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Air France Plane With ‘No-Fly’ Passenger Barred From U.S. Airspace

Monday, April 27, 2009

U.S. authorities stopped an Air France flight on its way to Mexico from entering U.S. airspace after learning one of the passengers was on the terrorist watch list, the U.K.’s Telegraph newspaper reported.

The April 18 flight from Paris to Mexico was carrying journalist Gernando Calvo Ospina, who has written about revolutionary movements in Cuba and Colombia, and is currently researching a book about the CIA, the Telegraph reported.

Ospina was told of the incident by the plane’s co-pilot.

“I was speechless and my first reaction was to ask, ‘Do you think I’m a terrorist?’,” Ospina told the Telegraph. “He replied ‘no’ and said that was why he told me about it, adding that it was extraordinary and the first time it had happened on an Air France plane.”

There were no scheduled stops in the U.S., and the passenger list was only given to Mexican authorities, the Telegraph reported.

The flight was forced to divert to the French Caribbean island of Martinique before continuing on, the Telegraph reported.

Ospina was on his way to Nicaragua to research a report, a spokesman for Ospina’s French publisher told the paper.



Monday, April 27, 2009 at 6:15 p.m.

A private school in Newberry, South Carolina, canceled classes Monday for fear of Swine Flu.

Some students at the school, which is about 40 miles northwest of Columbia, returned from a trip to Mexico with flu-like symptoms.

School officials say they’re not too concerned about swine flu, and believe a student who was sick before boarding the plane infected other students.

Swine Flu scare at South Carolina school



Page last updated at 04:07 GMT, Tuesday, 28 April 2009 05:07 UK

‘Too late’ to contain swine flu


{above – BBC video clip about the swine flu from 6 hours ago, more or less}

WHO flu expert Dr Keiji Fukuda: “Containment is not a feasible operation”

A deadly swine flu virus first detected in Mexico can no longer be contained, a World Health Organization (WHO) official has said.

WHO Assistant Director General Keiji Fukuda said countries should now focus on mitigating the effects of the virus.

The WHO has raised its alert level from three to four, two steps short of declaring a full pandemic.

Mexico earlier said it believed 149 people had now died from the swine flu, though only 20 cases are confirmed.

The US, Canada, Spain and Britain have confirmed milder versions.

‘Not inevitable’

The WHO’s decision to raise the alert level to four came after an emergency meeting of experts, brought forward by a day because of concerns over the outbreak.

Phase 1: No viruses circulating among animals causing infections in humans
Phase 2: Animal influenza virus causes infection in humans, and is considered potential pandemic threat
Phase 3: Influenza causes sporadic cases in people, but no significant human-to-human transmission
Phase 4: Verified human-to-human transmission able to cause community-level outbreaks. Significant increase in risk of a pandemic
Phase 5: Human-to-human transmission in at least two countries. Strong signal pandemic imminent
Phase 6: Virus spreads to another country in a different region. Global pandemic under way

Level four means the virus is showing a sustained ability to pass from human to human, and is able to cause community-level outbreaks.

[ . . . ]

He said the virus had become too widespread to make containment a feasible option, and said countries must focus on trying to put measures in place to protect the population.

He also stressed that the experts did not recommend closing borders or restricting travel. “With the virus being widespread… closing borders or restricting travel really has very little effects in stopping the movement of this virus,” he said.



In Canada, six cases have been recorded at opposite ends of the country, in British Columbia and in Nova Scotia.

Swine flu officially arrived in Europe on Monday, when tests confirmed that a young man in Spain and two people in Scotland – all of whom had recently returned from Mexico – had the virus. They were said to be recovering well.

Mexico: 20 confirmed cases (149 suspected deaths)
United States: 40 confirmed cases
Canada: 6 confirmed cases
UK: 2 confirmed cases
Spain: 1 confirmed case
Israel, Brazil, Guatemala, Peru, Australia, New Zealand, and South Korea: Suspected cases being tested

Tests are also being carried out on individuals or groups in New Zealand, Australia, Brazil, Israel and South Korea who fell ill following travel to Mexico.

A number of countries in Asia, Latin America and Europe have begun screening airport passengers for symptoms, while Germany’s biggest tour operator has suspended trips to Mexico.



How swine flu has spread

Fears of a flu pandemic are growing as the number of confirmed cases around the world continues to rise.

In Mexico – where the outbreak began – there are now 26 confirmed cases. Some reports say as many as 149 people may have died from swine flu, but WHO officials put the figure much lower and said only about 20 of the deaths could be definitely attributed to swine flu.


[Map with confirmed cases listed – this is the officially confirmed cases]



Flu viruses mutate over time causing small changes to proteins on their surface called antigens. If the immune system has met particular strain of the virus before it is likely to have some immunity; but if the antigens are new to the immune system, it will be weakened. The flu currently making headlines is a strain of H1N1 influenza A virus, which affects birds, some mammals and humans.

The influenza A virus can mutate in two different ways; antigenic drift, in which existing antigens are subtly altered, and antigenic shift, in which two or more strains combine. Antigenic drift causes the slight mutations year on year in the flu strains that normally affect humans. As a result humans have partial, but not complete, immunity. By contrast, the new strain of H1N1 appears to have originated via antigenic shift in Mexican pigs.

[Go to this page and see the slide show explanation excerpted above]

What is swine flu?

Swine flu is a respiratory disease, caused by influenza type A which infects pigs.

There are many types, and the infection is constantly changing.

Until now it has not normally infected humans, but the latest form clearly does, and can be spread from person to person – probably through coughing and sneezing.

What is new about this type of swine flu?

The World Health Organization has confirmed that at least some of the human cases are a never-before-seen version of the H1N1 strain of influenza type A.

H1N1 is the same strain which causes seasonal outbreaks of flu in humans on a regular basis.

But this latest version of H1N1 is different: it contains genetic material that is typically found in strains of the virus that affect humans, birds and swine.

Current treatments do work, but there is no vaccine.



1918: The Spanish flu pandemic remains the most devastating outbreak of modern times. Caused by a form of the H1N1 strain of flu, it is estimated that up to 40% of the world’s population were infected, and more than 50 million people died, with young adults particularly badly affected
1957: Asian flu killed two million people. Caused by a human form of the virus, H2N2, combining with a mutated strain found in wild ducks. The impact of the pandemic was minimised by rapid action by health authorities, who identified the virus, and made vaccine available speedily. The elderly were particularly vulnerable
1968: An outbreak first detected in Hong Kong, and caused by a strain known as H3N2, killed up to one million people globally, with those over 65 most likely to die

What about bird flu?

The strain of bird flu which has caused scores of human deaths in South East Asia in recent years is a different strain to that responsible for the current outbreak of swine flu.

The latest form of swine flu is a new type of the H1N1 strain, while bird, or avian flu, is H5N1.

[from above question and answer page about swine flu]


Where can I get further advice?

Further information and advice on swine flu can be found at websites of leading health and research organisations around the world. The World Health Organisation gives background information on the virus. The UK’s Health Protection Agency advises the public about what to do if returning from an affected area. NHS Choices outlines how swine flu is different from other flu. The US government’s Centre for Disease Control is counting the number of cases in the US.

You can also track the spread of swine flu reports using unofficial sources. Healthmaps maps viruses using news reports. Social media guide Mashable lists some ways to track the virus . Links to useful websites are being shared on Twitter , the micro-blogging service.


Swine flu confirmed in Scotland


Sacramento has 2 more swine flu cases, California’s count rises to 13

Monday, April 27, 2009

(04-27) 21:15 PDT Sacramento — Two more California children were added to the list of confirmed cases of swine flu, Sacramento County health officials said this evening.

The additional children were students at St. Mel School, classmates of a third child who was diagnosed with the flu strain earlier.

A teenage student from the same school, who officials initially thought had contracted the virus during a trip to Mexico, tested negative for the flu virus. That student had become ill and then recovered after returning from his trip.

The two new cases in Sacramento County bring the total to 13 cases of swine flu statewide and 42 in other U.S. states as of Monday evening.

Other children at the school have also exhibited illness in the last few days and medical personnel were evaluating the cases.


“From now on when we are unable to sub-type Influenza-A virus, we have been directed to conclude the test has, in fact, detected swine flu,” the statement reads.

In addition to the three cases in Sacramento County, there were five confirmed cases of swine flu in San Diego and five in Imperial County.


San Francisco Chronicle –‎15 minutes ago


And from the continuing saga of commercial real estate going in the toilet –


Credit crunch hits the malls

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Though it came as no surprise to investors, the collapse of General Growth Properties, the nation’s second-largest mall owner, has stirred new fears about a coming debacle in commercial real estate. The company, which owns 200 shopping centers encompassing 200 million square feet and 24,000 tenants, filed for bankruptcy protection last week.

With the credit markets virtually shut down, General Growth said it was unable to refinance the $3.3 billion in debt that had already matured or would be due this year. These included loans totaling $900 million on two malls in Las Vegas – Fashion Show and the Shoppes at the Palazzo – that were due to be repaid in November. An additional $6.4 billion in debt matures next year.

[ . . . ]

Two-thirds of the delinquency, in dollar volume, comes from loans issued in 2005 to 2007, a period when competition among lenders led to overly optimistic projections about rent growth. Delinquencies are expected to rise as borrowers exhaust reserve funds intended to cover their debt service while they waited for rents to go up.

General Growth’s problems have highlighted the difficulties for borrowers in modifying loans that have been securitized. In a filing with the Bankruptcy Court, Adam Metz, the chief executive of General Growth since John Bucksbaum, a member of the company’s founding family, stepped down in October, said the company faced “steep logistical challenges” in trying to negotiate extensions.

Restrictions stemming from tax considerations make it extremely difficult to change the terms of a securitized loan, said Thomas Humphreys, a partner New York at law firm Morrison & Foerster.

[ . . . ]



L.L. Bean to lay off more than 200 employees

Hospitals cutting services, staff amid recession

[links from above page sidebar]




Autoridades de Guerrero confirman que 2 personas murieron tras el sismo de 5.7 grados que se registró esta mañana; reportan escuelas y casas con cuarteaduras


ACAPULCO, México, abr. 27, 2009.- Dos personas muertas, una lesionada con la caída de un plafón, casas y escuelas con cuarteaduras, fue el saldo del sismo que se registró esta mañana en el estado de Guerrero.

El secretario general del Ayuntamiento de Acapulco, Guillermo Ramírez Ramos, confirmó que ningún hotel resultó dañado en su estructura, sin embargo si hay daños en casas y escuelas del puerto.

En el poblado de Kilómetro 30, en el Acapulco rural, la señora Sabina Vidal murió a causa de un infarto al momento del sismo; otra persona resultó lesionada al caerse un plafón de una tienda en la avenida Cuauhtémoc y un número no determinado fue atendido por crisis nerviosas.

En la comunidad de Zoyacatlán, municipio de Marquelia, la señora Dominga Bahena Vázquez, de 75 años de edad, también falleció de un infarto al miocardio.

[ . . . ]

Nueve casas resultaron dañadas en la calle Plan de Ayala y en decenas de casas se rompieron vidrios; el edificio CABE, en la colonia El Roble, también registró cuarteaduras, al igual que la
recién remodelada Clínica Avanzada de Apoyo Primario a la Salud (CAAPS).

En la colonia Pozo de la Nación, un techo se desprendió y en el fraccionamiento Colosio un tanque de agua se fracturó sobre un edificio.

[ . . . ]

Aproximadamente las 11:46 horas del día de hoy, se registró un sismo de 5.7 grados, el cual tuvo su epicentro a 31 kilómetros sur-sureste de Tixtla, 35 kilómetros de Chilapa y a 82 kilómetros de



Contenido relacionado
About the swine flu outbreak:

Mande todas sus dudas sobre la epidemia de la influenza porcina a este blog. Hoy las responderemos en el programa especial “La epidemia del Virus Porcino: Preguntas y Respuestas”. Canal 2, después de El Noticiero.


Virus de la influenza

El virus de la influenza que es el responsable de muertes en México, aparentemente es un virus proveniente de los cerdos. El virus de la gripe o influenza tiene una gran capacidad de sufrir cambios a nivel de las proteínas que lo recubren, haciendolo más agresivo y capáz de ocasionar síntomas más severos de los que se presentan en el catarro común…


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