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How is HIV affecting the United States?

By Choco Chan and Sharon Tang

As HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) hits the top of the chart for being one of the most life-threatening diseases in the world, here’s what you should know about the mechanism working behind this killer:

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The sources online are in general very open, including the United States’ Center for Diseases Control and Prevention, Britain’s Public Health and Hong Kong’s Census and Statistics Department. Out of all the top countries with people suffering from HIV, the United States is one of them. With its huge population and severity, data from their official reports were derived and put into charts and infographics in order to enhance a relatively elaborate visualization.

The existence of HIV diagnosis are everywhere in America, with Florida, California and Texas being the three most popular states. In particular, all of the top ten states with the most HIV cases clustered in the Southeastern region of the United States. The larger the state is, the higher the likelihood it is to get more of its diagnosis.

According to the CDC, the heavy burden of HIV in the South is driven in part by unique socioeconomic factors, such as income inequality and poverty.

The Southern region in the United States accounts for 44% of HIV cases in total among its population. And the tragedy behind this epidemic is that African Americans population are severely affected by this disease. It may be because of a lack education and common ground of safety precautions for sexual intercourse, etc.

As we are heading to the end of 2016, let’s review the data collected last year first before we make any comparisons and analysis.

Click here to see an interactive visualisation of the exact number of HIV cases that happened in these states in 2015:

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Indonesia was intentionally chosen to be a comparable country with the States because of its similar population. Starting from 2011, Indonesia actually started in a relatively low position when talking about the cases of HIV diagnosis. The States are having a gradual decrease until it got into 42,332 cases in 2013, it started rising again, reaching to the optimum level where the number meets that drastical increase in HIV cases in Indonesia.

Click here to see another visualisation- as you move along the lines in the table to see how close Indonesia is to catch up with the USA.

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The epidemic of HIV infection increased rapidly throughout the 1980s, peaked around in the mid 90s, and then gradually declined. The number of people aged 13 or above living with AIDS went from 323 in 1981 all the way up to 78954 in 1993. As more cases were reported, there was a significant increase in the number of deaths too. In 1981, 122 patients died out of the 323 cases reported; while during the peak year 1993, 45187 deaths were reported, which is more than 57% of the total cases that year. The CDC also associated the peak of new diagnoses with the expansion of the AIDS surveillance case definition in 1993.

Another visualisation on the regarded matter – move over your browser to see the amazing correlation in the infographic:

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Yet, with the introduction of the highly active antiretroviral therapy in the mid 1990s, the number of new AIDS cases and deaths declined drastically. By the end of 2001, only 8998 patients were dead out of a total of  24855 cases.

Male-to-male sexual contact has been the most common mode of HIV transmission, there are around 27000 cases each year from 2010 to 2014, followed by heterosexual contact and injection drug use.

Among all the cases reported, African-Americans/Blacks in the United States are the most  affected population. In 2010, for example, out of 44940 diagnosed HIV cases, almost half  happened among the Blacks, followed by the whites, and then the Hispanic group. Up till now in 2016, African-Americans account for only 13% of the population but 43% of new HIV infection.

Institutionalised racism and poverty are believed to be the two major reasons why black people are more affected by HIV. Although Blacks and Whites are claimed to be equal in the United States, it is not the same in practice. The policies and procedures somehow favour the whites, giving the black society unequal and inadequate access to the tools to prevent and treat the disease. Moreover, the fact that Blacks have the highest poverty rate indicates the lack of education and access to healthcare, which attribute to a higher chance of acquiring HIV.

See more of the infographic as you click into the infographic play with it:

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There is no absolute care of HIV yet in this era, but as human evolves and the emergence of overwhelming data day by day, humans have been able to spot out the majority and the victims, in particular, that would be easily exposed and fall into the trap of this disease. With advocated love and help and integration, this shall not be an unsolvable existential crisis in human history.

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The Aftermath

 

What Cultural Revolution means to the second and third generation after 50 years

Standing still and in silence, Lin Sheng-You and his family perform religious rituals on a hillside not far away from their home in An Hui Province, China. Each year during the Ching Ming Festival, his family worships their ancestors by putting on joss sticks and burning paper offerings such as faux cash and cars in front of the graveyards.

“Whenever dad talks about the story of how grandpa died, he just always has that calm and motionless look in his face and tone. I couldn’t see any tears welling up from his eyes, maybe he was too little at that time. But to me, I just couldn’t help it but cried a tearful lot, feeling anger overwhelming and rushing through my heart and my brain.” Lin said.

It was in 1967 when Lin’s father was only six years old. Lin’s grandpa was working at a state-run office. During the time of Revolution four people came and accused him of the crime of counter-revolution and for keeping too many guns. No guns were found and they brought his grandpa for interrogation. When he came back he was on the verge of dying, he woke once and told them where the guns were hidden. He was certified on that night.

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During Ching Ming Festival, families worship their ancestors to show love and respect. The road to the gravesite is long, yet to some of them, it could be haunting and heart-wrenching.

Intergenerational Mental Disorders

To Lin, he belongs to the generation of many years after the revolution, but had not witnessed a thing about it. He is still in extreme opposition against the government for what they did to his grandpa.

This was in fact, just a tip of the iceberg. Many families and post generations actually suffer from the trauma that their earlier generations have experienced. Lin and his father’s condition appear to have become more common over the past half-century. If Cultural Revolution was a war between the ideologies that stroke between the for and against the Chinese governmental contexts, then the situation that the descendants are facing right now might as well be linked with the Post-War Traumatic Stress or Syndrome.

An early study done by the American Psychiatric Association found that the signs and symptoms of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) include efforts to avoid thoughts, feeling detached and having intrusive thoughts. Our brains work in millions of wondrous ways and with different parts, one of which the Amygdala is responsible for emotional management and the ability to control whether memories are chosen to become more accessible. As for PTSD patients, their Amygdala’s activity would increase, in other words, there is a higher likelihood for them to response or to react with fear.

6733f0f82b5d1a15ad06e6395b58bc05Another recent study conducted by Bar-Ilan University and University of Haifa has proved that the consequences of traumatic events are not only limited to the persons immediately exposed to that particular event, but it could affect significant others such as their friends and families instead. The research was done by drawing observations from Holocaust survivor’s families, and the result has shown that PTSD is scientifically proved to be intergenerational.

Referring back to Lin’s case, his father appears to be postured overtime he told the tale and describes the details of how his own biological father was brought to death by the soldiers who accused him of inciting subversion of state power. It holds a strong linkage to how he witnessed the process and was deeply affected by the scene itself. His behaviours seem to be a part of the symptoms from PTSD- feeling detached, and trying to avoid overwhelming memories flood through his brain and its accessible areas.

As for Lin, his results could be positive or negative, and that depends on his father’s own level of negativity and PTSD. Putting cultural and social factors aside, on the dark side Lin would very likely succeed the genes and behavior of his father, also known as the consequences of the father’s trauma for the offspring. On the bright side, these consequences would not be inherited to Lin nor affect the offspring.

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A graph showing the increasing trend of PTSD from veterans, and possibly affecting their generations after.

The Loyal Friend

Stepping aside from the scientific territory, Chairman Mao, who initiated the Cultural Revolution, was iconic enough to cause such undesirable effects into the society.

Ji Deng-Shi, a veteran once listed in Beijing, also a close companion of Mao’s, said that there were things that he did right and did wrong. “Mao Ze-Dong is one of the greatest person in Chinese history. He was charismatic, he spoke and wrote eloquently. And most of all, he has lead the Communist party and his people to banish the “Three Mountains” (The Three Mountains mentioned in every history textbooks or publications in China has long been referring to the three ideologies that Mao did not permit: Imperialism, Feudalism and Bureaucratic Capitalism.) and established a real, independent, brand new Republic United Nation of China.” Said Ji.

There has never been a genuinely objective opinion about why should the revolution have happened. There is only hatred and loyalty that exists up till now, or perhaps some internal conflicts. But everything in life comes along with balances.

Ji has once been rescued from the prison of criticism with the help of Mao, but even as a good friend of his, he still thinks that the one thing that Mao did wrong was to start the whole revolution. “He betrayed his own will and words, and as he reached his later days, he basically distrusted everybody. Even when I talked to him personally, I had to be very aware of my use of language. It was totally different from the older days. Political life among the party was abnormal, it was a tragedy for the party, and a tragedy for Mao himself,” said Ji.

Four months before Mao died he was still busy greeting foreign guests and found the best photographers to take charge of all the shots. He was not in good condition to talk. Even so, he shook hands with his guests and let the photo be taken. That was the last time Ji witnessed his old friend fighting and standing up for his own country.

The Post Revolution Trauma

Some people described the contemporary China as an era of facing a new chapter of Cultural Revolution under the throne of Chairman Xi, who was suppressed by the thoughts and the cult of Chairman Mao.

Kai-Zhi, an author who has once wrote in his book investigating on the impacts of revolution on Beijing’s Tsing Hua University, talked about the theory of “Extreme Rebellion”. It is more like an repression effect from something too oppressive such as the the Revolution, that leads to the unwanted bad things to be exposed.

For instance, the revolution 50 years ago was hopeful for avoiding polarizations among the people who were in charge of the party. However the corruption trend has been spotted way too evidently for the past ten years. Also in the older days Mao was in a bid to change the way people think, and guided them to shape the society with a new trend of morality. But Kai suggested that morality has already reached its boundaries in the new China, that people are no longer true to themselves or resistant to temptations.

All of these, in the author’s words, are acknowledged as “The Sequela” or “The Post Trauma” effect. It was written as such: “During the Cultural Revolution, our nation has once been to the stage of extremity. Right now we reversed along the path we walked, and we’re heading to the other extreme again.”

The only way to get out of the whole inception is to let every single individuals think and reflect upon their own thoughts and behaviours. There might be another Cultural Revolution going on, that is the unknown X factor. But what was proved to be physically torturing, is that the “Post-Revolution Trauma Stress Disorder” could be intergenerational for the rest of the century, lingering in the essence of Great Wall and each city walls that connects the country, and every hearts that were once shattered by the inferior minds of the leaders themselves.

References:

  1. http://www.racheldekel.com/uploads/4/4/6/5/44658145/intergenerational.pdf
  2. https://books.google.com.hk/books?id=dqLoAgAAQBAJ&pg=PA203&lpg=PA203&dq=文革+後遺症+研究&source=bl&ots=uuC24qrVAf&sig=YB-ATT9sx45heDrA1HkSaukYs1M&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjl9LnniqDMAhWmnqYKHWR8AMkQ6AEIGzAA#v=onepage&q=文革%20後遺症%20研究&f=false
  3. https://books.google.com.hk/books?hl=en&lr=&id=-JivBAAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PT18&dq=american+psychiatric+association&ots=cdTL13QMzd&sig=OhWBXv1lm2lZHOJN07SRka8BfiY&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=american%20psychiatric%20association&f=false

 

 

Cathay’s passenger service dropped, interim results showed

Cathay Pacific Airways Limited has just released their latest interim report of the year 2015.

According to Group Financial Statistics, the revenue has dropped by 0.9% but profit margin has increased by 3.2% compared to last year. Among these statistical results, profits attributed to shareholders, earning and dividends per share has even rocketed by more than four folds.

Passenger Service and Cargo services, one of the greatest assets of the Airline, has not been seen with a satisfactory results.

The overall passenger service and cargo services have plummeted by 9.3% and 11.1% respectively.

Numerically, the yield returned from the passenger services channeled from Europe and North America have both disappointing results, with a drop in about 10% similarly.

Cathay explains that a few reasons have attributed to such an outcome: Weakness in currencies, Fluctuations in fuel prices, as well as political reasons which caused the number of passengers drop.

Regarding weakness of Hong Kong and United States dollars, it has “adversely affected yield on routes to Australia, Canada, Europe, New Zealand, South Africa and the United Kingdom.”

On the other hand, the depreciation rate of the Japanese yen increased demand for travel to Japan and resulted in higher revenues in their travel routes.

Within the monetary market, instability is often seen. The unpredictable fluctuation causes Airlines and human traffic to change, causing the numbers of passenger service to change as such.

Next, the reduction in fuel prices has dropped significantly in 2015, compared to that period of 2014. Strong demands for fuel creates competition and affects the number of people traveling between places.

Besides, the number of mainland visitors to Hong Kong plunged as a result of continuous instability in Hong Kong’s society.

2015 has been a year of protests, demonstration, inhospitality, and doubt. An array of event have happened such as the mayhem of the Umbrella Movement, fighting between travellers between Hong Kongers and mainlanders, as well as combat over parallel trading which also causes controversies and bad economy, reputation to Hong Kong.

Cargo demand was strong and lower fuel prices seems welcoming- Net fuel costs was HKD$18,930 million in 2014 and HKD$16,619 in 2015. But  Cathay points out that they were partly offset by full hedging losses, which again bring the company into unfavourable circumstances.

Crisis come and go, making the one of the most sought-after Airlines in the world facing more difficulties to offer the best that they can do.

According to consolidated statement of profit and loss and other comprehensive income, the revenue in total has decreased. It all still depends on the corporate governance of Cathy itself and its adaptability towards the situation around the globe.

Business and Financial Journalism: Transcending into an new era

During the 1990s, when people had little business or financial channels to gain information regarding stock exchanges and market fluctuations, the CNBC, an American basic cable and satellite business news television channel decided to launch one itself.

CNBC has 3 headquarters around the globe, namely The United States, Singapore and London, its broadcast focuses primarily on Europe, Singapore, and Asia’s global stories throughout the week.

Mr. Geoff Cutmore, an English financial journalist and anchor for CNBC Europe in London, says that it is important to have an international and global channel to help people follow up the opening and closing of markets each day.

“As journalists you are ultimately telling stories, and if you have a good story you can get people’s attention, so that they would commit time and want to find things out.” he adds.

In the 1990s, a time where the media went through what Mr. Cutmore describes as a “revolution”, there was an explosion of media such as having different cable TVs and wire services emerged.

And for that matter, in order to make business news work well, business publications also must strive to succeed and go with the flow of changing.

In March 2015, The Financial Times abandoned its metered paywall for its original digital distribution and switched to a new business model based on offering readers cheap trial subscriptions.

“We spent a long time, a lot of hard work, changing stuff—reorganizing, rebuilding, carrying out some experiments.” Mr. John Ridding, Chief Executive of The Financial Times says.

Business information on a financial broadcasting or press is very significant platform to help with investors’ decisions. Taking the CNBC as example, 8 out of 10 viewers do something with the information after watching their programs, such as selling and buying stocks, pension funds, and advising their parents to take action.

Nowadays, we are going through another phase of technological era which is known as a “Depressing decade for newspapers” as what some press describes.

In Mr. Cutmore’s terms, it is a phase of “Disintermediation”, a posh way of saying no one knows what is happening next. There are new models emerging, social networking and televisions merging together, as well as multitasking when screening a few electronic items.

“The real challenge for news media and for journalism in the digital age is it’s fragmenting all the time, and people don’t come to one place” Mr. Ridding adds.

Indeed, people no longer rely on a single channel to get information they want. It is then the responsibility of journalists to think of how to create something new and exciting to entertain and cater to most of the people and audience in the world.

“Everything is possible as long as the technology is bust enough.” Mr. Cutmore says.

Interpreting with Google Fusion Tables: Visitor arrivals by country/territory of residence

A set of data regarding the number of visitors from different parts of the world traveling to Hong Kong each month was gathered from the Census and Statistics Department.

In macroscopic view, from 2011 to 2015, the total number of visitor arrivals by country or territory of residence has increased gradually.

The Americas, China, North Asia and Southeast Asia were especially taken into consideration for interpretation purposes, due to its location and a few special trends regarding their number of visitors.

China occupies the most prominent number of total visitors throughout the 5 years, whereas Africa occupies the least. At the same time, fluctuations for numbers in the Americas, Southeast Asia and Africa are relatively calmer and less than that of China.

Visitor arrivals from China has the most increase from January 2013 to January 2014, then it slowed down a bit afterwards. This is presumably due to the unstable political environment during the Umbrella Movement in 2014.

In fact, the trend did not seem to go well after January 2015, in view of the an array of anti-parallel traders irrational protests and some government’s policies to alleviate the flooding of parallel traders.

In September 2015, after the a range of conflicts in a bid to tackle the parallel traders, Chief Executive of Hong Kong Mr. Leung Chun Ying points out that the city has “much remedial work to do.”

Leung also quoted from Macau Affairs Office director Wang Guangya’s words, stating that “the previous anti-parallel-trader protests in Hong Kong had hurt mainlanders’ feelings.”

He says that the city’s tourism sector might face a recession that would harm the retail, catering and transport sectors if the government did not take remedial action or adopt changes in its policy.

Among the three remaining countries which have less prominent and remarkable number of visitors than China, The Americas has a higher advantage.

This is possibly due to the higher financial ability and more positive environment for travellers from the Americas to come to Hong Kong for business or traveling purposes.

link to the chart and table:

https://www.google.com/fusiontables/DataSource?docid=1bdjN66DgobA4CLDPYhEkqf7HmDUxbZvwgIkamTvV#chartnew:id=3

Screenshots of the table:

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HKBU launches first Chinese Medicine online database for public

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Hong Kong Baptist University pioneers an online database for the public to access information regarding Chinese medicine.

More than 420 herbs commonly used are organized as a collection, including their basic information, images, characteristics, effects, and chemical components.

The project was originally designed to help students and professionals to do research, but with the increasing demand on Chinese Medicine knowledge, the school has decided to allow access to the public.

When people browse the website, they only need to type in the name of the medicinal plants or herbs and the related information will be shown bilingually, both in Chinese and English translations.

Professor Chen HuBiao from Hong Kong Baptist Universtiy, coordinator of the project this time, says the database is an excellent channel for people to differentiate among the medicinal plants that look similar, as well as prevent the public to consume them mistakenly.

“One of the herbal tea, the five-flower tea has an ingredient named Ling Xiao Hua which looks like another herb named Yang Jin Hua, which is toxic. Our database has the photo of both plants so that the public could distinguish the difference between them,” Professor Chen says.

Mr. Yuen Kai-shun, a Chinese Medicine Practitioner points out that it may not be helpful to the general public as it is still difficult for them to tell the quality of medicine.
“Take the medicinal plant Gouqizi as an example. Some people think that the orange ones are good. Actually the ones in dark red are better. How could ordinary housewives without basic Chinese Medicine knowledge know that? ” he says.

However, there are still positive opinions about the database.

Mr.Tse, a shopkeeper of Wing Hang Medicine Hong says that it is beneficial to the development of Chinese Medicine on the whole.

“More people knowing about Chinese Medicine can prompt its development,” he says.

listen to radio package here:

IT’S GOING TO BE A VERY HOT BATTLE

IT’S GOING TO BE A VERY HOT BATTLE

How to stand firm amidst the heat and storm from the raging competition

431 constituencies are on their marks to compete among 18 different districts for the upcoming District Council Election.

“We present our best to the voters and we hope to get as many seats as possible.” Says Starry Lee Wai-King, Chairwoman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong.

During the 2012 election, the pro-Beijing camp managed to win a total of 301 seats, while the pan-democrats won 103.

Emily Lau Wai-Hing, Chairlady of the Democratic Party, points out that there is “no such thing as a strategy” when one stands for an election.

“I always tell my members that there is no magic, you just have to work very hard. Don’t think that there is a strategy then you can sleep at home and you will win.” She says.

Lau says that however the weather will be, candidates still go on street to gain votes but this does not just last for a day.

“And in the end, you might still lose,” she says, “It’s going to be a very, very tough battle.”

She also says that adding more young members would inject modern ideas into the 20-year old Democratic Party, to make people feel that they are “not that out of touch in their generation”.

According to Article 97 of the Basic Law, “Under this provision, 18 District Councils are established. Their major functions are to advise the Government on matters affecting the well-being of the people in the districts, and on the provision and use of public facilities and services at the district level.”

Lau says that some people think the advisory function makes the election meaningless and it might affect the number of voters or these who may want to stand for the election.

“I appeal to all those who do not want to see more occupation or filibustering to come out to vote. Let your voices be heard, and let us serve you.” Says Lee.

“Hong Kong people’s interest must prevail,” says Lau.