The United States is about halfway through the current flu season and although it is hitting the elderly hardest, 29 children have also died from influenza. 48 states reported widespread geographic influenza activity and more than 5,000 people were sick enough to be hospitalized. The early season has caused a run on flu vaccines, and now some areas report shortages. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control, flu vaccine makers were able to squeeze out 10 million more doses than expected for a total of 145 million doses.
Lance Armstrong admitted to having used performance enhancing drugs in all seven of his tour de France wins on Oprah Winfrey’s Network last week. He admitted to using erythropoietin (EPO), blood transfusions, human growth hormone, testosterone, and cortisone. Armstrong is expected to receive legal ramifications as a result of his admitting to using performance enhancing drugs.
A recently hired security officer left a handgun unattended in a Michigan charter school bathroom. No children were exposed to the handgun. Recent events such as the Connecticut school shooting in which 20 children and six school employees were killed has led to the NRA calling for armed guards at every school and the president calling for more gun laws to curb violence.
Fiat/Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne recently announced that the Alfa Romeo brand will return to the United States by year-end, launching with the new 4C sports car. Alfa Romeo was one of the most popular Italian brands sold in the country, but abandoned the US market two decades ago due to a variety of problems, including poor quality. Marchionne said that the powertrain was of particular concern and stressed that it had to have the right feel and even the right sound associated with Alfas of the past. He reassured reporters saying, “Alfa Romeo is coming. There is not a single doubt.”
French troops launched their first ground operation against Islamist rebels in Mali on Wednesday in an attempt to get rid of al-Qaida-linked fighters. France called for international support against the Islamist insurgents that are a threat to Africa and the West. French army chief Edouard Guillaud said that French military strikes were being hampered due to militants using civilian populations as shields. He further said that “we categorically refuse to make the civilian population take a risk. If in doubt, we will not shoot.”
23 hostages and 32 militants were killed after an attack on a natural gas plant deep in Algeria. 107 foreign hostages and 685 Algerian hostages have also been released. The final raid launched by Algeria’s military at the In Amenas plant led to the death of several al-Qaida-linked militants and seven hostages. The militants said Friday before the raid that they would exchange two American citizens for two people being held in the United States, the blind sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, convicted in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, and Aafie Siddiqque, a 40 year old Pakistani neuroscientist who was convicted of attacking U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. The United States did not complete the trade.