Thursday, January 18, 2018

Europe: Multi-Resistant Tuberculosis Pathogens Found In Refugees

An original translation from Die Welt:

Multiresistant Tuberculosis Pathogens Found In Refugees

By Claudia Sewig, January 16., 2018
Scientists substantiated the outbreak of a multiresistant strain of Tuberculosis. It was discovered in 29 refugees who had come to Germany via the Horn of Africa.
The tuberculosis trend which had been declining for many years has turned around. This is what the Robert-Koch-Institut (RKI) in Berlin had announced at World Tuberculosis Day 2017, pointing out a relation with current migration movements. Scientists at the National Reference Centre (NRZ) at the research center Borstel (district Segeberg) managed to substantiate a Europe-wide outbreak of a multiresistant strain of Tuberculosis with 29 refugees. The strain showed a remarkable combination of resistance to four different antibiotics.
The increase of cases with persons with migration background caused the NRZ scientists to conduct further research. In general, newly arriving refugees are screened for transmittable diseases in the entry exam according to paragraph 62 of asylum law (AsylG). This includes an x-ray of the respiratory tract, which can determine a tuberculosis infection. But only ten percent of the people who are infected with the pathogen become ill – half of them in the first year after infection, the other half even later.
Since the law for protection against infection (IfSG) was introduced in January 2001, numerous characteristics of each tuberculosis patient are recorded and, in anonymised form, transferred by the 400 health offices in Germany via the 16 land offices to the Robert Koch Institute.
Refugees came over Horn of Africa
The research center Borstel now announces in a publication in the professional journal „The Lancet Infectious Diseases“ that the researchers from Schleswig-Holstein and their colleagues of the National Reference Center for Mycobacteria (NZM) Switzerland identified a hitherto unknown Tuberculosis pathogen in 2016.
The moleculobiological examination in combination with patient interviews enabled the scientists to partially reconstruct the chain of infection. The data pointed to the infection to have occurred before the arrival i Europe, in a Libyan refugee camp at Bani Walid.
It is likely that the strain developed from a clone of a tuberculosis strain that is common at the Horn of Africa, and developed the critical combination of resistancies. All 29 patients from seven European countries were refugees who had migrated to Europe via the Horn of Africa.
There were no refugees from Hamburg, Schleswig-Holstein or Lower Saxony [i.e. northern Germany] among the 14 cases in Germany, according to the statement. „The patients are maily unaccompanied underage refugees who registered in Baden-Württemberg“, says Dr. Katharina Kranzer, chief of the NRZ at the research center Borstel. But as the outbreak was still ongoing, more cases might surface.
In September 2015, in what has been the largest influx of refugees to Hamburg until now, nine people were precautionally taken to the University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE). A paramedic had noticed, in a tent at the main strain station, symptoms of the highly infectious disease with three refugees who were waiting to continue their journey there. They could be released from the UKE only hours later.
70 percent of those fallen ill are foreign nationals
“It was only through analysis of the genome that the strain of the outbreak was unambiguously identified”, says Professor Stefan Niemann, author of the study and leader of the research team molecular and experimental mycobateriology at the research center Borstel, and of the tuberculosis department of the German Center for Infection Research. “But in order to be able to fully benefit from the advantages of this technology it needs to be incorporated into routine screening and monitoring for tuberculosis.”
Niemann refers to himself and his colleagues as genome detectives, having been analyzing the genome of the tuberculosis bacterium. “In order to be able to determine the tuberculosis strain, we developed a quick test,” says Niemann. Additionally, in Borstel, in a pilot project, all laboratory samples from patients from tuberculosis patients from Hamburg, Hannover and Frankfurt are being analyzed. “We have material from Hamburg from 1996 on”, says the researcher, hoping that other cities will join in on the project.
According to RKI, a total of 5915 cases of tuberculosis were registered in 2016, meaning 7.2 newly falling sick per 100,000 inhabitants. The analysis by nationality showed visible differences in the risk of illness: The incidence with foreign nationals was 42.6 per 100,000 inhabitants and thus was 19 times higher than in the German population (incidence 2.2).
This discrepancy has increased, compared to the previous year (factor 16.6). The difference was especially notable in young adults. A total of all 30.9 percent of those fallen sick had German nationality, 69.1 were foreign nationals.
The analysis by country of birth shows that the number of foreign-born patients steadily increased over the past years, and constituted three quarters or 74.3% of all registered cases in 2016. The most frequently stated countries are Somalia, Eritrea, Afghanistan, Syria and Romania. “But it would be wrong to assume that you can’t become infected by tuberculosis in Germany, and that it is always transmitted abroad”, points out Niemann. “30 percent of the cases occur via transmission in Germany.”

For the first time, the German government is formally questioned about migrant policies in Parliament. Check out the response

Inspector convicted for putting ticketless migrant off train

Venice, January 18 – A train ticket inspector who threw a Nigerian migrant off a train near Venice in 2014 because he did not have a ticket was sentenced to 20 days in jail for “attempted private violence” on Thursday. Veneto Governor Luca Zaia said “it’s an incomprehensible affair”

Polish President Thanks Trump for Fighting Fake News

Poland’s president has thanked President Donald Trump for fighting “fake news,” saying his own country experiences the power of fake news “first hand.” President Andrzej Duda voiced his thanks to Trump in English on Twitter Thursday, a day after the U.S. leader revealed his promised “fake news awards.” In his tweet, Duda wrote that Trump “just stressed again the power of fake news. Thank you. We must continue to fight that phenomenon. Poland experiences fake news power first hand. Many European and even U.S. officials form their opinions of PL (Poland) based on relentless flow of fake news.” One of the “awards” went to Newsweek for reporting that Duda’s wife, Agata Kornhauser-Duda, did not shake hands with Trump during a visit to Warsaw last summer. In fact, she briefly avoided Trump’s outstretched hand as she reached out to shake the hand of U.S. first lady Melania Trump, but she did shake Trump’s hand afterward. Critics say Trump’s attacks on what he calls “fake news” are attacks on media freedom that embolden authoritarian leaders around the world. Duda’s tweet comes as Poland faces sharp criticism from the European Union over new laws that increase the ruling party’s control over the judiciary. While the Polish government says the laws are needed to clean up a corrupt judicial system, the EU has threatened sanctions against Poland because it says the laws violate fundamental democratic values.


Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Lofven has announced he is prepared to send the army onto the streets of Sweden if that’s what it takes to end the wave of gang violence in the country.Speaking to the TT news agency, Lofven said: “It would not be my first option to bring in the military, but I am prepared to do whatever is necessary to make sure that serious, organised crime is stamped out.”His announcement comes just days after four people were shot dead and a man was killed after picking up a hand grenade at a Stockholm train station. Swedish TV claim that more than 300 people were shot in 2016 in gang-related incidents, which is shockingly high for a country with such a small population. Jimmie Akesson, Leader of the Swedish Democrats, said in Parliment that “People are shot to death in pizza restaurants, people are killed by hand grenades they find on the street…This is the new Sweden; the new, exciting dynamic, multicultural paradise that so many here in this assembly … have fought to create for so many years.” Law and order is likely to be a huge issue in September’s Parliamentary elections.

Merkel's state television behaves like an inquisitor towards its guest, the Austrian Chancellor Kurz

On Wednesday evening, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz visited a German talk show. Chancellor Kurz was a late Wednesday evening guest on the television talk show hosted by ARD TV presenter Maischberger. It was an exclusive interview without further guests. During the programme, the presenter repeatedly criticised the young age of the statesman. She also asked extremely private questions about the family and wedding planning of the 31-year-old. Numerous users of the short news service Twitter were appalled by Maischberger's behaviour. "You don't have to like him. But a moderator should already have respect for the conversation partner,"wrote a user. Another lady commented:"How unfriendly Maischberger speaks to the chancellor of a friendly state" and a third excuse even:"I apologize wholeheartedly to Sebastian Kurz for this presumptuous interview. Prior to the show, Kurz was greeted with military honours in Berlin by Angela Merkel. The two Chancellors held joint talks on topics such as refugee or EU policy.

‘Secure EU Borders’: Austria’s Kurz and Merkel Clash Over Migrant Quotas

Angela Merkel and her Austrian counterpart Sebastian Kurz clashed over immigration in their first meeting Wednesday, with the seasoned German chancellor saying Vienna’s resistance to sharing out refugees across the bloc was “wrong”.

Kurz, at 31 the world’s youngest leader after forming a government with the far right last month, said following talks with Merkel that the debate about mandatory migrant quotas “took up too much space”.
“I’m convinced that the solution to the migrant problem lies with decent border protection and stronger help in countries of origin,” Kurz told reporters after he was received in Berlin with military honours.
While Merkel echoed those priorities, she also chided the member states that have refused to take in their share of migrants and refugees under the European Union’s quota system.
When external border protection fails, “it cannot be, in my view, that there are some countries that say ‘we don’t want to participate in European solidarity’,” she said.
“I believe that’s wrong.”
Austria has sided with countries such as Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic that reject the scheme, agreed by a majority of EU leaders in 2015, to share 160,000 migrants around the bloc to help frontline states like Greece and Italy.
Just some 32,000 were relocated by the end of 2017.
Kurz, who was foreign minister at the height of Europe’s migrant crisis, was one of the fiercest critics of Merkel’s contentious decision in 2015 to open Germany’s borders to those fleeing conflict.
The move prompted an influx of nearly 900,000 asylum seekers to Germany that year alone, although arrivals have slowed significantly since then.
Kurz came to power after taking over the conservative People’s Party (OeVP) last year and yanking it to the right, with a hardline stance on immigration.
His government is the only one in Western Europe to feature the far right after he struck an alliance with the controversial Freedom Party (FPOe).
Merkel stressed the “close cooperation” between Germany and Austria and their shared positions on many issues.
She said she would judge the new government in Vienna “by its actions”, but added that she would be watching closely.

“We will keep an eye on everything else — perhaps I will a bit more than I would have otherwise done. But what matters are actions,” she said.

Mayor Khan: ‘I Can’t Solve London Knife Crime,’ Blames Right Wingers

The London mayor has said he “can not solve knife crime by myself” when pressed on the issue in the London Assembly, blaming Conservative government cuts and implying right-wing opponents are lying.

“The public will see increased police activity in areas of high knife crime. We’re being heckled by the Tories because it’s their cuts,” he claimed during the exchange following a question from Tory Assembly Member (AM) Sean Baily.
Mr. Khan appeared angry and frustrated throughout, calling right-wing members “annoying” and “sanctimonious” as well as blasting: “Heaven forbid we have facts at Assembly when asked by Tory members.”
When he was accused of avoiding questions, he replied: “As things stand, I’m the mayor, not you. Its for me to answer the questions not ask them.”
“As good as some people think I am, I can not solve knife crime by myself. Neither can the police. It’s important to have a teamwork approach,” he said later to laughs and jeers.
London Assembly Member Mr. Baily also asked how the mayor’s record could be judged on the issues of knife crime. “Our effectiveness will be judged by knife crime going down. It is going up,” Mr. Khan replied, whilst insisting that knife and violent crime was going up across the country, not just in London.
Steve O’Connell, a Tory member, shot back: “Mayor, you are responsible for London and you must be held accountable. How will we judge you? Will it be a five per cent reduction?” he asked.
The mayor refused to name a target for reducing knife crime and began talking about cuts to the NHS. Mr. O’Connell accused the Mayor of “deflecting” from the issue.
The grilling comes after shocking statistics revealed surging levels of violent crime in London last year – homicides were up 27.1 per cent, with youth homicides up 70 per cent, and serious youth violence up 19 per cent.
Robberies rose by 33.4 per cent and burglaries by 18.7 per cent under Mr. Khan’s watch in 2016/7. There were also more than 4,000 additional knife crime incidents under Mr. Khan than under his predecessor, a rise of 31.3 per cent.
In his scripted response to the knife crime question, the mayor said there had also been rises in knife crime in “Bristol, Sheffield, Oxford, and Birmingham”, and insisted the problem in London is “not new” as there had been a five per cent rise in knife crime in capital in 2014/5.
He also repeatedly blamed “massive” and “unprecedented” cuts by the Tory government to the police for the crime wave.
“In the context of those cuts, we’re doing all that we can to address the evil of knife crime,” he told the Assembly, promising £15 million in extra funds to police after announcing a maximum council tax rise at the end of last year.
However, the mayor’s office also admitted earlier this month that the 70 per cent of the Metropolitan force’s budget that is controlled by central government has, in fact, remained frozen, and has not been directly cut.
The £600 million in police savings that have allegedly been needed is due to “the costs associated with rising demands faced by the police”, the office said, largely due to inflation and the direct and indirect effects of mass migration including a rising population, and an increased terror threat.
report published at the end of last year found that migrants have headed 90 per cent of new households in England over the past decade, and more than a third of babies born in the UK last year had at least one parent was born outside the UK.
“The pressures of London’s rising population” are in part the cause of the policing crisis, Khan’s office said on the January 9th. However, the Mayor has also been pushing for continued open borders with the EU and more mass migration after Brexit.
@ShaunBaileyUK asks Sadiq Khan 5 times to guarantee that young black males will not be targeted as part of his knife crime strategy. Sadiq Khan evades the question all 5 times ’sQuestionTime
Before his election, Mr. Khan claimed police stop and search tactics unfairly targeted minority ethnic groups and promised to “do everything in my power to cut” the practice, before reversing his stance as crime surged over the summer.
Mr. Baily said Thursday that Mr. Khan’s approach was, in fact, even more discriminatory than previous approaches.
He claimed: “[Young black men] were six times more likely [to be targeted for stop and searched]. That’s risen to eight times more likely under your watch.”

“Your ‘target led system’ has increased the amount [of searches] with no real serious increase in detections and convictions: so I put it to you, that it’s your system that is failing not other’s,” he added.