The Syrian civil war officially began with demonstrations as part of the Arab Spring protest movement in March 2011. Forces opposed to the government, such as the Free Syrian Army, have been seeking to oust the Ba’ath Government and defend the violence against opposition protesters. According to the United Nations, more than 100,000 people have died in this conflict.
Learning of China’s recent cases of ‘bird flu H7N9’ immediately triggers chilling memories of the SARS outbreak of 2002-2003. Originating in southern China, SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) infected over 8000 people internationally with an estimated fatality rate of 9.6%. Economically, the outbreak had wide-reaching effects, ranging from an understandable plummet in tourism to the near-desertion of cities’ transport systems, restaurants and stores (pharmacies excepted). With the death toll of H7N9 reaching the twenties at the time of this article’s publication, there are renewed fears of another SARS-type outbreak in China’s densely populated cities.