Health experts heading for Samoa to help Government investigate tragic deaths of babies following MMR jabs

Unicef and World Health Organisation experts will arrive in Samoa tonight to help investigate the deaths of two one-year-old babies who died within two hours of each other at the same hospital after receiving the MMR vaccine.

New mum Junita Poutoa, who has spent a month bonding with her baby Junior, is heartbroken for the two parents who lost their babies minutes after being immunised last week.

"Imagine those two mothers. It's been 12 months and losing that bond in a matter of minutes – it's sad. It's very unbearable," Ms Poutoa said.

Her son is due to be vaccinated in two weeks, and Ms Poutoa says she is "having second thoughts".

"I'm worried if I don't get him immunised, he's going to be prone to diseases, [but] if I do give them the consent, that's me just signing away my baby - this changes everything for me."

A top-level Unicef Pacific official who will be arriving in Samoa tonight, Sheldon Yett, has worked around the world, including in Africa during an Ebola outbreak.

Mr Yett says it's essential the two deaths in Samoa do not derail the successful immunisation programme being carried out throughout the region.

"We do know that high immunisation rates are the best way to keep a population safe so yes, we are concerned. Thats's why it's important to get the facts out and find out exactly what happened here," Mr Yett said.

The Samoan government has launched an investigation into the incident, withdrawing the MMR vaccine from all of its clinics for testing.

The investigation will look at the vaccine itself, equipment, storage of the vaccine and its administration.

"They have asked support from the WHO. WHO will be providing a virologist to be testing the vaccine and, more importantly, get an understanding of what happened to and ensure that the immunisation standards were maintained."

The two nurses who administered the vaccinations have been removed from the area for their own safety as the entire country reels from the tragedies.

Two one-year-olds died within two hours of each other at the same hospital in Apia, just minutes after getting the MMR vaccine. Source: 1 NEWS

Greenpeace links forest destruction for palm oil to global brands

Greenpeace says global consumer brands continue to buy palm oil from companies that are cutting down Indonesia's rainforests despite repeated pledges to clean up their supply chains.

The environmental group says in a report released Wednesday that 25 palm oil producing groups it has investigated destroyed more than 130,000 hectares of natural forest in Indonesia since 2015.

It says all but one of those producers had supplied palm oil to consumer companies that are household names around the world in the past year.

Palm oil, mainly produced in Indonesia and Malaysia, is used in a slew of consumer products from snacks to cosmetics.

Rapid forest loss and greenhouse gas emissions have made Indonesia the fourth biggest contributor to global warming after China, the U.S. and India.

Forest in Indonesia (file picture).
Forest in Indonesia (file picture). Source: 1 NEWS

No vacancy: Curious mountain lion wanders around Colorado motel

A mountain lion has been caught on a surveillance camera dashing to the doorstep of a Colorado motel office, venturing toward the open doorway and then wandering away.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokesman Jason Clay says nobody was hurt in the Sept. 9 encounter.

The Boulder Daily Camera reported Tuesday the lion approached the Foot of the Mountain Motel on Boulder's west side. Just after entering the camera's view, the lion pauses, as if startled.

Clay says that was when the lion spotted motel guests with with a dog on a leash.

Clay says the guests and their dog returned to their room and there was no trouble.

The lion thought better of kipping down for the night at the Foot of the Mountain Motel. Source: Associated Press

In August, a mountain lion entered a Boulder home and killed a house cat, and another was tranquilized and relocated from under a porch.



McDonald's workers across US protest sexual harassment

McDonald's workers are staging protests in several cities in what organisers called the first multistate strike seeking to combat sexual harassment in the workplace.

In Chicago, several dozen protesters rallied today in front of McDonald's headquarters while a plane flew overhead with a banner reading, "McDonald's: Stop Sexual Harassment."

In New Orleans, current and former employees chanted, "Hey, McDonalds, you can't hide — we can see your nasty side."

Those are among 10 targeted cities. Other protests were held in St. Louis; Kansas City, Missouri; and Durham, North Carolina.

Protesters are demanding that McDonalds require anti-harassment training for managers and employees. The fast food chain defends its policies.

Another demand is forming a national committee to address sexual harassment, made up of workers, management and leaders of national women's groups.

Current and former McDonald's employees wear tape with "#MeToo" over their mouths as they up to one of their restaurants for a protest in New Orleans. Source: Associated Press

Day care owner accused of tying kids to car seats for up to seven hours, fastening shoe laces around their necks

The owner of an in-home day care accused of keeping infants and toddlers tied to their car seats for hours has been jailed in the United States on child endangerment charges.

An affidavit says Rebecca Anderson also yanked a six-month-old child by the bib around his neck, tied laces around the children's necks to limit their movement and gave them the painkiller acetaminophen to quiet them.

The 60-year-old is accused of having kept the small children tied up in car seats for at least seven hours a day at Becky's Home Child Care, her day care near Dallas, Texas.

When police executed a search warrant on her home, they found three children in a dark bedroom closet strapped to car seats, according to CBS 11 News in Dallas. Some of the children had to have shoelaces cut off their necks, police also said.

"It just kind of concerned me the way the kids sounded when the parents dropped them off," neighbour Susan Geldmeier told the news station, explaining that she would sometimes hear children wail when dropped off at the facility.

"It alarmed me to where I was like, 'Why are they sounding like that?'"

Anderson was booked Monday into the Dallas County jail on nine counts of child endangerment with bonds totalling NZ $68,000.

Rebecca Anderson Source: Dallas County Jail