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Lassa fever: Britons who came into contact with victims brought back to UK for tests | UK News

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Three Britons have been brought back to the UK from Sierra Leone for medical assessment after coming into close contact with two people who have been diagnosed with Lassa fever.

One of the two Dutch nationals who contracted the virus – which has symptoms similar to Ebola – has since died.

Public Health England confirmed that the three Britons have now been repatriated by the government and will be given treatment if required.

The agency has got in touch with 15 other Britons who had contact with the Dutch Lassa fever cases to monitor them.

Dr Jake Dunning, head of emerging infections and zoonoses at PHE, said: “It is important to emphasise that Lassa fever does not spread easily between people and the overall risk to the public is very low.

“There are no confirmed cases of Lassa fever in the UK.

“PHE is monitoring those who have had close contact with the foreign national to assess them as necessary and provide advice.

“PHE and the NHS have well established and robust infection control procedures for dealing with cases of imported infectious disease and these will be strictly followed.”

Symptoms of Lassa fever, for which there is no vaccine, start as a fever with aches and pains and can progress to headaches, vomiting and diarrhoea.

The World Health Organisation says severe cases can cause victims to bleed from the mouth and nose.

Lassa fever, like Ebola, can be spread through contact with the bodily fluids of sick people.

It can also be contracted by humans through eating food that has been tainted by the urine or faeces of rodents.

Most people with Lassa fever make a full recovery, although severe illness can occur.

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Police officer among six people killed in shootout in New Jersey | US News

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Six people, including a police officer, have been killed in a shoot-out in New Jersey.

The officer was investigating a murder in Jersey City when he approached two suspects, one of whom opened fire and shot him in the head, police sources told NBC News.

The two suspects then fled in a rental van and holed up in a grocery store where a gun battle broke out, according to reports.

Police officers arrive to the scene where active shooting is happening in Jersey City on December 10, 2019. - One officer was shot when two gunmen with a long rifle opened fire in Jersey City, New Jersey, on the afternoon of December 10, 2019 , according to two officials. Two suspects were barricaded in a convenience store, the officials said. One officer was being taken to a nearby hospital. (Photo by Kena Betancur / AFP) (Photo by KENA BETANCUR/Afp/AFP via Getty Images)
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The incident is not believed to be a terror attack

Both suspects and three civilians were killed, NBC News said.

All schools in Jersey City were put on lockdown as heavy, sporadic gunfire was heard over an hour.

Police officers arrive at the scene
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SWAT teams, state police and federal agents responded to the incident

The officer who was killed was a 39-year-old father of five children, according to officials.

A second officer was wounded after being struck in the shoulder by gunfire, and two others were injured by shrapnel.

A woman receives medical assistance on the scene where active shooting is happening in Jersey City on December 10, 2019. - One officer was shot when two gunmen with a long rifle opened fire in Jersey City, New Jersey, on the afternoon of December 10, 2019 , according to two officials. Two suspects were barricaded in a convenience store, the officials said. One officer was being taken to a nearby hospital. (Photo by Kena Betancur / AFP) (Photo by KENA BETANCUR/Afp/AFP via Getty Images)
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A person is treated after the shooting

SWAT teams, state police and federal agents responded to the incident, with officers blocking off an area which includes a school, a kosher supermarket and a hair stylist.

Authorities have said the incident is not believed to be a terror attack

Police officers arrive at the scene of an active shooter in Jersey City, New Jersey, on December 10, 2019. - One officer was shot when two gunmen with a long rifle opened fire in Jersey City, New Jersey, on the afternoon of December 10, 2019 , according to two officials. Two suspects were barricaded in a convenience store, the officials said. One officer was being taken to a nearby hospital. (Photo by Kena Betancur / AFP) (Photo by KENA BETANCUR/Afp/AFP via Getty Images)
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Officers blocked off an area which includes a school, a kosher supermarket and a hair stylist

US President Donald Trump tweeted: “Just received a briefing on the horrific shootout that took place in Jersey City, NJ.

“Our thoughts & prayers are [with] the victims & their families during this very difficult & tragic time.

“We will continue to monitor the situation as we assist local & state officials on the ground.”

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Child prodigy, 9, quits university in row over graduation date | World News

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A nine-year-old boy who was set to become the world’s youngest ever graduate has quit his university following a row over his graduation date.

Laurent Simons made headlines around the world after he was on track to complete a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering at Eindhoven’s University of Technology in the Netherlands.

The Belgian boy – who has an IQ of 145 – was due to complete his studies before the end of the year, which would have made him the world’s first ever graduate under the age of 10.

The nine-year-old studies electrical engineering
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The boy’s parents believe the university’s decision is related to his wish to study a PhD abroad

But the university has now told Laurent and his parents that the target is no longer feasible because of the number of exams he still needs to finish before his birthday on Boxing Day.

“Laurent is an exceptionally gifted boy, who is going through his studies at an unprecedented pace,” the university said in a statement.

The university added that it had offered “a still phenomenally quick scheme in which he would end his education mid-2020”.

But Laurent’s parents decided not to accept the offer and immediately ended his studies in Eindhoven.

Nine-year-old Belgian student Laurent Simons, who studies electrical engineering and who will soon become the youngest university graduate in the world, poses at the University of Technology in Eindhoven, Netherlands November 20, 2019.  Picture taken November 20, 2019.  REUTERS/Yves Herman
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Laurent has been described as an ‘exceptionally gifted boy’

His father Alexander Simons said: “Until last week everything was fine, and now suddenly they see a delay of six months.”

He said the exact date of Laurent’s graduation had never been an issue for the family but became one as they felt the university was reacting to their plans to move the boy’s further education abroad.

A programme director at the university had previously described Laurent as “maybe three times smarter than the smartest student we’ve ever had”.

Mr Simons said: “It’s very peculiar that this all comes right at the time when we were finalising our plans for Laurent’s PhD at a different university.

Laurent talks with his professor Peter Baltus
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Laurent had been hailed as ‘three times smarter’ than the university’s previous smartest student

“There is a lot of interest in Laurent from universities he would be honoured to join… there is so much demand for Laurent, he is a unique project which everybody wants to be a part of.”

Laurent, who is inspired by Serbian-American inventor Nikola Tesla, says he wants to research artificial organs and ultimately to develop an entire artificial body in his own laboratory.

Currently the youngest person to obtain a degree is American Michael Kearney, who achieved the feat in June 1994 at the age of 10 years and four months, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

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Greta Thunberg called a ‘brat’ by Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro | World News

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Brazil’s president has called climate campaigner Greta Thunberg “a brat” after she tweeted about the murder of two indigenous people in the Amazon.

Jair Bolsonaro questioned the coverage given to the 16-year-old Swedish activist after she shared a link to a story about the killings in Maranhao state.

“Greta said that the Indians died because they were defending the Amazon,” said Mr Bolsonaro.

“It’s impressive that the press is giving space to a brat like that.”

Thunberg promptly changed her Twitter bio to simply read: “pirralha” – the Portuguese for brat.

Accompanying the story, she wrote: “Indigenous people are literally being murdered for trying to protect the forest from illegal deforestation. Over and over again. It is shameful that the world remains silent about this.”

Her comments on Sunday came as the UN was holding its international climate change conference, where Brazil’s environmental policies have been criticised.

The Amazon rainforest, near Porto Velho in Brazil, one of the areas affected by fire over the summer
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A recent report said Amazon deforestation was getting worse

Mr Bolsonaro has been accused of not doing enough to protect the Amazon where large areas have been hit by major fires in recent months.

The controversial president argues conservation policies hinder economic development, has rolled back measures to limit deforestation and is accused of reducing efforts to fight illegal logging, mining and ranching.

A recent report said deforestation in the rainforest rose by almost a third last year, its highest rate for more than a decade.

The Amazon is considered key to the fight against climate change because of the vast amounts of carbon dioxide it absorbs.

Mr Bolsonaro’s comment is not the first time that the teenage campaigner has been on the end of a barbed comment by a world leader.

In September, President Trump responded to a video of Thunberg’s angry UN speech over climate change inaction by tweeting sarcastically: “She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!”

Thunberg also hit back on that occasion, lifting the president’s words “very happy girl” comment for her Twitter bio.

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