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Over 600 people test HIV positive in Pakistan city

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Pakistan said on Sunday over 600 people, most of them children, had tested HIV positive in a city in the southern Sindh province.

Concern grew after hundreds of people were allegedly infected by a doctor using a contaminated syringe in Rato Dero city and surrounding villages of Larkana district.

“Some 681 people, of which 537 were children from two to 12 years of age, had been tested positive for HIV until yesterday in Rato Dero,” special health advisor Zafar Mirza told a press conference in Islamabad.

He said 21,375 people had been screened in Rato Dero, adding that the increase in the number of patients testing positive for HIV was “a matter of grave concern” for the government.

One cause being investigated by Pakistani authorities is the use of “unsafe syringes” on patients.

Mirza said: “Initial investigations reveal that used syringes are being re-packed, which may not only grow significantly the number of HIV cases but also other diseases.”

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The federal government is providing 50,000 HIV screening kits to Sindh.

– ‘Drastic measures’ –

Provincial health officials have also noted that patients are at particular risk of contracting diseases or viruses at these clinics, where injections are often pushed as a primary treatment option.

“The government will get to the bottom of the outbreak and fully assist the provincial government to provide treatment to all patients,” Mirza said, adding that a team of experts from the World Health Organization was also scheduled to arrive soon to assist Pakistani authorities in ascertaining the cause of the HIV virus in the area.

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“Prime Minister Imran Khan is going to unveil drastic measures to prevent the disease once we ascertain the cause of the spread of disease,” he said.

Parents in the area fear their children’s futures have been irreparably harmed after contracting HIV, especially in a country whose masses of rural poor have little understanding of the disease or access to treatment.

Nisar Ahmed, the father of one of the affected baby girls aged just one, told AFP: “We are told to go to Larkana for medicine. I curse the doctor who has spread this disease to every child.

“Four of the children of my village have already been diagnosed HIV positive.”

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Pakistan was long considered a low prevalence country for HIV, but the disease is expanding at an alarming rate, particularly among intravenous drug users and sex workers.

With about 20,000 new HIV infections reported in 2017 alone, Pakistan currently has the second fastest growing HIV rates across Asia, according to the UN.

“According to some government reports, around 600,000 quack doctors are operating across the country and around 270,000 are practising in the province of Sindh,” according to UNAIDS.

Pakistan’s surging population also suffers the additional burden of having insufficient access to quality healthcare following decades of under-investment by the state, leaving impoverished, rural communities especially vulnerable to unqualified medical practitioners.

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How Teach for America evolved into an arm of the charter school movement

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When the Walton Family Foundation announced in 2013 that it was donating $20 million to Teach For America to recruit and train nearly 4,000 teachers for low-income schools, its press release did not reveal the unusual terms for the grant.

Documents obtained by ProPublica show that the foundation, a staunch supporter of school choice and Teach For America’s largest private funder, was paying $4,000 for every teacher placed in a traditional public school — and $6,000 for every one placed in a charter school. The two-year grant was directed at nine cities where charter schools were sprouting up, including New Orleans; Memphis, Tennessee; and Los Angeles.

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Why do conservatives hate Oberlin College so much?

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When I was an undergraduate at Oberlin in the mid-Aughts, there was a student in my class year who was obsessed with 19th-century British Royal Naval culture. Every Friday evening, he would host a sing-along in a dorm lounge, for which he would bring xeroxes of historical sea shanty lyrics and pass them around so that we could sing along, waving our glasses of “grog.” This was a semi-established event — he had distributed flyers around campus advertising the weekly British Royal Naval sea-shanty singalong and grog-drinking event, which would extend late into the night. Though he was not a resident of the dorm where it took place, he was welcomed into the lounge by its members, and became a fixture of sorts.Like many well-endowed liberal arts schools in rural areas, Oberlin College functions as a sort of de facto social welfare state, and is designed to encourage and cultivate one’s passions, even if they are not strictly academic. Thus, after writing up a proposal for the student-run activities board, the same student, the British Royal Navy culture guy, was able to plan, organize and execute a ticketed Royal Naval Ball, held in the atrium of the science center. The event featured 20 dishes of authentic British era-appropriate cuisine, cooked by student chefs, several courses of wine and port, and a violinist present to play period-specific music. The whole affair culminated with a traditional, British partner line dance — its sole inauthenticity the fact that we didn’t pay attention to our dance partners’ genders the way the Brits would have.
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2020 Election

Here are 5 reasons why 2020’s down-ballot races could reshape America’s future

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The political press always tends to focus mostly on the marquee race for the White House but that's especially true this cycle, as Donald Trump runs for a second term. He demands attention and his antics enrage his opponents and delight his supporters in equal measure.

But national reporters risk missing the big picture by centering so much of their reporting at the top when many of the most important political battles in 2020 will take place further down the ballot.

Trump is catnip for reporters and their editors, but the dearth of coverage of downballot races didn't begin with his election. As the news media in general faces structural changes—with print circulation declining and much of their work moving into digital spaces that are more difficult to monetize--publishers have cut back on reporters assigned to the state and local government beat. Nevertheless, Trump has arguably worsened the trend by getting so much airtime— one estimate suggested that over the past four years, Trump has taken up, on average, 15 percent of the entire daily news cycle on the three leading cable networks, nearly three times what Obama did.

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