China’s fastest quantum computer still lags far behind the United States

China's fastest quantum computer still lags far behind the United States

China’s fastest quantum computer is set to roll out, but the machine will be nowhere near the fastest in the world, underlining China’s quantum lag behind the United States.

Known as Wukong, the Monkey King from Chinese mythology, the locally produced 72-qubit computer is now in its final testing phase and is scheduled to go online next month, said Zhang Hui, general manager of Origin Quantum Computing Technology based in Hefei.

Last November, the American IBM launched the 433-qubit Osprey, the world’s fastest quantum computer to date. Intel unveiled its 49-qubit quantum chip, known as Tangle Lake, in January 2018, while Google debuted its 72-qubit Bristlecone in March of the same year.

Chinese scientists openly acknowledge the quantum gap with the West.

China is indeed in the top echelon of quantum scientific research in the world, Zhang said in a Guancha.cn article in December. “In quantum communication, China is among the first in the world for the number of documents and patents.” However, he said, “in quantum computing, we are relatively behind.

Zhang said this is because China’s overall industrial base is less advanced than the West. He noted that the development of quantum computers involves many advanced engineering issues, including the manufacturing of traditional superconductor and semiconductor chips, crucial high-tech realms where China lags behind the United States and the West.

Currently, China still needs foreign equipment such as electron beam lithography to make its superconducting chips. Japan, which is following America’s lead in limiting China’s access to high-end chip manufacturing equipment, is dominant in the e-beam lithography market.

Citing public data, Zhang estimated that China is about three to four years behind leading countries in terms of quantum hardware. He also added that there is a huge gap between China and the United States in industrial applications of quantum computing.

IBM’s Osprey is now the fastest quantum computer in the world. Photo: IBM

Players like IBM and Google started exploring industrial applications as early as the 1990s. But it’s only since the founding of Origin Quantum in 2017 that we’ve started exploring industrial applications,” he said.

He also said that Intel enjoys an edge in quantum chip manufacturing due to its experience and know-how in semiconductor manufacturing.

Banned by the United States from obtaining the most advanced chips and chip-making equipment, China is now investing heavily in quantum, artificial intelligence and aerospace technologies with the hope, as expressed by some Chinese media, of surpassing the West how to overtake others in cornering in car racing.

At this stage, Zhang said, “these strongest teams in the world are really far ahead of us in terms of funds, talent and equipment. I think the goal of overtaking the others in corners is still a long way off for us. What we are trying to do is follow them as closely as possible and make contributions.”

Power up supercomputers

So far, the 66-qubit Zuchongzhi 2, launched by Chinese scientist Pan Jianwei and his team at the Hefei University of Science and Technology in May 2021, is currently the fastest quantum computer in China.

While the Pan team focuses on academic results, Origin Quantum has its sights set on commercialization.

The company launched its 6-qubit superconducting chip, known as KF-C6-130, in 2020 and used it in its self-developed quantum computer called Benyuan Wuyuan. It unveiled Benyuan Wuyuan 2 with a 24-qubit quantum chip, KF-C24-100, in 2021.

In February this year, it shipped a 24-qubit quantum computer for the first time, making China the third country in the world to have built and delivered quantum computers after the United States and Canada.

Origin Quantum and the state-owned Shanghai Supercomputer Center said this month that they will establish an innovation technology center to connect their supercomputers and quantum computers.

“Quantum computers are much faster than traditional computers at solving specific problems, said Li Genguo, director of the Shanghai Supercomputing Center. They can be used as a supercomputer accelerator.

Li said a program will soon be launched to try to optimize the computing power of supercomputers and quantum computers.

Origin Quantum and Nexchip are investing funds in the production of superconducting chips. Photo: WeChat account: hefeigaoxinfabu]

Dou Meng, vice president of Origin Quantum, told the media that he met Li just two weeks ago for the first time, and both sides agreed to seek synergies.

Dou said that Origin Quantum plans to set up its second quantum center in Shanghai as there is huge growth potential in the Yangtze River Delta region, where 70% of China’s quantum experts and half of quantum companies are located.

Nexchip support

In April 2021, Origin Quantum and Nexchip Semiconductor Corp, which raised 9.96 billion yuan ($1.44 billion) in an initial public offering in Shanghai last month, set up a lab to make superconducting chips.

According to the listing prospectus, Nexchip is 52.99 percent owned by the Hefei government and 27.44 percent owned by Powerchip Technology, the parent company of Powerchip Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp (PSMC), Taiwan’s third-largest chip foundry. All five of Nexchip’s top executives are from Taiwan.

Nexchip mainly produces automotive chips between 55 and 150 nanometers, low-end products compared to 7nm to 22nm chips used in mobile electronic products. That means the company is unaffected by US sanctions, which target semiconductors smaller than 28n but not yet superconducting chips.

Origin Quantums Zhang said the company outsources chip manufacturing to Nexchip’s lab and follows IBM and Google’s superconductor chip standards and Intel’s semiconductor standards.

He said it’s not a problem to produce several thousand superconducting chips a year, but only those with the highest quality will be shipped to customers. The company said earlier this year that it is using its in-house developed MLLAS-100 laser annealing to improve the quality of its quantum chips.

Read: Quantum computing clouds open to all in China

Read: China accelerates in quantum computing race

Follow Jeff Pao on Twitter at @jeffpao3


#Chinas #fastest #quantum #computer #lags #United #States

Cancer centers say a shortage of chemotherapy in the United States is leading to treatment complications

Cancer centers say a shortage of chemotherapy in the United States is leading to treatment complications

A growing shortage of common cancer treatments is forcing doctors to switch medications and delay some treatments, leading US cancer centers say. The National Comprehensive Cancer Network said Wednesday that nearly every center it surveyed late last month was dealing with deficiencies in carboplatin and cisplatin, a pair of drugs used to treat a range of cancers. Some are no longer able to treat patients receiving carboplatin at the intended dose or schedule. Kari Wisinski has had to turn to other treatments for some patients or change the order in which people receive their drug combinations. She said she did so “hoping that within three months there will be a better supply of carboplatin.” Wisinski is a breast cancer specialist with UW Health Carbone Cancer Center in Madison, Wisconsin, a member of the network. She said her center’s doctors, nurses and pharmacists have done a good job managing the supply of drugs, but by doing so they have displaced them from other elements of care.Of the 27 cancer centers that responded to the network survey, 25 reported a carboplatin deficiency.Among cancer centers with carboplatin deficiency, more than a third said that they were unable to treat all patients on the intended dose and schedule.Nineteen hospitals also reported cisplatin shortages, but all said they were able to maintain treatments for existing patients.Video below: Read more on Cancer Drug ShortagesThe problem began to build earlier this year, said Mike Ganio, who studies drug shortages at the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. soon,” he said. “There’s not much room for it to get worse.” Manufacturing problems, unexpected spikes in demand, and tight inventories of ingredients have all contributed to a growing number of prescription drug shortages in the United States. Many patients with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder had trouble filling prescriptions for Adderall this year, and pharmacies ran out of children’s meds during last winter’s cold and flu season. according to the University of Utah Drug Information Service. The United States Food and Drug Administration has taken some steps to try to alleviate the chemotherapy shortage. The agency is allowing some overseas-approved versions of cisplatin to be temporarily imported from FDA-registered factories. until full production, Ganio said. He also noted that drug shortages are a decades-old problem. “We really need to get to the root causes of these shortages or they will continue to happen,” he said.

A growing shortage of common cancer treatments is forcing doctors to switch medications and delay some treatments, leading US cancer centers say.

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network said Wednesday that nearly every center it surveyed late last month was dealing with shortages of carboplatin and cisplatin, a pair of drugs used to treat a range of cancers. Some are no longer able to treat patients receiving carboplatin at the intended dose or schedule.

In the video player above: A patient talks about how his cancer treatment was delayed due to drug shortages

Dr. Kari Wisinski has had to turn to other treatments for some patients or change the order in which people receive their drug combinations. She said she did so “hoping that within three months there will be a better supply of carboplatin.”

“It’s really hard as a doctor to have these conversations with a family or a patient about not having a drug that you would like to prescribe for them,” she said.

Wisinski is a breast cancer specialist at UW Health Carbone Cancer Center in Madison, Wisconsin and a member of the network. He said the doctors, nurses and pharmacists at his center did a good job managing the supply of drugs, but doing so took them away from other elements of care.

Of the 27 cancer centers that responded to the network’s survey, 25 reported a carboplatin deficiency. Among cancer centers with carboplatin deficiency, more than a third said they were unable to treat all patients on their intended dose and schedule.

Nineteen hospitals also reported cisplatin shortages, but all said they were able to maintain treatments for existing patients.

Video below: Learn more about the cancer drug shortage

The problem started developing earlier this year, said Mike Ganio, who studies drug shortages at the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists.

“I think it went from being a shortage to a really serious shortage very quickly,” he said. “There’s not much room to get worse.”

Ganio’s company reported shortages of cisplatin in January and then carboplatin in late March, months after a factory in India that made both drugs suspended production following an inspection that raised quality concerns.

Manufacturing problems, unexpected spikes in demand, and tight inventories of ingredients have all contributed to a growing number of prescription drug shortages in the United States. Many patients with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder had a hard time filling prescriptions for Adderall this year, and pharmacies ran out of children’s meds during last winter’s cold and flu season.

There were 301 active national drug shortages during the first quarter of this year, according to the University of Utah Drug Information Service.

The United States Food and Drug Administration has taken some steps to try to alleviate the chemotherapy shortage. The agency is allowing some overseas-approved versions of cisplatin to be temporarily imported from FDA-registered factories.

Videos below: The FDA says over a dozen cancer treatment drugs are in shortage

That should help, but the important factor is getting the factory in India back to full production, Ganio said.

He also noted that shortages of drug supplies are a decades-old problem.

“We really need to get to the root causes of these shortages or they will continue to happen,” he said.

#Cancer #centers #shortage #chemotherapy #United #States #leading #treatment #complications

Millions of people breathe dangerous air as smoke from Canadian wildfires billows south over the United States

Millions of people breathe dangerous air as smoke from Canadian wildfires billows south over the United States

NEW YORK (AP) Smoke from Canadian wildfires has poured into the East Coast and Midwest of the United States Wednesday, blanketing both nations’ capitals in an unhealthy haze, grounding flights at major airports, postponing Major League Baseball games and prompting people to dig up the face masks of the pandemic era.

Canadian officials have asked other countries for more help fight more than 400 wildfires nationwide that have already displaced 20,000 people. Dangerous levels of air pollution spread across the New York metropolitan area, central New York state, and parts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Huge tongues of unhealthy air extended as far north as North Carolina and Indiana, affecting millions.

I can taste the air, Dr. Ken Strumpf said in a Facebook post from Syracuse, New York, which was wrapped in a pall of amber. The smoke, he later said by phone, also made him a little dizzy.

The Air Quality Index, a United States Environmental Protection Agency metric for air pollution, has at times exceeded a staggering 400 in Syracuse, New York City, and Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley. A level of 50 or lower is considered good; anything above 300 is considered dangerous, when even healthy people are advised to reduce outdoor physical activity.

In Baltimore, Debbie Funk sported a blue surgical mask as she and husband, Jack Hughes, took their daily stroll around Fort McHenry, a national monument that overlooks the Patapsco River. The air hung thick over the water, darkening the horizon.

I went out this morning and it was like a cloud of smoke, Funk said.

Canadian officials say this is shaping up to be the nation’s worst fire season ever. It started early on drier than usual ground and accelerated very quickly, depleting firefighting resources across the country, firefighters and environmental officials said.

Smoke from fires in various parts of the country has reached the United States since last month, but has intensified with the recent fires in Quebec, where about 100 were deemed out of control on Wednesday which, ominously, was National Air Day cleaned in Canada.

The smoke was so thick in downtown Ottawa, Canada’s capital, that the office towers just across the Ottawa River were barely visible. In Toronto, Yili Ma said her hiking plans were canceled and she was forgoing restaurant patios, a beloved Canadian summer tradition.

I put the mask away for over a year and have now been wearing it since yesterday, the 31-year-old complained.

Quebec Premier François Legault said the province currently has the capacity to fight about 40 fires and the usual reinforcements from other provinces were strained by the conflagrations in Nova Scotia and elsewhere.

Jennifer Kamau, a spokeswoman for the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Center, said more than 950 firefighters and other personnel had arrived from the United States, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, with more to come soon.

In Washington, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said President Joe Biden has sent more than 600 firefighters and equipment to Canada. His administration has reached out to some US governors and local officials to provide assistance, he said.

Northern Quebec’s largest city, Chibougamau, with a population of about 7,500, was evacuated on Tuesday, and Legault said the roughly 4,000 residents of the northern Cree town of Mistissini would likely have to leave on Wednesday. But later, Mistissini’s boss Michael Petawabano said his community remains safe and asked residents to wait for instructions from Cree officials.

Eastern Quebec had rain Wednesday, but Montreal-based Environment Canada meteorologist Simon Legault said no significant rain was expected for days in remote areas of central Quebec, where fires are most intense.

U.S. National Weather Service meteorologist Zach Taylor said the current weather pattern in the central and eastern United States is essentially funneling into smoke. Some rain should help clear some air in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic this weekend or early next week, though more complete relief will come from containing or extinguishing the wildfires, he said. said.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul said 1 million N95 masks will be available at state facilities. New York City beaches were closed and Mayor Eric Adams told residents to stay indoors as much as possible as smoke stained the horizon. The Bronx and Central Park zoos closed early and brought their animals inside. The popular Shakespeare in the Park show has been cancelled.

The Federal Aviation Administration suspended some flights to LaGuardia Airport and slowed planes to Newark Liberty and Philadelphia because smoke limited visibility. It also helped delay arrivals at Dulles International Airport outside Washington, where a thick haze shrouded the Washington Monument and forced the cancellation of outdoor tours.

Major League Baseball has postponed games in New York and Philadelphia, and even an indoor WNBA game in Brooklyn has been cancelled. On Broadway, Killing Eve star Jodie Comer had trouble breathing and left the matinee after 10 minutes; the show has restarted with a replacement, the show’s publicists said.

Schools in multiple states have canceled sports and other outdoor activities, moving recess indoors. Live horse racing was canceled Wednesday and Thursday at Delaware Park in Wilmington. Organizers of Global Running Day, a virtual 5K, advised attendees to adjust their plans based on air quality.

New Jersey closed state offices early, and some political rallies in venues from Manhattan to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania were moved indoors or postponed. Hollywood’s extraordinary writers have been pulled off the picket lines in the New York metropolitan area.

Smoking has exacerbated the health problems of people like Vicki Burnett, 67, who suffers from asthma and has had severe bouts of bronchitis.

After walking his dogs Wednesday morning in Farmington Hills, Michigan, Burnett said, I went in and started coughing and went back to bed.

However, she stressed that she was worried about Canadians, not just herself.

It’s a shame, and I have problems with it, but there should be help for them, she said.

___

Gillies reported from Toronto. Contributors were Associated Press reporters Randall Chase of Dover, Delaware; Michael Hill in Albany, New York; David Koenig in Dallas; Aamer Madhani in Washington; Brooke Schultz in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania; Mark Scolforo in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Lea Skene in Baltimore; Carolyn Thompson in Buffalo, New York; Ron Todt in Philadelphia; Corey Williams in West Bloomfield, Michigan; and Mark Kennedy, Jake Offenhartz, Karen Matthews and Julie Walker in New York.

___

This story corrected the attribution of Quebec rain forecast material to Montreal-based meteorologist Simon Legault of Environment Canada, not Quebec Premier François Legault.

#Millions #people #breathe #dangerous #air #smoke #Canadian #wildfires #billows #south #United #States

Real-Time Air Quality Updates: Smoke from Canadian bushfires affects millions of people across the United States

Real-Time Air Quality Updates: Smoke from Canadian bushfires affects millions of people across the United States

14 million ago / 4:04 PM EDT

UN secretary-general calls for more efforts to limit wildfires in a warming world

15 million ago / 4:03 PM EDT

Google tells employees in New York and along the East Coast to work from home

Google is telling its East Coast employees to stay home as smoke from wildfires fills the air in New York and other major cities.

Managers at the company’s New York site wrote in a memo to area workers that air quality in many parts of the region had reached unhealthy levels, citing the New York state Department of Environmental Conservation. In New York, most employees are expected to work from physical offices at least three days a week.

We’re advising Googlers to work from home if possible and limit their exposure to the outside air, according to the note, obtained by CNBC. The terraces on our New York campus will be closed today.

Read the full story at CNBC.com

29 million ago / 3:49 pm EDT

Striking images show the New York skyline on Monday compared to today

34 million ago / 3:44 pm EDT

Black residents of Detroit prepare for tougher conditions

Detroit’s air quality is among the worst in the world due to wildfires in Canada, potentially exacerbating many health issues that residents of the predominantly black city have struggled with for generations.

Detroit resident Sandra Turner-Handy, a Michigan Environmental Council retiree, said that before the fires, locals regularly breathed in particulate matter and other toxins. She said she is particularly concerned about the effects of the fires on those who live near the Detroit River, an area sought after for industrial use and which contains high levels of pollution.

He said Detroit’s asthma rates are three times those of other cities in our state.

Turner-Handy, who has emphysema, a lung disease that causes wheezing, calls Detroit’s pollution problem an environmental injustice and worries how smoking could spread in her area, potentially impacting her own health .

I fear anything that will impact my respiratory health, she said. I am very afraid.

Communities of color and low-income populations are exposed to higher levels of atmospheric fine particulate matter PM2.5 than other groups in the United States, according to a study conducted last year by Harvard University. A 2020 survey by the Environmental Defense Fund found that 58 percent of black adults living in Detroit are twice as likely as white residents to worry about air pollution in their communities. Poor air quality conditions are even worse in regions like Southwest Detroit, whose residents experience asthma hospitalization rates three times the state average.

Experts like Jessie Singer, author of There Are No Accidents, said recent air pollution only illustrates the ways Black communities are made more vulnerable to environmental disasters and climate change through infrastructure and policy decisions. For example, blacks are more likely to live where there is greater exposure to air pollution due to residential segregation, according to the American Lung Association.

Systemic racism defines whether or not you have the excess money to have an air cleaner in your home, Singer said. If you have less access to health care, if you grow up in a polluted environment, if you don’t have the economic freedom to take time off work, then when a fire happens, you’re more vulnerable.

32 million ago / 3:46 pm EDT

Jodie Comer-starring Broadway show briefly halted after star has ‘difficulty breathing’

Today’s matinee performance of the Broadway production of “Prima Facie” was briefly interrupted after the show’s star, Emmy Award-winning actor Jodie Comer, experienced “difficulty breathing,” according to a production spokeswoman.

The show was “interrupted approximately 10 minutes into the show after Jodie Comer had difficulty breathing due to poor air quality in New York City due to smoke from the Canadian wildfires,” a spokeswoman for The Press Room, a theatrical advertising company.

The spokeswoman said the performance had to start “from the top” with understudy Dani Arlington filling in for Comer as Tessa.

Comer is best known for her co-starring role in the twisty BBC America spy thriller ‘Killing Eve’.

1 hour ago / 3:13pm EDT

New York City’s air quality is officially the worst in the world

Current air quality in New York City reached more than 340 on the air quality index scale this afternoon, making it the worst in the world, according to IQAir, a Swiss monitoring service.

49 million ago / 3:29 pm EDT

Is it safe to exercise outdoors when the air quality is poor?

As air quality continues to plummet, runners may want to rethink their plans, experts say.

An air quality index above 150 signals that outdoor exercise can be risky, said Dr. Panagis Galiatsatos, pulmonologist of the American Lung Association.

It’s like swimming in polluted water, he said.

You’ll get irritated, probably 20 minutes into the ride, Galiatsatos said. You’ll develop a cough, a little dryness, and you might even get a little more out of breath because what you’re trying to do is some level of resistance, but your lungs aren’t breathing healthy air, they’re breathing toxins, they’re breathing noxious stimuli. You will feel that toll.

Read the full story here.

46 million ago / 3:32 pm EDT

414 wildfires in Canada, more than 200 of which are out of control

There are 414 wildfires burning in Canada to date, 239 of which are considered out of control, Canadian Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair said at a news conference.

To date, approximately 20,183 people remain displaced from homes and communities.

It’s all hands on deck and it’s been all day, Blair said of the government’s response to the fires.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said hundreds of members of the military have been deployed to provide additional support to firefighters and affected communities.

Washington is also lending support, with the US Forest Service providing 648 people to date.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters today that President Joe Biden was briefed on the fires last week and has been updated regularly since. The United States has also sent equipment such as water bombers, he said.


#RealTime #Air #Quality #Updates #Smoke #Canadian #bushfires #affects #millions #people #United #States

This week’s air quality gives the United States a glimpse into global air pollution

This week's air quality gives the United States a glimpse into global air pollution

The dangerous haze that hung over parts of the Northeast and Midwest Wednesday morning was highly unusual for the United States. For many people around the world, that would be somewhat normal.

Cities in Asia, Africa and Latin America have been so polluted for so long that air quality readings like those expected on Wednesday in parts of New York State, which are expected to pose a risk to people with respiratory problems, do not would be seen as a particular cause for alarm.

Maybe foreigners can feel it, but for me, it’s just the ordinary air I breathe every day, said Paiboon Kaewklangrong, a taxi driver in Bangkok, on Wednesday. Polluted, hot, dusty. But it is what it is.

In a prepandemic study, the World Health Organization found that 99% of the world’s population lived in places that didn’t meet its guidelines for healthy air quality.

Bad air can be dangerous, especially if you’ve been breathing it your whole life. Short-term effects include coughing, congestion, and inflammation. Long-term exposure can damage the liver and brain and increase the risk of blood clots that can lead to heart attacks.

An added risk with smoke from wildfires is that the particulate matter they produce, known as PM, can mix with emissions from cars, factories and stoves in urban areas, said Rajasekhar Balasubramanian, an air quality expert at the National University of Singapore.

It is therefore reasonable to assume that the PM in the smoke haze is more toxic than usual urban PM, he said.

WHO estimates that the effects of outdoor and household air pollution are associated with approximately 6.7 million annual deaths worldwide, mostly in low- and middle-income countries.

South Asia has nine of the world’s 10 cities with the worst air and persistently dangerous pollution that causes about two million premature deaths a year, the World Bank said in a recent report. That pollution is partly a function of emissions from vehicles and heavy industry, but also from brick kilns, burning fields and other sources. People from poor households, who spend most of their lives outdoors and cannot afford air filters, tend to face the greatest risks.

In East Asia, years of chronic air pollution are one reason why wearing face masks was common well before the coronavirus pandemic. Schoolchildren are used to playing inside on bad weather days. In the Korean language, bad air has a specific term of fine dust and its levels are displayed in real time in places such as train stations, bus stops and elevators.

I know fine dust is a problem and I don’t think twice about it anymore, said Lee Hyung-ko, a college student in Seoul, the capital of South Korea. It’s not going away anytime soon, so we just have to live with it.

Air pollution can also weigh heavily on politics. In South Korea, would-be presidents have made reducing air pollution part of their electoral platforms. In China, the smog over Beijing and other cities has over the years been seen as a failure of leadership. And the smoke that occasionally wafts from forest and peat fires in Indonesia to other parts of Southeast Asia tends to infuriate neighboring governments.

Sometimes political pressure on bad air leads to tangible changes. Beginning in the late 1980s, when Mexico City came under international criticism for its bad air, the city and the neighboring state government took a variety of measures, such as limiting the number of days cars were allowed on the road each week and close an urban refinery. The reforms mostly worked: the city’s air improved markedly.

In other cases, urban air has improved because of something no one saw coming. In Bangkok, as in New Delhi and other cities, for example, the air in the city of 11 million people has improved markedly during the coronavirus pandemic, said Paiboon, the taxi driver, who has been driving a cab for 18 years.

Now it’s back to normal.

If you drive early in the morning on the highway, you can see that it’s all foggy, he said. It looks like fog, but it’s not. They are all dust particles.

#weeks #air #quality #United #States #glimpse #global #air #pollution

Smoke from wildfires in Canada worsens air quality in the northern United States

Smoke from wildfires in Canada worsens air quality in the northern United States

Hundreds of wildfires continued to burn across Canada on Tuesday, sending smoke to parts of the United States as air quality advisories were issued from Minnesota to Massachusetts.

In Ontario, a layer of haze blanketed parts of Ottawa and Toronto, where Canadian officials warned residents of poor air quality, as smoke billowed over parts of New York state and Vermont. All of New York City was on air quality alert Tuesday due to smoke; in the afternoon, the Manhattan skyline was obscured by hazy skies.

More than 400 active fires struck in Canada on Tuesday, according to the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Center, exacerbating an already active fire season that is only expected to get worse. More than 200 fires were burning out of control, the agency said.

In eastern Canada, Quebec was hardest hit by fires early Tuesday afternoon, with more than 150 active fires across the area, according to the fire agency. Residents in some areas have been encouraged to close doors and windows, local Quebec officials said.

Video and images showed some fires burning for miles, sending plumes of dark smoke rising into the sky.

In a news conference on Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was in contact with local officials across Canada about the fires.

This is a scary time for many people, Mr. Trudeau said.

As of Monday, some 26,000 people across Canada have been evacuated from their homes because of the fires, Canada’s public safety minister Bill Blair said at the press conference.

The images we’ve seen so far this season are some of the gravest we’ve seen in Canada yet, Blair said.

Many Canadians who have had to evacuate in recent days have had just hours to pack before fleeing their homes, Trudeau said.

When people lose their homes, they don’t just lose a roof and their possessions, Mr. Trudeau said. They lose a special place where they have seen their children grow up, where they have built a life. This is incredibly difficult and excruciating.

Smoke bands from the wildfires drifted south across the border on Tuesday, creating hazy skies and prompting the U.S. National Weather Service to issue air quality advisories for parts of the upper Great Lakes and Northeast.

Large swathes of Minnesota were placed on an air quality alert throughout Tuesday evening, the weather service said, as light winds drove smoke from Quebec wildfires across Minnesota. Smoke also moved into the state from Lake Superior.

Weather officials have warned that people most sensitive to poor air quality, such as people with lung and heart disease, children and the elderly, should limit certain outdoor activities.

Air quality alerts were also active in New York City and several counties in upstate New York until midnight. New York Mayor Eric Adams said Chirping that New Yorkers with heart or respiratory problems should limit their time outside to absolute necessities. Similar notices have been issued for parts of Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont.

Toronto and New York City briefly ranked among the top 10 major cities with the worst air quality on Tuesday, according to IQAir, a technology company that monitors air quality and pollution around the world. Historically, Toronto and New York City don’t rank in the top 3,000 cities with the worst air quality, according to IQAir.

Poor air quality is expected to continue through Wednesday for much of New York state and the New York City region, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

Satellite images of North America on Tuesday showed light brown smoke flowing south from the fires. The smoke appeared to be particularly thick over portions of Quebec, Ontario and New York. Foggy conditions could also reach as far south as the Carolinas.

In addition to poor air quality, smoke from fires could create a vivid, reddish sunset-like thing New Yorkers saw last month as smoke from the Canadian wildfires drifted south.

John Cristantello, a meteorologist with the New York Weather Service, said such sunsets and poor air quality could persist this summer if wildfires continue to burn in Canada.

Mr Blair, the public safety minister, said hundreds of troops were deployed across Canada to help with firefighting efforts. Other government agencies were standing by whether the fires damaged critical infrastructure, Blair said.

Mr. Trudeau said on Monday that forecasts indicate this could be a particularly bad bushfire season throughout the summer.

To date, more than 2,200 fires had already occurred in Canada this year, according to the country’s fire agency.


#Smoke #wildfires #Canada #worsens #air #quality #northern #United #States

China’s Space Program: Designed to Defeat the United States

China's Space Program: Designed to Defeat the United States

More significant than the spectacular space score is the question of which nation will achieve military dominance in the near-earth space domain. The ambitious nature of China’s space program indicates that Beijing’s primary goal is to dominate near-Earth space. Pictured: A Long March 5B rocket, carrying the core module of China’s Tianhe space station, lifts off from the Wenchang Space Launch Center in south China’s Hainan province April 29, 2021. (Photo by STR/AFP via Getty images)

The US-China “space race” is but one dimension of the ongoing Cold War between the two superpowers. Both countries’ national space programs are comprehensive in scope and cover the entire scientific spectrum. Both America and China focus on making space shows to influence the world as to which superpower will inherit the future. Each rival is trying to be the first to land a human on Mars.

However, far more important than spectacular space achievements is the question of which nation will achieve military dominance in the near-Earth space domain. China’s international media deceptively emphasize the peaceful, cooperative and scientific nature of its national space program. However, the ambitious nature of China’s space program means that Beijing’s primary goal is to dominate near-Earth space.

Communist Party of China (CPC) leaders are keenly aware of the advantages US space systems offer US troops in combat operations. US data collection and transmission satellites have proven invaluable to US units deployed in Iraq, Afghanistan, and special operations forces targeting terrorists around the world.

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has recognized the great value that US space intelligence gathering has had for Ukrainian forces fighting invading Russian troops.

In this sense, one of the strategic objectives of the PLA is to deploy the “Beidou” satellite network in space which is equivalent to the US “eyes and ears” in the sky. The PLA commander of China’s western military theater will be able to deploy Beidou satellites to monitor the deployment of Indian military forces along the long and tense Sino-Indian border. The Chinese claim large sections of this border as their sovereign territory, which China threatens to invade as the PLA did in 1962 and 2020-21.

The CPC’s Central Military Commission also uses its space systems to maintain tight control of China’s military assets. Party and PLA leaders in China’s eastern military theater could use space assets to order regional Chinese commanders to adopt more aggressive rules of engagement than normal, against the sovereign rights of several neighboring states, especially in waters and islands of the South and East China Seas.

The CCP apparently intends to deploy its space assets to win a war with the United States in the Western Pacific, where clashes between the two superpowers are more likely to occur. The Chinese PLA is openly preparing for war, particularly in areas where Beijing’s territorial and maritime claims are illegal and hegemonic. The aggressive nature of China’s space program is particularly evident in its anti-satellite projects. One of China’s anti-satellite programs involves a maneuverable satellite that can be placed within striking distance of US and allied satellites.

The proximity of these Chinese anti-satellite vehicles clearly reveals the mission to degrade and/or blind US systems’ intelligence collection and transmission. Another Chinese anti-satellite design features a grappling hook satellite, designed to capture US satellites as an immediate prelude to war. Beijing plans to win a war in space as part of its reported overall goal of replacing the United States as the dominant power on earth. One assessment estimates that as many as 84 percent of Chinese space launches are military in nature, indicating that the CCP may well be determined to emerge as the sole remaining superpower.

Some commentators point to China’s plan to catch up with and eventually surpass US space achievements. While the US space-related budget expenditures in 2022 of about $z dwarf China’s budget of about $12 billion, China’s space program gets more “value for money”. All space-oriented Chinese companies are totally controlled by the CCP. Space infrastructure is another yardstick for determining whether both superpowers are serious about being able to fight a war using the near-earth space dimension. The United States has seven spaceports and China has four. Yet both nations have detailed plans to expand existing infrastructure. The number of launches in 2021 is another clear sign that China is a determined and successful opponent. In 2021, the United States performed 51 launches from its spaceports, China 55.

Beijing is now building a model of a lunar research station in cooperation with Russia and Venezuela. China also plans to send a team of astronauts to the moon by 2030. To accomplish this lunar mission, China’s space agency needs to create bigger rockets, with greater thrust capacity. As a result, work continues on China’s creation of the Long March 9 rocket. Not surprisingly, China aims to achieve parity in space with the United States by 2030. Even the Pentagon speculates that China could exceed the US capability in space by 2045. space.

It will most likely also be in the dimension of space, as well as biological warfare, that humanity will receive a tip-off that a major armed conflict is about to break out between China and the United States. China currently not only has “killer satellites,” but reportedly:

“Beijing has also rapidly developed a number of space warfare capabilities, including several types of ground-launched anti-satellite missiles that can target satellites in different orbits; ground-based lasers that can blind or damage orbiting satellites; and small satellites capable of maneuvering and grabbing satellites in orbit.”

China will most likely attempt to disrupt US intelligence gathering, “eyes and ears to the roll,” ahead of combat operations on land. The United States, if an impending military confrontation seems inevitable, could be forced into “preemptive retaliation” by disabling Chinese intelligence gathering and data transmission space assets if possible.

“[I]If the US military doesn’t change course…,” Air Force Lieutenant General S. Clinton Hinote, deputy chief of staff for strategy, integration and requirements, said in 2021, “we will lose fast. In such a case, a US president would likely be presented with an almost fait accompli “a term” often used in contexts of US military strategy to describe a scenario in which a US adversary is able to defeat a US strategy before it can even be launched.”

It seems about time that the United States increases its defense budget instead of cutting it, prepares weapons in Taiwan for deterrence and takes seriously the recognition of the Communist Party of China, headed by President Xi Jinping, not as a “competitor”. but as an adversary, and moreover intractable.

Dr. Lawrence A. Franklin was the Iran desk officer for Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld. He has also served actively with the United States Army and as a Colonel in the Air Force Reserve.

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Toxic smoke from Canadian wildfires could impact the health of millions of people in the United States

Toxic smoke from Canadian wildfires could impact the health of millions of people in the United States

Wildfires in the United States and Canada, fueled by record heat and drought, could seriously impact the health of millions.

Smoke from wildfires in several Canadian provinces, including Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia, has led to air quality alerts in several Midwestern, Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern states. Also, the fires in Michigan and New Jersey they created thick fog and thick smoke.

Inhaling toxic smoke and ash from fires could cause damage to the body, including the lungs and heart, and even weaken our immune systems, experts said.

“The smoke from the fires itself is quite a complex mixture and is made up of fine particles and a number of other gases, which are toxic, mainly due to the fact that fires burn everything more toxic than house fires because everything has been burned,” said Dr. Kimberly Humphrey, a climate change and human health fellow at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health’s Center for Climate, Health and Global Environment, told ABC News.

The fine particulate matter known as PM2.5, which is 30 times smaller in diameter than a human hair, is of particular concern.

Because these particles are too small to be seen with the naked eye, they can easily enter the nose and throat and can travel as far as the lungs, with some of the smaller particles also circulating in the bloodstream, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

“The main culprit here is these fine particles,” Dr. Vijay Limaye, a climate and health scientist at the National Resources Defense Council, told ABC News. “That size is really important because it can penetrate really deep and wreak havoc on the body.”

PM2.5 can cause both short-term health effects, even for healthy people, including eye, nose and throat irritation; cough, sneeze; and shortness of breath and long-term effects such as worsening conditions such as asthma and heart disease.

This is of particular concern for vulnerable groups including children, pregnant women, the elderly and those who are immunocompromised or have pre-existing conditions.

“Lower socioeconomic neighborhoods are also at higher risk,” Humphrey said. “Often they don’t have the possibility for financial, predominantly, and even social reasons to get away from the smoke from fires, they may not be able to shelter inside, they may not be able to afford the equipment to protect their lungs from the Smoke.”

Not all PM2.5 particles are created equal. A California study in 2021 found that wildfires can be up to 10 times more harmful than the same type of air pollution from burning activity.

Exposure to smoke can cause lung inflammation and may make it more difficult to remove inhaled foreign materials and bacteria, potentially increasing your susceptibility to respiratory infections, including COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Depending on the duration and amount of exposure, prolonged lung inflammation could cause lung function impairment that lasts long after the fire has ended.

Additionally, studies have shown a link between poor air quality, caused by these fires, and cardiovascular disease, including strokes, heart attacks, heart failure and atrial fibrillation.

Due to climate change, not only will there be more record-breaking fires, but also more people at risk of inhaling toxic smoke, experts said.

“It is clear that the climate change problem is essentially creating conditions that make the fire problem and the smoke problem worse,” Limaye said. “So, we’re talking about hotter days, longer bushfires, seasons, drier conditions, spring snowmelt that, essentially, bring more bushfire fuel into play sooner — all these types of factors converging.”

He added: “And I think it’s reasonable to expect smoke from wildfires to grow as a public health concern over the next few years.”

Humphrey recommends people be aware of local air quality and, if it reaches unhealthy levels, wear a mask, ideally an N95.


#Toxic #smoke #Canadian #wildfires #impact #health #millions #people #United #States

Shortages of cancer drugs in the United States are forcing doctors to ration life-saving treatments

Shortages of cancer drugs in the United States are forcing doctors to ration life-saving treatments

A critical shortage of cancer therapies is forcing thousands of patients to lose life-saving treatments, several major health organizations have warned.

There are 14 cancer drugs listed in shortage by US regulators, including the generic chemotherapy drugs cisplatin and carboplatin, which are first-line treatments for many common types of cancer.

Julie Gralow, chief medical officer at the American Society of Clinical Oncology, said hospitals were already rationing some drugs and doctors were being forced to make difficult decisions about delaying chemotherapy treatment or using replacement medicines, which may not be equally effective.

The concern there, of course, from patients and their doctors is: are we sure of that [substitute drug] is it equally effective? Are we potentially reducing the chances of a cure in any way? I don’t think we have solid data on this, but this is a serious concern.

Gralow said the crisis was particularly acute due to the widespread use of chemotherapy drugs. Between 100,000 and 500,000 patients could be affected by cisplatin and carboplatin shortages, highlighting the urgent need for policymakers to strengthen supply chains, she said.

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Drug shortages are nothing new. But experts warn that growing reliance on offshore production, rising demand, market consolidation and price pressures have made the United States particularly vulnerable.

There were 301 drugs in all therapy areas listed as deficient at the end of March, which is the most in nearly a decade, according to the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists.

The Society of Gynecologic Oncology, which is conducting a survey to determine the extent of the crisis, said initial findings found shortages of key cancer drugs in 40 US states.

This is a public health crisis. We’ve never seen a shortage like this, said Angeles Alvarez Secord, the company’s president.

Some newly developed cancer treatments, such as Novartis’ Pluvicto prostate cancer therapy, are lacking. The company stopped taking on new patients in February following quality control issues reported by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration at two manufacturing sites.

But supply chain experts say generics, which require complex manufacturing processes and yet tend to be sold at very low prices, are the most vulnerable to shortages. They make up 90 percent of all drugs sold in the United States but only 18 percent of all drug costs, according to a March report by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

We need to rethink the whole generic drug market, which is where most of the shortages are, said Laura Bray, founder of Angels for Change, a non-profit group advocating action to end drug shortages .

He said the generics industry has become a race to the bottom on price which has made quality control more difficult, particularly for complex drugs such as chemotherapy drugs. When only a handful of companies supply a medicine, a single event can cause the kind of perfect storm event, which is happening with chemotherapy drugs, Bray said.

View of the buildings of Intas Pharmaceuticals in the village of Matoda

Intas Pharmaceuticals in India ceased production of two critical generic chemotherapy drugs destined for the US in March after US regulators found problems at its quality control unit AFP

Most generic companies rely on active pharmaceutical ingredients produced in low-cost countries, mainly China and India, to make drugs.

The cisplatin shortage is linked to quality control issues at a factory in India operated by Intas Pharmaceuticals, which supplies about half of the entire US supply of the chemotherapy drug. The company ceased production of cisplatin and carboplatin destined for the United States following an inspection by the FDA in December that described a cascade of failures in its quality control unit.

Intas and its U.S. subsidiary Accord Healthcare said they are working with the FDA on a plan to return to production.

The oncologists say they have found it more difficult to obtain supplies of both chemotherapy drugs soon after production of Intas has been halted.

Patients with newly diagnosed ovarian cancer had to switch medications in late April and May because we didn’t have the kind of first-line drugs available, said Jennifer Rubatt, an oncology specialist in Denver, Colorado.

He said patients reported more serious side effects when they used the replacement drugs, rather than the platinum-based chemotherapy drugs cisplatin and carboplatin.

A cancer patient living in Sacramento, California, told the Financial Times he was taken off cisplatinum in April because his condition was not deemed curable by his doctor, Kaiser Permanente.

Cisplatin is now under protocol reserved for curable cancers. And because mine isn’t curable, it’s not something I qualify for at the moment, said Michael Griffith, a 51-year-old father of three.

Michael Griffith

Michael Griffith said his cancerous tumors have grown since he was taken off a key chemotherapy drug Michael Griffith

He said when he was previously taking cisplatin, his oncologist told him the cancerous tumors in his liver’s bile ducts seemed blocked. But a recent CT scan suggested his tumor had grown slightly since he was taken off the chemotherapy drug, Griffith said.

Griffith’s healthcare worker, Kaiser Permanente, said he could not comment on individual cases, but acknowledged that whenever there is a national shortage of a drug, affected patients can feel anxious.

Our doctors and pharmacists are working with their patients to ensure their treatment plan is as effective as possible and to identify alternative treatments when needed, he added.

The scale of the cancer drug shortage is prompting authorities to consider short-term solutions. The FDA is considering allowing the import of chemotherapy drugs from foreign manufacturers that are not currently approved for distribution in the United States on a temporary basis.

But health experts and the generics industry say key reforms are needed to encourage manufacturers to stay in the market to strengthen supply chains. The April closure of a major US generics company Akorn Pharmaceuticals and Teva Pharmaceuticals’ decision last month to cut its generics portfolio highlight the extreme pressure the industry is under, they said.

A consistent thread here is price and vulnerability. Typically what you see are market forces driving prices down, which is great for patients and everyone involved except manufacturers, said Craig Burton, senior vice president of policies and alliances at the Association for Accessible Medicines.

When only one or two manufacturers remained on the market for a drug, then if something happened there was a greater risk of shortages, he said.

A Senate hearing on the drug shortage crisis in March raised the prospect of providing tax incentives to encourage investment in more US-based manufacturing or mandate stockpiling of essential medicines.

Burton said consolidation in the drug procurement market has allowed wholesale buyers to squeeze manufacturers on price in both the retail and hospital markets.

Big three buying groups Red Oak Sourcing, Walgreens Boots Alliance Development and ClarusOne, which includes Walmart and McKesson, control about 90% of the retail prescription market. The market for the supply of generic medicines to hospitals is similarly concentrated.

For cancer patients like Griffith, who fear their lives could be shortened because they can’t access standard chemotherapy drugs, change can’t come soon enough.

This weighs on my mind every day. I just don’t know why the country, a corporation or the FDA wouldn’t have stepped in for the greater good? Griffith said.

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