Warren Buffett on hand as Navy commissions newest warship

In this Oct. 3, 2017, file photo, investor Warren Buffett gestures on stage at a national conference sponsored by the Purpose Built Communities group that Buffett supports, in Omaha, Neb. (AP)
Updated 04 February 2018

Warren Buffett on hand as Navy commissions newest warship

SAN DIEGO: The US Navy on Saturday commissioned its newest warship, the USS Omaha, a futuristic, $440 million vessel named for the Nebraska hometown of billionaire Warren Buffett, who was on hand for the ceremony.
The Omaha, a 218-foot-long littoral combat ship, was commissioned at its new home port in San Diego.
Buffett’s daughter, Susie Buffett, who was designated as the ship’s sponsor, gave the traditional order for officers and crew: “Man our ship and bring her to life.”
“Aye, aye, ma’am,” they replied and ran to the ship as a band struck up “Anchors Aweigh.”
The aluminum-clad Omaha is designed for missions close to shore. It has high-tech computer capabilities and can be reconfigured for various missions, including anti-submarine warfare and anti-mine operations.
“She is a beautiful ship,” said Cmdr. Michael Toth, the commanding officer. “To be at her helm is more akin to flying an aircraft with a pilot and a co-pilot than to conning a traditional warship.”
Other dignitaries at the ceremony included Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert and former Nebraska Gov. and US Sen. Bob Kerrey, a Navy veteran and Medal of Honor winner.
“I am proud to share our name, our heritage and our community values with USS Omaha and its commander, and we wish you safety on your missions,” Stothert said.
Ricketts, whose state is landlocked, issued what he said was a unique honor in designating the entire crew collectively as “an admiral in the great Navy of the state of Nebraska.”
The ship is the fourth to carry the Omaha name since 1869. The last vessel was an attack submarine that was decommissioned in 1995.
“She represents the strength and the fortitude of her city and her state,” US Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer said at the ceremony. “This ship is ready to deliver the fight tonight.”


China asks recovered patients to donate plasma for virus treatment

Updated 48 min 5 sec ago

China asks recovered patients to donate plasma for virus treatment

  • Drugmakers are racing to develop a vaccine and treatment for the epidemic

BEJING: Chinese health officials Monday urged patients who have recovered from the coronavirus to donate blood so that plasma can be extracted to treat others who are critically ill.
Drugmakers are racing to develop a vaccine and treatment for the epidemic, which has which killed 1,770 people and infected over 70,500 people across China.
Plasma from patients who have recovered from a spell of pneumonia triggered by COVID-19 contains antibodies that can help reduce the virus load in critically ill patients, an official from China’s National Health Commission told a press briefing Monday.
“I would like to make a call to all cured patients to donate their plasma so that they can bring hope to critically ill patients,” said Guo Yanhong, who heads the NHC’s medical administration department.
Eleven patients at a hospital in Wuhan — the epicenter of the disease — received plasma infusions last week, said Sun Yanrong, of the Biological Center at the Ministry of Science and Technology.
“One patient (among them) has already been discharged, one is able to get off the bed and walk and the others are all recovering,” she said.
The call comes days after China’s state-owned medical products maker reported successful results from its trial at Wuhan First People’s Hospital.
China National Biotec Group Co. said in a post on its official WeChat account that severely ill patients receiving plasma infusions “improved within 24 hours.”
“Clinical studies have shown that infusing plasma (from recovered patients) is safe and effective,” Sun said.
Blood doners will undergo a test to ensure that they are not carrying the virus, said Wang Guiqiang, chief physician at Peking University First Hospital.
“Only plasma is taken, not all the blood,” he said.
“Other components of the blood including red blood cells and platelets will be infused back into the donors.”