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    UCLA Expert: Calif. Economy to Worsen

    Due to mortgage foreclosures and a waning housing market, California’s economy is expected to slow down this year, according to economists at UCLA.

    UCLA Expert: Calif. Economy to Worsen

    Due to mortgage foreclosures and a waning housing market, California’s economy is expected to slow down this year, according to economists at UCLA.

    Experts predict real gross domestic product growth to be 2.1 percent, 1.7 percent and 2.5 percent in the first, second and third quarters, respectively, for the next fiscal year.

    A rise in mortgage defaults and an “”implosion”” of the subprime mortgage market will cause stagnation in the state’s housing market, according to a forecast presented by UCLA economist Ryan Ratcliff.

    “”We are still forecasting a significant slowing of the California economy in 2007, as the double whammy from construction and mortgage finance creates drag on the rest of the economy,”” Ratcliff said.

    Mortgage defaults were highest in Bakersfield, Ventura and Riverside counties and in the East Bay and Sacramento areas because of their attractiveness to first-time homebuyers, who are moving into cheaper places.

    Economists say that builders in these areas are under pressure to move inventory quickly, and therefore are relaxing lending standards in order to close a deal.

    Approximately 2,700 construction jobs were lost in 2006, and trends are expected to continue this year.

    The national economy is in a converse trend to 2000 – when the corporate sector was overextended after the dot-com industry surge, and housing and consumer credit was healthy. Now, while the corporate sector is thriving, housing credit is in danger.

    UC Davis Joins Bird Flu Research Alliance

    UC Davis recently became the newest partner in an $18.5 million national research project that will study strains of potentially pandemic influenza viruses, such as avian influenza H5N1, commonly known as the “”bird flu.””

    The university’s Center for Rapid Influenza Surveillance and Research is one of six research centers announced by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

    The center is an expansion of the federal government’s early detection program for influenza, and aims to reduce the effects of “”seasonal”” influenza and help prevent a deadly influenza outbreak.

    The research center at UC Davis will focus primarily on coordinating the collection and testing of thousands of wildlife samples from both sides of the Pacific Ocean.

    Specifically, samples will be taken from Alaska, Far East Russia and Japan. CRISAR will also be in collaboration with the Wildlife Conservation Society, which will take samples in Cambodia, Laos and Mongolia.

    Apart from being one of the world’s top veterinary schools, UC Davis is a leader in zoonoses, the study of diseases transferred from animals to people.

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