Democrats Battle for Senate Control as They Push for an Expanded House Majority

first_imgThe race in Maine has been just as steady, with the Democrat, Sara Gideon, the speaker of the State Legislature, threatening to unseat Ms. Collins, a four-term Republican and one of the last centrists left in her party. After easily winning re-election in 2014, Ms. Collins struggled to stay afloat as her race became a national referendum on the Republican Party, and she was battling to win a majority to avoid activating the state’s newly enacted ranked-choice voting system, which could badly hurt her chances.“We’ve never given up, because that is what we Mainers do — we work hard, we show up for work every day and we get the job done,” Ms. Collins told her supporters, addressing them in a snowy parking lot in Bangor. “I wish that I could thank each of you by name, that would take all night — on the other hand, we may be here all night.” In Iowa, Republicans were more confident in recent days that Senator Joni Ernst would hold off an upset by Theresa Greenfield, a Democrat with roots in the state’s farming community, in the most expensive race in the state’s history.- Advertisement – How to Follow the Election ResultsHere’s a guide to The Times’s election night coverage, no matter when, how or how often you want to consume it. – Advertisement – If you just want results… There will be a results map on The Times’s home page, and yes, the infamous needle will be back — but only for Florida, Georgia and North Carolina, the only states providing granular enough information for our experts to make educated projections of uncounted votes.If you want constant updates… Times reporters are live-blogging all day and night. This will be your one-stop shop for minute-by-minute updates: race calls, on-the-ground reporting from swing states, news about any voting issues or disruptions, and more.If you want to check in every so often… Times journalists are also producing a live briefing from roughly 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. ET, with an overview of what’s happening in the presidential race, the Senate and House races, and the voting process itself. Election 2020 ›- Advertisement – Republicans believed they were benefiting from wayward conservative voters returning to the fold after the confirmation of Justice Barrett, a long-sought priority.Democrats, though, had a late surge of optimism around the two races in Georgia, where Jon Ossoff, a 33-year-old documentary filmmaker, had Senator David Perdue racing to shore up his conservative base, and the Rev. Dr. Raphael Warnock had taken a commanding lead in the special election to replace the retired Republican senator Johnny Isakson. With multiple Democratic and Republican candidates splitting the vote, Dr. Warnock’s race was almost certainly headed to a runoff. Mr. Ossoff and Mr. Perdue could end up there, too, but were both still jockeying to clear 50 percent on Election Day. Georgia law requires a runoff if no candidate wins a majority.Both parties had other targets, but they were considered a stretch. For Republicans, the best option was Michigan, where John James, a Black Iraq war veteran who ran for the Senate unsuccessfully in 2018, was trying to unseat Senator Gary Peters. Democrats believed they had an outside shot of defeating Steve Daines in Montana and Dan Sullivan in Alaska. – Advertisement –last_img read more

Bloomberg sees losses after spending over $100 million in Florida, Ohio, Texas

first_imgThere were even discussions that some Democratic leaders were going to try to convince Biden to offer Bloomberg a Cabinet post, these people added. Those efforts appear to be no longer in motion and it’s unclear if either Biden or Bloomberg would even entertain the idea. These people declined to be named as the discussions and plans were made in private.Beyond the presidential election, the outcome of Bloomberg’s decisions in 2020 could have an impact on his involvement in the upcoming New York mayoral race.At the end of the presidential election Bloomberg was looking to move ahead in planning how to potentially spend big on that race, these people noted. Mayor Bill de Blasio’s term ends on the first day of 2022. The presidential race is still ongoing and it’s unclear what Bloomberg, a former New York mayor himself, is now planning to do in the contest of a city he once ran.Bloomberg was notably not deeply involved in critical U.S. Senate races. Democrats appear to be on track to fall short of becoming the majority in the chamber.The breakdown of the spending by Bloomberg during the later stages of the presidential election goes further than just investing into ad buys.Data from Advertising Analytics shows that Bloomberg’s super PAC, Independence USA, spent just more than $36 million in Florida between the months of September and November. The PAC also spent $6.9 million on ads airing in Texas and $3.3 million in Ohio.That data does not include the ads that Bloomberg funded through pro-Biden super PACs, such as Priorities USA Action.Bloomberg’s resources also went toward a slew of companies, with some having direct ties to him.Hawkfish, the data firm Bloomberg founded, was paid more than $3.2 million during the 2020 election cycle, according to data from the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. The firm was also used during Bloomberg’s presidential campaign.The data company teamed up with a pro-Biden super PAC, Unite the Country, to keep track of voting in Florida. The two organizations would regularly brief reporters on the state of play in the Sunshine State and discuss a theory of a possible “red mirage.”Another group who saw a payday from Bloomberg’s PAC is Schoen Cooperman Research, a firm founded by the former New York mayor’s longtime pollster Doug Schoen.A Bloomberg spokeswoman did not return a request for comment. Billionaire and former presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg’s more than $100 million investment into three key states fell flat as President Donald Trump appears to have captured all of them.In the months after Bloomberg dropping out of the Democratic primary, the New York business leader huddled with advisors to plot a spending blitz to help Democratic nominee Joe Biden overtake Trump. It was initially decided that most of a $100 million spend would go toward the pivotal state of Florida. Later he would add Ohio and Texas into the mix.NBC News is projecting that Trump will defeat Biden in those states. Bloomberg’s team believed that if they spent big in Florida, it would force Trump and his allies to shift resources away from other regions of the country and into the key battleground state.- Advertisement – – Advertisement – Mike BloombergJohannes Eisele | AFP | Getty Imagescenter_img Still, the sheer amount of losses for Bloomberg in 2020 is a major blow, considering he’s known as one of the leading kingmakers in the Democratic Party. He has a net worth of more than $54 billion and spent $1 billion on his primary run for president that ended up winning only a few dozen delegates, including some from the American Samoa caucusThe respect that Bloomberg had within the party was evident in the buildup to Election Day as he plowed millions into the Sunshine State.Democratic leaders were privately becoming more convinced that they were going to defeat Trump there, in part on the basis that Bloomberg was flooding the airwaves with ads, according to people familiar with the matter who declined to be named. They believed that Bloomberg’s messaging machine was enough to push Biden over the edge and flip Florida back to the Democrats after losing there in 2016.- Advertisement – – Advertisement –last_img read more

Trump’s Wisconsin campaign workers recruit volunteers to commit election fraud in Pennsylvania

first_img“This seems deeply stupid as it seems to be a solicitation to commit voter fraud,” Richard Hasen, elections law specialist at the University of California, Irvine Law School, told the paper. “It’s hard to believe this is real.” It’s more likely an effort to try to spoil all the mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania by injecting these fraudulent ones into the mix so that the Trump campaign could have “real” evidence that there’s fraud to boost their chances of getting the Supreme Court to toss out the Pennsylvania results. Benjamin Geffen, an attorney with the Public Interest Law Center in Philadelphia, pointed this out: “If you’re knowingly encouraging people to mail in ballots after the deadline, you’re encouraging cheating,” Geffen said. “But maybe it’s just to muddy the waters.” He added: “I don’t know if it’s what you could call first degree misconduct, (trying to actually get invalid votes counted) or just second degree misconduct, trying to create perception the process is riddled with fraud.”Because Trump, his campaign, and the Supreme Court conservatives raised so much hell about the deadline for mail-in ballots being extended through end of the day Friday, Pennsylvania officials ordered counties to make sure those late-arriving ballots were segregated from Election Day ballots, to ensure they were walled off from Trumpian mischief. So you can bet these ballots are getting an awful lot of scrutiny, with their postmarks being closely checked and double-checked.- Advertisement – Meanwhile, a sweep of postal facilities on Thursday found 1,000 ballots in Philadelphia facilities and 300 in Pittsburgh. Since the Wisconsin Republican voter fraud initiative started Thursday, these are probably not those ballots.This is a deeply stupid effort, so much so that you have to wonder if Sen. Ron “Genius” Johnson in Wisconsin didn’t cook it up. It’s exposing potentially dozens of people to prosecution for election fraud. And it’s proving once again that systemic voter fraud is entirely manufactured by Republicans, to prove that voter fraud is a real thing. – Advertisement –last_img read more

Joe Biden is elected the 46th president of the United States.

first_imgWILMINGTON, Del. — Joseph R. Biden Jr. was elected president of the United States on Saturday, defeating President Trump after campaigning on a promise to restore civility and stability to American politics and to expand the government’s role in guiding the country through the surging coronavirus pandemic.Mr. Biden, 77, who will become the 46th president and the oldest man ever sworn into the office, secured 273 votes from the Electoral College after Pennsylvania was called for him, though the race was far closer than many Democrats, Republicans and pollsters had expected.- Advertisement – With his third run for the White House — after unsuccessful bids in 1988 and 2008, and after spending eight years as President Barack Obama’s vice president — Mr. Biden finally attained a goal that he has dreamed of for decades, capping a career in national politics that began with a victory in a 1972 Senate race here in Delaware. He was swept into office this year with the support of a diverse coalition of younger voters, older voters, Black Americans and white college-educated voters, particularly women. – Advertisement – Mr. Biden’s triumph concluded an extraordinary election that was expected to set modern records for turnout, despite being held amid a pandemic that has upended life across the United States. More than 100 million Americans voted before Election Day as states sought to make voting safer, putting the nation on track for the largest turnout in a century once the final vote is tallied.- Advertisement – Mr. Biden also won the popular vote by nearly three percentage points, and, with more than 74 million votes, broke the vote record set by Mr. Obama in 2012. Mr. Trump received more than 70 million votes — far more than the 63 million he received in 2016 when he beat Hillary Clinton while losing the popular vote.Voters overcame their fears of the coronavirus, long lines at the polls and the vexing challenges of a transformed election system to render a verdict on Mr. Trump’s chaotic and norm-breaking presidency. Mr. Trump was the first incumbent president to lose a bid for re-election since George H.W. Bush lost to Bill Clinton in 1992.Still, the race was not the landslide many Democrats had hoped for: Mr. Biden lost a number of important battleground states where he had invested time and resources, most notably Florida, amid signs of challenges with a number of Latino constituencies.center_img The Trump campaign and Republican lawyers have already begun a wide-ranging legal assault to challenge Democratic votes and victories in key swing states, part of a long-telegraphed effort to call the validity of the election into question.Mr. Trump, who baselessly declared victory early Wednesday, before votes were tallied in multiple states, had regularly questioned the legitimacy of the election as polls showed him trailing, and it was not immediately clear how he would respond to the news of Mr. Biden’s victory.Much of Mr. Biden’s agenda in office may rest on his ability to work with Congress. Democrats have maintained their hold on the House but had a much narrower path to reclaiming control of the Senate. The result also provided a history-making moment for President-elect Biden’s running mate, Senator Kamala Harris of California, who became the first woman, and first woman of color, on a winning presidential ticket. – Advertisement –last_img read more

PLL’s Sasha Pieterse Welcomes 1st Child With Husband Hudson Sheaffer

first_imgSasha Pieterse’s pretty little pregnancy is over! The actress gave birth to her and husband Hudson Sheaffer’s first child on November 6.“One week ago today our lives changed forever,” the new mom wrote via Instagram on Friday, November 13. “After 27 hours of labor Hendrix Wade Sheaffer made his grand entrance on November 6th at 5:39am weighing in at 7lbs 14oz and 20.5 inches tall. We are absolutely in love with him and we still can’t believe he’s ours.”- Advertisement – The singer exclusively told Us Weekly in March 2019 that they were “so excited” for parenthood. “[We want a baby] sooner, maybe, than later,” she said at the time.Sasha Pieterse Gives Birth, Welcomes 1st Child With Husband Hudson SheafferHudson Sheaffer and Sasha Pieterse Jason Merritt/Radarpics/ShutterstockThe Dancing With the Stars alum, who married Scheaffer in May 2018, wished him a happy Father’s Day in June ahead of their baby’s arrival. “I already know you are going to be an effortlessly wonderful father and not just because you are already the best dad to our two little monster fur babies,” Pieterse captioned an Instagram slideshow. “Seeing you with our baby will be the highlight of my life. I love you so much!”- Advertisement – – Advertisement – The Pretty Little Liars alum, 24, shared her pregnancy news in May. “We are so beyond excited,” the Sasha in Good Taste author wrote via Instagram at the time. “We will be welcoming a precious little human this October! Today marks our 2nd wedding anniversary and what better way to share our joy then on the day when our lives changed forever (the first time.) Motherhood is officially my favorite role ever!”Sasha Pieterse Gives Birth, Welcomes 1st Child With Husband Hudson SheafferHudson Sheaffer and Sasha Pieterse Courtesy of Hudson Sheaffer/InstagramIn the social media reveal, the South Africa native showed her bare baby bump while Sheaffer, 30, kissed it.Pieterse thanked her husband for making her a mom and “being [her] unwavering rock and safe place.” She concluded, “You bring out the adventurer in me and I feel like my truest self when I’m with you, luckily that’s all the time! I love every part of you with every part of me and will continue to love who you are and who you become especially as we enter this brand new chapter.”- Advertisement – As for the couple’s dog, Levi, the Perfectionists alum attempted to prepare him in May for their upcoming addition. “I don’t think Levi is emotionally prepared for another sibling,” the then-pregnant star captioned a photo of the Great Dane touching her baby bump with one paw.Listen to Us Weekly’s Hot Hollywood as each week the editors of Us break down the hottest entertainment news stories!last_img read more

Scott Disick, Amelia Gray Hamlin Get Cozy on Beach Amid Dating Rumors

first_imgThe outing marked the third time in recent weeks that the pair have been spotted together. They were first photographed arriving at a Halloween party on October 31, with the E! personality dressed as Jim Carrey’s Ace Ventura character and the teen sporting a candy bra, pink shorts and a neon bob wig. One week later, they uploaded similar photos to their Instagram Stories while having dinner with Disick’s ex Chloe Bartoli’s twin sister, Marie-Lou Bartoli, at Tre Lune restaurant in Montecito, California.Scott Disick and Amelia Gray Hamlin Dating RumorsScott Disick and Amelia Gray Hamlin Shutterstock (2)While the duo, who share an 18-year age difference, have continued spending time together, a source recently told Us Weekly exclusively that their relationship is “nothing serious at the moment” and that Disick is “dating around and having fun.” The insider also revealed that Marie-Lou, 30, was “the one who introduced the two of them,” noting that the rumored couple “hit it off right away.”The Flip It Like Disick star’s hangouts with Hamlin, who is the daughter of Lisa Rinna and Harry Hamlin, come on the heels of his August split from Sofia Richie, whom he had dated on and off since 2017. Prior to Amelia Gray, he was seen out with models Bella Banos and Megan Blake Irwin. Richie, 22, for her part, has moved on with entrepreneur Matthew Morton; Us broke the news of their romance in October.- Advertisement – Listen to Us Weekly’s Hot Hollywood as each week the editors of Us break down the hottest entertainment news stories! – Advertisement – More than friends? Scott Disick and Amelia Gray Hamlin appeared to confirm speculation that they are dating with a cozy outing in Malibu on Monday, November 16.The Keeping Up With the Kardashians star, 37, wrapped his arm around the model, 19, as they walked along the beach in photos published by TMZ. Hamlin was all smiles as she rocked a floral bikini, while Disick kept it casual in a black T-shirt and matching swim trunks.- Advertisement – “Matt and Sofia are totally a thing, and he’s really excited about it,” a source told Us at the time. “They both run in the same circle and have known each other. So, it’s easy and fun for both of them. Sofia’s family approves of him, which is super nice for her.”Disick most famously dated Kourtney Kardashian from 2006 to 2015. The exes share three children: Mason, 10, Penelope, 8, and Reign, 5.“Scott has always loved Kourtney,” a source exclusively told Us earlier this month. “The door is open on his side in case she ever wants to take their relationship back to a romantic place.”- Advertisement –last_img read more

CDC links 29 Salmonella cases with almonds

first_img The cases triggered recalls of raw almonds by Paramount Farms, Lost Hills, Calif., totaling about 13 million pounds by May 21. Most of the almonds probably were eaten months ago, but consumers may still have some of them, since their shelf life is more than a year, the CDC said. “Among 26 patients interviewed, 24 recalled eating raw almonds during the week before illness onset; 20 patients identified brands packaged or supplied by Paramount Farms,” the article states. Through store computer records, dates and places of almond purchase were identified in 10 cases. US and Canadian epidemiologists and health officials were notified of the outbreak, and laboratories were asked to check for reports of Salmonella Enteritidis organisms matching the outbreak strain, the CDC says. By Jun 2, 29 patients with Salmonella Enteritidis infections matching the two PFGE patterns had been found in 12 states and one Canadian province. “The current outbreak continued for months, and possibly for more than 1 year, without being detected,” the CDC says. The first clue to the outbreak emerged May 12, when an Oregon state laboratory identified five patients infected with Salmonella enterica serotype Enteritidis organisms that were matched by using two-enzyme pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), the article says. The only previous salmonellosis outbreak associated with tree nuts was discovered in 2001, when raw almonds were linked to Salmonella Enteritidis cases, mostly in Canada, according to the CDC. The almonds were traced to three California orchards that were all contaminated with Salmonella Enteritidis with identical phage and PFGE patterns. Investigators have not yet found Salmonella contamination in almonds from Paramount Farms, the CDC reports. Tests of almonds recovered from one patient’s home and samples collected at Paramount were negative. However, Salmonella was found in one environmental sample collected at Paramount and in three samples from two almond huller-shellers that supplied Paramount during the outbreak period. PFGE tests of those samples have not yet been completed. Seven of the patients were hospitalized, but no one died, the CDC states in a supplement to Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. A number of cases that occurred earlier in 2003 and involved Salmonella strains matching the outbreak strain are still under investigation.center_img Jun 4, 2004 (CIDRAP) – An investigation of Salmonella illness cases associated with raw almonds has identified 29 cases in 12 states and one Canadian province, dating back as far as September 2003, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported today. CDC. Outbreak of Salmonella serotype Enteritidis infections associated with raw almonds—United States and Canada, 2003-2004. MMWR 2004;53(Dispatch):1-3 [Full text] The article notes that California produces about 80% of the world’s almonds and almost all almonds sold in the United States. The almonds subject to recall, besides being sold domestically, were exported to France, Italy, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom. Lengthy interviews with the patients about their eating and shopping in the days before their illness revealed that all had eaten Kirkland Signature raw almonds bought at Costco stores and that they had no other food exposures in common. By examining data from general food-consumption surveys in Oregon, investigators determined that an association between the five cases and the almonds was highly probable. The CDC says it is not clear how almonds become contaminated with Salmonella, and California and federal officials are continuing to investigate. “Typical harvesting, drying, and hulling-shelling practices readily enable cross-contamination,” the agency says.last_img read more

Imperfect flu vaccine offered some protection

first_imgAug 12, 2004 (CIDRAP News) – Two studies from Colorado show that the 2003-04 influenza vaccine provided some protection even though it didn’t match up well with the predominant flu virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says.One study showed that small children who had been fully vaccinated were 25% to 49% less likely than unvaccinated children to contract a flu-like illness, according to an article in the Aug 13 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The other study indicated that adults aged 50 to 64 years were 52% less likely to get the flu if they had been vaccinated.”Influenza vaccine . . . can provide benefit even in years when the influenza vaccine and circulating strains are not matched optimally,” the CDC report states.To assess vaccine effectiveness in children, the investigators retrospectively compared rates of vaccination and medical treatment for influenza and related illnesses in 5,139 children enrolled in Kaiser Permanente Colorado. The study included children aged 6 to 23 months. Illnesses classified as either “influenza-like illness” (ILI) or “pneumonia and influenza” were counted as flu cases.Children who had received two flu shots after September 2003 and at least 14 days before an illness were counted as fully vaccinated. Other children were counted as partially vaccinated or unvaccinated, depending on the number and timing of their shots. By Dec 7, 2003, 752 children were fully vaccinated and 1,388 were partially vaccinated.When they compared fully vaccinated children with unvaccinated children, the investigators found that the vaccine was 25% effective against ILI (P=.052) and 49% effective against pneumonia and influenza (P=.022). However, the partially vaccinated children had no significant reduction in ILI or pneumonia and influenza. The report says the findings add to the evidence that children who have not been vaccinated before should receive two doses of flu vaccine for best protection.To examine the vaccine’s performance in adults, the investigators did a case-control study of people aged 50 to 64 years. The researchers used records from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to identify people who had had a laboratory-confirmed case of influenza in November or December 2003. Controls who had not had flu in that period were recruited through random-digit phone dialing and were matched to patients by age, sex, and telephone area code.The investigators found 304 patients and 1,055 controls who met the study criteria and completed telephone interviews. In the interviews, the participants were asked about flu vaccination and timing and other medical history matters. Half of the patients had medical conditions that increased their risk of flu-related complications.The analysis showed that the vaccine was 52% effective in patients having no high-risk medical condition (95% confidence interval [CI], 31%-66%) and 38% effective in those with a high-risk condition (95% CI, 30%-60%).The report notes that flu vaccine is expected to be about 70% to 90% effective when it is well matched with the major circulating virus strains. The CDC concludes that the 2003-04 vaccine was effective enough to justify recommendations to continue vaccination efforts when there is a “suboptimal match” between the vaccine and the circulating virus.Last December, a preliminary study published by the CDC indicated that the flu vaccine was not effective in protecting Colorado healthcare workers from ILI. The new report says the preliminary study might have been too small to detect low effectiveness against ILI.CDC. Assessment of the effectiveness of the 2003-04 influenza vaccine among children and adults—Colorado, 2003. MMWR 2004;53(31):707-10 [Full text]last_img read more

Illnesses tied to drinking water dropped in 2001-02

first_img CDC. Surveillance for waterborne-disease outbreaks associated with drinking water—United States, 2001-2002. MMWR 2004 Oct 22;53(SS08):23-45 (Full text) An estimated 1,020 people got sick from drinking contaminated water in 31 outbreaks in 2001 and 2002, the CDC reports today in a supplement to Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. That compares with 39 outbreaks and an estimated 2,068 illness cases in 1999 and 2000. Two of the seven deaths were caused by the parasite Naegleria fowleri, in the first such outbreak linked to a drinking water system in the United States. The outbreak occurred in Arizona in October 2002. Of the 31 outbreaks, 23 involved groundwater sources, and 10 of these involved untreated groundwater. Two outbreaks involved treated water from rivers and streams. The report does not identify the water sources for the six outbreaks involving Legionella. However, outbreaks in the more recent period caused seven deaths, versus only two deaths in 1999-2000, the report says. See also: The six Legionella outbreaks involved 80 cases with 41 hospitalizations and four deaths. All the outbreaks were in large buildings or institutions and were related to growth of Legionella species in the water distribution systems, the CDC says. Oct 22, 2004 (CIDRAP News) – The United States had fewer reported disease outbreaks linked to drinking water in 2001 and 2002 than in the preceding 2 years, and they affected about half as many people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Five norovirus outbreaks accounted for close to three-fourths of all the illness cases—727 of 1,020, the report says. Five outbreaks were blamed on parasites, five on chemical contamination, six on Legionella species, and three on other bacterial pathogens. The causes of seven outbreaks were never identified, but all were thought to be infectious agents. In the previous 2-year period, causes went unidentified in 17, or 44%, of the outbreaks, the report says. The reduction in unexplained outbreaks in 2001 and 2002 probably reflects both improved outbreak investigations and better diagnostic capabilities, the CDC says. CDC. Surveillance for waterborne disease outbreaks—United States, 1999-2000. MMWR 2002 Nov 22;51(SS08):1-28 (Full text)last_img read more

Saudi Arabia, Tibet report H5N1 outbreaks

first_imgJan 30, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – Agriculture officials in Saudi Arabia and Tibet reported new H5N1 avian influenza outbreaks yesterday, as India struggled to keep the virus out of Calcutta and Bangladesh officials said outbreaks have spread to yet another district.Saudi Arabia’s agriculture ministry said yesterday the H5N1 virus struck a farm in Kharaj province, south of Riyadh, the capital, according to an Associated Press (AP) report today. The ministry said it culled 158,000 chickens to control the outbreak.A statement from the ministry said about 475 workers were tested for the H5N1 virus, but no infections were found, the AP reported.Saudi Arabia’s last H5N1 outbreaks, reported in November, also occurred near Riyadh, including in Kharaj, according to a report from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).Elsewhere, China’s agriculture ministry yesterday reported a poultry outbreak in southwestern Tibet that killed 1,000 birds, according to a report yesterday from the OIE. The outbreak was detected in Gongga, where 13,080 birds, consisting mainly of broiler hens along with 400 ducks, were culled, the report said.Tibet’s last outbreak was reported in March 2007, according to an OIE report. China recently lifted a quarantine in the Xinjiang, which neighbors Tibet, according to an AP report. The Xinjiang outbreak, which began in late December, also struck a broiler chicken operation, according to the OIE.Elsewhere, workers in India sprayed roads and markets and culled birds to prevent H5N1 outbreaks in in Calcutta, the densely populated capital of West Bengal, where the number of districts reporting outbreaks remains at 13, according to a Reuters report today.Anisur Rahaman, West Bengal’s animal resources minister, told Reuters that authorities were culling chickens on a farm about an hour from Calcutta. “We are not taking chances, as the farm reported bird deaths and preliminary tests suggested bird flu,” he said.Meanwhile, Rahaman said he has asked India’s central government to allow West Bengal to seek international help in its battle to contain H5N1 outbreaks, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported today.”We need foreign help to stem the deadly virus, which is spreading at an alarming rate,” he told AFP. “I have urged the chief minister to have talks with the federal government so that we can approach the United States and China for help.”Elsewhere, livestock officials in Bangladesh today reported an H5N1 outbreak in Khulna, about 87 miles southwest of Dhaka, the capital, the private news agency UNB reported, according to Xinhua, China’s state news service. Officials collected samples from sick and dead birds after 14 chickens died at a home in the city last week, Xinhua reported.With the new outbreak, 30 of 64 Bangladeshi districts have reported recent H5N1 outbreaks, according to Xinhua.In other developments, animal health officials in the United Kingdom today released a final epidemiologic report on the H5N1 outbreak in mute swans at a swan sanctuary in Dorset County. The 21-page report from the UK Department of Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) said a genetic analysis showed that the H5N1 subtype that infected six swans closely resembled isolates found in mid to late 2007 in other European outbreaks, including the Czech Republic, Romania, and Poland.Surveillance that followed the outbreak in swans found no evidence of infection in domestic birds, the DEFRA report said. Though the source of the swan infections has not been determined, the agency said the virus was probably spread by migratory birds that also inhabit the swan sanctuary and other nearby wetlands.Soon after releasing the report, DEFRA announced that a seventh swan at the sanctuary had tested positive for the H5N1 virus. The swan was collected on Jan 24 during routine surveillance, and the identification of other infected birds is not unexpected, DEFRA said in a press release. Enhanced surveillance in the area is continuing, it said.See also:OIE reports on 2008 outbreaks in Saudi Arabia and ChinaJan 30 DEFRA epidemiologic report on Dorset County outbreakJan 30 DEFRA press release on seventh infected mute swanlast_img read more