Daily Archives: November 24, 2014

BBC News – Bird flu: Culling to begin at Nafferton farm

18 November 2014 Last updated at 00:40 ET

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A cull of 6,000 ducks is due to start following a confirmed case of bird flu at a breeding farm in East Yorkshire.

A six-mile (10km) exclusion zone has been paced around the farm in the village of Nafferton, within which the movement of all poultry is banned.

The flu strain has been identified as the H5 virus but not the H5N1 strain which can be deadly to humans.

Environment Secretary Liz Truss told the Commons the risk to public health was very low.

Good bio-security

Defra’s Animal and Plant Health Agency said culling of the livestock was expected to last all day.

Chief Veterinary Officer Nigel Gibbens said the farm had good bio-security in place so the risk of spread was “probably quite low”.

The European Commission said the outbreak was likely to be linked to migratory birds – possibly swans – heading south for winter, and to cases in the Netherlands at the weekend and Germany earlier in the month.

The transport of poultry and eggs has been banned throughout the Netherlands after an outbreak of the H5N8 bird flu strain was confirmed at a chicken farm in the central province of Utrecht.

…(read more).

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NEF Review of the Year 2013 – 2014 | New Economics Foundation

November 24, 2014  A NEF publication

It’s been a fantastic year for NEF. Our powerful message, that a fair and sustainable economy is possible, is resonating with more and more people across the country and, indeed, around the world.

Building the movement

No one organisation or think-tank can single-handedly fix the economy. But we know if we collaborate, there’s no limit to what we can do. That’s why we’re teaming up wherever we can, most recently in a ground-breaking project to align and empower those fighting for social, environmental and economic justice.

Money creation: the truth is out

Society and policy is plagued by a misunderstanding of where money comes from. Politicians, journalists, even top economists get it wrong. But after meeting our experts, the Bank of England this year made its most plain and public admission yet that the vast majority of money in circulation is created by commercial banks chasing private profits.

How to future-proof a city

In a world threatened by escalating inequality and environmental degradation, we need to get real about the way in which we manage our cities, resources, and transport. This year we changed the face of the UK aviation capacity debate by making the economic, environmental, and social case for closing London City Airport and completely regenerating the area.

Beyond crime and punishment

Whether it’s drug addiction, mental illness or homelessness, the underlying causes of crime are often too complex to be dealt with by punishment alone. Better Courts is a pioneering new programme to help courts across England and Wales cut crime by unpicking the issues underpinning the cases before them.

Time and time again

From top business leaders to senior medics, more and more people are catching on to the idea that a shorter working week is more than wishful thinking: it is a serious economic proposal that could bring transformative benefits to our wellbeing, family life, economy and planet.

…(read more).

This is, in effect, an important “progress report” for the necessary paradigm shift required in “transition studies.”  See:

Download Annual Report

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Turn down the heat : confronting the new climate normal (Vol. 2 of 2) : Main report (English)

Abstract This third report in the Turn Down the Heat series covers three World Bank regions: Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC); the Middle East and North Africa (MENA); and parts of Europe and Central Asia (ECA). The focus is on the risks of climate change to development. While covering a range of sectors, special attention is paid to projected impacts on food and energy systems, water resources, and ecosystem services. The report also considers the social vulnerability that could magnify or moderate the climate change repercussions for human well-being. The report complements the first Turn Down the Heat report (2012) that offered a global overview of climate change and its impacts in a 4 degrees Celsius world and concluded that impacts are expected to be felt disproportionately in developing countries around the equatorial regions. Also, it extends the analysis in the second report (2013) that focused on the consequences of climate change for present day, 2 degrees Celsius, and 4 degrees Celsius warming above pre-industrial levels in Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and South East Asia and demonstrated the potential of early onset impacts at lower levels of warming.

….(read more)



Read report:

Complete Report in English Official version of document (may contain signatures, etc)

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World Bank Issues Climate Change Warning

The new report from the World bank. Courtesy: World Bank Group

A new report from the World Bank warns of severe impacts on agricultural production, water resources and ecosystems as well as increased vulnerability to coastal flooding as a result of global warming.

Key findings of the report, entitled Turn Down the Heat: Confronting the New Climate Normal, include warnings of: heat extremes in Latin America and the Caribbean which could impact soybean and wheat yields; water shortages across north Africa and the Middle east; and the risk of torrential flooding in Central Asia.

Here is the text of a press release issued by the World Bank regarding this report:

“New Climate Normal” Poses Severe Risks to Development—World Bank Report

WASHINGTON, November 23, 2014 – As the planet warms further, heat-waves and other weather extremes that today occur once in hundreds of years, if ever, would become the “new climate normal,” creating a world of increased risks and instability. The consequences for development would be severe as crop yields decline, water resources shift, sea-levels rise, and the livelihoods of millions of people are put at risk, according to a new scientific report released today by the World Bank Group.

…(read more).

See report:


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China’s toxic harvest: Growing tainted food in “cancer villages” | Marketplace.org

by Rob Schmitz Tuesday, April 16, 2013 – 15:27

Rob Schmitz/Marketplace

A family photo of Wu Wenyong before (left) and after he developed two types of cancer: leukemia and thymoma. Wu later died from cancer his family says he got from a 300 million lb. pile of chromium-6 waste next to the family’s plot of land in rural Yunnan province.

Part II of China’s toxic harvest: a “cancer village” rises in protest
Part III of China’s toxic harvest: Consumers flock to imported food
World Health Organization: Chromium
2009 Google Map of Cancer Villages
Greenpeace in China’s cancer villages
China’s ‘cancer villages’ reveal dark side of economic boom – The Guardian
‘Cancer villages’ one offshoot of China’s economic growth – USA Today
China cancer village tests reach of law against pollution – Reuters
China’s cancer villages – Dateline, SBS One

The hill of chemical waste beside Farmer Wu Shuliang’s rice paddy began to take shape in the 1990s.

“It was yellow and green and it smelled terrible,” says Wu, standing on the edge of his rice paddy in rural Yunnan, in China’s southwest. The waste was from a factory next door, a byproduct from making chemicals used for tanning leather.

Each day for 20 years, workers dumped more of it, making the hill bigger and bigger. Last year, an estimated 300 million pounds of chemical sludge towered over Wu’s land and the river below.

“Whenever it rained, our rice paddy and the river would suddenly turn bright yellow,” Wu says. “Much of my rice died. It killed everything in its path.”

Around the time the hill began to form, Wu and his wife had two sons. The two boys grew up bathing in the river that turned yellow when it rained, they breathed the dust that blew off of the hill on windy days, and the oldest son, Wu Wenyong, spent much of his childhood working the rice paddies in the hill’s shadow.

When he was 14, Wu Wenyong began having health problems. He couldn’t stop coughing, he had difficulty breathing, and his chest hurt.

“We heard on the local news that this hill might be harmful to our health, so we took our son to the hospital and asked the doctor whether it had anything to do with his health problems,” remembers Wu’s mother Qi Xianying. “The doctor didn’t say anything. He just shook his head.”

This was in 2011.

At the time, the environmental NGO Greenpeace had traveled to Wu’s village here in rural Yunnan province to test the water in the rice paddies and wells surrounding the hill. The samples were high in Chromium-6, a known carcinogen. One water sample from Wu’s land showed the level of Chromium-6 was 240 times higher than what China and the U.S. allows in their drinking water.

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Overcoming obesity: An initial economic analysis

The world has made huge advances in containing infectious diseases, but that progress is being partiallyoffset by a sharp rise in the incidence of heart and lung disease, diabetes, lifestyle-related cancers, and othernon-communicable diseases. One of the major drivers of the increase in these diseases is the rising prevalence
of obesity.

Obesity is a complex, systemic, multi-causal problem, rooted in the sedentary nature of modern post-industrial life, more widely available and more affordable food, a change in the nature and mix of diets, psychological stimuli such as stress and epigenetic triggers, and
potentially even physiological disruption to the gut microbiome. There is considerable ongoing academic research into the scale and causes of the rapidly rising obesity epidemic. Researchers are digging deep into specific questions and analyzing potential solutions. However, there is a lack of integrated analysis of the holistic program that would be needed to reverse rising obesity, and what it would take to start to deliver such a program.

This discussion paper seeks to start to close this gap.  We set out to learn as much as possible from existing research and build on it with our own understanding of micro- and behavioral economics, and McKinsey’s
experience and research across sectors, including consumer-facing, public, and health-care sectors. Our aim then has been to step back and attempt to develop
a perspective on what might be the building blocks of a societal response that could overcome rising obesity. As with all MGI research, this has not been funded by any company, government, or external organization but by the
partners of McKinsey.

…(read more).

Full Report:  http://www.mckinsey.com/mgi

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