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Another bird flu death in China as number of infected grows to 95

Another bird flu death in China as number of infected grows to 95

Saturday, Apr 20, 2013
Reuters

SHANGHAI – China reported another death and four new infections from a new strain of bird flu on Saturday, raising the death toll to 18, the official Xinhua News Agency said. The H7N9 virus has been found in 95 people, mostly in eastern China. The latest victim is a 69-year old man surnamed Xu from Zhejiang province who passed away Friday night after emergency treatment failed, Xinhua said. Zhejiang province reported three new infection cases with all three patients in critical condition. The eastern costal province of Jiangsu also reported another bird flu infection. On Friday health officials raised questions about the source of this strain of bird flu indicating that more than half of patients had no contact with poultry.

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Viruses move a lot faster than governments do. As new viruses emerge in China and the Middle East, the world is poorly prepared for a global pandemic

An ounce of prevention: As new viruses emerge in China and the Middle East, the world is poorly prepared for a global pandemic

Apr 20th 2013 | Bangkok and New York |From the print edition

IN FEBRUARY an 87-year-old man was admitted to hospital in Shanghai. What started as a cough progressed to a fever. One week later, unable to breathe and with his brain inflamed, he died. Shortly afterwards, a 27-year-old pork butcher was admitted to the same hospital with similar symptoms. He died too, within a week. A 35-year-old housewife who went to hospital in Anhui on March 19th lasted only slightly longer. On March 31st officials confirmed these were the first three cases of a strain of influenza, H7N9, that had never before been seen in humans. The government responded quickly—a far cry from its reaction, ten years ago, to a similar cluster of cases in Guangdong. That infection turned out to be SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome). At first, officials tried to hide that disease. The deceit served to ensure its spread and it went on to kill nearly 800 people. Much has changed in the past decade. This time officials quickly posted H7N9’s genetic sequence, then published a detailed report in the New England Journal of Medicine. Even so, H7N9 has infected at least 82 people and killed 17 of them. The virus’s path of transmission is not well understood. The recent detection of H7N9 in a boy with no apparent symptoms suggests people can carry the virus unwittingly. Meanwhile a new coronavirus (the family of viruses that SARS belongs to) is circulating in the Middle East. It has killed 11 people since it was noticed in September. Though Saudi Arabia has welcomed some foreign investigators, other scientists claim the country should be more transparent. Read more of this post

Doraemon trumps Hello Kitty for Olympic Games ambassador

Doraemon trumps Hello Kitty for Olympic Games ambassador

BY AMY CHAVEZ, APR 20, 2013

Doraemon-Olympics-Tokyo-420

Japan’s most lovable anime character, el gato cosmico (the cosmic cat) has been chosen to be Japan’s ambassador in Tokyo’s bid for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic games. It’s the first time Japan has chosen an anime character for an Olympic ambassadorship. Congratulations Doraemon!

I know what you’re thinking: That’s a cat? He doesn’t look like a cat. His tongue is too smooth. He has no fur. And he’s blue! Well, he’s a cat of the future. A robotic feline of the 22nd century, to be exact. With the ability to travel back in time, which is why he is here now.

But just because Doraemon is a cat of the future doesn’t mean he doesn’t have experience in the past. He first appeared in Japan of 1969. In 2008 he was appointed by the Foreign Ministry to be their “anime ambassador.” No one really remembers exactly what Doraemon did while in office at that time, which at least means he did nothing scandalous. Read more of this post

Roast Peking duck restaurants have seen a sharp drop in business because of the ongoing bird flu outbreak; Quanjude, a brand with 136 years experience in making roast duck, havep lummeted 17% in 12 trading days

Duck restaurants hit by bird flu outbreak

Updated: 2013-04-20 07:47

By Wang Zhuoqiong and Ye Jun ( China Daily) Read more of this post

Chinese investors short gold in London as prices tumble while the retail public buys; Tianjin Precious Metal Exchange flooded with requests from investors looking to short gold

Chinese investors short gold in London as prices tumble

Staff Reporter, 2013-04-20

Members of the public have rushed to buy gold amid the current price drop, while investors have been actively short selling. (Photo/CFP)

Chinese investors in London are increasingly short selling gold shares as the price of the precious metal has lost about 30% of its value from a year and a half ago.

The price of gold in the city hit a low of US$1,385.70 an ounce at one point on April 15, a plunge of nearly 30% from a historic high of US$1,920.38 an ounce in September 2011, according to the Chinese-language National Business Daily, which quoted an official at the research unit of Donghai Futures.

An investment consultant at Mintai Precious Metals, a member of the Tianjin Precious Metal Exchange — one of two precious metal exchanges in China approved by the State Council — said his company was flooded with requests from investors looking to short gold. Read more of this post

Rob Arnott of Research Affiliates: Most hedge funds disappoint; Funds have underperformed at a time when they are drawing more and more money from middle class retirement accounts

Rob Arnott: Most hedge funds disappoint

By Stephen Gandel, senior editor April 19, 2013: 11:51 AM ET

Funds have underperformed at a time when they are drawing more and more money from middle class retirement accounts.

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Blue bar shows what happened to the portfolios risk-adjusted returns when hedge fund were added. Source: Research Affiliates

FORTUNE — Hedge funds have been a bust.

That’s how Robert Arnott, one of the nation’s most successful investment managers, sees it. That’s also the conclusion of a piece of research posted on his firm’s website this week.

The research, which is titled “The Lure of Hedge Funds,” directly refutes one of the key claims hedge funds managers make when they try to attract investors.

“There are some outstanding hedge funds, but they are considerably outnumbered by the multitudes of lousy ones,” says Arnott, who heads Research Affiliates.

Hedge funds have traditionally been investment vehicles for the rich and universities. But in the past decade or so, they have drawn more and more money from public pensions and other accounts that hold the retirement funds of the middle class. Assets in hedge funds have more than tripled in the past decade to $2.25 trillion, according to Research Affiliates.

“The results have been a disappointment, and yet asset flows continue at an astronomical rate,” says Arnott.

Part of that has to do with the sales pitch.

On the face of it, hedge funds have had a rough go of it recently. The vast majority of funds have done worse than the market for the past four years. To add insult to injury, last year even mutual funds outperformed hedge funds, which charge much higher fees than their rivals.

But hedge fund managers and the industry in general have long contended that those criticizing the funds for not having the highest returns are missing the point. They say hedge funds achieve their investment returns with less risk. You hear of the benefits of diversification, and risk-adjusted-returns. The pro-hedge fund camp argues that when you factor in the lower risk, investing in hedge funds is a better bet than just blindly putting your money in the market.

But Arnott says that’s a bunch of baloney. Read more of this post

Jim Chanos’s New China Presentation Will Have You Convinced The Country Is Doomed For A Hard Landing

Jim Chanos’s New China Presentation Will Have You Convinced The Country Is Doomed For A Hard Landing

Sam Ro | Apr. 19, 2013, 12:26 PM | 58,050 | 14

Jim Chanos gave a devastating presentation on China at Mish Shedlock’s Wine Country Conference. Chanos has been bearish on China for quite a while.  However, his new presentation is particularly fascinating because it has some pretty graphic cartoons. “The cartoons/illustrations, gruesome/silly, as they are, are FROM Chinese sources!” said Chanos in an email to Business Insider.  “That’s why we put them in-so that people know that the media inside China is becoming more skeptical itself.”

the-chinese-economic-story-is-riddled-with-red-flags Read more of this post

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