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Fifty-one people have died after being abandoned in a tractor-trailer on a remote back road in the sweltering Texas heat. It's the latest tragedy to claim the lives of migrants smuggled across the border from Mexico. Nearly all of the victims in San Antonio were found Monday at the scene. Five people later died after being taken to hospitals. More than a dozen people had been taken to hospitals, including four children. San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood says they were hot to the touch and dehydrated, and no water was found in the trailer. The home countries of all of the migrants were not immediately known, but officials say some were from Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras.
Leaders of Commonwealth nations are meeting in Rwanda’s capital to tackle climate change, tropical diseases and other challenges deepened by the COVID-19 pandemic. The summit for Commonwealth heads of state in Kigali is the culmination of a series of meetings this week that officials said yielded some success in efforts to improve the lives of people in the 54-nation association that is home to 2.5 billion people. The group of nations comprises mostly former British colonies, and its titular head is Queen Elizabeth II. Prince Charles represented his 96-year-old mother at Friday's summit. The event is taking place at an uncertain time for the British monarchy as well as the Commonwealth, whose relevance is sometimes questioned.
Scientists estimate that nearly 20 million lives were saved worldwide by COVID-19 vaccines during their first year. In a study published Thursday, they say even more deaths could have been prevented if global targets for vaccines had been reached. Scientists at Imperial College London used data from 185 countries to estimate how many deaths were prevented by the vaccination effort. They excluded China because of uncertainty around the pandemic’s effect on deaths there and its huge population. There are a lot of limitations in modeling studies, but independent experts agree that vaccines saved millions of lives.
As the World Health Organization convenes its emergency committee to consider if the spiraling outbreak of monkeypox warrants being declared a global emergency, some experts say WHO’s decision to act only after the disease spilled into the West could entrench the inequities that arose between rich and poor countries during the coronavirus pandemic. Many scientists also doubt any declaration would help to curb the epidemic, since the developed countries recording the most recent cases are already moving to shut it down. Monkeypox has sickened people for decades in central and west Africa. To date, no deaths have been seen outside Africa. The WHO said Thursday it did not expect to announce any decisions by its emergency committee before Friday.
Only a month after North Korea acknowledged a COVID-19 outbreak was sickening its people, the country may be preparing to declare victory. The daily updates from state-controlled media say cases are plummeting. Its propaganda insists North Korea has avoided mass deaths despite desperately poor health care and what outsiders see as a long record of ignoring its people’s suffering. Some experts believe the next step will be a declaration of victory over the virus — credited, of course, to Kim Jong Un’s strong and clever guidance. A declaration now isn't a foregone conclusion, though. North Korea may seek better timing while using its anti-virus measures to maintain control over its people.
Hundreds of homeless people die in the streets each year from the heat, in cities around the U.S. and the world. The ranks of homeless have swelled after the pandemic and temperatures fueled by climate change soar. Global warming is ramping up the dangers of being outside on hot days and not just in desert areas like Las Vegas or Phoenix. The Pacific Northwest was unprepared last summer when record heat killed scores of people, some of them homeless. Concerns have grown worldwide in places like Spain and India about longer, more frequent heat waves as cities take steps to protect vulnerable communities.
U.S. regulators have authorized the first COVID-19 shots for infants and preschoolers. That paves the way for vaccinations for children under 5 to begin next week. The Food and Drug Administration's emergency use authorization Friday follows a unanimous recommendation by its advisory panel. The kid-sized shots are made by Moderna and Pfizer. The FDA's action allows the companies to begin shipping millions of preordered doses across the country. A final signoff from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected this weekend. The nation's vaccination campaign began with adults in late 2020, about a year into the coronavirus pandemic.
North Korea has reported a new “epidemic” of an intestinal disease. Thursday's announcement was unusual for the secretive country, which is already contending with a COVID-19 outbreak and severe economic turmoil. It’s unclear how many people are infected in what the official Korean Central News Agency said was “an acute enteric epidemic” in southwestern Haeju city. The agency didn’t name the disease, but enteric refers to intestinal illnesses, such as typhoid, dysentery and cholera. Such diseases routinely occur in North Korea, where there is a shortage of water treatment facilities and the public health system has been largely broken for decades.
Recent weeks have seen an especially intense set of revelations about sexual assault and misconduct in U.S. churches. An independent investigation found that Southern Baptist Convention leaders mishandled abuse cases and stonewalled victims. A woman from an independent Christian church confronted her pastor in a viral video for sexually preying on her as a teen. A documentary exposed sex abuse among the Amish and Mennonites. These and other reckonings are occurring five years after the rise of the hashtag #ChurchToo, part of the wider #MeToo movement. Says one advocate for survivors, “There is an absolute epidemic of abuse in the church.”
This combination of 2022 and 2020 file photos shows logos for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration. On Wednesday, June 15, 2022, both Moderna and Pfizer will have to convince what’s essentially a science court -- advisers to the Food and Drug Administration -- that their shots work well in babies, toddlers and preschoolers. If the FDA’s advisers endorse one or both shots for them -- and the FDA agrees -- there’s still another hurdle. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention must recommend whether all tots need immunization or just those at high risk from the virus. (AP Photo/Ron Harris, Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)