Ebola came from monkeys, infected by bats and eaten in the African bush by people in very poor villages. But in China, wild animal meat is not cheap. “These have now become luxury items,” said Bell. “It’s a perfect storm. There is a shift from subsistence hunting to feed your family – that might make your family sick but it doesn’t go anywhere else. Now, these animals are being sold into a multibillion pound illegal trade, right up there with drugs. They cost more than livestock. … [Read more...] about Calls for global ban on wild animal markets amid coronavirus outbreak
Why is this any worse than normal influenza? We don’t yet know how dangerous the new coronavirus is – and we won’t know until more data comes in. Twenty-six deaths out of 800 reported cases would mean a 3% mortality rate. However, this is likely to be a overestimate since there may be a far larger pool of people who have been infected by the virus but who have not suffered severe enough symptoms to attend hospital and so have not been counted in the data. For comparison, seasonal flu typically has a mortality rate below 1% and is thought to cause about 400,000 deaths each year globally. Another key unknown, of which scientists should get a clearer idea in the coming weeks, is how contagious the coronavirus is. A crucial difference is that unlike flu, there is no vaccine for the new coronavirus, which means it is more difficult for vulnerable members of the population – elderly people or those with existing respiratory or immune problems – to protect … [Read more...] about What is the coronavirus and how worried should we be?
The international entertainer Sacha Distel, who has died aged 71 after a long illness, provided the safe face of French masculine charm in the 1960s. While his countrymen Serge Gainsbourg and Johnny Hallyday appeared subversive and dangerous, Sacha - with his boyish grin and courteous charm - appealed not only across the generations but to audiences in Britain and America. His father, Léo Distel, was a White Russian soldier who fled the Bolshevik revolution in 1917 and walked all the way to Paris. He established himself in an engineering firm, and married Andrée Ventura, a talented pianist and sister of Ray Ventura, who, with his group Les Collégiens, was one of the top bandleaders in France before the second world war. … [Read more...] about Sacha Distel
The revelation flies in the face of continued warnings from environmental groups and campaigners about the desperate state of the planet, and comes as Malaysia turns back containers filled with plastic from the world's richest nations declaring it will not become a global dumping ground. … [Read more...] about The world is using more than 100 billion tonnes of natural resources per year for the first time, while global recycling has FALLEN
Prepared by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) in Bonn, the report will be discussed, finalized and considered for approval at the five-day meeting to be held at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris. … [Read more...] about Major meeting in Paris to review first global biodiversity assessment since 2005