WHO maintains 2 billon estimate for likely H1N1 cases

* Rough estimate of likely H1N1 cases by end is 2 billion

* No precise estimate of current infections

* High proportion of southern hemisphere flu cases are H1N1

* WHO to update on vaccine efforts this week

* WHO names African expert as H1N1 chief

By Jonathan Lynn

GENEVA, Aug 4 (Reuters) - The World Health Organization stuck on Tuesday to its statement that about two billion people could catch H1N1 influenza by the time the flu pandemic ends.

But the estimate comes with a big health warning: no one knows how many people so far have caught the new strain, known as swine flu, and the final number will never be known as many cases are so mild they may go unnoticed.

"By the end of a pandemic, anywhere between 15-45 percent of a population will have been infected by the new pandemic virus," WHO spokeswoman Aphaluck Bhatiasevi said in a statement.

"Thirty percent is a midpoint estimate and 30 percent of the world's population is 2 billion."

But she added: "We must remember however, that attempts to estimate infection rates can only be very rough."

Early in the outbreak, which was first detected in April, Dr Keiji Fukuda, acting Assistant Director-General of the U.N. agency, fuelled accusations the WHO was creating panic about the disease when he used the two billion figure.

But the WHO, which raised its global flu alert to the highest level on June 11, declaring a worldwide pandemic, has since said the strain is already spreading much faster than previous flu pandemics.

At the same time, because most victims suffer only mild symptoms, it has told countries they no longer need to try to report each case, but concentrate on monitoring suspicious concentrations of the disease and tracking deaths.

AUTUMN RISK

Bhatiasevi earlier told a briefing the WHO was coordinating a network of independent institutions trying to project the total number of cases. Because no one currently has such an estimate, it is not possible to state the H1N1 mortality rate.

The WHO's latest update on July 27 said a total of 816 people had died from H1N1, while the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases, including deaths, was 134,503 -- a figure well below the likely real total of infections which may already be in the millions, according to health experts.

As the northern hemisphere autumn approaches, and with it the onset of seasonal flu, the WHO is working with drug companies to ensure vaccines to cope both with H1N1 and seasonal flu will be available.

WHO spokeswoman Fadela Chaib said the agency hoped to give an update on its vaccine plans later this week. Leading flu vaccine makers include Sanofi-Aventis, Novartis, Baxter, GlaxoSmithKline and Solvay.

H1N1 rapidly became the most commonly isolated virus in flu cases in South America and Australia after seasonal flu started there, Bhatiasevi said. But that may be a distorted picture, because specimens for testing were often associated with events such as school closures or screening of travellers where H1N1 was suspected anyway.

In South Africa, where H1N1 arrived later, many cases of the seasonal flu virus H3N2 were reported, but as the flu season wanes and H3N2 cases decrease, H1N1 has begun to make up a much higher proportion of flu cases there.

The WHO has appointed Dr Mohamed Hacen as project manager for H1N1 in Dr Fukuda's influenza team, Bhatiasevi said.

A Mauritanian, Dr Hacen has served as WHO representative in several African countries and has extensive experience in the field and in communicable diseases.

Copyright 2009 Reuters. click for restrictions

On the "Glenn Beck Radio Program" Monday, Harvard Law professor and lawyer on President Donald Trump's impeachment defense team Alan Dershowitz explains the history of impeachment and its process, why the framers did not include abuse of power as criteria for a Constitutional impeachment, why the Democrats are framing their case the way they are, and what to look for in the upcoming Senate trial.

Dershowitz argued that "abuse of power" -- one of two articles of impeachment against Trump approved by House Democrats last month -- is not an impeachable act.

"There are two articles of impeachment. The second is 'obstruction of Congress.' That's just a false accusation," said Dershowitz. "But they also charge him, in the Ukraine matter, with abuse of power. But abuse of power was discussed by the framers (of the U.S. Constitution) ... the framers refused to include abuse of power because it was too broad, too open-ended.

"In the words of James Madison, the father of our Constitution, it would lead presidents to serve at the will of Congress. And that's exactly what the framers didn't want, which is why they were very specific and said a president can be impeached only for treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors," he added.

"What's alleged against President Trump is not criminal," added Dershowitz. "If they had criminal issues to allege, you can be sure they would have done it. If they could establish bribery or treason, they would have done it already. But they didn't do it. They instead used this concept of abuse of power, which is so broad and general ... any president could be charged with it."

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On Friday's radio program, Bill O'Reilly joins Glenn Beck discuss the possible outcomes for the Democrats in 2020.

Why are former President Barack and First Lady Michelle Obama working overtime to convince Americans they're more moderate than most of the far-left Democratic presidential candidates? Is there a chance of a Michelle Obama vs. Donald Trump race this fall?

O'Reilly surmised that a post-primary nomination would probably be more of a "Bloomberg play." He said Michael Bloomberg might actually stand a chance at the Democratic nomination if there is a brokered convention, as many Democratic leaders are fearfully anticipating.

"Bloomberg knows he doesn't really have a chance to get enough delegates to win," O'Reilly said. "He's doing two things: If there's a brokered convention, there he is. And even if there is a nominee, it will probably be Biden, and Biden will give [him] Secretary of State or Secretary of Treasury. That's what Bloomberg wants."

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On the "Glenn Beck Radio Program" Friday, award-winning investigative reporter John Solomon, a central figure in the impeachment proceedings, explained his newly filed lawsuit, which seeks the records of contact between Ukraine prosecutors and the U.S. Embassy officials in Kiev during the 2016 election.

The records would provide valuable information on what really happened in Ukraine, including what then-Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter were doing with Ukrainian energy company, Burisma Holdings, Solomon explained.

The documents, which the State Department has withheld thus far despite repeated requests for release by Solomon, would likely shed light on the alleged corruption that President Donald Trump requested to be investigated during his phone call with the president of Ukraine last year.

With the help of Southeastern Legal Foundation, Solomon's lawsuit seeks to compel the State Department to release the critical records. Once released, the records are expected to reveal, once and for all, exactly why President Trump wanted to investigate the dealings in Ukraine, and finally expose the side of the story that Democrats are trying to hide in their push for impeachment.

"It's been a one-sided story so far, just like the beginning of the Russia collusion story, right? Everybody was certain on Jan. 9 of 2017 that the Christopher Steele dossier was gospel. And our president was an agent of Russia. Three years later, we learned that all of that turned out to be bunk, " Solomon said.

"The most important thing about politics, and about investigations, is that there are two sides to a story. There are two pieces of evidence. And right now, we've only seen one side of it," he continued. "I think we'll learn a lot about what the intelligence community, what the economic and Treasury Department community was telling the president. And I bet the story was way more complicated than the narrative that [House Intelligence Committee Chairman] Adam Schiff [D-Calif.] has woven so far."

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Carter Page, a former advisor to Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, found himself at the center of the Russia probe and had his reputation and career destroyed by what we now know were lies from our own intelligence system and the media.

On the TV show Thursday, Page joined Glenn Beck to speak out about how he became the subject of illegal electronic surveillance by the FBI for more than two years, and revealed the extent of the corruption that has infiltrated our legal systems and our country as a whole.

"To me, the bigger issue is how much damage this has done to our country," Page told Glenn. "I've been very patient in trying to ... find help with finding solutions and correcting this terrible thing which has happened to our country, our judicial system, DOJ, FBI -- these once-great institutions. And my bigger concern is the fact that, although we keep taking these steps forward in terms of these important findings, it really remains the tip of the iceberg."

Page was referencing the report by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, which revealed that the FBI made "at least 17 significant errors or omissions" in its Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) applications for warrants to spy on Page, a U.S. citizen.

"I think this needs to be attacked from all angles," Glenn said. "The one angle I'm interested in from you is, please tell me you have the biggest badass attorneys that are hungry, starving, maybe are a little low to pay their Mercedes payments right now, and are just gearing up to come after the government and the media. Are they?"

I can confirm that that is the case," Page replied.

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