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. British Company In Bird Flu Outbreak May Cut Jobs

File photo of an avian flu outbreak. Photo courtesy AFP.

Moscow to implement avian flu vaccinations
Moscow (UPI) Feb 20, 2007- Russian officials are set to prevent a possible outbreak of the avian flu by vaccinating at least 1 million domestic birds in and around Moscow. While all Russian poultry is typically inoculated twice a year, Russian veterinary experts informed the press agency RIA Novosti that all birds near Moscow will soon be given free vaccinations to prevent an outbreak of the virus. The move comes as five cases of the avian flu were reported near Moscow, including one Monday in which the presence of the H5N1 virus was confirmed. In an effort to maintain the current status of no infected humans around Moscow, Russian officials have recommended that area citizens abstain from eating poultry until the situation could be contained. The last avian flu outbreak to occur in Russia's borders occurred in January in the southern region of Krasnodar. To date, the potentially deadly virus has claimed more than 160 human lives since it was found in Asia in 2003.
by Staff Writers
London (AFP) Feb 20, 2007
Around 500 workers at a poultry processing plant in eastern England hit by an outbreak of the potentially lethal H5N1 bird flu virus are at risk of being laid off, a trade union said Monday. Bernard Matthews, whose plant in Suffolk was hit by the virus two weeks ago, may have to fire workers at operations in neighbouring Norfolk, the Transport and General Workers' Union (TGWU) said amid reports of declining sales.

Some 130 will be stood down for 20 days from Tuesday and will receive a one-off payment of 100 pounds (148 euros, 194 dollars) but the firm is "looking at laying off" a total of 500 people, a spokeswoman added.

The union is calling on the government to pay compensation to the industry to make up for the impact on sales after the bird flu outbreak.

But Environment Secretary David Miliband told parliament it was not government policy to offer compensation for "market impacts."

He also warned that "there is a constant low risk of bird flu to the UK and higher risk during migration seasons."

Last week, British supermarkets gave mixed reports of the effect the outbreak had had on poultry sales.

The biggest grocery chain, Tesco, said it had seen a slight fall in sales, while Asda, the second largest which is owned by Wal-Mart, said there had been "absolutely no impact."

Sainsbury's, Britain's third biggest supermarket, said there had been a 10 percent drop in poultry sales since the scare.

Bernard Matthews has faced a backlash in recent months led by campaigners for healthy eating such as television chef Jamie Oliver, who in particular criticised the firm's "Turkey Twizzlers" product being served in schools.

After receiving the all-clear from health authorities, Matthews' processing plant at Holton, Suffolk in eastern England reopened on February 13 following a precautionary cull of 159,000 turkeys.

Many workers are economic migrants from countries including Portugal.

The British government said in a report last week that bird flu is most likely to have come to Britain via poultry imports from Hungary, where Bernard Matthews also owns Saga Foods, near the site of an H5N1 outbreak in January.

Updating members of parliament on the probe into the outbreak, Miliband said that there had been no further reported outbreaks of H5N1 and "no evidence" that meat from restricted areas in Hungary had entered the food chain.

Restrictions put in place around the Suffolk plant after the outbreak could be lifted as early as March, he added.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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End The Black AIDS Plague
Voorhees (UPI) N.J., Feb. 16, 2007
African-American medical and political leaders gathered this week in Philadelphia to turn the national spotlight on the growing impact of HIV/AIDS on the black community; the attention is urgently needed. AIDS has become a disease that hits African-Americans with particular force. Recent data suggest that blacks comprise half of those living with HIV in the United States but only 13 percent of the country's population.

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