Where Does Joe Biden Stand on Major Policies?

first_img– Advertisement – But he has said that he will keep tax cuts in place for other households, including those in the middle class, and he has promised that no one making under $400,000 will pay higher taxes.Over all, Mr. Biden’s proposals would increase tax revenue by an estimated $3.4 trillion over a decade, according to an analysis by the Penn Wharton Budget Model at the University of Pennsylvania. Eighty percent of the increase would fall on the top 1 percent, according to the analysis.- Advertisement – But notably, he has declined to support the Green New Deal, a sweeping climate plan embraced by progressive groups and criticized by Republicans, though his website calls it a “crucial framework.”And while Mr. Trump has accused Mr. Biden of wanting to “ban fracking,” Mr. Biden has repeatedly said he will not do so. Instead, he has proposed ending the permitting of new fracking on federal lands, but he is not proposing a national ban.During the last presidential debate, Mr. Biden also said he would push the country to “transition away from the oil industry” and end federal subsidies. He later tried to clarify his remarks saying, “We’re getting rid of the subsidies for fossil fuels, but we’re not getting rid of fossil fuels for a long time.”- Advertisement –center_img As a result of lower wages and investment returns, the Penn Wharton analysis found that the after-tax income of households earning under $400,000 would decrease by 0.9 percent on average. But there would be a far steeper average drop in after-tax income for households earning above $400,000: 17.7 percent.The Biden campaign has argued that the Penn Wharton analysis presents an incomplete picture because it does not take into account a number of tax-related proposals put forth by the campaign that it says will benefit those in the middle-class.Climate ChangeMr. Biden laid out a plan over the summer to spend $2 trillion to develop clean energy and eliminate emissions from the power sector by 2035. In addition to the coronavirus pandemic, the resulting economic crisis and racial injustice, he has referred to climate change as one of four “historic crises” that the United States is facing.- Advertisement –last_img read more

Indian Premier League alternative awards: Benedict Bermange names his winners and losers | Cricket News

first_img Nasser Hussain reveals his team of the 2020 IPL, with Jofra Archer, KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan among those to make the cut The Pandya brothers helped the batting line-up with Rohit Sharma leading the charge – as he did in this year’s final victory over Delhi Capitals.By now, we are all familiar with the winners of the Purple Cap (Kagiso Rabada with 30 wickets) and the Orange Cap (KL Rahul with 670 runs), but what about some of the other off-the-wall awards which could have been made. Let’s have a look… MS Dhoni’s woes with the bat were symptomatic of the problems for the Chennai Super Kings this summer. The three-times champions were eliminated from the playoff hunt before any other team, and Dhoni endured his worst campaign, scoring just 200 runs without a fifty.Biggest DisappointmentsGlenn Maxwell came into the tournament off the back of a successful white-ball tour of England. However, he failed to fire with either bat or ball in the IPL. His 13 matches brought just 108 runs at a strike rate of 101.88 and three wickets, which cost 56.33 runs apiece. Even more astonishing was the fact that he faced 106 deliveries without hitting a single six. All at a cost of £1.1m to the Kings XI Punjab. Mumbai Indians celebrated winning their fifth IPL title on Tuesday
Mumbai Indians celebrated winning their fifth IPL title on Tuesday

SOS Band global personal alert wearable shares your location in emergencies » Gadget Flow

first_imgWith the SOS Band global personal alert wearable, you’re never completely alone. In the event of an emergency, this wristband shares your coordinates with contacts. All you have to do is make an account with SOS Anywhere and then simply add your emergency contacts. So, when you’re out and about and need help, just press the button on the SOS Band. It will send GPS and elevation coordinates to everyone on your list! Made with a 10-year battery life, this piece of tech is one you never have to worry about charging. Plus, it’ll work pretty much anywhere you go because this global gadget offers coverage in more than 213 countries. Furthermore, with a completely sealed, totally waterproof design, this global personal alert wearable will be there for you whenever you need it, wherever you are. – Advertisement –last_img read more

Biden Asked Republicans to Give Him a Chance. They’re Not Interested.

first_imgMASON, Texas — The change at the Sunday prayer service was so subtle it went unnoticed by several congregants. Tucked in between calls for divine health and wisdom, the Rev. Fred Krebs of St. Paul Lutheran Church, who rarely brings up politics, fleetingly mentioned this month’s presidential election.“We pray for a peaceful transition,” he told his congregation of 50 people. The carefully chosen words underscored the political reality in Mason, a rural, conservative town of roughly 2,000 people, after Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory over President Trump. Not everyone thought the election was over, and not everyone said they would respect the results.- Advertisement – Like Mr. Biden and his supporters, the Smiths saw this election as a battle for the country’s soul. To unify with Mr. Biden would be an admission that the battle is lost, and that the multicultural tide powering his victory will continue its ascension.“Everything I worked for, Biden wants to give to the immigrants to help them live, when they don’t do nothing but sit on their butts,” Mr. Smith said.“And if those protesters come here, if they go tearing up stuff, I guarantee you they won’t be in this town very long,” he added. “We’ll string them up and send them out of here — and it won’t be the same way they came in.” – Advertisement – It is all a far cry from how Mr. Biden framed this election, from the Democratic primary race through his victory speech last weekend. He cast the moment as a chance for the country to excise the political division Mr. Trump has stoked, promising to repair the ideological, racial and geographic fissures that have grown into chasms since 2016. Announcing his campaign, he called it an opportunity to restore “the soul of the nation.” Last weekend, he declared, “Let this grim era of demonization in America begin to end here and now.”But on Election Day, Republican turnout surged across the country — particularly in rural areas like Mason, which along with its surrounding county had among the largest percentage increases in voter participation in Texas. Democratic dreams of a landslide were thwarted as Republicans notched surprise victories in the House and emerged as the favorite to retain control of the Senate. In the days since, thousands of Mr. Trump’s most fervent supporters have gathered across the country, including in Texas, to protest Mr. Biden’s triumph as illegitimate.“We’re willing to accept the results, as long as it’s fair and done correctly and certified correctly,” said Sherrie Strong, another supporter of the president’s. She, like others, took Mr. Trump’s position that it was strange that he had been leading in numerous places because of in-person votes on Election Day, only to be overtaken once mail-in ballots were counted on election night and over the days that followed. (The delay in counting mail-in ballots in several states was because of restrictions imposed by Republican state legislatures.) “It’s just a little upsetting when you go to bed at night, and all of a sudden, four days later, these votes are magically appearing,” Ms. Strong said.Mr. Biden’s message did have political appeal, motivating a crucial slice of voters who helped him lead Democrats back into power.Ann Mahnken, a 72-year-old lifelong conservative who attends the Lutheran church, said the prospect of his bringing the country together was why, after voting for Mr. Trump in 2016, she chose the Democratic candidate this time. “My Democratic friends think Biden is going to heal everything and unify everyone,” said Jeanie Smith, who attends the more conservative Spring Street Gospel Church in Mason, which is about 100 miles west of Austin. “They are deceived.” Karen Bell, who was also at the rally, said her distrust centered on mail voting.“In these swing states, he was ahead, and then all of a sudden in Wisconsin and Michigan and Pennsylvania, they stopped counting,” Ms. Bell said, echoing conspiracy theories about vote counting. “And then we wake up and suddenly Biden is ahead. These mystery votes all came in for Biden and zero for Trump. Something is definitely fishy there.”Asked for any evidence of widespread election fraud, in light of the fact that election officials including Republicans have consistently dismissed such claims, Ms. Bell cited conspiratorial right-wing sites like Infowars. Election officials have made it clear: There is no evidence of widespread election fraud.No matter what happens next, “I will not believe that the election was fair,” Ms. Bell said. “I will not believe that he is a legitimate winner.” Ms. Smith, 67, and her husband, Dennis, 69, tied their unequivocal support for the president — even in defeat — to larger cultural concerns. On Monday in Dallas, hundreds of Mr. Trump’s supporters gathered outside the city’s election office in a “Stop the Steal” protest promoted by the state Republican Party. The message from speakers and attendees went further than expressing fears of election fraud, amounting to a wholesale rejection of a Biden presidency and of the Republican elected officials who acknowledged it. One speaker said of the Republican lawmakers who had called Mr. Biden the president-elect, “Remember who they are when you go to the polls next.”“This is contempt of half of the country by the other half of the country,” said Paul Feeser, 61, who attended the protest in Dallas. “So if the conclusion was for Biden, I would look at it as illegitimate, and I and many others expect to be part of the so-called resistance — as Trump resisted.” “I could not stand the way our country is,” she said. “I didn’t want to go through four more years of that, not in my senior citizen lifetime. I didn’t want to go through four more years of the chaos and the division.”Mark Lehmberg, a fellow parishioner who voted for Mr. Trump this year after sitting out 2016, said he had given up on the concept of unity — and he advised Ms. Mahnken to do the same. He backed the president because he did not want the economy to shut down over the coronavirus.“The relationships have already been jeopardized,” Mr. Lehmberg said. “It’s going be hard — impossible — to get people to come together.” His wife, Andrea, was more optimistic.“I think every president that we’ve had has never intentionally hurt our country,” she said. “They’re going to do their best and that’s all we can hope for.”Mr. Biden, she added, “is not going to do some intentional crash of our country.”Her hopefulness stood out in a landscape of dread. Pastor Krebs, the Lutheran minister, said the reason the election felt existential to some was that it represented a referendum on more than just politics.As a community leader who arrived in Mason shortly before the 2016 election, he said, he has seen how the city’s views of the president are wrapped up in other issues, including the white majority’s relationship with Latino residents and a backlash to Black Lives Matter protesters striving for political power.At the same time, Pastor Krebs said, sweeping generalities don’t do justice to the complexity of the community.“Defining people strictly by their parties is not a good thing,” he said. “And I’ve learned that sometimes people think more deeply when they get into a conversation than when we just start labeling one another.” “Now you want healing,” she added. “Now you want to come together. You have not earned it.”That is the hard reality Mr. Biden is facing, even after winning a race in which he secured a larger share of the popular vote than any challenger since 1932. Towering before him is a wall of Republican resistance, starting with Mr. Trump’s refusal to concede, extending to G.O.P. lawmakers’ reluctance to acknowledge his victory and stretching, perhaps most significantly for American politics in the long term, to ordinary voters who steadfastly deny the election’s outcome. – Advertisement – The feeling that Mr. Trump’s refusal to concede is justified, and that Mr. Biden’s rise to the presidency should not be recognized, is not universal for Republicans. A recent Reuters/Ipsos poll found that nearly 80 percent of Americans believe Mr. Biden won, including about 60 percent of Republicans.But other polling has provided mixed results, including a survey from Politico/Morning Consult showing that the number of Republicans who do not believe this year’s election was free and fair has doubled, from 35 percent before Election Day to 70 percent.In Texas, conservatives have been crowing after Democratic hopes of flipping the state blue and winning control of the Legislature failed to materialize. Even so, state leaders have also fallen in line with the president’s baseless attempts to paint the election as unfair — and the state’s Republican lieutenant governor, Dan Patrick, has offered $1 million for anyone who produces evidence of voter fraud.But even in Mason, some who supported the president urged the party to move on. “This is over — it’s just what it is,” said Jay Curry, 44, who was arriving to eat at the Willow Creek Cafe and Club with his wife and two children.The president’s refusal to concede “just means more turmoil and more division,” Mr. Curry said. “We’re divided. It’s red and blue. And they’re against each other more than they’re trying to help anybody.” – Advertisement –last_img read more

Hurricane Iota Path: Live Updates of Category 5 Storm

first_imgIota was upgraded to a Category 5 hurricane on Monday, the first to reach that strength in what has been a record-setting Atlantic hurricane season.It was expected to make landfall by Monday night, bringing “catastrophic winds, life-threatening storm surge, and torrential rainfall” to Central America, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.- Advertisement – Hurricane Eta destroyed tens of thousands of homes in Guatemala, wrecked bridges and roads and left thousands displaced.Now, Guatemalans are bracing for the worst.“Iota will have devastating effects, regardless of its strength, because of the saturation of the soil,” said Miriam Aguilar, who runs the Guatemala office of Mercy Corps, a global aid group. “Our geography and topography make these soils more vulnerable to mudslides because of rains and water saturation.”Dozens of Indigenous communities evacuated throughout the weekend in Nicaragua and Honduras. In Puerto Cabezas, families were sleeping amid the rubble left from the previous hurricane.Sadam Vinicius, a father of three, decided to stay with his family at their home near the coast. He did his best to secure the structure with ropes he uses for his work as a fisherman. “I am afraid of losing my roof,” Mr. Vinicius said.It’s been the most active hurricane season on record. The region is still reeling from Hurricane Eta, which struck less than two weeks ago. Aid workers are still struggling to reach communities cut off by washed-out bridges, downed trees and flooded roads. Iota is also expected to raise water levels “as much as 15 to 20 feet above normal tide levels” along the coasts of Nicaragua and Honduras. Large and destructive waves are expected to accompany the surge.Dennis Feltgen, a spokesman and meteorologist with the National Hurricane Center, said Iota’s impact would be felt “well before the center makes landfall.”Already, flooding from the heavy rains is being seen in Colombia. Scientists have found that climate change affects how hurricanes form and strengthen, and that rising ocean temperatures linked to global warming can lead storms to weaken more slowly and remain destructive for longer. In a recent study, scientists found that 50 years ago a typical storm would have lost more than three-quarters of its intensity in the first 24 hours.,Now it would lose only about half.Reporting was contributed by Alfonso Flores Bermúdez, Johnny Diaz, Natalie Kitroeff, Derrick Bryson Taylor, Neil Vigdor and Allyson Waller. – Advertisement – The situation was all too familiar for Marina Rodríguez, a 47-year-old Nicaraguan woman. It was less than two weeks ago that Hurricane Eta, washed away her home in Puerto Cabezas, on the coast, said Ms. Rodríguez. On Sunday, her children were helping her build temporary shelter. But now Hurricane Iota was intensifying and inching closer to the coastline of Nicaragua and Honduras.For Ms. Rodríguez and many others weary residents of the region, it appeared, there would be no reprieve.“I am afraid of the sea level,” Ms. Rodríguez said. “You can see the water coming up and up every minute, so I guess we will have to evacuate.”Those in the path of the storm, which became a hurricane on Sunday, were not the only ones comparing it to Hurricane Eta.“It’s eerie that it’s similar in wind speed and also in the same area that Eta hit,” said Mr. Feltgen of the National Hurricane Center.Forecasters warned that Hurricane Iota could compound the destruction caused by Hurricane Eta, which killed at least 140 people throughout Central America. In Guatemala, rescuers feared that more than 100 people had been killed in the village of Quejá after the storm chopped off part of a mountain slope. A hurricane warning was in effect for several cities along the coast of both countries, where the storm was expected to produce up to 30 inches of rain in some areas through Friday. The intense rainfall could lead to significant flash flooding and mudslides in higher elevations, the center said. – Advertisement – – Advertisement – The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, which is set to end on Nov. 30, has had 30 named storms, 13 of them hurricanes. And six of those hurricanes were considered “major”— Eta and Iota among them — meaning they were Category 3 or higher. Meteorologists, having exhausted the 21-name list that is prepared for each hurricane season, had to turn to the Greek alphabet to name the new systems that just kept forming. The last time the Greek alphabet was used was in 2005, when there were 28 storms strong enough to be named. On Monday, Hurricane Iota was about 80 miles southeast of Cabo Gracias a Dios on the border of Nicaragua and Honduras, with maximum sustained winds of 160 miles per hour, the hurricane center said in its 1 p.m. advisory. The center said that the storm was moving west at 9 m.p.h and that “this general motion is forecast through landfall.”last_img read more

West Nile cases surged in past week

first_img MMWR West Nile report for Jul 31 to Aug 6, 2003http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5231a6.htm Aug 5, 2004 (CIDRAP News) – The number of West Nile virus cases reported in the United States this year jumped more than 50% with the addition of 141 cases between Jul 28 and Aug 3, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). About 38% of the cases reported to the CDC this year (156 of 406) have been severe, involving meningitis, encephalitis, or myelitis, the agency says. Last year about 28% of the reported cases were in this category. (However, the CDC estimates that only about 20% of people infected with West Nile actually become ill and fewer than 1% have neurologic involvement.) See also: CDC. West Nile virus activity—United States, July 28-August 3, 2004. MMWR 2004;53(30):686-7center_img The number of West Nile cases so far this year is somewhat ahead of last year’s tally at this point. By Aug 6, 2003, 153 cases had been reported to the CDC, including 109 cases in the week of Jul 31 through Aug 6. The CDC said the cases reported by states last week increased the total for the year from 265 to 406. More than half of the cases—247—have been in Arizona. California ranks second with 69 cases and Colorado is third with 44, according to the Aug 6 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Seven people have died of the illness this year. The report says evidence of West Nile infection has been found in donated blood from 38 people this year, including 31 from Arizona. Nine of these blood donors later became ill with West Nile symptoms.last_img read more

Plague organism shed genes as it grew more lethal

first_img The researchers spelled out the complete DNA sequence of a Y pseudotuberculosis strain called IP32953 and compared it with the genomes of two previously sequenced strains of Y pestis. The comparison revealed only 32 genes that were new in Y pestis, aside from two plasmids (extrachromosomal rings of DNA) that are unique to the bacterium. Previous studies have shown that Y pestis evolved relatively recently from Y pseudotuberculosis and is genetically very similar. The researchers found that Y pestis contains very few new genes but lacks several hundred genes found in Y pseudotuberculosis, according to the report in the Sep 21 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. A team of researchers from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California and several other centers reached this conclusion by comparing the genome of Y pestis with that of its close relative, Yersinia pseudotuberculosis. Plague is usually fatal if left untreated, whereas Y pseudotuberculosis causes a less virulent gastrointestinal illness that can be mistaken for appendicitis. Sep 15, 2004 (CIDRAP News) – The bacterium that causes plague, Yersinia pestis, may have acquired its lethal traits by shedding genes found in a closely related bacterium that is less dangerous, according to a recent study. Chain PSG, Carniel E, Larimer FW, et al. Insights into the evolution of Yersinia pestis through whole-genome comparison with Yersinia pseudotuberculosis. Proc Natl Acad Sci 2004;101(38):13826-31 [Full text] See also: The findings suggest that natural selection may have led to the inactivation of Y pestis genes that tended to suppress the pathogen’s lethality, according to a Lawrence Livermore news release. “Evolutionary pressures may have also made the bacterium better adapted to colonize the flea, its preferred vector . . . , and thus facilitate the flea-borne spread of the disease,” the release says. “These results provide a sobering example of how a highly virulent epidemic clone can suddenly emerge from a less virulent closely related progenitor,” the report says. The lead author of the report is P. S. G. Chain of Lawrence Livermore; the team also included investigators from six other centers in the United States and France. The analysis also showed that Y pestis lacks 317 genes found in Y pseudotuberculosis, “indicating that as many as 13% of Y. pseudotuberculosis genes no longer function in Y. pestis,” the report states. This “massive gene loss,” along with the addition of certain DNA sequences that block gene expression, seems to have been more important than the addition of new genes in the evolution of the plague organism, the authors state. Sep 9 news release from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratoryhttp://www.llnl.gov/pao/news/news_releases/2004/NR-04-09-04.htmllast_img read more

Report: Most states still unready for bioterrorism

first_imgDec 22, 2004 (CIDRAP News) – Most states remain unprepared for a bioterrorist attack despite 3 years of federal focus on the issue, according to a report issued by a national nonprofit organization.The government must build a comprehensive public health system capable of handling serious day-to-day health problems as well as bioterrorist threats, the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) asserted for the second year in a row. More than two-thirds of the states scored low on 10 preparedness measures used by TFAH, a nonpartisan organization based in Washington, DC.The group found evidence of progress but concluded that basic federal and state preparedness is still lacking, according to the report released Dec 14. “Ready or Not? Protecting the Public’s Health in the Age of Bioterrorism—2004” said that no state met all 10 standards. Florida and North Carolina, with nine each, ranked highest for preparedness. Alaska and Massachusetts ranked lowest at three each.TFAH said 34 states and Washington, DC, improved their scores over last year’s report, 9 held their scores, and 7 states had lower scores this year. But the group noted that some of the standards were modified, making comparisons with last year difficult.The report noted several trends and problems its authors deemed significant:Many basic bioterrorism detection, diagnosis, and response capabilities are not in placeAlmost a third of states cut public health funding in the past fiscal yearThere is little public accountability at the federal levelOnly six states would be in a position to distribute vaccines and antidotes from the Strategic National Stockpile in an emergencyMore than half of the states lack scientists to conduct tests during a suspected smallpox or anthrax outbreakOnly five public health laboratories have adequate facilities, technology, and staff to respond to chemical threats, and only a third of the states reported they have what they need to respond to bioterrorismTwo thirds of states aren’t tracking disease outbreaks electronically in accordance with national standards, leading to reporting delays and undermining the potential for early warningPublic health is profoundly affected by the retirement of the baby boomers, who constitute a large portion of the workforceIn addition to those concerns, the report critiques planning for an influenza pandemic. Although planning has improved, it said, 20 states still lack a publicly available response plan.The organization had four key suggestions:Improving bioterrorism planning, with “consistent, measurable standards for improvement”Shoring up the fundamentals of a comprehensive public health systemUsing practice drills to measure preparednessLiimiting liability to vaccine companies to encourage vaccine development and protect healthcare workers”We’ve only made baby steps toward better bioterrorism preparedness, rather than the giant leaps required to adequately protect the American people,” said Lowell Weicker Jr, TFAH board president, in a news release that accompanied the report. “The conclusions of this study demand an answer to the big question here: What will it take to make bioterrorism and public health preparedness a real national priority?”See also: TFAH news releaseReport executive summaryFull reportCIDRAP coverage of 2003 reportlast_img read more

USDA, industry urge ending BSE-related ban on Canadian cattle

first_img “Clearly, North America is not Europe,” Kuehne said. “The multiple-firewall approach is working,” said Johns. The USDA had proposed to reopen the border to live Canadian cattle younger than 30 months of age on Mar 7 of this year, after classifying Canada as a “minimal risk region” for BSE. (The United States resumed importation of boneless Canadian beef in late 2003.) But on Mar 2, a federal judge in Montana ordered the agency to delay the move on grounds that it could increase human exposure to BSE. The ruling came in a lawsuit filed by R-CALF USA. Kelli Ludlum of the American Farm Bureau Federation said her group strongly supports the USDA plan. Calling the risk of BSE to the US food supply “minuscule,” she said, “There is no scientific justification for keeping the Canadian border closed.” Mar 4, 2005, CIDRAP News story “BSE-related ruling prolongs US ban on Canadian cattle” In a roundtable discussion that packed an auditorium at the University of Minnesota, officials asserted that it’s safe to reopen the border because both countries have strong and essentially identical “firewalls” for preventing BSE. They also warned that the border closure is hurting US meat processors and could ultimately strengthen Canada’s beef exports at the expense of the United States. Barbara Masters, acting administrator of the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, reviewed the BSE safeguards added after the first US case was found. The main ones were the holding of cattle carcasses tested for BSE until test results are in and the ban on “specified risk materials” (SRM), high-risk tissues such as the brain and spinal cord, from the human food chain. Carl Kuehne of the American Meat Institute contrasted the North American and European experiences with BSE. More than 180,000 BSE cases have occurred worldwide, most of them in the United Kingdom, as compared with three in Canada and one in the United States, he said. The world has had 158 cases of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD), the human equivalent of BSE, but none have occurred in American or Canadian citizens, he added. In responding to Bullard, APHIS’s DeHaven said Canada has tested a higher proportion of its high-risk cattle population than the United States has, given that Canada has about 5.5 million adult cattle and the Untied States has about 45 million. In response to the first US case of BSE, discovered in a Canadian-born cow in December 2003, the USDA greatly expanded its BSE testing program. Johanns said at the meeting, “Our surveillance program has now tested about 375,000 cattle in the high-risk populations, and we haven’t found any cases of BSE.” The testing program has focused on cattle unable to walk or showing signs of neurologic disease. USDA experts have reviewed and endorsed Canada’s feed-ban enforcement program, its epidemiologic investigations of BSE cases, and its compliance with international guidelines for preventing BSE, DeHaven said. “USDA is fully confident that American and Canadian cattle are both equally protected from BSE,” he added. In brief, time-limited comments, representatives of several beef industry groups supported the USDA plan to reopen the border. All the panel members were there at the USDA’s invitation. More than one panelist contended that the US ban on Canadian cattle imports is inconsistent with its demand that Japan resume importation of American beef. Japan and many other countries stopped importing US beef when the US BSE was discovered. Cattle contract BSE by eating feed containing protein from infected cattle. Ron DeHaven, administrator of the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, explained that the United States and Canada imposed similar bans in 1997 on the use of ruminant protein in feed for ruminants. He added that both countries have successful BSE testing programs. See also: Johanns, in his opening remarks, said, “Every day that the border is closed there’s an impact. The very large processors do find ways to survive—it’s the small ones that suffer.” He reported that a meatpacking plant in Nebraska had just shut down, eliminating 200 jobs. “I’m confident that the beef supply in North America is a safe beef supply,” USDA Secretary Mike Johanns declared in his opening remarks.center_img The Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals is scheduled to rule Jul 13 on a challenge to the injunction that blocked the border reopening, according to a report today in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Jun 10, 2005 (CIDRAP News) – The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and several beef industry officials at a St. Paul meeting yesterday made the case for resuming importation of live Canadian cattle, which have been banned since Canada’s first case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) turned up in May 2003. Bullard called for more BSE testing to verify the effectiveness of the existing measures. He further suggested that BSE risks are not equal in Canada and the United States. “With far fewer tests—70,000—they’ve found multiple cases of BSE,” which shows that the feed ban failed to prevent spread of the disease, he said. The panelists also talked a lot about the effect of the border closure on the structure of the beef industry, especially on meat packers and processors. Several warned that the closure is restricting the flow of cattle to US slaughter plants, forcing some to lay off workers or even shut down. An official of the National Renderers Association, David Kaluzny II, responded to Bullard’s point about the failure of the original UK feed ban to prevent BSE from spreading. He said enforcement of the British feed ban in the early years was “very loose,” which allowed the disease to spread to other countries. “We shouldn’t be comparing ourselves to their experience,” he said. “The [US] ban has worked.” Dennis Sjodin, a spokesman for the National Farmers Union, also opposed an immediate reopening of the border. He said the latest Canadian BSE case was in a cow born after the feed ban took effect. “We believe the [border closure] issue must be resolved as soon as possible, but that doesn’t mean taking unnecessary risks for the industry and consumers,” he said. Keith Collins, the USDA’s chief economist, discussed the effects of the border closure on US and Canadian beef trade and prices. With the US border open to Canadian beef but closed to live cattle and with Canadian beef prices way down, Canadian slaughter plants expanded their capacity by about 25% in 2004 and are continuing to expand this year, he said. Meanwhile, cattle slaughtering in the United States dropped about 8% in 2004. DeHaven also called the US and Canadian feed bans “very, very similar.” One difference, however, is that the United States allows restaurant plate waste and poultry litter to be used in ruminant feed, whereas Canada does not, he said. Two cattle-producer groups, R-CALF United Stockgrowers of America (R-CALF USA) and the National Farmers Union, declined to join the call to end the import ban. An R-CALF spokesman contended that US and Canadian safeguards are inadequate and that the three BSE cases in Canada show the feed restrictions there have not worked. But Bill Bullard, a spokesman for R-CALF USA, disagreed. He called the US BSE safeguards “inadequate” in comparison with those of many other countries. The US feed ban is the same as one imposed in the United Kingdom in 1988, which failed to stop the spread of BSE there, he said. He also said the United States has yet to follow the recommendation of experts to ban the use of cattle blood and poultry litter in cattle feed. He warned that without access to Canadian cattle, American slaughter plants will continue to operate below capacity, forcing some to cut back their operations, even though high beef prices are likely to trigger increased US cattle production. As US slaughterhouses shut down, US cattle producers have fewer places to sell their cattle, Collin said. Mike Johns of the National Cattleman’s Beef Association and John Adams of the National Milk Producers Federation also expressed support for reopening the border. “The longer the border remains closed, the more likely Canada will continue to expand cattle slaughter and beef exports to the United States, and ultimately to the rest of the world,” Collins said. In addition, Bullard said that Canada has not met international standards recommended for preventing the spread of BSE because it has not banned SRM from all animal feed. (Neither Canada nor the United States has banned SRM from feed for nonruminant animals. Such a ban would prevent cross-contamination, whereby SRM in cattle parts used in feed for pigs, poultry, or pets could end up in cattle feed if both kinds of feed are made with the same equipment or in the same plant. Cross-contamination also can occur if cattle are given feed intended for other animals.) “We need to be consistent. The only way to do that is to open up to Canada on the same terms and conditions that we’re asking from Japan and others,” said Kuehne of the American Meat Institute.last_img read more