Quarter of world’s pig population ‘to die of African swine fever’


World Organisation for Animal Health warns spread of disease has inflamed worldwide crisis

About a quarter of the global pig population is expected to die as a result of the African swine fever (ASF) epidemic, according to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

Global pork prices are rising, spurred by growing demand from China, where as many as 100 million pigs have been lost since ASF broke out there last year. In recent months, China has been granting export approval to foreign meat plants and signing deals around the world at a dizzying rate. US pork sales to China have doubled, while European pork prices have now reached a six-year high.

Continue reading…

Measles wipes out immune system’s memory, study finds


Scientists say threat posed by measles is ‘much greater than we previously imagined’

Measles causes long-term damage to the immune system, leaving children who have had it vulnerable to other infections long after the initial illness has passed, research has revealed.

Two studies of unvaccinated children in an Orthodox Protestant community in the Netherlands found that measles wipes out the immune system’s memory of previous illnesses, returning it to a more baby-like state, and also leaves the body less equipped to fight off new infections.

Continue reading…

Hong Kong’s monetary authority cuts interest rate for the third time, offering a lifeline to an economy heading into recession | South China Morning Post

The HKMA has cut interest rates by a total of 75 basis points since August, reducing the cost of money for a city economy squeezed between the US-China trade war and five months of anti-government protests.

Source: Hong Kong’s monetary authority cuts interest rate for the third time, offering a lifeline to an economy heading into recession | South China Morning Post

Democracy is under attack in post-Wall Europe – but the spirit of 1989 is fighting back | Timothy Garton Ash


Thirty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall and Europe’s velvet revolutions, a new generation is standing up to the populists

Imagine someone who had witnessed the liberation of western Europe in 1945 returning in 1975, only to find the dictators coming back. That’s ratherhow it feels revisiting central Europe 30 years after the velvet revolutions of 1989.

Earlier this year, I sat in a hotel bar in Budapest with an old anti-communist dissident friend, János Kis, who calmly described the regime of prime minister Viktor Orbán to me as an autocracy. Yet it was Kis who first introduced me to Orbán, back in 1988, presenting the then 25-year-old student as a bright light of a new generation of young liberal democrats. At a rally in Gdańsk in June, I heard European council president Donald Tusk call on his fellow Poles to learn from the example of the Solidarity movement of the 1980s in opposing the country’s nationalist populist Law and Justice party government. Yet Law and Justice triumphed again this month in a general election.

Continue reading…