Sarah Thomas officiates. – Courtesy Photo/ESPN
1. ISIS fighters have been infected by a deadly, flesh-eating disease. Hundreds of Islamic State fighters located in Raqqa, Syria, capital of the self-proclaimed ISIS caliphate, have been infected by Leishmaniasis. The disease can become fatal if not treated with a simple course of medicine.
Leishmaniasis is caused by a parasite and is transmitted by the bite of certain sand flies. The disease causes large open wounds which eat away flesh and enlarged spleen and liver. About 2 million cases are reported each year worldwide, causing 20,000 to 50,000 deaths.
2. Prominent campaigner for gun control Sarah Brady died of pneumonia Friday at the age of 73. Brady was the widow of assistant to the U.S. President and White House Press Secretary under Ronald Reagan, James Brady.
Brady was involved in gun violence prevention for the past 30 years and was chairwoman of the Brady campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence since 2000.
New York Times reported despite budgets, the Bradys and their colleagues helped pass both state and federal laws, including Maryland’s 1988 ban on cheap handguns known as Saturday night specials, a ban on manufacturing and future sales of some military-style firearms from 1994 to 2004 and 1993’s Brady law requiring background checks on certain kinds of gun purchases.
Former president Bill Clinton, who signed the Brady bill in 1993, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a joint statement Saturday that Brady “transformed tragedy into a courageous campaign, and because of her work and her remarkable life, American families are safer today.”
3. Iran eased a ban on women attending men’s sports matches Saturday, just days after a court pardoned an Iranian-British woman who had been jailed for protesting against the law.
Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) cited Abdul Hamid Ahmadi, deputy minister of sport and youth in cultural, education and research affairs, as saying the new policy includes women and families being able to attend games, and will come into effect during this Iranian year. The Iranian calendar year ends in March 2016.
Sputnik News reported Ahmadi said some matches would remain off-limits.
“Of course, in some areas of sport, families are not interested in attending nor is there a possibility for them to attend,” he said.
4. Although California is experiencing a historic drought, it affects the rest of the union as well.
The slowly expanding natural disaster is now in its fourth year. California Gov. Jerry Brown announced a mandatory 25 percent cutback in water consumption in all cities.
California can be considered the breadbasket of the nation. The state grows more than a third of the nation’s vegetables and nearly two-thirds of its fruits and nuts.
Fruits and vegetable prices rose last year and fell in February, but U.S. Department of Agriculture economist Annemarie Kuhns said fresh fruit prices are projected to rise between 2.5 percent and 3.5 percent, and vegetables between 2 percent and 3 percent, close to historical average increases.
5. After months of trying to repair its image due to multiple scandals, the NFL has hired its first full-time female official, Sarah Thomas, a Mississippi native.
The Los Angeles Times reported Thomas will be among eight new officials for the league this season. The official hiring of the seven men and one woman is still contingent upon them passing physical examination, the report said.
Thomas lives with her family in Brandon, Mississippi, and works as a pharmaceutical sales representative. She worked the New Orleans Saints training camp and a preseason game in 2014.
“If I am there permanently next year as a full-time official it would just be tremendous,” Thomas told USA Today Sports in 2014.