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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.

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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.

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.

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– 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.

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

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“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.”

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.

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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.

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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‘The world is on fire!’ Fox News pundit stunned after Trump decides to host G7 at his golf club

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Fox News politics editor Chris Stirewalt was stunned by the White House decision to host next year's G7 summit at a property owned by President Donald Trump.

White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney announced the international gathering would be held at Trump's struggling Doral golf course in Florida, and even the conservative Stirewalt couldn't believe the decision.

"The idea that this administration, dealing with what this administration is dealing with, right? A lot -- the unraveling in Syria, you’ve got the march to impeachment here at home, breaking news story every day. The world is on fire. Why?"

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Hosting the G-7 at Doral is still worth a million dollars to Trump — even if he donates all the profits: reporter

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President Donald Trump's chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said that holding the G7 summit at Trump's Doral resort would not be a profit for the president. Reports about it fly in the face of the White House claims, however.

The Miami Herald reported in July, when Trump floated the idea, that Doral is in a financial rut and the G7 meeting could help Trump climb out of it.

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Rudy Giuliani under potential investigation for work he did for Iranian terrorist group

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NBC News is reporting another complicated scandal Rudy Giuliani finds himself in.

According to the report, in 2017 former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey met with an Iranian group that was once considered a terrorist organization until 2012. Giuliani came along for the meeting with Mujahedeen e-Khalq (MEK) and has been engaged with the group for years.

"For nearly a decade, the former law partners have pushed the agenda of the MEK, giving paid speeches and writing newspaper op-eds expressing support for a group linked to the deaths of six Americans in the 1970s," NBC News reported Thursday.

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