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Bat Cave Solves Mystery of Deadly SARS Virus — and Suggests New Outbreak Could Occur

           

Researchers analysed strains of SARS virus circulating in horseshoe bats, such as this one (Rhinolophus sinicus), in a cave in Yunnan province, China.  Credit: Libiao Zhang/Guangdong Institute of Applied Biological Resource

Chinese scientists find all the genetic building blocks of SARS in a single population of horseshoe bats.

CLICK HERE - RESEARCH - Discovery of a rich gene pool of bat SARS-related coronaviruses provides new insights into the origin of SARS coronavirus

nature.com - by David Cyranoski - December 1, 2017

After a detective hunt across China, researchers chasing the origin of the deadly SARS virus have finally found their smoking gun. In a remote cave in Yunnan province, virologists have identified a single population of horseshoe bats that harbours virus strains with all the genetic building blocks of the one that jumped to humans in 2002, killing almost 800 people around the world. 

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Rising Seas to Force Billions from Home

           

weather.com - by Pam Wright - June 28, 2017

CLICK HERE - VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS

CLICK HERE - STUDY - Impediments to inland resettlement under conditions of accelerated sea level rise

An estimated 2 billion people will be displaced from their homes by 2100 due to climate-driven rising seas, a new study says.

Roughly one-fifth of the world's population may become climate change refugees, according to Cornell University. The majority of those will be people who live on coastlines around the world, including about 2 million in Florida alone.

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ALSO SEE RELATED ARTICLE HERE - Cornell University - Rising seas could result in 2 billion refugees by 2100

 

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China's H7N9 Cases Spike, Led by Infections in Beijing

josephbergen / Flickr cc

cidrap.umn.edu - by Lisa Schnirring - April 21, 2017

After several weeks of declining H7N9 avian influenza activity, China's cases are rising again, partly related to a recent spurt of local infections in Beijing, an area that usually doesn't see many cases and is located north of the main hot spots.

Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection (CHP), citing mainland health officials, said today that 27 more cases, 7 of them fatal, were reported from Apr 14 to Apr 20. Seven of them are in Beijing. Cases peaked in January and February, but over the past few weeks, new infections had declined to about 15 a week.

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CLICK HERE - PRESS RELEASE - Hong Kong - Centre for Health Protection

Updates will be posted within the links below . . . 

Hong Kong - Centre for Health Protection - Avian Influenza Report
http://www.chp.gov.hk/en/guideline1_year/29/134/332.html

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Why Chinese Scientists Are More Worried Than Ever About Bird Flu

A shop owner holds a live chicken for sale in a Hong Kong market. Isaac Lawrence /AFP/Getty Images

Image: A shop owner holds a live chicken for sale in a Hong Kong market. Isaac Lawrence /AFP/Getty Images

npr.org - April 11th 2017 - Rob Schmitz

At a research lab on top of a forested hill overlooking Hong Kong, scientists are growing viruses. They first drill tiny holes into an egg before inoculating it with avian influenza to observe how the virus behaves.

This lab at Hong Kong University is at the world's forefront of our understanding of H7N9, a deadly strain of the bird flu that has killed more people this season — 162 from September up to March 1 — than in any single season since when it was first discovered in humans four years ago. 

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More than 100 Chinese cities now above 1 million people

A boom in telecommunications businesses – including the arrival of e-commerce giant Alibaba – has transformed once-sleepy Guiyang. Photograph: Alamy

IMAGE: A boom in telecommunications businesses – including the arrival of e-commerce giant Alibaba – has transformed once-sleepy Guiyang. Photograph: Alamy

theguardian.com - March 20th 2017 - Benjamin Haas

China now has more than 100 cities of over 1 million residents, a number that is likely to double in the next decade.

According to the Demographia research group, the world’s most populous country boasts 102 cities bigger than 1 million people, many of which are little known outside the country – or even within its borders.

Quanzhou, for example, on the south-east coast of China, was one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world a millennium ago, when it served as a hub for traders from across Asia and the Middle East. 

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Tiny Genetic Change Lets Bird Flu Leap to Humans

           

At least six provinces have reported human cases of H7N9 influenza this year, according to Chinese state media - Getty Images

CLICK HERE - STUDY - Nature Communications - An NS-segment exonic splicing enhancer regulates influenza A virus replication in mammalian cells

bbc.com - March 21, 2017

A change in just a single genetic "letter" of the flu virus allows bird flu to pass to humans, according to scientists.

Monitoring birds for viruses that carry the change could provide early warning of risk to people, they say . . .

 . . . The change in a single nucleotide (a building block of RNA) allows the H7N9 virus to infect human cells as well as birds, say Prof Honglin Chen and colleagues.

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China Halts Import of North Korean Coal Until End of Year

wsj.com - February 19th 2017 - Chuin-Wei Yap

China banned all coal imports from North Korea starting Sunday, a move that steps up a prohibition Beijing enacted last year and comes as recent actions by Pyongyang test relations between the two allies.

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Hard to Detect, China Bird Flu Virus May Be More Widespread

           

A quarantine researcher checks on a chicken at a poultry farm in Xiangyang, Hubei province, China, February 3, 2017. Picture taken February 3, 2017. REUTERS/Stringer

reuters.com - by Dominique Patton - February 17, 2017

Bird flu infection rates on Chinese poultry farms may be far higher than previously thought, because the strain of the deadly virus that has killed more than 100 people this winter is hard to detect in chickens and geese, animal health experts say.

Poultry that have contracted the H7N9 strain of the avian flu virus show little or no sign of symptoms. That means any infection is only likely to be detected if farmers or health authorities carry out random tests on a flock, the experts said.

But in humans, it can be deadly.

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China's Science Revolution

Prof Peng Bo

Image: Prof Peng Bo

bbc.co.uk - May 23rd 2016 - Rebecca Morelle

China is super-sizing science.

From building the biggest experiments the world has ever seen to rolling out the latest medical advances on a massive scale and pushing the boundaries of exploration from the deepest ocean to outer space - China’s scientific ambitions are immense.

Just a few decades ago the nation barely featured in the world science rankings. 

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What everyone needs to know about China’s debt load

It needs a bit of work. (Reuters/Chance Chan)

Image: It needs a bit of work. (Reuters/Chance Chan)

qz.com - May 4th 2016 - Matt Phillips

Few have watched the development of the Chinese economy as closely as Arthur Kroeber.

His new book, published last month, is a wide-ranging and authoritative primer on the history and development of China’s unique blend of decentralized economic authoritarianism.

It’s an idiosyncratic system, developed in defiance of the advice of western-trained economists in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union.

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