2A - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, October 19, 2004
tes to reCeve SCarce flu shots NEWS IN BRIEF
The Associated Press
Norman Cooper has been unable to
find a flu shot for his wife who takes
daily oxygen treatments for asthma,
emphysema and bronchitis.
So he was incensed to learn that some
inmates in the state prison 30 miles
down the road were getting flu shots.
"This deal with the prisons has got me
so upset," said Cooper, who also hoped
to help an 80-year-old friend who was
on oxygen for a chronic lung illness. "I
don't think they should get flu shots over
citizens who are at high risk. They're
being treated like first-class citizens,
and we are second-class citizens."
Federal and state prison officials say
the inmates getting the shots are also
high-risk - either 65 and over or suf-
fering from a chronic medical condi-
tion. They say it's the surest way to fend
off a flu epidemic inside the prisons that
could be costly to taxpayers.
But Cooper's distress over the situa-
tion is just one example of the difficulty
of fairly distributing the nation's short
supply of flu vaccine.
The government estimates there are
98 million people at high risk of flu
complications, and expects to have a
little more than half of that number of
The Missouri prison system's medical
services contractor, Correctional Medi-
cal Services, got 8,780 of the 9,460 doses
it had requested, said spokesman Ken
Fields. And he said all of those shots have
already been given to high-risk inmates
as well as some high-risk staffers who
have direct contact with them.
"By being proactive about this, we
hope to keep inmates from having to be
housed in outside hospitals," said John
"By being proactive about this, we hope to
keep inmates from having to be housed in
- Missouri corrections spokesman John Fougere
Fougere, corrections spokesman.
Meanwhile, Cooper and thousands
of others have spent countless hours
calling doctors and health departments
seeking flu shots. Cooper, who lives in
Scott City in southeast Missouri, says
his 64-year-old wife was hospitalized in
June and was warned that a cold or the
flu could be fatal.
But prison officials argue that inmates
also need protection. Even though they
are confined, they are susceptible to
flu through contact with staff, visitors
and turnover among inmates, said Joe
Weedon, spokesman for American Cor-
rectional Association, a trade group that
accredits jails and prisons. A large num-
ber of inmates also suffer from alcohol
and drug addictions, which can compro-
mise their immunity.
"You've got an environment where
inmates are living in close quarters,
coming into contact with each other
and not necessarily in the most sanitary
conditions because they don't wash their
hands," Weedon said.
kdnapped in Iraq
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Insur-
gents abducted the local director of
CARE International from her car in
Baghdad yesterday, targeting a charity
worker who has championed ordinary
Iraqis for decades.
In new violence, mortar attacks
killed an American contractor and at
least four Iraqi National Guard mem-
bers and wounded 80 Iraqis, the U.S.
Margaret Hassan was kidnapped
while being driven to work about 7:30
a.m. in a western neighborhood of the
capital, a CARE employee who spoke
on condition of anonymity said. The
employee said CARE did not employ
Hours later, Al-Jazeera television
aired a brief video of Hassan in cap-
tivity. She sat on a couch in a room,
speaking and no gunmen were vis-
ible in the footage. Al-Jazeera said an
"armed Iraqi group" claimed respon-
sibility for the kidnapping but did not
say whether any demands were made.
South of Baghdad, Iraqi security
forces and U.S. Marines carried out
raids this week that arrested nearly 130
suspected insurgents, the U.S. military
said yesterday. The sweep included
areas where British media say Brit-
ish forces might be redeployed at the
request of the U.S. command to free
up American forces to move against
The raids took place Sunday and Mon-
day in and around the cities of Iskandari-
yah, Yusufiyah and Latifiyah. Four of
those detained Monday were suspected
in an attack on the joint forces earlier the
same day, the military said.
Three car bombs exploded in the
northern city of Mosul yesterday, kill-
ing two Iraqi civilians and wounding
three, the U.S. military said. One blast
targeted a convoy belonging to the
governor of Ninevah, though he was
not in the convoy, she said.
Just north of the capital, a barrage of
six mortars hit the headquarters of the
Iraqi National Guard early yesterday
just as troops were lining up in forma-
tion, said international officials and
National Guard officers under condi-
tion of anonymity.
Four guardsmen were killed and 80
wounded, the U.S. military said, citing
the Iraqi Defense Ministry. Iraqi offi-
cers on the scene said five Guardsmen
had been killed and more than 100
injured, some severely.
A separate mortar and rocket attack
on a U.S. military base in central
Baghdad yesterday killed an Ameri-
can working for KBR, a subsidiary of
the Houston-based Halliburton's engi-
neering and construction subsidiary,
said Megan Mason, spokeswoman for
the company in Baghdad.
Karzai projected winner of election
With one-third of the votes counted in Afghanistan's landmark presidential elec-
tion, Hamid Karzai was leading with 64 percent, and his campaign team said yes-
terday it was certain the interim leader will win with the simple majority required
to avoid a run-off.
The camp of ethnic Uzbek warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum, currently third, also
said yesterday that the race is over, but Karzai's main challenger accuses the U.S.-
backed incumbent of cheating and refuses to concede defeat.
Karzai's rivals have lodged dozens of complaints with a panel of foreign experts,
though it is unclear if the panel will report before the expected release of the official
election result at the end of October. Karzai needs at least 50 percent of the vote to
avoid a runoff. Election officials have said the tallies are unlikely to change much
once 20 percent of the votes have been counted.
Karzai, who has served as president since U.S.-led forces ousted the Taliban
regime in late 2001, has mixed results in the returns from northern and central
provinces where his ethnic Tajik and Uzbek rivals are strongest. However, he
appears set to sweep southern and eastern regions dominated by his fellow Pashtun
Social Security benefits, premiums rise
More than 47 million Americans will get a 2.7 percent increase in their Social
Security checks starting in January, meaning an additional $25 per month for
the typical retiree. But almost half of that gain will be gobbled up by a record
increase in Medicare premiums.
The cost of living adjustment, or COLA, announced yesterday by the Social
Security Administration will be the largest percentage gain since a 3.5 percent
increase in 2001. The increase last January was 2.1 percent.
The inflation adjustment is based on the amount prices - as measured by the Con-
sumer Price Index - have risen in the July-September quarter compared with the
same period a year ago. Rising energy costs have driven inflation higher this year.
The average Social Security retiree will see his benefit check increase from
$930 this year to $955 next year. However, the average retiree will also realize
just over half of that increase because the government announced in September
that monthly Medicare premiums for doctor visits will rise by $11.60 a month
next year, a record in dollar terms.
Group seeks ban on export of Canadian drugs
Canadians must stop Americans from using Internet pharmacies to raid its med-
icine chest or face a drug shortage, a coalition of Canadian groups representing
seniors, pharmacies and patients has warned.
The groups, claiming to represent 10 million Canadians, or about one-third the pop-
ulation, called on the Canadian government Monday to ban prescription drug exports.
They argue that Canada cannot afford to address U.S. drug shortages and soar-
ing prescription costs with its own stock, which are often considerably cheaper for
Americans because of government price controls.
An estimated 65 million Americans, most elderly, don't have drug coverage or can't
afford drugs. Internet pharmacies and Canadian doctors willing to write prescriptions
for Americans send about $1 billion a year in Canadian drugs south of the border.
Leader's ouster may dim democratic prospects
Myanmar's tough but pragmatic prime minister was sacked yesterday by his
hardline army colleagues, clouding prospects for the freedom of opposition leader
Aung San Suu Kyi and for democracy in the military-led Southeast Asian nation.
The ouster of Gen. Khin Nyunt, 65, who was also military intelligence chief,
seemed to spell an end to a power struggle between so-called moderates in the
junta and a faction uninterested in negotiating reconciliation with democracy activ-
ists or with nations critical of the regime.
Khin Nyunt was taken into custody late Monday and charged with corruption,
according to officials in neighboring Thailand, who were the first to publicly break
- Compiled from Daily wire reports
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An Iraqi National Guard member guards weapons at a collection place in Sadr
City, Baghdad, Iraq, yesterday. Followers of radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr con-
tinued to trickle into police stations to hand in weapons.
Insubordination worries Israeli army chief
JERUSALEM (AP) - Israel's army chief of staff
yesterday condemned a call from scores of rab-
bis who urged observant soldiers to refuse orders
to evacuate Jewish settlements under next year's
planned Israeli pullout from the Gaza Strip.
The statement by Lt. Gen. Moshe Yaalon, broad-
cast on local media, reflected army officials' growing
concern that a significant number of soldiers would
heed the rabbis' call, causing a crisis in the army.
"Insubordination is dangerous to us as an army, as
a society and as a nation. This is not legitimate and
inappropriate," Yaalon said. "Don't put us in impos-
"I call upon all those involved, from across the
political spectrum, to show responsibility and not to
undermine the (military)," he said at a navy memo-
Under Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's "disengage-
ment plan," Israel would withdraw from the Gaza
Strip and four West Bank settlements next year,
removing 8,600 settlers from their homes.
Yesterday evening, an Israeli soldier was slain in a
drive-by shooting at an isolated settlement between
the Palestinian towns of Tulkarem and Jenin, near
the West Bank settlements slated for evacuation, the
The soldier was the 1,000th person to die on the
Israeli side in four years of violence, according to
Associated Press records. During the same period,
3,265 people were killed on the Palestinian side.
The slain soldier was identified as Staff Sgt. Yair
Turgeman, 22, from the settlement of Kiryat Arba
next to the West Bank city of Hebron. Army Radio
said he was sitting in a tent when he was hit by Pal-
The Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, a Group tied to
Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction, claimed responsibility
for the soldier's death.
In a sign of internal unrest among the Palestin-
ians, members of the same group briefly took over
two government buildings in the West Bank town
of Jenin yesterday, demanding more assistance for
the families of Palestinians killed in the fighting and
new laws that would give the families more rights.
No injuries were reported.
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