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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Apakah Ini Benar ?.....Kita Turut Rasa Tempiasannya .


Chinese colonel says latest bird flu virus is U.S. biological weapon
- BY Bill Gertz - April 9, 2013 - Associated Press
A Chinese Air Force officer on Saturday accused the U.S. government of creating the new strain of bird flu now afflicting parts of China as a biological warfare attack.People’s Liberation Army Sr. Col. Dai Xu said the United States released the H7N9 bird flu virus into China in an act of biological warfare, according to a posting on his blog on Saturday.The charge was first reported in the state-run Guangzhou newspaper Southern Metropolis Dailyand then picked up by several news outlets in Asia.State Department spokesman Jason Rebholz dismissed the claim. “There is absolutely no truth to these allegations,” he told the Washington Free Beacon.Seven deaths from the bird flu outbreak were reported as of Tuesday in state-run Chinese media. As many as 24 people reportedly were infected by the disease in Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, and Anhui.Chinese authorities are trying to calm public fears of a major epidemic, claiming there is no evidence the virus can be transmitted between humans.The government also is claiming that the outbreak is not related to the recent discovery of thousands of dead pigs floating in a river in China.The accusation of U.S. biological warfare against China comes as the Pentagon is seeking closer military relations with China. Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is set to travel to China for talks with Chinese military leaders later this month.
Dai is a military strategist who in the past has been outspoken in seeking to foment conflict between China and the United States. He told the Global Times in August that China should go to war over U.S. support for Japan’s claims to the disputed Senkaku Islands.
Writing on Sina Weibo, a Chinese microblogging site akin to Twitter, Dai stated that the new bird flu strain was designed as a biological weapon similar to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), which he also claimed was developed as a U.S. bio-weapon, that affected the country in 2003.
According to Dai’s posting, the new flu outbreak should not be a cause for concern. “The national leadership should not pay too much attention to it,” the PLA lecturer at the National Defense University wrote. “Or else, it’ll be like in 2003 with SARS!”“At that time, America was fighting in Iraq and feared that China would take advantage of the opportunity to take other actions,” he said. “This is why they used bio-psychological weapons against China. All of China fell into turmoil and that was exactly what the United States wanted. Now, the United States is using the same old trick. China should have learned its lesson and should calmly deal with the problem.”
Dai said that even if “a few may die” from the flu outbreak, it will not equal one-thousandth of the deaths caused by vehicle accidents in China.
Dai in the past has called for China to punish the United States for U.S. arms sales to rival Taiwan, by selling arms to U.S. enemies. “China recognizes that a few perfunctory protests will not have any effect,” Dai said in 2010. “China can’t directly sanction American arms companies since they did not do business with China … but China can sanction companies that are doing business with China directly, like Boeing or General Electric.”
Dai also has said the United States has used crises with North Korea and offers of cooperation on the issue as a plot to drive a wedge between Beijing and its fraternal communist ally.Dai also has said U.S. efforts to counter Chinese espionage and intelligence-gathering were part of a U.S. “plot theory” of “western countries threatening others by [releasing] information gained through spying in order to damage the reputations of other countries.”
A State Department official said China notified the World Health Organization (WHO) on March 31 about its first detected human cases of H7N9 infection. Fourteen cases were confirmed by the WHO by April 5, of which six were fatal. The organization said there is no evidence of human-to-human transmission.
“U.S. Embassy Beijing and U.S. Consulate Shanghai are monitoring the situation, working closely with counterparts at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, and the Beijing and Shanghai municipal governments,” the official said.
The colonel’s accusation provoked a widespread response on Chinese websites. One post in reaction joked that Dai’s comment about auto deaths must mean that the United States and Germany are responsible for a conspiracy to produce cars, according to a report in Hong Kong’sSouth China Morning Post.Luo Changping, deputy editor of Caijing, said most PLA soldiers would not support Dai’s comments and he urged the colonel to resign and apologize to those who have died from the current bird flu outbreak.
A defiant Dai then said in a new posting Sunday that “it is common knowledge that a group of people in China have been injected with mental toxin by the United States.”“Now, a group of fake American devils are attacking me,” he wrote in another post. “I will not retreat even half a step.”
Analysts say the colonel’s remarks are a reflection of the growing xenophobic atmosphere within the Chinese military that views the United States as its main enemy.
Former State Department intelligence analyst John Tkacik said China’s military was largely to blame for mishandling the 2003 outbreak of SARS. Tkacik said there was speculation when the epidemic began that “the PLA suspects SARS had emanated from its own biological laboratories and was all the more eager to keep it secret.” China is known to have a covert biological arms program.
“Col. Dai Xu is a shameless liar when he accuses the United States of using bio weapons,” Tkacik told the Free Beacon. “He’s probably motivated by a desire to exculpate the PLA for their mishandling of the epidemic—no doubt most Chinese have happily forgotten the episode—as much as by a cynical xenophobia. But, that’s what passes for deep strategic thought at China’s National Defense University these days.”
The Pentagon has been trying with varying success to develop closer ties to the Chinese military as part of a strategy aimed at building trust. However, China’s military leaders believe the U.S. offers of closer ties are a ruse designed to contain China’s growing military buildup.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel spoke by phone with China’s Defense Minister Gen. Chang Wanquan on April 2. Chang is the No. 4 defense official after Chinese President Xi Jinping and two other generals who run the Central Military Commission, the Communist Party’s ultimate power organ.
“The leaders both expressed their intention to work together to continue to build a military-to-military relationship that serves the vision of both President Obama and President Xi,” Pentagon press secretary George Little said in a statement after the call.“The secretary discussed the importance of focusing on areas of sustained dialogue, practical areas of cooperation, and risk reducing measures,” he said.U.S. ties with China are strained due to China’s reluctance to rein in neighboring North Korea.
China provides North Korea with large amounts of fuel oil and other goods. However, Beijing has not taken steps to pressure Pyongyang using its economic leverage during the ongoing crisis.
The flu has lit up China’s thriving Internet, according to analysts. Over 945,600 microblog postings addressed the flu between April 8 and 9. Since the outbreak began some seven days ago, between 1.3 million and 3 million postings were put online on outlets including Sina Weibo and QQ Weibo.
Tens of thousands of users expressed doubts about the official Shanghai municipal government’s denial of any link between the dead pigs found floating last month in the region’s Huangpu River.The proximity to the initial outbreak in Shanghai and the river has led to speculation that the pig deaths may have been linked to the flu virus jumping from animals to humans.That speculation was fueled by reports that one of the victims of the flu was a pig butcher.The avian flu strain is similar to an earlier outbreak with a significant difference: The current strain does not kill the birds it infects, making it more difficult to identify infected poultry.
The Shanghai government waited 20 days before announcing the first H7N9 infection on March 31.
Apakah benar H7N9 ini peperangan saraf....dua kuasa dunia ?....
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Urgent action needed against Penang swiftlet farming



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Wednesday, 23 June 2010 19:41

Rebecca Duckett highlights the risks posed by swiftlet farming in the George Town world heritage site in a letter to the Penang Chief Minister.

As a resident of George Town and as a council member of the Penang Heritage Trust, I want to bring to your attention yet again, the problem of swiftlet farming in our urban areas. The National Guidelines For Swiftlet Breeding are to be presented to Cabinet very soon and there has been no public discussion whatsoever with stakeholders, residents or NGOs. This lack of transparency has to be addressed before any Guidelines for Swiftlet breeding can be passed.

According to the June 2005 newsletter of the Malaysian Swiftlet Farmers Association, over 10% of houses - 400 houses- in George Town have been converted into swiftlet farms. The latest casual count estimates that these numbers could be closer to 20% of houses in George Town.

We do not oppose swiftlet farming in general; it is a very lucrative business which brings in approximately RM 1.5 billion per year. However, the damage urban swiftlet farming in George Town is doing to our "intangible heritage", by moving people out of buildings in order to open swiftlet farms, and to our "tangible heritage" by destroying the original features of the “exceptional range of shophouses and townhouses” that gave us our WHS listing in the first place is too great to be ignored.

Swiftlet farming encourages swiftlets to nest in a particular house, in order to harvest the nests that they build there. These nests are then sold on at an extremely lucrative price, to be used as the main ingredient in birds nest soup. We are not opposing the practice of swiftlet farming in general but we want it relocated from George Town into less populated, agricultural areas, for the following reasons:

1) Health concerns, including but not limited to:

- Cryptococcus
Dried bird droppings and bird’s nests have been known to harbour the yeast spore Cryptococcus, which ideally forms colonies at 20 - 37°C (perfect for Georgetown) and which is responsible for infections in human beings. Inhalation of Cryptococcus spores cause lung infections, cryptococcal meningitis and pneumonia in healthy children and adults, and is particularly dangerous to anyone who is immuno-compromised.
King, Dr. John W. and DeWitt, Meredith L., “Cryptococcosis,” http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/215354-overview, October 30th, 2009

- Avian Flu
Avian flu, or H5N1, is a rare but severe disease that can be fatal. The last person diagnosed with avian flu was in Vietnam on 16th March of this year. According to the WHO (World Health Organization), “all birds are thought to be susceptible to infection with avian influenza viruses”. It is possible that the avian flu virus could be introduced to swiftlets in George Town from migratory waterfowl, which scientists believe are “now carrying the H5N1 virus in its highly pathogenic form, sometimes over long distances.”

The WHO states: “Japan, the Republic of Korea, and Malaysia have controlled their outbreaks and are now considered free of the disease. Elsewhere in Asia, the virus has become endemic in several of the initially affected countries.” However, there is no reason to suggest that swiftlets coming into contact with infected migratory birds from other parts of Asia will not contract H5N1. Living in such close proximity to one another, contaminated swiftlets would quickly transfer the disease between themselves, increasing the chances for human infection either via direct contact with contaminated birds or contaminated feces, the two most common sources of infection. World Health Organisation, “Avian influenza “bird flu”,” http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/avian_influenza/en/#countries, February 2006

- Dengue Fever

Pools of water created by swiftlet farmers to ensure an ideal humidity and temperature for the birds also create perfect breeding grounds for mosquitos, including Aedes Mosquitos, which carry Dengue Fever. Outbreaks in George Town on specific streets have recently been very common.

2) The danger swiftlet farming poses to George Town’s Unesco status:

- The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) seeks to encourage the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity. George Town’s World Heritage Site status is not just a label that will increase tourism, but a treaty signed to conserve the unique “intangible heritage” of George Town.

However, homes that are converted into birdhouses suffer irreparable damage, as original windows, doors, plasterwork and features are removed, and sprinkler systems are set up to keep the house humid. This not only causes water damage, damp and rot to that house, but also to adjacent properties, thereby threatening the “unique architectural and cultural townscape without parallel anywhere in East and Southeast Asia...in particular [the] exceptional range of shophouses and townhouses” which gave George Town WHS status in the first place.

Puan Maimunah, as Acting General Manager to the George Town World Heritage Office, has stated that: “personally, the swiftlet industry poses a conflict to the World Heritage Site listing, and possibly needs to be relocated”. If action is not taken against urban swiftlet farming, and George Town “loses the characteristics which determined its inscription on the World Heritage List” it may be placed on the List of World Heritage in Danger or have its status as a World Heritage Site revoked. The Site listing undoubtedly brings more tourism and therefore more money to our city. The loss of our architecture and/or listing would negatively impact on tourism and harm the economy of George Town.

3) Noise pollution:

- The sound systems used to attract swiftlets by playing amplified birdsong continuously constitutes noise pollution, which is a nuisance for residents of and visitors to George Town. However, in recent months, the main source of noise pollution is the birds themselves because numbers have soared and are now out of control. The sky above residences in George Town are full of birds emitting piercing sounds especially in the early hours of morning, late afternoon and evening.

Responsibility of the Penang state government and its departments:

The Penang State Government controls the future of George Town. The decisions made now have long term consequences. In order to address these consequences, we urgently request that the State Government of Penang keeps to and enforces, the terms of the extended moratorium on Swiftlet breeding in George Town, that states that operators cannot start any new swiftlet farms in George Town. The moratorium was set up to halt the proliferation of swiftlet houses in George Town, not as a open bill for them to proliferate freely. The breeders are openly setting up new farms all over George Town. By condoning and allowing this to happen the State Government and MPPP accepts that it is responsible for any negative impact on public health and environment.

We request that the State Government creates a heft annual tax to be paid by each individual urban swiftlet farm until they have moved from the urban areas of George Town on or before the deadline set by the State Government. This tax creates a fund which can then be used when an outbreak of Avian Flu H5N1, Crytococcus or other disease relating to birds, breaks out enabling the State Government to act on any emergency measures needed for this outbreak or environmental disaster cleanup. For the swiftlet farmers, this tax payment will mark their dedication to the maintenance of their farms health and safety measures and further reinforces their responsibility and belief that swiftlet farming in urban areas amongst a dense human population, poses no dangers to humans. Non payment of this tax allows the State Government to forcibly close down the swiftlet farm.

We also insist that in addition, the State Government as a whole, with the Heads of the Veterinary Department and Public Health, be made personally responsible for any environmental and health and safety issues that will arise from the spiralling increase in the population of swiftlets over George Town and the environmental disaster that will take place within the next few years, if swiftlet farms are not removed immediately from our urban areas. The State Government and the Heads of the Veterinary Department and Public Health will also be personally responsible to pay any compensation required in events of death from any bird related disease, outbreak of disease, as well as the loss of investment made by stakeholders who have put huge investments into the belief that George Town will benefit from its Unesco World Heritage Status and is currently being marketed as a tourist destination and world class heritage site by the Penang State Government. Loss of investment should also include, but not be limited to, being forced to move from buildings because of an individuals fear to his/her own personal health and safety.

Laws are being enforced by the State Government on developers, on residents, on landlords that are trying to revitalise George Town as a residential, cultural, heritage and tourist hub, yet swiftlet farms are being allowed to proliferate freely, beyond the realms of law. The State Government must act with a balanced hand.

I would request your immediate assistance in lobbying the Malaysian Government to sign into law, guidelines explicitly prohibiting swiftlet farming in George Town and urban areas, and to act on bringing current owners of swiftlet farms in urban areas to justice. The health and safety of the rakyat and Malaysia's precious environment should be foremost in any Government initiative. Moving swiftlet farming out of George Town and urban areas is in keeping with the State Government of Penang's initiative for a "Cleaner, Greener, Penang" and must be viewed with long term benefit to all the rakyat, all cultures, all tangible and intangible heritage in George Town and our urban areas.

Rebecca Duckett is a council member of the Penang Heritage Trust

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