Dec 3, 2004 (CIDRAP News) – Avian influenza is expected to cost Asia $130 billion by 2005, according to Hur Young-joo of the South Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare, as reported in the Dec 2 online edition of The Korea Times.Of that $130 billion, $60 billion has been spent in China since 2003, Hur said. The estimate was attributed to Oxford Economic Forecasting Ltd., a United Kingdom firm that provides economic analysis, forecasting, and models for businesses. Information about which Asian countries were included and how the figure was developed was not available.Hur’s remarks came in advance of an international conference on zoonoses, which began today in Seoul, South Korea.About 170 experts were expected to participate, including representatives from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, the World Health Organization, and the World Organization for Animal Health, the newspaper reported.An official from South Korea’s Ministry of Health and Welfare was quoted as saying, “We seek to prepare a global network for efficient cooperation against epidemics in order to minimize damages from the diseases.”Zoonotic diseases are an area of growing concern for a number of reasons, but avian influenza in Asia has been dominating the news. Experts increasingly worry that the highly pathogenic H5N1 avian flu, which has killed 32 people in Vietnam and Thailand this year, could trigger a human flu pandemic.South Korea hasn’t had avian flu since March, but officials have strengthened quarantine measures in the country and designated the November-to-February period as a time to be on special alert for the disease, the paper reported.
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A Non-Resident Indian (NRI) man, serving a jail term of 28 years in London for planning the brutal killing of his estranged wife, will be repatriated to India and shifted to Amritsar jail for the rest of his sentence, the BBC reported.A UK court sentenced Harpreet Aulakh, a resident of Greenford, in 2010 to a minimum of 28 years for ordering the killing of his wife, Geeta Aulakh, a receptionist in Sunrise Radio, in 2009. He decided to get her murdered as she was seeking divorce from him.Aulakh’s repatriation to India will take place under the Repatriation of Prisoners Act signed between India and United Kingdom. He will be shifted to India on Aug. 28.“All arrangements are in place. According to the plan, the UK authorities will bring him to Delhi from where a team of Punjab police officers will bring him to Amritsar,” IPS Sahota, a top prison official in Punjab, told BBC Punjabi.“In the first week of July, we got a communiqué from the ministry of external affairs that Aulakh wanted to be shifted to Amritsar to serve the remaining term of his punishment. After completing the formalities, the jail department issued the NOC, and now he will be shifted to the Amritsar Central Jail,” Punjab’s Jails and Cooperation Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa told the Hindustan Times.Aulakh’s men hacked Geeta to death with a 14-inch machete on the street of Greenford, London, when she was going to pick up her two sons from a childminder. Geeta’s right hand was amputated and she suffered severe injuries on her head. She was declared dead a few hours later in the hospital.At the time of murder, Harpreet Aulakh, also known as Sunny, himself remained in a city pub before the CCTV camera to convince the police that he was not present at the site of the murder. His trick could not help him much as he was caught on the CCTV of a store, buying the machete a few days before the murder, BBC had reported earlier.Two other men, Sher Singh, 19, of Southall, and Jaswant Dhillon, 30, of Ilford, east London, were convicted of murder and sentenced to serve a minimum of 22 years in jail. Related ItemsAmritsarLondon