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Archive August 2004 -October
OTHER WARMWELL ARCHIVES(opens in new window)
August 24 2005 ~ James Meikle in the Guardian "Government officials are in discussions with farmers about restricting the movement of pigs as well as poultry as they prepare for the possible arrival of avian flu in the UK. Powers to cull and control poultry as well as remove potentially infected birds from the food chain are already available but it emerged yesterday that talks are under way on whether further measures might be necessary. ...Avian flu is not regarded as a pig disease so there are no powers to cull them at present although the European commission is introducing a directive that would enable governments to act..... Avian flu is not regarded as a pig disease so there are no powers to cull them at present although the European commission is introducing a directive that would enable governments to act...."
August 24 2005 ~ "More than 500 UK scientists and doctors have pledged their support for animal testing in medical research. They have signed a declaration stating that a "small but vital" part of medical research involves animals....." BBC
August 23 2005 ~ bovine TB The fourth international conference on bovine TB held in in Dublin Castle was told . that wildlife vectors have been found to play an important role in the persistence of tuberculosis in the cattle population in Ireland, Britain and New Zealand,
Minister of State John Browne said Ireland will need to sustainably control tuberculosis in badgers, having regard to environmental considerations and the legal protection afforded to badgers .... is "committed to developing an effective badger vaccine and implementing badger vaccination as a distinct component of the bovine tuberculosis eradication programme". Irish Examiner
August 23 2005 ~ Portugal drought and fires. European states are sending fire-fighting planes now that Portugal has appealed for help. A truly horrible and under-reported tragedy. See BBC
August 23 2005 ~ FMD Asia -1 in Russia seems now to have been confirmed in the far southeast of Russia, the Khabarovsk region, near the Chinese border: "....an emergency quantity of a vaccine containing a component against FMD Asia-1 was delivered."www.strana.ru
The Chinese interfax notes, "An official with China's Ministry of Agriculture surnamed Xu said the agency has no information that the disease has crossed the border and would take immediate action if such an event occurred."
August 23 2005 ~ streptococcus suis " The Centre for Health Protection has received a Streptococcus suis infection report concerning a 62-year-old woman, bringing the year's total to 11. ... " Hong Kong news.gov.hk
August 23 2005 ~ "A spokesman for Rick Stein's Seafood Restaurant at Padstow said an application for registration had been made shortly before the July 7 deadline, but added: "We haven't heard anything back yet."...." WMN on the news that many restaurants have not realised that they are no longer allowed to buy fresh fish straight from the quay - a DEFRA regulation to prevent the sale of black fish and one which Andrew George calls a sledgehammer to crack a nut.
August 22 2005 ~ The UK has no plans to follow the Dutch move to prevent the spread of bird flu by banning farmers from keeping fowl outdoors, the government says. BBC
August 22 2005 ~ 'Over 30 Months Scheme' has been a highly expensive scheme says the WMN " but is widely acclaimed as the saviour of the British beef industry, as it brought assurance that homegrown beef was safe to eat, following widespread fears that BSE was linked to its human killer variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, a link that has never been proved."
August 22 2005 ~ streptoccocus suis: The Singapore paper, www.todayonline.com says "No new human cases of the virus have been reported since August 4 in China's Sichuan province, where it originally appeared, affecting a total of 204 people, the Xinhua news agency cited the ministries as saying in a report..."
August 22 2005 ~ Scientists hope to ease GM fears "US scientists report a new technique for genetically modifying plants which they believe may allay public fears." BBC
August 22 2005 ~ Darfur. "....great powers whose economies are predicated on growth, contending for a finite pool of resources... The Bush energy policy, crafted by oil companies, is predicated on a far different future from the one any sane person would want his or her children to inherit -- a desolate world ..." See Znet - or our pages on peak oil. (new window) I do urge readers to endorse the Depletion Protocol here (new window)- and spread the word. Churchill said "Trust the people" but people must be informed if they are to take some responsibility and urge politicians to take this seriously. Matthew Simmons says,
" we need a global economic cooperative framework for how we allocate oil use and in this framework we need to give India and China, for instance, an incremental use of another 50% more oil while we go on a diet to have any sense of equality. If we don't do this than we will basically end up playing musical chairs, and musical chairs can get violent very fast.”
August 22 2005 ~ News from the Philppine is now full of what President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo calls the “pain and hardship” brought on by rising oil prices. In parts of China there re long queues for petrol. See peak oil news . (new window)
August 21 2005 ~ Observer "....'The term organic is clearly being abused, by both producers and sellers. Not many local authorities have the resources to test the integrity of organic food,' said Dr Yunes Teinaz, principal environmental health officer at Hackney Borough Council. ... three out of four households now buy some organic food ............... There are fears an increasing amount of 'organic' food is coming in from overseas making it difficult to establish its provenance..." Read in full (As Dr Yunes Teinaz writes to warmwell. "....not only meat frauds - many other frauds in the UK food industry!")
August 21 2005 ~ UK Vioxx toll may hit 2,000 Lawyers for many of the relatives of British patients who died are considering filing claims against the drug’s manufacturers.
August 21 2005 ~ Simon Jenkins in the Sunday Times "....I always marvel that the price of a French loaf is still fixed by law, to ensure that bakeries stay open in small villages. Controls restrict all supermarkets that might threaten local stores....Small schools, clinics, post offices and mairies are maintained at any cost. .... They respect locality. ........mayors have powers over planning and services and are responsible ....
...The disempowering of parish, town and county planning leaves every part of Britain subject to edicts from central government. The coast goes to caravans, the lowlands to sprawl estates and the uplands to masts and turbines.
Compared with France, Britain is becoming the dark satanic mill of the 21st century.... " Read in full
August 21 2005 ~ Bird flu 'approaching' Telegraph ".... no one knows what the tiny packet of genes known as H5N1 will do next. It could fade back into its host population of birds among which it produces no ill-effects. Or it could produce a human pandemic of apocalyptic proportions." Prof Neil Ferguson is widely quoted.
August 21 2005 ~ You can endorse the Depletion Protocol yourself by joining Aspo Ireland (new window) . Reporting Britain's plan to introduce energy rationing, this month's ASPO newsletter says, "...a good reason for introducing an energy ration is because Britain’s indigenous oil and gas supply is set to continue to decline to near exhaustion in about fifteen years, as confirmed by the Department of Trade and Industry. More political halos are evidently won by describing it as a response to climate change induced by burning fossil fuels. In any event, it is an excellent proposal especially if the ration could become a form of tradable currency, making the energy content of goods and services a primary component of their cost."
August 20 2005 ~ "ChevronTexaco has initiated an expensive public-relations campaign titled "Will You Join Us?", featuring a web site (www.willyoujoinus.com) and expensive newspaper ads informing readers that "the era of easy oil is over" and asking for public discussion on the issue.
The Oil Depletion Protocol will provide more long-term security for the petroleum industry than any PR campaign ever could, and at no cost." Professor Richard Heinberg (peak oil news) See Dr Colin Campbell's talk, below
August 20 2005 ~"Foot and mouth causes severe weight loss in cloven-hoofed animals but does not affect humans and outbreaks are relatively easy to control." Reuters Alertnet puts FMD in perspective as it reports here on what it considers the far more serious H5N1 now confirmed in Russia in ".. 40 Russian villages across western Siberia, while 78 other small settlements had suspected cases."
August 20 2005 ~ Avian Influenza "... H5N1 wild bird flu has migrated to Mongolia. In an earlier report, the deaths of swans, geese, and gulls were confirmed to be H5 positive, but questioned remained as to the relationship between the dead birds in Mongolia and earlier outbreaks at Qinghai Lake and Chany Lake. Not unexpectedly, the H5 was confirmed to be H5N1..." Recombinomics.com
August 20 2005 ~ ProMed quotes "Wildlife and health experts, including the F.A.O., maintain that indiscriminate culling of wild migratory bird populations would be ineffective in preventing the spread of avian flu. "Focusing our limited resources on the hubs and activities where humans, livestock, and wildlife come into close contact," says Dr. William Karesh, Director of WCS's Field Veterinary Program, who lead the WCS team in Mongolia, is "the best hope for successfully preventing the spread of avian flu and protecting both people and animals."
August 20 2005 ~ Dr Colin Campbell on Peak Oil "... no evidence that this long downwards trend is going to change direction - this is a crisis in the making... We have had 150 years of growth and now we face a similar decline...the cost of oil hasn't gone up...it is simply profiteering from shortage..... entirely new to anyone's experience. We face the end of economics as presently understood....the banks begin to wake up..." Powerswitch (new window) has made available a recording of Dr Campbell's April talk, together with his powerpoint presentation. "We need to stress this idea of a depletion protocol - to force consumers to face reality."
It is light in tone, easy to listen to and very, very worrying. (He had just been taking to the Swiss bankers - who are, unlike our politicians apparently, taking the issue very seriously.) You need broadband to listen and see effectively. See also warmwell's pages on Peak Oil news. Dr Campbell advises governments to adopt the Depletion Protocol
August 18 2005 ~ BSE in sheep? Mark Purdey's comment is "...everyone knows that you can transmit BSE and other TSEs into as many animals as you want with almost 100% success - but only in the experimental context where high doses of BSE brain homogenate have been used as the inoculum (the rogue metal microcrystals are the transmissible agents ).
But it is extremely unscientific to jump to the conclusion that this is happening in the natural environment, particularly when no sheep have been diagnosed with clinical BSE to date, despite the rigorous post mortem TSE surveillance that has been in place in the UK."
August 17 2005 ~ warmwell's laptop computer seems to have run out of space. Apologies for delay and very short entries while I try to get rid of unnecessary files.
August 17 2005 ~ The papers tomorrow will no doubt go to town on yet another "food scare" with the unpleasant news about BSE in experimental sheep having passed to two lambs. It would be interesting to know how many hundreds of thousands of pounds has been spent in trying to get a result such as this and how many sheep have been "fed BSE infected material" (ie. diseased brains) in research labs and experimental farms across the country.
August 17 2005 ~ "Silence at Ramscliffe reminds us just how the Government’s appalling and callous handling of the Foot and Mouth crisis undermined all the fundamentals of good farming and good husbandry. It serves as a brilliant warning, nationally and even globally .....” (Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall). The book will be launched tomorrow. Silence at Ramscliffe: Foot and Mouth in Devon is published by the Bardwell Press, Oxford, www.bardwell-press.co.uk, price £25, ISBN 0-9548683-3-1. It includes a DVD of the same name, courtesy of ITV West. T
August 17 2005 ~ avian influenza We hear that the Dutch want enclosures for poultry to be set up as soon as possible to protect them during the upcoming bird migration period. According to a spokeswoman for Dutch Farming Minister Cees Veerman, enclosures for the birds should be set up as quickly as possible, but an exact date for their implementation will be set in cooperation with the European Union.
August 17 2005 ~ wind turbines"... The West Danish model clearly shows that the installation of large numbers of wind turbines can lead to severe and expensive problems with power transmission, and seriously degrade wildlife habitats and the aesthetic value of land - and seascapes for little or no reduction in carbon emissions....imperative that energy conservation schemes and alternative sources of renewable energy are more thoroughly explored..." Windfarms page
August 17 2005 ~ streptococcus suis/avian influenza "The pig and bird diseases have raised questions about the over-aggressive use of antibiotics in animals as well as humans.... "Streptococcus pneumoniae is not only resistant to penicillin, its resistance to quinolones is becoming worse... scientists say such practices must be stopped or mankind will face a shrinking pool of antibiotics that work. ..." Reuters
August 17 2005 ~ "We have asked Defra to provide a copy of this proposal and await a reply.." The CA website invites us to use the CA website if we wish to comment openly on the proposal to change "discretion to slaughter" to "duty to slaughter". Warmwell has drawn attention to this oddity several times and feels - as the CA site seems also to do - that it can't be allowed to go unchallenged before the September 1 deadline.
August 16 2005 ~ An outbreak of avian flu among wild and domestic birds in Russia is spreading west and starting to approach Europe, public health officials said yesterday.... Times
August 16 2005 ~ National archive of foot-and-mouth disease goes online ic Birmingham.co.uk A national archive relating to the 2001 foot-and-mouth disease outbreak - the largest international collection on the disease in the world - has been made ...
August 16 2005 ~ the Argyll and Bute Regional Council have turned down the planning application for 16 wind-turbines to be erected on the ridge in the Inverliever Forest, Argyll. ( See Blog in new window)
August 16 2005 ~ A powerful earthquake has rocked north-east Japan, causing injuries and triggering a tsunami alert. BBC
August 16 2005 ~ Scientists have made nerve stem cells BBC The world's first pure batch of nerve stem cells made from human stem cells is created in Edinburgh.
August 16 2005 ~ Britain's biggest low-level nuclear dump a 'safety risk' independent Britain's environmental watchdog has concluded that the country's biggest low-level nuclear dump may pose too great a safety risk to receive future waste.
August 16 2005 ~ Tigers and gorillas - for sale on the internet Guardian Investigators say internet trade in endangered animals is worth billions and could wipe out entire species.
Tuesday August 16 2005 ~ Britain faces court for failure to recycle
independent-uk Across Europe governments have begun a drive to recycle millions of unwanted household electrical goods, from toasters to mobile phones, under a landmark new scheme to protect the environment. But Britain has delayed plans to introduce the scheme until next June because of government hold-ups likely to land the UK in the dock of Europe's top court.
August 16 2005 ~ Acknowledgment that "there should be no price differentials at the point of sale for products from vaccinated and non-vaccinated animals as the differences will not be identified..." is now on the DEFRA website. See front page.
August 15 2005 ~ Anthony Gibson quoted in WMN: " ....Cattle tend to wall it in, so that it does not spread from the lungs, other than by coughing. Badgers lack this ability........allowing the disease to develop to the extent that they can excrete vast numbers of TB bacilli in their dung, urine and sputum - something that does not happen with cattle, which in any case are slaughtered at the first sign of TB....The enemy in all of this is not badgers or cattle, it is TB. Until the disease is tackled effectively in both species, it will remain a menace to both."
August 15 2005 ~ Beef. The Food Standards Agency meets on Monday and will produce a recommendation for the Government. The Over Thirty Month (OTM) scheme could be ended by Christmas. See BBC
August 15 2005 ~ "Chris Davies, leader of the Liberal Democrats in the European Parliament, believes the only way to stop the criminal drugs trade is to legalise all forms of drugs and arrange for them to be sold legally. The MEP said selling drugs under a regulated regime is the only way to beat the traffickers and stop billions of pounds reaching the "pockets of criminals and funding terrorist activities"..." Independent
August 15 2005 ~ Fair Trade websites chosen by the Independent
August 15 2005 ~ Dog's dinner...The independent-uk asks, "Is commercial pet food ethical or even healthy?.. "
August 14 2005 ~ "Streptococcus Suis bacteria infection has not been not ruled out..." The Hong Kong Standard says: "Shenzhen officials have confiscated 3,700 catties of pork from two meat markets and private residences without giving a clear reason..."
August 14 2005 ~ The streptococcus suis mystery deepens. Reporters have been banned from area."The death toll of the pig-borne endemic...had reached 37 as of 12:00 a.m. Tuesday, with one new death reported, according to the Chinese Ministry of Health," China's official Xinhua news agency reported. Xinhua's is currently the only version of events available to both Chinese and overseas reporters alike, according to Hong Kong reporters in Sichuan. "A circular has been issued by the Sichuan Provincial Propaganda Department...which forbids local press from sending reporters to the infected areas or hospitals," the Chinese-language Ming Pao reported. " See News Release Wire.com
August 13 2005 ~ An article in today's Guardian describes researchers' claims that they can culture meat: "Lumps of meat would be cultured in laboratory vats rather than carved from livestock reared on a farm..." ... "Experiments for Nasa, the US space agency, have already shown that morsels of edible fish can be grown in petri dishes..."
August 12 2005 ~ £60billion...."..... The consultation comes as the government examines whether new nuclear power plants are needed. Downing Street officials are believed to want to use the findings of a climate change review by Margaret Beckett, environment secretary, due later this year, to commission an independent study on the nuclear issue...Tony Blair could use the findings of the reviews to propose an expansion of nuclear capacity, arguing that this would be needed to meet targets to cut greenhouse gases..... could lead to cabinet disagreement and even a parliamentary revolt.." FT
August 12 2005 ~ Book Review by David Ehrenfeld at Americn Scientist: "The last (and longest) chapter of The Long Emergency is also the most innovative and controversial one. Having made a powerful case that it is too late to avoid serious trauma, Kunstler speculates on what life will be like during the painful transition period, as cheap petroleum wanes. The question is well worth asking, if only to stimulate creative thinking about alternatives to a high-energy lifestyle..."
August 11 2005 ~ Australia ABCNews "....Pig farmers are angry Biosecurity Australia allows pork imports from countries that have a disease known as PMWS. Beef producers are also upset that Biosecurity Australia allowed beef to be imported from Brazil, where there has been an outbreak of foot and mouth disease. Mr Cahill defended the pork import decision, saying it was based on scientific assessments. But he said beef imports from foot and mouth countries have stopped, and independent risk assessment procedures are being reviewed."
August 11 2005 ~ Decommissioning the UK's ageing nuclear power stations will cost billions of pounds more than originally expected. BBC
August 11 2005 ~ Indo-Iran-Pak gas pipeline: India briefs China on project. Interesting to see on China Daily that India, has proposed to extend the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline to China. Beijing has not yet officially commented on New Delhi's proposal.
August 11 2005 ~ DEFRA's full report (pdf) on Operation Hornbeam (98pages) is now available from their website at http://www.defra.gov.uk/footandmouth/hornbeam/finalrpt-hornbeam.pdf
After the wail of frustration made on this page recently, this is another good sign. (See also front page)
August 11 2005 ~ streptococcus suis: China Daily reports that "China has begun inoculating pigs with a newly-developed vaccine..... the compulsory vaccination will start from areas without pig-borne disease cases and gradually lead to regions afflicted ....... Pig raisers do not need to pay for the vaccination, Qu said..... Pigs will be given two injections of such vaccines within 15 days, which will promise an immunisation period of above four month."
August 11 2005 ~ The BBC reports that scientists have unscrambled the genetic code of rice, adding that it is " a development that could help end hunger around the world."
Abstract of Nature paper The map-based sequence of the rice genome
August 11 2005 ~ streptococcus suis China's The Standard reports that the disease that has "sickened hundreds and killed 39 people in Sichuan province, infected its eighth victim in Hong Kong"
August 10 2005 ~ End of UK Beef? Alastair Driver, writing now in the Telegraph, explains with great clarity in this article how ...."decoupled subsidies mean that you are better off producing nothing if you cannot sell in the market for a profit. .... The early signs are worrying." He quotes Robert Forster (BVA) " What happens over the next few months could determine whether the UK continues to have a viable beef industry from 2007. If prices remain where they are for long, there can be only one outcome - a lot less British beef and many more imports." Read in full
August 10 2005 ~ Wales petition "This is the point behind the petition campaign. We demand our democratic right to consultation," he said yesterday.. "I'm a moderate man and I believe in renewable energy but when I read more about this I realised it was all about politics not climate change."
August 10 2005 ~ Niger "Mamadou Tandja, sitting in the presidential palace in the capital, Niamey, it is a matter of "crisis, what crisis?" "The people of Niger look well fed, as you can see," President Tandja says. All the talk of mass starvation is just "foreign propaganda", deception by relief agencies to obtain increased funding. "It is only by deception that such agencies receive funding," he tells the BBC..." Independent
August 10 2005 ~ Famine. Niger: "One of the main results of the attempted use of private enterprise to tackle malnutrition was to push up drastically the price of staple foods. The policies were not President Tandja's own. The International Monetary Fund has pressed for structural changes to the economy, including the introduction of 19 per cent VAT on basic foodstuffs and the scrapping of emergency grain reserves. As a result the price of basic food rose by between 75 and 89 per cent in five years..." Independent
August 10 2005 ~ Interesting words from New Zealand's Professor Morris, a world-renowned specialist in animal disease control, reported in NZ's Manuwatu Standard "........"There is no country in the world that has the resources to cope with a major animal disease outbreak without some international cooperation. The real limitation is having enough people with the practical experience and expertise to deal with these diseases and that's a problem every country has" ....
See also our entry at the time of the Waihike hoax
15 May 2005 ~ Waiheke hoax. Stuff.co.nz "....Massey University epidemiologist, Roger Morris said it would not be easy to import the virus. "If you are using body tissues you've got to be quite knowledgable about moving them around without the virus dying. If someone has really technically got the knowledge and makes up their mind to do this, it's a bit like trying to stop al Qaeda." Morris said no one in New Zealand or Australia kept stores of the live virus, as it was "much, much too dangerous". .." (Experiments using live virus were taking place in the UK in 2001)
August 10 2005 ~ Concern about oil: The South African Star comments today: " ....the energy markets are in a nervous state.... widely recognised that the US-led war in Iraq has become a debacle: the longer American troops remain in Iraq, the more their presence will inflame Islamic passions and increase terrorist recruitment, while their withdrawal could see the world's second largest oil producer collapse into civil war. ...Iran... has just elected a new hardline anti-Western president in Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, while globally...oil consumption is rapidly outstripping supply..... price of oil set to increase in an unstoppable upward graph..." See peak oil pages
August 10 2005 ~ Scientists will create mutant mice to examine genetics and disease independent-uk British scientists will spearhead a European project to create a vast store of mutant mice
August 9 2005 ~ Oil prices are hitting new highs on the fear about an uprising in Saudi Arabia . See peak oil news. The price of raw materials entering factories is escalating at the fastest pace ever. The price of petrol has already climbed above £1 a litre in some areas. The price of diesel is also rising. Factories seeking to transport their goods are feeling the pressure...and of course, high prices will be passed on.
August 9 2005 ~ streptoccus suis "....Chinese authorities have also arrested a couple in the Sichuan province city of Chongqing, who were caught with 3740 pounds of pork from sick pigs, the official Xinhua News Agency said on Mon 8 Aug 2005. It did not say whether the pigs were believed to have the same illness.
The latest victim, a man who has slaughtered pigs from Guangdong province's Yangjiang town, is hospitalized in serious condition......relatives and medical staff working on him have not shown symptoms of infection with _S. suis_, the type of bacterium blamed for the outbreak, said Hong Kong health department..." US news report
ProMed says, "To date, no clear explanation for this cluster, which is thought to be human infection with _S. suis_, has been brought forward. Increased bacterial inoculum (with or without increased toxin production, but not necessarily a new toxin) facilitated by selling dead, infected and previously buried swine may well be the major factor."
August 9 2005 ~ "A new report, released by the American Academy of Microbiology, details the ever-present threats to the food supply posed by disease, spoilage, and the specter of agro-terrorism, along with how the commitment to research in food and agricultural microbiology is on the decline..." The report, "Research Opportunities in Food and Agriculture Microbiology."
August 8 2005 ~ streptoccus suis "Some experts believe an overuse of antibiotics could be behind the outbreak by encouraging the bacteria to mutate into a new, drug-resistant strain.... According to Xinhua the government news agency in China, four officials have been sacked for trying to cover up the trail of dead pigs, early in an outbreak of a swine-borne disease that has killed 39 people in southwest China..." News Medical.net
August 8 2005 ~ Oil: Interesting that the Times is now saying .. "Soaring oil prices and fears about the developed world’s dependence on Middle Eastern oil have produced a renewed interest in nuclear energy. " As a result of fears about emissions and global warming it may also be - but peak oil fears seem finally to be being acknowledged.Peak Oil news
August 8 2005 ~ Monsanto is offering free GM seed to UK farmers. GM crops can be grown in the UK without farmers having to notify the authorities or their neighbours," the Guardian reports. "...Supporters of GM crops can legally grow them in Britain by applying to the biotech company Monsanto for a sample pack of GM maize to test on a British farm...". DEFRA "says no regulations exist to prevent farmers growing GM crops approved for cultivation elsewhere in the EU because "it seems unlikely that anyone would want to do so".
August 8 2005 ~ Independent "A cabinet minister has revealed that the Government is launching a charm offensive to stop the media reporting scare stories about GM crops. The campaign led by John Hutton, the Cabinet Office Minister, led environmental pressure groups to warn last night against the Government "softening up" the media for controversial scientific developments. The EU Commission will today approve the use in animal feed of a GM maize that allegedly showed a link with low liver weight in tests on rats. Anti-GM campaigners said agriculture ministers would now greenlight the maize for use in food, lifting a ban on its EU import. "
August 7 2005 ~ avian flu vaccine International Herald Tribune " US government scientists say they have successfully tested in people a vaccine that they believe can protect against the strain of avian influenza that is spreading in birds through Asia and Russia..."
August 7 2005 ~ More "abuse of opposition" "When members of parliament arrive at work one day next year they will get a shock. Looming over their view up-river will be a stupendous 50-storey tower of luxury flats.....personally approved by the deputy prime minister, John Prescott, in defiance of all planning advice, local and national. He seems to have gone mad.... .... The tide is not motivated by some new vision of the city — it has none — but by a simple desire to make money wherever permitted. But its abuse of opposition is visceral....." Simon Jenkins
August 7 2005 ~ attempts are being made to restore traditional but "neglected" crops to third world farming.....he EU is being less than helpful..." See EUreferendum Blog (new page) on "yacon... a succulent root from Peru that was once eaten by farmers to quench their thirst.... scientists found the roots were high in a low-calorie sugar called oligofructose, which could be used in an energising drink, while the leaves contained a compound that lowered blood sugar and could be useful for diabetics..... Needless to say though, yacon cannot be sold in Europe..."
August 7 2005 ~ An article at recombinomics.com, suggesting that there may be considerably more human deaths in Sichuan than reported, and which questions the official line on the apparent Streptococcus suis outbreak, makes grim reading if it to be taken seriously.
August 7 2005 ~ Australian farmers are, in addition to the worry about FMD reported on the front page, highly concerned about Biosecurity Australia's handling of the pork import permit dispute currently before the Australian Federal Court involving post-weaning multi-systemic wasting disorder (PMWS) While the case is being argued in court, imports continue and one suspected cases of PMWS in Australia is still under investigation. (Read in full) Australia, not surprisingly, doesn't want to end up like Britain.
August 7 2005 ~ The Sunday Times seems intent on frightening everyone into fits over the spectre of Bird Flu....Britain prepares for bird flu death toll of thousands
August 7 2005 ~ Four years on, and the Sunday Times in Scotland chooses now to return to the issue of FMD "compensation" - rightly pointing out that a few farmers were given payments that "beggar belief". The paper does not ask why some farmers were being offered packages that simply beggared belief. Britain did indeed pay a high price - which is to say that the government paid out vast amounts to prevent widespread revolt at the scale of the killing ( at first, taking any who did argue to court - until the famous Grunty case (pdf) revealed the flaws in their arguments) - while ignoring those whose cooperation or lack of it didn't seem to matter.
August 6 2005 ~ America, bioterrorism County hears bioterror discussion"..... The presence of a foreign animal disease, under new state and federal regulations, would require - within the first 24 hours... to:
* Quarantine all infected animals.
* Prepare to stop the movement of all livestock in the county by blocking major thoroughfares.
* Set up cleaning and disinfecting station for vehicles, people and equipment.
* In a worst-case scenario, euthanize and dispose of infected animals.
.. terrorists....... Sutton said that foot and mouth disease... was readily available to them, very easy to transport and very effective..."
August 6 2005 ~ H5N1 Russia "Cases of bird flu have been reported in two districts in the east of Russia's Kurgan region ....All of the OIE reports cite migratory birds as the cause of the outbreaks in domestic birds. The outbreaks cover almost 1000 miles of the Russian Kazahkstan border. Butyrino is most western area reporting cases. It is about 200 miles west of Europe and about 800 miles northeast of the Caspian Sea..." Recombinomics.com
August 6 2005 ~ The ‘Next Oil Crisis’ is Water "If all the world’s water were poured into a liter-sized bottle of Evian, the quantity humans could drink would fill half a teaspoon. The rest of it is too brackish, too dirty, too hard to reach, or undrinkable seawater..."
August 6 2005 ~ Peak Oil "....It was Big Oil and chemical companies like Monsanto that laid waste our farmland and our seed stock. Monsanto and other large corporations have actually patented living things. It was Big Oil that took away the American people’s basic knowledge of farming and gave us unfarmable pavement..." a short article on FromtheWilderness.com about the FT's article "Big Oil warns of coming energy crunch"
August 5 2005 ~ TomDispatch is about "...the new era we've crept into, upside down and backwards (at $61 dollars to the barrel of crude oil), and what to make of it...... oil giant Chevron took out a two-page spread in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and other major papers to signal its awareness of the impending energy crunch. "One thing is clear," the advertisement announced, "the era of easy oil is over." See also peakoil pages (new window) , updated daily here for the past 17 months.
August 5 2005 ~ The inquiry in New Zealand over the FMD hoax ".. grinds into its fourth month.... .... there were claims at the time it may have been a Massey University capping prank, as it was posted the same day agricultural students graduated. .." A four month inquiry over a hoax... See www.stuff.co.nz
August 5 2005 ~ Flu vaccine for life 'being developed' ITN A vaccine that could offer flu protection for life is being developed by British scientists, a pharmaceutical company in Cambridge says.
August 5 2005 ~ Hurricane Ivan generated a wave more than 90 foot (27 metres) high - thought to be the tallest and most intense ever measured - scientists have revealed. It would have dwarfed a 10-storey building and had the power to snap a ship in half - but never reached land... BBC
August 4 2005 ~ wind turbines The Bulgarian Minister of Environment and Water has given the go-ahead for three wind-farm developments at Cape Kaliakra, a BirdLife-designated Important Bird Area (IBA) along Bulgaria’s Northern Black Sea Coast.
"More than 500,000 soaring birds—pelicans, cranes, buzzards eagles, and storks—will be at risk when they face a whirling wall of death. This is Europe’s second largest soaring bird migration route and these birds come from all over northern Europe; Bulgaria has an international obligation to protect them." —Dr Nikolai Petkov, Director of Conservation, BSPB/BirdLife Bulgaria www.birdlife.org
August 4 2005 ~ Do you live in Wales? Country Guardian says that a "referendum petition" on the spread of windfarms in Wales is being organised by Dan Munford. "... It will aim to convince the National Assembly that large numbers of people living here are bitterly opposed to it both in terms of the destruction of the landscape and the financial impact on electricity generation. There has been very little public consultation, if any, at local level and this will be an opportunity for people to show the strength of opinion that exists against the loss of our wild and beautiful countryside..." Details (new window)
August 4 2005 ~ WHO's page on streptococcus suis
August 4 2005 ~ Cloning "After Dolly the sheep comes Snuppy the puppy... Scientists have cloned an Afghan puppy called Snuppy from the skin cells of a three-year-old male hound...." Guardian
The Independent says, "Snuppy was born in April and was one of two cloned dog embryos to be delivered alive. The second, born in May, died of pneumonia just three weeks after birth. The scientists created 1,095 cloned embryos and implanted them into the wombs of 123 surrogates. Yet only three pregnancies were confirmed, one ending in a miscarriage. The low success rate - two puppies from 123 surrogate mothers - underlines the dangerous and haphazard nature of the cloning technique."
( It might also be descriibed as self-indulgent, wasteful, contemptuous and worthy of contempt.)
August 4 2005 ~ Suspected BSE case returns negative results (US) Meatingplace
August 4 2005 ~ Troops in Iraq Bring Resistant Bacteria Home The New York Times reports, "American troops wounded in Iraq and brought back to military hospitals in the United States have unexpectedly high rates of infection with a drug-resistant type of bacteria, doctors are finding..." (Acinetobacter)
August 3 2005 ~ "It is not in the long term interest of Wales to place all our bets on a single technology such as wind, particularly one that imposes such a big cost on our landscape" said AM Lisa Francis "Owain fought for this land - it's not a Tellytubbyland" See windfarms page
August 3 2005 ~ Crude oil prices have risen again and hit fresh highs above the $62-a-barrel level as markets anticipate US supply shortages. See PeakOil news latest
August 3 2005 ~ Organic farms are better for wildlife than those run conventionally, according to a study covering 180 farms. BBC
August 3 2005 ~ "Green Belt land is under greater threat than ever from Government housing and road plans, campaigners have warned...A MORI poll has found that 84 per cent of people want green belts to remain undisturbed but many have already been earmarked for development. CPRE's Head of Planning Henry Oliver said: "Today we're celebrating the 50th anniversary of Green Belts in England. ....Green Belts need to be resolutely defended from these threats, yet even professional planners, who should be their strongest defenders, sometimes scoff at Green Belt as too simple and too restrictive to be a proper planning tool. They and the Government need to listen to the vast majority of people.." ITN
August 3 2005 ~ Streptococcus suis is a name we may, unfortunately, become familiar with in the coming weeks. In Beijing, in one of the strongest measures yet taken to combat the streptococcus suis disease, authorities have impounded at least 4,000 tonnes of pork from areas affected by the outbreak. Reuters Alertnet
This pig disease has infected about 200 and killed over 30 people in China. A more analytical commentary on the questions and uncertainties surrounding this outbreak of disease can be seen on ProMed's latest posting which has commentary from no fewer than 5 of its moderators.
August 3 2005 ~ Has your MP got a web blog? If not, gentle encouragement might not be a bad plan. See how to do it here. It is the idea of an articulate, funnny and energetic blogger whose own site is very well worth visiting. He is pretty angry.
August 2 2005 ~ While Vietnam vaccinates 3 million birds in a Southern Privince, a mass killing of birds has been ordered for Siberia (" Health officials in western Siberia are to begin the slaughter of thousands of birds today after identifying Russia's first outbreak of a bird flu strain that can be fatal in humans..." Times)
According to the latest information seen on ProMed, Russia's outbreak "..has not yet been verified as H5N1 by the OIE/FAO or WHO reference laboratory. We must [suspend] judgment until verified."
Reuters Alertnet says, " ....The official said it had been confirmed on Friday that birds in the Novosibirsk region were infected with the H5N1 strain of bird flu, which is dangerous to humans, and not with H5N2, as had previously been believed."
August 1 2005 ~ In the last few days, news has broken of a pig disease epidemic in Hong Kong and mainland China which has infected around 200 people and killed over 30 people Reuters Alert.net says "Chinese scientists are analysing the bacteria and have so far decoded seven of its genes, which they say are no different from Streptococcus suis bacteria isolated in past outbreaks overseas. That suggests that the bug in Sichuan has not mutated. There is a constant fear among scientists that it could mutate and be passed among humans. Compounded with its deadliness, such a bug could unleash an epidemic.."
August 1 2005 ~ Daily pig disease updates are available at http://www.pighealth.com
This page of pighealth.com is the place for an overview of avian influenza.
August 1 2005 ~ Not our problem. Not our responsibility. Statement from Malcolm Wicks on July 21. ".... the UK Government believe that the private sector is best placed to decide exactly what energy infrastructure is needed and how, subject to planning and environmental requirements, to deliver policy objectives most effectively. It therefore falls to the developer to demonstrate the desirability of a particular scheme in a particular location..." Read in full
August 1 2005 ~ Wind Power WMN "... statistics from two of the main energy groups in Germany, RWE and E.ON, indicate that efficiency of the windfarms is much lower than expected. The unreliability of wind power, which cannot be created on demand, means that RWE windfarms are producing just 16 per cent of the power they should be creating... the amount of energy provided is much less per head of population than previously predicted. " windfarms page
August 1 2005 ~ "In autumn and spring, the migration of hundreds of thousands of birds is such a glorious sight that Qinghai Lake draws tourists from all over the world. But.... Bird Island could become a nexus for the H5N1 virus to mutate and spread across the globe, possibly becoming more virulent and developing into a deadly pandemic...." Guardian (For up to date information we recommend ProMed and for an overview, pighealth.com )
August 1 2005 ~ "....Memo to self, Tony adds. Did I see that Margaret Beckett had gone scooting over to Brussels, to reassure everybody that the CAP was safe with her? Not a glove would be laid on it, so she said, until 2014 at the earliest. If she does that again I'll puncture the tyres on her caravan and pack her off to Work and Pensions. That'll teach her..." The Telegraph's Christopher Fildes writes a Postcard from Tony in Chiantishire: what we need is creative diversity
July 31 2005 ~ "US Govt Sponsored Peak Oil Report Draws Disturbing Conclusions." See peak oil news pages The authors of the report, rather worryingly, pointed to a need to exclude public debate and environmental concerns from the process. They said this was needed "to speed up decision-making".
July 31 2005 ~ It looks likely that Russia does have H5N1 avian influenza for the first time H5N1 Bird Flu Migration to Russia Confirmed ".... the distribution of H5N1 leaves a trail of dead birds. This trail has moved from Qinghai Lake north to summer in southern Russia, and now the birds will begin migrating to Europe, India, eastern China, and southeast Asia. In many of these areas, H5N1 has become endemic, and the new migratory sequences will generate new recombinants, which will cause new problems."
July 31 2005 ~ "Public health officials preparing to battle what they view as an inevitable influenza pandemic say the world lacks the medical weapons to fight the disease effectively, and will not have them anytime soon." Washington Post
July 30 2005 ~ Three US astronomers have found a 10th planet, the largest object found in our Solar System since 1846. BBC A giant patch of frozen water has been photographed nestled with an unnamed impact crater on Mars. BBC
July 30 2005 ~ Pro-hunt campaigners have lost their second High Court challenge to laws outlawing hunting with dogs.
July 29 2005 ~ US BSE "Dr. John Clifford, head veterinarian for the United States Department of Agriculture...... : "In this case, we had some staining, but the staining did not match up with what they would typically see in a BSE case. It didn't have the normal distribution it would see within the samples." MeatingPlace.com
July 29 2005 ~ Freak tornado Twenty people were injured when it ripped through south Birmingham on Thursday PA
July 29 2005 ~ 50% drop in marine species The variety of species in the world's oceans has dropped by as much as 50 percent in the past 50 years, according to a paper published today in the journal Science. Washington Post
Vital marine species under threat Guardian
July 28 2005 ~ Conservative Animal Welfare Group. "The illegal Bush meat trade is a game of Russian roulette with the bullets being: Foot & Mouth disease, Swine fever, Avian flu, Ebola, Monkey Pox, SARS" says this press release from "CAWG". "...The trade is illegal, the risks to the UK both in human and animal terms are significant. This trade also adds to the destruction of endangered species in other parts of the world. Turning a blind eye to the Bush Meat trade is both dangerous and morally indefensible." See also Dirty Meat pages on warmwell.
July 28 2005 ~ Avian Influenza - vaccination: ProMed "....Viet Nam .... Reportedly, vaccinations will begin 1 Aug 2005 at commercial poultry operations and smaller household farms in northern Nam Dinh province and southern Tien Giang province in the Mekong Delta. - Mod.AS"
July 28 2005 ~ 9-5 job "Same over here," writes a farmer from Germany, referring to the email below, " the last one who made a suggestion ("What about doing B & B? It's such a wonderful place you live in..") I sent away and told him not to come back before he had managed to get himself a job with the mail delivery services. Once he had delivered all the letters and has managed to do his office job properly he is very welcome to come back with some more good ideas..."
July 28 2005 ~".....The very latest insult comes in the form of an extremely expensively produced magazine from the Rural Development Service entitled Options for Change Your Farm Your Business Your Future in which, under Livestock Farmers, comes the suggestion that everyone should get a 9 - 5 job as well. .." email about this, about DEFRA howlers and about waiting and waiting for a taxi if you do not look British...
July 28 2005 ~ US BSE The government is investigating another possible case of mad cow disease, the Agriculture Department said yesterday. Washington Post
July 28 2005 ~ The plans to build a £57m road and visitor centre at Stonehenge have been rejected by Salisbury district council ..." a move greeted by cries of triumph from local residents and of astonishment even from some opponents of the scheme" Guardian.
July 28 2005 ~ Sometimes emails arrive that seem to justify the apparently disparate nature of the issues on warmwell. They show that other readers join up the dots too. This email is such a one. And this one disagrees that a parallel can really be made...to which this restrained riposte, received at midday.
July 28 2005 ~ New Zealand. Following the FMD scare in May, reports TVNZ " there is some disquiet among farmers who believe they were left out of the loop during the feared outbreak. There is frustration too that farm leaders were given no advance warning of the scare, and that just months earlier there had been no farm involvement in an operation to test New Zealand's preparedness for foot and mouth....This year is the 60th anniversary of Federated Farmers and with an election looming, outgoing president Tom Lambie reminded those present that the federation "speaks with a credibility that cannot be matched by a politician or bureaucrat, no matter how well intentioned"."
July 28 2005 ~ "The oil giant's profits - equivalent to £1.3m an hour - were in line with the figures released by its rival BP earlier this week, which established a new record for a UK company..." peak oil news
July 28 2005 ~ Climate Change In a paper that has been described as "weep-silently-aplogize-to-your-children-and- throw-yourself-out-a-window depressing," Tim Dyson of the London School of Economics says "....Apropos carbon emissions and climate change, however, it is argued here that not only is major behavioral change unlikely in the foreseeable future, but it probably wouldn't make much difference even were it to occur. In all likelihood, events are now set to run their course...... it is worth considering the notion that the very interdependent complexity and high degree of specialization that characterize the world's most economically advanced countries could be a potential source of vulnerability for some of them..." (pdf in new window)
July 28 2005 ~ Tireless Bryn Wayt has responded to warmwell's wail of frustration yesterday at not being able to locate Defra's Hornbeam report on the part of the Defra website where it was said to be... Here is an account of his own finally successful attempt to track it down (but not on the DEFRA website).
July 27 2005 ~ FMD Directive One of the stakeholders who attended, at his own expense, a DEFRA meeting on Monday to discuss the transposition of the FMD EU Directive and the implications of control strategies on the Processing and Retail Industry was, at first, refused entry in spite of having confirmed attendance on two separate occasions. Questions were sent out for consideration by attendees after office hours on Friday for Monday morning's meeting (see also Front Page). The Chairman's area of expertise appears to centre on the Rural Payments Agency. Recent requests to DEFRA for minutes, notes or action points from these meetings have so far failed to produce results. If Defra meetings - at its own premises in Page Street - are poorly organised, what hope for an outbreak of FMD anywhere in the country?
July 27 2005 ~Georgina Downs, the campaigner who continues to receive emails and letters from people all over the country reporting clusters of various cancers, leukaemia, non-Hodgkins lymphoma, and neurological problems along with many other medical conditions, has applied for a Judicial Review in the High Court. It is currently "stayed" pending the outcome of a Royal Commission study. However, a report published in the US today will add fuel to her assertion that pesticide exposure constitutes an unacceptable health risk. See her press release today and our page on her unstoppable fight against the largely unregulated pesticide use in the UK.
July 26 2005 ~ DEFRA's website. Anyone looking for Defra's report on Operation Hornbeam on their somewhat labyrinthine website will eventually find on the page entitled DEFRA PUBLISHES REPORT ON EXERCISE HORNBEAM a hopeful looking link to the report on Operation Hornbeam. It leads to the index page for the Contingency Plan. So does the link for the Contingency Plan. One does rather wonder what would happen if DEFRA were reduced to asking for small donations to help keep their website online. Our own pages on Operation Hornbeam are a little easier to locate - but can anyone direct us to DEFRA's own report on its FMD simulation exercise? (They could!)
July 26 2005 ~ GM superweed has been found in the UK. Telegraph "The plant, which is resistant to some types of weed killer, is the result of GM oilseed rape cross-breeding with a common weed in farm scale trials." Friends of the Earth (FoE) said the finding, which comes less than a month after the UK tried to persuade other European countries to lift their own bans on growing GM oilseed rape, raises serious concerns about the impact of growing GM oilseed rape in Britain. GM page latest
July 26 2005 ~ Cepheid has announced that it has identified a software bug in one function of the diagnostic software utilized in conjunction with its SmartCycler® system. The company has notified its customers of a simple work-around that permits continued reliable use of the system. See press release
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