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Mammal Virus Tally Seen Speeding Global Contagion Control

Mammal Virus Tally Seen Speeding Global Contagion Control

The mammalian world may harbor at least 320,000 viruses, scientists estimated in new research that aims to speed the control of new infectious killers. The tally, based on data collected from flying foxes in Bangladesh applied to the 5,486 known species of mammal, will help create a more systematic way of managing outbreaks, particularly those spreading from animals to humans, scientists from Columbia University and the EcoHealth Alliance wrote in a paper published today in the journal mBio. Zooneses, or diseases that transmit from vertebrate animals to humans, account for almost 70 percent of emerging infectious diseases including HIV, Ebola and severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, the scientists said. “This is a real breakthrough,” said Peter Daszak, a study author and president of EcoHealth Alliance, a biodiversity conservation organization. “Instead of just sitting here and waiting for them to emerge and kill us, we want to be ahead of the curve and fight them before they even kill the first ever person.” Money spent researching disease threats would represent a fraction of the cost of fighting a contagion such as SARS, whose economic impact is estimated at $16 billion, the scientists wrote in the study. The cost of uncovering all viruses in mammals is about $6.3 billion, and expenses could be cut to $1.4 billion by limiting discovery to 85 percent of estimated viral diversity, they said, based on their extrapolation of results.

To contact the reporter on this story: Natasha Khan in Hong Kong at nkhan51@bloomberg.net

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Dealers in Debt Pare Commitments Raising Risk as New Rules Bite

Dealers in Debt Pare Commitments Raising Risk as New Rules Bite

The worst losses in U.S. debt in at least 37 years are being magnified by investors exiting the market at the same time new regulations prompt Wall Street firms to cut back on trading corporate bonds. Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s U.S. Broad Market Index is on pace to drop 4.41 percent, the biggest annual loss since at least 1976. Investors pulled $123 billion from bond funds since May, according to TrimTabs Investment Research. Read more of this post

North Korea Can Launch Nuclear-Tipped Missiles, South Korea Says, contradicting the U.S. position that the country is years away from developing the technology

North Korea Can Launch Nuclear-Tipped Missiles, South Korea Says

North Korea can now deliver a nuclear warhead on a missile, the South Korean Defense Ministry said in a report, contradicting the U.S. position that the country is years away from developing the technology. “The security situation on the Korean Peninsula has now worsened as the North’s threat of nuclear missiles has become real,” according to the report, which was presented to a parliamentary committee on national security today and released by the office of lawmaker Kim Kwang Jin. The new capability may embolden North Korea toward military provocation once the U.S. relinquishes its wartime command of South Korean troops in 2015, the report said. That command was given to the U.S. during the 1950-53 Korean War. North Korea threatened first strikes against South Korea and the U.S. in March after a February nuclear test prompted tightened sanctions against the Kim Jong Un regime. The Obama administration, which has called on North Korea to renounce its nuclear program, has said the country didn’t have the ability to launch an atomic weapon on a missile. Until 2010, the North was in an experimental stage with its nuclear missiles, and the country has now come to a point where it can actually use them, the report said. The Defense Ministry didn’t explain how it reached its conclusion, and the study didn’t mention the ranges of the missiles that the North had the capability to mount weapons on.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sam Kim in Seoul at skim609@bloomberg.net

China Solar Defaults Shock Holders as $8.4 Billion Due

China Solar Defaults Shock Holders as $8.4 Billion Due

LDK Solar Co.’s delay in paying debt and Suntech Power Holdings Co.’s attempts to renegotiate obligations are prompting investors to gird for losses as $8.4 billion in renewable energy comes due by the end of next year. The 2014 securities of LDK slid to a record low of 25.6 yuan per 100 yuan face value last week after the manufacturer said a payment due Aug. 28 on the notes would be delayed. That compares with the 30 euros per 99.861 euro issue price on Bonn-based Solarworld AG. (SWV) Suntech, once the world’s biggest panel maker, said former chairwoman Susan Wang and two other directors quit amid negotiations with holders of its defaulted debt. Read more of this post

Rupiah Weakens Beyond 11,000 a Dollar for First Time Since 2009

Rupiah Weakens Beyond 11,000 a Dollar for First Time Since 2009

The rupiah weakened beyond 11,000 per dollar for the first time since April 2009 on concern Indonesia will struggle to rein in a record current-account gap. The nation’s trade shortfall was $2.3 billion in July, compared with the $393 million median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists. The current-account deficit will be about 4 percent of gross domestic product or more this quarter, from 4.4 percent in the previous period, Bank of America Merrill Lynch economist Hak Bin Chua wrote in a note yesterday. This is higher than the government’s target of 3 percent this quarter. Read more of this post

Japan Salaries Extend Longest Fall Since ’10 in Threat to Abe

Japan Salaries Extend Longest Fall Since ’10 in Threat to Abe

Japan salaries extended the longest slide since 2010 in July, raising the stakes for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s decision on whether to increase a sales tax. Regular wages excluding overtime and bonuses dropped 0.4 percent from a year earlier, marking a 14th straight month of decline, according to data released today by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. Bonus payments rose 2.1 percent, helping to lift total cash earnings 0.4 percent. Read more of this post

RBA Running Out of Room to Cut Rates, Australia’s Robb Says

RBA Running Out of Room to Cut Rates, Australia’s Robb Says

Australia’s central bank is running out of room to implement emergency stimulus measures should they be needed with interest rates now at historical lows, Shadow Finance Minister Andrew Robb said. The central bank doesn’t have “a lot of room left if there was some other unforeseen event in the world economy to make a difference,” Robb, whose Liberal-National coalition is on track to win government at the Sept. 7 election, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television today. “The Reserve Bank has been relied upon, or pressured, to do the heavy lifting in the economy for the last few years.” Read more of this post

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