NEWS SCAN: Avian flu outbreaks, pandemic funding, biodefense lab lapses, Listeria

first_imgFeb 9, 2009Vietnam and Egypt report H5N1 poultry outbreaksVietnam today confirmed H5N1 outbreaks in poultry in another province, Hau Giang in the Mekong Delta, Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA) reported. The outbreak involved about 400 unvaccinated ducks and brings the number of provinces recently reporting the virus to five. Meanwhile, Egyptian veterinary officials reported that the virus struck more locations, according to a Feb 5 report posted on the Web site of Egypt-based Strengthening Avian Influenza Detection and Response (SAIDR), including Behera, Helwan, and Fayoum governorates. In addition, laboratory officials are testing samples from a Sharkiya governorate location where several suspicious bird deaths were reported.[Feb 9 DPA story]Hong Kong finds H5N1 in more dead birdsMore dead birds found around Hong Kong have tested positive for the H5N1 virus, according to a Feb 7 statement from Hong Kong’s Agriculture, Fisheries, and Conservation Department (AFCD). They include a grey heron from Mai Po Nature Reserve, a peregrine falcon found near Long Beach Gardens, a chicken found on Butterfly Beach, and three chickens and a duck collected on Lantau Island.[Feb 7 AFCD press release]Senate negotiators strip pandemic funding from stimulus billBipartisan work on the Senate’s version of the economic stimulus bill on Feb 6 cut $870 million in pandemic planning provisions from the list of spending proposals, according to a report yesterday from Congressional Quarterly (CQ) Today. Critics questioned whether or not increasing the nation’s pandemic vaccine stockpile would crease more jobs. The House stimulus bill allocates $900 for pandemic flu funding. After the Senate passes its version, a conference will meet to resolve differences between the two bills.Security lapses reportedly sideline select agent work at Army’s biodefense labFederal officials suspended work on biological select agents at the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) in Frederick, Md., on Feb 6 after identifying problems with the system the lab uses to monitor its inventories of high-risk biological materials, Wired reported today. The lab housed the work of the late Bruce E. Ivins, whom federal officials believe played a role in the 2001 anthrax attacks. The Wired report is based on an internal memo obtained by ScienceInsider blog.[Feb 9 Wired story]Listeria concerns prompt recallsTwo companies recently issued recall notices because of possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination, though no illnesses were reported. Alaska Sausage Company recalled 872 pounds of sausage links with reindeer meat and bratwurst, according to a Feb 6 press release from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). Meanwhile, agriculture officials in New York warned consumers not to eat 14-oz packages of Queso Fresco made by Peregrina Cheese Corp, based in Brooklyn, NY, according to a Feb 4 press release from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The company is holding most of the cheese, but a small quantity was released for retail sale.[Feb 6 USDA press release][Feb 4 FDA press release]last_img read more

Badgers feel growing pains in transition year

first_imgWhen players of the Wisconsin women’s basketball team prepared to meet their new head coach, Bobbie Kelsey, for the first time last April, no one knew what to expect from her or the season.Kelsey convened a meeting in the team’s locker room a day before the appointment was made public and sat the team down in a circle. Kelsey let the Badgers know where she stood and then allowed the team to ask her some questions of their own.“I just expected them to really be open to new ideas and new challenges that we will bring as a new staff and new coach,” Kelsey said. “I wanted them to give us a chance to help them get better.”For senior captain Anya Covington and sophomore Morgan Paige, one of Kelsey’s lines that day really stuck out.“I mean the first thing she said was that ‘You’re my players; I didn’t recruit you, but you’re my players,’” Covington said. “That means a lot because some coaches come into a situation and they wait four years until they get their players in, so that’s what you want to hear.”“It was really reassuring to know that she did care about each and every single one of us,” Paige said. “Obviously she hasn’t had time to bring her recruits in, but she let us know that we were her players as well, so that was really cool.”Kelsey – hired by Wisconsin Athletic Director Barry Alvarez – replaced former head coach Lisa Stone, who in eight years at the helm for the Badgers amassed just a 128-119 record with only one NCAA tournament appearance.In just a year working with Stone’s former players, Kelsey did not bring the winning results she has been accustomed to her entire career. With just a 9-19 record overall and a 5-11 record in conference play heading into the Big Ten Tournament, the Badgers endured a season of growing pains in the transition of a new aggressive philosophy and style brought to the program by Kelsey.For Kelsey, a coach who embodies competitiveness in its strongest form and boasts a career of success as an assistant coach and player, it was a struggle to accept the players were unlike the ones she left and recruited at Stanford.“It was a challenge with these players because you always think, ‘Why aren’t you aggressive?’” Kelsey said. “But again, everyone’s different. As a group, they are great players and great people, but they’re not aggressive as a group. I had to stop asking why and just accept it and get out of them what I could. That’s not to say they’re bad people and don’t want to be aggressive, but your personality is who you are. It’s either there or it’s not.”However, Kelsey may have developed that aggressiveness in some of her players. After the Badgers lost their top three scorers from a season ago to graduation, the returning roster for Wisconsin has seen some dramatic scoring improvements.Taylor Wurtz averaged just 8.3 points per game a year ago and now averages over 16, helping pace the junior to a third team all-Big Ten selection. Covington and Paige improved considerably under Kelsey as well, as both starters improved their scoring averages by almost six and seven points each from the previous year.Kelsey also had to address the challenge of inheriting a team without a true point guard. In Kelsey’s system, a natural point guard is essential. Kelsey was able to address the problem and give her offense life in the form of senior guard Jade Davis.Davis, a guard who was used primarily as a shooting guard in her Badger career, was suddenly thrust into the role of floor general this year. Although at times the senior struggled, she exemplified leadership and tenacity in adapting to a position she had previously never played.Even though Davis was not a prototypical point guard in a Kelsey system, the head coach only has praise for her senior.“Jade has done a fantastic job,” Kelsey said. “Without her – not to knock anyone else on the team – but she was the only one who could get us into things consistently. Without her, it would have been much worse. I’ve told her that throughout the year, but I just want to reiterate how much she’s grown.”It was a sentiment that was reflected by Paige.“We let [Davis] know that we had all our faith in her and that she could do it,” Paige said. “At the end of the day, we live and die with her at the point. After she embraced that role, she really blossomed at the point, and she’s been a really vocal leader as well, getting us into sets. She’s really shown her maturity.”While the Badgers will graduate Covington, Davis and forward Ashley Thomas at the end of the season, there will most likely be no storybook ending for the Badgers in the Big Ten Tournament. Covington offered a bigger perspective for life and the program’s future.“That’s the beauty of life and the beauty of basketball,” Covington said. “You have to have growing pains to reach where you’re trying to go. There is no good story that didn’t have any tragedy or any pain or anything else. I mean, what’s the point of telling a story that’s all fluff? It’s been a harder year than some could expect, but it’s also been a rewarding year. We worked hard regardless of the record.”last_img read more

Ghana faceTurkey friendly on Aug 14

first_imgThe Black Stars of Ghana will play guest to Turkey in an International friendly at the Atatürk Olympic Stadium in İstanbul on August 14.Ghana had been struggling to find an opponent for the August FIFA day of International friendlies but will now face Turkey thanks to the cancellation of a pre-arranged game between the Turks and Uzbekistan.Excerpts of a statement on the Turkish Football Federation website confirms a date with the Black Stars who will be using the friendly as a preparation for the September round of World Cup Qualifiers at home to Zambia.“Turkish A National Team’s friendly game against Uzbekistan on 14 August was canceled after unexpected weather conditions and namely extreme heat in Uzbekistan and Uzbekistan Football Federation also mentioned by a letter that they couldn’t provide the full requirements.After this; Turkey, coached by Abdullah Avcı, will face Ghana in a friendly game on 14 August 2013 Wednesday at 21.30 (19.30 GMT) with Turkish local time in Atatürk Olympic Stadium, İstanbul, Turkey,” the statement read.last_img read more