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U.N. warns of bird flu resurgence, new Asian strain ROME — (AP) — The United Nations warned Monday of a possible resurgence of the deadly bird flu virus, saying wild bird migrations had brought it back to previously virus-free countries and that a mutant strain was spreading in Asia. A mutant strain of H5N1, which can apparently sidestep defenses of existing vaccines, is spreading in China and Vietnam, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization said in a statement Monday. It urged greater surveillance to ensure that any outbreaks are contained. Last week, the World Health Organization reported that a 6-yearold Cambodian girl had died Aug. 14 from bird flu, the eighth person to die from H5N1 avian influenza this year in Cambodia. Vietnam suspended its springtime poultry vaccination this year, FAO said. Most of the northern and central parts of the country where the virus is endemic have been invaded by the new strain. Elsewhere, FAO says bird migrations over the past two years have brought H5N1 to countries that had been virus-free for several years, including Israel, the Palestinian territories, Bulgaria, Romania, Nepal and Mongolia. “Wild birds may introduce the virus, but people’s actions in poultry production and marketing spread it,” said FAO’s chief veterinary office Juan Lubroth in urging greater preparedness and surveillance. WHO says globally there have been 331 human deaths from 565 confirmed bird flu cases since 2003 when it was first detected. The virus was eliminated from most of the 63 countries infected at its peak in 2006, but it remained endemic in six countries: Bangladesh, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia and Vietnam. The number of outbreaks in poultry and wild bird populations shrank from a high of 4000 to 302 in mid-2008, but outbreaks have risen progressively since, with almost 800 cases reported in 2010-2011, FAO said.


Associated Press


New York Times Service

TRIPOLI, Libya — It was perhaps only fitting that Moammar Gadhafi would be as unpredictable on the lam as he was in power for 42 eccentric years. In Green Square, now renamed Martyrs’ Square, youths cleaning the asphalt predicted he was under their feet. In Bab al-Aziziya, once Gadhafi’s bastion of power here, residents carting away his possessions suggested neighboring Algeria, his hometown of Sirte or some faraway locale in the desert, an environment in which Gadhafi long claimed to feel most at home. Fighters firing volley after celebratory volley just shrugged. “It’s the biggest question — where is Gadhafi — and nobody knows,” said Suleiman Abu Milyana, a fighter from the Nafusah Mountains in the west. “He has a particular mind and many personalities. If he had one, you could guess, but he has three or four, so no one can know.” As his capital fell last week, Gadhafi and his family evaporated (though two of his sons may, or may not, have been briefly held). Even the adopted daughter he claimed was killed in a U.S. airstrike in 1986 — wrongly, it now seems — disappeared from the city of 2 million, leaving behind her empty office at a Tripoli hospital. Since then, he has released a few brief audio messages, with vintage insults four decades in the making. In one, he called on countrymen to cleanse his capital of rats, traitors and infidels. “Let the masses crawl from every place toward Tripoli,” he declared

Washington Post Service

In 2008, a secret State Department cable warned of a growing chemical weapons threat from a Middle Eastern country whose autocratic leader had a long history of stirring up trouble in the region. The leader, noted for his “support for terrorist organizations,” was attempting to buy technology from other countries to upgrade an already fearsome stockpile of deadly poisons, the department warned. The Middle Eastern state with the dangerous chemicals was not Libya, whose modest stockpile was thrust into the spotlight last week because of fighting there. It was Syria, another violence-torn Arab state whose advanced weapons are drawing new concern as the country drifts toward an uncertain future. A sudden collapse of the government of Syria’s President Bashar al Assad could mean a breakdown in controls over the country’s weapons, U.S. officials and weapons experts said in interviews. But while Libya’s chemical arsenal consists of unwieldy canisters filled mostly with mustard gas, the World War Iera blistering agent, Syria possesses some of the deadliest chemicals ever to be weaponized, dispersed in thousands of artillery shells and warheads that are easy to transport. Syria’s preferred poison is not mustard gas but sarin, the nerve agent that killed 13 people and sickened about 1,000 during a terrorist attack on the Tokyo subway system in 1995. Sarin, which is lethal if inhaled even in minute quantities, can also be used to contaminate water and food supplies. Although many analysts doubt that Assad would deliberately share chemical bombs with terrorists, it is not inconceivable that weapons could vanish amid the chaos of an


Moammar Gadhafi holds an infant in this undated photo from a collection taken from his home in Tripoli.

pad,” said Christiansen, chief executive of Ferretti’s Brazil group. “He starts working out a contract on it and we’ve agreed to it before I’ve asked for a sandwich.” Brazil has always had its select group of superrich with extravagant tastes. But booming commodity prices fueled by Chinese demand, along with some of the world’s biggest offshore oil discoveries, have created an expanding, new class of wealthy Brazilians. They, in turn, are boosting the international yacht market even as it plummets in the United States and Europe. The number of millionaire households in South America’s


Ferretti Brazil's chief executive Marcio Christiansen at the company’s show room in Sao Paulo.

Turmoil in Syria raises fears on chemical arsenal BY JOBY WARRICK

• TURN TO GADHAFI, 2A n Scotland checks on Lockerbie bomber, 6A

SAO PAULO — Marcio Christiansen reeled off tales of the growing ranks of rich Brazilians who visit his luxury Ferretti yacht showroom, where clients sip espressos on an oversized sable sofa and electronic music bubbles in the air. One man paid $2 million for a ship, Christiansen said, after succumbing within 30 minutes to his kids’ pleas of “Buy it, daddy, buy it!” Another toured the sparkling 53-foot yacht on the showroom floor, then asked to discuss it over lunch. “The waiter comes over to take our order and the client asks to borrow a piece of paper from his • TURN TO YACHTS, 2A

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Brazilian yacht market witnessing high tide BY BRADLEY BROOKS



Video games played havoc with man’s real life BY TAMARA LUSH

Associated Press

SARASOTA, Fla. — At the height of what he calls his addiction, Ryan Van Cleave would stand in the grocery store checkout line with his milk and bread and baby food for his little girls and for a split second think he was living inside a video game. It sounds crazy, but it’s true: Something would catch his attention out of the corner of his eye — maybe another shopper would make a sudden move for a Hershey bar — and he was mentally and emotionally transported to another world. World of Warcraft, to be exact. It was his favorite video game, the one he played every night, every day, sometimes all weekend. The sudden movement in the store triggered a response similar to when he was in front of the computer screen, battling dragons and monsters for up to 60 hours a week. Van Cleave’s heart pounded. His breathing quickened. But then the thirty-something family man would catch his breath and come back to reality. Sort of. World of Warcraft began to crowd out everything in Van Cleave’s world. His wife. His children. His job as a university English professor. Before teaching class or late at night while his family slept, he’d squeeze in time at the computer



Ryan Van Cleave holds a copy of his book Unplugged at his home in Sarasota, Fla. screen, playing. He’d often eat meals at the computer — microwave burritos, energy drinks, Hot Pockets, foods that required only one hand, leaving the other free to work the keyboard and the mouse. Living inside World of Warcraft seemed preferable to the drudgery of everyday life. Especially when the life involved fighting with his wife about how much time he spent on the computer. “Playing World of Warcraft makes me feel godlike,” Van Cleave wrote. “I have ultimate control


and can do what I want with few real repercussions. The real world makes me feel impotent . . . a computer malfunction, a sobbing child, a suddenly dead cellphone battery — the littlest hitch in daily living feels profoundly disempowering.” Despite thoughts like this, despite the dissociative episodes in supermarkets, he did not think he had a problem IRL — gamerspeak for In Real Life. But he did, and a reckoning was coming. • TURN TO ADDICTION, 5A


INDEX THE AMERICAS ...........4A U.S. NEWS ....................5A OPINION ........................7A COMICS & PUZZLES ...6B

8/30/2011 4:44:40 AM


Edition, 30 august 2011