World View: MERS Virus Cases Surge in Saudi Arabia, Spread to Greece, Jordan

World View: MERS Virus Cases Surge in Saudi Arabia, Spread to Greece, Jordan

This morning’s key headlines from

  • China seizes a Japanese iron ore carrier ship
  • MERS virus cases surge in Saudi Arabia, spread to Greece, Jordan
  • Philippine police will use ‘reasonable force’ coercing MERS tests
  • Iran’s President versus Supreme Leader on ‘gender equality’

China seizes a Japanese iron ore carrier ship

The Japanese firm Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) said on Monday, that Chinahas impounded one of its iron ore carriers, Baosteel Emotion, while itwas docked in Shanghai. A Shanghai court ruled that the ship could beseized for damages and reparations because MOL’s predecessor companyin 1936 chartered two Chinese freighters that were later sunk by theJapanese Navy. Japan claims that no reparations are due because of a1972 agreement with China in which China agreed to renounce “itsdemand for war reparation from Japan.” However, China’s foreignministry says that the claims are solely for commercial losses, andunrelated to wartime compensation.

This incident is sure to frighten Japanese companies from doingbusiness with Japan, and that may be China’s motive in pursuing this.China has threatened economic sanctions against Japan in the past.Japan has just reported its worth annual trade deficit in March, withexport growth slowed to the weakest in a year, and this incident willonly hurt Japan further. LA Times and Xinhua and Mitsui O.S.K. Lines and Business Standard

MERS virus cases surge in Saudi Arabia, spread to Greece, Jordan

One expert explains it this way:

“It took us over a year to get the first hundred casesof this viral infection. Now in just the last two weeks, we’vehad a hundred cases … there’s a major change occurring thatcannot just be attributed to better case detection. Something’shappening.

When humans readily transmit [a virus] to humans, that’s what willcause a worldwide outbreak. We are very concerned that … withwhat we’ve seen over the last two weeks … we may be at thatpoint now.””

The fear is that MERS-CoV (the Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndromecoronavirus) has mutated in some way that’s going to make it easier tospread from one person to another. Saudia Arabia has confirmed morethan 50 cases of the virus in the past week, with 13 new casesreported on Monday alone. There have been 257 cases total worldwidesince it was discovered in September 2012, with 93 deaths. A newcluster was reported in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) this week. A69-year old male Greek citizen residing in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, wasdiagnosed in Greece as having MERS. New cases are reported in Jordan.MERS has an incubation period of 2 weeks, meaning that you can beinfected and spread the disease to other people for two weeks beforeyou start to show symptoms yourself. The sudden rapid surge in casesis raising fears that the disease is far more widespread in SaudiArabia than previously assumed, and that travelers to and from Jeddahare spreading the disease to other countries. CNN and Recombinomics and NPR

Philippine police will use ‘reasonable force’ coercing MERS tests

All 414 passengers on the April 15 Etihad Airlines flight from Jeddah,Saudi Arabia, to Manila, the Philippines, are being tested forMERS-CoV (the Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus). Atleast 100 of the passengers have been tested so far, all with negativeresults. The need for testing was triggered when a 32-year-oldoverseas Filipino worker (OFW) who arrived from Riyadh on Sunday(4/20) was suspected of having MERS. Police are trackingdown the remaining passengers on the 4/15 flight, and willuse “reasonable force” to compel them to submit themselves fora medical examination. The police officers are also being warnedto take reasonable precautions to protect themselves.

According to Philippine authorities, most government hospitals inSaudi Arabia and other Middle East countries continue to employFilipino nurses and hospital staff. Around 3,000 OFWs (overseasFilipino workers) are leaving the country daily and many of them arebound for Saudi Arabia and other Middle East countries. Philippine Star (Manila)

Iran’s President versus Supreme Leader on ‘gender equality’

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday that Iran would notaccept any form of sexual discrimination.

Undoubtedly, Rouhani was responding to the remarks a day earlier bySupreme Leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, who who criticized theWest’s view’s about “gender equality between men and women.” He said,Equality is not always the same as justice; justice is always right,but equality is sometimes right and sometimes wrong.” Khameneiemphasized that the most important issue for women is the sense ofsecurity and peace of mind that women find within families. Press TV (Tehran) and Business Standard

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