“We haven’t disclosed information in a timely manner and also did not use effective information to improve our work.”
– Filmed wearing an antiviral mask, presumably to show the citizenry how it’s correctly done rather than by reason of self-preservation, Zhou Xianwang, mayor of Wuhan, epicentre of the “fish ‘flu” coronavirus outbreak, was speaking to Chinese state TV. No doubt it will be taken at the trial as his confession.
But it’s your Uncle Bogler who should be feeling guilty….
Made in China
Reasoning that university towns in the UK such as Boglington-on-Sea are a hotbed of Chinese intellectual activity, with the Chinese authorities still owning up to only 50 cases early last week, nevertheless having a suspicious and paranoid nature, thinking there might be a run on them shortly, he rowed rapidly right up the Amazon and ordered a ‘flu mask.
Later, though, he read of a shortage of masks in China, where 50 million people are effectively quarantined in their teeming metropolises while elderly patients, mostly with pre-existing conditions – Chinese cities have some of the worst air quality in the world, and everyone smokes – drop off the perch like frozen iguanas.
Duly this morning his mask arrived, prominently labeled “Made in China”.
Nevertheless, at the age of 70, with lungs ruined by the childhood years of smoking and, currently, having spent eight years living beside a thundering main road, sucking in asbestos dust and 2.5 micron particles and nitrogen oxide gas from the huge diesel trucks as they brake into the bend, he feels perfectly justified in robbing a Chinese person of the chance at an extended life.
Said Bogler: “I ain’t never ‘ad fish ‘flu before, and I doesn’t intend to start now. There’s more of them Chinese than what there is of me.”
He has also invested in gallons of antiseptic hand-gel, and trudged round to the GP for a ‘flu shot this morning, only to be asked: “Are you over 65?”
Thinking that must be a qualification, I proudly announced, because I don’t look it, that I am in fact over 70, hoping for the usual amazed reaction. “Well we’re very sorry”, said the cocky receptionist, after double-checking with an invisible “my GP”, “but you can’t have one. We’ve run out of the Over 65s vaccine and we won’t be getting any more. You should have come in last September.”
Turns out there are different shots for each of the 7 ages of Man. Who knew?
Not bothering to mention that the major ‘flu epidemics had broken out only in late December, as it would have come as news obviously to a doctor’s receptionist, I surmised that the age-related cutoff must have something to do with how many, and which viruses you would have been historically exposed to.
“I see”, I replied, waspishly. “So the Tories want to get rid of all the pensioners?” The receptionist was obviously pleased at the remark, as he didn’t reply, but his secret smile told me all I wanted to know about euthanasia. “Never mind,” said I, “I’ve had a good life. Enjoy yours.”
And trudged off home.
Actually, it’s my ex-wife I’m more worried about. A sinophile, she works for a cultural exchange quango with loads of Chinese students in schools and universities around the region and tells me, half of them have recently escaped from Wuhan where, they’ve been telling her, the situation is a lot worse than is being reported.
It might not help either that 3 million people had already left the stricken city for their New Year trek to visit family before Mayor Zhou ordered a lockdown last week.
Le Keqiang, China’s prime minister, visited Wuhan at the weekend, telling local media:
“I’m here to cheer you up!”
He could, I suppose, have cheerfully mentioned the current outbreak of Ebola in Congo, where, as of WHO figures from 19 Jan., out of a total caseload of 3,416 known and probable patients, 2,238 have died, a 68% mortality rate compared with the unknown, as yet unmutated Wuhan virus’ toll of 81 – just 3% of those infected.
Worse, you could catch measles. Over 6 thousand cases in Congo have died, many children, in what’s being described as the world’s worst measles outbreak – entirely the responsibility of lunatic American conspiracy theorists and local witch doctors lying about vaccines. No-one seems unduly exercised, either, about the 2019-20 winter ‘flu season in the USA, where probably thanks to the early onset of wintry conditions there have been 15 MILLION cases, leading to 6,600 deaths.
World markets have been spiralizing since news of the China syndrome has been emerging. The powerhouse economy had only last week announced that its surging GDP growth had dropped catastrophically to “only” 6%.
Not good for business.
Authorities in Wuhan have been proudly releasing video footage of their brand-new hospital for coronavirus patients, under construction. One building is said to be open for business already… three days after they started it last week. A schedule of just 6 days has been allocated for the entire 1,000-bed project, starting from scratch.
Well, not quite scratch – the site had already been cleared, purposed for a new leisure center; and eagle-eyed Twitterers have been pointing out that the official photo of the first new building unveiled on the site seems to have been published before, as another building somewhere else.
Nevertheless, even if construction were to go a day over schedule, it’s still a 1,000-bed hospital, built in a week; as was one in Beijing at the height of the SARS virus epidemic. Drone video shows a site crawling impressively with men and machines, all resembling busy ants.
By contrast, the usual British apathy and dithering when it comes to “abroad” are well to the fore. Around 300 Britons, many long-time residents, are trapped in Hubei province, where the advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth office is to stay put – or leave. One or the other. Oh, and to phone an acupuncturist if you think you might have the disease.
Home secretary, Priti Patel, said on Sunday the government was “looking at all the options”. Other countries have been arranging evacuation flights for their nationals. Get them the fuck away. That seems to be the option.
The UK’s hot new “high-speed” railway, running 110 miles over flat terrain from London to Birmingham and then someday possibly northward on to Manchester and Leeds, where it’s a bit more of a strategic necessity, was begun in 2009, when the cost estimate was £35 billion. It’s now £106 billion.
Ten years. And still not an inch of track has been laid.
“Forty new hospitals”? In your lifetime, Baris.
Harry while stocks last
i have a friend called Harry. I just emailed him about an hour ago. Hi Harry, I wrote. Already, I have an ad at the top of my Google mail inbox, for a company calling itself “Harry’s Razors’.
With idiots like these, masquerading as algorithms, what do we have to fear from the future?
Prince Andrew has provided “zero” cooperation with the Jeffrey Epstein sex trafficking inquiry, US prosecutors said on Monday, despite earlier promises to help investigations in any way possible.
Could we perhaps arrange a swap with Anne Sacoolas, the American service wife wanted for further questioning over the death in the UK of teenage motorcyclist, Harry Dunn, by dangerous driving? She too is being extremely unco-operative, for an ex-CIA agent.
Republican senators involved in the impeachment trial of one Donald John Trump were startled yesterday, 26 Jan., to receive a message threatening them – possibly metaphorically – that if they did not vote to acquit him, they would find their ‘heads will be on a pike’.
The senators, who as members of the jury have sworn an oath of impartiality, were not in any case expected to break ranks with the White House, whose legal team are just in the process of mounting their defense, basically consisting of the argument that “he did it, so what?”, while claiming at the same time that he didn’t do it, whatever it was. The transcript of the 25 July phone call to President Zelinskiy was indeed “perfect”, as Trump has said – frequently.
In other words, he didn’t commit a crime, nor did he abuse his power to cover up the crime he didn’t commit. Except that 17 credible witnesses have already testified in earlier hearings that he did – as the madman himself has already confirmed, and boasted at Davos that the reason he won’t be found guilty is because of the success of the White House at witholding the evidence that he did it, in face of many legal Congressional subpoenas to release the proof.
Of course, there is no “transcript” of the call available for anyone to judge, only a redacted summary. The full and unbowdlerized original is still locked in a Top Secret intelligence file, from where only history will prise it loose. But we know, because Colonel Vindman overheard the call and has testified to what the transcript should actually have said. You know, the Purple Heart-decorated marine whose courage, loyalty and reputation have been so viciously traduced by filthy, inept senatorial co-conspirators involved up to their hairweaves in Mr Trump’s criminal enterprise to obstruct justice at all costs, that he is under police guard.
The astonishing thing being that Trump’s crimes, and those of his lawyer, Giuliani, their corrupt conspiracy to coerce the Ukrainian government into helping him fix the 2020 election, are out in the open for all to see; along with their denials. Gaslighting is the modern way: you didn’t see what you saw, you need help. Yet it’s the corruption formerly endemic in Ukraine that has apparently set Trump on the path to virtue. He illegally witheld the aid to fight the bad corruption, see?
If it had been the case that it was a policy matter, why did he not explain at the time, seek Congressional approval? Why did he continue to lie until his lawyers thought up the excuse? And why has he continued his obvious efforts with Giuliani to manufacture alibi evidence after the accusations were made?
We recall, don’t we, the early exhortations from Miller and others, Conway, Fuckabee Sanders, that we should not believe anything we are told, unless it is Trump himself telling us – because the president is the fount of truth and his enormous power is all the law you need.
It’s all, basically, down the rabbit-hole.
ABC News was unable to confirm who had sent the threat to the jurors (it sounds like a Stephen Miller special) or what medium was used to convey it. But I think we can add this to the list of Trump’s crimes. Intimidating jurors, witness tampering, witness intimidation, lying to Congress and withholding evidence are normally considered to be serious offences. It’s no excuse to say, oh, well, he’s the president, it’s just his way, he’s inexperienced, he’ll learn.
This is a 73-year-old man who has been committing crimes and despicable moral outrages, bullying and gaslighting and lying and bribing and blackmailing; buying his way out of and back into trouble for so long, he can’t remember how to do it any other way. Ever since he robbed his first cookie jar, he’s been a Little Caesar, spoiled rotten by disinterested parents who loathed him for the lying, self-justifying, junkfood-guzzling playground bully he still is, and just paid him off.
He’s never going to change. Indeed, the power-shower of the flawed democracy he affects to despise has made him ten times worse.
Welcome to your new fascist state, guys. If it stops raining long enough you can grow bananas.
The BBC has apologized for running a clip of basketball star, LeBron James, on its 10 o’clock News show, 26 Jan. It was the even bigger basketball star, Kobe Bryant they were hoping to commemorate, following his death at 41 and that of his 13-year-old daughter Gianna in a helicopter crash in southern California.
Perhaps they thought no-one would notice. Hey, all these freakishly tall guys casually spinning balls on their index fingers and dropping them from a great height into nets look pretty much the same. And basketball? Who cares about girly old basketball when Our Lads are out there, winning a Test series?
It’s far from the first time BBC News has got the wrong black guy. Nelson who? You’d think they would by now have appointed a special black-guys editor just to make sure this never happens, or at least employed face recognition technology, like the Metropolitan police, although apparently they have trouble too.
Critics perhaps ought to be more aware, though, that the more money you cut from the BBC’s public funding, the more social costs you impose on them. Like on top of taking World Service radio back from the Foreign Office, having now to pay for the law that says drooling, grasping Over 75s get a free annual license, just as the Over 75s are threatening to become the largest demographic in Britain, the worse their service is going to get.
Word is that key BBC news shows and current affairs segments are already under threat from Vanishing Johnson’s plan to decriminalize non-payment of the license (it’s about £3, $5 a week). Even, it’s said, the flagship Today program. (If I thought that would be replaced with anything better, I’d say ‘bring it on’…) Threatening the loss of the Corporation’s most popular and influential programs might just be a bluff to defang the bloodied teeth of far-right Tory vengeance, but if politicians are refusing to appear in case anyone asks them a question, there seems little point in carrying on broadcasting
Certainly though, more staff cuts and cost-saving recruitment policies with lower training and experience standards are self-defeating and can only result in more execrable mistakes. It’s a vicious cycle that’s going to destroy the Corporation.
Just as Carrie has been lobbying on the inside track to save the badgers, someone needs to whisper in the Golden Wonder’s ear that Murdoch is no longer all he’s cracked up to be. Voters value the widest range of services from our national broadcaster, as long as it remains viable – and credible. Interviewing your political opponents is a tradition, not a heresy.
To quote Joni Mitchell: “You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.”
Return of the exiles
“…The unveiling of Trump’s plan (his “Deal of the Century!) presents a dead end for Abbas …. The archipelago of Palestinian enclaves proposed by Trump — subordinate to Israeli security concerns and more akin to the “bantustans” of apartheid-era South Africa — is emphatically not that. … Netanyahu’s government plans to vote on annexation of some 30 percent of the West Bank as early as this weekend.” – The Washington Post
The full majesty of the UK arm of the Israeli government-sponsored “outrage” machine has wheeled itself out to condemn BBC journalist Orla Guerin for introducing an element of balance, normally the Holy Grail of BBC reporting, into a piece on Holocaust Memorial Day.
Levelling the tiresome old smear of “antisemitism” that generally accompanies any attempt to reference the immiserating treatment of Israel’s illegitimately dispossessed Palestinian minority, slinging stinking mud in the face of whatever remains of the world’s horror at what went before, the prominent liberal Jewish members of the British establishment have exploded into collective outrage at Guerin’s closing remark:
“The state of Israel is now a regional power. For decades, it has occupied Palestinian territories. But some here will always see their nation through the prism of persecution and survival.”
What, they don’t occupy Palestinian territories? Some people there don’t see themselves as favored survivors? It seems like a pretty mild wrap-up to me; maybe the ‘but’ word is a little tendentious, but hey. Reporters are human.
It might be remembered that Guerin is Irish, which would give her a certain historical perspective on high-minded, moralistic colonialism; on persecution and survival. She has her own tragedies: her equally courageous journalist sister was murdered by powerful drug lords linked to the IRA. She has bravely reported for many years from places in the world where soft-handed metropolitans like Michael Grade and ‘former director of television, Danny Cohen’ would crumple, gibbering and pissing themselves in terror.
Her colleague, Fergal Keane, a brilliant, brave and empathetic communicator whom nobody would accuse of being a soft-handed metropolitan, the BBC’s Africa editor, although he too has seen service all over the world, has just thrown up his hands in despair: no more war, he needs space to recover from the horrors of stories like the Rwanda genocide. Guerin hasn’t, yet; she’s been out in the Middle East and other killing fields for years, telling it like it is. Who would blame her if she hung up her flak jacket after this thankless, thoughtless assault on her professional reputation?
Do the Grades and the Cohens murmuring politely among themselves at their fucking agreeable Knightsbridge cocktail parties think she’s just a tool of the far-right?
Shame on them.
Commenting on the incidence of PTSD among war correspondents, another brave man, Middle East editor, Jeremy Bowen retold on Today this morning how he watched a colleague burn to death when soldiers deliberately fired a rocket into a car he himself had got out of only moments earlier, and then shot at him with a heavy machine-gun when he tried to go back to help. Yes, Mr Grade, Mr Cohen, Israeli soldiers. They can murder innocent people too. They daily commit war crimes along the laughably named Peace Wall, while in the rear, the PR machine churns out the nauseating excuses.
And before anyone accuses me of antisemitism, a) I don’t care, you can think what you like, and b) I’m not going to stop arguing that truth should always come before denial. If it’s a bad thing to deny the reality of the Holocaust, which Guerin most definitely did not do, then it’s an equally bad thing to deny the reality of the history of Israel’s oppression of the indigenous people of the country they took through forcible colonization and – yes, by terrorism and ethnic cleansing – in and after 1947.
Two wrongs never make a right.
The moral high ground the pioneers dug on the kibbutz with their sweat was surrendered decades ago, except in the imaginations of the well-heeled diaspora, egged on by paid apologists like the now-Ambassador, Regev (not his real name). Let’s remind ourselves how in 2017, Mr Regev disgracefully no-platformed a Holocaust survivor who dared to invoke the lingering specter of Nazism, by uttering threats against Manchester University. Let us remind ourselves of the weaselly backsliding of former Director-General, Thompson – now ruining the once-reputable New York Times – and his cowardice in pushing his deputy out to explain his decision, when in 2011 Regev bullied the BBC to censor a charity appeal on behalf of the survivors of a brutal Israeli reprisal on Gaza city – Operation Cast Lead speaks to its bluntness and toxicity.
Let us remind ourselves of the abuse the former chief rabbi, Lord Sachs heaped on our premier political cartoonist, Scarfe, for depicting the corrupt Netanyahu perched atop a pile of Palestinian corpses, claiming this was an echo of the notorious ‘blood libel’ – when what it was, was a pretty fair comment, not on what Jews were persecuted for in the fifteenth century, ludicrously for eating Christian babies, but for what the Israeli government is doing now to its dispossessed people.
The outcome of this continual, misplaced conflation of opposition to the worse policies of the Israeli regime with the historical persecutions of the Jewish people is the creation of a lofty, moralistic bully-pulpit that cannot be doing anything to ameliorate the actual antisemitism non-Israeli Jews are increasingly fearful of. The more the Deputies attack politicians and the media over misperceived slights, the worse it gets in the real world.
Let us remind ourselves then, of the words of the founder, David Ben-Gurion, declaring the establishment of the state of Israel in May, 1948, to the United Nations:
“THE STATE OF ISRAEL will be open for Jewish immigration and for the Ingathering of the Exiles; it will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations….”
Should I repeat that for you, Mr Grade, Mr Cohen? How does that stack up against your feeble metropolitan handwashing; the “Deal of the Century”?
I don’t hear the Founder throwing revolting slurs about like a drunken football fan, accusing of ‘antisemitism’ those who from time to time try to point out that the government of Israel is occasionally bang out of order, and how it appears to have fallen into the clutches of an unholy alliance of corrupt criminal oligarchs and sanctimonious religious lunatics, encouraged by the “Jews for Jesus” American Right and their new Messiah from Queen’s. Oh, it’s fine to criticize other regimes in strongly worded language, as we do frequently. But the fundamental Jewishness of the Israeli state, the lingering monstrousness of the Shoah guarantees what, their immunity forever? Their permanent elevation over the rest of suffering Humanity?
I don’t hear him advocating walling the natives up and visiting condign punishment on them, smiting them with amytol and phosphorus from the air, whenever they annoyingly object, with acts of pretty futile violence, to their own Holy Places – supposedly protected by the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, their olive groves, their mosques – East Jerusalem – being culturally diminished, bulldozed, obliterated and replaced with miles of ugly condominiums reserved for Settlers. When they annoyingly demand their rights under the constitution, being remorselessly taken away by arbitrary decrees and religious courts’ vaporings backed by overwhelming force of arms and an embattled US president chasing the Evangelical vote.
I don’t hear him proposing that a new culture of muscular Zionism should be encouraged to override and deny the essential humanity of the Jewish people, who have to suffer all over again because of it, squandering any respect and goodwill built up in the early years. I don’t hear him recommending that tens of thousands of men, women and children whose only crime was to be born in a place their mutual God of Abraham allegedly said was reserved for Jews Only after two thousand years should themselves be forced into exile across the borders, to rot for three generations in squalid camps – and not thereby to acquire the same moral rights as the “returning exiles” of Roman-period Judaism.
(I have never heard a Palestinian interviewed, who told us blatantly that “God” had promised them the land they were born in. I heard that three times this morning from Israeli settlers in Jerusalem praising the criminal, Trump – a man made, to date, of 16 thousand lies.)
Yes, I’m fairly well aware of the history, thank you.
Don’t need reminding.
Postscriptum: A few hours after this was written, BBC World Service news was reporting on more reprisal raids on Gaza, bombing from the air in retaliation for kids sending up fire balloons. It didn’t make the mainstream news. Two more days have passed, and just as a) the Knesset is voting on impeaching Netanyahu for corruption and b) Trump’s lawyers are winding up for the big vote to acquit in his own impachment trial, Donald John Trump reveals his historic peace plan for the Middle East, you know, the one Kushner was supposed to be masterminding, which basically involves taking away whatever hope for self-determination and whatever territory the Palestinians have left.
Sure it’s just coincidence. Mix-up in the diary. Could happen to anyone.
Cyclone forming over the North Pacific, 29 Jan.
GW: water, water everywhere
Brazil: “At least 30 (now 47 – 28 Jan.) people have died during severe rainstorms in Minas Gerais state, the country’s emergency services have said. Many of the victims were buried in landslides or washed away in floods after intense rain on Friday and Saturday. More than 2,500 people were evacuated” after 7 inches of rain fell in one 24 hour period. (BBC)
Indonesia: “Thousands of houses have been inundated after flooding in Bandung Regency, West Java.” Floodwaters up to 1.7 meters deep forced hundreds to evacuate, with almost 4 thousand homes, schools and official buildings and roads flooded out. (Floodlist). Al Jazeera reports that 31 people have died, with at least 15 missing after a week of heavy rains. The bureau of risk management has warned that flooding in lowland and rice-growing areas also posed a risk of “food insecurity and malnutrition”. Over 100 thousand people have been displaced.
Australia: and they’re off again… an out-of-control bushfire burning in the mountainous Namadgi National Park, south of Canberra, has almost quadrupled in size in a single day, threatening the small village of Tharwa, and prompting warnings to residents of the city’s southernmost suburbs. The fire was about 8,106 hectares in size by Day 2, reports Guardian Australia, and was started by a military helicopter using hot landing lights to see through smoke from other fires. Exceptionally heavy rainfall is flooding parts of Queensland as a tropical storm firehoses water out of the Gulf of Carpentaria in the north. (Floodlist)
In Madagascar, as many as 31 people have now died as a result of the recent severe weather, with 15 people reported missing. Almost 93,000 people have now been affected as over 10 thousand properties were flooded out. (Floodlist) Tropical Storm Diane is impacting the island state of Mauritius with severe winds, heavy rain and flash floods. (Severe-weather.eu). Implications across the channel for nearby Mozambique, trashed last year by Cyclone Idai, are not yet known. 3 people have died and 300 are homeless after floods in Tanzania (Floodlist).
A huge extra-tropical cyclone is growing and undergoing explosive cyclogenesis (a drop of 23 mb in 12 hours!) in the North Pacific and expected to deliver hurricane-force winds to the coast of Alaska, 29 Jan., with a large storm surge and blizzard conditions. Another huge extra-tropical storm showing ‘impressive’ and even ‘textbook’ organization in the North Atlantic is rapidly intensifying, directly on course for Iceland, bringing a broad, severe wind field with high seas towards the northern British Isles, Scandinavia and northern Europe. (Severe-weather.eu) By the 26th the cyclone was said to be covering the entire North Atlantic region with pressures as low as 955 mb.
USA: “Wave after wave” of storm cells will continue to move inland across the Pacific northwest of the United States in the coming days, says Accuweather. “Relentless” rain falling on heavy snowpack and warmer temperatures will increase the risk of flooding on already saturated ground. An unseasonal tornado sucked out windows in Manzanita, Oregon – only the fifth to touch down in the state in January since 1876.
British Isles: Severe-weather.eu is reporting on signs that heating of the stratosphere could allow the polar vortex to slip down across northern Europe bringing a period of intense cold in early February; while much warmer air moves northwards across Greenland.
Russia: Temperatures in the Yakutia region fell to as low as -57.2 °C on the night of 25 Jan., still far from the -67.8°C recorded in Verkhoyansk in 1892.
Water from burst pipes froze over this Soviet-era apartment block in Irkutsk, giving it a spectral appearance.
“Falling iguanas, killer spiders and unprecedented locust swarms — all fueled by weather extremes. Not to mention an epic blizzard in Canada, a deadly, days-long storm in Europe and a rare January tornado in the Pacific Northwest. You’d be forgiven for thinking these are signs of the apocalypse. As far as we can tell, it was just the week in weather — a very wild one” – Accuweather
Many of the falling iguanas in Florida sadly will have ended up on barbecues and in cooking pots as recipe suggestions have filled the cookery columns during the recent cold spell. It’s illegal to sell iguana meat but whole ones – humanely killed, of course, while in their semi-frozen hibernative state – fetch $80 a kilo in neighboring states. Iguanas are generally regarded in Florida as invasive pests and are known as ‘tree-chicken’.
Australians have been warned to be on the lookout for killer spiders. As if 49-degree heatwaves, a 7-year drought, raging forest fires, roiling dust storms, ash rain, poisoned rivers, choking smoke, flash floods, batterings from golfball-sized hail, near-extinctions of whole species of wildlife and visits from an impotent Prime Minister in denial in just the last month aren’t enough, experts say conditions are just right for a massive outburst of funnel-web spiders, whose bite can kill.
Meanwhile; “Unusually heavy rain is being cited as a factor in one of the worst outbreaks of desert locusts in decades across parts of East Africa and posing what officials say is an ‘unprecedented’ threat to crops.” 7 decades, in fact. One especially large swarm in northeastern Kenya measured 60km long by 40km wide, containng “hundreds of billions” of the hungry critters. Even a ‘small swarm’ can consume enough plant material in a day to feed 35 thousand people. (Photo from tweet)
That’s presumably to go with the other Biblical plague emerging from China, where the new coronavirus has claimed over 1,400 patients at the time of writing, 25 Jan., causing 42 deaths (including a 61-year-old doctor treating patients, although she seems to have died from a stress-related heart attack). 50 million Chinese are unable to leave their cities for the annual New Year migration.
Update: 27 Jan., 2,700 confirmed cases (30 outside China), 81 deaths. Epidemiologists at Imperial College, London however calculate that probably 100 thousand people will have been infected by now.
Update update: 28 Jan., cases now “4.5 thousand. Deaths 106”.
Latest update: 29 Jan., cases now “over 6 thousand”. Deaths 132″. British Airways suspends all flights to mainland China.
Too darn hot: Customs officials in Vladivostock had to order a Toyota Prius to be returned to Japan, 22 Jan., as it was too radioactive to be allowed into the country. Since three of the reactors at the Fukushima nuclear power station melted down following the earthquake and tsunami of 2011, Russian authorities have prevented 875 items from coming into the country (Siberian Times). Russia has one of the worst records in the world for home-grown radiation releases.
La terra trema: a huge, magnitude M7.7 quake with M5.9 aftershocks was recorded at only 10km depth off the coast of Cuba, 27 Jan. Amazingly, little damage was reported, no-one was harmed and an early tsunami warnig was rescinded soon after.
A total waste: Psst, wanna know how much stuff we get through? A report launched at Davos by the the Circle Economy thinktank calculates the average human consumes 13 tonnes of raw materials every year, amounting to over 100 billion tonnes of finished products, food and energy services worldwide – completely unsustainable. 32 per cent of everything we consume ends up as waste, less than 9 per cent of it gets recycled. (Guardian Green Light)
And I just bought new hairclippers only moments ago. Well, the old ones have got a bit blunt…..