Swine flu outbreak kills 76 in India

In this file photo, An Indian vendor sells face masks for swine flu prevention outside a railway station in Secunderabad. (AFP)
Updated 30 January 2019
0

Swine flu outbreak kills 76 in India

  • Colder weather has worsened the seasonal outbreak of the H1N1 virus

NEW DELHI: A swine flu outbreak in one of India's biggest tourist hubs, Rajasthan state in the west of the country, has killed 76 people this year, government officials said on Wednesday.
Colder weather has worsened the seasonal outbreak of the H1N1 virus, with Rajasthan recording more than a third of all swine flu deaths in India, officials said.
Rajasthan's cities, with their imposing fortresses and palaces, attract many overseas visitors, although officials said there no reports of any of them catching the virus.
More than 8,700 people in Rajasthan have been screened for H1N1 this year, and 1,976 had tested positive by Tuesday, a state health department spokesman told Reuters.
The worst affected area was Jodhpur district, which recorded 23 of the 76 deaths in the state so far this month.
Rajasthan reported 705 cases of swine flu and 53 deaths in the month of January last year.
A team from the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC)arrived in Jodhpur on Tuesday and will spend two days to investigate the outbreak, the spokesman said.
Nationwide, 4,571 cases of H1N1 virus and 169 deaths were reported by Jan. 27, according to NCDC data.
Doctors said that the severity of the current outbreak in Rajasthan was partly due to colder than normal weather.
"It's a seasonal disease and the weather is conducive to viral multiplication," said Raman Sharma, senior professor at SMS Medical College in Jaipur, Rajasthan's capital city.


Google to end forced arbitration for all worker disputes

Updated 24 min 40 sec ago
0

Google to end forced arbitration for all worker disputes

SAN FRANCISCO, US: Google said Thursday it will no longer require that its workers settle disputes with the company through arbitration, responding to months of pressure from employees.
The change will take effect March 21 and will apply to current and future employees. Employees that have settled past disputes won’t be able to re-open their cases.
Google said last year it would end forced arbitration for sexual harassment and assault cases, and Thursday expanded that practice to all worker disputes. Google’s parent company, Mountain View, California-based Alphabet Inc., has its nearly 100,000 employees.
The updated practices only apply to Google employees, and employees of Google projects such as Deep Mind and Access. Other Alphabet subsidiaries, such as Waymo, are not included.
Mandatory arbitration requires employees to settle their disputes with the company privately and outside of court. The practice, widespread in US employment contracts, can lend itself to secrecy and has faced criticism recently.
Google workers who staged a walk out late last year have continued to press the tech giant to drop forced arbitration requirements. Protest organizers commended Google for Thursday’s announcement, but wrote in a Medium post that they would not officially celebrate until the changes went live in employee agreements.
Google won’t make all employees re-sign their work contracts, it said, but will post the policy change internally and update its contracts for new employees.
The company also said it would extend the change to its agreements with contract workers. But it will not require vendors to change their own contracts, meaning some workers could still be held to the previous standard.
Other tech companies including Facebook, Uber and Microsoft have recently ended forced arbitration for sexual assault and harassment claims.
Google Walkout organizers who are focused on forced arbitration issues said they would continue working on ending the practice at other companies. Members of the group plan to meet with lawmakers in Washington, D.C., next week to advocate for a federal law against forced arbitration.