Sylvester Stallone on Art, Movies and Playing Rocky Again; “There is nothing as gratifying as being one on one with a concept, with your thought and vision.”

Nov 7, 2013

Sylvester Stallone on Art, Movies and Playing Rocky Again

ALEXANDRA CHENEY

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“Rambo Mind” 2012 by Sylvester Stallone

Sylvester Stallone has appeared in more than 60 films, but he’d give up his acting career if it interfered with his painting. “There is nothing as gratifying as being one on one with a concept, with your thought and vision. Movies are the work of a collective conscious. It takes 500-800 people on a movie to complete a vision. Painting is as close as a person can get to actually capturing the heat of the moment,” the actor told the Journal. For the first time, Stallone’s paintings are being exhibited in Russia in a kind of retrospective exhibition that spans 38 years. He calls Mark Rothko and Jean-Michel Basquiat influences, and has shifted in style from his early works, mostly created with a large palette knife and a spectrum of color, to his more recent canvases, which use more red, white and black, and are decidedly more abstract. The action hero phoned Speakeasy to talk about shifting from painting to sculpture, how his early film roles influenced his paintings, and confirmed to the Journal that he’s once again taking on the character of Rocky Balboa in Ryan Coogler’s “Creed.Read more of this post

Ajit Jain feeds Buffett’s hunger

Jain feeds Buffett’s hunger

Adam McNestrie

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People are starting to worry about him. The changes in diet. The idiosyncratic decisions. The silence. He isn’t quite the man he used to be, isn’t quite himself. Everyone is talking about it: speculating about his motives, glossing his actions, promulgating theories, kvetching about its implications. Which is to say that Ajit Jain, the softly spoken, smiling carnivore par excellence of the reinsurance world has of late taken up omnivorous habits. Where Jain was previously notorious for holding aloof until he scented blood, then attacking ferociously and making off with hefty chunks of red meat in his mouth, the last two years have seen him extend his diet in surprisingly catholic ways. These days, Jain has started eating things that he used to turn his nose up at. He isn’t quite willing to shovel anything down that comes his way, but if it is presented by his chef of choice (Aon) then he’s almost sure to open wide. Read more of this post

‘He had to change’: How Diageo CEO Tim Salt became human and why his business is super-engaged

Fiona Smith Columnist

‘He had to change’: How Diageo CEO Tim Salt became human and why his business is super-engaged

Published 08 November 2013 07:39, Updated 08 November 2013 07:40

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Diageo chief executive Tim Salt had an ‘ugly way’ of operating during his years at Pepsico but says he has left it behind him. Photo: Michel O’Sullivan

When the managing director of drinks company Diageo says he used to be too competitive, he’s not kidding. In fact, it is the first thing his former boss at Lion Nathan, Gordon Cairns, recalls about Tim Salt. “He was very internally competitive,” says Cairns, a director of Westpac Banking Corporation and Origin Energy, and former CEO of Lion Nathan, where Salt worked in the 1990s. “He also didn’t take feedback very well,” Cairns says, raising his eyebrows for effect. “He had to change or he would never have been successful at Lion Nathan.” When Salt joined the beverage and food company (now known as Lion), he was a young gun who had absorbed the dog-eat-dog culture of Pepsico over six years in the US and Australia. Pepsico is a “very intensely competitive organisation”, says Salt, who had been marketing director of international cola. Read more of this post

Performance Reviews: Why Bother? “The best kind of performance review is no performance review”

Performance Reviews: Why Bother?

By Claire Suddath November 07, 2013

When Peter Gross, an editor in the financial services industry in Virginia, walked into his 2008 yearend performance review, he was feeling pretty good. “I knew I’d get dinged on some nebulous things like ‘initiative’ and ‘enthusiasm,’ ” he says. “But on the measurable stuff, I’d exceeded all my goals.” So he was taken aback when, on a scale from one to five, his manager gave him mostly twos and threes. “I remember there was one thing I was supposed to do 30 times over the course of year, and I’d done it 49 times, but I still only got ‘meets expectations,’ ” he recalls. Every year after that, Gross worried for weeks leading up to his annual review. “I was a mess,” he says. “I’d be up stress-eating until 2:30 in the morning, and of course the actual day was nerve-racking.” Read more of this post

Harvard Zebrafish Research Yields Possible Treatments for Muscle Diseases

Harvard Zebrafish Research Yields Possible Treatments for Muscle Diseases

Zebrafish experiments by Harvard University researchers yielded new chemicals that prod stem cells to make muscle tissue, an advance that may lead to treatments for muscular dystrophy and related disorders. The chemicals, found to coax fish embryo cells to form muscle, also had the same effect on human stem cells that were transplanted into mice with a muscle-wasting disease. The researchers’ findings were published today in the journal Cell. Read more of this post

FDA Wants To Ban Trans Fat From All Processed Food

FDA Wants To Ban Trans Fat From All Processed Food

by Paul SheaNovember 7, 2013

Big changes may be afoot in the food industry. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has revealed that it wants to ban the use of trans fats in all processed foods. The move is not set in stone just yet, but there are indications that it could become a concrete regulation in the coming months. According to the FDA the consumption of trans fats has declined drastically in recent years as awareness about the dangers they pose pervaded consumer and producer mentalities. The cultural change has not been big enough to prevent the deaths of millions, and the agency is now looking to ban the substances by law. Read more of this post

Startups: Misadventures in Spending

Startups: Misadventures in Spending

A Look at Some of the Pitfalls of Allocating Capital

Nov. 6, 2013 3:42 p.m. ET

Raising capital is a challenge for most startups. But those who do so successfully then face the dilemma of figuring out how to best allocate the funds. With the temptations of plush office spaces, perks and high salaries, a startup’s so-called “seed” funds can quickly disappear. Founders have to decide which part of their business would benefit the most from added money. This week on The Accelerators, a Wall Street Journal blog on the challenges of starting and growing a business, a group of experienced entrepreneurs and venture capitalists shared their views on the pitfalls of poorly allocating startup capital. Edited excerpts: Read more of this post

A former television personality who founded a successful cosmetics brand, Yue-sai Kan deploys her sizable homes in Shanghai, Beijing and New York for large-scale entertaining

Yue-sai Kan’s Real-Estate Empire

The former television personality has homes in Shanghai, Beijing and New York

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‘In Beijing, traffic is a disaster, so central location is a must,’ Ms. Kan says of selecting her three bedroom, 3,983-square-foot, Beijing apartment. She says she’s spent less than 10 nights here since its purchase and renovation.Mick Ryan for The Wall Street Journal

MINA CHOI

Nov. 7, 2013 7:43 p.m. ET

Owning multiple homes across several continents might be a challenge for many. Yue-sai Kan sees it as a necessity. Known in China as a bridge between the East and the West, Ms. Kan is a former television personality and a businesswoman who founded Yue-sai Cosmetics in China, now part of L’Oréal. As the owner of the Miss Universe China franchise, a popular contest, Ms. Kan is often in the spotlight, and she entertains her guests and friends frequently at home—whether it’s the one in Shanghai, Beijing or New York. She also has an apartment on Copacabana beach in Rio; one in Brisbane, Australia; one in Changsha, the capital of Hunan Province, and one she co-owns with her sister in Rome, near the Spanish Steps. Read more of this post

Chinese joke of the day: A young man went to seek for advice from a Zen master, complaining that he was rich but unhappy

Updated: Friday November 8, 2013 MYT 6:50:53 AM

Let’s phrase it, we all want riches

BY THO XIN YI

A new phrase which pokes fun at the Beverly Hillbillies of China has gone viral, but many actually yearn to befriend the wealthy.

THE Chinese Netizens are a creative lot. This is proven through a variety of Internet catchphrases and expressions that dominate the social media every now and then. When a new phrase is introduced, it goes viral overnight, and people would start using it to relate to their everyday experiences. The memes could have been inspired by a conversation in the television drama series, a quote in a news story, a line from a song or could be simply made up. Entertainment aside, the catchphrases are often used to poke fun at the current affairs in China. The latest phrase is tuhaoTu denotes earth or uncouth and hao means grandeur. The term tuhao can be interpreted as the “nouveau riche” or Beverly Hillbillies of China. Generally, it is used within a sarcastic context to describe the new rich people who are wealthy but lack sophisticated style. According to Baidu, the Chinese equivalent of Wikipedia, tuhao is not a new word. It has appeared in texts which date back to the Song and Qing Dynasties and used to describe the rich and the powerful or landlords who exploit the poor.

Tuhao recently became famous through a joke on the Internet: A young man went to seek for advice from a Zen master, complaining that he was rich but unhappy. The Zen master asked, “How do you define rich?” The man replied, “I have an eight-figure bank savings and three apartments in Wudaokou (a place in Beijing). Am I wealthy?” The master then extended his hand without uttering a word, and this gesture was interpreted by the young man as advice to be grateful and give back for what he has gained. But the master explained, “No, tuhao, let’s be friends.”

His response implies that even a Zen master, who is supposed to live a simple, non-materialistic life, is eager to be associated with the rich. The joke explains a social phenomenon in China, where people yearn to befriend the rich in the hope of benefiting from the relationship, even though they might secretly despise them out of jealousy. Read more of this post

Portfolios With Purpose: Stock Picking for a Cause

Nov 5, 2013

Portfolios With Purpose: Stock Picking for a Cause

STEVEN RUSSOLILLO

Stacey Asher has taken the art of stock-picking to a philanthropic level, with several of Wall Street’s heavy hitters backing her cause. Ms. Asher is founder and CEO of Portfolios With Purpose, a non-profit organization that runs an annual stock-picking competition where investors aim to raise money for their charities of choice. The contest has attracted hedge-fund titans such as David Einhorn, Leon Cooperman and Dan Loeb in past years as well as hundreds of so-called mom-and-pop investors. It raised $198,700 this year. Now, Ms. Asher has her sights set on doubling that amount for the 2014 competition. Participants must register and provide their picks by Dec. 31 to be eligible for next year’s competition. Read more of this post

Singapore Prime Minister’s Office Website Hacked After Lee Warns

Singapore Prime Minister’s Office Website Hacked After Lee Warns

Singapore authorities are investigating a breach of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s website last night, one day after he said he would track down a group that announced plans to hack government online portals. The page for searches on the website of the Prime Minister’s Office was “compromised” at 11:17 p.m. yesterday, the country’s phone and Internet regulator said in an e-mailed statement today. Read more of this post

Hot Investment Concepts You Should Approach With Caution

Hot Investment Concepts You Should Approach With Caution

Nov. 6, 2013 2:09 p.m. ET

New investment products might seem like the best thing since the ETF, but following trends isn’t always the surest—or safest—way to make money. With this issue in mind, we posed the following question to The Experts: Are there any current hot investment concepts that you think investors should be wary of? This discussion relates to a recent Investing in Funds & ETFs Report and formed the basis of a discussion on The Experts blog on Nov. 4.

Beware of Alternative Investments

CHARLES ROTBLUT : The push for holding alternative investments concerns me. These are funds designed to produce a different return than stocks. Getting more diversification isn’t a bad idea in and of itself, but these funds tend to come with higher fees and many were created after the last bear market. They also are often complex with characteristics that aren’t easily understood. The age of these funds is also a concern. Since many of the funds now available to non-accredited individual investors (which are most of us) were created after the last bear market, we don’t know how they will hold up during a period of financial stress. If a bear market makes it difficult for these funds to execute their strategies or sell certain positions, the losses for shareholders could be significant. Read more of this post

Conglomerate Firms, Internal Capital Markets and the Theory of the Firm

Conglomerate Firms, Internal Capital Markets and the Theory of the Firm

Vojislav Maksimovic University of Maryland – Robert H. Smith School of Business

Gordon M. Phillips University of Southern California; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

August 3, 2013
Robert H. Smith School Research Paper

Abstract: 
This article reviews the conglomerate literature with a focus on recent papers which have cast strong doubt on the hypothesis that conglomerate firms destroy value on average when compared to similar stand-alone firms. Recent work has shown that investment decisions by conglomerate firms are consistent with value maximization, that conglomerate firms trade at an average premium relative to single-segment firms when value weighting, and that the valuation premia and discounts, both for conglomerates and single-segment firms, are driven by differences in the production of unique differentiated products. A profit-maximizing theory of the firm that considers how firms select their organizational structure can explain these recent findings and much of the large variation in findings in the conglomerate literature. We also review the literature showing how market imperfections create additional benefits and costs of internal capital markets and a potential for managerial distortions.

“Is this not deception?” Food Labeling Stirs Controversy in Japan; Hotel, Department Store and Restaurant Chains in Japan Are Making Disclosures About Food Labeling, From Shrimp to Spinach to Cream. “There was the mentality to make things look better, more delicious, more luxurious.”

Food Labeling Stirs Controversy in Japan

Hotel, Department Store and Restaurant Chains in Japan Are Making Disclosures About Food Labeling, From Shrimp to Spinach to Cream

KANA INAGAKI

Nov. 7, 2013 11:24 p.m. ET

TOKYO—An executive from one of Japan’s high-end department store chains faced an hour-long grilling Thursday afternoon, sipping tea and wiping his mouth with a handkerchief as reporters repeatedly said he was speaking too quietly. “Is this not deception?” one asked. “From the customers’ point of view, it might look that way,” said Yoji Honda, corporate executive officer at Daimaru Matsuzakaya Department Stores Co. “There was the mentality to make things look better, more delicious, more luxurious.” Read more of this post

Japanese Households Without Savings Climb to Highest Since ’63

Japanese Households Without Savings Climb to Highest Since ’63

The share of Japanese households with no financial assets rose to a record as falling incomes forced people to dig into their savings, highlighting the potential for widening disparities under Abenomics. The proportion reached 31 percent, according to a Bank of Japan survey released in Tokyo yesterday, up from 26 percent a year earlier and the highest since the poll began in 1963. The BOJ surveyed 8,000 households of two or more people aged 20 years or older from June 14 though July 23. Read more of this post

Train-Hopping Nomura Broker Chases New Appetite for Japan Stocks; “I don’t want to be obsessed by rewards in the future or failures of the past. I want to focus on the moment.”

Train-Hopping Nomura Broker Chases New Appetite for Japan Stocks

The best-performing stock market of the developed world this year is keeping Japanese brokers like Kensuke Ueda running. Literally.Dodging pedestrians and hopping subway trains as he dashes from one client meeting to the next, the 31-year-old employee of Nomura Holdings Inc. bounds up stairs two at a time — all while taking stock orders on the phone. Wondering if he has time for lunch, he glances at his Zenith El Primero watch, whose name in Spanish translates as “the first” and keeps time to the nearest 10th of a second. He decides he doesn’t. Read more of this post

Seoul ‘Bridge of Life’ Still Attracts Suicide Attempts

November 8, 2013, 1:07 PM

Seoul ‘Bridge of Life’ Still Attracts Suicide Attempts

JAEYEON WOO

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The message on the Mapo Bridge reads, “Aren’t you tired?”

The city of Seoul is standing by its efforts at calling attention to bridges over the Han River that are suicide hotspots, despite evidence that the attention is leading to more, not fewer, suicide attempts. Last September, one of the most notorious suicide spots, Mapo Bridge, was given a makeover, with its gray guardrails festooned with LED lighting, complemented by comforting and inspirational messages and pictures. Pedestrians’ movements are detected, prompting slogans to appear: “The most shining moment of your life has yet to come” or “Your worries will feel like nothing when you get older” or “A difficult moment will eventually flow like the river below.” Read more of this post

South Korea Put to the Test for High-Pressure Exam; “Rigorous thinking, reading and writing too often is simply not expected. What needs to be debated is the quality of education once the students are admitted”

South Korea Put to the Test for High-Pressure Exam

By Park Chan-Kyong on 1:19 pm November 7, 2013.

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A mother prays for her son’s (bottom L) success in the college entrance examinations at a Buddhist temple in Seoul November 6, 2013. (Reuters Photo/Kim Hong-Ji)

Seoul. South Korea fell silent for annual college entrance exams Thursday, rescheduling flights and restricting traffic as 650,000 students sat a test that will define their adult lives in an ultra-competitive society. Preparation for the crucial exam starts from primary school, and so does the relentless pressure which has been blamed for everything from early burnout and teenage depression to suicide. Read more of this post

Is Xero the Hero for New Zealand Stocks? Technology Company has Nearly Doubled in Value in Last Two Weeks

Is Xero the Hero for New Zealand Stocks?

Technology Company has Nearly Doubled in Value in Last Two Weeks

LUCY CRAYMER

Nov. 7, 2013 10:53 p.m. ET

WELLINGTON, New Zealand—One of the Asian-Pacific region’s best-performing stock markets is being driven by an unlikely source: a technology company backed by PayPal founder Peter Thiel that has yet to make a cent in profit. A 21% increase in New Zealand’s NZX-50 so far this year reflects in large part rapid stock gains by Xero Ltd. XRO.NZ +3.56% , dubbed by broker Credit Suisse CSGN.VX -0.04% as the ” Apple Inc. AAPL -1.62% of accounting.” Read more of this post

The Hidden Technology That Makes Twitter Huge

The Hidden Technology That Makes Twitter Huge

By Paul Ford November 07, 2013

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Consider the tweet. It’s short—140 characters and done—but hardly simple. If you open one up and look inside, you’ll see a remarkable clockwork, with 31 publicly documented data fields. Why do these tweets, typically born of a stray impulse, need to carry all this data with them? While a tweet thrives in its timeline, among the other tweets, it’s also designed to stand on its own, forever. Any tweet might show up embedded inside a million different websites. It may be called up and re-displayed years after posting. For all their supposed ephemerality, tweets have real staying power. Read more of this post

Small-Shop Hiring Fueled by 3-D Printers to IPhone Tools

Small-Shop Hiring Fueled by 3-D Printers to IPhone Tools

Matthew Doom texts a lot at work and is a whiz on the 3D printer. Unlike most tech workers, his office is a wooden workbench next to a milling machine where he cuts metal for medical devices and other parts. The 20-year-old is one of a dozen employees at Baklund R&D LLC in Hutchinson, Minnesota, using Internet connections with far-flung customers, smartphone chats and the latest in computer equipment to squeeze more business out of traditional tool and die equipment. Eight months ago Doom was milking cows at a nearby dairy farm. Read more of this post

Small Businesses Question Twitter’s Usefulness

Small Businesses Question Twitter’s Usefulness

Ad Targeting on the Messaging Service Receives Mixed Reviews

YOREE KOH and SARAH E. NEEDLEMAN

Nov. 6, 2013 5:50 p.m. ET

As it prepares to begin trading on Thursday, Twitter Inc. is hustling to attract, and retain, small businesses, a potentially lucrative source of advertising revenue. Justin Beegel, president of Infographic World Inc., spent $550 to advertise his 11-person New York data-visualization company on Twitter in September. But two weeks of “promoted tweets” offering a discount to targeted users generated only one response, from a user who didn’t become a customer. “I’m definitely done with the Twitter ads,” says Mr. Beegel. Read more of this post

Priceline replaced its longtime chief executive with the boss of its most profitable hotel-booking unit, ending an 11-year tenure that oversaw one of the most dramatic turnarounds of the past decade

Priceline’s Longtime CEO Hands Over Reins

DREW FITZGERALD

Updated Nov. 7, 2013 6:51 p.m. ET

Priceline.com Inc. PCLN -3.32% replaced its longtime chief executive with the boss of its most profitable hotel-booking unit, ending an 11-year tenure that oversaw one of the most dramatic turnarounds of the past decade. Chief Executive Jeffery Boyd, 56 years old, said he would hand the reins of the online travel company to Darren Huston, 47, a former Microsoft Corp. executive who has been running its Booking B.V. unit since 2011. Mr. Boyd will remain chairman of the company. Read more of this post

Online-Travel King Brad Gerstner Wants Venture Capital Empire

Online-Travel King Brad Gerstner Wants Venture Capital Empire

By Ari Levy November 07, 2013

Brad Gerstner is an amateur pilot who’s logged about 400 hours above New England. He’s also flown (as a passenger) to Morocco on MTV founder Bob Pittman’s private Falcon jet, and has gone heli-skiing with Expedia founder and Zillow (Z) co-founder Rich Barton. “He’s an explorer,” Barton says. This year, Barton, Pittman, and Gerstner met up for Burning Man, the famously libidinous temporary community assemblage in the Nevada desert, for a week of self-expression and survivalist living. Read more of this post

Marvel to Produce Several TV Series for Netflix

Nov 7, 2013

Marvel to Produce Several TV Series for Netflix

BEN FRITZ

In a huge commitment for both companies, NetflixInc. has agreed to order four 13 episode live-action superhero series and a miniseries from Walt Disney Co.’s Marvel Entertainment. The deal significantly expands Marvel’s television presence and gives Netflix one of its highest profile original series order since the company got into the business earlier this year. Read more of this post

High-End Cameras Fall Prey to Smartphones

High-End Cameras Fall Prey to Smartphones

Canon, Nikon Lower Full-Year Sale Forecasts for Interchangeable-Lens Cameras

JURO OSAWA

Updated Nov. 7, 2013 7:41 p.m. ET

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Declining sales of high-end cameras and lenses are raising an alarming question for companies like Canon Inc. 7751.TO -0.65% and Nikon Corp. 7731.TO -5.42% : Could the proliferation of camera-enabled, app-heavy smartphones be crushing not only the simple point-and-shoot, but premium models as well? This year, shipments of what’s called “interchangeable-lens cameras”—high-end models that let users swap out different lenses—are diving suddenly after years of robust growth. Most of those are digital single-lens reflex, or DSLR, cameras—the bulky models used by professional photographers and enthusiasts. Read more of this post

Getting a Handle on Twitter’s Value; Investors Must Look Beyond the Basics to See Just How Expensive Twitter Really Is; diluted market value of $31.7 billion means Twitter trades at 33 times 2014 sales estimates

Getting a Handle on Twitter’s Value

Investors Must Look Beyond the Basics to See Just How Expensive Twitter Really Is

MIRIAM GOTTFRIED

Updated Nov. 7, 2013 6:03 p.m. ET

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The wait is over, and the market has spoken, or rather, tweeted. But when it comes toTwitter‘s TWTR +72.69% size, and valuation, the message is easily garbled. After pricing late Wednesday at $26, shares of newly public Twitter opened at $45.10 Thursday. According to most financial databases, that means the micromessaging service has a market value of $25 billion. That is open to debate. Read more of this post

BlackBerry’s Best Hope Is Without BlackBerrys

BlackBerry’s Best Hope Is Without BlackBerrys

BlackBerry Ltd., shunned by buyers even at a record-low takeover valuation, may find that its best shot of survival is to abandon smartphones and bet its future on software. A $4.7 billion buyout of BlackBerry fell through this week and shareholder Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. opted instead to infuse the company with cash to counter a burn rate that had been on pace to use up most of its stockpile by the end of next year. Jefferies Group LLC said it’s also unlikely that Waterloo, Ontario-based BlackBerry will find takers for any of its pieces. Read more of this post

Lenovo to Sell Phones in Markets Where IPhone Seen Costly

Lenovo to Sell Phones in Markets Where IPhone Seen Costly

Lenovo Group Ltd., the largest maker of personal computers, said it will triple the number of markets in which it sells smartphones by focusing on emerging economies where Apple Inc.’s iPhone is seen as too costly. “We have seen the first wave of success in Asian countries,” Chief Executive Officer Yang Yuanqing said in an interview yesterday. “We provide affordable products for emerging markets. That’s very important. For those markets, the iPhone is probably not the best-selling product, Lenovo can be much more competitive.” Read more of this post

With H7N9 Vaccine, China Flexes Scientific Muscle

With H7N9 Vaccine, China Flexes Scientific Muscle

By  Tyler Roney

November 7, 2013

On Tuesday, a three-year-old boy was diagnosed with the dreaded H7N9 bird flu in Guangdong Province in southern China, and some are warning that more cases are on the way as the temperature drops. Previous bouts of flu hysteria and panic resulted in nothing more than small outbreaks; as such, there is little reason to believe that these most recent warnings will be any different. However, in many ways, the H7N9 problem is China-specific, which has allowed it to flex its scientific muscles. Read more of this post

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