planned to close one of the two compartments. At the same time the reinsurance contract for both compartments expired at the beginning of this year. A multi-OPF manages separate pension asset pools, cordoned off from each other along the lines of the original pension funds that have coalesced in the multi-OPF.The collective bargaining partners opted for a transfer of the ground crew to Stap, the APF that is a joint effort between Aegon and pension fund administrator TKP. Cabin personnel have started to accrue their pensions in an individual DC scheme with BeFrank. Transavia’s pilots have been connected to this PPI since 2016.The ground and cabin crews’ accrued pension benefits remain with the Transavia multi-OPF. These entitlements have been reinsured with Nationale Nederlanden and Aegon. In October last year their pension rights increased by 1.57%. Equities contributed the most to PostNL’s 2017 gains (4.5%). The fund suffered losses on its interest rate derivatives (-0.7%). The interest rate rise resulted in a 2.2 percentage point increase in liabilities. For that reason, the current coverage ratio only rose to a limited extent, from 115.4% to 115.8%.The policy coverage increased from 111.2% to 113.4%.The company pension scheme for KLM pilots has granted its members full indexation of 1.4%. The increase was derived from the index of collective wages in the private sector.Equities produced the highest return in 2017 also for KLM fund, whose liabilities increased in the last quarter. This led to a slight decrease in its current coverage ratio, from 129.8% at the end of the third quarter to 129.5% at the end of the fourth.Like a number of other company funds, Dutch telecoms scheme KPN distinguishes between active members on the one hand and deferred members and pensioners on the other. Active members will be receiving a pension increase of 0.74% this year. Deferred members and pensioners have been granted indexation of 0.84%.Unlike sector schemes, which grant all participants and pensioners the same rights increase, many company pension funds apply the salary index for workers and the consumer index for deferred participants and pensioners.Unlike PostNL and the KLM pilots fund, KPN doesn’t publish quarterly figures. The policy coverage is known, however, and stood at 118.1%. The actual coverage ratio in the fourth quarter was 120.2%, which is 0.1 percentage point higher than the end of the third quarter.Vlakgas fund hopes for merger breakthroughBPF Vlakgas, the pension fund for the Dutch sheet glass industry, is looking to merge with a larger pension fund despite difficulties with another sector fund that could stymie its plans.  Several Dutch company pension funds have announced they will be granting inflation-linked benefit increases this year.Members in the pension fund for postal workers, PostNL, the KLM pilots’ scheme, and the company fund of Dutch telecoms giant KPN will receive increases. The company pension funds’ announcements come as some Dutch sector schemes have returned to indexation given improved funding.  The PostNL scheme’s policy coverage in 2017 exceeded the required threshold, and members will be receiving a pensions increase of 0.32% this year. According to its quarterly report, the PostNL scheme achieved a return of 5.5% in 2017. The fund closed 2017 with a policy coverage of 113.4%. This includes the 0.32% pensions increase. last_img read more

Manchester United entertain only to be denied win by late Paul Dummett stunner

first_img But Georginio Wijnaldum and Aleksandar Mitrovic gave the home side hope and although Rooney scored again 11 minutes from time, Dummett’s late intervention denied Louis van Gaal victory on a night when he may well have been angry, but could not have been bored. A crowd of 49,673 at St James’ – among them new signings Jonjo Shelvey and Henri Saivet – rose before kick-off to pay its respects to the late Pavel Srnicek, the man between the posts on the day almost two decades ago that Newcastle famously beat Sir Alex Ferguson’s side 5-0 on Tyneside. But once the game was under way, referee Mike Dean did not endear himself to the locals when he awarded the visitors a penalty for handball against Chancel Mbemba as he contested a corner with Marouane Fellaini, although how much the defender knew about it was debatable. Rooney, however, needed no second invitation as he dispatched the spot-kick with Mr Dean, who later decided not to repeat the dose at the other end after Daryl Janmaat went down in the box under Lingard’s rash challenge, having been firmly installed as the villain of the piece. Van Gaal’s men extended their lead seven minutes before the break when, after Mbemba’s loose pass had been picked off, they broke at pace and Rooney held the ball up before feeding a fine reverse pass to Lingard to score. But Newcastle grabbed a lifeline four minutes later when Mitrovic headed down Fabricio Coloccini’s long ball and Wijnaldum swept it past David de Gea for his club’s first goal since December 19. The Magpies returned in determined mood and went close seven minutes after the restart when Moussa Sissoko tricked his way past full-back Ashley Young and forced De Gea, who had produced a vital first-half block to deny Wijnaldum, to save again at his near post. Lingard could have effectively sealed victory four minutes later, but shot high and wide with the goal at his mercy after being set up by Ander Herrera, but after Jack Colback had seen fresh appeals for a penalty waved away, Mr Dean finally pointed to the spot after Chris Smalling had hauled down Mitrovic. The full-back drilled home a superb 90th-minute equaliser to end a run of four successive defeats in all competitions after Wayne Rooney looked to have claimed the points for the visitors. Rooney had opened the scoring with a ninth-minute penalty and Jesse Lingard made it 2-0 eight minutes before the break. Press Association Unlikely hero Paul Dummett snatched a precious point for relegation-threatened Newcastle as Manchester United twice squandered the lead to draw 3-3 at St James’ Park. The Serbia international dusted himself down to convert calmly from 12 yards to level, and the Magpies thought they had taken the lead two minutes later when Wijnaldum struck, but did so from an offside position. Rooney looked to have won it with a stunning 79th-minute finish after substitute Memphis Depay’s initial shot had been blocked, but Dummett grabbed a point at the death with a left-foot missile. TWEET OF THE MATCH “This is what @premierleague is all about. Energy, goals and the passion of the players + fans!! #mufc” – former Manchester United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar was amongst those taken in by Tuesday’s encounter PLAYER RATINGS Newcastle Rob Elliot: 7 Daryl Janmaat: 7 Chancel Mbemba: 6 Fabricio Coloccini: 7 Paul Dummett: 6 Cheick Tiote: 6 Jack Colback: 6 Moussa Sissoko: 7 Ayoze Perez: 7 Georginio Wijnaldum: 8 Aleksandar Mitrovic: 7 Subs: Yoan Gouffran: 6 Ivan Toney: 6 Siem de Jong: 6 Manchester United David de Gea: 7 Ashley Young: 6 Chris Smalling: 6 Daley Blind: 6 Matteo Darmian: 7 Morgan Schneiderlin: 7 Marouane Fellaini: 6 Anthony Martial: 7 Ander Herrera: 7 Jesse Lingard: 7 Wayne Rooney: 8 Subs: Memphis Depay: 7 Juan Mata: 6 STAR PLAYER Wayne Rooney was involved throughout, calmly converting his penalty, setting up Jesse Lingard for his goal and then smashing home the third. MOMENT OF THE MATCH Paul Dummett’s piledriver which secured a precious point from a game in which he and his team-mates fought desperately hard to gain tangible reward. VIEW FROM THE BENCH Steve McClaren will have been delighted with the way his side fought to the death on a night when several key decisions went against them, but finally found their touch in front of goal. Louis van Gaal will have been happy with the way United attacked, if not with all of their finishing, but they were suspect at the back. MOAN OF THE MATCH Referee Mike Dean needed eyes in the back of his head on a night when there were penalty decisions to make at both ends. All were tight calls and the two he gave were probably correct, but he looked to have missed a third. WHO’S UP NEXT Newcastle v West Ham (Barclays Premier League, Saturday, January 16) Liverpool v Manchester United (Barclays Premier League, Sunday, January 17) It was a thoroughly entertaining match but one which left Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal frustrated. “Of course it feels like a defeat,” the Dutchman told broadcast media. “We have given it away – I have told that to my players. When the referee gives a penalty for nothing – it is a duel I think and you cannot decide who is worse – but we gave it away. “We could have scored six goals easily here and we did not. If we had, it would have been three successive wins at the start of the year going into Liverpool. “It is not so interesting to create chances. In every press conference I say you have to score one more goal than the opponent.” United captain Wayne Rooney echoed those sentiments, but Newcastle boss Steve McClaren believes his side deserved a point. “The crowd responded magnificently and we wanted to show everyone what we are about,” he said. “People said that United were boring and that we lack character, but we kept fighting until the end and we have got a goal that feels like a winner. “People thought it would be a 0-0 and it was a classic at 3-3. It must have been a great game for the neutral – it was a heart attack for the coaches.” last_img read more

See Kwaw Kese exhibit incredible ball juggling skills [VIDEO]

first_imgGhanaian hip-life artiste, Emmanuel Kofi Botchwey, also known in the entertainment circles as Kwaw Kese shows off his ball juggling skills in an Instagram post.Kwaw Kese is seen making a total of 75 juggles in 30 seconds shows he is not just a talented musician but also good with the ball.Kwaw Kese is well known for his hit album ‘Abodam’ in 2007, for which he won five awards at the 2008 edition of the Ghana Music Awards.The artiste is also known for hit songs like ‘Dondo’ which was released in 2019, ‘Swedru Agona’ in 2015 among many other hit songs that got fans jamming.Watch the video here:last_img read more