"News Briefs: vaccinations, education, Iraq, Pope Francis, ISIS"

What you need to know locally, nationally and globally


What you need to know locally:

Vaccinations helping stop spread of measles in Erie County

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that measles has afflicted at least 102 people in 14 states since the start of 2015. New York State has had three separate cases of measles this year, with one occurring in Dutchess County and two occurring in New York City.

In Erie County, 169 of 321 schools have reported immunization rates of 99-100 percent during the 2013-14 school year, according to The Buffalo News. Erie County Health Commissioner Gale Burstein said New York State is in good shape as far as stopping the spread of outbreaks goes.

State laws require that children must be vaccinated unless their parents’ religious beliefs conflict with vaccination. Burstein warned that children who don’t get vaccinated are increasing the risks of the spread of measles in local areas.

Governor Cuomo warns struggling school districts against failure

New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday that the state education budget would increase from $377 million to $1.1 billion if the New York State Legislature accepts his plan. The governor also warned Buffalo public schools they will not continue to get money if they do not attempt to improve.

On Jan. 21, during his State of the State address, Cuomo stated that Buffalo receives $16,170 per student in state aid, which is almost twice the state average of $8,114. Out of 14,000 Buffalo public school students – in grades 3 to 8 – only 13 percent were proficient in math and only 12 percent in English, recent testing found.

What you need to know nationally:

NBC news anchor Brian Williams recants 2003 Iraq Story

NBC news anchor Brian Williams recanted a story this week about being aboard a helicopter that was forced down by gunfire during the Iraq invasion in 2003. Williams is now saying that he did not recall the events correctly and spoke incorrectly.

His admission comes after crewmembers from the Chinook helicopter, which was hit by rockets and small firearms, stated that Williams was nowhere near the helicopter when it was forced down. Crewmembers say Williams arrived an hour after these events took place.

Pope Francis to address congress

On Sept. 24, Pope Francis will become the first pope to address the United States Congress. House Speaker John Boehner granted the pope an invitation to speak last year. No other religious leader in history has ever addressed the Congress, according to the U.S. House Historian’s Office.

The pope is set to meet with President Barack Obama in the White House as well.

What you need to know globally:

ISIS pilot execution video surfaces

A video of terrorist group ISIS burning alive Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh, a Jordanian pilot, surfaced on the Internet Tuesday. ISIS has had the video in its possession since December 2014. Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh was captured after his plane crashed in Syria on Dec. 24.

A day before the graphic video surfaced, ISIS said the media could not release any of the group’s activities without receiving permission from the group’s leader, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi or spokesman Mohammad al-Adnani.

Last Saturday, a video surfaced showing the execution of Japanese journalist Kenji Goto. A video detailing the execution of Japanese hostage Haruna Yukawa surfaced a week prior.

At least 31 people killed after Taiwan plane crash

A Taiwanese plane containing 58 passengers crashed into the Keelung River in Taipei, the capitol of Taiwan, Wednesday, killing at least 32 of the passengers.

The crash happened shortly after takeoff and was captured on video by a driver who was traveling on the freeway. The plane lost altitude and its wing clipped the freeway. 15 passengers were rescued, while 11 remain missing.

The cause of the crash is yet to be determined. Possible theories include engine trouble, weight shifting, pilot errors and weather conditions.

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