Diphtheria kills nine Rohingya people

first_imgThis photo taken on October 7, 2017 shows a solar panel on the roof of a temporary home for Rohingya refugees at the Kutupalong refugee camp in Cox`s Bazar. AFPBangladesh on Tuesday launched a massive drive to vaccinate Rohingya children against diphtheria after a suspected outbreak killed nine refugees and infected more than 700.Health workers in Bangladesh said they had been caught unawares by the outbreak of the bacterial disease in the Rohingya refugee camps of southeast BangladeshMore than 646,000 Rohingya are based in these camps, having fled violence in Myanmar in recent months.”So far nine people have died in a suspected outbreak of diphtheria,” said Meerzady Sabrina Flora, the head of Bangladesh’s Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR).Bangladesh’s health services department said of the 700 refugees infected, 104 — most of them children — had contracted the disease in the last 24 hours.Authorities have set up two isolation units in the overcrowded refugee camps, where many lack adequate shelter and food and there is little access to medical services.Diphtheria is a highly contagious respiratory disease that can be fatal if left untreated, but has become increasingly rare in recent decades due to high rates of vaccination.Bangladesh authorities said they had prepared for outbreaks of other diseases in the camps, but not diphtheria, which had been all but eradicated in Bangladesh.The government and UN agencies are now vaccinating around 250,000 children under the age of seven living in camps and temporary settlements near the border with Myanmar.”We are moving quickly to control this diphtheria outbreak before it spins out of control,” said physician Navaratnasamy Paranietharan, the World Health Organization representative to Bangladesh.”The vaccines will help protect every Rohingya child in these temporary settlements from falling prey to the deadly disease.”last_img

How Much Does Voting Matter In A Gerrymandered District

first_img Listen Elkanah Tisdale (1771-1835) – Originally published in the Boston Centinel, 1812.Original cartoon of “The Gerry-Mander”, this is the political cartoon that led to the coining of the term Gerrymander. The district depicted in the cartoon was created by Massachusetts legislature to favor the incumbent Democratic-Republican party candidates of Governor Elbridge Gerry over the Federalists in 1812.This term, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide three cases on partisan gerrymandering, including one from Texas. At issue, is drawing congressional districts to favor one political party over another unconstitutional?Grady lives in Cedar Falls, Texas. He recently returned home after several years teaching abroad. To fill his time, Grady decided to get more involved in politics. That’s when he started learning about gerrymandering in Texas. And what he saw bothered him.“You would think, at first blush, people would say, ‘Well, that’s just not the way a system ought to work, a fair system, you know, that you can just go and pick the people that you want to be in your district so that you can get reelected,’” he says.So Grady asked us, “What can we as citizens do to address the problem of gerrymandering?”Gerrymandering itself is almost as old as the republic. But for the first 200 years, it was more art than science. Drawing districts involved a lot of guesswork about where a party’s supporters live. Guess wrong, and you spread your support too thin. A small swing of the vote could sweep you out of power. But technology has made it more accurate.“The computer modeling has gotten so much better with respect to the ability to be able to draw these districts so precisely that they become safe seats,” says Charles “Rocky” Rhodes, a constitutional law professor at South Texas College of Law Houston. Rhodes says that’s a major reason the Supreme Court is finally taking up the question.“Even in a gerrymandered district,” says Rhodes, “in order for the courts to be able to review whether perhaps the gerrymander is somehow unconstitutional, it helps to see what has been the impact of the gerrymander on individual voting rights.”As an example, Rhodes points to North Carolina. In 2016, just over half of the voters there chose Republicans. But North Carolina ended up electing 10 Republican congressmen and just three Democrats.Still, even if the justices impose limits on gerrymandering, that may not make new districts much more competitive.“Even without gerrymandering, there’s just a natural geographic sorting,” says Elizabeth Simas, a political scientist at the University of Houston who studies electoral behavior. “There was a great map recently that showed Texas divided by counties and partisan competition within counties. And it’s really not competitive. Counties tend to be either red or blue. They’re not subject to the same kind of manipulation that our House districts are.”If your party happens to be in the minority, there’s a natural tendency to look at political maps and get discouraged. Cal Jillson, a political scientist at Southern Methodist University, says that’s a mistake. He says the first thing citizens can do to address the problem of gerrymandering is to show up to vote.“Elections are contests of strength between the two major political parties,” says Jillson. “So if you’re a Democrat in a Republican district, you’ve got to get out there and work to keep your Democratic ticket competitive. If you’re a Republican in a Democratic urban district, for example, you’ve got to show the flag as well and get out there.”The second thing citizens can do is run for office. Gerrymandering may make it tougher for one party to win a given seat in Congress. But the odds drop to zero if the party doesn’t put someone on the ballot.Simas says that happens all too often. “In Texas we see a lot of just noncompetitive races, noncompetitive in the sense that they don’t have a viable challenger to the opposition,” she notes. “Candidates are the ones ultimately who can inspire people to go out and give them that glimmer of hope.”That theory will get a test this fall. Of the state’s 36 congressional districts, 32 will have candidates from both major political parties. X 00:00 /03:53 To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: Sharelast_img read more

Michigan House legislators unveil tax relief plan for families seniors

first_img Categories: News Michigan House legislators today introduced legislation to provide substantial income tax relief for families and seniors.The bills continue and increase personal exemptions for Michigan taxpayers and their dependents on their income taxes, while providing additional relief for senior citizens.The main bills were introduced by Reps. Jim Tedder of Clarkston and Roger Hauck of Union Township, with another key bill sponsored by Rep. Jeff Noble of Plymouth.“The recent federal tax reforms are a good start, but hard-working Michiganders deserve broader and more significant income tax relief,” Hauck said. “Allowing people to keep more of their own money will help Michigan’s economy and improves our quality of life – and we can afford this tax break without compromising essential public services. Tax spenders have had their time in Lansing. Today is a day for the taxpayers.”Hauck’s bill ensures Michigan taxpayers can continue claiming personal exemptions on income taxes after federal tax reforms signed into law last month. In addition, Hauck’s bill increases the state personal exemption from the current $4,000 to $4,300 for the 2018 tax year, with gradual increases reaching $4,800 for 2020.Noble’s bill ensures taxpayers in Michigan cities with an income tax will continue to be able to claim exemptions if the city adopts a uniform ordinance.Tedder – chair of the House Tax Policy Committee – sponsors legislation to specifically help senior citizens in addition to the personal exemption increase. His bill would provide a $100 refundable income tax credit for a single filer age 62 or older – or $200 for joint filers.“As Michigan continues to experience budget surpluses, it’s an exciting time to talk about tax relief,” Tedder said. “With health and good fortune, we one day will all become senior citizens. Why not provide tax relief at a time in life when people need it most, when many are on fixed incomes? It’s time we provided real tax relief to the people who have shouldered Michigan’s financial burden for decades.”Noble agreed it is time to provide a tax break for Michigan families.“Lowering taxes will make Michigan a better place to live and raise a family, and that’s what our work as legislators is supposed to be all about,” Noble said. “The money collected through taxes belongs to the people – not politicians. It’s time families and seniors got to keep more of it for themselves.”House Bills 5420-22 were referred to the Tax Policy Committee for consideration.### 16Jan Michigan House legislators unveil tax relief plan for families, seniorslast_img read more