Ebola tests negative for Texas soldier found dead in yard
KILLEEN, Texas — Officials are investigating the death of a Fort Hood soldier who was found outside an off-base apartment after he returned from deployment in West Africa.
A Fort Hood statement says two tests on the 24-year-old soldier Tuesday showed no signs of Ebola, and that there is “no evidence of a public health threat.”
Killeen police, a hazmat team and several ambulances responded to the soldier’s home Tuesday morning after a report came in of a man’s body being found outside, reports CBS affiliate KWTX in Waco.
A neighbor told KWTX that he saw the body at about 7:30 a.m. Tuesday.
Fort Hood spokesman Chris Haug says the soldier, whose name was not released, returned with his unit last week from Liberia, where he helped construct an Ebola treatment camp. Haug says he wasn’t exposed to patients.
Haug says the soldier self-monitored his health and was allowed off-post after his return.
Soldiers from Fort Hood have deployed often to West Africa as part of the Pentagon’s efforts at assisting in combating the Ebola outbreak there.
Last November, Fort Hood was designated as one of five U.S. installations at which troops returning from deployments to West Africa to help in the fight against Ebola would be housed and isolated for 21 days.
There have been no reports so far of any American soldiers returning from the field with the disease.
Boko Haram is an extremist group known for raiding villages and kidnapping and killing many people in Nigeria. After taking over a military base on Saturday, the group attacked the town of Baga, signifying their official launch of new assaults, and they have continued onward to invade the surrounding areas.
According to BBC News, “Boko Haram launched a military campaign in 2009 to create an Islamic state.” As they continually invade towns like Baga, they become closer to controlling the Borno state. Nigerian lawmaker Maina Maaji Lawan has stated that “Boko Haram controlled 70% of Borno state.” Within the past year, the militant Islamists have taken control of several towns and villages in north-eastern Nigeria.
Baga had a population of about 10,000 people, and as Musa Alhaji Bukar told BBC News, the town is now “virtually non-existent” and “has been burnt down.” Those who fled were unable to bury the dead, so corpses littered the town’s streets.
As reported by ENCA, Musa Bukar, head of the Kukawa local government in the Borno state, explained, “They burnt to the ground all the 16 towns and villages including Baga, Dorn-Baga, Mile 4, Mile 3, Kauyen Kuros and Bunduram.”
To help paint a picture of the atrocities inflicted upon these towns by the extremist group, Ahned Zanna told NBC News that “the whole area is covered in bodies.” At least 2,000 people have been killed by the rampages of this group.
According to Business Insider, witness Mohamed Bukar explained, “I escaped with my family in the car after seeing how Boko Haram was killing people … I saw bodies in the street. Children and women, some were crying for help.” Many people attempted to leave town, only carrying a few possessions in order to successfully retreat to safety.
The senator for northern Borno, Maina Maaji Lawan, had originally requested that the government troops stop “dilly-dallying” and start protecting the residents. “The indiscriminate killings went on and on and on,” he said. According to the senator, fleeing residents spoke of the stench of rotting corpses on the streets.
As BBC News reported, the senator explained that “10,0000 people had fled to Chad since Saturday to escape the violence, raising fears of a humanitarian crisis.” To further describe the severity of the crisis, it is reported that those who tried to escape via Lake Chad have reportedly drowned.
Not only has Boko Haram invaded several towns, they have now successfully set up checkpoints and have started killing residents who have been caught hiding.
The crisis is obviously escalating, and unless something is done to assist the residents in Nigeria, Boko Haram will successfully implement an Islamic State.
Boko Haram Muslim Terrorist Group Attack, Take Over International Military Base
Terrorist group Boko Haram overran an international military base on Saturday as it continues to sweep across northeastern Nigeria. Soldiers posted to the base reportedly ran away instead of standing their ground.
The Multinational Joint Task Force base was host to Cameroonian and Chadian anti-terror soldiers alongside Nigerian forces, but the various factions were reluctant to work together. Vanda Felbab-Brown, an insurgency expert at the Brookings Institution, told The Daily Caller News Foundation that “there’s a lot of buck-passing and rivalry” between the three countries, and Boko Haram spillover into both Chad and Cameroon has had negligible effects on coordination.
Felbab-Brown blamed the weak response on a Nigerian government distracted by economic woes — some driven by the declining price of oil — and an upcoming election centered on the country’s south.
While notorious in West Africa for years, Boko Haram first found international attention when it kidnapped a group of over 200 schoolgirls from Chibok, Nigeria in April of 2014. The girls are still missing and it has been 242 days since First Lady Michelle Obama tweeted the #BringBackOurGirls hashtag.
Anthony Cordesman, who holds the Burke Chair in Strategy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, reminded TheDCNF in an interview that Boko Haram is “not particularly well-trained or disciplined,” making the Nigerian military’s incompetence even more shocking.
The United States had been providing Nigeria with military advisers to assist with the Boko Haram challenge, until Nigeria’s government disinvited them last month. As Felbab-Brown told TheDCNF, “part of the US effort was focused on demanding accountability for corruption as well as for human rights abuses, and the Nigerians have not been at all interested in doing that.”
The attack is unlikely to grab the attention of most Nigerians unless Boko Haram expands its terrorist operations in southern Nigeria. Until then, Cordesman says, the relatively weak military and rebels may continue their give-and-take in the country’s north indefinitely.
First Ebola boy likely infected by playing with bats
By Michelle RobertsHealth editor, BBC News online
The Ebola victim who is believed to have triggered the current outbreak – a two-year-old boy called Emile Ouamouno from Guinea – may have been infected by playing in a hollow tree housing a colony of bats, say scientists.
They made the connection on an expedition to the boy’s village, Meliandou.
They took samples and chatted to locals to find out more about Ebola’s source.
It sits deep within the Guinean forest region, surrounded by towering reeds and oil palm cultivations – these are believed to have attracted the fruit bats carrying the virus passed on to Emile.
During their four-week field trip in April 2014, Dr Fabian Leendertz and colleagues found a large tree stump situated about 50m from Emile’s home.
Villagers reported that children used to play frequently in the hollow tree.
Emile – who died of Ebola in December 2013 – used to play there, according to his friends.
The villagers said that the tree burned on March 24, 2014 and that once the tree caught fire, there issued a “rain of bats”.
A large number of these insectivorous free-tailed bats – Mops condylurus in Latin – were collected by the villagers for food, but disposed of the next day after a government-led ban on bushmeat consumption was announced.
While bushmeat is thought to be a possible source of Ebola, the scientists believe it didn’t trigger the outbreak.
Instead, it was Emile’s exposure to the bats and their droppings as he played with his friends in the hollowed tree.
The scientists took and tested ash samples from the tree and found DNA traces that were a match for the animals.
While they were unable to test any of the bushmeat that the villagers had disposed of, they captured and tested any living bats they could find in and around Meliandou.
No Ebola could be detected in any of these hundred or so animals, however.
But previous tests show this species of bat can carry Ebola.
Dr Leendertz, from the Robert Koch Institute in Germany, and his colleagues say this must be a pretty rare occurrence though.
Dr Leendertz said: “That is also obvious when you think about how many tonnes of bat meat is consumed every year.
“If more bats carried the virus, we would see outbreaks all the time.”
He says it is vital to find out more about the bats.
“They have moved into human settlements. They do not just live in the trees but also under the roofs of houses in the villages.
“The Ebola virus must jump through colonies from bat to bat, so we need to know more.”
But culling the animals is not the answer.
“We need to find ways to live together with the wildlife. These bats catch insects and pests, such as mosquitoes. They can eat about a quarter of their body weight in insects a day.
“Killing them would not be a solution. You would have more malaria.”
77 Chinese nationals arrested for Internet hacking in Kenya
NAIROBI, Kenya — Police in Kenya are consulting technical experts to determine if 77 Chinese nationals arrested with advanced communications equipment in several houses in an upscale Nairobi neighborhood were committing espionage, an official said Thursday.
The Chinese were arrested since the weekend with equipment that Kenya’s Daily Nation newspaper said was capable of hacking into government servers.
“We have roped in experts to tell us if they were committing crimes of espionage,” said Ndegwa Muhoro, the head of criminal investigations for Kenya’s police. “These people seem to have been brought here specifically for a mission which we are investigating.”
The arrests began on Sunday, when computer equipment in one of the upscale houses the Chinese nationals had rented near the U.S. Embassy and U.N. headquarters caught fire, killing one person.
Police said it appeared the group was manufacturing ATM cards, and that the suspects may have been involved in money laundering and Internet fraud. The case has caught the attention of the highest levels of Kenya’s government as authorities investigate whether the group was also engaging in espionage.
The minister of foreign affairs and the minister of information communications and technology both were on hand Wednesday as police arrested 40 people. The Chinese ambassador was summoned to the foreign affairs ministry over the arrests.
The 37 suspects arrested Sunday were charged with operating an illegal radio station. Many of those arrested cannot speak English and some don’t have identification such as a passport, police detective Nicholas Kisavi said.
The sign was only up a short while, but its message caused a stir that has stretched from small-town Nebraska to Europe and beyond.
An unnamed resident of Minden, Nebraska, population 2,923, erected a sign on his property just off Highway 10 on the north side of town. The sign read: “AIDS, Ebola, Obama – Thanks Africa.”
The sign references two fatal diseases – AIDS and Ebola – thought to have originated on the African continent, and President Obama’s roots, as his father was a native Kenyan.
Though the sign was only up for a few hours on Monday, a photo of it spread via social media and eventually caught the attention of international newspapers.
London’s Daily Mail called it “hateful,” and claimed it “sparked outrage” in the small Nebraska town.
KSNB-TV of Hastings, Nebraska, reported the town’s mayor elect, Ted Griess, tracked down the sign’s owner and convinced him to take it down within just a few hours. Griess would not reveal the owner’s name.
“I got an email to the effect that it was creating quite a stir in the community,” Griess told the station. “It was so large, and it was coming into the community alongside the highway and, as the mayor-to-be, I didn’t want that type of image to be portrayed in Minden.”
The town’s current mayor, Roger Jones, said he thought the sign was “stupid,” but at the same time said it was “no big deal.”
Local residents KSNB interviewed had a divided reaction.
“I’m stunned that America has come to this place where the hatred and the vitriol is so wide open now,” said Minden resident Bruce Lindstrom.
However, Minden resident Dwayne Wilson said, “I believe everybody has the right to their own opinion, and if they would like to state it, there should be nothing wrong with that.”
Greiss told the station only a few years ago, before the advent of social media, one little sign wouldn’t have garnered so much attention.
“It was being transferred all the way across this nation from one Face
A man found a dead newborn girl at a scrapyard in the ELWA Junction in Monrovia, Liberia, umbilical cord still attached. It is unknown if the baby died at the yard or if the girl was already dead. Residents said this was not the first such incident, as dumping newborns is increasing since Ebola broke out in the country.
Madam Rose L. Varney, social worker and the administrator of the nearby Liberty Clinic, said some health clinics refuse to treat pregnant women “due to fear of coming in contact with the blood and other bodily fluids of people, whose [Ebola] status they don’t know.” This might keep pregnant women from seeking medical treatment. Those who did attempt to receive treatment were rejected by the health centers and hospitals.
Varney is pressuring national organizations to remember the pregnant women in Liberia. She wants them “to address the case of pregnant women before the infant mortality rate in the country climbs.” A few ideas include “free and compulsory treatment” for pregnant women within Ebola countries.
“This could encourage pregnant women to go to [the] hospital amidst the Ebola crisis which has also plunged our economy,” she said.
The Liberia National Police Department is not investigating the death of the baby. “We aren’t investigating this case, because every dead body is assumed to be an Ebola victim,” said one officer. “If it was normal time without being under State of Emergency, we would have investigated this matter, and made some arrests. The first suspect would be the iron guy (scrap scavenger) who discovered the dead child.”
The Healthy Newborn Network (HNN) is one organization that is addressing the need to help pregnant women in West Africa. HNN is a network of medical professionals and organizations to advance “newborn health around the world,” especially in developing nations.
The network posted a blog by Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and Nigeria’s former minister of health, about the neglect pregnant women face because of Ebola. He also asked the world to help fund “the reproductive health needs of women and mothers in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.”
He said the advancement of medical treatment for pregnancy and newborns in these three countries is gone due to the Ebola outbreak. The doctors and nurses are consumed with Ebola, thus neglecting pregnant women. Osotimehin said the UNFPA estimates “more than 800,000 women” will give birth in the next twelve months, and “120,000 of these pregnancy women will face complications during pregnancy and childbirth, and could die if the required life-saving emergency obstetric care is not provided.”
Osotimehin said UNFPA is “ready to serve Ebola’s most vulnerable victims: pregnant women.” From his blog:
UNFPA is working in close partnership with the governments to restore health services, particularly to expectant and new mothers. We are setting up mobile clinics and recruiting retired midwives for delivery care at the community level. We are providing emergency clean delivery kits for women without access to clinics. We have delivered disinfectants, hand-washing equipment, and protective equipment, such as heavy-duty aprons and medical gloves, to facilitate safe delivery while protecting health workers from possible infection. We are also providing information to reduce fear and promote health seeking behavior.
The organization needs $64.5 million to provide all these services in the three countries. They only have $3 million to help pregnant women.
“Losing a baby is a devastating blow in this Ebola crisis,” said Varney. “When it happens, it is hard to know how to cope, both practically and emotionally because of the unwillingness of many health centers to contact anybody’s blood and fluid. We hope things could get better.”