Disease attacking children in South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda,
attacking children in South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda,
A frightening often-fatal Disease attacking children in South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda, still has no cure despite being first recognized by doctors in 1962.
children with the "nodding syndrome" will drop their heads onto their chest in a continual swinging motion, sometimes falling over during a more severe seizure such as complete freezing or grand-mal seizures.
Stunted physical and mental growth, injury during a seizure, as well as malnutrition due to difficulty in eating because of the seizures, are the main causes of death.
Almost no progress has been made in identifying, treating or containing the disease, reports BBC reporter Andrew Harding, although some experts link it to a parasite which causes river blindness.
“Has the outside world been slow to investigate? Harding asks. “It is fair to assume that if a Disease were killing children in Europe with such brutal efficiency, more attention would have been paid to it by now.”
“We’ve documented by MRI scans that the brains have some atrophy and by EEG that the brain waves are abnormal,” said Scott Dowell of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.. We understand the path of physiology of nodding but we still don’t know what causes it.”
Meanwhile, aid agencies Caritas, Trauma Healing and Reflection Center and World Vision International have all pledged anti-epileptic drugs and other treatments for nodding patients in the affected districts.
According to the World Health Organization, some 7,000 children have contracted nodding disease. w/pix of child with nodding disease
Police Helicopter Crashes, Killing Presidental Contender
One of the most visible figures in Kenyan politics, the country’s longest serving Vice-President, economist and mathematician, George Saitoti, perished Sunday when a police helicopter he was travelling in went down on the outskirts of Nairobi.
Saitoti and his assistant were among the passengers on the ill-fated chopper. The crash is still under investigation.
As a deputy to former President Daniel arap Moi, Satoiti had political enemies and believed, after a near-fatal poisoning, that he was marked for death. Still, he planned to compete in the next presidential race slated for 2013.
The one-time Executive Chair of the World Bank and the IMF, he influenced the nation’s policy directions on an array of areas during the turbulent 1980s and 1990s.
As security minister, Satoiti played a key role in the controversial decision to send Kenyan troops to fight the al-Shabab militant group in neighboring Somalia. That initiative got a push this week from U.S. Asst. Secy of State Johnnie Carson in a rare trip to the region.
The U.S and European Union are backing a triangular effort by Kenya, Uganda and Burundi in a “final onslaught” against its Somali neighbor. The attack will center on Kismayo, al-Shabab’s main supply center. “Without controlling Kismayo, it’s very difficult to completely neutralize al-Shabab,” said Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga at a news conference Tuesday.
The U.S. has also offered a total of $33 million for information leading to the capture of seven Islamist commanders. But the Somali militants have pooh-poohed the threat. "There is nothing new in the fact that infidels pay to have Muslim leaders killed,” said senior Shebab leader, Fuad Mohamed Khalaf. Referencing the Koran, he said: “They offered camels for the head of Prophet Mohammed, and the dollar is the camel of today," he said. w/pix of G. Saitoti
Ethiopia Outlaws Popular Internet Phone Calling Service
In a step backward for free speech, the Ethiopian government has passed new legislation that criminalizes the use of Internet-based voice communications such as Skype and other forms of Internet phone calling.
The crackdown extends to the print press. According to the watchdog Reporters Without Borders, the state printer, Berhanena Selam, which has a near monopoly on newspaper and magazine printing in Ethiopia, is trying to impose political censorship on media content before publication.
In a proposed “standard contract for printing” recently circulated by state printers, they assume the right to vet and reject articles prior to printing.
“This contract could drag Ethiopia back more than two decades as regards media freedom, to the time of Mengistu’s brutal dictatorship in pre 1991 Ethiopia,” Reporters Without Borders wrote on their website. “Allowing printers to control editorial content is tantamount to give them court powers”
The government defends such legislation as a timely and appropriate response to the ever increasing security threats globally and in Ethiopia. But observers say the law is aimed at further limiting freedom of expression and the flow of information in the nation of 85 million people.
Anyone involved in "illegal" phone calling services will be prosecuted and could be jailed for up to 15 years or fined heavily if found guilty.
In the last five years websites and blogs critical of the government have been frequently blocked and all Amharic language broadcasts aimed at Ethiopia have been jammed.
Muslim Athletes To Vie For Medals During Ramadan
Some 3,000 Muslim athletes will arrive in London next month for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. But they won’t all be wolfing down the fish and chips.
All 17 days of competition, from July 27 to August 12, fall within the holy month of Ramadan - a time when Muslims fast and refrain from drinking water from sunrise to sunset.
Traveling Muslims, however, are allowed to delay their fast. Some Islamic scholars say athletes traveling to London to compete in the games should take advantage of that exemption.
Islamic scholar Siddiquallah Fedayi says the Koran requires traveling Muslims to delay their fast. "The issue involves the question of where the games are taking place. Is it in the athlete's village or his hometown? Or is it somewhere else?"
Fedayi says. "The Koran says: 'If you are ill, or a traveler, carry out your fast later on.' “
But Sheik Fawzi Zefzaf, a scholar at Egypt’s Al-Azhar institution, told The New York Times that athletes are obliged to fast during Ramadan. “The words in Islam are clear. The Olympics are not a necessary reason to break one’s fast.”
Meanwhile, special arrangements have been made in London to accommodate Muslim athletes who do choose to fast -- including special predawn meals and preparation of the first meal after sunset at all competition venues. w/pix of silver medal long jump winner Ndiss Kaba Badji
Disease attacking children in South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda,
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