By: EMMA INNES
A new and potentially deadly form of bird flu has claimed its first confirmed victim.
Tests revealed that a previously unknown sub-strain of the H10N8 virus killed a woman who was admitted to hospital in China with fever and pneumonia.
The woman, from Nanchang City in Jiangxi province, died nine days after becoming ill despite antibiotic and antiviral treatment.
Experts believe the strain spread from poultry and may pose the threat of a pandemic.
The dead woman had visited a live poultry market a few days prior to her illness, suggesting an incubation time of around four days - similar to that of other bird flu strains.
Reports suggest the victim was not an isolated case. At least one other person is believed to have been infected by the same strain in Jiangxi Province.
Dr Yuelong Shu, from the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in Beijing, said: ‘A genetic analysis of the H10N8 virus shows a virus that is distinct from previously reported H10N8 viruses, having evolved some genetic characteristics that may allow it to replicate efficiently in humans.’
The strain is thought to have emerged from multiple re-assortments of genes from different bird flu viruses.
Notably, it shares genes with three other bird flu strains, H9N2, H7N9 and H5N1, the last two of which have spread to humans.
Scientists conducted tests on swab samples taken from the woman victim's windpipe.
Their results, reporting the first human death associated with H10N8, appear in The Lancet medical journal.
Co-investigator Dr Qi Jin, from the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College in Beijing, said: ‘Importantly, the virus had a mutation in the PB2 gene that is believed to be associated with increased virulence and adaption in mammals, and could enable the virus to become more infectious to people.’
The H10N8 strain was previously found in a water sample taken from Dongting Lake in Hunan Province in 2007.
In 2012, it was detected at a live poultry market in Guangdong Province.
Co-author Dr Mingbin Liu, from Nanchang City Centre for Disease Control and Prevention warned that the threat should not be taken lightly.
‘A second case of H10N8 was identified in Jiangxi Province, China on January 26, 2014,’ said Dr Liu.
‘This is of great concern because it reveals that the H10N8 virus has continued to circulate and may cause more human infections in future.’
Dr John McCauley, director of the World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre for Influenza at the Medical Research Council National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) in London, said: ‘This case reminds us to be aware of human infections from animal influenza viruses.
‘Previously we did not think that H7N9 infections might be so lethal.
‘More human infections by avian H10N8 viruses cannot be ruled out. H10N8 viruses are of low pathogenicity in poultry and so infection in birds is not easy to detect. Whether humans are frequently exposed and infected is also not known. ‘
He added that the underlying condition of the dead woman was likely to have worsened her infection.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2551679/New-bird-flu-claims-human-victim-prompting-fears-pandemic.html#ixzz2sWEE9C2i
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By: Jessica Moskowitz
'Knockout Game' Hurts Random Victims
It's a dangerous game, now reported in at least six states, and it could happen to anyone walking down the street.
One minute you're minding your own business, the next a complete stranger deliberately knocks you to the ground.
Across the country, police are struggling to tally the full impact of this deadly game. CNN's Pamela Brown reports.
By: Fox News
A recent string of attacks tied to a dangerous game called “Knockout” -- where unsuspecting residents are targeted and sucker-punched – is being investigated as possible hate crimes.
New York police are looking into the growing trend, WPIX reports, after attacks in predominately Jewish neighborhoods in Brooklyn.
The most recent attack was caught on video last week in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, where a group of ten men spotted a man walking alone, punched him and kept moving, according to the station.
But New York is not the only place to see the “Knockout Game” being played out.
In Washington, D.C., Tamera Jackson, 27, told WJLA that a group of teens on bicycles came up behind her last week as she walked home and one of them punched her in the back of the head before the group sped away, laughing.
“For the fun of it.”- Teen, speaking of 'Knockout Game'
According to Fox 31 Denver, similar attacks have occurred in St. Louis and Pittsburgh, where a teacher was knocked out by a 15-year-old as he walked home from school last month. The attack was caught on a security camera video, and the teen was charged with assault.
And in New Jersey, CBS 2 reports, video footage shows Ralph Santiago, 46, randomly targeted for knockout by a group of teens. Santiago was later found dead with his neck broken and head lodged between iron fence posts, according to NJ.com.
Video shows Santiago walking during daytime in an alley, and just as he’s about to pass a pack of teenagers, one launches the fatal, knockout blow.
And what’s the point?
“For the fun of it,” one teen said in the video.
In September, a 13-year-old boy was sentenced to 18 months of confinement for the beating death of a 51-year-old man in upstate New York.
The teen had pleaded guilty to assault and attempted assault, admitting that he started the fatal beating by attempting to knock the man out with a single punch.
The teen said he and his friends were playing a street game called "knockout." His punch apparently had little to no effect, but the follow-up from a 16-year-old boy caused bleeding in the victim's brain, and he died in late May.
The 16-year-old co-defendant was found guilty last month in Onondaga County Family Court of second-degree manslaughter and received the same sentence.
Washington — For the second time this year, a public opinion poll has indicated that a majority of Americans favor the legalization of marijuana.
Fifty-eight percent replied yes when asked if they thought the use of marijuana should be made legal -- compared to 50 percent two years ago and just 12 percent in 1969, the Gallup polling institute said Tuesday.
Thirty-nine percent said no, and three percent held no opinion.
Support for legalization was predictably stronger among Americans aged 18 through 49, and among Democrats and those who described themselves as independents on the political spectrum, Gallup said.
Its findings mirrored a Pew Research Center poll, released in April, in which 52 percent of Americans said the use of marijuana should be made legal, a rise of 11 percentage points since 2010.
Gallup's findings follow the legalization of marijuana in the western states of Colorado and Washington -- even though possession remains a crime under federal statutes which rank marijuana on a par with heroin.
Other factors behind the trend, Gallup said, include the growing medicinal use of marijuana and a pledge from President Barack Obama's administration not to challenge the sale of marijuana in states that have made it legal.
"Whatever the reasons for Americans' greater acceptance of marijuana, it is likely that this momentum will spur further legalization efforts across the United States," Gallup said.
Supporters of legalization cheered the results, which Gallup said were based on a random sample of 1,028 adults interviewed by telephone on October 3-6, giving a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points.
"The news of such widespread support for ending marijuana prohibition bodes well for efforts under way to change state laws around the nation," said Rob Kampia of the Marijuana Policy Project, an advocacy group.
"Now, it's time for Congress (in Washington) to act on this clear public mandate by taking action to end the failed experiment of federal marijuana prohibition," added Aaron Smith of the National Cannabis Industry Association.
But Carla Lowe of the California-based Citizens Against Legalizing Marijuana, quoted by NBC News, said she was concerned that poll respondents who favor legalization "are really not aware or knowledgeable about the marijuana that?s out there today."
By Lauren Hockenson, Giga Om
Facebook on Thursday announced the final phase of removing an old privacy feature from the social media platform. The feature, which allows users to be hidden from search, will finally be taken away for users who have it enabled.
The feature, called "Who can look up your Timeline by name?" was removed from Privacy settings last year (noted in a December blog post) for those who didn't have it enabled. When enabled, the setting removes the ability for users to access a Timeline profile via search, even when a user puts in the exact name of the person he or she is locating. Now, users that still have that feature enabled will begin to see removal notices from Facebook, indicating that they will be present and visible in Graph Search along with the rest of the Facebook user base.
Facebook says in the blog post that the feature is a vestigial precaution that reaches back before the platform had a sophisticated search algorithm. When Facebook search acted as a mere directory, removing oneself from search made it more difficult for strangers to access a given profile. But now, as Open Graph opens up to search more settings and there is greater visibility of Timelines for friends of friends, the importance of finding a person through search has diminished while controlling the content on any given Timeline has become more important. Facebook says that the feature also caused hiccups in the user experience:
"People told us that they found it confusing when they tried looking for someone who they knew personally and couldn't find them in search results, or when two people were in a Facebook Group and then couldn't find each other through search."Of course, the sunsetting of this feature for those who care about it the most only stresses the importance of checking and updating Facebook privacy settings often. Now, it's more important to consider the content of the Timeline itself: a "private Timeline" is only such when content is marked explicitly "Friends Only." As Facebook continues to make search easier, it's important to keep in mind how these changes impact social media privacy at large.
By Susan Davis, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON — Congressional Republicans failed to move forward Tuesday with a piecemeal approach to fund popular parts of the federal government to lessen the impact of the first government shutdown in 17 years.
House and Senate Republicans had offered short-term funding plans to keep open national parks, the Department of Veterans' Affairs, and other government services in the nation's capital. House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers, R-Ky. said the piecemeal approach would "continue to move the ball down the field" towards finding an agreement to resume full government funding.
But the GOP efforts failed to win the necessary support in the House to advance to the Senate. The votes fell well short of the two-thirds threshold needed to suspend House rules.
The Senate had already warned that the plan would meet fate there as every previous attempt by the House to amend the stopgap funding bill. In that chamber, Democrats maintain the only way to end the shutdown is for the House to allow a vote on a stopgap measure to fund the government through mid-November that does not include legislation affecting President Obama's health care law.
Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., said she did not support funding the government in "bits and pieces."
"We're the entire United States of America. You keep the whole government going, that's what you're supposed to do," she said. "All they have to do in the House is let the House vote on the Senate (bill) and let the House work it's will."
The White House agreed. "These piecemeal efforts are not serious, and they are no way to run a government. If House Republicans are legitimately concerned about the impacts of a shutdown — which extend across government from our small businesses to women, children and seniors — they should do their job and pass a clean CR to reopen the government," said Amy Brundage, a White House spokeswoman.
Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said Democrats were not against debating some of the proposals that Republicans offered in the weeks leading up to the shutdown on the Affordable Care Act. He cited as an example a proposal to repeal a 2.3% tax on medical devices enacted to help pay for the law. However, Durbin said Democrats would not negotiate on the stopgap spending bill, or on a pending vote to increase the debt ceiling, the nation's borrowing limit.
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"After the CR and the debt ceiling, I have been open to that," Durbin said, "Doing this with a gun to your head, as we've said over and over again, is not the appropriate way to bargain."
House Republicans huddled in private earlier Tuesday, and lawmakers showed no signs of losing cohesion on the first day of the shutdown. Republicans are bullish about the politics of a shutdown and they have reason to be, said David Wasserman, an analyst for the non-partisan Cook Political Report.
"Democrats have always believed a shutdown would finally make voters pay attention to how 'extreme' House Republicans are. So far there's not a ton of evidence that the game has changed," Wasserman said.