News in the Humanosphere: US Military Scales Up Ebola Response. Big Time.

President Obama will visit the CDC today and deliver a speech outlining a new US strategy to deal with the ebola outbreak. Late Monday night, the White House sent out a preview of what to expect. The bottom line: The US military is about to dramatically scale up its contributions.  “U.S. Africa Command will set up a Joint Force Command headquartered in Monrovia, Liberia, to provide regional command and control support to U.S. military activities and facilitate coordination with U.S. government and international relief efforts. A general from U.S. Army Africa, the Army component of U.S. Africa Command, will lead this effort, which will involve an estimated 3,000 U.S. forces…U.S. Africa Command will establish a regional intermediate staging base (ISB) to facilitate and expedite the transportation of equipment, supplies and personnel. Of the U.S. forces taking part in this response, many will be stationed at the ISB…Command engineers will build additional Ebola Treatment Units in affected areas, and the U.S. Government will help recruit and organize medical personnel to staff them…Additionally, the Command will establish a site to train up to 500 health care providers per week, enabling healthcare workers to safely provide direct medical care to patients…The United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps is preparing to deploy 65 Commissioned Corps officers to Liberia to manage and staff a previously announced Department of Defense (DoD) hospital to care for healthcare workers who become ill. The deployment roster will consist of administrators, clinicians, and support staff. “ (WhiteHouse.Gov)

Plus: In a Very Rare Move….the UN Security Council will hold an emergency session to discuss the outbreak on Thursday. It’s almost unheard of to hold an emergency security council meeting on a public health issue. (UN Dispatch http://bit.ly/1m6hRDM)

A Big Moment for the Central African Republic…An inflection point is reached as blue helmets officially take over from the African Union in the newest UN Peacekeeping Mission. This was a long time coming. But can they make a difference?  “This week 1,500 troops from Morocco, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Indonesia, among other nations, join 4,800 African troops already deployed in the Central African Republic.  A ceremony at the M’poko airport in the capital Bangui marked the official transition from the African force, known as MISCA, to the U.N. peacekeeping mission, MINUSCA…The U.N. Security Council has called for 12,000 troops for its first peacekeeping mission the Central African Republic.  Around 6,000 African peacekeepers have been working in there since December, alongside with 2,000 French peacekeepers and 150 European troops.  The new mission is almost double the current size.” (VOA http://bit.ly/YNa2IQ)

Africa
The rights group Watchlist released a report earlier this month that accused Boko Haram militants in northern Nigeria of subjecting boys and girls to forced recruitment, detention, attacks at school, abductions, rape and other forms of sexual violence. (VOA http://bit.ly/1m5UIl5)

Minerals group Sierra Rutile Ltd said its operations would be restricted during the three-day countrywide lockdown to halt the spread of Ebola across Sierra Leone and that it would optimise operations in the lead-up to mitigate overall impact of the disruption. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1tWpag4)

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta has signed into law a 5 percent capital gains tax that investors say could affect investment in property, equities and the country’s nascent oil and mining sectors. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1tWp344)

The party of former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo withdrew from the country’s election commission on Sunday, setting back efforts to draw it into the political mainstream before a scheduled presidential election next year. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1m5TeXT)

Kenya’s towns and cities are growing quickly. Experts estimate at least 100,000 people move to the capital Nairobi every year from rural areas of the country. This has caused high demand for good housing. (VOA http://bit.ly/1tWrMur)

In the Gambia, two international human rights groups are urging President Yahya Jammeh to reject an amendment to the criminal code regarding “aggravated homosexuality.” (VOA http://bit.ly/1tWsFTC)

Smallholder farmers, who hold over 80 percent of all farms in sub-Saharan Africa, are struggling to adapt to rapidly rising temperature and erratic rains, according to the 2014 Africa Agriculture Status Report. (IRIN http://bit.ly/1m5Yf2F)

MENA
One of Egypt’s most prominent activists, Alaa Abdel Fattah, was released on bail on Monday ahead of his retrial on charges of violating a protest law, triggering celebrations by dozens of supporters in the courtroom. (VOA http://bit.ly/1m5ULxa)

Some 500 migrants are believed to have died in the Mediterranean after traffickers rammed their boat off Malta’s coast last week, the International Organization for Migration said. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1m5WCly)

The United Nations says it has withdrawn its peacekeepers from many positions on the Golan Heights because of escalating fighting between government forces and opposition fighters. (AP http://yhoo.it/1tWx9tA)

Asia
According to the climate change experts, it is only a matter of time. The city of Surat, in the state of Gujarat on the west coast of India, will soon be exposed to recurrent flooding, with the risk of malaria and dengue fever epidemics in its aftermath. (Guardian http://bit.ly/1m5Uiex)

Singapore’s air pollution rose to unhealthy levels on Monday, the National Environment Agency said, as winds changed direction and brought in light smoke from forest fires in neighboring Indonesia. http://yhoo.it/1m5W5A8)

An Afghan appeals court on Monday sentenced five men to death for armed robbery and sexual assault for an attack on an Afghan family driving home from a wedding just outside Kabul. (AP http://yhoo.it/1tWwtUY)

The Americas
Uruguay requires photos of decaying teeth and gruesome hospital scenes on every pack. Philip Morris sees this as a violation of a trade agreement and is suing the country for $25 million. (NPR http://n.pr/1m5WIcV)
Opinion/Blogs
Harmonizing Global Health Data Collection: We’re Detecting a Pulse! (CGD http://bit.ly/1tWqBev)

Do 40,000 whites own 80% of South Africa? The claim is incorrect (Africa Check http://bit.ly/1qR7FiD)

Why global violence against women and girls must become new UK priority (Guardian http://bit.ly/1m5TUMW)

Analysis: Rethinking global drug policy (IRIN http://bit.ly/1m5TZjS)

David Haines murder highlights perils of aid work (Guardian http://bit.ly/1m5U7zP)

U.N. Climate Summit: Staged Parade or Reality Show? (IPS http://bit.ly/1m5V37p)

Rethink needed on humanitarian funding for national NGOs (IRIN http://bit.ly/1tWC79D)

 

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Tom Murphy

Tom Murphy is a New Hampshire-based reporter for Humanosphere. Before joining Humanosphere, Tom founded and edited the aid blog A View From the Cave. His work has appeared in Foreign Policy, the Huffington Post, the Guardian, GlobalPost and Christian Science Monitor. He tweets at @viewfromthecave. Contact him at tmurphy[at]humanosphere.org.