Tuesday, October 25, 2016

'Zika uncontrollable, will become endemic': CDC Director Tom Frieden.

'Zika uncontrollable, will become endemic': CDC Director Tom Frieden. (MiamiHerald). HT: Crof.
The nation’s highest ranking infectious disease expert delivered some sobering news on Zika to a Miami audience on Tuesday, telling them that the mosquito-borne virus is more widespread than Florida health officials have reported and that the rapid spread of pathogens such as Zika represents “the new normal” in an age of global travel and trade, booming cities and climate change.
“Here’s the plain truth: that Zika and other diseases spread by Aedes aegypti [mosquito species] are really not controllable with current technologies. So we will see this become endemic,” Tom Frieden, a physician and director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told a group of about 100 people gathered at the InterContinental Miami hotel for The Atlantic magazine’s CityLab conference.  
Frieden’s takeaway advice for public officials tasked with protecting the public from disease outbreaks: “Invest in public health,” he said. “It pays off.” 
Unprecedented in its ability to spread by sexual contact as well as mosquito bites, and to cause birth defects — most notably microcephaly in children born to mothers infected while pregnant — Zika took health officials by surprise this year, Frieden said, noting that there’s still a lot that scientists do not know about the virus’s effects. 
“Zika has surprised us,” he said. “It’s been difficult to predict. It’s had characteristics that we have not seen with other diseases before. What we anticipate will happen is that this season will calm down within the continental United States. We hope that Miami-Dade will stop having cases, but we can't promise that. ... We will see parts of the hemisphere where it will be endemic. It will come back every year.” 
And though Florida has reported 1,064 Zika cases, including 190 mosquito-borne infections, Frieden said the real number likely is much higher. 
“A rule of thumb,” he said, “is for every case you diagnose you’ve probably got 10 more.” Read the full story here.

Frieden's case total is correct, according to today's Florida Health Zika update, which mentions six new cases—two of them local.

Video - Duma Defense Committee Chairman: Direct U.S.-Russian Confrontation Likely; Iskander Missiles Target European Missile Defense


Turkey: Emergency Decrees Facilitate Torture! Human rights watch reports.

Turkey: Emergency Decrees Facilitate Torture! Human rights watch reports.  (HRW).

Istanbul – Turkish police have tortured and otherwise ill-treated individuals in their custody after emergency decrees removed crucial safeguards in the wake of a failed coup attempt in July, 2016, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.
The 43-page report, “A Blank Check: Turkey’s Post-Coup Suspension of Safeguards Against Torture,” documents how the weakening of safeguards through decrees adopted under the state of emergency has negatively affected police detention conditions and the rights of detainees.

It details 13 cases of alleged abuse, including stress positions, sleep deprivation, severe beatings, sexual abuse, and rape threats, since the coup attempt.

“By removing safeguards against torture, the Turkish government effectively wrote a blank check to law enforcement agencies to torture and mistreat detainees as they like,” said Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia. Read the full report here. Download report PDF here.

'Ukraine may provoke another gas crisis with EU.' Russia’s Permanent Representative to the EU

 'Ukraine may provoke another gas crisis with EU.' Russia’s Permanent Representative to the EU. (Tass).

Ukraine may provoke another crisis in gas relations between Moscow and the European Union if it steals Russian gas meant for transit to Europe in the wintertime, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the European Union Vladimir Chizhov said on Monday.

"To live through a winter normally, there are calculations of how much gas is to be pumped to storage facilities in the summertime," he said. "I’d refrain from citing exact figures but I would say that Ukraine’s storage facilities are now holding much less gas than is minimally needed. Hence, they will not be able to use this gas from underground storage facilities, like they did it last winter - as I have already said they have not been buying Russian gas since November 2015."

Last winter, luckily for Ukraine, was warm enough, he noted. "I would not make guesses about the coming winter but even if it is mild the problem may surface all the same," Chizhov said.

"The entire experience of gas relations with Kiev suggests that the path of least resistance for them is to pump gas from the transit pipe running to Europe. In such event, we can expect another crisis."

"So, the European Commission is probably addressing this issue. Thus, [Vice-President of the European Union Commission in charge of the Energy Union Maros] Sefcovic has visited Kiev. So, let us wait and see what will come of it," the Russian diplomat said.

In the meantime, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said Kiev will need about two more billion cubic meters of gas to live through the winter. Hmmm.....Sounds like the EU[nuchs] will again pay Ukraine's unpaid bills. Read the full story here.

Iran President Rouhani Says Any Foreign Intervention (Turkey) ‘Very Dangerous’.

Iran President Rouhani Says Any Foreign Intervention (Turkey) ‘Very Dangerous’. (IFP).

“We regard as very dangerous [acts of] intervention by foreign countries without any coordination with the host country and believe that [for any foreign measure,] the Syrian and Iraqi governments must request help and demand that another country act against terrorism inside their territories,” Rouhani told reporters at the end of his visit to the central Iranian province of Markazi on Monday.

This [regulation] is based on international principles and [any move] contrary to it will exacerbate insecurity,” he added.

He said the Middle East has been grappling with the problem of terrorism for years and added that Western powers are not interested in the elimination of this phenomenon in the region despite being plagued by the scourge and its consequences.

Some big powers are toying with terrorist groups in line with their own illegitimate goals and despite overflowing the region with tools and equipment, they are not carrying out any positive measure against them [terrorists],” the Iranian president stated.

He urged regional countries to respect the territorial integrity of other countries because “shifting borders is very dangerous.”

Turkey is adamantly insisting that it wants to play a military role in the recapture of Mosul despite Iraq’s opposition, triggering a serious diplomatic row between the two neighbors.

Ankara has deployed troops to a base near Mosul, claiming that they were there to train Kurdish militants for the battle against Daesh.

Addressing a forum of Muslim scholars and politicians in Baghdad on Saturday, the Iraqi prime minister called on Turkey and Saudi Arabia to stop interfering in the domestic affairs of his country.
We want the good of Saudi Arabia and Turkey provided that they do not interfere in the domestic affairs of our country,” Abadi said.

He added that Turkey had sent troops without the Iraqi government’s request and emphasized that Ankara is not battling Daesh but is trying to expand its outreach.

The Iraqi premier emphasized that Ankara did not help Baghdad when it was requested.
For more than a year, Turkey has maintained a contingent of its troops in northern Iraq, alleging that it is training local forces in their fight against Daesh Takfiri terrorists.

However, tensions have escalated after the beginning of the major offensive to liberate Mosul.

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said on October 12 that the country’s military forces will continue their presence in northern Iraq regardless of Baghdad’s repeated protests and escalating tensions between the two neighbors.

“Turkey’s presence in Bashiqa (military camp) is legitimate. We will continue our presence there as long as it is needed,” Kurtulmus said.

Following Turkey’s deployment of its forces to northern Iraq, Syria condemned the “flagrant” move and said Ankara has repeatedly violated Syrian territorial integrity and is supporting militant groups fighting against the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

Turkish troops are also deployed to northern Syria, a move condemned by Damascus as a violation of its sovereignty.
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