Alex Veeneman, Opinions Editor
SHANGHAI — Chinese officials have said six people have died from the H7N9 bird flu, as poultry begins to be slaughtered as a result of the virus being discovered in pigeons being sold in a market.
According to a report from the BBC, 14 cases had been confirmed in eastern China. The report adds that the World Health Organization said there was no evidence that the virus could be transmitted from person to person, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is developing a vaccine should there be an outbreak in the United States.
A representative for the CDC confirmed the vaccine was in development.
WASHINGTON — Reports indicate that President Barack Obama has selected Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of John F. Kennedy, as the new ambassador of Japan. According to a report from CNN cited by NPR, Kennedy is being vetted for the post.
Kennedy would take over from John Roos, who is stepping down from the role, the NPR report added. A White House representative declined to comment, and a representative for the Japanese embassy in Washington said the Japanese government had not been notified by the U.S. of any changes to the Tokyo ambassador role. A representative for the Kennedy Library and Museum in Boston did not respond to a request seeking comment.
The news comes as Obama is reported to have selected Bruce Heyman, a partner in the investment firm Goldman Sachs’ offices in Chicago, to succeed David Jacobson as the next U.S. Ambassador to Canada, according to a report from the Canadian public broadcaster CBC.
A White House representative declined to comment, and representatives for Goldman Sachs, the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa and the Canadian government did not respond to requests for comment.
Ambassadors nominated by Obama need to be confirmed by the Senate before taking up their posts.
MENLO PARK, Calif. — Facebook has unveiled a new app for Android platforms that aims to encourage more people to be active on the social network.
The app, called “Home,” is designed to take over a handset cover screen once the phone turns on, at which point a user will see their friends’ news feeds, photos and messages, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal.
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s founder and chief executive, said the app was developed around people, instead of a phone’s tasks or applications, the Journal report adds.
“You’re going to be able to turn your Android phone into a great social phone,” Zuckerberg said. “It becomes the home of your phone.”
The Journal report added that Facebook is working on ads that would be a part of the Home strategy.
PARIS — The French government has said it will not reply to a letter sent by the British government asking European Union member states for an assessment of effects of EU rules and regulations on Europe, ahead of a possible EU membership referendum in the U.K.
A representative for the French government confirmed to The Flyer that a reply will not be sent.
“It is internal political affairs,” the representative said, adding that it was the view of many EU member states that it was internal. “You don’t pick and choose what you have to take with an in or out. You have to take the whole thing.”
A report in the British newspaper The Guardian added that the German government would also not reply, but the Italian and Swedish governments had. A government source in Berlin told The Flyer they wanted the U.K. to be part of the EU and the assessment was not part of the discussion, but said that once Britain discussed what exactly they were looking for when it came to power exchange, Germany would be ready to discuss it.
Requests for comment to the Italian and Swedish governments were not returned. Olivier Bailly, a spokesman for the European Commission in Belgium, said the Commission did not want to take a role in the consultations, and it was for the U.K. to decide their future.
The referendum would be held if David Cameron’s Conservative party was re-elected in 2015. A spokesperson for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London did not respond to a request seeking comment. The U.S. government has said there must be a strong British voice in the EU.
SAN FRANCISCO — Reports say that Apple is to have a new iPhone in production in the second quarter of this year.
According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, the iPhone would be refreshed but be a similar size and shape, and a launch of the next version of the phone would be made for the summer.
A representative for Apple did not respond to a request seeking comment.
Photo courtesy of sxc.hu.