3 Compelling Stories from Home & Away
By Emily Maxwell
NATIONAL – from usatoday.com
US in danger of losing measles-free status, a ‘mortifying’ effect of anti-vaxx movement
Millions of Americans suffered from measles in the decades before the U.S. eliminated the disease in 2000. But if an ongoing outbreak in New York state continues into next month, the U.S. could lose its “measles-free” status.
“As a global leader in public health, it is mortifying that (the U.S.) may lose its measles elimination status,” said Dr. Paul Spiegel, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Humanitarian Health. “The measles outbreaks should not have occurred as vaccination against measles is very effective.”
The U.S. isn’t alone. Four countries — Albania, Greece, the Czech Republic and the United Kingdom — recently lost their measles elimination status, which the World Health Organization defines as the absence of continuous disease transmission for greater than 12 months.
The U.S. would immediately lose its elimination status if there is any case connected to the current outbreak on or after Oct. 2, according to CDC spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund. If there’s a case that was not transmitted through the current outbreak, however, then the U.S. would not lose elimination status.
Reported cases worldwide rose by 300 percent in the first three months of 2019, compared to the same period in 2018, according to preliminary data from the WHO. And that’s likely an underestimate: WHO estimates that less than 1 in 10 cases are reported globally.
“Re-establishment of measles transmission is concerning. If high immunization coverage is not achieved and sustained in every community, both children and adults will suffer unnecessarily and some will tragically die,” said Dr. Günter Pfaff, chair of the European Regional Verification Commission for Measles and Rubella Elimination, in a press release last month.
INTERNATIONAL – from theguardian.com
Turkey summons US diplomat over Twitter ‘like’
The Turkish foreign ministry says it has summoned the US chargé d’affaires after the embassy’s Twitter account “liked” a tweet about a nationalist politician who was recently in hospital.
“Today the US chargé d’affaires was summoned to the ministry to give an open and clear explanation of the social media posting,” the ministry said on Sunday.
It added that the US ambassador was not in Ankara.
The embassy’s official Twitter account liked a tweet on Saturday in which an individual said Turkey should be ready for a political period without Devlet Bahçeli.
Bahçeli leads the Nationalist Movement party (MHP), the junior partner of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development party (AKP) since their formal alliance in 2018. The MHP also backed the AKP in a 2017 referendum on changing the Turkish constitution to transform the country’s system into an executive presidency.
Last month Bahçeli, 71, was taken to hospital after suffering from nausea but was released shortly afterwards. Despite assurances, there have been concerns recently over his health.
The US ambassador, David Satterfield, arrived in Turkey earlier this year after a period of nearly two years without an American ambassador to Ankara after John Bass’s departure in 2017.
The US embassy apologised in a tweet on Saturday, saying the posting had been “liked by accident”.
ALASKA – from adn.com
Mat-Su PD? Beset by crime and not enough cops, the Valley looks at local policing powers
The Mat-Su Borough, Alaska’s second largest municipality, is a growing place with a crime problem and not enough police.
Outside the borough’s cities, a little more than a half-dozen Alaska State Troopers are on patrol at any given time across a place the size of West Virginia.
Now a Mat-Su task force is weighing new ways to handle law enforcement, including a proposal to start a new borough police force with more than 100 officers to handle calls outside the cities of Palmer and Wasilla.
Other options are smaller “police service areas” or a 21-member task force made up of existing law enforcement agencies that focuses on drug and property crimes. Another option would just enhance safety measures like more code enforcement, drug addiction treatment, neighborhood watch and security cameras.
The residents of Palmer and Wasilla — a little more than 15% of the borough’s more than 106,000 residents — are served by police departments. Alaska State Troopers respond to calls from any other borough residents.
There are 54 filled patrol trooper positions to serve Mat-Su right now, according to Alaska Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Megan Peters. Generally, that means there are seven troopers plus one sergeant on duty in Mat-Su at any given time. Both numbers don’t include investigators, wildlife troopers or officers or factor in days off, injury and illness, or leave.
Residents for several years have complained that troopers don’t always come when they call for help, especially with crimes like trespassing, public drug use or thefts that may not get prioritized over assaults or other more urgent crimes.