Friday, 12 June 2009

Swine Flu

Swine flu is declared as global pandemic. Something i need to consider before heading to go or not go...
By MARIA CHENG and FRANK JORDANS, Associated Press Writers
Maria Cheng And Frank Jordans, Associated Press Writers
Source: Associated Press (AP)

GENEVA – The World Health Organization declared a swine flu pandemic Thursday — the first global flu epidemic in 41 years — as infections in the United States, Europe, Australia, South America and elsewhere climbed to nearly 30,000 cases.

The long-awaited pandemic announcement is scientific confirmation that a new flu virus has emerged and is quickly circling the globe. WHO will now ask drugmakers to speed up production of a swine flu vaccine. The declaration will also prompt governments to devote more money toward efforts to contain the virus.

WHO chief Dr. Margaret Chan made the announcement Thursday after the U.N. agency held an emergency meeting with flu experts. Chan said she was moving the world to phase 6 — the agency's highest alert level — which means a pandemic, or global epidemic, is under way.

"The world is moving into the early days of its first influenza pandemic in the 21st century," Chan told reporters. "The (swine flu) virus is now unstoppable."

On Thursday, WHO said 74 countries had reported 28,774 cases of swine flu, including 144 deaths. Chan described the virus as "moderate." According to WHO's pandemic criteria, a global outbreak has begun when a new flu virus begins spreading in two world regions.

The agency has stressed that most cases are mild and require no treatment, but the fear is that a rash of new infections could overwhelm hospitals and health authorities — especially in poorer countries.

Still, about half of the people who have died from swine flu were previously young and healthy — people who are not usually susceptible to flu. Swine flu is also crowding out regular flu viruses. Both features are typical of pandemic flu viruses.

The last pandemic — the Hong Kong flu of 1968 — killed about 1 million people. Ordinary flu kills about 250,000 to 500,000 people each year.

Swine flu is also continuing to spread during the start of summer in the northern hemisphere. Normally, flu viruses disappear with warm weather, but swine flu is proving to be resilient.

The decision might have been made much earlier if WHO had more accurate information about swine flu's rising sweep through Europe. Chan said she called the emergency meeting with flu experts after concerns were raised that some countries like Britain were not accurately reporting their cases.
After Thursday's meeting, Chan said the experts agreed there was wider spread of swine flu than what was being reported.

Chan would not say which country tipped the world into the pandemic, but said all countries and experts were agreed that it was time to declare a global outbreak.

WHO said it was now recommending that flu vaccine makers start making swine flu vaccine. Drug giant GlaxoSmithKline PLC said they could start large-scale production of pandemic vaccine in July but that it would take several months before large quantities would be available.

Many health experts say WHO's pandemic declaration could have come weeks earlier but the agency became bogged down by politics. In May, several countries urged WHO not to declare a pandemic, fearing it would cause social and economic turmoil.

"This is WHO finally catching up with the facts," said Michael Osterholm, a flu expert at the University of Minnesota who has advised the U.S. government on pandemic preparations.

Despite WHO's hopes, Thursday's announcement will almost certainly spark panic about spread of swine flu in some countries.

Fear has already gripped Argentina, where thousands of people worried about swine flu flooded into hospitals this week, bringing emergency health services in the capital of Buenos Aires to the brink of collapse. Last month, a bus arriving in Argentina from Chile was stoned by people who thought a passenger on it had swine flu.

Chile has the most swine flu cases in South America, and the southern hemisphere is moving into its winter flu season.

In Hong Kong on Thursday, the government ordered all kindergartens and primary schools closed for two weeks after a dozen students tested positive for swine flu — a move that some experts would consider an overreaction. The decision affected over half a million students.

In the United States, where there have been more than 13,000 cases and at least 27 deaths from swine flu, officials at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the move would not change how the U.S. tackled swine flu.

"Our actions in the past month have been as if there was a pandemic in this country," Glen Nowak, a CDC spokesman, said Thursday.

The U.S. government has already taken steps like increasing availability of flu-fighting medicines and authorizing $1 billion for the development of a new vaccine against the novel virus. In addition, new cases seem to be declining in many parts of the country, U.S. health officials say, as North America moves out of its traditional winter flu season.

Still, New York City reported three more swine flu deaths Thursday, including one child under 2.

In Mexico, where the epidemic was first detected, the outbreak peaked in April. Mexico now has less than 30 cases reported a day, down from an average of 300, Health Secretary Jose Angel Cordova told The Associated Press. Mexico has confirmed 6,337 cases, including 108 deaths.

Cordova said he is concerned that other countries are not taking drastic measures to stop its spread like Mexico, which closed schools, restaurants, theaters, and canceled public events after the government detected the epidemic in late April.

Many experts said the declaration of a pandemic did not mean the virus was getting deadlier.

"People might imagine a virus is now going to rush in and kill everyone," said John Oxford, a professor of virology at St. Bart's and Royal London Hospital. "That's not going to happen."

But Oxford said the swine flu virus might evolve into a more dangerous strain in the future. "That is always a possibility with influenza viruses," he said. "We have to watch very carefully to see what this virus does."


AP Medical Writers Maria Cheng reported from London and Michael Stobbe reported from Atlanta. Associated Press Writers Michael E. Miller in Mexico City, Dikky Sinn in Hong Kong, Vincente L. Panetta in Buenos Aires and Bradley S. Klapper in Geneva also contributed to this report.

Goodbye my Lover..

I'm a bit sad, since tomorrow most probably will be my last day to be with my friends here, everyone is heading back to their home town, scattered all across Turkey..he he..
I'm not sure of the relatedness of this song with my feelings but the lyrics are very nice and make be sob even more..

Goodbye My Lover -by James Blunt

Did I disappoint you or let you down?
Should I be feeling guilty or let the judges frown?
'Cause I saw the end before we'd begun,
Yes I saw you were blinded and I knew I had won.
So I took what's mine by eternal right.
Took your soul out into the night.
It may be over but it won't stop there,
I am here for you if you'd only care.
You touched my heart you touched my soul.
You changed my life and all my goals.
And love is blind and that I knew when,
My heart was blinded by you.
I've kissed your lips and held your hand.
Shared your dreams and shared your bed.
I know you well, I know your smell.
I've been addicted to you.

Goodbye my lover.
Goodbye my friend.
You have been the one.
You have been the one for me.

I am a dreamer and when i wake,
You can't break my spirit - it's my dreams you take.
And as you move on, remember me,
Remember us and all we used to be
I've seen you cry, I've seen you smile.
I've watched you sleeping for a while.
I'd be the father of your child.
I'd spend a lifetime with you.
I know your fears and you know mine.
We've had our doubts but now we're fine,
And I love you, I swear that's true.
I cannot live without you.

Goodbye my lover.
Goodbye my friend.
You have been the one.
You have been the one for me.

And I still hold your hand in mine.
In mine when I'm asleep.
And I will bare my soul in time,
When I'm kneeling at your feet.
Goodbye my lover.
Goodbye my friend.
You have been the one.
You have been the one for me.

I'm so hollow, baby, I'm so hollow.
I'm so, I'm so, I'm so hollow.
I'm so hollow, baby, I'm so hollow.
I'm so, I'm so, I'm so hollow.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Am I that big or the seats are very small??

Erm...just found this article couple of minutes ago. It answered my curiosity regarding this issue. it was a pain in the *ss to be on an airplane for 17 hours when it felt like you were put in a small box..serious..!! It was really disappointing since I was on one of the most famous carrier in the world..but now, i knew that most of the service providers are doing the same we just have "live with it"...

If you thought legroom on commercial airlines was already cramped, get set to be squeezed some more.

New Boeing 737-800s now being delivered to American Airlines have the same-size cabins as the existing 737-800s in American's fleet. But the new planes have 12 more coach seats, pushing the total number of seats to 160. Delta Air Lines Inc. has also added 10 seats to its 737-800s, raising the total to 160. So has Continental Airlines Inc.

The seat squeeze shows how airlines are aggressively cramming more seats into jets. The trend has been going on for years, but has picked up momentum of late as airlines take food galleys out of airplanes since they've stopped serving free meals. Some carriers also are replacing seats with new ones made with slimmer frames and cushions, creating additional rows.

Slimmer seats free up space. But instead of giving it to customers, airlines are using it to try to make their fleets more profitable, taking all those inches and adding more seats to jets. A few extra passengers on each trip can spell the difference for tight-margin airlines between losing money and making money.

In American's case, some customers will lose some legroom. The airline says it standardized the "seat pitch" -- the distance from a point on one seat to the same point on the seat in the next row -- at 31 inches throughout the coach cabin. Some rows in the old configuration had as much as 33 inches of seat pitch, and American's Web site says the old configuration averaged 32 inches.

Exit rows still have more legroom in the new layout -- about the same 39-40 inches as in the old configuration. But "bulkhead" seats in the first row of the coach cabin won't be as roomy as frequent fliers are accustomed to. A spokesman for American says there's a "slight reduction" in legroom for the first row of the economy section.

AMR Corp.'s American says the room for the two added coach rows was freed up by several changes besides just newly designed seats with thinner seatbacks squeezed closer together. Two service-cart storage cabinets behind the last row of seats were eliminated because, well, there's not as much food and beverage service onboard flights these days. The space between the two cabins was shrunk using a new contoured divider.

Despite the squeeze, American believes the new seats won't feel more crowded to travelers. The seat bottoms pivot forward a bit like movie-theater seats to give the person behind you more knee room when reclining.

"The new seat design does not make you feel cramped," said spokesman Charles Wilson. "It has everything to do with a combination of both the way the seat reclines and the new material used for the seat cushions."

There are other benefits as well. The new 737s come with regular power ports available at all seats, bigger overhead bins and 20 drop-down LCD video units for entertainment programming. The 737-800s will also burn 35% less fuel per-seat than the MD-80s they replace.

Still, seat pitch at 31 inches may well feel tight to many travelers. American once had 34 inches in coach when it marketed itself as the "More Room" airline from 2000-2005. The MD-80s being phased out in favor of the 737-800s will replace MD-80 jets that have 31- to 33-inch pitch in coach.

While some low-cost airlines still offer 32-34 inches of seat pitch on planes, 31 inches has become the standard in coach at many carriers. Delta, for example, had 32 inches in its 737-800s when it had 150 seats. A reconfiguration completed last summer on all 71 737-800s in Delta's fleet pushed that to 160 seats, using slimmer seats. But seat pitch did decline: The first seven rows in coach have 32-inch pitch, but the 15 rows behind the exit doors have 31-inch pitch.

More passengers on a plane means more travelers competing for the same overhead bin space. And bathrooms, too. Most 737-800s are delivered from Boeing with three bathrooms -- one in the front for first-class passengers and two in the rear for coach customers.

Continental and Alaska Airlines are notable exceptions. Continental opted to add an extra mid-cabin bathroom to some of its 737-800s and use those planes primarily on trans-continental flights. That version also has an extra row of first-class seats and carries a total of 155 seats.

The bathroom retrofit began after the airline's president at the time, Greg Brenneman, was quoted in a 1999 page one story in this newspaper acknowledging that the new 737-800 was "one bathroom shy of what it needs." With only two lavatories in the rear for then 140 coach seats (and today 144 coach seats), lines for the bathroom, especially when movies end, can be long.

Alaska, a unit of Alaska Air Group Inc., received its first three 737-800s from Boeing with 160 seats and three bathrooms, but customers complained there weren't enough bathrooms. So Alaska decided to remove three seats and add an extra bathroom in the rear of the plane.

American will have to add a flight attendant on flights with the new layout compared with staffing on its current 737s. The 148-seat version gets three flight attendants. The new layout, with 160 seats, requires four since federal rules require one flight attendant for every 50 passengers.

To keep the two versions separate, the newly delivered 737s with the dozen added seats will be based in Chicago, American says. Right now they are flying between Chicago and Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Denver, Fort Lauderdale, Philadelphia and Minneapolis.

The airline started taking 737 deliveries again in March after a hiatus of more than seven years, and the first two planes with the new configuration went into service on April 14. American plans to take delivery of two or three per month until its order of 76 is complete in the first quarter of 2011. The 77 737-800s already in American's fleet with the older seat configuration will eventually be upgraded to the new design, the airline says.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Message to all Photography LoVerS!!!

7,700 Euros await winners
ACB invites photographers to zoom in on biodiversity

Calling all professional, amateur and student photographers! The ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) is now accepting entries to the First ASEAN-wide photo contest
“Zooming in on Biodiversity”

In partnership with the European Commission, ASEAN Member States, and the Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication, the photo contest seeks to popularize the values of biodiversity through the medium of photography.

ACB Executive Director Rodrigo U. Fuentes said only a small fraction of the global population, mostly scientists and environmentalists, understands the role that biodiversity plays in humankind’s survival.
“This lack of knowledge often translates to the lack of care for the very environment. There is an urgent need to popularize biodiversity and one effective way is to use the power of photos. By translating biodiversity and its relationship with health, food security, climate change and other everyday human issues into powerful images, we can generate a greater awareness for this often-difficult-to-grasp concept,” Fuentes said.

The contest will run until 30 August 2009 with a total of 7,700 Euros total prize at stake. First placers in the three categories will have an opportunity to exhibit their winning photos and attend the ASEAN Conference on Biodiversity in Singapore on 21 – 23 October 2009 for free.

Open to all residents of ASEAN Member States Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, the contest welcomes entries which are exclusive to the contest, unpublished, and not submitted to previous contests.

Entries should capture various images related to biodiversity (plants, animals, marine life, ASEAN Heritage Parks) or the many benefits that biodiversity brings to human beings, its importance, the threats biodiversity face (deforestation, climate change), or how biodiversity affects lives. Photos showing initiatives to protect biodiversity resources such as plants, animals, and marine species are also welcome. Entries can also depict biodiversity as source of food (food and agriculture); biodiversity as source of medicine (health and medicine); biodiversity as source of shelter; biodiversity and climate change; the aesthetic value of biodiversity; biodiversity as source of livelihood; and biodiversity and ecotourism.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Count down..

Sudah 3 bulan 7 hari aku berada di bumi Turki..
tiba masa untuk bersiap untuk pulang..
sedih sungguh rasanya untuk meninggalkan Erzurum..

"tempat jatuh lagikan dikenang inikan pula tempat bermain."

aku ada 23 hari lagi untuk menyiapkan segala urusanku di Erzurum..
dan banyak yang belum selesai..hmmmmmmmmmmmm...

loving the background of this photo!
(although it is a bit underexposed)
a very fine, warm and sunny Sunday evening..
obviously I was working in the finish my SSR screening..