News Blurbals

By Ross Salese
October 29, 2009

H1N1 virus declared national emergency

President Obama has declared the H1N1 virus a national emergency, allowing for alternate sites to be set up to treat and vaccinate as many people as possible. Swine flu has reached 46 states, the same amount that the winter flu season reaches. Officials say the H1N1 virus has killed up to 1,000 Americans and hospitalized 20,000 more. 85 million doses of the vaccine have been shipped, but local shortages are the main problem as people are coming quicker than the vaccines can get there. 200 million doses were predicted to be ready by the end of the year, but problems with production have slowed down distribution. The vaccine is grown in fertilized chicken eggs, but the growth time has taken longer than expected.

Drug cartel raid nets in hundreds of arrests

The justice department arrested 303 people on Thursday in 19 states as they targeted the Mexican drug cartel group called the La Familia Michoacana. The justice department hopes these arrests will disrupt the supply chain that has been trafficking cocaine into American cities and cash and weapons in to Mexico. The latest arrests have been part of a four year investigation netting almost 900 arrests. $32 million dollars of American currency was seized in the raids, 2,700 pounds of methamphetamine, 4,400 pounds of cocaine, 16,000 pounds of marijuana and 29 pounds of heroin. La Familia Michoacana began 25 years ago as a group aimed at driving drug dealers out of Michoacán, but they turned into a drug cartel themselves.

Arizona could turn to private prison ownership

Arizona officials will begin the search for bidders to buy nine of the 10 state prisons in Arizona, giving private control to over 40,000 inmates, but the 127 on death row will be executed by the state. Officials hope the privatizing of state prisons will put a $100 million dollar dent in the states $2 billion dollar budget deflect. A vendor will pay $100 million to run one or more facilities, running them more efficiently and cheaper than the state, then the savings would be divided between the state and the private company. With the economic struggle the country is in now, many states will pay close attention to Arizona in the coming months.

Cancer screening may not be effective

Cancer screening’s may not be as effective as previouslythought. The early detection of cancer was once thought to be a lifesaver, but the American Cancer Society is now saying screenings and early detection has been overhyped. For breast cancer and prostate cancer screenings the problem lies in what tumor to treat, overtreatment of small cancers and the mistreatment of deadly ones is the main concern. Researchers say they don’t want people to turn away from scans altgether, just to understand the risks involved and that early detection isn’t necessarily a lifesaver. The fact is some cancers are deadly and some are harmless and go away on their own, researchers say that could be the hardest news to swallow.

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Ross Salese

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