Should People Really Lose Their Jobs When They Say Something Racist on Social Media?

customers; a doctor is fired for suggesting on Facebook that Michelle Obama resembles a monkey. Almost daily, there are tales of employees oversharing on social media and paying for it with their jobs.

While it might be satisfying to witness instances in which people’s prejudices against people of color are swiftly addressed—especially considering that there’s often no justice for worse transgressions—the trend of firing employees for their social media posts should give those who live and breathe on social media pause.

What’s next? If your boss doesn’t like that left-leaning think piece you shared about how President-elect Donald Trump may ruin the country, does she have the right to fire you? Black Twitter has created funny and, in some cases, controversial and outspoken hashtags; what if your boss or co-worker is offended by comments you made under #OscarsSoWhite or didn’t like your lyrics in that #TrapCover?

Already, many of us think twice before reposting or retweeting political or controversial stories. However, should employers be all up in our social media business? Don’t we have the right to vent or fume about current events without worrying about keeping our jobs?

The answer may depend solely on the whims and judgment of your boss, according to Karen Thompson, who’s worked as a human resources professional for 20 years. “Beware of social media,” she warns. Employees may have the right to post whatever they want, but so far, employers have exercised their right to respond with, “You’re fired.”

According to CareerBuilder’s the Hiring Site blog, more than half of U.S. employers are checking applicants’ social media pages when deciding whether to offer someone a job.

While more than 60 percent say they’re looking for evidence that supports the applicants’ claims, some admit they’re in search of a reason not to offer a job.

Once you are hired and issued a company computer, that surveillance may reach a whole different level.

“When you are on Facebook or Instagram during work time on their work computer, it’s tracked,” said Thompson.

So while First Amendment rights may protect employees’ right to share their controversial opinions, Thompson suggests that social media users log onto their personal devices, not anything that belongs to the company. Still, waiting until after hours and using your own laptop doesn’t guarantee that your employer won’t see something deemed offensive and fire you for it.

Many companies don’t yet have strict guidelines addressing proper social media use. So a supervisor’s decision to send you packing is subjective, based on his or her preference.

“When you don’t have a rule, people make up their own rules,” said Thompson, whose company does offer a technology class for new hires. “It’s not black and white.”

It doesn’t necessarily matter whether the offensive comment has anything to do with job performance, either. For instance, in 2012 a California Cold Stone Creamery worker was fired for a Facebook post in which she seemingly encouraged the assassination of President Barack Obama.

Though her employer didn’t appear to have any complaints about her work, the 22-year-old was terminated. You can’t really blame a company for wanting to distance itself from someone who supports the assassination of the president, but is there a line, and if so, where is it? If someone disagrees with marriage equality and says so to followers and friends, should that affect his or her job as a dog groomer? Should a grocery clerk’s public, expletive-filled rant against Hillary Clinton result in a trip to the unemployment office?

Thompson said that more companies need guidelines so that employees know from the beginning what is and is not acceptable. Rules would also help employers, many of whom are currently making decisions arbitrarily on a case-by-case basis.

That means, as Thompson suggested, that employees don’t have a lot of recourse when it comes to defending themselves against their social media posts. Just be cautious and use good judgment.“It’s all about being ethical,” said Thompson. “If you are working for a company, organization or industry, there are ethical reasons why you should be careful about the information that you communicate. Although I would not say as an employer that you should not use social media … keep in mind that as an employee, you have to use discretion as to what kind of information you make public.”

[Source:-UNICEF]

For entrepreneurs on social media: stay true to your brand identity

One of the most common conversations I discuss with my clients is whether they should follow a certain trend. Should they be on Snapchat? Or should they even be on social media at all? Or do they need to be a part of exhibition X?

The big question is how as a company, or as an owner of a business, should you decide whether the latest fad is worth following? Will it enhance your brand or will joining along with everyone else lose your company its differentiating factor?

A good starting point is to examine whether adopting the newest craze, such as having a social media presence, would actually strengthen your brand. Would it attract new customers and, most importantly, is it relevant? It wouldn’t make sense, for instance, for a sovereign wealth fund to have a presence on a social media website like Instagram, or even Snapchat; but LinkedIn could be useful, as it would help fund managers connect with institutional investors and share their latest news or reports. For a retail bank, however, Instagram could be a useful way to promote new products and launch competitions.

When something new first emerges it can be hard to evaluate how it will affect your business. Nevertheless, you do not want to miss out on an opportunity that could help your company expand in new ways. Check whether the latest craze is affecting the whole business sector or only parts of it? Are your competitors on board with it? Again, consider the example of social media. It has been adopted industry wide, affecting most businesses for the last 10 years. GCC fashion blogs that embraced social media platforms such as Instagram and Twitter when they first emerged leveraged it the most, and have grown to become representatives of major fashion brands. Some have even turned their sites into money-generating platforms.

So when you do evaluate a new trend or technological advancement, you also have to consider how your marketing message, your offering, and even your customer service will change once you adopt it. Here are some aspects to consider during the process:

• Maintain constant contact with your clients

You may think that a new advancement will result in the business expansion you are looking for. But your customers may not agree. And what they think is just as important; at the end of the day, they make or break your business. As part of your trend evaluation process, involve your customers. Conduct focus groups and seek their opinion. What do they think? Would they find value in you adopting something new? If you are planning to have a social media presence, then find out which channels your target market tunes into. What do they want to know about your products or services?

• Stay true to your identity

Every brand has a set of beliefs and ideas at heart, which are reflected through its products and services. As your business evolves, and you adopt different methods, don’t lose your brand’s identity along the way. Take a look at the American make-up brand, Bare Escentuals for example. Though the brand has evolved, adopting a new digital presence and tuning in to the channels its customers are, it still held onto its core principle – manufacturing natural make up products that are hypoallergenic, harmless to the skin, yet still provide what customers look for.

Any trend – big or small – must be evaluated carefully to see how it affects your business. It may provide an opportunity to develop your brand but as you evolve, some things need to remain constant. Remember, what your customers believe in is just as key when you are considering something new, and their habits and evolving behaviour will help as you transform your messaging, your products and services.

[Source:-tHE nATIONAL]

3 Ways Social Media Is Changing How Millennials Consume News

Eighty-five percent of millennials say that staying up-to-date with the latest news is at least somewhat important, according to research conducted by the Media Insight Project. That number is staggering considering that many people blame millennials for the death of the modern newspaper.

When you take a closer look at how millennials consume news, though, it makes sense. The millennial generation doesn’t rely on newspapers like baby boomers and some Gen Xers do. Instead, the generation uses social media to get their news. This hasn’t just changed the way they come across news stories. It has actually changed the way they consume it in at least three ways.social media news

1. It’s integrated into their lives

Older generations tend to set aside time to consume news. They start the day off by reading the local paper and sit in front of the TV every night to watch the evening news. That’s not true for millennials, though. Instead of setting some time aside, they have made it a part of their daily lives, due in large part to social media. In fact, 60% of millennials say they come across news when they are engaging in other activities, often on social media.

They don’t occur on random social media networks, either. Most millennials get their news from Facebook. Unlike fast-paced Twitter feeds and photo-centric Instagram pages, Facebook is about relationships. Millennials visit the site over and over again throughout the day to find out what their friends and family are doing. When they do this, they come across tons of news stories, and they often click to learn more. That’s why 61% of millennials get their political news on Facebook.

You don’t have to be a politician to grab millennials’ interest on Facebook. If you have something newsworthy, put it on this channel and increase your potential to reach this demography.

2. They’re exposed to opposing viewpoints

On average, Americans spend 36% more time reading news stories that match up to their views than they spend reading stories that have opposing views. The reason is simple. People don’t want their views challenged. They want to read information that supports what they already believe.

[Source:-fORBES]

La International Cheer Union recibe un reconocimiento provisional por parte del Comité Olímpico Internacional

En el día de hoy, la International Cheer Union (ICU) expresó su agradecimiento al Consejo Ejecutivo del Comité Olímpico Internacional (COI) por la decisión que adoptó esta semana de otorgar un reconocimiento provisional a la ICU.

Fundada en 2004 y con su sede central en Estados Unidos, la ICU comenzó hace seis años el trámite para ser reconocida, cuando se postuló ante el COI. La misión de la ICU es promover la animación en el deporte de modo positivo a nivel mundial. La organización ha aumentado constantemente su membresía y en la actualidad cuenta con 110 federaciones nacionales de animadores deportivos asociadas.

“Las acciones del COI han creado un hito monumental para la animación deportiva. Estamos realmente honrados de recibir este reconocimiento por parte del Consejo Ejecutivo del COI”, afirmó Jeff Webb, Presidente de la International Cheer Union. “Esta decisión nos será de mucha ayuda a medida que nos esforzamos con el objetivo de crear oportunidades que permitan una participación y una competencia sanas para millones de atletas de animación deportiva del mundo entero”.

“Fue con mucho orgullo que nos enteramos de la decisión del COI“, manifestó Karl Olson, Secretario General de la ICU. “Nos sentimos verdaderamente honrados ya que esto representa una importante oportunidad para continuar trabajando con el objetivo de desarrollar la animación deportiva a escala mundial”.

La ICU ha desarrollado programas de capacitación educativa para atletas, entrenadores y funcionarios y ha resultado fundamental en la creación de reglas estandarizadas, así como de programas y regulaciones de seguridad. Junto con sus miembros de la Federación Nacional, la ICU organiza y apoya competencias continentales y regionales a lo largo de todo el año, que culminan en un Campeonato Mundial anual, en cuya edición 2016 participaron más de 10.000 atletas provenientes de 70 países. El Campeonato Mundial 2017 tendrá lugar en abril en Orlando, Florida.

Acerca de la International Cheer Union
La International Cheer Union (ICU) fue formada como una entidad de gobierno internacional sin fines de lucro cuya misión es promover el avance de la animación deportiva a escala mundial. Con más de 100 naciones miembro, la ICU representa a todas las áreas geográficas donde existe la animación deportiva. La ICU promueve la competencia sana, el desarrollo de reglas y la educación para los atletas, entrenadores y padres. Si desea más información, ingrese a www.cheerunion.org. Fotografías y vídeo b-roll disponibles bajo petición.

[Source:-PR NEWS]

Rwanda celebrates International Human Rghts Day

Every year, on 10th December, the World celebrates the International Human Rights Day. This day was set aside by the United Nations following the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) on 10th December 1948.

The Declaration established respect for human rights and human modesty as the pillar of freedom, peace and justice in the world.

Rwanda, on this occasion, joins the International Community in celebrating this day that provides an opportunity to confirm its commitment to protect and promote respect for human rights.

2016 International Human Rights Day

Generally, the International Human Rights Day is celebrated by Governments and Non-Governmental Organizations that are active in the human rights promotion and protection whereby they organize conferences, meetings, exhibitions, cultural events, debates and many more events to discuss issues pertaining to human rights with a focus on empowering people to know their rights.

In 2015, the UN human Rights office launched year- long campaign: “our rights our freedoms always” to promote and raise awareness about two importance conventions – The international Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) – whose adoption 50 decades ago forever changed international human rights.

This year, Human Rights Day calls on everyone to stand up for someone’s rights! Under the UN International slogan “Stand up for someone’s rights today!” it is a call for everyone in their own capacity to stand up for the rights of refugees, migrants, persons with disabilities, women, children, indigenous people, minority groups, LGBT persons and anyone else who is a risk of discrimination or violence.

Human Rights Day Celebrations in Rwanda

In Rwanda, the day will be celebrated under the theme “ Stand up for Someone’s rights today and promote child’s rights to education”. This is a call to Rwandans to know their rights and particularly children’s right to education.

On the occasion of celebrating the International Human Rights Day, the National Commission for Human Rights organised a human rights week which took place from December3 to 6.The week was characterized by sensitization sessions on human rights in higher learning institutions and local communities through media.

The Commission also organised an essay writing competition in fifteen higher learning institutions on International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICESCR) under the topic “Situation of human rights in Africa, particularly in Rwanda vis à vis the four fundamental freedoms that people everywhere in the world ought to enjoy”. The fundamental freedoms being – Freedom of speech, freedom of worship, Freedom from want and Freedom from fear.

The national celebrations will be held at Umuganda Stadium of Rubavu District on December 10.

National commission for Human Rights

As provided for by Article 42 of the Constitution of the Republic of Rwanda of 2003 revised in 2015, the promotion of human rights is a responsibility of the State which is particularly supported by the National Commission for Human Rights.

The National Commission for Human Rights was established by the Law N°04/99 of 12 March 1999 which has often been amended in order to provide more power and responsibilities to the Commission.

As of today, the Commission is governed by the law N°19/2013 of 25/03/2013 determining mission, organization and functioning of the Commission. By this law, the Commission has the overall mission of promoting and protecting Human Rights. It is an independent and permanent institution with a legal personality and autonomy in its administrative and financial matters.

Regarding the promotion of human rights, the National Commission for Human Rights educates and sensitizes the population on matters relating to human rights.

Moreover, the Commission provides views, upon request or at its own initiative on laws, regulations of public organs in force in the country and bills so as to ensure their conformity to fundamental principles of Human Rights.

The Commission carries out research on thematic issues and publishes findings with the purpose of promoting human rights.

Regarding the protection of human rights, the Commission receives, examines and investigates complaints relating to human rights violations and then urges relevant authorities to address identified cases of violation.

National Commission for Human Rights values the extent to which the respect of human rights in Rwanda has been protected and promoted.

Some of the complaints dealt with by the Commission include claims on the right to property, delays in compensation during citizens’ relocation, justice and children rights violation.

The commission has observed that there are some instances where children are denied their right to education. The commission therefore calls upon families and schools to partner to ensure that children’s rights are not violated.

In a bid to ensuring full respect of human rights, the National commission is consistently educating citizens on their rights in close collaboration with local authorities.

[Source:-The new Times]

International Human Rights Day 2016 – Blog

We speak to Professor Alan Miller, Special Envoy of the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions and former chair of the Scottish Human Rights Commission, on International Human Rights Day 2016, which marks the 68thanniversary of the United Nations General Assembly adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Do you think it is important to mark human rights on International Human Rights Day? Why?

Yes and on every day and in every way, everywhere!

2016 has placed human rights on the back foot. Narrow political and state interests have been undermining rule of law and human rights. For example, this can be seen from the vetoes used in the UN Security Council to frustrate a resolution to the Syrian conflict, to the downward spiral of European states in response to those fleeing such conflict and to the mean-spirited Brexit debate closer to home which now risks undermining and imperiling the constitutional guarantees of rights and freedoms within Scotland.

2017 needs human rights to be on the front foot reclaiming the space in our public debates and decision-making processes. Scotland has a contribution to make in how it responds to Brexit.

You have moved from the Scottish Human Rights Commission to a new role as Special Envoy of the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI). What does this entail?

At the call of the UN over 100 countries, including Scotland of course, have now established national human rights institutions as independent bodies to protect and promote human rights. My role is to represent and advocate on their behalf within the UN and broader international community. This includes bringing the experiences and perspectives of these national institutions to influence the decision-making processes within the UN through holding to account member states for implementing their international legal human rights obligations. For example, this includes the implementation of commitments made towards successful implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals which would underpin the solutions to many of the contemporary challenges of conflict, extremist violence, forced migration, climate change, poverty and the inequalities of globalisation.

The role also involves supporting national human rights institutions and so, for example, I have just returned from Turkey where I am working with the UN to strengthen the national institution.

What’s your view of Scotland’s role internationally on human rights issues?

It has a developing profile. Scotland’s National Action Plan for Human Rights is recognised as exemplary practice as is its championing of climate justice. The EU is widely regarded within the international community as a leading human rights influence in the world and there is considerable interest in how Scotland now responds to Brexit. Of course I am personally very pleased that the Scottish Human Rights Commission continues to be well regarded under its new leadership!

How can solicitors help protect human rights?

In many ways.

Private practitioners can protect access to justice. In-house solicitors can ensure both legal compliance as well as support the development of best practice by public authorities. Commercial lawyers can advise corporate clients of their responsibilities under the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

These are all the givens. More can be done through supporting law centres, clinics and NGOs and through influencing legal professional and academic bodies to proactively promote and protect our human rights framework without which rule of law and lawyers can no longer effectively serve the public interest.

What can the legal profession and/or human rights organisations do to help build awareness of human rights in everyday life?

Brexit is a defining issue. It removes one and imperils the other of our two pillars of the closest Scotland has to a constitutional framework – the required compliance with EU law and with the ECHR.

EU law guarantees rights across virtually all fields of law including employment, equality, freedom of movement, family, privacy, consumer and criminal. Many fall within reserved areas in the UK and shall be literally at risk of actually falling. Free of the EU, the UK shall be freer to leave the jurisdiction of that other ‘foreign court’, the European Court of Human Rights.

A lesson from the Brexit debate is not to leave communities behind and not to take the public for granted. So the benefits of the EU protected rights to everyday life have to be popularised if they are to be maintained one way or another. Legal bodies can play a big part in this.

As a member of the First Minister’s Standing Council on Europe I have been engaging through a series of roundtable events with the legal community and civic society seeking to build an emerging consensus around three guiding principles for Scotland of non-regression of rights, of not being left behind future progressive European developments and of taking the lead in rights. A Scottish Universities Legal Network on Europe has stepped forward in support of this and the Law Society has also taken part. This initiative shall be further developed next year and is one way for the legal and human rights community to play their parts.

[Source:-Law Socity Of Scotland]

On International Human Rights Day, a Lesson for Trump

Eleanor Roosevelt holds a copy of the Spanish-language version of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Saturday is International Human Rights Day, commemorating the day in 1948 when the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The significance of the day and its history is something that President-elect Donald Trump should reckon with after running a campaign that demonstrated outright contempt for human rights, particularly his “love” of waterboarding.

Right now, we don’t yet know what Donald Trump will try in office. But to fight against any policies embodying the islamophobia, xenophobia, racism, or misogyny that were embraced during his campaign, we know that we have decades of international human rights law on our side. And no president can undo that because ratified treaties are not just lofty aspirations — under the Constitution they’re “the supreme law of the land.”

In the aftermath of the horrors of World War II, the international community resolved to establish a robust international framework to maintain peace and security and promote human rights. It created the United Nations and the modern human rights system.

Since then, the United States has played a critical role in creating global and regional human rights institutions based on treaties and international conventions that protect a whole host of human rights. Among the ratified agreements are the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention Against Torture, and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Form of Racial Discrimination.

With American leadership, the global community established standards for the treatment of prisoners of war and prosecuted war crimes and crimes against humanity at Nuremberg. Today, the Geneva Conventions are binding on every country and are among the universally accepted laws of war, categorically prohibiting acts of torture and cruelty.

In 1951, the international community was faced with the daunting task of establishing international cooperation in resettling vulnerable refugees following the war and protecting their most basic human rights. The U.S. led the global effort to establish the Refugee Convention, which now forms the international standards for refugee protection and resettlement. Under it, countries may not discriminate against refugees on the basis of “race, religion, or country of origin.” Our country is a nation of immigrants and must continue to be seen as a safe haven to refugees from around the world. It’s the right and moral thing to do.

Despite our all-too-often shortcomings in practicing at home what we preach abroad, more often than not, the U.S. has helped make these global commitments stronger. However, we’ve also benefitted tremendously from our investment and engagement with international law and institutions. Though its universality may make it seem abstract, international law has a tremendous impact in nearly all facets of our daily lives, from environmental well-being and public health to high-stakes governmental questions of public safety and armed conflict.

These international agreements are still binding on us today, and they will continue to be under a President Trump. No matter how hard he tries to establish mass deportations, it’ll still constitute a flagrant violation of international law. No matter how hard he tries to bring back “waterboarding, or a hell of a lot worse,” torture will remain illegal under both the Geneva Conventions and the Convention Against Torture (in addition to U.S. law). No matter how hard he pursues a total or even partial ban on entry for Muslim refugees and immigrants or tries to re-enact Bush’s failed NSEER discriminatory registry program, international law still forbids them.

Hopefully, Trump will realize that even if he decides to flout international human rights law, he would only be undermining our country’s interests. When the U.S. commits human rights abuses, other countries follow. It sets off a domino effect causing further instability, conflicts, and violence. And we lose the moral authority to do anything about it. We would also alienate allies on a whole host of issues pertaining to our national interest, including trade and sharing intelligence to fight real threats abroad.

Trump campaigned on his ability to make a deal. But human dignity and fundamental human rights are off-limits for bargaining. Protecting them and living up to our international obligations are the best deal for the American people and the rest of the world.

[Source:-ACLU]

Strength training may prevent side effect of breast cancer surgery

Strength training might benefit breast cancer survivors who’ve undergone surgery, researchers suggest.

In a small study, weightlifting appeared to help prevent swelling in the arms and chest, a common side effect of breast cancer treatment.

The study included 27 breast cancer survivors who did supervised moderate-intensity strength workouts twice a week. Each woman’s regimen was matched to her ability.

The women were checked every two weeks. Three had reductions in swelling and the rest did not develop any swelling. Many of the women also said they were better able to perform everyday tasks, such as opening jars or lifting heavy objects.

“At one time, women were told they shouldn’t do upper-body activities after surgery and treatment because doctors thought it could actually cause swelling to become worse,” said study author Lynn Panton. She is a professor of exercise science at Florida State University in Tallahassee.

“But we’re finding that strength training can really help women recover from treatment and help prevent and reduce this swelling,” Panton explained in a university news release.

Breast cancer surgery often includes removal of lymph nodes. As part of the body’s immune system, lymph nodes help filter out harmful substances. But because breast cancer can spread to nearby lymph nodes, these organs are often removed. Without lymph nodes, the body has difficulty draining a type of fluid that can build up, resulting in swelling.

“Activity facilitates blood flow, so we thought this type of training would likely help women,” Panton said.

The study was published recently in the journal Supportive Care in Cancer.

In a follow-up study, Panton’s team will examine how strength training affects breast cancer survivors’ body fat, bone health, fitness level and quality of life.

In 2015, there were almost 3 million breast cancer survivors in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society.

[Source:-UPI]

Babies’ marijuana exposure evident in their urine

Babies exposed to secondhand marijuana smoke take in THC, the primary psychoactive chemical in pot, a new study shows.

Researchers discovered traces of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) in urine samples from babies and toddlers in Colorado whose parents smoked marijuana.

The researchers also found that children exposed to marijuana smoke are more likely to be exposed to tobacco smoke, which increases their risk for health problems.

The study was published Dec. 2 in the journal Pediatric Research.

“While documenting the presence of metabolites of THC in children does not imply causation of disease, it does suggest that, like tobacco smoke, marijuana smoke is inhaled by children in the presence of adults who are using it,” said study author Karen Wilson, of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City.

Further research is needed to determine the potential threats secondhand marijuana smoke poses to children, she and her colleagues said in a journal news release.

In areas where marijuana is legal, health facilities should ask parents about their marijuana use so that those who do smoke marijuana at home can be advised how to reduce potentially harmful secondhand smoke exposure of their children, Wilson said.

The babies were between 1 month and 2 years old. All were hospitalized with bronchiolitis, a lower respiratory tract infection. Marijuana is legal in Colorado.

[Source:-UPI]

Zika-linked birth defects surge in Colombia: CDC

The tragedy of hundreds of babies born with devastating birth defects linked to the Zika virus is no longer confined to Brazil, a new report confirms.

Colombia is now also experiencing a surge in these cases of infant microcephaly. It’s a birth defect where newborns whose mothers contracted the mosquito-borne virus in pregnancy are born with too-small skulls and underdeveloped brains.

A team led by Margaret Honein, of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reported that between Jan. 31, 2016 and mid-November 2016, there were 476 cases of microcephaly in Colombia, a fourfold increase from the same period in 2015.

There were nine times as many cases of microcephaly in July 2016 than in July 2015, the researchers said.

And because Colombia’s surveillance of birth defects relies on voluntary reporting, the new data “likely underestimates the actual prevalence of birth defects, including those defects associated with Zika virus infection during pregnancy,” Honein’s team said.

The findings show that an increase in microcephaly cases is not restricted to Brazil, and that other countries with Zika outbreaks are likely to have large increases in microcephaly and other Zika-related birth defects, the CDC said.

The study also found that the peak in cases of microcephaly in Colombia occurred about six months after the highest number of new Zika infections were reported. This suggests that the greatest risk for Zika-related microcephaly likely arises in the first half of pregnancy — especially the first trimester and early in the second trimester.

Between Aug. 9, 2015 and Nov. 12, 2016, there were about 105,000 cases of Zika virus in Colombia, including nearly 20,000 cases involving pregnant women.

According to the latest figures from the CDC, there have so far been 32 cases of Zika-related birth defects to live-born infants in the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

However, there’s also some good news on Zika in the United States: On Friday the CDC declared that the state of Florida is now free of the Zika virus.

One area in south Miami Beach had remained an active zone for local transmission of the virus. But the CDC said in a statement Friday that there have been no new cases of local Zika transmission in south Miami Beach for more than 45 days, so that neighborhood is no longer considered an active zone.

But, Texas officials, who recently reported a suspected case of local infection, said Friday that they have identified four more cases of suspected locally transmitted Zika virus in Cameron County, near the border with Mexico.

The Colombian study was published Dec. 9 in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

[Source:-UPI]