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Archive for March 7th, 2012

Trials conducted in Kenya and Uganda show preexposure HIV prophylaxis effective among couples

Posted by Administrator on March 7, 2012

March 7, 2012 (Seattle, Washington) — The partners of men and women infected with HIV-1 who were treated prophylactically with once-daily oral tenofovir or combination emtricitabine/tenofovir were at reduced risk for infection, according to a study presented here at the 19th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections.

The researchers conducted a randomized trial of 4758 heterosexual couples from Kenya and Uganda. In each participating pair, one individual was HIV-1 seropositive and one was HIV-1 seronegative. In 62% of couples, the uninfected partner was male. Seropositive participants were ineligible under national guidelines for antiretroviral therapy at the time of enrolment.

Couples received HIV-1 treatment and prevention services, including counseling and condoms.

Seronegative participants were randomized to receive once-daily tenofovir, combination emtricitabine/tenofovir, or placebo, and were followed for up to 3 years.

Jared Baeten, MD, PhD, associate professor of global health and assistant professor of allergy and infectious diseases at the University of Washington, Seattle, presented the findings. He said that medication adherence was 97% based on monthly pill counts; retention rate was 96%.

During the study period, 82 new HIV-1 infections were diagnosed. Of these, 52 occurred in the placebo group, 17 in the tenofovir group (risk reduction [RR], 67%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 44% to 81%; P < .0001), and 13 in the emtricitabine/tenofovir group (RR, 75%; 95% CI, 55% to 87%; P < .0001).

Risk reduction was observed in both men and women in the 2 treatment groups, but the difference between groups was not significantly (P = .23).

There was no difference in serious medical events in the groups. There were few cases of resistance. Of 8 subjects infected at randomization, 1 developed the K65R resistance mutation and 1 developed the M184V resistance mutation. None of the subjects who acquired HVI-1 infection after randomization developed K65R or M184V mutations.

The placebo group of the study was halted in July 2011 because of demonstrated success.

The researchers saw no evidence of increased incidence of risky behavior. In fact, condom use went up in all 3 groups, Dr. Baeten reported.

These findings are in contrast with other research presented at the meeting, which showed that a once-daily oral emtricitabine/tenofovir combination did not reduce the risk for HIV infection in 2120 women in South Africa, Kenya, and Tanzania.

The women were followed for 52 weeks, during which there were 33 new infections in the emtricitabine/tenofovir group (incidence rate, 4.7/100 person-years) and 35 in the placebo group (5.0/100 person-years; hazard ratio, 0.94; 95% CI, 0.59 to 152; P = .81).

The researchers noted that adherence was inadequate, according to pill counts and serum analysis of drug levels (detected in less than 50% of infected patients and uninfected control subjects).

The results of the couples study are encouraging, especially in light of the protective effect on women, said Chris Beyrer, MD, MPH, professor of epidemiology and international health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland, and the North American representative for the International AIDS Society.

The protective effect of treatment on men is fairly consistent. However, “there have been other studies in women where the outcome was not efficacious. This is one of the few trials of [preexposure prophylaxis] in women that showed efficacy…. That’s encouraging,” Dr. Beyrer told Medscape Medical News.

The difference between the 2 trials presented might be attributable to adherence to the protocol, which “is a huge challenge. People think of [pre-exposure prophylaxis] as a biomedical prevention, but it turns out it’s a lot like condoms. It works great if you use it,” said Dr. Beyrer.

Dr. Baeten and Dr. Beyrer have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

19th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI): Abstracts 29 and 32LB. Presented March 6, 2012.

Source: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/759818


Posted in Kenya_Health, US News | Comments Off on Trials conducted in Kenya and Uganda show preexposure HIV prophylaxis effective among couples

Passengers in Kenya Airways flight were ‘unaware plane was nosediving before Cameroon crash’

Posted by Administrator on March 7, 2012

A Kenya Airways Boeing 737-800, similar to the one involved in the 2007 crash

A Kenya Airways Boeing 737-800, similar to the one involved in the 2007 crash

A group of passengers travelling on an ill-fated plane may not have been aware it had entered a fatal nose-dive.

A total of 114 passengers were killed when the Kenya Airways flight crashed into a swamp in Cameroon in May 2007, with four Britons among the victims.

The inquest into the deaths of Anthony Mitchell, 39; Adam Stewart, 43; his wife Sarah Stewart, 50; and 45-year-old Stuart Claisse heard that there was a ‘strong possibility’ their relatives may not have been aware when the plane went into a ‘spiral dive’.

The Boeing 737-800, which was only six months old, crashed in the mangrove swamp at midnight on May 5, just three miles from the end of the Douala runway from which it had taken off.

Lincoln Coroner’s Court heard today from Marcus Cook, an inspector at the Air Accidents Investigation Branch and himself a pilot.

He told the inquest: ‘You’re sitting at the back. It’s dark. You can’t see anything. You’ve no cockpit instruments.’

But he added: ‘They may have felt the roll.’

Mr Cook told the inquest the plane crashed shortly after take-off when it banked, or rolled, too far to the right. He said that just after the plane was airborne it appears the captain was not controlling it.

‘About 15 seconds later, for no real reason, it appears that all input into the flight control by the captain ceases, and it ceases for about 55 seconds,’ he said.

‘At this point the airplane is about 1,000ft above the ground.’

Aftermath: Rescue workers prepare body bags during the rescue mission following the crash in Mbanga Pongo, Cameroon

Aftermath: Rescue workers prepare body bags during the rescue mission following the crash in Mbanga Pongo, Cameroon

Mr Cook said there was no record of the autopilot being engaged at this point and there was a chance that it had been selected but not successfully engaged.

Coroner Stuart Fisher asked him: ‘So for clarity: the plane is in flight at 1,000ft, pilots are not flying the aircraft and it’s not being flown on autopilot?’

Mr Cook answered: ‘Not at this point.’

He told the inquest the plane continued to bank to the right – aircraft tend to drift to the right after take-off but can be corrected simply by the captain steering it back on track – until a ‘bank angle’ warning sounded once it had gone over a 40 degree angle.

The autopilot was then successfully engaged, he said, and the pilot, who has not yet been named in the inquest, took action to try to counter the roll.

However, all of his attempts such as steering and using the plane’s rudders simply increased the roll to the right.

Mr Cook went on: ‘At this point bank angle is 50 degrees and increasing. In my eyes that was still recoverable.

‘The bank angle then increases and the nose drops below the horizon. The airplane then enters a spiral dive.’

At this point the pilot says ‘we’re crashing’, Mr Cook told the inquest.

He told families he believed that the pilots may have become spatially disorientated and distracted if they were focusing on weather reports or discussing matters between themselves, and may not have believed what the plane’s instruments were telling them if they had not been monitoring them.

The inquest also heard that post-mortem examination reports in all four cases recorded a cause of death as multiple injuries sustained from an aircraft crash.

The wreckage of the plane was located after more than 40 hours of searching dense rainforest in drenching rain and thick fog.

The pronouncement that there were no survivors was made after the water-filled crater left by the plane was examined.

Kenya Airways confirmed it was found 12 miles south-east of the Cameroon coastal city of Douala, along the planned flight path.

Mr Mitchell was a journalist with the Associated Press news agency, based in Nairobi. He had been on assignment in the region and had contacted his family before boarding the flight to tell them he was heading home.

Mr Mitchell, who was originally from London, lived in Nairobi with his wife, Catherine, and their children, Tom and Rose.

Mrs Stewart was chief financial officer for South African mobile phone giant MTN’s Cameroon operations and was travelling to a business meeting in South Africa.

The hearing continues.

Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2111620/Four-Britons-killed-Cameroon-swamp-plane-crash-realised-plane-fatal-nosedive.html?ITO=1490


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Dad’s punishment for daughter who posted derogatory comments about parents on Facebook

Posted by Administrator on March 7, 2012

From the Dad:…. Parents and Kids… watch. Today was probably the most disappointing day of my life as a father and I don’t know how to correct the situation. Since I can’t seem to make any headway with my daughter on Facebook, I chose instead to remedy the problem permanently.

Posted in US News | Comments Off on Dad’s punishment for daughter who posted derogatory comments about parents on Facebook

Mariga’s Hummer Impounded For Donning Personalized Licence Plates

Posted by Administrator on March 7, 2012

IN THE WRONG FIELD: Mariga’s vehicle impounded. KRA: No personalised number plates allowed.

Posted in Kenya | 7 Comments »

DHS to start tracking immigrants who exit the US

Posted by Administrator on March 7, 2012

The Department of Homeland  Security is finalizing its plan for a biometric data system to track when  immigrants leave the United  States and will present it to Congress within “weeks,” a top department  official told a House Homeland Security subcommittee Tuesday.

An exit system to track who is leaving the country  and when has been sought since before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. DHS  officials, including Secretary Janet  Napolitano, have agreed with the need for such a program but have previously  said it would be too costly.

John Cohen, the department’s deputy counter  terrorism coordinator, did not discuss the cost in his testimony about the  problem of immigrants who overstay visas. He said the department’s report to  Congress will explain how DHS plans to better determine who has overstayed their  visa.

The criminal case against Amine El Khalifi, 29, of  Alexandria, Va., accused in an alleged bomb plot against the U.S. Capitol, has  renewed the debate about how the U.S. government — a decade after the terror  attacks of 2001 — routinely fails to track millions of foreign visitors who  remain in the country longer than they are allowed. El Khalifi was arrested in a  parking lot, wearing what he thought was an explosive-laden suicide vest. He had  been living illegally in the United States for 12 years.

The Obama administration doesn’t consider deporting  people whose only offense is overstaying a visa a priority. It has focused  immigration enforcement efforts on people who have committed serious crimes or  are considered a threat to public or national security.

Cohen said improvements in how data from immigrants  is collected and stored has made it easier for law enforcement to identify visa  overstays and determine if they pose a threat to national security or public  safety.

Rep. Candice Miller, R-Mich., who led Tuesday’s  hearing, said El Khalifi “follows a long line of terrorists, including several  of the 9/11 hijackers, who overstayed their visa and went on to conduct terror  attacks.” His tourist visa expired the same year he arrived from his native Morocco as a  teenager in 1999.

She said 36 people who overstayed visas have been  convicted of terrorism related charges since 2001.

“We have to recognize that we do have this problem,”  Miller said. “The truth is, in the 40 percentile of all the illegal (immigrants)  are in this country on expired visas. They came in right through the front  door.”

El Khalifi, who is charged with attempting to use a  weapon of mass destruction, never came to the attention of federal law  enforcement agencies even after a series of minor run-ins with police in  northern Virginia from 2002 to 2006, including disobeying a traffic sign and  speeding. Programs that could have identified him if he had been jailed by local  authorities, including the Security Communities program that shares fingerprints  from local jails with the FBI,  were not in place at the time.

The Moroccan national didn’t face a felony charge —  possession of marijuana with intent to distribute — until last September, about  nine months after he became the target of the FBI probe related to the alleged  plot to destroy the Capitol. He has waived his right to a preliminary  hearing.

El Khalifi, unemployed when he was arrested last  month, is one of an estimated millions of illegal immigrants who came to the  United States with a government-issued visa and never left. He never applied to  become a U.S. citizen.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the agency  responsible for deporting illegal immigrants, has routinely combed through visa  records to try to identify people who have overstayed their welcome and deport  those considered threats to the community or national security.

Cohen said Tuesday that more than 37,000 people who  overstayed visas were deported from 2009 to 2011

Last year, ICE reviewed a backlog of about 1.6  million suspected overstay cases involving people who had come to the U.S. since  2004. The Homeland Security Department said the review concluded that about half  of those people have either left the country or applied to change their  immigration status. Of the remaining half, the cases of about 2,700 people were  given further review. ICE officials have not said how many of those people were  deemed a national security threat or were otherwise considered priority for  deportation.

For the more than 797,000 others whose cases were  not reviewed further, DHS officials said their overstay status was noted in  electronic files in case any of them commit crimes in the future or otherwise  become a priority to be deported.

Visa overstays have long been a concern of lawmakers  and law enforcement. Some estimates suggest that as many as half of the  country’s estimated 11 million illegal immigrants have overstayed visas.

But finding illegal immigrants who, like El Khalifi,  came to the United States before biometric data was collected and records were  computerized around 2004 — and who overstayed visas but haven’t committed a  crime — can be difficult, if not impossible.

“It’s very difficult to find those individuals, and  those individuals aren’t priorities until they commit a crime,” said Julie Myers  Wood, who was head of ICE from 2006 to 2008.

James Ziglar, who was head of the old Immigration  and Naturalization Service from 2001 until it was folded into DHS in 2002, said  immigration authorities made efforts to locate immigrants thought to be a threat  to national security after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. But simply having  overstayed a visa wouldn’t have made illegal immigrants like El Khalifi a  priority.

“We were certainly focused on trying to find bad  people and connecting the dots with the Department of State and their visa  records,” Ziglar said. “I doubt very seriously he (El Khalifi) would have come  up on the radar. He might have if you kept drilling down further and further  just because of where he was from. But he would not have been, I think, an  earlier target, just because there were more suspicious types.”

Read more:  FOX NEWS

Posted in Immigration | 2 Comments »

KONY 2012: The ‘Invisible Children’ documentarians launch a new campaign

Posted by Administrator on March 7, 2012

Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord's Resistance Army.

Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord's Resistance Army.

In 2003, three friends — Jason Russell, Bobby Bailey and Laren Poole — traveled to Africa in search of “untold stories.” What they found would inspire a movement and alter the course of their lives.

Each of the boys was a recent college grad with film, structural engineering and mathematics degrees respectively. But it was Russell who spearheaded their initial journey. The young filmmaker had traveled to Kenya in 2000 and, as he recalls in an interview with the 700 Club, had his “American bubble” popped.

“I suddenly realized we are the privileged percentage of the world,” Russell said. “I knew I had to go back to Africa.” He reached out to several friends to make the trip with him but it was only Bailey and Poole who responded with equal passion.

The boys traveled from the Sudan to Kenya and eventually landed in Uganda where they discovered a conflict that had already raged for 20 years by the time of their arrival, one that had destroyed the lives of countless children. The three Americans came into contact with the traumatized survivors of the rebel faction the Lord’s Resistance Army, or LRA, lead by Joseph Kony, a man who has proclaimed himself to be a “spokesperson” for God.

Kony and his forces have been kidnapping children as young as 5-years-old since 1987 and forcing them to fight, kill and mutilate, sometimes their own parents. The girls are often forced into sexual slavery. Russell, Bailey and Poole became determined to shine a light on the children who fled from Kony and the LRA and, with that goal in mind, created the documentary “Invisible Children” to give voice to the horror that they had suffered, and that so many children continue to endure.

“Invisible Children” was subsequently screened at thousands of American high schools, college campuses, churches and special events with the sole purpose of spreading the word about what was happening in central Africa. The trio believed that if people knew, then something would be done to stop it.

The United States government was reluctant to intercede as the atrocities held no threat to U.S. national security or financial interests. The group officially formed a non-profit in 2006 in order to continue with their campaign of awareness as well as to raise money for health and educational programs designed to support the LRA survivors.

I remember “Invisible Children” coming to my own university campus. It was at a time when I was working on two social issues documentaries. I now understand documentary filmmaking (particularly social justice documentary filmmaking) to be a herculean effort that requires a level of commitment and patience that very few possess. I am awed by what Russell, Bailey and Poole have been able to accomplish in the ensuing years.

This year, they are taking on their greatest challenge: to make Joseph Kony famous. The intention is that awareness of both Kony and the LRA will reach a critical mass, ensuring that military aid will be provided to the Ugandan mission to find Kony and bring him to trial at The Hague by December 31, 2012. The Facebook and social networking communities will serve to support and promote additional grass roots methods in order to reach a saturation point.

This campaign, and the way the “Invisible Children” team has devised it, highlights all the possibilities that exist for a new way to exercise power and to engage with the world of technology we find ourselves in today. Perhaps that is all a bit idealistic. But so what? We’ve got to spend our time on something and speaking for myself, I am reminded of how often throughout the course of my life it has been spent on nothing.

Take a look at the video KONY 2012 below. You can also visit the “Invisible Children” website here as well as the KONY 2012 site here, and if you feel so inclined, share it.

KONY 2012 is a film and campaign by Invisible Children that aims to make Joseph Kony famous, not to celebrate him, but to raise support for his arrest and set a precedent for international justice.

Source: http://www.hitfix.com/blogs/in-contention/posts/the-invisible-children-documentarians-launch-a-new-campaign

Posted in Africa | Tagged: | 3 Comments »

Councillors’ tour to US called off on claims of using council cash

Posted by Administrator on March 7, 2012

A trip to the US by seven councillors from Siaya Municipal Council has been cancelled after a disagreement.

Town Clerk Dominic Akugo told The Standard the trip was cancelled due to bad politics by some councillors.

“There were claims by some councillors that we would use council finances to fund the trip,” he said.

The tour was said to be sponsored by the Ford Foundation, a non-governmental organisation, but some civic leaders opposed to it claimed there were plans to partly fund it from council funds.

The controversial tour had been sanctioned by Local Government PS amid protests from some civic leaders.

Those who were to travel were four councillors, the clerk and two non-staff members. One of the civic leaders was allegedly to travel with his wife disguised as the revenue officer.

A Kenyan in the US said to have organised the tour was claimed to have requested that his younger brother be included in the trip.

Siaya deputy mayor Maurice Orondo confirmed that he was among the civic leaders who had written to the Ministry of Local Government to sanction the US tour before they received clearance from the PS.

The tour was called off after nominated councillor Oloo Okanda, who is also the public officer in the municipality, last month wrote a protest letter to the PS and copied it to the Nyanza Provincial Local Government Officer questioning the financial implications the trip would pile on the council.

Bank loans

Mr Okanda on Tuesday said he was concerned that the trip would cost the council millions of shillings yet employees have not been paid salaries for the last four months.

He disclosed that the council last year took a loan of Sh20 million from a local bank to support its operations and a further Sh10 million towards the end of the year that is yet to be cleared.

“The council has been operating on bank loans and it will be foolhardy that when LATF comes we use it to send councillors on a tour to the US,” argued Okanda.

Okanda said the letter sanctioning the trip indicated that the Ford Foundation would partly fund the trip while the council would take care of the allowances for the two weeks the group would spend in the US.

Source: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/InsidePage.php?id=2000053556&cid=159&

Posted in Kenya | 1 Comment »

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