Today, swine flu may become pandemic

Picasso sketchbook gone from museum

A red notebook of 33 pencil drawings by Pablo Picasso has been stolen from a locked glass case in the Paris museum that bears the painter's name, authorities said Tuesday. The book is believed to be worth $11 million. There was no surveillance system in the room where the notebook was displayed, and the case required a special instrument to open. The stolen sketchbook, shiny red with the word "Album" inscribed in gold on the front, dated from 1917 to 1924, the Culture Ministry statement said. It measured 6.3 inches by 9.5 inches.

To mark 85th, Bush to jump again

Former President George H.W. Bush plans to celebrate his 85th birthday Friday by making a parachute jump in Maine, where he has his summer home. Jim Appleby, a Bush aide, said that Bush will make a tandem jump with a member of the U.S. Army Golden Knights parachute team. Their landing zone is near a church in Kennebunkport. He also made jumps on his 75th and 80th birthdays, and more recently at the reopening of his library at Texas A&M University in 2007.

London commute about to get tough

London's sprawling subway network started to shut down Tuesday as union workers walked off the job in a dispute over pay. Union workers planned to stay away from their posts for two days. About 3.5 million people use the subway system, known as the Tube, every weekday, and its closure is expected to cause disruption across the capital. London's Mayor Boris Johnson has promised to increase the number of buses, taxis and river­boat services for harried commuters.

$307.65B

total charitable giving by Americans in 2008. That was down 2 percent from 2007, only the second year-to-year drop since 1956.

2.7%

decrease in personal giving

4.5%

decrease in corporate giving

3%

increase in foundation grants

Source: Giving USA Foundation

The World Health Organization said Tuesday a spike in swine flu cases in Australia may push it to announce the first flu pandemic in 41 years. It also expressed concern about a rise in severe illness from the disease in Canada. WHO's flu chief Keiji Fukuda said the agency wanted to avoid "adverse effects" if it announces a global outbreak. Fukuda said people might panic or that governments might take inappropriate actions if WHO declares a pandemic. Some flu experts think that the world already is in a pandemic and that WHO has caved in to country requests that a declaration be postponed. "On the surface of it, I think we are in phase 6," or a pandemic, said Margaret Chan, WHO's director-general. Chan said it was important to verify reports the virus is established outside North America before declaring a pandemic. "The decision to make a phase 6 announcement is a heavy responsibility, a responsibility that I will take very seriously, and I need to be convinced that I have indisputable evidence," she said. Chan said she will hold a conference call with governments today in order to verify reports before making a formal announcement. WHO said the virus has infected 26,563 people in 73 countries and caused 140 deaths. Most cases have been in North America, but Australia saw more than 1,000 new cases in recent days. The H1N1 virus has mostly triggered only mild illness. But the fact that some of the deaths have occurred in otherwise healthy adults has prompted WHO to classify the outbreak as "moderate" for the time being.

Today, swine flu may become pandemic 06/09/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 9, 2009 8:40pm]

    

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