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Seoul confirms 4th swine fever case — and asks North Korea for cooperation

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South Korea confirmed its fourth case of African swine fever on Tuesday, as Pyongyang was yet to respond to Seoul’s request to make joint efforts to tackle the deadly animal disease.

The latest case was confirmed at a farm in Paju, a city near the inter-Korean border where the nation’s first case was recorded, according to Seoul’s agriculture ministry.

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South Korea has culled around 15,000 pigs since the first case was reported on Sept 17.

“We have carried out an immediate culling and are proceeding with an epidemiological investigation,” the ministry said in a statement, adding that some 2,300 pigs were being raised at the affected farm.

The fourth case came a day after Seoul’s unification ministry said it last week sent a request to North Korea to make collaborative efforts on the matter, although is yet to receive a reply from Pyongyang.

The virus is not harmful to humans but cases of haemorrhagic fever in pigs is almost always fatal. There is no antidote or vaccine and the only known way to prevent the disease from spreading is a mass cull of affected livestock.

The second and third cases in the South — confirmed on Sept 18 and 23, respectively — were also reported from cities in Gyeonggi Province, where Paju belongs and is adjacent to the inter-Korean border.

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While Seoul authorities have never confirmed whether the outbreak stemmed from the North, Pyongyang in late May told the World Organisation for Animal Health that dozens of pigs had died from the disease at a farm near the Chinese border.

In June, Seoul said the disease was “highly likely” to enter the country from the North and ordered fences to be erected at farms along the border to prevent possible contact between pigs and wild boar.

– No antidote –

Kim Jun-young, a vet and a vice president of the Korean Veterinary Medical Association in the South, said it is possible that the outbreak has spread to all provinces in the isolated North.

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“North Korea does not have enough disinfectants, and (it is likely that) pigs are simply being buried after being culled,” Kim said.

“It’s possible that the virus has already been spread to all regions of the North if anyone dug the bodies of dead pigs and sold the meat, or… vultures ate them and spread the virus.”

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There are around 6,700 pig farms across South Korea and pig farming accounts for 40 percent of the total livestock industry.

Seoul believes Pyongyang raises some 2.6 million pigs across 14 state-run farms. The outbreak could worsen food shortages in the impoverished North, where, according to the World Food Programme, its output last year hit the lowest level since 2008.

In May, the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization said pork prices had risen by up to 50 percent both in China and on the Chicago futures exchange as a result of the outbreak.

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Last month, it said almost five million pigs in Asia had died or been culled because of the spread of the disease.


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Tucker Carlson’s ex-lead writer has a history of racist, homophobic and misogynistic social media posts

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Blake Neff, the lead writer of The Tucker Carlson Show on FOX News, resigned on Friday after CNN uncovered a trove of disgustingly racist, homophobic and misogynist social media posts that Blake published under the handle “CharlesXII” on AutoAdmit (aka. XOXOhth), a largely unmoderated message board used by lawyers and law school students.

Among Neff’s most telling posts are a reference to “foodie faggots,” a comment stating, “Black doods staying inside playing Call of Duty is probably one of the biggest factors keeping crime down,” and another comment stating that Democratic U.S. House Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib, all women of color, want to “MAKE YOUR COUNTRY A DUMPING GROUND FOR PEOPLE FROM THIRD WORLD SHITHOLES.”

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2020 Election

Supreme Court decision on Trump’s taxes handed Democratic lawmakers a powerful new weapon: law professor

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According to a law professor writing for Politico, Donald Trump earned a small victory this past week when the Supreme Court did not allow Congress to have his tax returns that prosecutors in New York will receive, but it did set a precedent for more Congressional power over the president that can be used in further conflicts.

In her column for Politico, Kimberly Wehle of the University of Baltimore School of Law, wrote that "Congress emerged with more clarity about its oversight powers, and how to enforce them, than it had before the Supreme Court weighed in," in its 7/2 decision.

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Trump campaign workers ducking wearing masks over fears of mockery: ‘You get made fun of’

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According to Politico, Trump campaign officials at the re-election headquarters in Arlington, Virginia are too embarrassed to follow the president's own CDC guidelines about wearing masks and practicing physical distancing — because the president himself has done so much to politicize the coronavirus pandemic.

"The campaign’s headquarters — located on the 14th floor of an Arlington, Va., office building that shares space with multiple businesses — is normally packed with dozens of staffers, often sitting in close proximity to conduct phone calls and other urgent campaign business, said three people with knowledge of its operations," wrote Dan Diamond. "But the office was shut down for its first deep cleaning in weeks after a senior campaign official tested positive for the virus. The decision to conduct the cleaning came after two months of flouting the Trump administration’s own public health guidance: There are no face coverings or temporary barriers between desks at headquarters, and leaders have limited efforts to implement social distancing."

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