Date: Fri, 15 Jun 2018 03:24:30 +0200

Managua, June 15, 2018 (AFP) - Activists faced off with Nicaraguan pro-government forces in hours of deadly clashes Thursday amid a nationwide strike to protest government repression of dissent that has left at least 162 dead, including an altar boy.   Despite the 24-hour work stoppage that gave the capital Managua the air of a ghost town, fierce unrest in other areas persisted, leaving at least four dead during pro-government attacks on activists guarding barricades.

Managua's auxiliary bishop Silvio Jose Baez reported that a 15-year-old altar boy from the country's second largest city Leon died after a paramilitary's bullet struck him in the chest.   "God welcomes (him) to the altar of heaven," the bishop tweeted.   He also warned of riot police indiscriminately shooting in the streets of Nindiri, a city 20 kilometers (12 miles) southeast of Managua.   The Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (CENIDH) raised to 162 the death toll from two months of sociopolitical upheaval that President Daniel Ortega's government has met with a brutal crackdown.

Nagarote, 42 kilometers northwest of Managua, saw hours of fiery exchanges between armed Ortega-backed forces and activists with mortars that resulted in at least one anti-government activist death, the local vicar Juan Lopez said.   Another death, the details of which remained unclear, occurred in Masatepe in similar street battles.   And in Tipitapa, 20 kilometers north of the capital, heavy clashes ensued when paramilitary gangs attempted to forcibly remove the blockades erected by activists.    Amid the confrontations that saw a bus set alight, hundreds of women took to the streets banging on "cazuela" clay pots, waving handkerchiefs and shouting at aggressors to "go away" -- a tactic that ultimately worked, according to local footage.

- 'No man's land' -
The country was otherwise closed for the strike slated to end at midnight, the streets desolate and shops, banks and eateries locked shut.   Images from Managua's normally bustling Mercado Oriental market showed shuttered storefronts. Buses and taxis were nowhere in sight.   Candy salesman Heriberto Ruiz praised the work stoppage, saying the violence has turned Nicaragua into a "no man's land."

Following reports of the deaths that occurred during what was supposed to be a "peaceful" strike, Baez in a tweet addressed the president directly: "Mr Daniel Ortega, I repeat what I said personally in your face."   "Repressing and killing is aggravating the crisis. People shout in the street, 'Let him go!' Collaborate to find a solution," the bishop said.   The work stoppage comes as Nicaragua's influential Catholic clergy work to rekindle crisis talks.   The bishops on Friday will publicly unveil both their mediation offer and Ortega's response -- something the country has been anticipating for a week.   Foreign Minister Denis Moncada was to head the government delegation at the meeting, said the spokesperson for Ortega's vice president and wife Rosario Murillo.   The church previously called off talks with Ortega after a march led by victims' mothers was violently repressed last month.

- 'Repressed' citizenry -
Mario Arana, director of Nicaragua's Association of Producers and Exporters, estimated the strike would result in a $25 to $30 million economic loss.   The private sector broke with Ortega after the president unilaterally approved a measure -- since rescinded -- to overhaul that country's social security system. This triggered the unrest that exploded on into a mass effort to pressure Ortega to leave office.   Activists have erected blockades on more than two-thirds of the country's roads in a bid to fend off Ortega-backed forces.

The makeshift roadblocks have wreaked economic havoc, halting the delivery of goods and thwarting regional trade.   The Nicaraguan Foundation for Economic and Social Development (FUNIDES) estimates the country could bleed anywhere from 20,000 to 150,000 jobs by the end of the year, depending on the evolution of the crisis.   Ortega's Sandinista guerrilla forces ousted the Somoza dictatorship in 1979, and the leftist leader has remained a major political force ever since.   He is currently serving his third consecutive executive term, due to expire in 2022.   But even some who had fought with Ortega are now turning on him, demanding he move up the presidential election slated for late 2021.
Date: Thu 24 Aug 2017
Source: Yahoo Noticias [edited]

Nicaraguan health authorities reported an outbreak of conjunctivitis in 52 of the country's 153 municipalities, and 1613 cases were reported in the last week [week of Sun 20 Aug 2017].

The municipalities most affected by the outbreak are located in the departments of Chinandega, Leon, Managua and Rivas, in the Pacific, and in the Autonomous Region of the South Caribbean, according to the report of the Ministry of Health (Minsa), read by Vice President and First Lady Rosario Murillo.

The dignitary warned that there has been a "significant increase in the number people affected" so far this year [2017] and the causes will be studied. She added that there were 2206 cases of conjunctivitis in 2015 and 2877 cases last year [2016].

"Just this week [week of Sun 27 Aug 2017], 1613 cases of conjunctivitis have been reported. We have a cumulative caseload this year [1 Jan 2017 - 24 Aug 2017] of 11,364," more than all cases recorded in 2015 and 2016 together, she warned.

Murillo asked specialists to study the causes and consequences of this sudden increase in cases.

In addition, she asked Minsa to issue a series of recommendations to prevent this disease.

Conjunctivitis is an infection of viral origin that affects the eyes and is transmitted easily from person to person or when touching infected objects.

The symptoms, which last for a week or so, are redness of the eyes, watering, burning, sensitivity to light and the sensation of having a foreign body inside the eye.
[Conjunctivitis is an eye infection where the thin membrane that covers the white of the eye and the interior of the eye lids - the conjunctiva - becomes inflamed. Symptoms include watery eyes, discharge, discomfort, sensitively to light, subconjunctival haemorrhaging, and itchiness.

Conjunctivitis is highly contagious and can be caused by bacterial or viral infections; only the bacterial version is treatable. It is typically caused by adenovirus, but other viruses have been implicated in conjunctival infection including herpes simplex virus (HSV),  varicella-zoster virus (VZV), picornavirus (enterovirus 70, Coxsaskie A24), poxvirus (molluscum contagiosum, vaccinia), and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Transmission may occur through accidental inoculation of viral particles from the patient's hands or by contact with infected upper respiratory droplets, fomites, contaminated swimming pools, or allergens in the environment. The infection usually resolves spontaneously within 2-4 weeks. [Excerpted from  <>]

Numerous other Latin American and Caribbean countries have also been reporting outbreaks of the disease since late 2016.

See ProMED Conjunctivitis - Caribbean (05): Cuba for further discussion on conjunctivitis. - ProMED Mod LK]

[A Healthmap / ProMED of Nicaragua can be found at
Date: Fri, 18 Aug 2017 17:45:56 +0200

Managua, Aug 18, 2017 (AFP) - The San Cristobal volcano, the highest peak in Nicaragua, started spewing out ashes and sulphurous-smelling gases Friday over at least four nearby towns and villages, officials said.   Local authorities in the region of La Grecia recommended people don breathing masks, cover water wells, keep children indoors and drive carefully because the airborne ash has caused poor visibility in the area.   The 1,745-meter (5,725 foot) high San Cristobal is one of seven active volcanoes in the Central American country. It is located in the Chinandega region, 132 kilometers (82 miles) northwest of the capital Managua.
Date: Wed, 22 Feb 2017 16:52:41 +0100

Managua, Feb 22, 2017 (AFP) - An Argentine volcanologist and Nicaraguan guide who fell into an active volcano were in good health Wednesday after being rescued by firemen, officials in Nicaragua said.   The 60-year-old researcher, Rodolfo Alvarez, and his specialized guide, Adriac Valladares, 25, fell into the crater of Masaya Volcano just south of the capital on Tuesday.

The two slipped about 450 meters (1475 feet) down the inside the active volcano when their rope broke and reportedly suffered dehydration from the high temperatures.   They had been working just over the crater's lip when the accident occurred, the government said on an official website.    Firemen used ropes and harnesses to climb down to save them.    Both men were in "good condition and stable," the government said.   Masaya Volcano, located 20 kilometers (12 miles) south of Managua, features a lava lake and is a big draw for scientists and tourists alike.
Date: Fri, 10 Jun 2016 06:37:27 +0200

Managua, June 10, 2016 (AFP) - A strong 6.1 magnitude earthquake and at least three aftershocks shook north-western Nicaragua on Thursday night, triggering panic among residents.   There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties.   The 6.1 quake struck at 9:25 pm (0325 GMT), cantered 17 kilometres (10.5 miles) east of Puerto Morazan near the Honduras border at a depth of 10 kilometres, according to the United States Geological Survey.

It was followed by three weaker aftershocks within the next 20 minutes, USGS said.   "The quake was felt almost throughout the country," government spokeswoman and First Lady Rosario Murillo said, calling it "unusually strong."   She urged residents to stay calm, warning of the threat of more aftershocks.   Puerto Morazan is about 125 kilometres northwest of the capital Managua.
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