First swine flu death outside Mexico; five year-old Mexican boy identified as first infection; North Korea threaten nuclear tests; Pakistan troops kill 50 Taliban militants; and more
Top of the Agenda: Swine Flu's Spread
The United States reported the first swine flu death (ABC News) outside Mexico today, and Germany and Austria both reported cases of infection, as world leaders stepped up their efforts to combat the disease. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that a twenty-three month old child died of swine flu in Texas. The AFP reports the United States is bracing for more deaths, and has now confirmed sixty-five infections nationwide. The state of California declared a state of emergency yesterday, and President Obama urged Congress to release $1.5 billion in emergency funding--though health officials also stressed that roughly 35,000 people die in the United States every year in regular influenza season, so deaths from swine flu should be kept in perspective.
The Financial Times reports this morning on international fallout from the disease. Germany today became the eighth country to report an infection. China, meanwhile, lifted objections to Taiwan attending the World Health Organization's annual meetings. But the FT says political cooperation between China and Taiwain stands out among several other instances of cross-border discord elsewhere in the world due to the disease. Both Russia and China have now banned pork from Mexico, the article says, and many other countries have advised against non-essential travel to Mexico.
The Washington Post reports that one of the main tasks facing scientists is to gain a better understanding of variations in the swine flu virus as it has spread throughout the world. The New York Times reports Mexico's government has identified a five year old boy as the first person in the country to be infected with swine flu.
- CFR's Stephen Flynn examines U.S. readiness for a major epidemic in a new podcast.
- In an interview, Michael T. Osterholm, an expert on infectious diseases, cautions against overreaction internationally.
PACIFIC RIM: N. Korea Threats
Pyongyang threatened to carry out nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests (Yonhap) if the United Nations does not apologize for its condemnation of a recent rocket launch.
- CFR's Scott Snyder says in a new interview that questions about a possible regime succession make negotiating with North Korea more difficult at the moment.
CHINA-JAPAN: The Global Times previews two-day meetings between Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso and his Chinese counterpart. The Chinese paper interviews Aso and says his attitude exudes optimism about the future of Chinese-Japanese relations.
U.S. envoy Ross begins tour of Gulf region.
Pakistan military retakes strategic town in Buner district.