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Much of Lord Howe Island closed to visitors due to plant fungus outbreak | Lord Howe Island



Much of Lord Howe Island has been closed to non-essential visitors due to an outbreak of myrtle rust, a highly contagious plant fungus.

Lord Howe Permanent Conservation Park, which covers about 70% of the World Heritage-listed island, has been “temporarily closed to all non-essential visitors with immediate effect,” Lord Howe Island Council said.

Myrtle rust was discovered on the island on 3 February. According to the council, despite continued treatment and preventive fungicide spraying, weekly sweeps revealed three more infested sites, two of which were located about 230 meters from the boundary of the permanent park-reserve.

Myrtle rust infects plants myrtle a family that includes eucalyptus trees, paper barks, and tea trees. The fungus infects flower buds and new shoots, affecting the ability of plants to photosynthesize.

There are concerns that myrtle rust may affect myrtle species endemic to the island, including mountain rose (Metrosideros nervulose), scaly bark (Syzygium fullagaria) and the Gnarled Moss Cloud Forest, an endangered forest that tops Mount Gower, the island’s highest mountain.

The fungus produces thousands of spores that remain viable for up to three months and are easily spread by wind, rain, and on clothing, skin, hair, shoes, and equipment.

“Due to the increasing risk, the closure of the permanent park-reserve is being carried out to prevent spread as a result of human activity,” the message says. “Rust can change the look of our mountains and forests, it can change food webs and ecology, and potentially affect world heritage values.”

The authorities held an information session on Thursday evening in the island’s public room with experts from the NSW Department of Planning and Environment and the Commodities Industries Department.

The board did not provide a timeline for the reopening of the reserve, noting that “the closure will remain in place until there is confidence that the necessary hygiene measures can be applied consistently and effectively…and maintain a manageable level of visitation.”

Professor Robert Park, director of the Australian Cereal Rust Program at the University of Sydney, said myrtle rust was first detected in Australia in 2010 on the central coast of New South Wales.

“Rust is one of the most feared of all plant pathogens – it is rapidly spread thousands of kilometers by wind and can cause huge losses in crop production,” Park said.

“Myrtle rust has quickly spread across the east coast of Australia and has led to the disappearance of at least three types of tropical forests. It was discovered on Lord Howe Island in 2016 and extirpated, but has now managed to spread there again. This second invasion clearly shows how incredibly difficult it is to fight rust diseases when they are introduced into a new region.”

Operators on the island are keen to emphasize that while the reserve is closed, other activities are still open to tourists.

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“We remain open for business with the exception of some activities,” said Stephen Sea, treasurer of the Lord Howe Island Tourism Association. “There are many more places that visitors can visit … The territory of the settlement itself is quite pleasant for walking, and that’s all [11] the beaches are open and people can still swim.”

Sarah Shields, media manager for Capella Lodge, said: “Walking in the parks is a big part of the island’s activities, but this time of year… you’ll be spending a lot more time in the water.

“March is indeed the peak time for Lord Howe Island in terms of maritime activity.

“The priority for the island at the moment is to stop the widespread spread of myrtle rust … We support that [the island board] do [but] we would also like the board to find a way for businesses to coexist while the board is looking into this matter.

“It’s like Covid is visiting the island again – exactly three years ago we closed the island.”

The permanent park reserve, which also covers Ball’s Pyramid and the islands adjacent to Lord Howe, was established in 1982 to protect the region’s biodiversity. 241 species of native plants grow here, of which more than 100 are found only on the island.

The Board of Directors of Lord Howe Island was contacted for comment.

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Giant algae blob targets Florida and Mexico beaches



Giant swarms of kelp could soon settle along beaches in Florida and across the Gulf of Mexico, scientists warn, polluting popular tourist destinations for months.

Seaweed is a type of leafy floating algae called sargassum — typically spends most of the year swinging in a 5,000-mile-wide mass across the Atlantic Ocean. Sargassum is generally helpful while at sea, providing food and breeding grounds for a variety of species, including fish, sea turtles, and seabirds.

The real danger of the Sargassum comes when it is washed ashore. Seaweed begins to rot after a few days on land, releasing hydrogen sulfide gas that smells like rotten eggs and leaving behind a brown sludge that can contaminate beaches for weeks. Hydrogen sulfide can threaten human health, and the sheer amount of seaweed could be too much for local crews.

Parts of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico were enveloped by approximately 200 tons sargassum earlier in March, prompting warnings of “surplusAlgae levels near the popular Playa del Carmen. Officials have warned that some beaches are at risk of up to 3 feet of seaweed a week, with no signs of sargassum decreasing as summer approaches.

A worker shovels Sargassum off the coast of Playa del Carmen, Mexico, Wednesday, May 8, 2019.

The media in Key West also reported much earlier than usual. sargasso floods last week.

Past flowers prompted state of emergency in the Virgin Islands and polluted islands in the caribbeanAnd every year there are only more of them.

For the first time scientists noted supercharged seaweed rafts in 2011. Some researchers suggest that they may increase as the runoff of fertilizers and agricultural waste flows into the ocean in large quantities.

“These flowers are getting bigger and bigger, and this year looks set to be the biggest on record.” – Brian Lapointe, research professor at Florida Atlantic University said New York Times. “It’s pretty early to see so much, so soon.”

Large areas of sargassum are currently floating in the northern Caribbean and near the east of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.

University of South Florida, which monitors annual seaweed bloom, predicts that 2023 will be “mainSargassum year, upcoming tourist plans and the threat to coastal ecosystems.

scientists they said they were expecting Sargassum scourge has become the new normal.

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Los Angeles healthcare operators charged with 14 COVID-19 deaths



On Tuesday, operators at a high-profile dementia care facility in Los Angeles were charged with elder abuse and other felony charges related to the death of an employee and 13 residents in the early days of the pandemic.

The Silverado Beverly Place Memory Care Community, near the Fairfax area, specializes in caring for older residents with Alzheimer’s and dementia and was the site of the March 2020 COVID-19 outbreak.

An employee and residents died during the outbreak, when 45 employees and 60 residents were infected, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office. The operators of the facility were sued in civil court by the family of several residents and the deceased employee. The object was the subject of a 2020 Times investigation.

The facility was supposed to be closed to visitors, prosecutors said, when a patient from a New York psychiatric ward was admitted there. Silverado Beverly Place’s own protocols required it to keep anyone out of a high-risk area like New York City, which at the time was considered the epicenter of COVID-19.

Prosecutors say the patient was not tested for coronavirus when he was admitted to the hospital and developed symptoms the next morning. But after they tested positive, they were not placed in quarantine, according to the criminal charge.

The prosecutor’s office claims that the institution’s management did not block visitors who traveled within the country or abroad for 14 days to areas where cases of COVID-19 were confirmed.

“These careless decisions created conditions that unnecessarily exposed Silverado personnel and residents to serious injury and, unfortunately, death,” Dist. Atti This is stated in the statement of George Gascon.

The three managers were charged with 13 counts of felony endangering the elderly and five counts of misdemeanor resulting in death. The latest charges were brought in connection with the management of the company’s health and safety of employees. Lauren Bernard Shook, Jason Michael Russo, and Kimberly Cheryl Batrum were charged, along with Irvine-based Silverado Senior Living Management Inc.

Prosecutors say the New York City patient was admitted to Silverado Beverly Place for financial reasons.

Investigators from the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health conducted a two-and-a-half-year investigation at Silverado Beverly Place, whose parent company operates several nursing facilities across the country. According to Cal/OSHA, Silverado Beverly Place was cited for violating the airborne disease standard, which is designed to protect “employees who are at increased risk of contracting certain airborne infections due to their work activities. “.

The facility listed $114,500 in proposed fines for violations, the unit said, but it appealed the fines.

Email Silverado Senior Living Management Inc. asking for comment on the allegations was not immediately resolved.

Gascon also read out the names of the 14 dead during a press conference in downtown Los Angeles. These nurses are Brittany Bruner-Ringo, Elizabeth Cohen, Joseph Manduke, Catherine Apotaker, Jake Khorsandi, Albert Sarnoff, Dolores Sarnoff, Myrna Frank, Frank Piumetti, Jay Tedeman, Luba Paz, Kay Kiddu, Richard Herman and Michael Horn.

Bruner-Ringo told her mother that the newly admitted patient was showing signs of illness – profuse sweating, a “productive” cough and a temperature close to 103 degrees, her mother told The Times.

“I said, ‘It’s definitely problematic,’” recalls Kim Bruner-Ringo, an experienced nurse in Oklahoma City.

The patient was so ill that Brittany Bruner-Ringo called 911 for an ambulance, but it was too late. In the days and weeks that followed, the virus spread throughout the facility.

According to her family, Bruner-Ringo stopped breathing on April 20, 2020 in the intensive care unit at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. she was 32

“Every day I just prayed that Brittany could tell her own story,” her sister Breanna Hurd said.

Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Alan Eisner, who is not involved in the case, said the allegations are unique because they concern decisions made by senior care facility leaders in the early days of the pandemic.

“This is a once-in-a-generation pandemic,” Eisner said. “I don’t want to ignore all the people who died. But this is a high bar that prosecutors must prove and show that the institution is responsible for the death of all other patients and even a nurse.”

Jody Moore, an attorney representing seven clients who either became ill with COVID-19 or died in Silverado, said that by early 2020, the federal government had provided guidance to long-term care facilities on how to protect older residents, including screening and testing policies. .

“It doesn’t make sense to say loved ones can’t get in, private caregivers can’t get in because their paperwork says we’re putting residents at significant risk by exposing them to what can enter through the front door.” Moore said. “What they let in through the front door was someone with dollars attached. And that’s what’s really egregious misconduct here.”

Helena Apotaker received an email from the institution in the early days of the pandemic informing her that she would not be able to visit her mother Katherine. The announcement said the facility is being closed for the safety of elderly residents.

“No one was allowed in,” Apotaker told The Times. “They were going to protect our loved ones. This was their top priority. Well, not 30 days later, I think they lost their top priority.”

According to Apotaker, her mother had early stages of Alzheimer’s but was generally in good health. After her mother tested positive for COVID-19, Apotaker placed her in a hospice and was finally allowed to visit in person.

“I was in the building with my mother for a week when she died,” Apotaker said. “I can’t imagine what it was like for everyone who had to watch their parents die through a window or watch their loved ones die on FaceTime.”

Upon hearing the news that Silverado Beverly Place was under criminal investigation, Apohacker was filled with a sense of justice because it seems that people have forgotten about the pandemic and the people who have died.

“But I remember that my mother died,” she said. “The only thing I had to hold on to was the thought that maybe one day I would get justice.”

Times Staff Writer Harriet Ryan contributed to this report.

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Jiang Yanyong, who exposed the extent of the SARS epidemic in 2003, has died at the age of 91.



Jiang Yanyong, a military surgeon who rose to fame in China for exposing Beijing’s 2003 SARS suppression, was later detained and silenced after using his fame to seek justice for the government. Crackdown on Tiananmen Square, died March 11 in Beijing. hey what 91

His death was informed in the Hong Kong South China Morning Post and by Chinese human rights activist Hu Jia, who told Western news agencies that Dr. Jiang died of pneumonia in a military hospital.

In mainland China, news about Dr. Jiang’s death or other references to him were censored, highlighting that he remained a perceived political threat two decades after he came to public attention.

“I’m not a hero,” says the doctor. In 2013, state-run Beijing News quoted Jiang as describing his SARS revelations. “All I did was say a few honest things.”

Long out of the public eye and silenced by the Chinese authorities, Dr. Jiang’s defiance has taken on new historical significance during the coronavirus pandemic. parallels were brought in with Beijing’s early coverage of the number of cases of covid and SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome. In 2003, SARS was blamed for over 800 deaths.

And in late 2019 — weeks before the coronavirus was identified as a global threat — Wuhan optometrist Li Wenliang drew attention to an emerging public health crisis resembling SARS. On Chinese social media, he was hailed as the doctor’s heir. Whistleblower Jiang’s Legacy. Lee died of covid in February 2020 and was announced among the official “martyrs” to fight covid.

Dr. Jiang’s challenge against the state over the SARS report drew mixed reactions from leaders. State media called him an “honest doctor” and a “SARS hero”. Many Chinese considered him a rare risk-taker among the pampered elite, a man willing to stake his state-granted privileges for the sake of his conscience.

At the same time, officials tried to dampen his rising prominence, fearing that he might use it to cast doubt on other versions of the government. “We have 6 million doctors and healthcare workers,” said Gao Qiang, number 1 in the US. In 2003, a health ministry official told The Washington Post that “Jiang Yanyong is one of them.”

The virus first appeared in late 2002 in the southern city of Guangzhou. But the Chinese authorities concealed its distribution until early February 2003. Finally, a text message from health officials said, “Influenza is rampant in Guangzhou.”

In the middle of March World Health Organization issued the first warning about the virus, but the Chinese media ignored it. Then, on April 3, 2003, Health Minister Zhang Wenkang told a press conference that China was “safe” and that “SARS was under effective control” with only 12 cases and three deaths reported in Beijing.

Dr. Jiang was outraged. Even though he was half retired, he knew military hospitals were facing a surge in SARS patients – more than 100 cases in Beijing alone. He sent an email to China Central Television and the Hong Kong television station Phoenix accusing Zhang, who was also a doctor with a military background, of covering up the true SARS numbers.

“All the doctors and nurses who saw yesterday’s news were furious,” he wrote, accusing Zhang of “giving up on his most basic standard of integrity as a doctor.”

None of the stations followed the doctor. Jiang’s message. It was leaked to Time magazine, which published a story April 8, 2003, titled “The SARS attack in Beijing”.

International pressure on China has intensified, and the WHO wondered if Beijing was hiding the extent of the epidemic. The Chinese leadership immediately fired Zhang and Beijing Mayor Meng Xuenong, while public health officials took aggressive measures to contain the spread.

“I felt I had to talk about what was going on,” the doctor said. Jiang said“not only to save China, but also to save the world.”

But dr. Jiang’s rise was soon followed by a sharp fall. He crossed a red line in China that few dare, publicly calling for retribution for the 1989 Tiananmen massacre. There is no official death toll among the pro-democracy protesters who have occupied the square, with estimates ranging from a few hundred to over 10,000.

Tiananmen remains an untouchable topic in China’s political and public life. Dr. Jiang’s position as a member of the Communist Party and a high-ranking military officer gave his comments an additional level of unease for leaders.

“Our party must correct the mistakes it has made,” said Dr. K. Jiang, who was on duty at No. 1.301 Military Hospital in Beijing, in a letter to party officials the night the tanks rolled into the square. “Everyone whose family members have been unjustly killed should make the same request.”

Dr. Jiang and his wife Hua Zhongwei were placed under house arrest. Jiang was taken into custody for more than six weeks during “political indoctrination sessions.” He was banned from communicating with foreign media and banned from leaving the country. He has virtually disappeared from public view, save for a few state-controlled remarks.

After his detention in 2004, Chinese officials made a brief statement to The Post, stating that the military “assisted and trained him”.

Jiang Yanyong was born on October 1 in Hangzhou. January 4, 1931 and grew up in nearby Shanghai in a family consisting of banking. He said he decided to pursue a career in medicine after watching his aunt die of tuberculosis.

He studied at Yanqing University in Beijing after Mao Zedong’s communist forces came to power in 1949. He received his medical education in Beijing Union Medical College and later enlisted in the medical corps of the Chinese army.

Dr. Jiang was sent to Beijing 301 Hospital in 1957. His family background, however, placed him under the influence of Mao’s Cultural Revolution launched in 1966 against foreign influence and others who were seen as potential enemies of the state.

Dr. Jiang was branded a counter-revolutionary because of his father’s banking connections and his pedigree. His cousin Chiang Yan-shih was a high-ranking official in Mao’s rival, the Kuomintang, whose leaders fled to Taiwan after being defeated in the civil war by the Communists.

Dr. Jiang was imprisoned and then exiled to the western provinces of China. He was allowed to return to No. 301 hospital in the early 1970s after he was declared “politically exonerated”. He stepped down as chief surgeon shortly before the SARS outbreak, but retained ties to the hospital to treat patients and educate doctors.

In 2007, hello what is forbidden leave China to receive a human rights award from the New York Academy of Sciences.

In addition to his wife, the survivors include a daughter and a son.

At the end of the life of Dr. Jiang had one last quarrel with the authorities. In 2019, on the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, he sent a letter to Chinese leader Xi Jinping demanding he take responsibility for the events of June 1989. Jiang was placed under house arrest again.

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