Thursday, March 22, 2012

U.S. travelers to Euro 2012 and Olympics may bring home measles, CDC warns

Health officials are bracing for the possibility of a measles outbreak in the USA, fueled   unvaccinated American tourists returning home from this summer's Olympic Game.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that the Olympics in London, as well as the Euro 2012 soccer cup in Poland and Ukraine, will be huge draws for American travelers and will increase the risk for measles infection. The virus is much more prevalent in Europe, leading to eight deaths and 26,000 illnesses last year.
"Disease knows no borders," said Rebecca Martin, director of the CDC's Global Immunization Division. "We are concerned about Americans coming back from the Olympics this summer and unknowingly infecting others."
The Olympics in London starts July 27 and the Euro 2012 soccer cup on June 8 in Poland and Ukraine.
Martin urges Americans who plan to travel this summer to be up-to-date on measles vaccinations. Measles infections have been on the rise in the U.S. even though vaccinations eliminated the routine spread of the disease here in 2000.
Most U.S. cases of the measles are imported by U.S. travelers who have not been vaccinated. Before routine vaccinations, the virus killed between 3,000 and 5,000 Americans each year.
"We usually have about 50 cases a year, but last year we had a record number of importations" — at least 214 cases — says Greg Wallace, a measles specialist with the CDC's division of viral diseases. About 30% of those cases required hospitalization.
Last year, England and Wales had 1,086 cases of measles, according to the U.K. Health Protection Agency. "Ukraine is experiencing a large measles outbreak right now," Martin says.
Measles strikes worldwide but is of special concern in Western Europe, Wallace says. The disease had been under control there until a 1998 paper in the British medical journal The Lancet purported a link between autism and the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine. It also said the vaccine caused gastrointestinal disorders in children.
Vaccination rates fell after the paper gained widespread publicity. It was later revealed that Andrew Wakefield, the main author, had faked his research. The paper was retracted in 2010, and Wakefield was banned from practicing medicine. Vaccination rates are again rising in Europe, but in England and France they remain too low to fully control the disease.
The CDC, which is part of a global effort called theMeasles Initiative to fight the disease, maintains a Web page for Americans going overseas at
Many U.S. parents who chose not to vaccinate rely on "herd immunity," the protection against infection offered by vaccination rates of 95% of higher. But with so many Americans traveling overseas, you can be exposed anywhere.
In California, three children under a year old, too young to be vaccinated, were infected in a doctor's waiting room when a 7-year-old who had caught measles in Switzerland came in to be seen, says Kathleen Harriman, an epidemiologist with the state Department of Public Health.
In 2011, 214 people in the United States got the measles and 68 were hospitalized.
All travelers' packing lists should include "passports and immunization records," says Erika Jenssen, the director of communicable disease outbreaks in Contra Costa County, a suburban county east of San Francisco. You can be vaccinated at any age. "It's the most serious and critical thing you can do, both to make sure you're protected while you're there and so that you don't bring it back home."

Michel Platini: Ukraine's Success is Extraordinary

KYIV, Ukraine, March 21, 2012
The President of the Union of European Football Associations Michel Platini noted the progress Ukraine made in preparations for the European Football Championship EURO 2012. According to Platini, modernization plans have been 95 percent implemented. "Difficult births often lead to beautiful babies," is how Michel Platini referred to the project.
Michel Platini reckoned that the organization of EURO 2012 in Poland and Ukraine was a complicated and difficult adventure, reports AFP. The upcoming football tournament played a key role in developing the much-needed infrastructure in the host countries. Ukraine has built new airports, hotels and roads, taking its infrastructure 30 years into the future. Such legacy of the UEFA football championship will last, said Platini.
In 2010, Michel Platini urged Ukraine to intensify the preparations for the football championship: "The championship is 2012, not 2030." But in 18 months Ukraine dispelled all concerns. The country introduced four renewed airports, with the last one opening next month. On April 12, 2012, Michel Platini will inaugurate the Danylo Halytskyi International Airport in western Ukrainian Lviv.
Ukrainian authorities also saw to the reconstruction of the country's four stadiums, the opening of hundreds of new hotels, and the introduction of numerous new transportation routes. Ukraine made sure the street signs were available in English. It even amended some of its legislature in order to employ the EU standards.
Railway stations, taxi, and public transport in Ukraine experienced major adjustments to provide smooth service to hundreds of thousands of EURO 2012 tourists. Medical, security and maintenance personnel received special training in tourist management and English. Thousands of guide books were designed and printed specially for the football fans coming to Ukraine in June.
One of the popular concerns of the international community was accommodation in Ukraine. As its tourism industry is only developing, the country may not have as many hotel rooms as major European capitals. Nevertheless, Information centre Ukraine-2012 reported over 60,000 beds available in Ukrainian EURO 2012 cities with only 20 percent of accommodation booked by February.
SOURCE Worldwide News Ukraine

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Respect at UEFA EURO 2012

The UEFA EURO 2012 tournament next summer will be a global sporting event reaching millions of people across the world. Football is intrinsically linked to society and an event on such a scale provides an opportunity to use its enormous popularity to highlight and tackle issues affecting communities across Europe. Away from the action on the field, where the stars and teams make the headlines, UEFA has put together a social responsibility program in cooperation with the local governments, host cities and members associations. The program will have an impact on specific issues and leave a legacy not only in Poland and Ukraine, but also beyond the two host countries' borders. 
UEFA invited key organizations in Poland and Ukraine to propose and develop a joint football and social responsibility program under the banner of UEFA's renowned RESPECT campaign. As a result, four RESPECT projects will be implemented at UEFA EURO 2012 - RESPECT Diversity, RESPECT Fan Culture, RESPECT Inclusion and RESPECT your Health. 
The overarching RESPECT campaign - launched by the UEFA president at  UEFA EURO 2008 in Austria and Switzerland - dovetails with programs aimed at combating racism, increasing access for disable people, promoting health through physical activity and intercultural dialog between fans and authorities. 
RESPECT Diversity - Football Unites. 
Working with long-time partner - the FARE (Football Against Racism in Europe) network, UEFA aims to promote the positive message of diversity through various activities before and during the tournament, peaking at the semi-finals. Hundreds of inclusivity zones will be created at the tournament. These are public buildings and spaces that are designated as being open, accessible and welcoming to all, regardless of ethnic or national background, gender, disability or sexual orientation. In addition, a project will be implemented targeting the physical education teachers and sports coaches from schools in major cities in Poland, promoting the idea of creating environments which encourage diversity and tolerance. Also, to date, over 80,000 police officers and stewards in Poland and Ukraine have received anti discrimination training to help them identify discriminatory charts, symbols and behavior.
RESPECT Fan Culture - Fan Embassies. 
UEFA is working with Football Supporters Europe (FSE) to set up fan embassies at the tournament. These mobile units are designed to provide information and services targeted at football fans and to foster communication between foreign supporters and authorities. Services for the fans could include last minute travel and accommodation assistance, liaison with local authorities and facilitation in unforeseen circumstances. These fan embassies will promote a positive and peaceful fan culture and thus contribute to a festive atmospher at UEFA EURO 2012. 
RESPECT Inclusion - Football with No Limits - Showcase games - Tournament charity. 
UEFA has partnered with the Center for Access to Football in Europe (CAFE) to manage three separate projects focusing on inclusion. 
The Football with No Limits project is about working with the local organizing committees in both host countries to ensure disabled supporters can enjoy the tournament with full access to all facilities. It will provide access information to fans and visitors with disabilities by means of a tailor-made guide, as well as helping local businesses provide improved services for people with disabilities during and after the tournament. 
The showcase games projects is implemented Special Olympics in Poland and the National Sports Committee for disabled people in Ukraine. It involves organizing football matches for children and young people with disabilities ahead of each quarter-final to showcase young talent and raise awareness of players with disabilities. 
Work on improving the accessibility of sports facilities and public spaces for people with disabilities will not be limited to the tournament itself. Having created an alliance with two NGOs in Poland and Ukraine, CAFE will continue its activities in the two host countries. The funds for these future initiatives will be raised through the  UEFA EURO 2012 tournament charity project. Football supporters and dignitaries will be encouraged to donate money to this initiative, with UEFA paving the way by committing to donate 3,000 euro for each goal scored during the tournament. 
RESPECT your Health - Euroschools 2012. 
RESPECT your Health - Euroschools 2012 project promotes healthy lifestyles among children and their families, with a focus on smoking prevention, healthy diet, moderation in alcohol consumption, and encouraging physical activity. Run by streetfootballworld, another UEFA partner, the project will also provide physical education teachers in schools with information material activity among children. Within  the RESPECT your Health project framework,  UEFA EURO 2012 will also be a tobacco-free event. In cooperation with the World Health Federation, UEFA will ensure a smoke-free environment for all visitors to the tournament. The sale, distribution, advertising or use of tobacco products will not be allowed in the stadiums or within their perimeters. UEFA will also encourage the host cities to adopt a tobacco-free policy for the fan zones. 
The  UEFA EURO 2012 social responsibility program is tackling some of Europe's key social issues and, by leaving a legacy through these initiatives, UEFA's RESPECT campaign will continue to positively affect the lives of European communities for decades to come. 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Vitali Klitshko's guide to Ukraine video.

Any football fan going to Ukraine this summer? 
Vitali Klitschko born 19 July 1971 is a Ukrainian professional boxer and the reigning WBC Heavyweight Champion. Klitshko gives exclusive interview for

Fair play by Ribery and Kroos play "Scissors Paper Stone".

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Public screening extending the fan experience. (fanplaza)

Non-Official SONG EURO 2012: Listen here:
Although nothing can compare to the excitement of attending a UEFA EURO 2012 match in person, public screening will provide an excellent alternative way to follow the action and soak up the tournament atmosphere for those watching from afar.
Fan parks (fan zone) showing matches live on giant screens in the host cities have become a key part of the fan experience at recent EUROs and public screening of  UEFA EURO 2012 matches will no doubt also be a popular choice for supporters across the world.
UEFA's public screening licensing program is intended to enhance fans' enjoyment of the tournament and proved a success during  UEFA EURO 2008, when about 5,000 licenses were granted.
To protect UEFA's broadcast and commercial partners, public screening licenses must be issued by, or on behalf of, UEFA for all public screenings outside the domestic environment (i.e. home), however, an organiser will not have to request a license from UEFA if  the public screenings meets all of the following conditions:
-the screen is smaller than 3m in diagonal;
-the capacity of the screening location does not exceed 150 visitors; and
-there is no sponsorship or admission fee involved.
Whether or not an organiser of a public screening event is required to have a license from UEFA, they must comply with the laws of their respective territory and obtain all other necessary permissions. In addition, each license request received by UEFA will be assessed on a case by basis and will not automatically result in a license being granted. UEFA may require certain changes in the original request or may at its discretion not to accommodate a request.
In contrast to  UEFA EURO 2008, where licenses were granted for individual matches, one licence, if and when granted, will be valid for all 31  UEFA EURO 2012  matches.
Licence fees are only payable for "commercial" public screening events, namely those where:
-there is an entry fee; and/or
-any sponsorship or brand exposure is involved; and/or
-any revenues are generated by the organiser or a third party.
The price list will be published. As an indication, fees for public screening licenses that are issued directly by UEFA start at € 35 per square meter (per screen) for the smallest public screenings and increase gradually based on the screen size. In Poland and Ukraine, a 50 % reduction on the license fees will apply. 
Official   UEFA EURO 2012  fan zone will be set up in the host cities, where tournament matches will be played. As a result, requests for public screening licenses in the host cities may be subject to additional terms and conditions and will only be granted on an exception basis.
Public screening license applications can be made online through until the application deadline on 18 May 2012.