Thousands Of Bees Attack Police, Firefighters Responding To Sting Report

First responders to a 911 call in Pasadena, California, were met with an estimated 30,000-40,000 aggressive bees.

Long-term use of depression drug may cause addiction

 

In a new study, researchers say that people who have taken antidepressants for years should consider coming off the medication.

However, these people will likely face difficult and even dangerous withdrawal symptoms due to physical dependence.

The best process is to follow a tapering schedule while consulting with a physician. Stopping medication outright is almost never advisable.

The research was conducted by a team at Midwestern University Chicago.

The team says many people feel safe in that their depression or anxiety is continuously managed by medication.

However, these are mind-altering drugs and were never intended as a permanent solution.

Once the patient’s depression or anxiety has been resolved, the physician should guide them toward discontinuation, while providing non-pharmacologic treatments to help them maintain their mental health.

In the study, the team found patients who stop taking their medication often experience Antidepressant Discontinuation Syndrome (ADS), which includes flu-like symptoms, insomnia, nausea, imbalance, sensory disturbances often described as electric shocks or “brain zaps”, and hyperarousal.

Older, first-generation antidepressants often come with additional risks for more severe symptoms, including aggressiveness, catatonia, cognitive impairment, and psychosis.

Discontinuing any antidepressant also carries a risk for gradual worsening or relapsing of depression and anxiety, as well as suicidal thoughts.

A recent report from the CDC said a quarter of people taking antidepressants had been using them for a decade or more.

The team says this data makes the case that patients and physicians are overly reliant on medication without concern for long-term consequences.

While relatively safe, antidepressants still carry side effects, including weight gain, sexual dysfunction and emotional numbing.

The team also urges caution as the evidence for antidepressant risk factors is based on short-term usage and says there are no sufficient longitudinal studies on the neurologic impact of taking antidepressants for decades.

The lead author of the study is Mireille Rizkalla, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Clinical Integration. (Click to Source)

The study is published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association.

Copyright © 2019 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.

 

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Global Crop Failures Continue: In Australia This Is Going To Be The WORST HARVEST Ever Recorded

 

Global food production is being hit from seemingly every side.  Thanks to absolutely crazy weather patterns, giant locust armies in Africa and the Middle East, and an unprecedented outbreak of African Swine Fever in China, a lot less food is being produced around the world than originally anticipated.  Even during the best of years we really struggle to feed everyone on the planet, and so a lot of people are wondering what is going to happen as global food supplies become tighter and tighter.  The mainstream media in the United States is so obsessed with politics right now that they haven’t been paying much attention to this emerging crisis, but the truth is that this growing nightmare is only going to intensify in the months ahead.

In Australia, conditions have been extremely hot and extremely dry, and that helped to fuel the horrific wildfires that we recently witnessed.

And everyone knew that agricultural production in Australia was going to be disappointing this year, but it turns out that it is actually going to be the worst ever recorded…

Australia’s hottest and driest year on record has slashed crop production, with summer output expected to fall to the lowest levels on record, according to official projections released Tuesday.

The country’s agriculture department said it expects production of crops like sorghum, cotton and rice to fall 66 percent — the lowest levels since records began in 1980-81.

The continent of Australia is considered to be one of the breadbaskets of the world.  According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in 2018/19 Australia exported over 9 million tons of wheat to the rest of the world.

But thanks to relentless crop failures, Australia has started to import wheat, and that is likely to continue for the foreseeable future.

So instead of helping to feed the rest of the world, Australia is now relying on the rest of us to help feed them.

And what is happening this year didn’t just barely break the old records.  In fact, one senior economist says that this will be the worst summer crop production the country has ever seen “by a large margin”…

“It is the lowest summer crop production in this period by a large margin,” Peter Collins, a senior economist with the department’s statistical body ABARES told AFP.

Of course if the rest of the world was doing great we could certainly survive a downturn in Australia.

Unfortunately, that is definitely not the case.

Right now, billions upon billions of locusts are voraciously devouring farms in eastern Africa and the Middle East.  As I detailed the other day, giant armies of locusts the size of large cities are traveling up to 100 miles per day as they search for food.  When they descend on a farm, all the crops can be consumed literally within 30 seconds.  It is a nightmare of epic proportions, and UN officials are telling us that this crisis is only going to get worse over the next couple of months.

In Uganda, the army has been called out to help fight this locust plague, but it is making very little difference…

Under a warm morning sun scores of weary soldiers stare as millions of yellow locusts rise into the northern Ugandan sky, despite hours spent spraying vegetation with chemicals in an attempt to kill them.

From the tops of shea trees, fields of pea plants and tall grass savanna, the insects rise in a hypnotic murmuration, disappearing quickly to wreak devastation elsewhere.

The most effective way of fighting these locust swarms is to spray insecticide on them from the air, but even that only produces very limited results.

However, at least it is better than doing nothing.

The UN is trying to raise a lot more money to get more planes into the air, because if nothing is done the number of locusts “could grow up to 500 times by June”…

The U.N. has said $76 million is needed immediately. On Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a visit to Ethiopia said the U.S. would donate another $8 million to the effort. That follows an earlier $800,000.

The number of overall locusts could grow up to 500 times by June, when drier weather begins, experts have said. Until then, the fear is that more rains in the coming weeks will bring fresh vegetation to feed a new generation of the voracious insects.

Overall, these locusts are affecting nations “with a combined population of nearly 2 billion”, and the amount of food that these locusts are destroying is unprecedented.

Meanwhile, China has been dealing with the worst outbreak of African Swine Fever in history.

African Swine Fever does not affect humans, but it sweeps through herds of pigs like wildfire.  There is no vaccine, there is no cure, and once African Swine Fever starts infecting pigs in a certain area the only thing that can be done is to kill the rest of the pigs to keep it from spreading anywhere else.

Unfortunately, China has not been able to get this outbreak under control, and the losses have been staggering.

According to the New York Times, the number of pigs that have been wiped out in China already is equivalent to “nearly one-quarter of all the world’s pigs”…

The disease was first reported in Shenyang, Liaoning Province, in early August 2018. By the end of August 2019, the entire pig population of China had dropped by about 40 percent. China accounted for more than half of the global pig population in 2018, and the epidemic there alone has killed nearly one-quarter of all the world’s pigs.

But of course China is not the only one dealing with African Swine Fever.

In fact, cases of African Swine Fever have now been identified “in 50 countries”, and U.S. pig farmers are deathly afraid of what would happen if this disease starts spreading here.

As a result of this crisis, pork prices in China have gone through the roof, and many families are no longer able to eat pork at all.

Never before in the modern era have we seen so many major threats to global food production emerge simultaneously.

There are more than 7 billion people living on our planet today, and we need to be able to grow enough food to feed everyone.

If we aren’t able to do that, food prices will start to get really high, and people in the poorest areas simply will not have enough food to feed their families. (Click to Source)

 

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THE MANY INTENSE PLAGUES, FAMINES AND EARTHQUAKES NOW HITTING OUR PLANET ARE CAUSING SOME TO ASK IF WE ARE SEEING THE FULFILLMENT OF REVELATION PROPHECY

The news outlets today are wondering if we are experiencing the Revelation judgments right now, and of course, the answer to that question is an emphatic “no”. Where are we right now, as of the writing of the this article, on the end times timeline in Revelation? We are smack dab at the end of Revelation 3, at the end of the Laodicean church age. The next event on the timeline will be the Pretribulation Rapture of the Church, as we see John experience in type in Revelation 4:1,2 (KJB). All of the major judgments in Revelation do not begin until the opening of the Seals in Revelation 6. The church will not be here for any of that. 

February 18, 2020

The earth is experience birth pangs, the warm-up act if you will, for what’s coming. Jesus tells us that these things come before the Revelation judgments, and that is what we are seeing right now.

Social media is blowing up at the moment, and perhaps rightly so, with people coming to the realization that our planet Earth is being absolutely bombarded by multiple plagues, famines, pestilence and earthquakes, along with really extreme weather. So much so that various articles are coming across the NTEB end times desk asking if we are witnessing the judgments mentioned in Revelation. I will say that I cannot recall another year in recent memory that had so much happening all at the same time as we see now in 2020.

“But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by. Then said he unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven.” Luke 21:9-11 (KJB)

The UK Express news go so far as to state “Book of Revelation Apocalypse Seal ‘Broken’ After Locust Swarm Reaches China” whilst other end times news outlets are running stories with titles like “10 Plagues That Are Hitting Our Planet Simultaneously” and all trying to make a prophecy connection. Well, that’s why we are here, to be the calm voice of reason in chaotic times, compare rightly divided scripture with rightly divided scripture and help you, our wonderful readers, to make sense of it all. That’s exactly what this article will do for you.

Jesus Tells Us That All These Things Must Happen Before Revelation Judgment

The news outlets today are wondering if we are experiencing the Revelation judgments right now, and of course, the answer to that question is an emphatic “no”. Where are we right now, as of the writing of the this article, on the end times timeline in Revelation? We are smack dab at the end of Revelation 3, at the end of the Laodicean church age. The next event on the timeline will be the Pretribulation Rapture of the Church, as we see John experience in type in Revelation 4:1,2 (KJB). All of the major judgments in Revelation do not begin until the opening of the Seals in Revelation 6. The church will not be here for any of that.

“For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.” Romans 8:22,23 (KJB)

So what are we to make of the current spate of earthquakes, plagues, pestilence and famine? The earth is experience birth pangs, the warm-up act if you will, for what’s coming. Jesus tells us that these things come before the Revelation judgments, and that is what we are seeing right now. Take a look at some of what’s going on if you don’t already know:

As you can see, there is a whole lot of crazy stuff happening, but then, we told you back in 2019 that this would be a crazy year, remember? But there is a huge difference between birth pangs and the very specific prophetical judgments mentioned in Revelation, those things are not, I repeat, are not taking place right now. If they were happening right now, you would be running for cover as the world proceeded to fall apart around you, the water would be blood, green grass burnt up and water becoming wormwood. That is not happening now.

Catastrophic Sign of the Times: Pastor Charles Lawson

Largely Overlooked But Powerfully Significant Means by Which Satan is Moving to Obliterate the Image of God in Man: Transgenderism, Designer Babies, and Parentless Children. Reference to the Article by Henry T. Greely, ” The End of Sex and the Future of Human Reproduction.” How Long Will God Let Them Go Before He Sends His Son Again? Scripture: Genesis 3:15

But just because we are not experiencing the Revelation judgments does not mean that time is not short for the born again Church, because time is crazy short right now. In my estimation, the birth pangs began right around the start of WWI, a war that was so shocking that many said it was the end of the world, but it only got a lot worse from there. WWII was many times more intense and deadly, and not only that, you had a perfect type of Antichrist – Adolf Hitler – calling for a thousand year Nazi reign. Not only that, but Israel became a nation again after 2,000 years. Man, that was news just leaping off the pages of the Bible with the ink still wet! And yet, here we are in 2020, over a hundred years later, and still not quite there yet.

Climate Change Cannot Be Stopped

We are close, so very, very close, and we need to be living like we believe that we are close. We need to be witnessing to the lost and handing out gospel tracts. Because honestly, at this point, I think that we, the born again Body of Christ, has gotten just about all the advance warning we are going to get, over a hundred years worth. Noah got 120 and then time was up. I hope this article helps you to make sense of all these things and dramatic headlines you are reading, not to live in fear but to use the time we have left to wisely prepare for launch.

Now The End Begins is your front line defense against the rising tide of darkness in the last days before the Rapture of the Church (Click to Source)

 

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10 Plagues That Are Hitting Our Planet Simultaneously

 

All of a sudden, really crazy things are starting to happen all over the world.  Giant swarms of locusts are absolutely devastating entire regions, extremely unusual storms are confounding meteorologists, earthquake and volcanic activity are both on the rise, and five very dangerous diseases are sweeping across the globe.  So far in 2020, it has just been one thing after another, and many are speculating about what could be ahead if events continue to escalate.  The other day my wife mentioned that one of her friends suggested that I should put together a list of all the weird stuff that has been taking place, and so that is what I have decided to do.  The following is a list of 10 plagues that are hitting our planet simultaneously…

#1 Armies Of Locusts – As I detailed the other day, swarms of locusts the size of major cities have been devouring entire farms in Africa in as little as 30 seconds.  These swarms have also been spreading throughout the Middle East, and now we have learned that they have even reached China…

A gigantic swarm of locusts that belong to a plague that has ravaged millions of acres of crops across east Africa has been spotted reaching the Chinese border.

Billions of the insects have destroyed food supplies across Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia in what has been described as the worst plague for decades.

#2 Extremely Bizarre Weather Patterns – It is almost as if virtually all of the old rules have suddenly been thrown out the window.  An all-time record 209 mph wind gust just hit Calfiornia, and absolutely crazy storms are happening all over the planet.  For example, just check out what just took place in Australia…

Sydney has been thrown into chaos by a devastating storm that saw two months of rainfall in just two days – forcing mass evacuations, leaving 150,000 homes without power, and prompted warnings not to drive to work. The storm dumped 400mm of rain on the city over the weekend, causing mayhem for commuters on Monday morning with roads blocked, ferries canceled and trains suffering major delays across the network.

#3 Unprecedented Flooding – We are seeing unusual flooding all over the world right now, and the flooding that is devastating the southern U.S. at this moment is being called “unprecedented”…

In Jackson, Mississippi, hundreds of residents either watched their homes flood over the weekend or worried their residence would soon be drenched as the Pearl River crested Monday at 36.8 feet, its third-highest level ever recorded – behind only 1979 and 1983.

Calling the Jackson floods “historic” and “unprecedented,” Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves said in a Sunday press conference that “we do not anticipate this situation to end anytime soon. It will be days before we are out of the woods and the waters recede.”

#4 Major Earthquakes – Really big earthquakes are happening with such frequency now that it is very difficult for me to write about them all.  For example, a magnitude 7.7 quake recently struck off of the coast of Jamaica, but I have been so busy writing about other disasters that I have not even mentioned it until now…

A magnitude 7.7 earthquake struck Tuesday about 80 miles from Jamaica, shaking people in the Caribbean and as far away as Miami.

A tsunami of 0.4 feet was recorded in the Cayman Islands at George Town, but no tsunami was observed at Port Royal, Jamaica, or Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic.

#5 Unusual Volcanic Eruptions – Seismic activity has been rising all over the globe, and over the past couple of months we have seen volcanoes all over the world pop off like firecrackers.  One of the most notable eruptions that we have seen in recent days was the most powerful eruption of Mount Merapi in 90 years…

One of Indonesia’s most active volcanoes, Mount Merapi just experienced its most powerful eruption since 1930! The eruption reportedly took place on Thursday and was caught on video displaying a powerful and terrifying eruption showing the moment the crater exploded and launched lava and ash an estimated 2,000 meters into the air forcing local residents to stay outside of the designated no-go zone 3km (1.8 miles) from the crater.

#6 The Coronavirus – Needless to say, the coronavirus outbreak in China has been getting more headlines than anything else on this list.  The numbers continue to rise, and many are speculating that this could potentially become the worst global pandemic since the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918.  In a desperate attempt to keep the truth from getting out, the World Health Organization is asking the major social media companies to censor their users…

The World Health Organization has held talks with tech giants to stop the spread of coronavirus “misinformation,” despite the fact that some things once labeled “misinformation” have since turned out to be true.

The meeting was organized by the WHO but hosted by Facebook at its Menlo Park campus in California. Attendees included representatives from Amazon, Twilio, Dropbox, Google, Verizon, Salesforce, Twitter, YouTube, Airbnb, Kinsa and Mapbox.

#7 The African Swine Fever – “Pig Ebola” has already wiped out millions upon millions of pigs in China, and it has now spread to more than 40 other countries.  The price of pork is absolutely skyrocketing in China right now, and to help fill the demand the Chinese are increasingly importing pork from U.S. sources…

Tyson Foods Inc. says it’s just starting to see the benefits of the African swine fever outbreak in China, which includes a 600% year-over-year increase in pork orders to China in the fiscal first quarter.

#8 The H1N1 Swine Flu – Unlike the African Swine Fever, the H1N1 Swine Flu can actually kill humans.  In fact, it has already killed more people outside of China than the coronavirus outbreak has.  For instance, 13 people in Taiwan died from the virus in one recent week alone…

As of now, the H1N1 virus is posing a great threat once again as it has claimed 13 lives in Taiwan in the last week. This virus is highly contagious and is known to spread from human to human. It is especially dangerous for those with a compromised immune system like those suffering from chronic medical conditions and long-term health conditions.

#9 The H5N1 Bird Flu – This strain of the bird flu caused a massive global scare a number of years ago, and now it is experiencing a stunning resurgence.  China has had to kill thousands of chickens so far, and experts are warning that this outbreak could be just getting started…

China also is reportedly dealing with an outbreak of the deadly H5N1 bird flu in chickens in the Hunan province, an area that borders the province where the coronavirus emerged, according to the South China Morning Post.

As of Feb. 1, local authorities had culled 17,828 poultry after the H5NI outbreak, according to a statement by China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.

#10 The H5N8 Bird Flu – This strain is different from the H5N1 bird flu, but many believe that it is even more frightening.  It has started to pop up in numerous places around the globe, and experts were really surprised when it recently made an appearance in Germany…

Germany has reported an outbreak of the highly pathogenic H5N8 bird flu virus in a backyard in the southwestern part of the country, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) said on Monday.

The virus killed 44 birds out of a flock of 69 in Bretzfeld, in the Baden-Wurttemberg region, the Paris-based OIE said, citing a report from Germany’s food and agriculture ministry.

Can any of you remember a time when we have been hit by crisis after crisis like this all at once?

2020 has certainly started off with quite a bang, and many expect global events to continue to accelerate.

So hold on to your hats, because things are likely to get even crazier in the months ahead. (Click to Source)

 

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Locust attack: ‘This is very, very rare’

Changing wind patterns in India-Pakistan and frequent cyclones in the Indian Ocean due to climate change are creating suitable breeding conditions for locusts, says Keith Cressman, senior locust forecasting officer with the Food and Agriculture Organization.

By Jitendra – Last Updated: Tuesday 04 February 2020

 

How do you see the swarm attack panning out in India?

It appears that a very long breeding season of locust is finally ending. Its population is declining now. Though a few swarms still remain in western Rajasthan and Gujarat, these are immature and cannot be detected and controlled. India’s Locust Watch Centres need to be alert for the next few weeks.

Is this the first time that locust has stayed in India after October-November?

This has happened for the first time since the 1950s. The decades before this witnessed terrible and long periods of locust plague (when there is a swarm attack for more than two continuous years, it is called plague). This time, they stayed for long because of good monsoon.

In 2019, monsoon started six weeks before time (first week of July) in western India, especially in locust infested areas. It also lasted a month longer — till November, instead of the usual September/October. Extended rains created excellent breeding conditions for the locust, while also producing natural vegetation on which they could feed longer.

Locust came to Jaisalmer in May end. Rajasthan has witnessed three generations of breeding instead of the regular one generation. The first two generations caused a lot of damage to crops. The third generation is weak now.

How big is the number after the third generation?

Locust breeds fast. The first breeding causes a 20-time increase in number; the second a 400-time rise; and the third 16,000 times. The peak infestation this time was in October, at the end of second generation, when large swarms were reported in Rajasthan and Gujarat. Since natural vegetation dried out in December, the swarms got into cultivated areas and caused damage.

Can they return in May-June, or before the monsoon?

It does not matter if they go late or come early. Their children or great-grandchildren will come during the time of their annual migration, at the start of the monsoon. They move to south-west Pakistan, Baluchistan and south-east Iran where they hang out in the winter. They wait for rains as humidity and the resultant warmth creates a conducive environment for their breeding.

If breeding is good, the new swarm formed in May-end could move back to India’s monsoonal areas around June. The difference this year was that south-east Iran received heavy rainfall in January, giving an environment conducive for breeding. So swarms are moving from India and Pakistan to lay eggs there.

This generally happens in March-April, but this time it’s happening in January-February. This means Iran and Pakistan will now have an extra generation of locusts. This also means we will have 20 times more locust than normal.

Does this mean they will come early to India and Pakistan this year and set a new pattern of annual migration?

I don’t think so. It is not going to happen every year. Their seasonal migration depends on the rainfall patterns in Iran. Locust swarms are usually carried to India and Pakistan by the monsoon winds. If these are normal then their migration pattern will not change.

Do you think frequent changes in wind patterns are causing an increase in the frequency of locust attacks?

Yes. Wind patterns are changing over India and Pakistan. Because of climate change in the Indian Ocean, there are more cyclones. The frequency of cyclones has increased. Usually, there was a cyclone every five to six years, but in the past three years there have been three cyclones each year.

Cyclones bring rain to coastal Gujarat, Pakistan, Arabian Peninsula, Somalia and north-eastern Africa. This creates good breeding conditions. History shows that these plagues spread due to cyclonic winds.

Africa, too, witnessed one of its worst locust attacks last year.

It is linked to the attack in India and Pakistan. It started in mid-2018 when the desert region of Saudi Arabia received heavy rainfall due to a cyclone. There was another cyclone in November, followed by rains in the Red Sea coast region. These nine months of breeding produced an enormous number of locusts.

Some of them moved north, to Iran, and from there came for spring breeding in India and Pakistan. Other swarms moved south, to Yemen, and in summer, crossed the sea to reach Somalia, to the Horn of Africa. (Click to Source)

 

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North Korea’s Secret Coronavirus Crisis is Crazy Scary

Kim Jong Un canceled a big parade with no real explanation just as the South Korean press reports coronavirus has hit North Korea hard and could explode there.

One sure sign of the regime’s fears is that it failed to stage a parade in central Pyongyang on Saturday, the 72nd anniversary of the founding of the country’s armed forces. Last year, Kim Jong Un himself presided over the procession that displayed the North’s latest missiles and other fearsome hardware along with goose-stepping soldiers in serried ranks.

This year, nothing about the nation’s nuclear warheads, much less the “new strategic weapon” that Kim has vowed to unveil. Rodong Sinmum, the newspaper of the ruling Workers’ Party, merely cited the armed forces’ supposed success combating “severe and dangerous difficulties”—and said nothing at all about the parade.

But reports have filtered out about Kim’s subjects falling prey to coronavirus despite the country’s decision to seal its 880-mile border with China, most of it along the Yalu River into the Yellow Sea to the west, and its 11-mile border with Russia where the Tumen River flows into the Pacific.

Among the first to report fatalities in North Korea, the Seoul-based website Daily NK said five people had died in the critical northwestern city of Sinuiju, on the Yalu River across road and rail bridges from Dandong, which is the largest Chinese city in the region and a key point for commerce with North Korea despite sanctions.

“Victims had crossed the porous Yalu River border despite orders to cut off traffic from China.”

Daily NK, which relies on sources inside North Korea that send reports via Chinese mobile phone networks to contacts in China, said authorities had “ordered public health officials in Sinuiju to quickly dispose of the bodies and keep the deaths secret from the public.”

The victims had crossed the porous Yalu River border despite orders to cut off traffic from China as the disease radiated from the industrial city of Wuhan where the virus originated in December. As of Sunday, more than 700 people had died inside China.

One of the first patients in North Korea reportedly was hospitalized in Sinuiju “with symptoms similar to a cold and was given fever reducers and antibiotics,” said Daily NK, but the patient died as the fever rose. Two more patients died two days later in another hospital in Sinuiju and another two in a nearby town.

North Korea’s worries about an epidemic are all the more intense because of its shortage of basic medicine and equipment. As cases mount, authorities are working feverishly to contain a disease that, if unchecked, could undermine Kim’s grip over his 25 million people, most of whom live in poverty worsened by hunger.

“Because health conditions and health care in North Korea are so bad,” said Bruce Bennett, long-time analyst at the Rand Corporation, “they cannot allow the replication process to develop without severe intervention”—that is, they have to take drastic steps to keep the virus from spreading fast.

The country has just streamlined a headquarters to coordinate operations,  Rodong Sinmun reported, marshaling 30,000 workers to combat the epidemic.

Besides blocking international traffic, the North’s Korean Central News Agency reported the headquarters had ordered tests for everyone entering the capital city of Pyongyang by road and for anyone who had traveled outside the country. Foreigners working in Pyongyang, including those with diplomatic missions or non-governmental organizations, were banned temporarily from venturing outside for shopping.

Even so, with hospitals and clinics largely bereft of needed supplies other than those serving the elite in the capital and elsewhere, a certain desperation was evident in the state media. Rodong Sinmun warned that “the fate” of the country was at stake, according to Yonhap, the South Korean news agency.

“North Korea lacks a vaccine or medical abilities,” said Bennett,”so they have to act by preventing the disease from coming into North Korea.” The point is to “rapidly contain any leakage—exactly what they are trying to do by preventing people-to-people contacts.”

That’s virtually impossible, however, as long as people move illicitly across the border, carrying on low-level commerce in the need to survive a decrepit system. JoongAng Ilbo, a leading South Korean newspaper, cited anonymous source saying that a woman had been diagnosed in the capital and that all those with whom she had had contact had been quarantined.

Unlike in China, North Korea officially has denied any cases while attempting to get people to cooperate in stopping the spread of the disease.  JoongAng Ilbo quoted a North Korean health official, Song In Bom, as having called on North Korean TV for “civil awareness” and unity in dealing with the disease while assuring his audience there had so far been no cases.

“We should expect that the virus would spread rapidly given the state’s inability to contain a pandemic.”
— Victor Cha and Marie DuMond in ‘Beyond Parallel’

“I believe absolutely nothing of what I’m hearing from Pyongyang,” said Evans Revere, a former senior U.S. diplomat who specializes in North Korean issues.

“It simply defies credibility that a country with a grossly inadequate public health infrastructure and a malnourished population, a country that depends on China for some 90 percent of its trade, and a country that had until recently opened itself up to a major influx of Chinese tourists in order to earn foreign exchange has avoided having a lot of victims,” said Revere. “The total closure of the border and other measures Pyongyang has taken reflect a real sense of emergency in the North about the threat.”

In fact, he went on, “I can’t help but think it may also reflect panic if the number of patients is growing.”

Indeed, “the coronavirus arguably poses a unique threat to North Korea,” wrote Victor Cha and Marie DuMond of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington in an article in Beyond Parallel, which is published by CSIS.

“The regime’s relative isolation from the international community hinders the widespread penetration of many diseases from abroad,” they wrote, but “the porous nature of the border with China and frequent travel is a clear vector for the virus’ transmission.” Thus, “If there are reports of the virus inside of North Korea, we should expect that the virus would spread rapidly given the state’s inability to contain a pandemic.”

By now, it may be too late for North Korea to stamp out all signs of the disease.

“Several suspected coronavirus infections have occurred in North Korea even though it shut all its borders,” said Chosun Ilbo, South Korea’s biggest-selling newspaper, citing anonymous sources. “The infections most likely spread through porous parts of the border with China that see plenty of smuggling and other clandestine traffic,” said the paper, reporting suspected cases among those “engaged in smuggling between the North and China.”

“Bottom line,” said Steve Tharp, who’s been analyzing North Korean affairs as both an army officer and civilian expert for many years here, “the coronavirus has tightened up sanctions enforcement more than any other measure over the years because the North Koreans are actually self-enforcing the sanctions, against their will, through the tight closing of their borders in order to save the regime from being wiped out by this human pandemic coming.”

North Korean leaders, said Tharp, “understand very well that this pandemic would rip through their population and be much more dangerous in North Korea than other places because of their inadequate medical infrastructure and the low resistance disease of the general population after so many years of surviving under near-starvation conditions.”

Pakistan declares national emergency over worst locust infestation in 27 years

Posted by Julie Celestial on  (4 days ago)

The government of Pakistan declared a national emergency on Saturday, February 1, 2020, as the nation faces its worst locust plague in 27 years. The insects have been devastating crops on a large scale in Punjab province, the country’s main region for agricultural production.

The decision to declare a national emergency was made during a meeting summoned by Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday, January 31. The meeting was attended by federal ministers and senior officials of four provinces.

A national action plan was also approved to allocate a sum of 7.3 billion rupees (102 million dollars) to tackle the crisis.

“We are facing the worst locust infestation in more than two decades and have decided to declare a national emergency to deal with the threat,” said Information Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan.

In addition, the potential for large scale devastation poses risks of food insecurity.

According to the National Food Security Minister Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar, the locust swarms are on the border of Pakistan and India around the Cholistan and were previously in Sindh and Balochistan.

“The locust attack is unprecedented and alarming,” said Bakhtiar. The last time Pakistan faced a serious locust infestation was in 1993.

“Action has been taken against the insect over 121 400 ha (300 000 acres) and aerial spray was done on 20 000 ha (49 421 acres). District administrations, voluntary organizations, aviation division, and armed forces are put into operation to combat the attack and save the crops.”

Khan ordered the formation of a high-level committee to be led by Bakhtiar to take decisions at the federal level for the eradication of the locusts.

“[The] protection of farms and farmers is the highest priority of the government. Therefore, the federal government should take all necessary steps to save national crops and provide required resources to the quarters concerned,” Khan stated.

The desert locusts came to Pakistan from Iran in June 2019, and have already infested crops including cotton, wheat, and maize. (Click to Source)

 

‘Biblical plague’ of bats forces town into lockdown leaving locals afraid to leave homes

The bat-tornado was so intense that the local hospital’s air ambulance was grounded as they made it impossible to fly in Ingham, Australia

By Kelly-Ann Mills – 12:48, 6 FEB 2020 – UPDATED13:02, 6 FEB 2020

 

The flying animals have taken over the town of Ingham in North Queensland, but they are a protected species so very little can be done.

Mayor of Hinchinbrook Council Raymon Jayo told news magazine show A Current Affair: “It just seems to me that every bat in Australia is now in Ingham.

“There’s four different species and because they all have young at different times, there’s hardly a window of opportunity when we can interact with these bats to try and move them on.”

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But outspoken local politician Bob Katter told the program if it was up to him, he’s “be down here with a shotgun”.

He said: “There comes a point where I think not breaking the law really becomes ‘dogging it,’ as we say in North Queensland.

The helicopter was grounded (Image: A Current Affair)

“And I think that point has probably been reached.”

President of the Ingham’s Chamber of Commerce, Rachael Coco, added: “If this was happening at parliament house, somebody would have come up with a solution by now.”

He added that  that tourism in the area has taken a dramatic hit since the bats arrived.

Trees around one primary school are full of the upside down fruit bats, with many parents refusing to send their children to school until they are gone.

Mum Susanne Kaurila added: “They’re not stepping a foot in that ground until something is being done.” (Click to Source)

 

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Infectious Disease Lab in Montana Studying Coronavirus

An infectious disease lab in western Montana is joining the worldwide effort to study a coronavirus that originated in China, has infected over 28,000 people and killed more than 560.

HAMILTON, MONT. (AP) — An infectious disease lab in western Montana is joining the worldwide effort to study a coronavirus that originated in China, has infected over 28,000 people and killed more than 560.

Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Hamilton received its first sample of the 2019 novel coronavirus on Wednesday, the Ravalli Republic reported.

Emmie de Wit, the lab’s principal investigator on the new virus, said researchers have already started projects and more will get underway soon.

About 10 scientists are working with the deadly flu-like virus, with tasks based on their area of expertise, de Wit said Thursday.

One of the first experiments will likely focus on how long the virus remains viable on a surface and still be able to infect someone.

With earlier coronavirus outbreaks — SARS in 2003 and MERS in 2012 — scientists learned that many people became infected in hospitals where there was a potential for spread through droplets and aerosols produced by those already infected.

Other research will include learning how the virus binds to cells so therapies can be developed to prevent that binding and stop the infection, establishing an animal model to study the virus, and testing the safety and effectiveness of vaccines and treatments, she said.

Researchers will also test different antiviral drugs that have been shown to work on similar viruses.

“We are trying to find an antiviral that has already been used to treat other viruses,” de Wit said. “If we can find one that works, it’s easier to move forward quickly versus developing a totally different drug that would be specifically designed for this virus.”

Labs all over the world are studying the new virus. While the majority of people with the illness are in China, more than 200 people with the illness have been reported in other countries, including the U.S. Some Americans who had been living in Wuhan, China — where the virus originated — have been returned to the U.S. and were quarantined on military bases.

“Everyone is trying to make sure that we have a treatment or a vaccine in case it blows up in the U.S,” de Wit said.

Rocky Mountain Labs is affiliated with the National Institutes of Health. (Click to Source)

 

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

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