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Bird flu alert leads the world towards vaccines that were shunned by Reuters

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© Reuters. A French farmer looks at ducks in his pen at a poultry farm in Castelnau-Tursan, France, January 24, 2023. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

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By Sybil de la Hamid

CASTELNAU-TURSANS, France (Reuters) – French duck farmer Hervé Dupuis has culled his flock four times since 2015 to stop the spread of bird flu, but with a deadly outbreak approaching his farm again, he said it was time to accept a solution. Once considered taboo: vaccination.

“The aim is that our animals don’t get sick and that they don’t spread the virus,” Dupuy said at his farm in Castelneux-Torsan, southwest France. “Our job as farmers is not to collect dead animals.”

Like Dupuis, more and more governments around the world are reconsidering their opposition to vaccines because culling or trapping birds indoors has failed to prevent avian influenza returning to decimate commercial flocks year after year.

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Reuters spoke to senior officials at the world’s largest poultry and egg producers, along with vaccine makers and poultry companies. They all said there had been a marked shift in the approach to vaccinations globally due to the seriousness of this year’s bird flu outbreak, though the largest exporter of poultry meat, the United States, told Reuters it was still hesitant.

Besides the cost of culling millions of chickens, ducks, turkeys and geese, there is also growing concern among scientists and governments that if the virus becomes endemic, the chances of it mutating and spreading to humans will only increase.

“This is why every country in the world is worried about bird flu,” said French Agriculture Minister Marc Visnot.

“There is no reason to panic, but we must learn from history on these issues. That is why we are looking at vaccines globally,” he told Reuters.

Most of the world’s largest poultry producers have resisted the vaccines over concerns that they could mask the spread of bird flu and hurt exports to countries that have banned vaccinated poultry because of fears that infected birds might slip through the net.

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The World Organization for Animal Health told Reuters that since early last year, bird flu has devastated farms around the world, killing more than 200 million birds from disease or mass culling.

Last year’s mass culls also sent the price of eggs skyrocketing, contributing to the global food crisis.

The United States is holding

Mexico began emergency vaccinations last year while Ecuador said this month it plans to vaccinate more than 2 million birds after the virus infected a 9-year-old girl.

France is on track to start vaccinating poultry in September, before the return of migratory wild birds that could infect farms, France’s agriculture minister told Reuters.

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Meanwhile, the European Union last year agreed to implement a vaccine strategy across its 27 member states.

Brussels has also normalized poultry vaccination rules, which are due to come into force next month. A spokesperson for the European Commission told Reuters they will ensure that poultry products and day-old chicks can circulate freely within the bloc.

China, which consumes most of its poultry domestically, has been vaccinating against bird flu for nearly 20 years and has been able to significantly reduce outbreaks.

But the world’s largest producer of poultry meat, the United States, is holding out for the time being.

Data from the World Organization for Animal Health showed that the United States was the most affected worldwide in the latest outbreak of the epidemic, with a death toll of more than 58 million birds last year, followed by Canada, while France suffered the most within the European Union.

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But fear of trade restrictions still looms large for countries reluctant to vaccinate poultry against avian influenza.

While vaccines can reduce mortality rates, some vaccinated birds can still contract the disease and transmit it, effectively masking the spread of the virus.

That’s why some major buyers of poultry and live birds have banned imports from countries where vaccines are allowed, fearing the virus might also enter.

Avian influenza can also mutate quickly and reduce the effectiveness of vaccines while programs are costly and time consuming, as vaccines often need to be administered individually. And even after the birds have been vaccinated, the flocks must be monitored.

“Using a vaccine at this time would have adverse effects on the poultry trade while still necessitating response activities such as quarantine, depopulation and swab testing,” the USDA told Reuters.

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Given trade restrictions on vaccinated poultry, bilateral negotiations will be needed to clear exports to those markets and avoid unfair competition, said Philippe Guillen, CEO of France’s LDC, one of Europe’s largest poultry companies.

French Minister Visnot told Reuters that Paris is negotiating with its non-EU trading partners to allow the export of vaccinated poultry while it holds bilateral talks at EU level with countries outside the bloc.

mRNA poultry vaccines

Brazil, the world’s largest poultry exporter, has so far avoided an outbreak – and the need for vaccines – even though the virus is closing in on several of its neighbors including Bolivia which has reported an outbreak.

But countries like France, which spent 1.1 billion euros ($1.2 billion) last year to compensate poultry farmers for their losses, think it is time to fight the vaccination bullet.

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“This is a huge economic loss,” said Gilles Salvat, deputy director of research at the French Health Security Agency. “We’re not going to avoid occasional introduction (of the virus) through wildlife or through a contaminated environment, but what we want to avoid is these accidental introductions spreading across the country.”

As part of the EU’s strategy, France is testing vaccines for ducks, which are highly receptive to the virus and remain asymptomatic for several days, increasing the risk of transmission to other farms.

The Netherlands is testing vaccines on laying hens, Italy is doing the same on turkeys and Hungary on Peking ducks, with results from EU trials expected in the coming months.

France’s Ceva (NASDAQ: Animal Health), one of the main companies developing avian flu vaccines along with Germany’s Boehringher Ingelheim, said initial results were “extremely promising,” particularly by sharply reducing the excretion of virus-infected birds.

Ceva said it is using the mRNA technology used in some COVID shots for the first time in poultry vaccines.

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Sylvain Comte, director of poultry marketing at Ceva, said that the global market for avian influenza vaccines will range from 800 million to 1 billion doses per year, excluding China.

The World Health Organization said last week that although the risk to humans from bird flu remains low, and there have been no cases of human-to-human transmission, countries should prepare for any change in the status quo.

The recent COVID crisis has shown the risk of a virus found in animals mutating or combining with another influenza virus to pass to humans – and lead to a global pandemic.

The H5N1 strain circulating in the most recent outbreak of avian influenza has killed many mammals, including mink in Spain, foxes and otters in Britain, cats in France, and grizzly bears in the United States.

“Without being panicky, we must be careful and not let this virus spread intensively and for a long time,” said Salvat of the French agency ANSES.

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Rast’s accusations against Alec Baldwin were formally dismissed by Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A view of the movie “Rust” playing at Bonanza Creek Ranch near Santa Fe, New Mexico, US January 20, 2023. REUTERS/Drone Base/File Photo

Written by Andrew Hay

TAOOS, New Mexico (Reuters) – Special prosecutors in New Mexico on Friday dropped charges against actor Alec Baldwin in the 2021 shooting of “Rust” cinematographer Halina Hutchins, referring to what many legal analysts described as a rationale for a prosecution. flawed jurisprudence.

A person close to prosecutors said the move followed new evidence of the gun Baldwin was carrying when he fired the shot that killed Hutchins while shooting the movie in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

This information undermined the prosecution’s case after a series of legal flops, leading them to dismiss the charges before a May hearing when a judge was to decide whether there was enough evidence to prosecute Baldwin and gunsmith “Rust” Hannah Gutierrez Reid.

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“The case was dismissed without bias and the investigation is active and ongoing,” prosecutors Carey Morrissey and Jason Lewis said in a memo.

Prosecutors went on to charge Gutierrez Reed, 25, with manslaughter. She has said she held the live round in the gun thinking it was a dummy round. The preliminary hearing in her case has been postponed to August 9.

The dismissal of the same charge against Baldwin came after his attorney presented evidence last week that the copy of the .45 Colt Baldwin has used has been modified with new parts since being manufactured by Italian gunsmith FLL Pietta.

The information compromised the prosecution’s argument that the gun was in fully working condition and could only fire if Baldwin recklessly pulled the trigger, according to the person familiar with the case.

Special prosecutors have said they may re-file charges against Baldwin once new evidence is examined, though legal experts are skeptical.

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“This very weak case against Baldwin should never have been brought in the first place,” said Ambrosio Rodriguez, a former district attorney with the District Attorney’s Office in Riverside County, California.

Filming for “Rust” resumed in Montana this week with many of the same lead actors, including Baldwin, and was expected to wrap up in May.

Rust Movie Productions (RMP) said in February that it would not resume filming in New Mexico, without giving a reason. A Santa Fe prosecutor charged Baldwin and others in January.

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Leading news reporter Jill Christian dies at 83

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Gail Christian, who broke barriers as a black on-air reporter and came to national prominence at NBC News and PBS, died April 12 in Los Angeles. She was 83 years old.

Her wife, Lucy Debardelapine, said it was a complication from a recent bowel surgery.

Christian overcame a troubled youth—including a prison term for armed robbery—to end a career as a prominent television journalist and news executive in the 1970s and 1980s, an era when the industry was dominated by white men.

It became a visible presence in American living rooms with it coverage to NBC News on the trial of Patricia Hearst, the newspaper heiress who was kidnapped in 1974 by a gang of left-wing revolutionaries called the Symbionese Liberation Army, and who was convicted two years later for participating in a bank robbery with the group.

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But for Ms. Christian, it wasn’t enough just to appear as a rare black face on the evening news.

She said in Interview with the Chicago Tribune In 1986. I felt that was the reason I was there. I didn’t resent it in the least. I felt then, as I feel now, that it is very dangerous for a group of people to live in a society in which they are not allowed to explain themselves.”

It has succeeded in this task with features like “A Country Called Watts”, An hour-long 1977 NBC News special that explored the efforts of residents of this Los Angeles neighborhood to come together and re-evaluate the bloody civil unrest that occurred in response to police brutality in 1965, rebuilding burned-out blocks in the face of perceived government indifference and continued police harassment.

Gary Gilson, former faculty director of a summer program for minority students at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, in a phone interview. “And her pioneering role as a black news reporter allowed black kids to see, many for the first time, an impressive person on television who looked like them. It gave them recognition and hope.”

After two years at NBC News, Ms. Christian became news director for public station KCET in her hometown of Los Angeles, where she created a “60 Minutes”-style investigative series called “28 Tonight” (the station was on channel 28).

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The program featured several award-winning segments, including a segment on a banking scandal that harmed low-income communities and another on a chemical spill in Orange County that caused illnesses in the area, each of which won a Peabody Award.

In 1981 she moved to Washington, where she began nearly a decade as the news director for the Public Broadcasting Service.

“Since I’ve been in the business, I’ve always wanted to be one of the officers who goes out in that little room and decides what’s going to be covered and who’s going to cover it,” she said in a 1976 interview with the Los Angeles Times. “But at NBC, I never saw any women walk into that little room. Nor any minorities. I thought this was my chance.”

She added, “As Bobby Seale said,” referring to one of the founders of the Black Panther Party, “take the time.”

Jill Christian Jill Patricia Wells was born on February 20, 1940, in Los Angeles, one of four children of Edwin Wells, who worked on an assembly line for the Hughes Aircraft Company, and Lucille (Scruggs) Wells, who owned a cosmetology college. In the Leimert Park neighborhood of South Central Los Angeles. (She later adopted Christian, a name from her mother’s family, as her professional surname.)

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Ms. Christian grew up in Venice, California, and spent three years studying world history at California State University, Los Angeles, before dropping out to join the Air Force in 1962. She was caught in a raging crowd after being discharged, and in 1965, was found guilty of Armed robbery after eroticism in a hotel.

The theft, which resulted in less than $100, led to her admission to the California Institute for Women in Chino for 18 months. Christian said in a 1976 interview with TV Guide. “I really didn’t need to do that. I had a loving family, unlike a lot of the others in prison. I was just kind of pushed out at the time.”

After she had served her time, a paroled colleague who was working as a switchboard operator at The San Francisco Examiner gave her a tip that the paper was planning to hire two black reporters to diversify its staff. Without any experience, Ms. Christian considered the opportunity far-reaching, but talked her way into the role of an apprentice by stretching the truth.

“I gave them this song and they danced around working on this little black paper that the Klan burned,” she told the Tribune.

In 1970, she participated in an 11-week summer program for minority students in broadcast journalism at Columbia. (Geraldo Rivera was a classmate.) Two years later, she was hired by local NBC affiliate KNBC. She worked there for six years before NBC News hired her.

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Her tenure at PBS ended in 1989, shortly after the network found itself embroiled in controversy over the airing of a pro-Palestinian documentary, Days of Rage, which Ms. Christian had acquired and was responsible for vetting. A news report confirmed that the film was partially supported by undisclosed Arab funding, which was denied by the film’s producer.

In an interview with The New York Times, Ms. Christian said she quit PBS for other reasons. She said, “You’re burning because this is a no-win situation.” “You are silent when things are going well and angry when there are questions.”

She eventually settled in Palm Springs, California, with Mrs. DeBardelaben, whom she married in 2016. In 2003, the couple started the Palm Springs Women’s Jazz Festival.

In addition to Mrs. DeBardelaben, Mrs. Christian is survived by her grandson. Her daughter, Sunday Barrett, died in 2019.

While Ms. Christian kept quiet about her prison term early in her career, she finally decided to divulge it to a sympathetic NBC executive. “The guy just looked at me,” she recalls. He says: I don’t have enough problems. Do I have to listen to you? Get outta here.’ I didn’t hear another word.”

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Economic mood and other investment stories you may have missed this week

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This week has been a tough bullish one. Here’s what investors saw:

  • Oil prices have given up most of the gains from the OPEC+ production cut.

  • The Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing Index hit a new low for this economic cycle and missed expectations. Other indicators from the Conference Board The leading economic indicator I also fell.

  • Initial jobless claims were a surprise to the upside for the fourth consecutive week.

  • Weak earnings and more caution emerged from freight operators JB Hunt and Union Pacific as well as auto retailer AutoNation. Netflix and Taiwan Semiconductor, a major supplier to Apple, also issued guidance warnings.

  • There have been more layoffs in Meta’s Cloroxwith reports of planned job cuts at Disney.

  • Tesla reported a quarterly gross margin loss recently price cuts.

The bottom line is that there is an ongoing negative shift in economic data, most likely as interest rates continue to rise in the economy. This is a red flag.

Oddly enough, however, investors can’t seem to jump into it judging by the resilience of the S&P 500, Nasdaq Composite, and Dow Jones Industrial Average.

“The latest data is further evidence that there will be a recession in the US soon, which fits with our own view at DB Research that it is expected to happen later in the year,” Jim Reed, Deutsche Bank strategist wrote in the client note.

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Good words of wisdom now.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks to a visitor as he arrives to look at the Tesla Gigafactory construction on September 3, 2020, near Gruenheide, Germany. (Photo by Maja Hitij/Getty Images)

3 things you might have missed

1. The mood among AmEx cardholders: I met with American Express CEO Stephen Squarey, and he struck an optimistic tone about order trends.

“The economy is definitely divided, and I think at the lower end of the economy, we’re seeing some pressure, but we don’t have that,” Squirey said, adding that he sees strong demand for travel in the spring and summer. The call to travel lines up with what we’ve heard about this earnings season from Delta and United Airlines.

2. Elon Musk is following the storm. An interesting highlight from Tesla’s earnings call was when Elon Musk said he didn’t see the economy improving until 2024. The CEO predicted another year of “stormy economic weather” before “things start to get sunny in the spring of next year.”

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Musk joins the likes of JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon in using weather to describe the economic outlook.

3. About this credit cost: In an exclusive on Yahoo Finance Live, Loretta Mester, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, tells Jane Schoneberger that there is only one direction for interest rates in the near term: higher.

“I think that, given the complexity of inflation, and given the still-strong job market, I think rates should go above the 5% level,” Mester said.

Loretta J.  Jim Urquhart

Loretta J. Jim Urquhart

C-Suite, quote of the week

“We are not seeing a significant drop in trade [among consumers]John Mueller, CEO of Procter & Gamble (PG) told Yahoo Finance Live. We are witnessing, if anything, more careful use of the product they purchased. So they might use half a sheet of a Bounty paper towel instead of a full sheet. But overall, again, just looking at the numbers, the consumer holds up very well.”

planner of the week

For those investors who are ignoring the dangers of the impending debt ceiling, here’s a helpful reminder from the macroeconomics team at Goldman Sachs on how markets will price in the 2011 debt ceiling debate:

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Remember the debt ceiling debacle of 2011?

Remember the debt ceiling debacle of 2011?

Brian Suzy He is the Executive Editor of Yahoo Finance. Follow Suzy on Twitter @tweet and on linkedin. Deal tips, mergers, activist positions, or anything else? Email brian.sozzi@yahoofinance.com

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