Fridays are awesome! Happy to have you watching this last Friday in March. I'm Carl Azuz.First up, a battle for the city of Palmyra. We reported on it before.
It's an ancient landmark in central Syria.The ISIS terrorist group took over Palmyra last year and it destroyed a pair of 2,000-year-old temples there because ISIS believed they conflicted with the group's severe interpretation of Islam.
ISIS has used the city for mass executions but now, Syrian government troops are battling to take Palmyra back.They've been helped by Russian airstrikes.But the troop's progress into the city is slow, because ISIS fighters reportedly leave mines in places where they retreat.Palmyra is a strategically important place, capturing it could hinder the movement of ISIS. U.S.-led airstrikes continue to target the terrorists in other parts of Syria.
Officials from the World Health Organization say no one knows how far the Zika virus will spread worldwide.A new study suggests it might have gotten to Brazil in 2013.There are now thousands of suspected cases there, hundreds in the U.S.And the virus has spread as far away as Australia, as some Australians who travelled to the Caribbean and other Zika affected areas have returned home with the virus.It's particularly dangerous for pregnant women, though Zika threatens others as well.The mosquito that spreads it is found in areas where more than half the global population lives.Zika, a virus unheard of 70 years ago, is exploding around the planet, creating what the World Health Organization calls a global health emergency.Common symptoms include fever, rash, headaches and red eyes. If there are any symptoms at all.Four out of five people who get Zika don't even know it.Zika is spread primarily by the female Aedes Aegypti mosquito.She's called the roach of the mosquito world, due to her crafty ways of hiding and breathing inside homes, making her hard to find and eliminate.Zika is also been linked to Guillain-Barre, a rare auto immune disorder that can lead to paralysis.But what makes Zika really scary is an alarming connection between the virus and microcephaly.That's a neurological disorder where babies are born with small heads and small brains, with severe developmental issues, even death.Some countries are so concerned.They are warning women not to get pregnant.While in the United States, CDC officials are telling pregnant women not to travel to any of the countries where Zika is circulating.Scientists are working around the clock to attack the virus.But as of yet, there's no vaccine, or medicine to treat Zika.So, protect yourself by using and reapplying insect repellant, wearing thick long sleeve shorts and pants, and staying inside in screened air-conditioning rooms and areas where Zika is active, and be sure to remove any standing water where mosquitoes can breathe.