World View: Pandemic Concerns Rising Over China's H7N9 Bird Flu Deaths

This morning's key headlines from

  • Pandemic concerns rising over China's H7N9 bird flu deaths
  • France's president Hollande in scandal crisis
  • North Korea warns embassies to evacuate before April 10

Pandemic concerns rising over China's H7N9 bird flu deaths

Pandemic concerns are rising over bird flu transmission to humans
Pandemic concerns are rising over bird flu transmission to humans

Chinese authorities have slaughtered over 20,000 chickens, ducks, geese, and pigeons form a live poultry market in Shanghai as evidence mounts that a new H7N9 bird flu virus has evolved into a form that can spread between birds and mammals. China has confirmed 14 H7N9 cases in humans, of whom six have died. 

The current form of the virus is not considered dangerous, because it spreads to a human only in case of physical contact with an infected bird or human. But pandemic concerns are rising because the virus is evolving, and the next mutation may bring it to a form that can spread rapidly from human to human. The mutations permit the virus to function in the lower body temperatures of mammals, as opposed to the higher body temperatures of birds. 

There are now suspicions that the thousands of dead pigs found in the rivers near Shanghai died of the same flu virus. Between 20-40 million people died during the 1918-1919 Spanish Flu epidemic, considered the most devastating global epidemic in recorded world history. Xinhua and Recombinomics

France's president Hollande in scandal crisis

The European financial crisis has pushed the popularity of France's Socialist president Francois Hollande to the lowest seen by in decades by any leader of the country. Hollande had promised to raise taxes on the rich and fight corruption, but his campaign was completely derailed this week when his own budget minister Jerome Cahuzac was forced to admit that he had a secret offshore 600,000 euro bank account that he'd been lying about it for years. According to one analyst: 

This weakens Hollande. It goes to the heart of the austerity debate. For the hard left, the charge will be that the Socialists are hypocritical: during the day they talk social justice, but at night they’re managing their Swiss bank accounts and shares on Wall Street.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of politicians with similar ethics, and they're not all Socialists. Bloomberg 

North Korea warns embassies to evacuate before April 10

North Korea on Friday advised all foreign embassies in Pyongyang, the capital city, to evacuate their staff by April 10, saying that their safety could be at risk in the event of a conflict after that date. Also, North Korea loaded two intermediate-range missiles onto mobile launchers and hid them in an unidentified facility near the east coast, triggering speculation that the North is ready for an abrupt missile launch. 

These missiles would not be able to reach the U.S. mainland, but they could reach Japan, South Korea, and Guam. South Korea has responded by sending its destroyer warships to positions near North Korean waters, equipped with Aegis systems capable of shooting down missiles. ABC News and Yonhap (Seoul)

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, H7N9, bird flu, China, Shanghai, Spanish flu, France, Francois Hollande, Jerome Cahuzac, North Korea, Pyongyang, Aegis 

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