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News and Events Round Up- December 17th

From the Kansas City Star, on the government’s plan to combat human trafficking:
The Obama administration is weeks away from announcing a new surge - this one aimed at escalating the war on human trafficking in America.

"In January we are going to be announcing a major set of initiatives," Janet Napolitano, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, told The Kansas City Star.

Napolitano disclosed the administration's plans at the conclusion of The Star's six-month investigation exposing numerous failures in America's anti-trafficking battle.

Although details of the plan were not released, advocates and other experts said they're cautiously optimistic that this is the best chance in years to address many of the problems revealed in the newspaper's five-part series. They're also hopeful that the administration, which has reached out to them and asked what changes are needed, will correct structural flaws in the broken system.

"It is time to go back to the drawing board and promote a more seamless, coordinated plan," said Florrie Burke, a nationally known advocate for trafficking victims.

From the Associated Press, on the H1N1 vaccine:
After weeks of shortages, swine flu vaccine is plentiful enough that nearly half the states now say everyone can get it, not just people in high-risk groups.

But the good news comes with a challenge for health officials: how to keep persuading people to get vaccinated when swine flu infections are waning.

"We're worried that people might be thinking out of sight, out of mind," said Tom Skinner, a spokesman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Health authorities say that getting vaccinated could be a lifesaver if a new wave of illnesses materializes this winter.

The swine flu vaccine supply started with just a trickle from manufacturers in early October, leading doctors to reserve it for pregnant women, people with asthma, children and young adults, and others at high risk of becomingly severely ill.

But now 95 million doses are available, and 10 million more are coming out every week. Health officials in 24 states have lifted their recommended restrictions, as have communities in other states, said Paula Steib, spokeswoman for the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.

From the Associated Press, on a drug seizure in Arizona:
U.S. Border Patrol agents say they have arrested eight suspected drug smugglers near Sentinel and seized 260 pounds of marijuana loaded into backpacks.

An agent detected a group of backpackers crossing the desert early Tuesday about five miles south of Interstate 8.

As authorities closed in, the group dropped their backpacks and ran. But agents apprehended all eight suspected smugglers and a search of the area turned up six makeshift burlap-style backpacks containing eight bundles of marijuana.

Border Patrol officials say the marijuana has an estimated street value of $208,000. The suspected smugglers and marijuana was transported to the Wellton Border Patrol Station for processing.

Public Event
2:30 PM EST
U.S. Fire Administrator Kelvin Cochran will testify about the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance
253 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C.
Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
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