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Robert Randolph And The Family Band Share Spiritual Video For “Have Mercy” Off Forthcoming Album, ‘Brighter Days’ [Watch]

first_img“Sacred steel” master Robert Randolph and the Family Band have shared a new music video for “Have Mercy”, the second single off their forthcoming new LP, Brighter Days, due out on August 23rd.The video was shot in Nashville this past April by Juan Ibanez. As Randolph explains about the clip,I felt it was time I wrote an uplifting powerful song that embraced my roots of coming from the church that speaks to everyone going through some sort of pain, shame and some many going struggles of depression in life. So we wanted let each and everyone know that God is with all us and we can always look to the heavens for Grace and Mercy at all times. During the video we wanted to create an uplifting vibe with the choir that we used during the recording in Nashville. Shannon Sanders and his choir totally made the vibe work even better!! We hope everyone enjoys the video and also feels uplifted. We also hope it puts smiles on faces all around the world.You can watch Robert Randolph and the Family Band’s new video for “Have Mercy” below:Robert Randolph and the Family Band – “Have Mercy” [Official Video][Video: Robert Randolph and The Family Band]The release of the new video follows the band’s appearance at New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival last weekend, where they filled in at the last minute when John Prine was forced to cancel. Randolph also lent his steel guitar prowess to Dave Matthews Band‘s headlining set at the Acura Stage.Robert Randolph grew up playing pedal steel-centric gospel music in the House of God church in Orange, New Jersey and began taking his joyous, gospel-infused music out to clubs backed by family members who shared not only backgrounds, but also blood—hence the band’s name.The new album, Brighter Days, was produced by decorated producer Dave Cobb, known for his work with high-profile artists like Chris Stapleton, Sturgill Simpson, Brandi Carlile, Jason Isbell, and Marcus King. Cobb has a proven knack for bringing out the nuanced character of the artists he records, so it’s no surprise that he helped bring out some of Robert’s deepest, most passionate vocals on the nine album tracks on which he sings lead.“Dave Cobb is just a guy who likes to record good music and good songs,” says Randolph. “He wanted to do something that was fun, but it also gives you a gospel feeling. He knows the history of our band, coming from church and giving that fun church feeling to people.”Cobb’s magic touch helped bring Randolph’s unique musical character to the surface on Brighter Days. As Robert explains, “Over the years I’ve learned how to write these songs that make you feel kind of spiritual and have the gospel roots, just like the great music of people like the Four Tops, Temptations and Ray Charles. It all comes from the same place. We don’t want to sound like them – or like anybody – but that’s the feeling we want to evoke.”You can check out a full tracklisting for Brighter Days and a list of the band’s upcoming tour dates below. For more information, head to Randolph’s website.Robert Randolph and the Family Band – Brighter Days – Tracklisting1. Baptize Me2. Simple Man3. Cry Over Me4. Second Hand Man5. Have Mercy6. I Need You7. I’m Living Off The Love You Give8. Cut Em Loose9. Don’t Fight It10. Strange TrainView ‘Brighter Days’ TracklistingRobert Randolph and the Family Band Upcoming Tour DatesFri, JUN 7 Annie and Ellen Fife Theatre Blacksburg, VASat, JUN 8 Smyrna at Night Smyrna, DEFri, JUN 14 Levitt Shell at Overton Park Memphis, TNSat, JUN 15 River on the Fox Aurora, ILFri, JUN 21 Torrita Blues Festival Torrita Di Siena, ItalySat, JUN 22 Torrita Blues Festival Torrita Di Siena, ItalySat, JUN 29 Rendezvous Event Center Winter Park, COTue, JUL 2 The Wave Outdoor Wichita, KSWed, JUL 3 Atomic Cowboy Pavilion Saint Louis, MOThu, JUL 4 Milwaukee Summerfest Milwaukee, WITue, JUL 16 Rams Head On Stage Annapolis, MDWed, JUL 17 Sellersville Theater 1894 Sellersville, PAThu, JUL 18 Infinity Music Hall and Bistro Norfolk, CTFri, JUL 19 Jerry Jam Festival Bath, NHThu, JUL 25 City Winery Boston, MAFri, JUL 26 The Warehouse at FTC Fairfield, CTSat, JUL 27 Marty’s Driving Range Mason, NHFri, AUG 2 Kaslo Jazz Fest Kaslo, CanadaMon, AUG 5 Telluride Jazz Festival Telluride, COFri, AUG 9 Telluride Town Park Telluride, COSEP 12, 13 Erick Clapton’s Crossroads Fest Dallas, TXSat, NOV 9 Johnson County Community College: Bookstore Overland Park, KSView Upcoming Tour Dateslast_img read more

Broadway Grosses: Crowds Catch New Musicals as Tony Noms Loom

first_img With Tony nominations just around the corner, audiences are catching this season’s new musicals before some celebrate a post-announcement high tide. School of Rock surpassed the million-dollar mark this past week, taking in $1,003,657. In its first full week after opening, Waitress reached full capacity at 100.08% and grossed $907,936. Shuffle Along opened officially on April 28 and ended the week with a house just shy of Standing Room Only. Meanwhile, the expected leader of the pack, Hamilton, remained in the top five by gross. Tune in on May 3 at 8:30 AM to see how these shows and more fare when the Tony Award nominations are announced!Here’s a look at who was on top—and who was not—for the week ending May 1:FRONTRUNNERS (By Gross)1. The Lion King ($1,950,539)2. Hamilton ($1,818,758)3. Wicked ($1,625,910)4. Aladdin ($1,494,979)5. The Book of Mormon ($1,332,910)UNDERDOGS (By Gross)5. Long Day’s Journey Into Night ($344,594)*4. Tuck Everlasting ($340,152)**3. The Father ($294,222)2. Eclipsed ($269,110)1. Disaster! ($264,032)FRONTRUNNERS (By Capacity)1. The Book of Mormon (102.16%)2. Hamilton (101.76%)3. Waitress (100.81%)4. The Lion King (99.99%)5. Aladdin (99.70%)UNDERDOGS (By Capacity)5. Jersey Boys (62.08%)4. Bright Star (62.07%)3. Finding Neverland (61.65%)2. Eclipsed (55.92%)1. Disaster! (50.01%)* Number based on preview performance and six regular performances** Number based on one preview performance and seven regular performancesSource: The Broadway League Alex Brightman in ‘School of Rock'(Photo: Matthew Murphy) View Commentslast_img read more

Healthy holiday meals

first_imgFood during the holidays can be both healthy and delicious. University of Georgia Cooperative Extension nutrition specialist Connie Crawley these gives tips to make healthier foods a little easier: Use low-sodium and low-fat soups for casseroles. Use low-fat cheese. Serve a fresh turkey. Turkey is lean as long as it is not self-basting or fried. Cut the butter or margarine in recipes by half. Or use soft margarines or small amounts of oil in place of butter. Increase the amount of vegetables prepared as side dishes. Cut sugar by a fourth to a third in sweet potato and other recipes. The American Heart Association is promoting consumption of less sugar as well as less fat to reduce heart disease risk. Serve baked sweet potatoes instead of a sweet potato casserole. Top each with a little light margarine, brown sugar or sugar substitute and cinnamon. Cut salt in half in all your recipes or leave it out completely. Use herb shakers or fresh lemon juice in place of salt to add flavor. Cut cheese added to recipes in half. And use shredded cheese. It will look like more and go farther. Use sugar-free gelatin for desserts and salads. Use light or fat-free versions of mayonnaise, sour cream, half and half and evaporated milk. Use whole wheat bread and add nuts or cranberries to the dressing or stuffing. Every fourth cup of dressing equals a slice of bread. By adding cranberries or nuts, you add fiber and antioxidants from the cranberries and healthy fat from the nuts. Offer whole grain or whole-wheat rolls as an option. Offer lighter desserts such as fruit or a low-fat cheesecake in addition to typical holiday favorites. Make a piecrust with oil instead of shortening. You can also use oil when you make biscuits. Cut back on fats in recipes – like oil and butter – by a fourth. Make pumpkin pudding instead of pumpkin pie. Use diabetes cookbooks for recipes that are lower in sugar and calories.Remember to try these changes beforehand. Some adaptations and recipes will vary in quality.last_img read more

Agency of Transportation to reopen bridge on Route 74 by Feb 21

first_imgThe Agency of Transportation announced today that repairs to Bridge #2 on Vermont Route 74 over the Lemon Fair River will be completed this week, and the bridge is expected to be open to through traffic by Monday, February 21st (President’s Day).The Agency of Transportation had closed the 182-foot-long bridge on Valentine’s Day after district maintenance forces discovered a hole in the bridge deck early that morning.Until the repairs are complete, Vermont Route 74 will continue to be closed to through traffic from its intersection with Quiet Valley Road in Shoreham to its intersection with North and South Bingham Street in Cornwall. Local traffic only will be permitted. Traffic headed North on Vermont Route 22A and Vermont Route 30 will be directed to use Vermont Route 125. Traffic headed South on Vermont Route 22A and Vermont Route 30 will be directed to use Vermont Route 73.last_img read more

Opinion: Two views on Vermont health care reform

first_imgHealth Care Reform Ain’t Beanbagby John McClaughryThe bill to put Vermont on the irreversible path toward a single payer health care system is now well on its way to the governor’s desk. The ceremonial signing may well be the governor’s answer to the pageantry of the Royal Wedding.Perhaps the most startling aspect of this four month legislative saga has been the enormous contrast between the daunting requirements of organizing the new $3 billion government program, and the limited competence of its advocates.The 2010 legislature launched the process – for at least the third time – by voting $300,000 to Dr. William Hsiao of the Harvard School of Public Health to explain how to gather all Vermonters into the grand single payer system. The Hsaio team recommended a level of health benefits thought to be suitable for Vermont’s under- 65 population. It specified the payroll tax rates required to bring in enough tax dollars to pay for the program. It claimed an astounding $590 million a year would be saved (starting in 2015) by abolishing health insurance companies.So the House Health Care Reform Committee brought out a bill that gave the Hsaio-recommended Green Mountain Care Board the power to set benefit levels and decide how much to underpay health care providers – but neglected to include any provision for raising the necessary $2 billion of new taxes. Instead, the new Board was told to take another year and another million dollars to grapple with the same questions that Hsaio had already studied.Once the eligible population is identified, the Board’s view of the “appropriate health care at the appropriate time in the appropriate setting ” spelled out, the costs of that care estimated, and the Federal subsidies added in, the Board can tell the legislature how much it will have to raise in new taxes to keep this ship above water.In the Senate, the majority Democrats won the vote of Sen. Kevin Mullin (R-Rutland ) by agreeing to require the Board at some unspecified point to announce to the world that it believes that Green Mountain Care would reduce administrative costs (whose?), contain the growth in health care costs, improve the quality of care, attract providers, and not damage the state’s economy. There is no appeal process or enforcement mechanism for these declarations.Gov. Shumlin has made it clear that he wants the new ObamaCare-mandated Exchange to be the only place anyone can obtain health insurance. In addition, liberals have long ago taken to viewing Health Savings Account plans as a conservative plot to thwart their collectivist ambitions. Sen. Vince Illuzzi (R-Essex-Orleans) offered a carefully crafted amendment that would have prevented the Exchange from exterminating the popular HSA plans. The Democrats voted it down 11-19. The Democrats also voted down an amendment from Sen. Randy Brock (R-Franklin) to advance the date for the Administration’s health care tax request from January 2013 to September 2012 . That would allow the voters to learn what’s in store for them if the governor is reelected. Only eight senators were willing to support that eminently sensible provision.It was patently apparent during the legislative debate that the backers of single payer – now relabeled “universal and unified health system” – have little grasp of the complexities involved in completely disassembling and repackaging Vermont’s $5 billion health care sector to satisfy the red-shirted Sanderistas shouting that “health care is a human right”.The Democratic legislators are marching to orders from the Shumlin health care high command. They are almost mystically convinced that the native genius of Vermonters can somehow make Green Mountain Care work. This is so even though forty years of the almost identical Canadian single payer model have produced rationing, waiting lines, maddening bureaucracies, demoralized doctors and nurses, shabby facilities, obsolete technology, declining quality of care, and of course much higher taxation.Typical of this widely held attitude is the remark of Sen. Anthony Pollina (I-Washington): “We’re from Vermont. We’re one of the smartest states in the country, and we can figure this [single payer thing] out.” This is the same Sanderista activist whose venture to pay farmers premium prices for milk and sell it at competitive prices predictably collapsed into insolvency.As the saying goes, “politics ain’t beanbag.” Neither is health care reform, but the beanbaggers are in the driver’s seat.John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute (www.ethanallen.org(link is external)). Here are two views on Vermont’s attempt to reform the health care system, one from John McClaughry of the Ethan Allen Insitute and the other from Andrea Cohen of Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility.Businesses for Health Care Reformby Andrea CohenThe Vermont House took bold and necessary action by passing the Universal Health Care bill, H. 202. There are many businesses in this state that support reform because they believe the current health care system is unsustainable, inefficient, and unfair. Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility is one statewide business association that believes inaction is not an option and that businesses large and small, all across the state, will benefit from an improved system.When VBSR solicits feedback from our 1,200 members the stories we hear about the current state of our health insurance system are shocking and discouraging. In addition to the burden of annual double-digit cost increases, we hear about how the current system creates a competitive disadvantage to employers who offer decent health insurance benefits when their competitors do not. As one might imagine it is hard to have the low bid on a construction job when you are paying $10,000/year for each of your employees’ health insurance when your competitor is not incurring the same cost. It adds insult to injury when the business realizes they are also paying for their competitor’s uninsured employees due to the cost shift. We frequently hear about lost opportunities; when a person does not dare leave a dead-end job to start their own business for fear of losing health insurance. Another less spoken of, but still common, situation is when an employer retains a mis-matched employee because they don’t want the employee to lose health coverage. While this is admirable it is not smart business. We also frequently hear about the tremendous amount of time and effort many businesses need to devote to exploring options and managing health insurance- this is time and effort that is being diverted from their core business functions. The time has come to decouple health insurance from employment.In addition to the obvious inefficiencies and counter-productive market signals the current system sends, from a dollars and cents perspective it is just not sustainable. Last summer VBSR surveyed our membership and we found that the cost of health insurance was the greatest obstacle to the success of our member businesses’greater than taxes, greater than regulations, greater than access to capital. The cost of health insurance was a greater barrier than any of the nineteen other choices offered. If we truly want to help Vermont businesses succeed we must take steps to move away from our employer based health insurance system and we need to start now.Here is what we know:  – Health insurance continues to get more expensive for employers.  61% of our member businesses that offer health insurance pay more than the equivalent of 10% of payroll. 20% of them pay more than 20%.  – Employers are responding to the increasing costs by offering lesser quality health insurance coverage to their employees. 36% of survey respondents reported they have reduced benefits in last 5 years. – Employers are asking their employees to contribute more towards their health insurance. 43% of the businesses have introduced or increased employee contributions in the past 5 years.H.202 sets Vermont on a path for reform. It sets up a process for payment reform and for reducing system costs. What H.202 does NOT do is impose a financing system’financing solutions will be tackled as part of future work. It is important that we continue to have an open and honest conversation about what this bill does and does not do so that we may improve the system to the benefit of our businesses. We need to at least be willing to explore an alternative system that the experts tell us will save us $590 million in its first year of implementation, and that will bring equity and quality health care.VBSR believes inaction will cost us way too much. Vermont has a history of using its independent and self-reliant nature to take bold initiatives. By collaboratively designing and instituting a true system of universal health care, Vermont could take a leadership role in business attraction, retention, and success. The benefits associated with doing so include a more stable and productive workforce; greater incentive to create, move, or expand a business in Vermont; improved efficiency and reduced costs throughout the public and private sectors; and a healthier population of Vermonters.Andrea Cohen is Executive Director of Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility. She lives in Montpelier, VT. last_img read more

Blue Ridge Together: Great Outdoor Provision Co.

first_imgAround helping customers, most of my time at work is typically spent merchandising products, creating visual displays, and seasonally rearranging the floorplan. In the past few weeks, I have transitioned much of this time into managing our Charlottesville GOPC Instagram page, @trusty_cville, and collaborating with other employees to improve our social media presence as a company. For the last year I have focused most of my outdoor adventuring on climbing. Though, I grew up kayaking with my father, and am most experienced with backpacking. What makes me most proud of working at GOPC are the people. I am convinced we have the best customer base of any business: friendly, loyal, and inspiring. Our corporate leadership, from our store manager, to the top tiers of the company, are interested in employee concerns, supportive, and informative. I consider myself very lucky to be working with such a fantastic team. It is this sense of community that keeps me excited about my work. We are truly living in historic times and not just speaking about COVID-19. To help our amazing customers, we’ve also done something historic, opened up an online shop. Not only has Great Outdoor entered the world of online retail, but we’ve also introduced curbside pick-up for our customers as well. All they have to do is email or call and we will meet them in the parking lot with their purchased items. We have also allowed customers to set up in-shop appointments if they are interested in items that need to be fitted, like a pack or footwear. We are still doing what we do best: helping people get outside! (Even if it’s your backyard!) We are offering curbside pickup at our store locations, and have launched a new online shopping experience at www.greatoutdoorprovision.com.  We will even wrap gifts for you before packing them if you request “Gift Wrap” in the comment box at checkout! Our website also lists each store’s email address and phone number, and we encourage reaching out with any inquiries, requests, or curbside pickup appointments. We are additionally offering exclusive shopping experiences on our social media channels, highlighting boutique brands and collections that cannot be viewed on our website. Each store will have slightly different collections, so following your local GOPC store Instagram or Facebook page will give you an opportunity to peak at our spring/summer inventory inside the shops. I work at the Greensboro shop and am the sportswear product contact manager and visual merchandiser and currently run Greensboro’s Instagram page. My favorite outdoor activity is a tie between hiking and trail running, both get me outside and on the trails, which is honestly what matters the most to me. We all really miss seeing our customers, and would love to keep in touch! We encourage everyone to share their adventures with our social media channels, so we can help keep our local outdoor communities strong! There are so many things that make me proud to be at Great Outdoor. I love how no matter which shop you go to or who you talk to, everyone is treated like family. I love working for a small, local retailer that focuses no only on each individual city where each shop is located, but also on the bigger picture (like giving back 1% to the planet and to the Mountains-to-Sea Trail to name a few). I also enjoy getting to work with each customer that walks into the shop. Getting to hear each person’s story and how the products or advice that they’ve received from Great Outdoor has helped them have the best possible trip (or give the best birthday/holiday present) gives me so much joy and makes me swell with pride.  The Blue Ridge is made up of so many incredible people, small businesses, destinations, and more. During the next few weeks, we would like to highlight some of them to allow you to get to know them better, a series we like to call Blue Ridge together. Today we are giving a shoutout to the people at Great Outdoor Provision Co. who are committed to helping people get outside. #BlueRidgeTogether Great Outdoor Provision Co. Words from Great Outdoor Provision Co. Rebekah Robinson: Sportswear Product Contact Manager and Visual Merchandiser at the Greensboro Shop / Instagram Coordinator Marissa: Sportswear Buyer Contact at the Charlottesville, VA GOPC shop Blue Ridge TogetherCurbside Pickup My motivational message for everyone is, “This too shall pass.” Human beings are incredibly resilient and when we all stick together, we can truly achieve great things. I love seeing how communities have banded together and are helping out one another and how people are enjoying the outdoors again. I highly recommend for people to get outside, even if it’s just their front yard and to (safely) take in the beauty that is around them.  If you would like to see one of your favorite businesses featured with Blue Ridge Together, use the hashtag #BlueRidgeTogether to help spread the word on the people and places that make our community something to be proud of.last_img read more

U.S. Army’s Elite Train Belizean Forces In Effort To Build Partnership

first_imgBy Dialogo May 24, 2010 Concerns about trafficking throughout Belize have increased as operatives use the nation as a launching pad for trafficking. The upsurge in the illegal transit operations can be traced along many of Belize’s rural, remote areas, and vast ocean. It’s a problem that has been acknowledged by both Belizean officials and their American counterparts who are working in partnership in an effort to deter illicit movement within Belize’s borders. For members of Operational Detachment-Alpha or ODA, a detachment comprised of the U.S. Army’s elite Special Forces from the 7th Special Forces Group, it is a predicament they understand as the men advice and assist their Belizean Defense Force partners through training and mentoring. The goal of these efforts is to build the BDF’s military capacity in order to combat trafficking. “Belize is a cruise destination, but it has also become a trafficking destination,” said the SF officer-in-charge of the ODA. “Our goal is to build their collective capability, and get them operational in these remote areas to combat this problem.” The Army’s Special Forces are training a special group of Belizean soldiers who are assigned to the Belize Special Assignment Group (BSAG). Within Belize’s military, they are considered the first responders to handle illicit activities. This exchange is part of Special Operations Command South’s, the Homestead, Fla., based command that is responsible for United States special operations in the Caribbean, Central and South America, theater security cooperation program. The program enables partner nations to better protect their borders and increase their capacity to conduct special operations. SOCSOUTH’s program also helps partner nations improve their training facilities, such as weapons ranges, in order to increase their military capacity. During the training, ODA personnel instruct their Belizean partners on a number of military skills, which include a range of advanced marksmanship, small unit tactics, first aid, and infantry maneuvers. All the training culminates in a field training exercise in which the American advisors employ practical scenarios into the training in order to prepare the BSAG troops for a real-life situation. “All of our training is based on real-world events in order to prepare them for unilateral operations,” said the SF officer. “We are working on the fundamentals so they can learn all the different skill sets, and ultimately, they can train themselves.” During a recent trip to a marksmanship range, Belizean non-commissioned officers took charge of the training and guided their soldiers on the proper procedures of marksmanship. Although the American troops advised them on some aspects of the instruction, Belizean NCOs took the lead in conducting the training. It’s moments like this that make Belizean Cpl. Macario Salam proud to serve his country. “I feel it is important that our American partners trust me to train these men, especially since we are using live ammunition,” said Salam. “It is good that they let us train ourselves. They have confidence in us, and we are grateful for their training.” The accomplishments on the firing range came just days after the BSAG conducted a reconnaissance mission of a suspected trafficking route near the Belize-Guatemalan border, one of the first military operations of any kind along this remote, jungle area. “We are here to advise and assist, but they are beginning to professionalize themselves. They have great non-commissioned officers. They are professional soldiers, and many of them have trained in British and Belizean jungle schools,” said the ODA SF team sergeant. BSAG troops credit much of their success to the relationship that they have had with their American counterparts throughout the past few months. “They (U.S. Troops) are like our brothers,” said Salam, who has served in uniform for 11 years. “These men are veterans of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and their knowledge and experience have been very important for us to become better soldiers.”last_img read more

Target-Visa settlement to provide up to $67M for card issuers

first_imgReports said Target Corp. confirmed Tuesday that it reached an agreement with Visa Inc. that will reimburse card issuers as much as $67 million for costs they incurred from the retailer’s massive 2013 data breach.Carrie Hunt, NAFCU’s senior vice president of government affairs and general counsel, called that a step in the right direction, but she said more needs to be done.“We continue to urge Congress to act to protect consumers’ financial information by enacting national data security standards for retailers and holding them directly accountable for their data breaches,” Carrie Hunt, NAFCU’s senior vice president of government affairs and general counsel, said in a statement.As to this settlement, she said it “may be a start, but much more needs to be done to make credit unions whole. Credit unions deserve to be fully compensated for their losses.” continue reading » 51SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

15 candidates credit union executives should watch on Tuesday night

first_img continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr It’s going to be a long and busy election night, with 435 House races, 35 Senate seats and 36 governors up for election.And if the crystal ball gazers are right, many of the races could be nail-biters, with control of the House and Senate hanging in the balance.CUNA has identified 388 races to watch, based on where it has spent its political action committee money.But from that list, it’s possible to narrow the list even further, focusing on some people who have been active on issues important to credit unions and have received special attention from credit union campaign committees.last_img read more

WHO confirms 7 human bird flu cases in Azerbaijan

first_imgMar 21, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – The World Health Organization (WHO) today confirmed seven human cases of H5N1 avian influenza in Azerbaijan, making it the eighth country with officially recognized human illnesses.A WHO reference laboratory in Britain confirmed the infection in samples from 7 of 11 patients tested, ranging in age from 10 to 21 years, the WHO said. Five of those patients, ranging from 16 to 21 years old, died of the illness.The cases push the WHO’s count of fatal cases over 100 for the first time. The agency now lists 184 confirmed cases with 103 deaths. Two cases reported in Egypt in the past few days have not yet been confirmed by a WHO reference lab.The WHO said six of the cases occurred in the small settlement of Daikyand in the Salyan rayon in southeastern Azerbaijan, a former Soviet state on the west side of the Caspian Sea.A 17-year-old girl was the first to succumb to the disease, on Feb 23, the WHO reported. Her death was followed by that of her 20-year-old female cousin on Mar 3 and the cousin’s 16-year-old brother on Mar 10. A 17-year-old girl who was a close friend of the family died Mar 8. All four young people lived together or near each other, the WHO said.”The additional two cases in Salyan involved a 10-year-old boy, who has recovered, and a 15-year-old girl, who is hospitalized in critical condition,” the WHO said. The seventh case was in a 21-year-old woman from the western rayon of Tarter, who died Mar 9.Two more patients, from Salyan and the adjacent area of Neftchela, have been hospitalized with pneumonia symptoms and are being tested, the agency said.WHO and Azeri investigators have not yet determined how the patients were exposed to the virus. Interviews with family members have not revealed any history of direct exposure to dead or diseased poultry in several of the cases, the agency said.However, there is some evidence that local residents might have collected carcasses of numerous swans, dead for some weeks, as a source of feathers, the WHO reported. Adolescent girls and young women usually have the job of defeathering birds, and a WHO team is investigating whether this could have been the source of infection in Daikyand, where most of the patients were girls between the ages of 15 and 20.Azerbaijan is the third country outside East Asia, after Turkey and Iraq, with confirmed human cases of H5N1. The other countries with recognized cases are Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Thailand. Vietnam has had the most cases by far—93, with 42 deaths—but has reported none in recent months.The H5N1 virus first turned up in Azerbaijan in wild birds in February, with confirmation on Feb 10. The WHO reported Mar 10 that authorities were looking into a possible human cluster of 10 cases. On Mar 14, the agency said three patients who died had tested positive for an H5 virus and that confirmation of H5N1 was highly likely.Also today, Egyptian authorities reported two more human H5N1 cases, in addition to the two reported in the past few days, according to an Agence France-Presse (AFP) report.A 17-year-old boy named Mohammed Mahmud Abdul Ghani Ghabash, from Gharibiyah province north of Cairo, was hospitalized Mar 19, according to Health Minister Haten al-Ghabali, the story said. He worked on his father’s poultry farm, where 3,000 birds died of flu over the weekend, AFP reported.In addition, a 30-year-old woman named Fatima Mohammed Yussef, from Qaliubiya, north of Cairo, has been hospitalized with avian flu symptoms, the story said. It said she had continued working with her chickens despite a ban on the activity after the H5N1 virus struck Egypt in mid-February.The story gave no information about testing of the two patients.Two other Egyptians recently tested positive for the virus in a US Navy laboratory in Cairo, according to previous reports. A 30-year-old woman died of the illness Mar 17, and a 28-year-old man was hospitalized but improving as of yesterday.See also:Mar 21 WHO statement on Azeri caseshttp://www.who.int/csr/don/2006_03_21a/en/index.htmllast_img read more