Thursday, November 15, 2018
Blog Page 8083

Did Brazil, global health agencies fumble Zika response?

Rio de Janeiro Last January, long lines formed outside health clinics in Recife, a city in Brazil’s northeast hit hard in recent years by outbreaks of dengue, a painful tropical disease.

Doctors were on guard because federal health officials and the World Health Organization (WHO) had warned 2015 would be a bad year for dengue and possibly another viral disease, chikungunya, both spread by the same type of mosquito.

But the symptoms of the hundreds of people seeking treatment did not fit dengue. Instead of high fevers and intense muscular aches that dengue is known to cause, patients were running only slight temperatures and complaining of joint pain. Many had rashes sooner than with dengue and chikungunya.

“We knew this was something else,” says Carlos Brito, a doctor from Recife who told state and federal health authorities in January-February last year that they were wrong to classify all the cases as dengue. “But the authorities were slow to believe,” he said.

Kleber Luz, a physician in Natal, a city 300 km up the Atlantic coast, says he gave similar feedback but got the same response. The two – who were part of a group of doctors discussing the odd symptoms in text messages – grew frustrated with

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US Navy sends ship near disputed island in South China Sea

“This operation was about challenging excessive maritime claims that restrict the rights and freedoms of the United States and others, not about territorial claims to land features,” Urban said. “The United States takes no position on competing sovereignty claims between the parties to naturally formed land features in the South China Sea. The United States does take a strong position on protecting the rights, freedoms, and lawful uses of the sea and airspace guaranteed to all countries, and that all maritime claims must comply with international law.”

The U.S. conducted a similar operation in October. China said it warned that warship, the USS Lassen, as it came close to reefs claimed by China in contested waters.

Cui Tiankai, the Chinese ambassador to the United States, told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that the operation was “a very serious provocation, politically and militarily.”

Much of the South China sea is subject to a series of territorial disputes between Asian nations.

And near the Spratly Islands, which Beijing calls the Nansha islands, China has built an artificial island with air strips that analysts believe will be able to accommodate bombers.

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1 Escaped Inmate Caught, 2 Sought in Northern California

The first major break in the hunt for three dangerous jail inmates came exactly a week after their escape, when one of them walked up to a Southern California auto shop where a friend works, had her call police and stood and smoked a cigarette until he was arrested.

He then told investigators that a day earlier he had been in Northern California with the other two inmates before breaking off to turn himself in, setting off a statewide search, authorities said.

Bac Duong, 43, is in custody and cooperating with authorities, Orange County sheriff’s spokesman Jeff Hallock said Friday. His two former companions, 20-year-old Jonathan Tieu and 37-year-old Hossein Nayeri, are believed to be in San Jose and driving a van that the men stole a day after their escape. They may be on their way to Fresno, Hallock said.

“If they are watching, we want them to understand that we are pressing forward, and we are coming after them,” Hallock said at a news conference, addressing the escapees directly for the first time. “We will take you back into custody.”

Duong was taken into custody in Santa Ana, where the trio made their brazen escape on Jan. 22 from the maximum security facility, authorities said.

It’s not clear how he got back to Southern California from San Jose, but early Friday

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State Department Declares 22 Clinton Emails ‘Top Secret’

The Obama administration has confirmed for the first time that Hillary Clinton’s home server contained closely guarded government secrets, censoring 22 emails that contained material requiring one of the highest levels of classification. The revelation came three days before Clinton competes in the Iowa presidential caucuses.

State Department officials also said the agency’s Diplomatic Security and Intelligence and Research bureaus are investigating if any of the information was classified at the time of transmission, going to the heart of Clinton’s defense of her email practices.

The department published its latest batch of emails from her time as secretary of state Friday evening.

But The Associated Press learned ahead of the release that seven email chains would be withheld in full for containing “top secret” information. The 37 pages include messages a key intelligence official recently said concerned “special access programs” —highly restricted, classified material that could point to confidential sources or clandestine programs like drone strikes.

“The documents are being upgraded at the request of the intelligence community because they contain a category of top secret information,” State Department spokesman John Kirby told the AP, calling the withholding of documents in full “not unusual.” That means they won’t be published online with others being released, even with blacked-out boxes.

Department officials wouldn’t describe the substance of the emails, or say if

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5 Battered Tech Stocks to Buy Now

As badly as January treated the broad market, it was particularly ugly for technology stocks. The tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 fell 6.8% in January versus a 5.1% drop for the Standard Poor’s 500 index.

Brendan Connaughton, the chief investment officer for ClearPath Capital Partners in San Francisco, says technology names were probably pricey heading into the year, justifying part of the selloff. But, he adds, the market “blew right…

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Noticeable changes in Yellowstone’s winter travel

OLD FAITHFUL, Wyo. (AP) – The contrast is stark, and not just because of the bright white snow that blankets the steaming, otherworldly landscape.

“Welcome to Old Faithful,” snow coach driver Ryan Edmiston said into his amplified headset to his eight passengers. “It’s a lot different. It’s a lot quieter.”

This winter is the second season under Yellowstone National Park’s new plan that has limited snow coach and snowmobile traffic, although the changes were phased in over several years. The results are noticeable to many.

“We used to come to Old Faithful and the snow was brownish-black because of the concentration of snowmobiles in the parking area,” said Tara Ross, the West District ranger who spent eight winters at the more remote Grant Village inside Yellowstone.

Now, even Old Faithful’s snow is white.

Winter decline

Part of the reason for the change is that there are fewer people in the park. From the heydays of snowmobile and snow coach travel in 2002, winter recreation visits to Yellowstone National Park have dropped more than 36 percent, or about 53,000 people, in the last 12 years.

According to National Park Service records, winter recreational visitation to Yellowstone peaked in 2002 at 144,490 people. Out of those winter tourists, 87,206 rode snowmobiles and 11,832 used snow coaches.

Another 45,150 entered the park’s North Entrance at Gardiner by automobile to travel to

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Travel money: tips for teenagers planning a trip abroad this year

Like hundreds of school leavers, my 17-year-old daughter and a group of friends are planning an Interrail trip visiting various European countries during their post-A-level summer holidays.

They are a pretty sensible bunch, competent enough to make their own travel arrangements, plot their route and book hostels for stops in Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague, Croatia and Budapest. But when it comes to travel money and how they are going to exchange their hard-saved sterling and access the four currencies they will need en route (euro, Czech koruna, Croatian kuna and Hungarian forint), not to mention keeping their cash and plastic cards safe, they are not quite so savvy. The parents’ nightmare vision of their child stranded abroad with no money when their cash and/or cards get lost or stolen looms large.

However, it’s also about making sure they – not to mention mum and dad – don’t get a nasty shock when they return to their statements. There are huge variations between banks when it comes to the fees for using a debit card abroad. So what’s the best advice to give them, and is there anything parents can specifically do to protect their interests?

The basics

Travel money wisdom suggests people take a small amount of relevant currency for at least their first stop – enough to see them through their first day or

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Palm Springs popular travel spot for gay men, with lesbians, not so much

What’s abundantly obvious is Palm Springs is a popular destination for gay male tourists. What’s maybe less well known is the region is not so sought out by lesbians.

In fact, Palm Springs tied with New Orleans and Miami for the No. 15 spot for top gay male travel destinations in the United States and Canada, ranking ahead of Denver, Portland, Oregon and Toronto, according to a November 2015 survey conducted by Community Marketing Insights, a gay and lesbian marketing research firm.

The survey polled 3,772 self-identified members of the LGBT community and 412 respondents said they had come to Palm Springs for leisure travel.

While among lesbians, Palm Springs barely ranked in the top 20 with only 7 percent of gay women reported having visited Palm Springs for an overnight trip in the last 12 months.

“Women are more likely to be traveling in rural America and national park America,” David Paisley, senior research director at CMI, told the Desert Business Association recently. “They tend to not be so urban focused.”

And the numbers seem to support these findings.

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European countries tighten asylum rules as refugee waves continue

Refugees plead with Greek police officers to let them continue their journey to western Europe on the outskirts of the town of Didymoteicho, two kilometers away from Greek borderline with Turkey, on Jan. 24, 2016. (Xinhua/Lefteris Partsalis)

BEIJING, Jan. 30 (Xinhua) — European countries led by Germany have tightened asylum rules amid continuing refugee waves in the new year that are having an impact on the local societies.


Leaders of Germany’s ruling coalition struck a compromise on changes to asylum laws on Thursday, said German Deputy Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel.

According to the deal, refugees who are not facing “immediate personal persecution” will not be allowed to bring relatives to join them for two years.

The coalition also plans to declare Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia safe countries of origin, making it easier to send migrants back to those countries, Gabriel said.

The package of measures was first tentatively agreed in early November but has been held up since then as German Chancellor Angela Merkel‘s conservatives and Gabiel’s center-left Social Democrats squabbled over who should initially be blocked from bringing relatives to Germany.

Merkel has come under increased pressure in recent months to reverse her open-arms policy to those asylum seekers, including opposition from within her own conservative camp.

A poll conducted by the weekly magazine Focus published

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