The Smoke Signal, MSJ's Official Newspaper


Newsbytes – Shigella, National Debt, Earthquakes, and Cozy Coupe

By: Staff Writers Mustafa Ahmed and Andrew Kan


Exactly 190 cases of a Shigella outbreak have been confirmed since Oct. 27, 2015. Shigella is a contagious bacterial disease that causes diarrhea, pain, and high fever. It is mainly spread through person-to-person contact or eating food by an infected handler.  Out of these cases, 151 are from Santa Clara County, and 10 have been from Alameda County. The outbreak stems from contaminated food that came from the restaurant Mariscos San Juan #3 in downtown San Jose. Most of the infected people ate at the restaurant from October 17-18, while the others were contaminated through secondary infections. The restaurant has been closed since October 19.


Members of Congress and the White House are close to striking a deal that will prevent the nation from being plunged into a fiscally perilous situation. The two-year agreement would raise domestic and defense spending by $80 billion and lift the national debt ceiling until March 2017 in addition to making cuts to the Social Security disability program and Medicare. Many Republicans expressed disappointment that colleagues have acquiesced to the demands of Democratic lawmakers. Rep. Walter Jones voiced this sentiment when he said that he “would not be blackmailed” into voting for a debt limit increase. Pundits predict that there will be enough Republican defections for the deal to pass later in the week.


Afghanistan, Northern Pakistan, and parts of India were struck by a devastating earthquake that caused extensive damage and killed over 391. Although the earthquake’s epicenter was located in the Hindu Kush Mountain Range in the province of Badakhshan in Afghanistan, the majority of the deaths likely came from Pakistan, whose northern provinces are home to numerous settlements located in close proximity to the epicenter. The earthquake was felt as far east as the Indian capital of Delhi and there have been 4 reported Indian casualties.


The Cozy Coupe from American toy manufacturer Little Tikes has recently been turned into a road-legal version. The Cozy Coupe is a bright red and yellow toy car targeted to children five years and younger. Brothers John and Geoff Bitmead made an adult-size model of the car, while still retaining features from the original model, such as an over-sized cup holder.  The car has been deemed legal on motorways and dual carriageways and can reach a top speed of 70 mph. The Bitmeads put the car up on eBay for £21,500 on October 16.  However, the brothers were dissatisfied with the highest bid(£15,000) and took the car off eBay.

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