HEADLINES -- October 25, 2010 at 11:30 AM EDT
Monday: Haiti's Cholera Death Toll Hits 250; More Massacres in Mexico
The death toll in Haiti's cholera epidemic topped 250 over the weekend as thousands more remained hospitalized and officials braced for the disease to spread into densely populated slums in urban areas.
The Wall Street Journal reports:
Six cases were confirmed in the Port-au-Prince area, said Ariel Henry, chief of staff at the Haitian Ministry of Health. All were travelers from the Artibonite Valley, a rural region north of the capital where the outbreak appears to have originated, so the new cases don't indicate the disease is spreading to Port-au-Prince.
But Dr. Henry said he expected cholera would begin spreading to the city in the next week. "I have no doubt that it will arrive in Port-au-Prince, because people are moving a lot," he said Sunday. "It will arrive during the next week probably."
On Sunday, Haiti's government said the epidemic might be stabilizing, with cholera fatalities "dropping from 10.6 percent of known cases three days earlier to 8.2 percent now," The New York Times reported:
But international health authorities cautioned against premature optimism. "We cannot read too much into the slight improvement in the fatality rate," Dr. Michel Thieren of the Pan American Health Organization said. "The epidemic has not spread yet, but it is still increasing roughly at the same rate in the Artibonite area."
Hesperian, a non-profit publisher of community-based health care news, has a helpful newsletter on how to prevent, identify and treat cholrea cases.
Massacres in Mexico
Mexico suffered a pair of massacres in border cities in recent days. In Tijuana, armed men burst into a drug rehab center Sunday and killed at least 10 people. Here's a description of the attack:
A witness, who asked to be identified only by his first name, Jesus, for fear of reprisals, said he had stepped out for something to eat when the attacked occurred late Sunday.
When he returned, his fellow clients told him the attackers made the addicts lie on the floor, and then sprayed them with bullets, killing 13. Other clients sleeping upstairs in the center also survived. There are normally about 45 clients at the center.
That massacre followed another one on Friday night when 14 people were killed when gunmen attacked a birthday party in Ciudad Juarez.
Karzai Government Takes Iranian Cash
Afghan President Hamid Karzai confirmed a Times report that his office has accepted bags of cash from Iran, but said the process was "transparent." The BBC reports:
The cash was intended to promote Iran's interests in Kabul, the report said.
However, Mr Karzai said the money was not for an individual but to help run the president's office.
Speaking at a news conference, he said many countries had given money to Afghanistan in this way, including the US.
"The government of Iran has been assisting us with five or six or seven hundred thousand euros once or twice every year, that is an official aid," he told reporters, according to the AFP agency.
NPR Chief apologizes for Handling of Williams Firing
NPR CEO Vivian Schiller apologized Sunday to her colleagues for the controversial manner in which news analyst Juan Williams was fired:
While we stand firmly behind that decision, I regret that we did not take the time to prepare our program partners and provide you with the tools to cope with the fallout from this episode. I know you all felt the reverberations and are on the front lines every day responding to your listeners and talking to the public