Most US flu indicators still climbing, CDC says

first_imgMost barometers of influenza circulation in the United States ticked upward again last week, with 37 states reporting geographically widespread activity, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported today.That number was up from 33 states a week earlier. Puerto Rico also reported widespread flu activity both weeks.Ten states and Puerto Rico reported high influenza-like illness (ILI) activity, compared with eight states and Puerto Rico the week before, the CDC said. Thirteen states and New York City reported moderate ILI levels, versus nine states and New York the previous week.The estimated share of outpatient medical visits prompted by ILI was 3.5%, up from 3.2% a week earlier and well above the national baseline of 2.1%.Another indicator still rising was the proportion of respiratory specimens that tested positive for flu: 20.6% of 23,910 specimens, compared with 17.6% of 21,615 a week earlier.Deaths and hospitalizationsTwo flu-related deaths in children were reported, raising the season’s total to 20, the CDC said. The previous week brought reports of four pediatric deaths.The CDC reported conflicting signals from its two surveillance systems for the proportion of deaths due to pneumonia and flu. One system (122 Cities Mortality Reporting) put this figure at 7.0%, down from 7.4% last week, with an epidemic threshold of 7.0%. The other system (National Center for Health Statistics) estimated the number at 6.9%, up from 6.7% last week, with an epidemic threshold of 7.7%.The estimate of cumulative flu-related hospitalizations for the whole season reached 10.4 per 100,000 people, up from 7.8 per 100,000 last week, the CDC reported. Elderly people (65 and older) have been hit hardest, with a rate of 27.6 hospitalizations per 100,000, followed by children under 5 years old (15.8 per 100,000).In the previous week, the hospitalization rate in the elderly was 21.3 per 100,000 population, and in children younger than 5 it was 11.8 per 100,000.Virologic testing showed that influenza A viruses continued to heavily outnumber type B viruses last week (77.6% to 22.4%), the report says. Of type A viruses that were characterized, 83.5% were 2009 H1N1 isolates.See also:Mar 11 CDC FluView reportlast_img read more

Obinata invited to Biwako qualifier

first_imgObinata, who owns a personal best time of 2 hours, 8 minutes, 52 seconds, will take part in the race along with Pusan Asian Games runnerup Koji Shimizu and Atsushi Sato, who has been active on ekiden road-relay races this season. Hideyuki Obinata and 12 other Japanese runners will be among the invitees participating in the upcoming Biwako (Lake Biwa) Marathon in Shiga Prefecture on March 2, organizers said Tuesday.The race which will start and end at Ojiyama track and field stadium in Otsu will serve as a qualifier for this summer’s World Championships in Paris. GET THE BEST OF THE JAPAN TIMEScenter_img IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5last_img read more

Cornwall grabs 7 for 75 to give Windies edge

first_img(ESPN) Rahkeem Cornwall picked up a career-best 7 for 75 as Afghanistan squandered a sound start to be dismissed for 187 on the first day of the inaugural Test at the Ekana Cricket Stadium in Lucknow. In response, West Indies lost two early wickets before John Campbell and Shamarh Brooks took them to 68 for 2 at stumps, 119 behind Afghanistan’s first-innings total. With the surface offering sufficient help to the spinners, run-scoring may become even more difficult as the game progresses.On a turning track, the most difficult delivery to negotiate is the one that goes straight, and the newest entrants to Test cricket discovered it first-hand as Cornwall ran through them.Three of his wickets came off balls that spun little, while one turned significantly less than what the batsman expected. Cornwall showed great control over line and length during a 21-over spell, interrupted only by the lunch break. Having been 84 for 1 at one stage, Afghanistan lost six wickets for 27 runs and slipped to 111 for 7. Wicketkeeper-batsman Afsar Zazai and debutant Amir Hamza added 54 for the eighth wicket before Cornwall struck again, dismissing Zazai off the last ball before tea. He then picked up the final wicket after the interval.The collapse was triggered by Jomel Warrican, though. Having added 56 for the second wicket with Ihsanullah, Javed Ahmadi holed out to long-off off the left-arm spinner. After that, Cornwall was all over the opposition. In the last over before lunch, Ihsanullah tried to defend one from the offspinner but the ball went on straight and Shai Hope pouched the edge at first slip.After the break, Rahmat Shah fell to a sharp offbreak with Jason Holder taking his second catch at leg slip. Nasir Jamal, the other debutant, looked to work one on the leg side but the ball went with the arm and Hope pouched it at first slip. Lack of turn and extra bounce did for Asghar Afghan, who edged a cut to wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich to complete Cornwall’s maiden five-for. Holder got rid of Rashid Khan from the other end before Zazai and Hamza staged their brief recovery. The West Indies captain once again turned to Cornwall for the breakthrough and the offspinner didn’t disappoint. Zazai shouldered arms to one he expected to spin down the leg side only to be trapped in front of the stumps for 32.Hamza and Yamin Ahmadzai added 22 for the ninth wicket before the last two wickets fell on the same score. Afghanistan’s innings ended 30 minutes into the final session, and lasted 68.3 overs in all.Earlier, it had seemed like a mistake from Holder when he opted to bowl, citing moisture in the pitch, on a hazy morning in Lucknow. While a couple of deliveries did seam and bounce – especially from the captain himself – there was hardly any venom in them to trouble the Afghanistan openers. Having scored 21 and 87 on his Test debut against Bangladesh, Ibrahim Zadran once again showed the temperament of a proper Test opener. He was decisive in his footwork, whether defending on the front foot or back, or even while leaving balls outside off. And when the West Indies seamers pitched the ball up in search of movement, he drove them through the covers.With West Indies playing just two seamers, Holder was forced to bring Cornwall on as early as the ninth over, and the offspinner found turn straightaway with the red Kookaburra. In his second over, he got Javed Ahmadi to inside-edge one but the ball hit the pad on its way and went past wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich.He wasn’t to be denied for long, though. Ibrahim tried to sweep a sharp offbreak hard and was caught at leg slip, with Holder diving one-handed to his left. The batsman didn’t look happy with the decision and it wasn’t conclusive from replays either if there was any bat or glove involved. Ahmadi and Ihsanullah then took on Warrican, hitting mostly down the ground and towards midwicket. The two added 56 for the second wicket, a partnership that included Ahmadi lofting Cornwall for six and four off successive deliveries. In between, Ahmadi offered another chance off Cornwall, gloving one down the leg side, but Dowrich couldn’t reach it in time.The lofted shot that brought Ahmadi most of his runs also led to his dismissal, and proved to be the turning point of the day.last_img read more

Leading By Example: Federal Agencies To Reduce Emissions 28 Percent

first_imgToday’s announcement from the White House suggests that significant emissions cuts could save money–along with the environment.Many presidential executive orders go unnoticed, but here’s one that actually merits greater attention. Last October, President Obama issued Executive Order 13514, which (among other things) directed all federal agencies to develop greenhouse gas reduction targets and plans to achieve them. As I remarked earlier, the executive order could be an important indicator of climate change policy in 2010.Today, the White House announced its target: a 28% reduction in GHG emissions by 2020. Furthermore, the Administration released an extensive list of energy projects that various agencies are planning to use to meet their commitments.The Executive Order and today’s announcement are significant in several respects.First, as the country’s largest energy consumer, the Federal government has a substantial carbon footprint. According to the White House, today’s target would save the energy equivalent of about 205 million barrels of oil, equivalent to taking 17 million cars off the road.Second, the 28 percent target is squarely in line with all recent legislation to reduce emissions, and significantly greater than the Administration’s international commitment of 17 percent. Federal agencies are thus setting a strong precedent for the kind of system-wide emissions reductions that are achievable by other large organizations—such as big corporations. They are demonstrating what is possible. And with 500,000 buildings and 600,000 vehicles in its portfolio, emissions reductions by the Federal government will undoubtedly have a positive ripple effect throughout other sectors.Finally and perhaps most important, the actions announced today will ultimately save the government (and therefore the taxpayers) an estimated $8-11 billion in energy costs over the length of the plan. Much of today’s debate over climate legislation turns on whether we can afford to reduce emissions in a battered economy. If the Federal government plans to save billions of dollars by reducing its own emissions, then the real question is: how can the country afford not to do this?One last item to watch for: Executive Order 13514 also instructs the Office of Management and Budget to develop a “Scope 3” emissions reduction plan, due later this spring. Scope 3 emissions would include federal contractors and suppliers, which means the significance of today’s actions could ultimately be even bigger. Stay tuned.last_img read more

Liberals detail homelessness program set to unveil antipoverty law

first_imgOTTAWA – Cities looking for more federal cash and a more regular flow of money to tackle poverty are being told that they will be able to tap into $1.25 billion over the next nine years through the Liberal government’s cornerstone homelessness strategy.The Liberals agreed to overhaul the program after hearing complaints from cities about cumbersome reporting requirements, inadequate funding and unrealistic expectations about how quickly the money should be spent. Anti-poverty advocates have waited since the summer to find out how funding will move.The revamped homelessness strategy, dubbed “Reaching Home,” will come into force early next year, which is when cities will be able to apply for new funding.Municipal governments administer most of Canada’s housing programs but construction and rent subsidies are expensive so the cities rely on provincial and federal governments to support them. This money should help up to six large cities qualify for annual federal funding, joining 61 cities already considered “designated communities” with access to yearly contributions from the federal government.Territories are also being promised $43 million over the nine-year period.There will also be new spending targeting Indigenous people — a group over-represented in shelters compared to their percentage of the general population — but how much will be spent remains unclear. The Liberals say they are working with national Indigenous groups on how to allocate that new spending.Details of the Reaching Home plan are being laid out as the Liberals prepare to introduce legislation to put into law a strategy to lift more than two million people out of poverty. The government notified MPs before the weekend that it planned to bring in the anti-poverty legislation this week.The law will set an official poverty line for the country for the first time, create a council on poverty to advise the minister in charge of the plan, and require annual reports to Parliament on the government’s progress to reduce poverty rates.Poverty-reduction targets already appear in the Liberals’ latest budget-implementation bill, styled as the first phase of a full poverty-reduction law.The government’s strategy sets reduction targets of 20 per cent from 2015 levels by 2020 and 50 per cent by 2030.last_img read more