Sun, Aug 26, 2018 - Page 5 News List

World News Quick Take

Agencies

UNITED STATES

McCain ends treatment

Arizona Senator John McCain has discontinued medical treatment for an aggressive form of brain cancer, his family said on Friday. It is a likely indication that the war hero, presidential nominee and long-time leading lawmaker is nearing the end of his life. McCain has surpassed expectations for survival, but “the progress of disease and the inexorable advance of age render their verdict,” the family said. “With his usual strength of will, he has now chosen to discontinue medical treatment.” The six-term senator, who would turn 82 next week, has been away from the Capitol since December last year.

UNITED STATES

Lane weakens, risks remain

Hurricane Lane, which has threatened Hawaii for a week, is now a tropical storm, but meteorologists say that heavy rains could still wallop the islands with flash flooding and landslides. Lane dumped nearly 91cm of rain on parts of the Big Island over the past two days, forcing residents to flee their flooded homes in waist-high water. Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said that people need to be vigilant and not let their guard down. Upper-level winds known as shear swiftly tore Lane apart south of Honolulu. Lane has maximum sustained winds of 110kph as it slowly heads west, the National Weather Service said. As flooding hit the Big Island, brush fires broke out in areas of Maui and Oahu susceptible to flames.

UNITED STATES

Trolls targeted vaccine row

Russian trolls and bots on Twitter attempted to influence the debate over vaccine safety, with the aim of sowing discord among the US public ahead of the 2016 election, researchers reported this week. “Did you know there was a secret government database of #vaccine-damaged children? #VaccinateUS,” said one of the tweets mentioned in the American Journal of Public Health. Researchers studied the frequency of vaccine mentions by accounts suspected of being automated bots or linked to Russian propaganda campaigns. Researchers did not find a lot of tweets about vaccines — among a sample of 1.8 million tweets from July 2014 to September last year, there were just 253 containing #VaccinateUS, for example — but the study showed that “health communications have become ‘weaponized’: public health issues, such as vaccination, are included in attempts to spread misinformation and disinformation by foreign powers.” As seen in other controversial topics online, the messages were divided about evenly between pro and anti-vaccine. This was part of the strategy to promote discord in the public, researchers said.

UNITED STATES

Ex-CDC director arrested

Former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director Tom Frieden, a leading public health expert instrumental in the US’ response to the Ebola crisis and to legislating against smoking, was on Friday arrested and charged with sexual harassment. He was arrested on charges of forcible touching, sexual abuse and harassment of a 55-year-old woman in New York City’s Brooklyn Heights. He is accused of touching the woman’s buttocks and squeezing without her consent in October last year. The woman filed a complaint last month, police said. Frieden surrendered his passport and is next due in court on Oct. 11, prosecutors said. He is currently president and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, a US$225 million initiative at global health non-profit Vital Strategies.

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