Feb 6, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – Two new human cases of H5N1 avian influenza were announced by Indonesia’s health ministry today, as the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed Egypt’s latest case.One of Indonesia’s patients is a 15-year-girl from an upscale Jakarta neighborhood who caught a wild bird that died 2 days later, Joko Suyono, a spokesperson for the health ministry’s bird flu information center, told Reuters today. He said the other patient is a 30-year-old man from West Java province neighborhood where chicken deaths had been reported.If the WHO confirms the patients’ avian flu status, they will become Indonesia’s 82nd and 83rd cases.Avian flu has taken a heavy toll on Indonesia already this year; the disease has claimed six lives. To slow the spread of the disease, Indonesian authorities banned backyard poultry in Jakarta and planned to begin a massive cull throughout the urban area on Feb 1. However, it’s not known if any progress has been made because of widespread flooding in the city, according to several media reports.Meanwhile, the WHO today confirmed a 17-year-old Egyptian girl’s death from avian influenza. The girl was from Fayyoum governate, about 60 miles south of Cairo. She developed symptoms on Jan 25 and was initially treated for seasonal influenza. On Feb 1 she was hospitalized with fever and breathing difficulties and died the next day, the WHO reported. The girl becomes Egypt’s 20th case and its 12th death.An initial investigation found that there were sick and dead poultry in the girl’s home before she got sick, the WHO said.In other avian flu news, officials at Britain’s Health Protection Authority announced today that a man who helped respond to a recent H5N1 outbreak at a turkey farm in Suffolk was hospitalized today with a mild respiratory illness and is undergoing tests, the Associated Press reported.Britain’s first H5N1 outbreak claimed 2,500 turkeys and led to the culling of about 150,000 others.Agriculture officials in Pakistan today announced an H5N1 avian flu outbreak in poultry in a town near the capital Islamabad, Reuters reported. The outbreak involved 40 chickens at a home, and all died or were culled, Mohammad Afzal, Pakistan’s livestock commissioner, told Reuters.According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Pakistan’s last confirmed outbreak occurred in April 2006 and affected domestic poultry. The country has reported no human cases.See also:Feb 6 WHO statementhttp://www.who.int/csr/don/2007_02_06/en/index.htmlNov 22, 2006, FAO avian flu bulletin with chart of H5N1 outbreaks by countryhttp://www.fao.org/docs/eims/upload/217700/aidenews_nov06_no44.pdf
Thus far, the Wisconsin softball team has had to endure 21 non-conference games this season without competing in a single Big Ten bout.Some good news for the Badgers: the Big Ten season is finally here, and now the competition may begin.”I think it’s going to be up for grabs,” said UW head coach Chandelle Schulte of the conference title, a quest that begins for her squad this Friday at No. 17 Northwestern. “I want to get started. … I think there’s a huge opportunity this year for a lot of teams to beat each other. There’s going to be a lot of movement [that] people don’t expect.”Schulte has good reason for her optimistic outlook this conference season. The Badgers took on the most ambitious non-conference schedule in the history of the program this spring — “we continued to go into the fire,” said Schulte — traveling across the country to play games against teams like No. 3 Texas, No. 23 Fresno State, No. 12 Arizona State and No. 5 Stanford.While Wisconsin did not post upset victories against those traditional western powerhouses, the team’s confidence has grown by competing with them. The Badgers now know what they need to do to succeed against top-level competition.Recently, the Badgers have drawn upon their reservoir of early-season experiences and have turned their season around in the last two weeks. Since March 15, the Badgers are on a five-game winning streak in which they have vastly outscored opponents, 30-6.While ambitious scheduling is surely attractive to the fans — how many times have you wished the Badgers’ football team would (just once) play Texas or Notre Dame in September — there is a delicate balance that needs to be attained for every college squad. Teams would like to challenge the best programs possible, but at the same time, coaches are caught worrying about establishing confidence in their team. Wisconsin has been able to find a happy medium between playing the top teams to gain experience while continuing to schedule games in which they can fuel their confidence by posting victories.”You have a Michigan State and you have a Penn State that are leading the Big Ten now in wins,” explained Schulte. “But their competitive schedule hasn’t been what Michigan’s, Iowa’s or Wisconsin’s has been. So, it’s a give and take; the question will be do we have enough confidence to beat you, or did you play the competition that you need to beat [us]?”The Badgers face a daunting task this weekend when they try to steal a victory or two in their doubleheader against conference foe Northwestern. The Wildcats, who have been ranked all year long, recently traveled to Los Angeles, where they unseated No. 1 UCLA, knocking them from the top of the national rankings. However, because of the Badgers’ early-season experience against quality teams, they are not worried about this weekend’s matchup.”In my experience, anyone can beat anyone on any given day,” said freshman pitcher Theresa Boruta. “I’m not discrediting them at all — they’re a great team — but you don’t look at past records to judge how you are going to do against them. … I’m not really worried about them [just because they] beat UCLA.”Coach Schulte echoed Boruta’s comments.”I don’t think [the players] are intimidated,” said Schulte. “This team doesn’t seem to worry about too many other [teams].”The coaching staff is certainly wary of the dangerous lineup that Northwestern puts on the field. Coach Schulte thinks that they will be tops in the Big Ten this season, as does assistant coach Martha McCall.”I don’t think that [Northwestern has] quite hit their peak yet,” said McCall. “Last year, Michigan was the team [to beat] in the Big Ten, and we took them to the last inning. So I don’t think we’re really scared or intimidated by anybody because, in softball, anything can happen on any given day.”
Approximately 10 USC students gathered in front of Tommy Trojan Monday to protest the recent raise in tuition for next semester. Demonstrators held signs and repeatedly chanted the phrase, “Nikias step off it, put students over profit.”This protest is the latest in a series of events held in response to USC recently raising its tuition from $49,464 to $51,422, which raises the overall estimated cost of attendance to $69,711 for the 2016-2017 school year. Another rally protesting tuition hikes was held at Tommy Trojan on March 7 and a banner saying “Stop USC Tuition Hikes” was dropped in the Ronald Tutor Campus Center on Wednesday.Event organizer Nadja Barlera, a junior majoring in English, said that these protests are continuing because students feel that the administration hasn’t been listening to their voices. Barlera specifically pointed to the lack of university response to an Undergraduate Student Government resolution as well as a student-organized petition with more than 850 signatures that both called for a tuition freeze as one of the main reason for the recent protests.“The administration hasn’t really responded to any of our demands from the college freeze petition or resolution last semester,” Barlera said. “So we want to show them that we’re not going away and that we care about this issue.”The University, however, has stressed that it strives to keep yearly price increases low, and that rising costs and increased demand for student services make tuition hikes unavoidable. In a letter to USG and GSG on March 10, Vice President of Student Affairs Ainsley Carry wrote that the University publishes its financial data online well before tuition increases take effect, but that it also recognizes the need for increased transparency and student involvement.“In direct response to the resolutions presented by the USG and GSG, I will commit the Division of Student Affairs to work with them on a memorandum of understanding to reinstate the Student Fee Advisory Committee,” Carry wrote in the letter. “This MOU will articulate the purpose and roles for the committee and its members, including the review of proposed fee increases and the communication of any year-over-year increases in tuition and fees.”According to Barlera, the information for the rally was mainly spread Sunday night through a Facebook group called “Stop USC Tuition Hikes.” For this particular rally, Barlera said that the goal was mainly to notify students about the recent raises in tuition.“This was mostly to try and raise awareness,” Barlera said. “A lot of people who saw us didn’t even know that tuition had gone up because USC hasn’t really told anyone.”At the rally, students such as Preston Fregia, a freshman majoring in political science, spoke about the potential long-lasting implications of continued tuition hikes and how this topic could be something that students can band together over.“This will affect us, your grandchildren, and everyone in this area,” Fregia said. “This is an issue that we can all have the same opinion on.”While students have already taken action by delivering letters into the administration, Barlera said that students are going to continue protesting until they elicit a formal response from the administration.“If the University continues to ignore us, we’re definitely going to do more,” Barlera said.