Three Million Newborns Die Within First Month
by Joe DeCapua
The humanitarian organization Save the Children has released its annual State of the World's Mothers report. It says despite much progress being made in reducing maternal and child deaths, every year, three million babies die within the first month of life. Many just live a few hours.
Save the Children President and CEO Carolyn Miles said there's a widespread and mistaken belief that little can be done to save newborn lives in developing countries. As a result, many babies die.
“This year's report we really focused in on newborns. And we found that a baby's birthday is actually the most dangerous day of their life. More than one million babies are dying the actual day that they're born.”
There are several reasons why they're so at risk that first day.
“It's when they can die of very preventable things. So babies are dying of infection. They're dying of complications at premature birth and they're dying of very simple things like not breathing at birth,” she said.
Miles said one region of the world stands out as being the worst for newborns.
“Sub-Saharan Africa is the place where this is the biggest issue. And if you look at the index that we put together, the bottom 10 in that index are all sub-Saharan African countries. From a percentage standpoint that's where the most babies are dying.”
Forty percent of first day newborn deaths are in sub-Saharan Africa.
Of the 176 countries that are ranked in the Mothers Index, DRC is at the very bottom. Rounding out the bottom 10 are Somalia, Sierra Leone, Mali, Niger, Central African Republic, Gambia, Nigeria, Chad and Ivory Coast.
Miles said, “I think the issue in sub-Saharan Africa is really getting the care that these newborns need to the places where they're being born. So, a lot of times the health system ends at a district level and there may not be a health post that's accessible to these women. So, one of the solutions here is getting more frontline health workers out into these communities to help mothers when they're giving birth.”
The Save the Children report says there are four simple interventions that could turn things around – each one costing between 13-cents and six dollars. First, steroid injections can be used for women in pre-term labor to reduce premature newborn deaths from breathing problems. Resuscitation devices can save babies who do not breathe at all at birth, while injectable antibiotics can treat newborns for sepsis and pneumonia.
The final recommendation prevents umbilical cord infections.
“We're looking at the use of a very simple antibiotic called chlorhexidine, which is put on the umbilical cord after the baby is born. And in Nigeria, the tradition is to use mud or cow dung or something like that on the umbilical cord and that obviously can have really dire consequences for babies,” she said.
Miles also cited a tradition in Nepal, which can put babies at risk. Women there, she said, may be encouraged to give birth in the barn with the animals.
While the recommendations are simple and cheap, they're often not implemented in developing countries. The report blames that, in part, on a lack of political will by government leaders.
The State of the World's Mothers report lists Finland as the top country for mothers and newborns. It's followed by Sweden, Norway, Iceland, the Netherlands, Denmark, Spain, Belgium, Germany and Australia. The top 10 are credited with high levels of support and respect for women.
As for the United States, Miles said, “The U.S. comes in 30 in the index this year. So that is not terrific, I would say. Thirtieth is not where I think most American women and mothers think they would end up. The disparity in the United States I think is what really drives the differences. So it is very much tracked to poverty.”
In fact, the United States leads industrialized countries in first day deaths for newborns, followed by Canada and Switzerland.
As for the major emerging economies – the so-called BRICS nations – the 2013 Mother's Index ranks Brazil 78th and Russia 59th. India is in the 142nd position, while China is 68th and South Africa 78th.
EDITOR'S NOTE: See complete list and ranking of all nations on web site.
Homeland security officials examining Boston Marathon bombings to improve community policing tactics
Aim to balance antiterror steps with civil liberties
by Bryan Bender
WASHINGTON — Three weeks after the Boston Marathon bombings, a policy review by the US Department of Homeland Security is identifying ways to enhance community policing and training for religious and civic leaders to spot the warning signs of violent radicalization to improve early detection of possible domestic terrorists, according to top officials.
The approach, which would build on outreach efforts pursued by the Obama administration for several years that the officials insist are designed to protect individual freedoms, is seen as a more effective and less intrusive counterterrorism tool than expansive surveillance powers or massive security sweeps at public events.
It would require a deep analysis of the Boston Marathon bombings by officials in the Department of Homeland Security.
FBI: Minn. raid disrupts 'localized terror attack'
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The FBI believes authorities disrupted a terrorism attack that was being planned in a small western Minnesota city when they arrested a man after converging on a mobile home that contained Molotov cocktails, suspected pipe bombs and firearms, the agency said Monday.
Buford Rogers, 24, of Montevideo, was arrested Friday and charged with one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm. He remained in federal custody Monday and it was not clear if he had an attorney.
"The FBI believed there was a terror attack in its planning stages, and we believe there would have been a localized terror attack, and that's why law enforcement moved quickly to execute the search warrant on Friday to arrest Mr. Rogers," FBI spokesman Kyle Loven said Monday.
Rogers appeared in court Monday wearing a construction company T-shirt, jeans and work boots. He answered "yes sir" and "no sir" to questions from U.S. Magistrate Judge Tony Leung.
Leung ordered Rogers held pending a detention hearing Wednesday, citing "serious concerns" raised in the criminal complaint.
Loven declined to elaborate about the location of the alleged target, other than to say it was believed to be in Montevideo, a city of about 5,000 people about 130 miles west of Minneapolis. He also declined to say whether Rogers was believed to be acting alone or as part of a group, or if other arrests were expected.
"This is a very active investigation," he said. He added that at this point, authorities are "looking at this from a domestic terrorism standpoint."
Loven said the pending investigation prohibits him from getting into details about Rogers' possible political or religious views, but he said the FBI is confident in calling this a "terror" situation.
"We had information which indicated that Mr. Rogers was involved in a plot to conduct terror activities in and around the Montevideo area," he said.
In a news release Monday, the FBI said it believed "the lives of several local residents were potentially saved" by the search and arrest, and said "several guns and explosive devices were discovered." The agency said the alleged terror plot was discovered through analysis of intelligence gathered by local, state and federal authorities.
"Cooperation between the FBI and its federal, state, and local partners enabled law enforcement to prevent a potential tragedy in Montevideo," Christopher Warrener, the special agent in charge of the FBI office in Minneapolis, said in the release.
According to a federal affidavit obtained by The Associated Press on Friday, FBI agents from the domestic terrorism squad searched the property at the mobile home park in Montevideo and discovered the Molotov cocktails, suspected pipe bombs and firearms. The affidavit said Buford was there at the time of the search, and one firearm recovered from Buford's residence was a Romanian AKM assault rifle.
In an interview with authorities, Rogers admitted firing the weapon on two separate occasions at a gun range in Granite Falls, the affidavit said. Rogers has a past conviction for felony burglary and is not allowed to have a firearm.
Rogers is expected to make his initial appearance in federal court Monday.
Rogers' 2011 felony burglary conviction stems from an incident in Lac qui Parle County. He also has a 2009 misdemeanor conviction for dangerous handling of a weapon in Hennepin County, as well as other criminal violations, according to online court records.
Dustin Rathbun, who lives next door to Rogers' home, said he saw Friday's raid and arrest. He said he didn't know the family well because he didn't see them outside much.
Rathbun said the only thing that stood out was he and other neighbors noticed a few months ago the family was flying an upside-down flag from the side of their mobile home. He said the owners of the park asked them to take it down.
Parents adamant their son had no plans to conduct terror act in Montevideo, Minn.
by Tom Cherveny
MONTEVIDEO — Buford “Bucky” Rogers was part of a home-grown militia, had a temper and may have been too outspoken, but did not possess explosive devices or plan terrorist activities, his parents said Monday afternoon as media converged on their home in the Northdale Trailer Court on Benson Road in Montevideo.
“Who out there doesn't get mad at stuff on TV and say things,” said Margaret Rogers, the mother of the 24-year-old man now in federal custody on a firearms charge and accused of plotting a terror attack. She suggested that her son's postings on Facebook may have brought him to the attention of law enforcement, but she said her son would not have carried out any violent activities.
Her husband and Buford Roger's father, Jeff Rogers, called the accusations brought against his son by the Federal Bureau of Investigation “bogus.” Rogers said they confiscated six rifles, a handgun and computers from their trailer home, but they deny that there were explosive devices.
Buford Rogers was a regular visitor to his family's home, according to his parents and neighbors, but his parents say he does not live there.
Jeff Rogers said the seized guns belonged to him, and that his son would not violate a probation requirement that he not possess firearms. He was convicted in 2011 for burglary in the third degree.
Neighbors reported that federal agents and members of the Bloomington Police Department bomb squad took materials from a shed on the Rogers' property on Friday to a city compost site north of the trailer park at least two and possibly three different times. Moments after each trip, they heard explosions that were much louder than could be made by firearms. Montevideo Police Chief Adam Christopher said he understands that explosive devices were detonated.
The FBI reported that Rogers' arrest on Friday and the action to seize materials thwarted a domestic terror attack and may have saved several lives.
Chief Christopher said he could not disclose who were the alleged targets, but said the individuals have been informed. The arrest of Rogers on Friday followed a lengthy investigation by Montevideo police officers in cooperation with federal authorities.
Jeff Rogers, 57, and his son, Shawn, 17, wore camouflage clothing Monday and stood in front of their home where a sign “B.S.M” advertised the Black Snake Militia they created. Another sign warned against the “slavery” of what they initialed as I.F.R.D., a reference to a radio frequency device that can be used for tracking.
Shawn said that prior to his brother's conviction, the two often trained with their weapons as part of the militia they created.
“We believe in fighting for our country, when it is time to fight,” said his father, Jeff.
Margaret said they were “preppers,” or people who were prepared for survival if civil society failed.
The family made no secret of its views. Until recently, a large American flag was flown over their home upside down, the sign of distress. Shawn has an American flag sewn on his camouflage shirt upside down, and the flag is similarly displayed on their vehicle.
Shawn said the upside down flag is their way of saying “things aren't right in the country.”
Buford Rogers works as a welder with J & D Construction of Montevideo. His parents said he lives with his girlfriend and their 4-month-old son in a home in Montevideo, and that he was arrested there.
The FBI affidavit says Buford was present at the Rogers family trailer home when the search warrant was executed and describes the location as Buford's residence. It makes no reference to where he was arrested.
An acquaintance of Buford Rogers was detained that day as well but not charged, the family says.
Jeff Rogers said his son had gotten in with the “wrong people,” and that is what led to his conviction in 2011 for burglary. However, he said his son was concerned about his son and girlfriend, and would not have done anything to jeopardize them.
Neighbors said they were “shocked” when an armored vehicle, SWAT team and police and federal agents arrived at the Rogers' family home in the trailer park. While the signs and upside down flags are obvious to see, the Rogers family members otherwise “pretty much kept to themselves,” said Silvan Florez, who lives across from them.
Leslie Sack, who also lives across the street, said he was told to stay inside during much of the time that agents searched his neighbor's property, a process that started after 11 a.m. Friday and continued to about 6:45 p.m. that day. He said he wasn't frightened by the site of a SWAT team and bomb squad. “Not really. I was just so surprised,” said Sack.
Police Chief Christopher emphasized that the incident was not part of a larger threat, and said that Montevideo remains a very safe community.
The chief said Buford Rogers was known to law enforcement due to his involvement in the burglaries for which he was convicted. Police also received calls about his parents' home in Northdale due to the upside down American flags. Police told those calling that there is no law against displaying the flag that way.
South Jersey police help strengthen community bonds -- on wheels
by Alex Young
VINELAND — As the weather warms up and people begin to emerge from their winter hibernation, they might notice a group of people who never even left the streets — police bicycle patrols.
The frigid temperatures of winter might be enough to keep most cyclist indoors, but very little comes between bike units and being out on patrol.
“We give them the option of coming in when it drops below a certain temperature,” Vineland Police Chief Timothy Codispoti said. However, many bike police don't take up that offer.
“The only time we're not out there is when it's snowing,” said Vineland officer Joe Pagano, a five-year veteran of the Vineland Bike Unit.
Although they're fully equipped with the necessary clothing to keep warm on winter patrols, Codispoti admitted that the bike patrolmen look forward to the spring and summer.
“This is the time of year they enjoy it,” he said with a laugh.
According to Pagano, bike units have made a big resurgence in the last 10 to 15 years after waning in popularity over the course of the 20th century. Now, he said, bikes have become an effective way to make officers more efficient, increase their visibility and help get police places cars can't.
Bicycle police are just one aspect of larger Community Policing Units aimed at engaging with people within a neighborhood.
“It implants our people out in the neighborhoods and allows them to stop and talk to the public,” said Glassboro Police Chief Alex Fanfarillo said. “It's irreplaceable.”
Having officers on bikes instead of in cars makes them more approachable, allowing people in the community to more easily voice their concerns in less-formal interactions with police.
At one time, Codispoti said, walking patrols were the main focus of community police. However, those walking beats have almost been entirely replaced by bike patrols.
“We moved to bike patrols about 15 years ago,” he said. “It gives them more mobility, visibility and allows them to get around their patrol area more efficiently and without tiring before they get to a call.
“Businesses along [Landis Avenue] like it, and residents like that they get to see the officers more than if they were walking.
Pagano started with the bike unit about five years, and got involved almost solely for his passion for community policing.
Like every other member of the Vineland Bike Unit, he had to attend extensive training at the Gloucester County Police Academy.
In courses taught by members of the International Police Mountain Bike Association (IMPBA), officers learn all the skills they need to be prepared for being on a bike in the field.
He said they learn everything from advanced riding skills to bicycle maintenance, and even things like offensive and defensive maneuvers.
“They learn how to work in crowds and to use the bike as a deterrent,” Fanfarillo said.
Pagano said that defensive tactics include training on how avoid oncoming traffic and sudden door openings at high speeds.
As for the offensive tactics, Pagano said they were some of the most fun things to learn in training.
“You learn how to slide and how to use your tires in case you need to take someone down,” he said, but he's never had to use those skills on the streets.
“More than likely you're going to get off the bike anyway.”
With an active bike unit, a department is better prepared to deter and fight crime in places where roads end and cars can't get any farther.
“When there are disturbances that move away from streets into yards or parks, they can get there quicker,” Codispoti said. “They're able to go off road and patrol those areas.”
Above all, Pagano and Fanfarillo agreed that bike police have a unique opportunity to build relationships and strengthen bonds with kids in the community.
“When it comes to things like fighting childhood obesity... I can get my guys out there and try to influence kids,” Fanfarillo said, adding that by being on a bike, police can encourage kids to keep active.
Pagano said that kids are especially intrigued when they come by on their bikes, giving police a chance to teach the kids something while they have their attention.
However, there is no limit to age when it comes to building a strong bond.
“There's no car window or door... there's no barriers between cops and citizens, Pagano said. “It helps build stronger partnerships with the community.”
Young Explorers police program borne of five Gloucester County communities
by Rebecca Forand
Five Gloucester County communities are joining forces to create a combined youth law enforcement explorer program for teenagers, giving them the opportunity to find out what being a law enforcement officer is really like.
East Greenwich, Logan, South Harrison, Swedesboro and Woolwich are creating the Kingsway Explorer Program. The five municipalities all send their students to Kingsway High School and are adept at working together to provide programs for those students.
“I think it's beneficial because ... we probably have several young men and women who want to be in law enforcement,” Woolwich Township Mayor Sam Maccarone said. “This gives young men and women an opportunity to learn about what actual police work is and see if it's something for them.”
The young explorers program allows individuals between 14 and 21 years old to apply. If accepted, they will participate in community policing activities, such as directing traffic at community events and patrolling the local parks, as well as learn what it's like to be in law enforcement throughout the area.
The program will be run through the local police departments, and not the school district, despite the name, but the district is in full support of it.
“We're excited about the opportunity to collaborate and have our students participate,” Kingsway Regional Superintendent Jim Lavender said. “We definitely stand poised to be ready to help in any way we can. Anything we can do that's proactive and productive we're certainly going to.”
Each of the municipalities involved are planning to pass resolutions in support of the young explorer program in the coming weeks, allowing their police departments to work together to create it.
“It's a great tool for all the towns to use together,” East Greenwich Mayor Fred Grant said. “It's a good program for the kids because sometimes kids might want to go into that field and this gives them a hand up.”
Overland Park Police Department reaches out through Community coffee klatch
Members of the Overland Park Police Department's Community Oriented Policing Unit spent two hours Wednesday camped out at Scooter's, a drive-through coffee store on 87th Street.
Officers Brian Payne and Theresa Bentch weren't there waiting to catch a speeding driver or potential criminal. They were offering Scooter's java for free at an informal meet-and-greet called Coffee with COPPS. The acronym stands for Community Policing and Problem Solving.
“We're always looking for ways to reach out to the public and this seems like a good way to do that,” Bentch said.
“We're a resource hub for the department,” Payne said. “We have good relationships with the area business community, non-profits and social service agencies. We serve as a hub for them in the community so we know where to go for help and how the process works.”
Officers in the COPPS unit are liaisons between the community and the rest of the department as a whole.
“This is a chance to open up a dialogue about community needs and how the residents and businesses perceive the officers and the jobs they do,” said Police Chief John Douglass.
Among those who dropped by on Wednesday afternoon was Mike Walrod, owner of the nearby Get Smarter Prep, a college counseling and test-prep company. Students and tutors come and go from Get Smarter's three offices in the shopping center, two of which are on the back side. Walrod was concerned about their safety.
“We don't have any issues, but I thought this is something we could do. It's a peace-of-mind thing,” Walrod told the officers. “Do you have a handout that we could share with our students and teachers?”
Bentch offered to send Walrod a safety tips flyer; she also proposed doing a safety presentation for the company.
“We do a number of presentations,” Bentch said. “It gives us a chance to know the business community.”
This was the second Coffee with COPPS event. The first gathering took place in March at the Whole Foods store at 7401 W. 91st Street; about 15 people stopped by to chat and ask the officers questions.
Bentch suggested the coffee klatches after she learned about a similar program on the West Coast and thought it would work here.
“While we want any police officer to be approachable, the right time and right place is not always presented at the same moment,” said Police Chief John Douglass. “You may see an officer stopped in a patrol car at a traffic light, but trying to get a question answered or voice a concern is generally not feasible. The Coffee with COPPS program allows the community a chance to carry on a conversation with officers in a more social setting.”
Pastor Jessica Williams of First Baptist Church of Overland Park stopped by to grab a smoothie and chat.
“Our church is interested in knowing what's going on in the community,” she said.
A relative newcomer to the area, Williams used the opportunity to learn a little more about Overland Park from people who know it well.
David Gritton, Scooter's local director of marketing, was on hand for the event. Scooter's was happy to play host for Coffee with COPPS, donating both location at 9455 W. 87th Street and product for the cause.
“We thought it was great,” Gritton said. “It's important to us to be involved in the community and help facilitate these things. I have three young kids and I think it's great for younger kids to meet officers in a very informal setting and reach out to them and know that the police are there to help them.”