Health Alert Network | HAN Archive – 00358

Notice to Public Health Officials and Clinicians: Recognizing, Managing, and Reporting Chikungunya Virus Infections in Travelers Returning from the Caribbean


On December 7, 2013, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported the first local (autochthonous) transmission of chikungunya virus in the Americas. As of December 12th, 10 cases of chikungunya have been confirmed in patients who reside on the French side of St. Martin in the Caribbean. Laboratory testing is pending on additional suspected cases. Onset of illness for confirmed cases was between October 15 and December 4. At this time, there are no reports of other suspected chikungunya cases outside St. Martin. However, further spread to other countries in the region is possible.

via Health Alert Network | HAN Archive – 00358.

Obama Reaches Out to Cuba’s Leader, but the Meaning May Elude Grasp

Repeating Islands


President Obama shook hands with President Raúl Castro of Cuba on Tuesday, offering a friendly gesture freighted with symbolism to one of America’s most enduring Cold War foes, The New York Times reports.

The brief handshake was delivered with the world watching as Mr. Obama greeted leaders assembled to make remarks at the memorial service here for Nelson Mandela. But the image — captured by photographers and television cameras — instantly raised questions about its deeper meaning.

Was Mr. Obama trying to signal a new effort by the American government to reach an accommodation with Cuba 50 years after the Communist revolution that put Fidel Castro, Raúl’s brother, in power? Or was Mr. Obama simply trying to avoid delivering a diplomatic snub at a memorial dedicated to forgiveness?

The president’s aides would have known in advance which world leaders would be at the podium when the president approached for his…

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“All it takes is one good man with a gun….” – ”At Least 194 Children Have Been Shot to Death Since Newtown’

The Last Of The Millenniums

gun control1

‘127 of the children died from gunshots in their own homes, while dozens more died in the homes of friends, neighbors, and relatives’.

’72 of the young victims either pulled the trigger themselves or were shot dead by another kid’.

‘In those 72 cases, only 4 adults have been held criminally liable’.

‘At least 52 deaths involved a child handling a gun left unsecured’.

’60 children died at the hands of their own parents, 50 of them in homicides’.

‘The average age of the victims was 6 years old’.

‘More than two-thirds of the victims were boys, as were more than three-quarters of the kids who pulled the trigger’.

‘The problem was worst over the past year in the South, which saw at least 92 child gun deaths, followed by the Midwest (44), the West (38), and the East (20)’.
From :

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Egypt’s White December: First Snowfall in Cairo in 100 Years

Egyptian Streets

In the early morning of Friday the 13th 2013, parts of Cairo witnessed the first snowfall in more than 100 years. The city known for its hot weather and historical monuments amazed both Egyptians and foreigners. This cold snap is not limited to Egypt, with snowfall across the Middle East.

Below are a few of the best photographs from Cairo and elsewhere taken today.

1. Madinaty, New Cairo

2. Egyptians come out to explore the rare snowfall

3. Just like the movies: children playing in the snow

4. New Cairo’s roads under a thin blanket of snow

5. A camel in the snow at St. Catherine in the Sinai

6. Parts of the Sinai were completely covered

7. Driving in the Sinai – like a scene out of a film

8. It even snowed in the North of Egypt

9. A bedouin enjoys the snow in the Sinai (video)

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The Gaze

The gaze creates a “conversation” or dialogue and the viewer cannot help but wonder who else is in the dialogue. If the dialogue or conversation is real or if the artist has someone in mind when the photo is taken – it can become as real as a shot of someone in conversation and unaware that the photo is being taken. In that case, the viewer is drawn in, in the same way as when they cannot help but listen to a muted conversation in an elevator or at the table next to theirs in a restaurant…

60 percent of West Bank without power | Maan News Agency

Crews worked overtime across the West Bank on Friday after 60 percent of the Palestinian territory\’s regions were plunged into darkness as a result of severe weather conditions.

Director General of the Jerusalem Electricity Company Said Hisham Omari told Ma\’an that there were at least 45 malfunctions in power lines across the West Bank as a result of the ongoing storm, and that although crews were working to fix them adverse driving conditions were inhibiting their work.

The majority of the power line malfunctions are located inside Israel on lines leading to the West Bank, but Israeli authorities are not fixing the malfunctions while also prohibiting the access of Palestinian crews to the areas.

Company crews were able to restore power to 80 percent of areas across large parts of Bethlehem and Jerusalem and are working hard to restore electricity to Ramallah as well, Omari said.

However, the power supply covers only 40 percent of the province as of Friday evening, and 60 percent remains in the dark, he added.

via 60 percent of West Bank without power | Maan News Agency.

Avian Flu Diary: Pakistan: 3 More Polio Workers Killed

At least three people have been killed in Pakistan\’s tribal areas after the resumption of an antipolio campaign.

RFE/RL\’s Radio Mashaal reports that gunmen shot and killed two police officers assigned to protect a team of polio-vaccination workers in northwestern Pakistan.

The incident occurred north of Peshawar, the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, on December 13.

Reports said the attackers fled the scene.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

In a second incident, Esmattulah Wazir, a political administrator in the tribal areas, said unknown assailants shot dead a polio worker named Yousef in his home.

via Avian Flu Diary: Pakistan: 3 More Polio Workers Killed.

EDL members to be tested on English skills before benefits

Pride's Purge


Members of the English Defence League and other right-wing crackpots are to be tested on their English skills before being able to claim income-related benefits under a new scheme.

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said people who are members of organisations such as the EDL and the BNP will be asked what efforts they have made to learn how to speak English properly before being able to “take advantage” of benefits.

Labour supports English tests for far-right nutcakes but says ministers are ignoring the exploitation of low-skilled dim-witted fascists.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said some central government funding would be made available to local authorities for English lessons to help EDL members reach Entry Level Two standard – the average language ability of a 9-year-old.

A spokesperson for the DWP explained the reasons for the new stricter rules:

From now on, if thick…

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