Gbenga Oluboye

Gbenga Oluboye

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The Seychelles’ Ministry of Health on Friday began a vaccination campaign against yellow fever, a response to an epidemic in mainland Africa, says a top official.
The campaign will last for three months. An estimated 55,000 Seychellois -- a little over half of the Seychelles’ population -- will be vaccinated during that period.

“Seychelles has never recorded any case of yellow fever but with climate change, and the mosquito types that we have anything is possible," said Public Health Commissioner Dr. Jude Gedeon.

Gedeon said the Ministry of Health decided to carry out the programme following the World Health Organisation’s guideline that a yellow fever vaccine can provide lifelong protection.

Yellow fever virus is spread by the bite of an infected female mosquito. An infected person will have symptoms like fever, chills, loss of appetite and nausea, muscle pains, which usually improve within five days.

In some cases, the fever returns and can damage the liver, which in turn causes bleeding and kidney problems.

“Yellow fever can be fatal, and the virus is considered to be the most severe among mosquito-borne diseases. It is more severe than dengue, chikungunya and even the recent zika virus, so people need to protect themselves,” said Gedeon.

The Yellow fever vaccine has been part of children’s vaccination programs since 1995. Anyone over the age of 20 may not have received the vaccine. Before 1995 residents of Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, were only vaccinated when travelling to high-risk countries.

Gedeon said the vaccine will not be administered to people over 60 as it may cause adverse side effects. He is, however, encouraging those between 21 and 59 to take part in the exercise.

The vaccine becomes effective 10 days after being administered and provides life-long protection.

The vaccinations cost around $300,000 (3.9 million Seychelles' rupees) and is financed by the Seychelles’ government. It is being administered free of charge to Seychellois.

The vaccine is currently being administered to inhabitants on La Digue, the third most populated island.

The Ministry of Health will announce when other campaigns on Mahe, the main island, will get underway.

Hawaiian Airlines flight 459 from Honolulu to South Korea forced to turn back last night when a passenger was acting in a suspicious manner.

After flight attendants reported the suspicious behavior, the plane diverted back to Honolulu where the aircraft landed at 8:35 pm and was met by law enforcement officials. Over a dozen law enforcement vehicles surrounded the plane as the suspicious passenger was taken off the plane. Witnesses said 2 young men were escorted off the flight.

The rest of the 285 passengers deplaned safely to await another flight.

The FBI is investigating, and no word has been received yet on what the passenger did that disrupted the flight.

A third explosion in the past 24 hours has rocked eastern Turkey, killing four security personnel and injuring seven in Bitlis province. It comes after two car bombings targeted police stations, leaving at least six people dead and as many as 290 injured.

First, village guard Müslüm Yaldız was killed, and a soldier wounded in clashes with PKK militants in the village of Nazar, Hurriyet Daily News reports. Then, a hand-made explosive went off on a road near the village of Gayda, when a military vehicle was passing by. Three soldiers were killed and six injured in that attack.

Early Thursday, a car bombing hit police headquarters in the eastern Turkish city of Elazig, the administrative center of Elazig Province.

At least three police officers were killed, according to local Governor Murat Zorluoglu.

The Turkish premier Binali Yildirim put the number of those injured at 217, after the governor's office earlier said 146 people were wounded.

A bomb-carrying car exploded in front of the police station building, creating a hole in it and severely damaging the facility, according to local media.

Another car bombing attack on a police station in the eastern province of Van, near the Iranian border, killed a police officer and two civilians late Wednesday.

At least 73 people, 53 of them civilians and another 20 police officers, were injured, an official told AP.

Turkish authorities blamed the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) for both attacks.

The Italian interior minister has ruled out the possibility of Italy following in France’s footsteps and banning Muslim female swimwear. The minister called any ban on ‘burkinis’ counterproductive, saying it could provoke violence instead of deterring it.

“The interior minister's responsibility is to ensure security and to choose the severity of responses which, however, must never become provocations that could potentially attract attacks,” Angelino Alfano told the Corriere della Sera daily newspaper, in answer to a question on his view of the widespread bans on full-face veils and other Muslim clothing in Europe.

When asked specifically about the burkini swimwear bans introduced by at least six French seaside towns following the terrorist attack in Nice, Interior Minister Alfano stated he does not think “that the French model has worked for the best.”

Alfano said that his approach towards terrorism in Italy has been “severe” enough, pointing to the fact that within the past 18 months he has facilitated the deportations of some 109 people suspected of promoting radical Islam, nine of whom are imams.

“There is a difference between a prayer and praise to hatred and violence,” Alfano said, commenting on the deportations.

He added, however, that depriving Italian Muslims of their religious symbols would be a violation of their rights.

“I base my policy on our constitution, which guarantees everyone the freedom of worship, and on liberal doctrine, because there is a natural right that precedes all laws and constitutions, as well as on pragmatic convictions, because half a million Muslims live in Italy whom I certainly cannot consider terrorists or terrorist supporters,” the minister said.

Instead of interfering in women’s beachwear, Alfano is planning to submit a new security law in September aimed at stemming the risk of radicalization and preventing new terrorist acts. Under the legislation, the minister proposes that all imams allowed to preach on Italian soil are trained in the country, and that all Muslim places of worship are officially registered as mosques and comply with Italian law.

“We are working to facilitate the introduction of a model where imams are trained in Italy to operate in the country. Furthermore, we ask that Islamic communities help in identifying radicalized individuals,” the minister told the Corriere della Sera.

“We need all places of worship to fully comply with the rules to avoid homemade mosques springing up in garages,” Alfano added.

His remarks come after an increasing number of French coastal cities announced bans on burkinis –Muslim female swimwear which largely conceals the body.

Deemed “archaic” and “hostile,” the swimwear was first banned in Cannes, followed by Villeneuve-Loubet, citing “hygienic reasons,” and Sisco, Corsica, after a violent brawl there sparked by the Muslim swimwear. Three more French towns announced similar bans on Wednesday.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls supported the initiative to ban the swimwear, saying it is “not compatible with the values” of the nation.

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