Fire At Will silences big guns in Juvenile Turf | Racing News

first_imgAidan O’Brien’s Battleground had to make do with the runner-up spot as Fire At Will claimed a surprise victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Keeneland.A son of War Front out of the yard’s Arc heroine Found, Battleground was strongly fancied to provide O’Brien with a fifth victory in this Grade One contest following the previous triumphs of Wrote (2011), George Vancouver (2012), Hit It A Bomb (2015) and Mendelssohn (2017).- Advertisement – – Advertisement – Ralph Beckett’s pair of New Mandate and Devilwala, as well as Michael Bell’s The Lir Jet, finished unplaced.Maker said of the 33-1 winner: “I thought he was way overpriced – he’s done nothing wrong and is a very professional and classy horse.”Moore said of Battleground: “He ran a lovely race, I like him a lot. He’s a horse with a big future.- Advertisement – “He ran on really well at the finish, but the winner had gone.”Shane Foley was happy with Cadillac, and may have been closer with a shade more luck.He said: “He got shuffled back on the first turn, but then ran on in the straight. He stays the trip very well.”Frankie Dettori, meanwhile, felt the season had caught up with New Mandate.He said: “I think he’s over the top, he ran with the choke out. It was one (run) too many.” Winner of the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Vintage Stakes at Goodwood this summer, Battleground raced in midfield for much of the way and was still back in the field rounding the home turn, as Wesley Ward’s front-runner Outadore set sail for home.Michael Maker’s Fire At Will reeled in the leader inside the final furlong before pulling nicely clear in the hands of Ricardo Santana Jr.Battleground finished strongly for Ryan Moore to beat Outadore to second, with Jessica Harrington’s Cadillac not far behind that pair in fourth.- Advertisement –last_img read more

Ian Foster says All Blacks fell for Wallabies’ niggle in Tri-Nations defeat | Rugby Union News

first_imgThe red cards that hit both teams for head-high tackles drew heated debate, with former All Blacks great John Kirwan saying the whole red card system should be scrapped because it punishes teams too severely and can end up killing off a contest.“I get that argument to one extent,” said Foster. “But the flipside of it is it’s a very physical game, and if we don’t have clear boundaries, it becomes really hard for everyone to play the skilful game they need to.”The All Blacks have notched two wins, a loss and a draw against the Wallabies in Foster’s first four matches in charge, and wrapped up the four-Test Bledisloe Cup with a match to spare after humiliating Australia 43-5 in Sydney a week ago.They continue their bid for the Tri-Nations silverware against Argentina in Sydney on Saturday, live on Sky Sports. – Advertisement – – Advertisement – “In the second half we weren’t as disciplined as we needed to be,” said Foster. “We were being pushed in the areas and provoked in the areas, and again that’s a tactic that teams use against us, and good on them.“We’ve got to be better than that and smarter than that.” Watch highlights from Brisbane as Australia edged past New Zealand Live Tri-Nations Rugby November 14, 2020, 6:00amLive on Watch highlights from Brisbane as Australia edged past New Zealand Ian Foster has urged New Zealand to be smarter after claiming they were “provoked” into losing their discipline by Australia in Brisbane.Foster tasted a bitter first defeat as head coach of the All Blacks after his reshuffled side were beaten 24-22 in Saturday’s fiery cliffhanger, which featured two red cards and two yellows.New Zealand were punished severely for indiscipline in the second half, with Wallabies fly-half Reece Hodge slotting three penalties and prop Taniela Tupou scoring the decisive try while Scott Barrett was sin-binned for drawing yellow in the 68th minute. New Zealand centre Anton Lienert-Brown argues with Reece Hodge (10) New Zealand centre Anton Lienert-Brown argues with Reece Hodge (10)

Trump Administration Removes Scientist in Charge of Assessing Climate Change

first_imgA biased or diminished climate assessment would have wide-ranging implications.- Advertisement – – Advertisement – WASHINGTON — The White House has removed the scientist responsible for the National Climate Assessment, the federal government’s premier contribution to climate knowledge and the foundation for regulations to combat global warming, in what critics interpreted as the latest sign that the Trump administration intends to use its remaining months in office to continue impeding climate science and policy.Michael Kuperberg, executive director of the U.S. Global Change Research Program, which produces the climate assessment, was told Friday that he would no longer lead that organization, people with knowledge of the situation said.- Advertisement – Mr. Ebell, whose organization has championed the appointment of Dr. Legates and others who question the established science of climate change, said the intention is for him to lead the program while continuing to hold his position at NOAA. “It might be a short-term appointment,” Mr. Ebell said, given the election of President-elect Biden, who has said he will embrace aggressive efforts to tackle climate change.“If he only directs it for two months and a week, then he may not get very far, but let’s see what can get done in two months. Maybe the next administration will throw it all away, but maybe some changes will be adopted, who knows,” Mr. Ebell said. Marc Morano, a prominent denier of established climate change science, cheered the departure of Mr. Kuperberg and said he expects Mr. Legates to be named. “The Trump administration is ‘listening to the science’ by clearing out the anti-science promoters of extreme climate scenarios. These moves are long, long overdue,” he said.Dr. Legates did not respond to a request for comment.Federal employees, who asked not be identified because they were concerned about retaliation from the White House, said they worried that the administration’s goal in removing Dr. Kuperberg was to make it easier to pick authors for the report who also question the severity of climate change. Those who have publicly attacked climate science, like Mr. Ebell and Mr. Morano, said that is the goal.While the incoming Biden administration could reverse those decisions, doing so would slow down the production of the climate assessment. The next edition, which was supposed to be released by 2022, has already been pushed back to 2023.Dr. Kuperberg’s removal isn’t the only example of the Trump administration taking steps that could impede climate policy in its final months. Mr. Chatterjee, a Republican who was demoted Friday as chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, had recently drawn White House ire. He had supported a series of proposals that would expand use of large-scale battery storage in power grid, thus encouraging the use of wind and solar power, while allowing electric utilities to charge a user fee for power generated from coal and natural gas, which would discourage the use of those fossil fuels.Like the findings of the National Climate Assessment, the moves by Mr. Chatterjee were at odds with Mr. Trump’s policies, which have been aimed at aggressively increasing the use of coal and other fossil fuels, chiefly by reducing regulations. The White House replaced Mr. Chatterjee as chairman of the panel with another member of the commission, James Danly, who has opposed efforts to promote renewable power. In a message to colleagues, Dr. Kuperberg said he was returning to his previous job at the Department of Energy. He was removed from the list of staff on the research program’s website on Monday.- Advertisement – “It is 100 percent retribution,” said Mr. Chatterjee in a telephone interview, of the White House move to demote him from his chairmanship. “This validates my independence and integrity. I’m going to hold my head up high.”A White House spokesman, Judd Deere, said that the White House would not comment on personnel matters. Mr. Chatterjee will remain on the five-member commission, and said he intends to serve out his current term, which ends in June.Rachel Licker, a senior climate scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists, criticized the actions of Trump administration officials. “Even in their final days, they are continuing to attempt to bury the overwhelming scientific consensus on climate change.” It could be used in court to bolster the positions of fossil fuel companies being sued for climate damages. It could counter congressional efforts to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, where it contributes to global warming. Dr. Kuperberg did not respond to requests for comment. The Global Change Research Program reports to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Asked why Dr. Kuperberg had been removed from the role, Kristina Baum, a spokeswoman for that office, said on Monday that “we do not comment on personnel matters.”Dr. Kuperberg’s dismissal appears to be the latest setback in the Trump administration for the National Climate Assessment, a report from 13 federal agencies and outside scientists that the government is required by law to produce every four years. The most recent report, in 2018, found that climate change poses an imminent and dire threat to the United States and its economy. Dr. Michael KuperbergCredit… According to two people close to the administration, he is expected to be replaced by David Legates, a deputy assistant secretary at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration who previously worked closely with climate change denial groups.Dr. Kuperberg’s departure comes amid a broader effort, in the aftermath of Mr. Trump’s defeat last week by President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr., to remove officials who have fallen afoul of the White House. Also on Friday, Neil Chatterjee, head of the agency that regulates the nation’s utility markets, was demoted by the White House, after he publicly supported the use of renewable power. And, ultimately, it could weaken what is known as the “endangerment finding,” a 2009 scientific finding by the Environmental Protection Agency that said carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions pose a threat to human health and therefore are subject to government regulation. Undercutting that finding could make it more difficult to fight climate change under the terms of the Clean Air Act.The agency most involved in that report is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the country’s premier climate science agency. In September, the White House installed at NOAA new political staff who have questioned the science of climate change. People familiar with the administration’s strategy said the aim was to use NOAA’s influence to undercut the National Climate Assessment.“They’re trying to just do a takeover of all this stuff so they can control the National Climate Assessment thinking,” said Judith Curry, a former chairwoman of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, in an interview Monday.One of the new political hires was Dr. Legates, a professor at the University of Delaware’s geography department and now a deputy administrator at NOAA who has worked closely for years with climate denial groups and has argued that carbon dioxide “is plant food and not a pollutant.” Dr. Legates is now being considered to take Dr. Kuperberg’s position as head of the Global Change Research Program, according to two people including Myron Ebell, a director at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and a former member of Mr. Trump’s transition team. David Legates during a 2008 conference appearance. Credit…Kevin Dietsch/UPI Photo, via Alamylast_img read more

How Daughter Luna Honored Late Son Jack

first_imgThe best big sister. Chrissy Teigen showed her “incredibly empathetic” daughter, Luna, honoring her late baby brother in a touching Monday, November 9, Instagram video.“I’m just thinking a lot about Jack today,” the Cravings author, 34, captioned the social media upload. “Our house is very open about life, death, grief, everything really. We try to explain things well and answer every question imaginable in a beautiful, spiritual but literal way. I know this is a weird post but I just wanted to share these to always remember … life is infinitely better with [Luna] in it. I miss u, Jack. We miss you a lot.”- Advertisement – The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model added that they had selected a special place for their late son’s ashes. “[They’re] waiting to be put into the soil of a tree in our new home, the one we got with his room in mind,” Teigen explained at the time.She and the EGOT winner announced in August that they were expecting baby No. 3. Teigen debuted her baby bump in the singer’s “Wild” music video and accidentally revealed the sex in an Instagram video the following month.Listen to Us Weekly’s Hot Hollywood as each week the editors of Us break down the hottest entertainment news stories! – Advertisement – Teigen and Legend, 41, who also share their 2-year-old son, Miles, announced in September that they had suffered a pregnancy loss. “We are shocked and in the kind of deep pain you only hear about, the kind of pain we’ve never felt before,” the Utah native wrote via Instagram at the time. “We were never able to stop the bleeding and give our baby the fluids he needed, despite bags and bags of blood transfusions. It just wasn’t enough.”Chrissy Teigen and Luna Honor Jack After Pregnancy LossLuna Courtesy of Chrissy Teigen/InstagramThe following month, the Bring the Funny judge penned a Medium essay about the “utter and complete sadness” she and the Voice coach were experiencing, writing, “People say an experience like this creates a hole in your heart. A hole was certainly made, but it was filled with the love of something I loved so much. It doesn’t feel empty, this space. It feels full.”- Advertisement – In the footage, the Lip Sync Battle cohost explained that they had “just got baby Jack’s ashes back.” Teigen showed the white box, explaining, “Luna put a little therapy bear around him. The best part is, I came down and she gave him a piece of her favorite snack, a tiny piece of Pirate’s Booty. She’s amazing.”Chrissy Teigen and Luna Honor Jack After Pregnancy LossChrissy Teigen and Luna Courtesy of Chrissy Teigen/InstagramHer and John Legend’s 4-year-old daughter sat on the couch talking to the box of ashes and the stuffed animal in a second clip. “Hi, guys,” she said. “This is baby Jack, and I’m Teddy. I’m Luna. How you doing today?”Kris Jenner called the little one “precious” in the post’s comments.- Advertisement –last_img read more

Hubble USB-C hub and case supports the iPad Air and iPad Pro » Gadget Flow

first_img– Advertisement – When you use the Hubble USB-C hub and case, you’ll have all that you need right by your iPad’s side. Say goodbye to dongles with this side-mounted hub, which offers all the ports you need. It has two USB-C ports, a USB-A port, an SD and microSD card reader, and an audio jack. Plus, you won’t smudge your screen anymore because it also provides an easy way to keep ahold of your iPad while you use it. Furthermore, the integrated case has a magnetic closure that ensures your iPad Air or iPad Pro stays safely inside. What’s more, this all-in-one USB-C hub even has a magnetic spot to dock and charge your Apple Pencil. Choose Silver or Space Grey to match your Apple gadget. Finally, this USB-C Hub and Case boasts 4K 60 Hz HDMI screen mirroring to increase your productivity.last_img read more

Voters are ‘going to rise up one more time,’ Warnock predicts of Georgia Senate runoffs

first_img– Advertisement – This is a huge opportunity, but Ossoff and Warnock will also have to overcome both the state’s historically Republican tilt and the voter suppression that has been such a major feature of recent elections. In 2008, Saxby Chambliss won a Senate runoff by 15 points. In 2018, Stacey Abrams came achingly close in an election tainted by voter suppression. “This is a very different state than 2008. We’ve been working really hard. We have registered hundreds of thousands of voters in the state,” Warnock told reporters Thursday. “With record turnout this time around, I think that people understand what’s at stake. They’re going to rise up one more time.”- Advertisement – But that’s what it will take: a mass uprising.“We can’t be complacent,” said state Sen. Jennifer Jordan. “If we don’t vote for Warnock and Ossoff, we’re just going to have another situation where [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell is doing everything he can to make sure the president fails.”The runoffs are Jan. 5, 2021. If you live in Georgia, register to vote now and share that link with your family and friends in the state. The deadline is Dec. 7.- Advertisement –last_img read more

SpaceX’s ‘Resilience’ Lifts 4 Astronauts Into NASA’s New Era of Spaceflight

first_imgDespite iffy weather — forecasts gave only a 50-50 chance of favorable conditions at the launchpad — the skies remained clear enough. At 7:27 p.m. Eastern time, the nine engines of the Falcon 9 rocket roared to life and brightened the night sky as the rocket arced over the Atlantic Ocean. The four astronauts who lifted off on Sunday will join three others already at the space station: Kate Rubins of NASA and two Russians, Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov.They will be doing what astronauts have been doing for the past two decades on the space station: overseeing scientific experiments, performing maintenance tasks and talking to students on the ground.The astronauts, for example, will collect their own biological samples to help scientists on the ground study how dietary changes affect the body. They will also grow radishes, the latest experiment to explore whether food can be grown in space. (Red lettuce and mizuna mustard greens are among earlier foods that astronauts have studied.) They will also test whether fungi can break apart asteroid rock and help extract useful metals — a scientific prelude to extraterrestrial mining operations, and a follow-up to a similar, successful experiment that used bacteria.With Crew Dragon entering operational status, the crew of the space station can be increased to seven. After the retirement of the space shuttles, the Russian Soyuz spacecraft was the only means for astronauts to travel to and from the space station. The Soyuz only has three seats, and it also serves as a lifeboat in case of an emergency — with two Soyuz spacecraft docked at the station, the maximum size of the crew was six.But for now, the space station only has places for six astronauts to sleep, not seven. “We are currently short one crew quarters on board station,” Mr. Hopkins said during a news conference on Monday. Mr. Hopkins, the commander of the SpaceX crew, said that he might sleep in the Crew Dragon instead.Katherine J. Wu contributed reporting. The four astronauts on this flight are Michael S. Hopkins, Shannon Walker and Victor J. Glover of NASA, and Soichi Noguchi, a Japanese astronaut. It’s not yet the same as hopping on a commuter flight from New York to Washington or renting a car from Avis, but Sunday’s launch of four astronauts to the International Space Station in a capsule built by SpaceX was a momentous step toward making space travel commonplace.In the future, instead of relying on government-operated spacecraft, NASA astronauts and anyone else with enough money will be able to buy a ticket on a commercial rocket.- Advertisement – “I’ve had some amazing colleagues before me that really could have done it, and there are some amazing folks that will go behind me,” Mr. Glover said. “I wish it would have already been done, but I try not to draw too much attention to it.”Charles F. Bolden Jr., who served as NASA administrator under President Barack Obama, said that while Mr. Glover was making history, he should not feel burdened.“Several of us have had an opportunity to try to talk with him regularly and try to help put him at ease and help him understand he’s not carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders,” said Mr. Bolden, who is also Black and spent almost 700 hours in space as a NASA astronaut. “He shouldn’t feel unusual responsibility because he’s Black. He should just go and be another crew member and have a good time.”On Sunday afternoon, as the astronauts prepared for the launch, they were visited by Jim Bridenstine, the current NASA administrator, and Gwynne Shotwell, the president and chief operating officer of SpaceX.For Mr. Bridenstine, this was the last astronaut launch he would view as leader of NASA. In an interview last week with the magazine Aviation Week, Mr. Bridenstine said he would not stay in his current role past the inauguration, even if asked by the incoming Biden administration. NASA and SpaceX last week completed the certification process, which provides the space agency’s seal of approval that SpaceX has met the specifications set out for regularly taking NASA astronauts to orbit. This launch, known as Crew-1, is a regularly scheduled trip to take four crew members for a six-month stay at the space station.“It marks the end of the development phase of the system,” Phil McAlister, director of commercial spaceflight development at NASA, said in a telephone interview with reporters on Thursday. “For the first time in history, there is a commercial capability from a private sector entity to safely and reliably transport people to space.” NASA designated Sunday night’s launch as the first operational flight of the Crew Dragon spacecraft built and operated by SpaceX, the rocket company started by Elon Musk. The four astronauts aboard — three from NASA and one from JAXA, the Japanese space agency — left Earth from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.A Crew Dragon took two astronauts — Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley — to the space station in May, but that was a test flight to shake out remaining glitches in the systems.center_img Mr. Musk, the chief executive of SpaceX, remained out of sight, after he said he “most likely” had a “moderate case” of Covid-19. – Advertisement – – Advertisement – – Advertisement – After dropping away from the second stage, which continued to orbit, the Falcon 9 booster turned around and landed on a floating platform. SpaceX now, as a matter of course, recovers and reuses the boosters. This same rocket stage will be used to launch the next quartet of astronauts to the space station next spring.The Crew Dragon, named Resilience, is scheduled to dock on Monday at about 11 p.m. after a 27.5-hour trip as the capsule catches up with space station, which is traveling at more than 17,000 miles per hour.When Mr. Glover arrives, he will become the first Black astronaut to serve as a member of the station’s crew in the 20-some years that people have been living aboard the International Space Station. Other Black astronauts have previously been aboard the space station, but they were there for briefer stays during space shuttle missions that helped assemble the orbiting outpost.When asked during a news conference on Monday about his thoughts on making history, Mr. Glover modestly nodded to the significance.“It is something to be celebrated once we accomplish it, and I am honored to be in this position and to be a part of this great and experienced crew,” he said. “And I look forward to getting up there and doing my best to make sure, you know, we are worthy of all the work that’s been put into setting us up for this mission. You know, unlike the election — that is in the past or receding in the past — this mission is still ahead of me. So, let’s get there, and I’ll talk to you after I get on board.”He also said last week in an interview with The Christian Chronicle, a publication of the Churches of Christ, that the milestone was “bittersweet.”last_img read more

EPA, airlines announce pact on drinking-water safety

first_img In addition, the EPA said it will test the water on 169 randomly selected airliners at 14 airports and publish the results by early January. Also, airlines are required to analyze possible sources of contamination outside aircraft and report practices regarding the use of water from foreign supplies not regulated by the EPA, officials said. Member airlines will sample the drinking water on all aircraft over the next year and report results quarterly to EPA. The agreement follows EPA’s report in September that water aboard 12.6% of 158 airliners tested by the EPA failed to meet agency standards. Water from 20 planes failed the standard for total coliform bacteria, and two of those had Escherichia coli in their water. In a news release, the Air Transport Association said the agreement calls for the following: Airlines included in the agreement are Alaska, Aloha, American, America West, ATA, Continental, Hawaiian, JetBlue, Midwest, Northwest, United, and US Airways. Delta Airlines and Southwest Airlines are negotiating separate agreements with the EPA, the agency said. Airlines will disinfect aircraft drinking-water systems quarterly and drinking-water carts once a month. The EPA said it is working on similar water-quality agreements with regional and charter airlines. If a water sample fails to meet standards, the airline will immediately disinfect the drinking-water system or stop serving water until it can be disinfected. (Previously, EPA protocols called for retesting to confirm the problem before taking action.)center_img Nov 9 EPA news release “The agreements we are announcing today will provide critical information, and at the same time provide increased protection to the flying public,” Thomas V. Skinner, acting assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, stated in the EPA release. Nov 11, 2004 (CIDRAP News) – The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and major US airlines announced an interim agreement this week to strengthen procedures for testing and disinfecting drinking-water systems on airliners. The Air Transport Association statement said, “While we remain confident that the protocols now in place ensure that aircraft drinking water is just as safe as the municipal water systems that supply it, we have voluntarily agreed to take these additional steps to address any lingering questions about the quality of aircraft drinking water in light of a recent EPA study.” See also: The agreement covers 12 of the 14 major carriers belonging to the Air Transport Association, the EPA said. It will remain in effect while EPA works on permanent regulations in a review process that began in 2002.last_img read more

Congo’s plague outbreak smaller than initially feared

first_img Many miners fled the area upon learning of the outbreak. The World Health Organization (WHO), concerned that miners could spread the disease to other regions, sent a team on Feb 25 to begin intensive surveillance. Mar 2, 2005 (CIDRAP News) – An outbreak of pneumonic plague in a lawless part of the Congo appears to be smaller and more geographically limited than was originally feared, according to recent reports. Dr. Eric Bertherat, head of the WHO team, also said cases seemed to be restricted to the mine area, according to the report. He said the 61 fatal cases reported initially are being reexamined to confirm the cause of death. “Although we are finding more cases in Zobia, it seems that, overall, there are less cases than the 400 we originally thought there were,” he said. A Reuters story published Feb 28 carried conflicting numbers. Philippe Havet, emergency coordinator for Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), told Reuters that investigators had registered 61 new cases of plague, including one death. MSF, a nonprofit organization that was already working in the Ituri district, has created an isolation treatment center. See also: Pneumonic plague often starts with cough, fever, and discomfort within 2 to 6 days of infection. People develop extreme difficulty breathing as their lungs fill with fluids and can die in as little as 48 hours. This form can spread from person to person via aerosolized bacteria, bypassing the usual route of flea bites or infective materials. But antibiotics can treat the disease and prevent a secondary outbreak.center_img In a news release yesterday, the WHO said only four probable cases, including one death, and four suspected cases of pneumonic plague had been reported. A retrospective study of cases was ongoing. Thirty-four samples were being tested at the Institut de la Recherche Biomedicale in Kinshasa, the Congo’s capital, and team members were following up 113 contacts in the region, the WHO said. Mar 1 WHO news release “There were 15 new cases yesterday, but these people are limited to the mine, no further,” Havet was quoted as saying. Aid agencies and others have searched for infected miners but report having found none so far, the story said. Reports from the Ituri district in late February indicated at least 61 people had died and hundreds might have been sickened by pneumonic plague, the rarest form of the disease. Poor sanitation and close working conditions in the Zobia diamond mine, which employs 7,000 miners from throughout the region, were thought to have promoted the disease’s spread. Havet and a WHO official quoted in the story agreed that the disease did not appear to be spreading very far.last_img read more

WHO concludes H5N1 likely spread within family

first_imgJun 22, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – The World Health Organization has concluded that Indonesia’s recent family cluster of H5N1 avian influenza cases probably involved person-to-person transmission, including one three-person chain, according to the Associated Press (AP).In a report obtained yesterday by the AP, the WHO said the first person in the cluster probably caught the virus from sick birds and then passed it to six family members, the AP reported. One of those family members, a boy, then probably infected his father.But the WHO also said the virus has not mutated and did not spread to anyone outside the family, according to the AP story. The findings described by the AP match what the WHO had said previously about the cluster, but the agency has not released a final report on the episode.Seven members of an extended family in North Sumatra province had confirmed H5N1 cases in May, and six of them died. Another family member, a 37-year-old woman, had a similar illness before the others but died and was buried without being tested for the disease. Her case is regarded as the index case in the cluster.”Six confirmed H5N1 cases likely acquired [the] H5N1 virus through human-to-human transmission from the index case . . . during close prolonged contact with her during the late stages of her illness,” the AP quoted the WHO report as saying.Officials previously said several family members had slept in the same room with the index case-patient one night when she was coughing heavily.The AP said the report was distributed at a closed meeting of avian flu experts in Jakarta. The meeting was organized after Indonesia asked for international help in dealing with avian flu.One of the mysteries about the case cluster, the story notes, is why only blood relatives, not spouses, became infected. The AP says the WHO speculates that the family members had “a common genetic predisposition to infection with H5N1 virus with severe and fatal outcomes,” but there is no evidence for that.Keiji Fukuda, coordinator of the WHO’s Global Influenza Program, told the AP the cluster seems to resemble other family clusters that involved limited human-to-human transmission after close contact.”The really critical factor is, why did that cluster develop?” he said.In other avian flu news, Malaysia today declared itself free of the disease after 3 months with no outbreaks, but said it would remain vigilant, according to an Agence France-Presse (AFP) report.”Malaysia is now free of the H5N1 virus after 3 months since the last infection,” Agriculture Minister Muhyiddin Yassin was quoted as saying at a news conference.Malaysia had a rash of outbreaks starting in February in chickens in villages near Kuala Lumpur, the story said. Since then, five other outbreaks have occurred in poultry in the northern states of Perak and Penang.Muhyiddin said the country must remain on alert because avian flu is still spreading in neighboring Indonesia. In new safety measures, he said slaughtering of chickens at “wet markets” must stop, and state governments have been asked to require farmers to breed birds in cages to keep them away from wild birds, the story said.See also: May 24, 2006, CIDRAP News story “Two generations of spread possible in Indonesia H5N1 cases”last_img read more