HERE in the west, we generally regard measles as an irritant if contracted, certainly not something that can prove deadly. However, an outbreak sweeping the Democrat Republic of the Congo (DRC) shows that is far from the case with more than 5,000 people being killed there this year, 90% of those children under five. Around 250,000 people in the poverty-stricken central African state have contracted measles, mainly due to the lack of vaccines and the trouble distributing it to remote and often war-torn areas.

Fear of the disease has led in turn to attacks on health care facilities as people search for the vaccine with six health care workers having been killed just this year and dozens hurt. The authorities are trying to focus on the worst-hit areas and then work down from there but admit to fighting a losing battle in a country also struggling with an Ebola virus outbreak. The majority of the deaths are from measles-related side effects such as severe diarrhoea and encephalitis that would be treatable in wealthier countries but can often spell death to the poor, especially the very young. Ironically in parts of the west, there is a growing “anti-vax” movement while in the DRC children are dying as there are not enough vaccinations to go around – and also showing how rapidly the disease can spread.

Not that many years ago The X Factor (now pumping out a sub-standard “celebrity” version) would be good at grabbing tabloid publicity, but the ever-excellent Strictly Come Dancing has stuffed it in getting all the column inches:- good for ratings, of course!

But after a few years of romances between dance partners, some of which have gone pear-shaped, we are being teased, probably by BBC “insiders” that there´s an unlikely new couple behind the scenes.

A Daily Star report quoted an “insider” as saying:- “You wouldn´t put these two together. If people knew they had been quickstepping to the bedroom, then they would be stunned”.

Allegedly the attraction started early on in the contest but the “insider” claimed that they could “no longer hold back”, and that “gossip” has started to spread.

Good luck to Craig and Bruno, I say! Only joking!

On the dance floor, expect either CBBC presenter Karim Zeroual or Ex-Emmerdale star(and last-minute replacement) Kelvin Fletcher to be victorious next month, with both guys also possessing the “high-likeability” factor.

Katie Price has been declared bankrupt in a hearing at the High Court, which was told she had failed to stick to a plan to repay her debts.

The former model and reality TV star were not present at the London hearing.

Last year, Price, 41, came to an arrangement with her creditors for a repayment plan known as an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA).

But the insolvency practitioner overseeing her IVA said she had failed to keep to the terms of the agreement.

Now that she’s been made bankrupt, the Official Receiver will take control of her financial affairs and property.

Price, who lives in West Sussex, found fame in the 1990s as a glamour model under the name Jordan and was once said to be worth more than £40m.

Just where has all the money gone?

BENIDORM was once again the venue for the second Congress of Police Drones last week. The flying machines have become an increasingly important tool for the police and other authorities giving them quick access to difficult locations, improved surveillance, the capability to sweep an area to search for criminals or lost people and to better monitor large crowds.

The drones were given various tasks and missions to complete against the background of the iconic Benidorm skyline and demonstrated how they can also transport items to help with rescue missions. Councillor Lorenzo Martinez (Public Safety Department) stressed the rapid evolution of drones, not just for leisure but for the police, schools and private companies.

Social media in the last couple of months has caught fire with the two footballing wives of Coleen Rooney and Rebekah Vardy trading blows, as Vardy was accused of leaking stories about her to the press.

But a pre-Xmas truce between the two wives is on the horizon, as it has now been claimed that, following her accusations, 33-year-old Rooney is hoping to make peace with Jamie Vardy’s wife – who is set to welcome her fifth child very soon.

According to another of the famous “insiders”, the mum-of-four has ‘begrudgingly accepted’ that she may have made ‘a mistake’ going about things so publicly.

´Even though she still feels she was justified in highlighting how she’s been trying to get to the bottom of who was leaking stories on her life, she also accepts that, in hindsight, she could have gone about it differently to save herself from all this controversy,’ the source revealed.

Coleen apparently wants to speak to Rebekah directly in the next few weeks, and that should be a high-end conversation well worth waiting for.

Merry Xmas ladies!

VALENCIA’S municipal buses welcomed their first canine passengers on Monday after the introduction of the special EMT Mascota Card. Sunny and Pepo were the first official users of the card, which costs five euros and grants unlimited travel on the network for two years. However, dogs over 15 kilos are excluded from the scheme which has upset some owners of large dogs who are alleging discrimination. EMT has said that this is for health and safety reasons as they are too large to travel in a pet basket which is a requirement for the protection of other passengers. The operator says that the driver will always have the ultimate discretion so if a passenger has phobias or allergies, they need to let the driver know before he allows pooches onboard.

AS people up and down Spain undertook activities on Monday relating to the Day against Gender Violence, a 26-year-old woman in Tenerife became the latest victim, seemingly murdered by her 29-year-old partner. The events happened between 4 am and 5 am in San Isidro and the authorities were called to the address. When the Guardia Civil arrived at the scene the young woman had already died of stab wounds and her partner, a Colombian national, has now been arrested. The Regional Executive said that as things stand this is being treated as a clear case of gender violence, the eighth such fatality on the Canary Islands so far this year and the 53rd in Spain during 2019.

A 23-year-old man died after falling from a fourth-floor property in Valencia he was trying to access and where his ex-girlfriend lived. The pair had separated just the day before and apparently the victim had taken away his personal belongings while his former partner had the keys. His reason for returning to the property is not known; it appeared he slipped and fell to his death, landing in the inner courtyard of the apartment block. An ambulance crew attended but the medical staff said that his injuries were so severe that they were unable to attempt resuscitation.

The Who were one of the first bands that I really liked as a kid, and these days they are down to the Roger Daltrey and Pete Townsend, who have known each other for 60 years.

They´ve done an interview with the excellent Rolling Stone magazine ahead of a new album, which is only the second to come from the band in 37 years!

Two of the founding four, namely Keith Moon in 1978, and then John Entwhistle in 2002, left us too early, but in the Stone interview, Townsend doesn´t lament their passing from a musical perspective.

It’s not going to make Who fans very happy, but thank God they’re gone,” said Pete.

“They were difficult to play with and they never ever managed to create bands for themselves. I think my musical discipline, my musical efficiency as a rhythm player, held the band together.”

Other choices words followed in the interview, but if nothing else(and there is plenty), The Who have made plenty of headlines down the decades.

ALTEA’S Santa Barbara fiestas started earlier this week and really get underway today (Friday 29 November). Today’s highlights include the parade from 5 pm and music from DJ Sento at 10 pm. On Saturday there are morning events for the children and at 2 pm there will be a giant paella with more kids’ activities in the afternoon. Music for the evening is from Grupo Diamonds and DJ Ivan, starting at 9.30. There is a mass for Santa Barbara and a choir on Sunday followed by food and drink at 2 pm and a magic show for the little ones from 4 pm while the events are finalised in the evening. As timings and venues may be subject to change depending on the weather it is best to contact the tourist information for full details. The town hall website is www.altea.es