Bird flu epidemic hits 35 countries since early 2014
More than 35 countries have been hit in a surge in bird flu outbreaks since early last year, killing tens of millions of poultry, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) said on Tuesday.
U.S. poultry and egg producers have been grappling with a record outbreak of avian flu, mainly the H5N2 strain, that has led to the culling of more than 33 million birds since December last year and is now threatening supplies.
Highly pathogenic H5N8, which like H5N2 has not been found in humans, was also reported in a few U.S. states, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The H5N8 strain was discovered early last year in Korea and China, and reached Japan soon afterwards.
"From there the strain probably spread with migratory wild birds to India, Europe, Canada and later the United States of America," the OIE said in a statement.
The Paris-based organization urged its 180 member countries to better apply bio-security measures in farms, live bird markets and in trade, and step up surveillance to curb the spread of the disease.
OIE data shows 28 countries were hit by outbreaks of the highly pathogenic H5 and H7 types of bird flu since the start of 2015, up from 19 countries affected in 2014 and 14 countries in 2013.
A global epizootic -- an epidemic outbreak in animals -- of H5N1 bird flu, which emerged in early 2004, led to several cases in humans, of which more than half proved fatal. It also led to the death of tens of million poultry, OIE said.
Although a pandemic was averted, the H5N1 strain is still present. Several outbreaks have been confirmed in West African countries in recent months, and the epidemic continues in Egypt, in Israel and the Palestinian territories.
(Reporting by Sybille de La Hamaide; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)
A Greek Default May Be Close At Hand
Greece is a country on the verge of default. In a matter of a few months the world may well witness a Greek default of significant proportion. In this article we’ll clarify Greece’s position and explore the potential fallout if the country fails to repay its debt.
Greek Debt: An Overview
Most of the world is aware that Greece is mired in debt. Since the financial crisis emerged in 2008, the country’s financial stability has been tenuous at best. From early May to mid-September 2015, Greece’s required debt repayment is greater than 300 billion euros. Unfortunately, this is considerably more than its GDP. In fact, Greece’s debt-to-GDP ratio is 177.10. Given its rising debt and weakening economic activity, many believe Greece is headed toward an inevitable default. If this materializes, what might happen? Before we get into the details, let’s look briefly at the Greek economy.
The Greek Economy
Greece is facing difficult times. With unemployment over 25%, inflation at a negative 2.1%, and GDP hovering near zero, the outlook is bleak. When you incorporate its debt obligation, you have a recipe for economic calamity. Looking at the items above, Greece’s high unemployment rate requires little explanation. After all, it’s hard to propel an economy when 25% of its labor force is out of work. The second item, the negative inflation rate, may require some discussion. Since inflation is a measure of the change in the level of prices, a negative rate indicates that prices are falling. Although this may be perceived as good for the consumer, if it persists, deflation would result. During deflationary periods, consumers tend to hold off on major purchases and wait for a lower price. This reduces economic activity and causes GDP to fall, which can become a self-perpetuating cycle. If this happens, it can be very difficult to escape. For evidence, just look at Japan during the 1990s and 2000s. With Greece’s GDP straddling zero a recession is another distinct possibility. Given the myriad of issues facing Greece, more serious consequences could very well be lurking.
The Consequences of a Greek Default
What might happen if Greece were to default on its debt? In recent times, depositors have been pulling money out of Greek banks. If Greece were to implement some sort of restriction on depositors’ withdrawals, there would be a very loud outcry. Hence, civil unrest is one concern. Beyond that is the issue of systemic risk. In other words, banks and others who have invested in Greek bonds would be negatively affected in a default. Even though Greece is a small country, a default would still send shock waves throughout the global financial system. A Greek exodus from the Eurozone is also possible. Finally, interest rates in Greece would spike as investors demand a higher return for the additional risk.
Greece is attempting to restructure its debt…again and is in need of a capital infusion. If banks restrict depositor withdrawals mass panic and civil unrest would ensue. The greatest risk will occur around July and August as Greece is required to repay 6.7 billion euros to the European Central Bank (ECB). If it fails to repay the ECB or the International Monetary Fund (IMF ), Greek interest rates will spike, anarchy could follow, and this historic part of the world could become a hotspot for chaos and crisis. Let’s hope the Greek government and the ECB are able to find a solution. At this point it’s hard to see how. In this authors view, a Greek default is a near certainty. Therefore, it would be wise to position your investments in such a way as to minimize exposure to this part of the global financial system.
Greek Prime Minister Rejects Further Austerity or Labor Changes
The link below is a site to read about the on going Greek crisis,
ATHENS — Greece’s prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, said in a speech on Friday that his government wanted a deal with the country’s creditors but that it would not enforce additional austerity measures, like further pension cuts.
Mr. Tsipras said Greece wanted a “unified agreement” that would restructure its huge debt, a thorny issue not on the agenda of the current talks.
Weeks of difficult negotiations have yielded some common ground, Mr. Tsipras told an audience of entrepreneurs and politicians at a conference in Athens sponsored by The Economist. Convergence on fiscal targets, “marginal changes” to value-added tax rates and an improvement to the tax collection system “make us optimistic that we are very close to an agreement,” he said.
But he said the two sides remained divided on the contentious issues of overhauling the labor sector and the pension system.
“I want to reassure the Greek people that there is no possibility or chance that the Greek government will back down on pension and labor issues,” he said, adding that additional pension cuts “cannot be accepted.”
Greece and its international creditors have been locked in negotiations aimed at releasing billions of euros of loans since February, when the European portion of the country’s 240 billion euro bailout was extended by four months. Greece is short of money because of the deadlock, fueling fears that it will default on its debt, which totals around €320 billion, and possibly exit the eurozone with largely unforeseeable repercussions.
Mr. Tsipras’s leftist-led coalition has balked at changes that it believes will further burden ordinary Greeks. He came to power in January on a pledge to end five years of austerity that has reduced household incomes by a third and pushed unemployment to 25 percent.
The Greek government wants an agreement, Mr. Tsipras said in his speech on Friday, but it must be “honorable and mutually beneficial.”
He set out four conditions for what a “single and unified agreement” would be. Such a deal should include a budget in the black before debt is repaid, no further cuts to salaries and pensions, a restructuring of the debt and “strong public investments.”
“We invite the other side, after five years of nonrealistic targets and constant failures, to give in to reality,” he said, calling for “not just an agreement but a solution.”
Greece’s creditors appear reluctant to make concessions that could encourage other countries to seek similar relief. European and International Monetary Fund officials have insisted in recent days that Greece must complete economic reforms to unlock a €7.2 billion bailout installment.
The Greek prime minister is also under pressure at home, with disagreements rising within the ranks of the government and Mr. Tsipras’s party, Syriza, about the extent of concessions Greece should make. After what was said to be a stormy meeting of Syriza officials late Thursday, the leftist party’s political secretariat issued a statement emphasizing the lines that the party would not cross and calling on the Greek people to “join the battle.”
The political tensions are rising against the backdrop of dwindling finances. Authorities met mid-month wage and pension commitments on Friday, paying out some €500 million on schedule. But Greece has struggled to meet its repayment schedule in recent weeks, and may not be able make coming payments without the release of further loans.
I have posted about the Greek leader and how many are saying he is the antichrist, this is what has caused me to start the book,"AntiChrist Hunters". This is not the antichrist, the main reason is we are told in O.T. Prophecy, the book of Daniel, that antiChrist is i Greece for a time and it is a time when Greece may have the best economy in the world, this is a long way off as the Greek situation is far from being a prosperous place. One day it will be different, not now and no time soon, thus these false watchmen are wrong again.
If you understand bible prophecy, if you know your bible you will not be deceived. Read the word, dig into it and you will
be able to understand and discern when many things you read, hear, watch are not true and not proper bible prophecy time line at all.