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first_imgThe next pandemic could come from the Amazon rainforest, warns Brazilian ecologist David Lapola, who says human encroachment on animals’ habitats — a likely culprit in the coronavirus outbreak — is soaring there because of rampant deforestation.Researchers say the urbanization of once-wild areas contributes to the emergence of zoonotic diseases — those that pass from animals to humans.That includes the new coronavirus, which scientists believe originated in bats before passing to humans in China’s rapidly urbanizing Hubei province, probably via a third species. HIV, Ebola, dengueSimilar patterns can be seen with HIV, Ebola and dengue fever — “all viruses that emerged or spread on a huge scale because of ecological imbalances,” he said.So far, most such outbreaks have been concentrated in South Asia and Africa, often linked to certain species of bats.But the Amazon’s immense biodiversity could make the region “the world’s biggest coronavirus pool,” he said — referring to coronaviruses in general, not the one behind the current pandemic.”That’s one more reason not to use the Amazon irrationally, like we’re doing now,” he said.And one more reason to be alarmed by the surge in deforestation by illegal farmers, miners and loggers, he added.Bolsonaro, a climate-change skeptic who wants to open protected indigenous lands to mining and agriculture, deployed the army to the Amazon this week to fight deforestation, in a rare protective move.But Lapola said he would rather see the government reinforce the existing environmental agency, IBAMA, which has faced staffing and budget cuts under Bolsonaro.”I hope under the next administration we’ll pay more attention to protecting what may be the planet’s greatest biological treasure,” Lapola said.”We need to reinvent the relationship between our society and the rainforest.”Otherwise, the world faces more outbreaks — “a very complex process that is difficult to predict,” he said.”We’d better just play it safe.” Last year, in far-right President Jair Bolsonaro’s first year in office, deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon surged 85 percent, to more than 10,000 square kilometers (3,900 square miles) — an area nearly the size of Lebanon.The trend is continuing this year. From January to April, 1,202 square kilometers were wiped out, setting a new record for the first four months of the year, according to data based on satellite images from Brazil’s National Space Research Institute (INPE).That is bad news, not just for the planet but for human health, said Lapola, who holds a PhD in earth system modeling from the Max Planck Institutes in Germany and works at the University of Campinas in Brazil.”When you create ecological disequilibrium… that’s when a virus can jump” from animals to humans, he said. Lapola, 38, who studies how human activity will reshape the future ecosystems of tropical forests, says the same processes are in play in the Amazon.”The Amazon is a huge reservoir of viruses,” he told AFP in an interview.”We’d better not try our luck.”The world’s biggest rainforest is disappearing at an alarming rate. Topics :last_img read more

first_imgAll clubs are to be warned to follow the rules governing players suffering concussion following the controversy surrounding Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris. Spurs have defended their handling of the incident where manager Andre Villas-Boas allowed the Frenchman to remain on the pitch against Everton on Sunday despite having been knocked out in a collision with Romelu Lukaku’s knee and initially being unable to remember where he was. FIFA’s chief medical officer and the Professional Footballers’ Association say, under current regulations, that Lloris should have been substituted. Tottenham’s head of medical services Wayne Diesel said: “Once the relevant tests and assessments were carried out, we were totally satisfied that he was fit to continue playing.” FIFA’s chief medical officer, professor Jiri Dvorak, said if there is any doubt about concussion then the player should be removed from the field of play. Dvorak said there was a “99 per cent probability” that Lloris would have been concussed – and pointed out that Everton striker Lukaku needed an ice-pack on his knee afterwards. “The player should have been substituted,” Dvorak told Press Association Sport. “The fact the other player needed ice on his knee means it’s obvious the blow was extensive. “It’s a 99 per cent probability that losing consciousness in such an event will result in concussion.” Dvorak added that the player’s view should not be taken into account in such situations. He said: “When he has been knocked unconscious, the player himself may not see the reality. “I do not know the details but I know that the Premier League doctors are extremely good and I can imagine that the doctor may have recommended he be replaced. “We have a slogan: if there is any doubt, keep the player out.” Villas-Boas’ decision has been criticised as “dangerous” and “irresponsible” by brain injury charity Headway. Luke Griggs, spokesperson for Headway, said: “We are hugely concerned that a professional football club should take such an irresponsible and cavalier attitude to a player’s health.” The FA has detailed regulations on head injuries and concussion and, although it is understood the governing body is not investigating Tottenham’s handling of the incident, the rules state that anyone suffering unconsciousness should not play again that day. The rules do, however, allow for “a transient alteration of conscious level” following a head injury, which says a player can return to play following assessment by medical staff. Coincidentally, Lukaku was himself the centre of a concussion scare at West Ham earlier in the season when he suffered a blow to the head while scoring, but played on and afterwards said he could not remember anything about his goal. The international players’ union FIFPro also criticised Tottenham for allowing Lloris to continue. The incident was raised by PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor at a quarterly meeting with representatives from the Football Association, Premier League and Football League on Monday, where it was decided to remind clubs of the protocol for concussion. Taylor told Press Association Sport: “I watched the incident on television and I was surprised to say the least that he was allowed to stay on. “We are very concerned that the protocol that involves concussed players was not adhered to and I raised this at the meeting with the professional game’s stakeholders today, and the decision was taken to remind all clubs of the protocol. “Managers should not take these decisions in the heat of the moment and that needs reinforcing.” Taylor said the PFA wants the rules made even tougher so that any player who loses consciousness during a match should be automatically removed from the field of play rather than leaving it up to medical staff to make a decision. Lloris was unable to remember the incident and was taken for a brain scan but given the all-clear. Questions remain, though, over Villas-Boas’ decision. Immediately after the match he told Sky Sports: “The medical department was giving me signs that the player couldn’t carry on, because he couldn’t remember where he was.” In a statement, however, Tottenham said medical staff were “totally satisfied that he was fit to continue playing”. The club did not respond to further questions asking whether Lloris did in fact suffer concussion – under current rules that will require at least a week’s rest and further tests. Press Associationlast_img read more

first_imgFormer Arsenal and France midfielder Robert Pires, a member of France’s 1998 World Cup-winning squad, has announced his retirement from football at the age of 42.Pires started his career with Metz in France, before spells at Marseille and Arsenal, where he won two Premier League titles and three FA Cups between 2000 and 2006. He is the last member of the 1998 winning France squad to retire.”I’m 42 years old …. We must say stop and above all must give way to young,” Pires said on beIN Sports on Thursday.Pires won the European Championship with France in 2000 and also had spells at Villarreal and Aston Villa. He played for FC Goa in the Indian Super League until he was released in March.last_img read more