News Update August 3rd 2012
JNN NEWS, P.O. Box 7411, Jerusalem 91073, Israel
“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.” Isa 40:29
ANNAN RESIGNS AS SYRIA ENVOY: Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has resigned from his post as the UN-Arab League peace envoy for Syria, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon disclosed on Thursday. Ban expressed his gratitude to Mr. Annan “for the determined and courageous efforts he has made as the joint special envoy for Syria.” Annan conveyed fears earlier this week that an “imminent battle” for Syria’s biggest city Aleppo was about to take place. Syrian opposition sources said helicopters from President Bashar al-Assad’s military pounded a rebel-held part of the city last Saturday and armored units were positioned for an onslaught that could determine its fate. “I am concerned about the concentration of troops and heavy weapons around Aleppo, in anticipation of an imminent battle,” Annan said in a statement. “The escalation of the military build-up in Aleppo and the surrounding area is further evidence of the need for the international community to persuade the parties that only a political transition, leading to a political settlement, will resolve this crisis.” (Arutz-7)
AHMADINEJAD’S ANTISEMITIC TIRADE SHOULD BE A WAKE UP CALL: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s most recent antisemitic tirade should serve the world as a “wake up call” and erode any doubts as to the “true character of the Iranian government,” PM Binyamin Netanyahu’s spokesman Mark Regev said Thursday. Regev was responding to a speech published on Ahmadinejad’s website Thursday in which the Iranian president said the ultimate goal of world forces must be the annihilation of Israel. “Unfortunately these comments do not come as a surprise,” Regev said. “This sort of poisonous language is unfortunately par for the course for the Iranian leadership.” Regev said it was incumbent upon the international community to “prevent the Iranian regime - with its fanatical and hate filled agenda - from obtaining nuclear capability.” Asked why he thought Ahmadinejad would make these comments now, Regev replied simply: “because he believes it.” (J.Post)
BARAK TELLS PANETTA ISRAEL WILL DECIDE ON IRAN: Defense Minister Ehud Barak has informed US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta that Israel will make its own decisions on how to deal with Iran. The two men discussed the issue in Tel Aviv on Wednesday. Barak told Panetta during their time together that Israel’s government would decide for itself how it will deal with its own security issues – including the threat posed by the Iranian nuclear development program. Panetta expressed his commitment to Israel’s security and said the US shares the Jewish state’s struggle for peace in the region. Barak responded by saying that while sanctions and diplomatic efforts might have some place in that equation, they are unlikely to have any real impact on preventing the Ayatollahs from continuing their nuclear program. Despite all international efforts to the contrary – including the entire past three and a half years of diplomatic and other efforts by the Obama Administration – Iran has continued, undeterred, to enrich uranium to a level of 20%. At this point, the Islamic Republic has acquired enough enriched uranium to power five primitive atomic weapons. Barak pointed out the sanctions and diplomacy take time – which allows Iran to continue to enrich more uranium. (Arutz-7)
IRAN COULD HAVE NUCLEAR WEAPONS WITHIN A YEAR, SAYS EXPERT: Dr. Ephraim Asculai, senior research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies, said Thursday that he doubts the sanctions being imposed on Iran will lead its leaders to give up the country’s nuclear weapons program. Asculai said measures imposed so far on the Islamic Republic have yet to have a real effect. “We still do not see that the Iranians are willing to be flexible on critical matters, even though the West is willing to accept flexibility,” he said, adding that the Iranian stubbornness is motivated by its desire to produce nuclear weapons quickly. Asculai also mentioned the Iranian national pride, saying, “Conceding to the West without getting something in return is out of the question for them. He added that in light of these two parameters “the sanctions are not severe enough.” Asculai predicted the Iranians could produce a nuclear bomb within a year. (INN)
REPORT: US SEES ISRAELI STRIKE ON IRAN IN OCTOBER: A senior and widely respected analyst with Israel’s Channel 2 News said days ago that top American officials have become convinced Israel will launch a military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities in October. Ehud Yaari upon returning from Washington last week said he had met with knowledgeable sources and Americans are convinced there is very high chance Israel will decide to strike Iran before the Nov elections. According to Yaari, US officials see an Israeli assault on the Islamic Republic as almost a foregone conclusion and are focusing on their response to the possible outcomes of such an action. An unnamed US official suggested the Obama White House was increasingly seeing the futility of the diplomatic tug-of-war between Iran and the international community and was working feverishly to put together a viable attack plan. That source said Netanyahu had received a detailed overview of the developing American plan and the weapons that would be used on Iran’s nuclear facilities should it be enacted. (Israel Today/Ryan Jones)
DELHI POLICE CHARGE MUSLIM JOURNALISTS IN ATTACK AGAINST ISRAELIS: Five months after an Israeli diplomat’s car was bombed in New Delhi, the Delhi Police this week indicted Indian journalist Syed Mohammad Kazmi of conspiring with foreign elements for the terror strike. A magnetic bomb destroyed the vehicle in which Tal Yehoshua Koren, was riding. She managed to escape with her life by jumping out of the car as the bomb exploded. However, both Kazmi and her Indian driver were wounded. India previously agreed with Israel that Iranian terrorists were involved in the assault, but a report Monday was the first time the Guards were named. The investigation by New Delhi police found members of the Guards discussed the plan to attack the Israeli diplomats in India and other countries with Kazmi in January 2011. (Arutz-7)
DANON: OBAMA GAVE ISRAEL THE COLD SHOULDER: Member of Knesset, Danny Danon, welcomed the recent visit to Israel by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. “We saw a candidate who cares about Israel. The very fact that he came during the campaign, three months before Election Day speaks for itself. We ask ourselves how come President Obama did not find the time to visit Jerusalem. He went to Saudi Arabia, he went to Turkey, to Egypt, but he forgot about the United States’ ally here in the Middle East.” Danon charged President Obama with turning a cold shoulder to the public in Israel and to the Jewish people. He added that leaders of the Jewish state hear a heard a strong commitment from Governor Romney and hoped to see a change in the American policy towards Israel. (INN) Continue to intercede for the US November elections. Pray all eligible voters will make their voices heard and that believers will be given the faith to believe their votes will make a difference.
DEMOCRATS MOVE TO INCLUDE GAY MARRIAGE SUPPORT IN OFFICIAL PARTY PLATFORM: Democrats are moving, for the first time, to include support for same-sex marriage in the official party platform at their national convention. The decision comes after President Obama became the first sitting US president to voice support for gay marriage. Sources said the Democrats’ platform drafting committee voted unanimously to include the language backing same-sex marriage at a meeting in Minneapolis last weekend. The next step would be for the full platform committee to take it up in Detroit next month. From there, the plank would go to convention delegates in Charlotte. An organization of black pastors announced this week they will be launching a national campaign in opposition to Obama’s endorsement. Rev. William Owens, president of the Coalition of African American Pastors, vowed the campaign will urge black voters to “withdraw their support” of the president. (Fox News) “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.” Prov 14:34
CONGRESS CONSIDERS RECOGNIZING JEWISH REFUGEES: A bipartisan group of six Congress members is sponsoring a bill that would ensure recognition of the plight of 850,000 Jewish refugees displaced from Arab countries since Israel’s War of Independence in 1948. Their bill in the US House of Representatives also would recognize other displaced populations, including Christians from countries in the Middle East, North Africa and the Persian Gulf. The legislation specifically calls on the Obama administration to pair any explicit reference to Palestinian refugees with a similar reference to Jewish or other refugee populations. “The suffering and terrible injustices visited upon Jewish refugees in the Middle East needs to be acknowledged,” said US Rep. Jerrod Nadler (D-N.Y.), the lead sponsor of the measure. “It is simply wrong to recognize the rights of Palestinian refugees without recognizing the rights of nearly one million Jewish refugees who suffered terrible outrages at the hands of their former compatriots.” Co-sponsor of the bill Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), said “Jewish refugees who were forced to flee Arab countries and Iran endured unimaginable hardships. Their plight has been ignored by the United Nations, other international bodies and many responsible nations. Any comprehensive Middle East peace agreement can only be credible and enduring if it resolves all issues related to the rights of all refugees in the Arab world and Iran, including Jews, Christians and others.” (J.Post). Pray this long overdue bill will be passed. Jewish refugees far outnumbered so called Palestinian refugees who voluntarily left Israel decades ago - having been counseled to do so by Arab warlords - and now clamor for the right to return by the millions and reclaim land, houses and Israeli citizenship. Jews, on the other hand, suffered the losses, remade their lives and prospered in other lands, mainly in Israel who absorbed and nurtured them. They have not been standing at Arab doors with their hands outstretched, demanding to be let back in and compensated along with their progeny. It is an issue often overlooked as Arab leaders dictate that the Palestinian “Right of Return” be agreed to in their long list of unreasonable demands for peace with Israel.
ISRAELS MOST SUCCESSFUL OLYMPIC SWIMMER: Israeli swimmer Yakov Toumarkin finished seventh in the 200-meter backstroke Olympic finals on Thursday in London. Toumarkin is Israel’s second swimmer to ever compete in an Olympic final. The first was Eitan Orbach, who finished eighth in the 2000 Games.By finishing seventh, Toumarkin, 20, can lay claim to the most successful Israeli swimmer in Olympic history. (INN)
Another in a long line of random honor killings that have nothing to do with Islam.
Via the AP:
A father in northwestern India remained unrepentant Tuesday after beheading his daughter with a ceremonial sword in a rage over her relationships with men, police said.
The father surrendered at a police station, carrying the head in one hand and the bloodied sword in the other, police said.
Residents of Dungarji village expressed shock as they performed the last rites for the 20-year-old woman.
Police said the father, marble miner Oghad Singh, accused his daughter of bringing dishonor to the family and making it hard to find husbands for her two unmarried sisters.
Women wailing in grief lined the dusty road of the village in Rajasthan state as a procession carried Manju Kanwar’s remains to her funeral pyre. As in many north and west Indian villages, the women, including her mother and four sisters, were not allowed to attend the funeral.
Do you suppose this barbarian shouted, ‘Allahu Akhbar’ as he cut his daughter’s head off?
Odds are good, though you’d never know it by reading the article, which didn’t mention the words, “Islam” or “Muslim” once. On the contrary, had the man belonged to any religion other than Islam, it probably would have been noted.
News Update May 10th 2012
JNN NEWS, P.O. Box 7411, Jerusalem 91073, Israel
“I am bringing My righteousness near, it is not far away; and My salvation
shall not be delayed. I will grant salvation to Zion, my splendor to Israel.” Isa 46:13
ELECTIONS CANCELLED IN ISRAEL, UNITY GOVERNMENT FORMED: In a dramatic turn of events, Israel’s PM Benjamin Netanyahu announced Tuesday morning that early general elections tentatively scheduled for September 4 were cancelled, and that he had forged a unity government with the opposition Kadima Party. The move took the entire country by complete surprise. The deal requires Kadima to support government policies until the end of its term in October 2013. In return, Netanyahu will back Kadima’s proposal to replace Israel’s Tal Law, which until now had allowed Orthodox Jewish men to indefinitely defer military service. A growing number of Israelis have been protesting the Tal Law, insisting it allows a large segment of society to get out of national service, even while that same segment enjoys the benefit of so much government welfare. The deal tremendously benefits Netanyahu, who is now head of one of the largest governing coalitions in Israel’s history, granting him unprecedented stability for the next 18 months. There is much speculation the sudden unity deal was as much about Iran as anything else. If Israel is going to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities, and experts agree a strike would have to happen this year, it is desirable that Israel be led by a unity government at a time of such crisis. According to the three-page agreement signed after midnight, Mr. Mofaz will become a deputy prime minister, standing in for Mr. Netanyahu when he is abroad and joining all closed sessions of the cabinet that “deal with security, diplomatic, economic and social issues.” (Israel Today/Ryan Jones)
ISRAELIS PROTEST AGAINST NEW UNITY GOVERNMENT: Several protests were held on Tuesday evening against the newly formed unity government, which brought the Kadima party headed by Shaul Mofaz into PM Binyamin Netanyahu’s coalition. Demonstrations were held in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Be’er Sheva. In Tel Aviv, the protesters demonstrated under the heading “All the People are Opposition.” The event was attended by social activists and MKs from Meretz and Labor. Most of the fury was directed at Mofaz - brought about because of his political zigzagging. Mofaz has said more than once that he would not join Mr. Netanyahu’s coalition. “I intend to replace Netanyahu,” he told the New York Times in an interview last month. “I will not join his government,” he declared. In the same interview Mofaz vowed he would “respond to 100% of the territorial demands of the Palestinians” if elected Prime Minister. Mofaz, who was born in Iran, immigrated with his family to Israel in 1957 and rose through the army ranks to become its top general. He oversaw the tragic withdrawal of troops and Jewish settlements from the Gaza Strip in 2005. There may be short term benefits in this strange coalition including a united government in the event of an attack on Iran and relief from the crippling stronghold of Ultra Orthodox religious parties in the government. Pray however that Shaul Mofaz will not in any way be able to pressure Mr. Netanyahu into making land for peace deals with Israel’s proven foes. As of Tuesday morning, he is now the prime minister’s right hand man.
CONGRESS ALLOCATES $1 BILLION FOR ISRAEL’S IRON DOME SYSTEM: A US House panel has voted to allocate $1 billion for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system. Each of the intercepting missiles launched to knock out an incoming Grad Katusha rockets fired at civilians in southern Israel by Palestinian Authority Arab terrorists in Gaza costs $50,000. The House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee appropriated $947 million for the Iron Dome, David’s Sling and Arrow on Monday. US Representative Steve Rothman said it was the highest ever appropriation in a single year for the military programs. The appropriation must still be approved by the Senate before being sent on to the White House for President Barack Obama’s signature. (Arutz 7) Pray this much needed allotment for Israel’s Iron Dome defense system will be approved by the Senate and the US President.
ISRAEL WARNS HIZBULLAH OVER IRAN: Any Hizbullah retaliation to an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities would prompt Israel to launch a war in Lebanon so ferocious that it would take a decade to rebuild, a senior Israeli military officer has warned. “I hope Iran will not push them into a war that Iran will not pay the price for but that Lebanon will,” said the officer, a senior commander on Israel’s northern border. He suggested Israel had taken too cautious an approach in the 2006 conflict with Hizbullah, leading to the deaths of dozens of Israeli soldiers. No such mistake would be made in the next conflict, he said, especially as the terrorist group has built military sites in the center of many villages and towns in southern Lebanon. Hizbullah has acquired a stockpile of 50,000 rockets of greater sophistication and range than it had before and is capable of striking at Tel Aviv, more than 70 miles away, according to Israeli intelligence assessments. (Telegraph-UK) “Rescue me, O Lord, from evil men; protect me from men of violence, who devise evil plans in their hearts and stir up war every day.” Ps 140:1
SYRIA MOVING SCUDS TOWARDS ISRAEL: Jordanian news site Ahbar Baladna reports that western spy satellites have recently spotted movements of Syrian heavy missile launchers northward and southward, toward Syria’s borders with Turkey and Israel. The site says hundreds of high-caliber launchers are being moved and that these could only be long range Scud missile launchers. Syria has threatened in the past that in the event of foreign military intervention on its soil, it will not hesitate to fire missiles at Israel and Turkey in order to ignite a large scale regional war. Turkish and French officials said days ago they were mulling a potential military intervention in Syria, where civil war has been raging for 14 months. (INN)
SYRIA’S LAST CHANCE TO AVOID CIVIL WAR: Special envoy Kofi Annan and the UN peacekeeping chief on Tuesday told the Security Council the Syrian army remains deployed in towns around the country as fighting and mass arrests continue. According to diplomats fewer heavy weapons are being used, but doubts are strong about the Syrian government’s commitment to a UN-brokered ceasefire agreement aimed at ending 14-months of bloodshed. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has waged a bloody campaign of oppression aimed at silencing protesters calling for his ouster that has left at least 9,100 dead. Annan told the Security Council via video link from Geneva that his six-point peace plan is not an “open ended commitment,” but rather, “a possible last chance to avoid civil war.” (INN)
MUSLIMS IN INDIA DEMAND BREAKING TIES WITH ISRAEL: Hundreds of prominent Muslim clerics in India have demanded that India break off diplomatic ties with Israel, the Indo-Asian News Service (IANS) reported this week. Defense trade between Israel and India has developed rapidly and is valued in billions of dollars. Shi’ite Muslim clerics also called for shutting down Indian’s embassy in the US. Relations with Israel are not expected to be immediately affected, but the demand by the growing Muslim population in India serves as an early warning signal because of that growth. The clerics accused Israel and the US of being the “biggest sponsors” of international terrorism and said India should focus on improving relations with the Palestinian Authority, Iran and Syria. (INN)
KNESSET PANEL BACKS PLAN TO SNUFF OUT TOBACCO ADVERTISING: The Ministerial Committee for Legislation this week approved the Health Ministry’s proposal to prohibit advertising tobacco products in newspapers and on the Internet.The bill also forbids cigarette companies to sponsor various events as they do today, such as financing student days. The proposal stipulates that the dimensions of the warning regarding tobacco products will be 30% of the advertisement’s size, in contrast to the five percent required today. The production and marketing of food products or toys resembling tobacco products will also be banned, among other things because of their influence on the image of smoking among teens. It will be forbidden to sell tobacco products to minors, and more responsibility will be placed on all-night kiosk vendors to prevent them from selling tobacco to Israel’s youth. (Ha’aretz) Bravo to the Health Ministry for its proposed bill and to Israel’s legislative members who passed it. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death, and it is estimated that smoking is the principle cause of about 90% of lung cancer in men and almost 80% in women.
BASIL BY THE TREE-FUL: With a long list of medicinal properties, basil is an herb Americans usually like tossed into spaghetti sauce or on top of pizza. Like most herbs, basil tastes best when it’s fresh. The Israeli company Hishtil (“seedling” in Hebrew) revolutionized the market for fresh herbs and spices around the world, and now it has developed a new strain of basil for discerning taste buds. Normally basil has a short shelf life, and the plant rarely lives longer than a year. Using patented techniques, Hishtil grafted two types of basil plants together and developed a hardy “secret” strain that grows a sturdy trunk, and a leafy aromatic Greek variety with tasty leaves. Together they form the world’s first basil tree. While the tree still may be sensitive to lower temperatures come winter, bring it inside where it’s warm, says Menny Shadmi, the head of marketing for the company, and it will live a long time. The new basil tree can also be grown as a bonsai - perfect for city-dwellers looking to grow their own herbs and spices, and also for suburban vegetable gardeners. (Israel 21C)
Laxmi holds up her hard-won annulment. (AFP)
At an age when most kids are learning to walk, Laxmi Sargara was already married. Her husband, Rakesh, was just three-years-old when family sealed the deal on their fate. She was one.
Now seventeen years later the couple have set a history-making precedent by having their marriage annulled. But the real hero of this story is Laxmi, now 18, who took remarkably brave steps to reverse the archaic tradition and opened the door for more child brides to follow.
I know this is completely unrelated to my blog, but I though it was worthy of posting. -Tidbits of Truth
The attacks came the day after the fourth anniversary of the assassination of Hezbollah’s military commander Imad Mughniyeh who was killed in a car bomb in Damascus in 2008. Hezbollah has tried a number of times in recent years to strike back at Israel, which it holds responsible for the assassination.
In the first attack, the wife of a Defense Ministry official stationed at the embassy was injured when a bomb exploded in her car as it drove near the Indian prime minister’s resident in New Delhi. The woman, identified as Tali Yoshua Koren, sustained moderate shrapnel wounds and underwent surgery Monday evening.
Koren, who also works at the embassy, left Monday afternoon with a driver to pick up her children from school. The blast occurred shortly after they left the embassy and eyewitnesses claimed that a motorcyclist had driven up to the car and attached a magnetic device to the back of the vehicle.
The bombing was very similar to the method used in a slew of assassinations of Iranian scientists in recent years which the Islamic regime has blamed on Israel.
Two Israeli doctors, coincidentally in New Delhi at the time, in coordination with the Foreign Ministry, arrived at the hospital and took charge of her medical care. Defense officials said discussions were taking place about the possibility of evacuating Koren back to Israel.
In the second attack, an embassy staffer in Tbilisi, Georgia discovered a bomb underneath his car as he was driving to the embassy Monday morning. The staffer – a local Georgian national – heard something during the drive, pulled over to the side of the road, noticed the bomb and called local authorities. The bomb was defused before exploding.
“We have expected this for some time and knew that Iran and Hezbollah were plotting an attack,” one senior official said.
In both India and Georgia, Israel was coordinating with local security agencies which were assisting in beefing up security around Israeli missions.
The same took place in additional countries where Israeli delegations are believed to be under threat. Diplomats worldwide were to check in with their offices and Israeli citizens overseas have been asked to raise their level of vigilance.
Over the years, a number of attacks have been thwarted – against the Israeli embassy in Azerbaijan, the Israeli embassy in Bangkok, an Israeli airliner in Turkey and Israeli tourists in the Sinai Peninsula.
In recent years, Hezbollah is believed to have significantly upgraded its overseas infrastructure and has put a particular emphasis on Europe, South America and Southeast Asia.
Hezbollah has an overseas division based in Beirut but it functions more like a sub-unit of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps’s Quds Force, responsible for Iran’s support of terrorist groups around the world.
Head of the Hezbollah unit, which numbers a few dozen operatives, is believed to be a veteran member of the guerrilla organization named Talal Hamia who is assisted by his bodyguard Ahmed Faid and Hezbollah’s top bomb maker, Ali Najan al-Din
Hamia, for example, was allegedly involved in the 1992 and 1994 bombings in Buenos Aires that targeted the Israeli Embassy and the AMIA Jewish community center.
Another member of the cell, Majd al-Zakur, is referred to as “the forger” and is responsible for procuring and preparing fake passports, like the Swedish one that appears to have been used by the Hezbollah operative caught in Thailand last month allegedly planning to bomb the Israeli embassy.
The defense establishment is concerned that the attacks on Monday were just the beginning and that Hezbollah is plotting additional attacks that could be launched possibly in the coming days.
Explosion rocks Israeli embassy in New Delhi
Monday, February 13, 2012 | Ryan Jones
A “cold war” between Israel and Iran heated up on Monday when Israeli Prime Benjamin Netanyahu accused the Islamic Republic of being behind an explosion at the Israeli Embassy in New Delhi, India that wounded an Israeli diplomat’s wife.
The victim, the wife of Israel’s security attache in India, reportedly suffered moderate-to-serious injuries.
Security officials also discovered and defused a bomb in the vehicle of an Israeli embassy employee in Georgia. The employee, a local Georgian man, had just dropped his children off at their kindergarten in Tbilisi when he heard a strange sound from underneath the car and found the bomb.
“Iran, which is behind these attacks, is the greatest exporter of terrorism in the world,” said Netanyahu. “The Israeli government and its security forces will continue to work together with local security services against these terrorist actions.”
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman added: “It just shows that Israel and its citizens face terror inside and outside Israel. We deal with it every day. We know how to identify exactly who is responsible for the attack.”
The attacks come just days after news reports suggested that Israel is using friendly nations in the Caucasus region, such as Azerbaijan, to spy on Iran’s nuclear program. On Monday, Iran reportedly warned Azerbaijan to stop cooperating with Israel.
Following the assassination of a prominent Iranian nuclear scientist earlier this year and a mysterious explosion at an Iranian missile base late last year, analysts are calling the situation between Israel and Iran a new “cold war,” drawing comparisons to the decades-long espionage battles between the Soviet Union and America.
Rukhsar Kahatoon was 18 months old when she was diagnosed with polio exactly one year ago, on January 13, 2011. Today Rukhsar is a healthy 2 1/2 year old living in Howrah, close to Kolkata, West Bengal. She’s also the last recorded case of polio in India.
That India, a country which until a few years ago reported as many as 100,000 cases of polio a year — more cases than anywhere else in the world – has been polio-free for a year, is a palpable milestone in the fight to eradicate the disease globally.
“India is a major, major victory,” Dr. Hamid Jafari, who leads the World Health Organization‘s polio eradication efforts in India, told NPR’s Shots blog. “It has established the feasibility beyond doubt of eradication. (If) it can be done under such tough conditions in India, this can be done anywhere else.”
Polio attacks the nervous system and can cause irreversible paralysis. Children under age five are most vulnerable. Until the early 1950′s, when Dr. Jonas Salk developed the first polio vaccine, the disease crippled more than a thousand children every day.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has been at the forefront of the battle, along with Rotary International and the World Health Organization (WHO). As Bill Gates pointed out, the India case demonstrates the disease can be halted “when countries combine the right elements – political will, quality immunization campaigns, and an entire nation’s determination.”
Worldwide polio cases have fallen by 99% since 1988 when the WHO launched the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. At that time, the disease was endemic in 125 countries. By contrast, there were only 620 new cases worldwide last year. Today’s India milestone also means polio is now endemic in only three countries: Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria.
Despite the victory, global eradication is still an uphill battle. Comprehensive immunization is the only way to prevent the disease. New cases have cropped up in China, where the cases were imported from Pakistan, and Chad, where they came from Nigeria, according to the NPR report.
Experts will cull through the data from India in the coming weeks to ensure they haven’t missed any cases. “If all the data comes in clear over the next few weeks, then India, for the first time, will show up as an unshaded area on WHO polio maps,” Sona Bari of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative said. “This is a great start to the year for India.”
As NPR noted, “The lessons from India will be sifted for years to come. But it’s clear that conquering polio in that nation of 1.2 billion people is as much a story of massive persuasion as it is one of medical science.”