News in the Humanosphere: West Africa on the brink of Ebola outbreak’s end

Ebola isolation ward in Lagos, Nigeria, with upgraded facilities readied for patients. (Credit: Bryan Christensen/CDC/flickr)

If Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea can go 21 more days without transmission, the global outbreak will be considered over. “The World Health Organization says there were no Ebola cases reported last week – the first time an entire week has passed without any new confirmed patients since the devastating outbreak began last March. The U.N. health agency said in a report issued Wednesday that all contacts of Ebola cases in Sierra Leone have now been followed for 21 days without falling sick, suggesting the country might soon be free of the disease. Still, more than 500 people are being tracked in Guinea and WHO said there is ‘considerable risk’ of further spread. Scientists have also lost track of where the virus was recently spreading.” (WaPo http://wapo.st/1jdL8MT)

Obama apologizes to Doctors Without Borders
Obama telephoned Doctors Without Borders International President Joanne Liu to apologize and express his condolences, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said. Asked whether Obama offered some explanation to Liu, Earnest said no. (Reuters http://reut.rs/1jdLNxR)

Story to watch: Volcano rumbling near Guatemala City
A volcano near the Guatemalan capital roared back to life on Wednesday, spewing ash high into the air, disaster safety officials said. The Fuego volcano, which is just 50 kilometers (30 miles) from Guatemala City and its population of 1 million people, coughed out gas and ash 4,800 meters (16,000 feet) above sea level. Despite at least two lava flows, Alejandro Maldonado, secretary of the disaster reduction office CONRAD, said the so-called ‘Fire Volcano’ was not yet sufficiently dangerous to justify the evacuation of nearby villages.” (AFP http://bit.ly/1jdLO4R)

Coming to a mug near you
Coffee company Nespresso is bringing South Sudanese espresso to the international market for the first time as part of a long-term plan to revive the coffee industry in the poor, war-wracked East African country. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1LifHv5)

Africa

Somalia’s al-Shabab Islamists have threatened to “welcome with bullets” British soldiers due to be deployed in support of an African Union force. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1LifDeK)

A failed military coup in Burkina Faso last month cost its flagging economy more than $50 million in lost revenue, the finance minister said on Wednesday. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1LiglbN)

The International Organization for Migration says a defamation campaign in Central African Republic has been going on since its headquarters in the capital, Bangui, was attacked more than one week ago. It said the office was extensively ransacked and aid intended for thousands of people sheltered in displacement camps was stolen. (VOA http://bit.ly/1Q7NfMg)

Malawi has instituted new visa fees that tourism operators say are just a further blow to the country’s already struggling tourism industry. (VOA http://bit.ly/1FTlEyc)

Liberia agreed terms to join the World Trade Organization with the body’s existing 161 members, clearing the final negotiating hurdle in time for ministers to rubber-stamp the deal at a meeting in December, the WTO said. (Reutes http://bit.ly/1LigjAH)

As World Health Organization recommends antiretrovirals for all HIV patients, Uganda nets success in the Ssese islands with an early treatment program. (Guardian http://bit.ly/1hqOomf)

Former Ivory Coast foreign minister turned opposition candidate Amara Essy said on Tuesday he had suspended his participation in this month’s presidential election, saying the process was undemocratic and dominated by the incumbent. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1VDNwNS)

Suspected poachers used cyanide to kill 14 elephants in Zimbabwe’s western Hwange national park and in the north since Sept. 26, the national wildlife agency said. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1KZYlBH)

MENA

Russia and Syria unleashed a coordinated assault by land, air and sea on Wednesday, seeking to reverse recent gains by rebel groups that were beginning to encroach on President Bashar al-Assad’s last bastion of power. (NYT http://nyti.ms/1jdLym8)

Islamic State fighters fired mortar rounds containing mustard agent at Kurdish peshmerga fighters in northern Iraq during clashes in August, the Ministry of Peshmerga Affairs said on Wednesday. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1FTmmvB)

Damning evidence of war crimes by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition, which is armed by states including the United States, highlights the urgent need for independent, effective investigation of violations in Yemen and for the suspension of transfers of certain arms, said Amnesty International in a new report. (Amnesty International http://bit.ly/1KZZ1XI)

Asia

Doctors Without Borders called for an independent and unprecedented fact-finding mission on Wednesday to investigate a U.S. airstrike on a hospital run by the medical aid group in Afghanistan that killed at least 22 people. (AP http://yhoo.it/1FTlLKj)

Hillary Rodham Clinton announced Wednesday that she opposes an expansive 12-nation Pacific Rim free-trade accord finalized by the Obama administration this week, breaking sharply with the president over a deal she had championed while serving as secretary of state. (WaPo http://wapo.st/1jdLrHw)

Negotiators from Nepal’s government and the main group protesting the country’s new constitution discussed the main issue of the size of proposed states on Wednesday, but said little progress was made in their second day of talks. (AP http://yhoo.it/1KZXL73)

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has said she plans to lead the next government if her National League for Democracy comes to power in the Nov. 8 election, despite being barred from becoming president. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1Q7L63g)

The Indonesian government is asking major palm oil companies to row back on the historic “no deforestation” pledges they made at last year’s United Nations climate change summit, officials and company sources say. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1FTlEym)

The U.S.-led Trans-Pacific Partnership reached by 12 Pacific Rim countries Monday, is expected to move easily through Vietnam’s legislature even as it faces skeptics in the U.S. Congress. (VOA http://bit.ly/1Q7KWsE)

The Americas

A Syrian refugee unhappy with his resettlement in Uruguay doused himself with gasoline on Tuesday as a form of protest while meeting with government officials. (AP http://yhoo.it/1FTlHdx)

Authorities want to turn the tide on what Brazil’s Health Ministry officials have called an “epidemic” of cesareans births in the country, with Brazil now the world’s No. 2 recipient of C-sections, second only to China in raw numbers. (AP http://yhoo.it/1FTlLd2)

Brazil’s top electoral authority ruled on Tuesday there are grounds to investigate irregularities in President Dilma Rousseff’s re-election campaign last year. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1Q7KXwz)

Three weeks before Haiti holds polls that could make or break its recovery from disaster and political crisis, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has urged the country to get behind the vote. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1FTlK9g)

…and the rest

German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned fellow leaders of European Union countries on Wednesday against succumbing to nationalism in tackling the bloc’s migrant crisis. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1FTmU4x)

Opinion/Blogs

Mozambique destroyed its last landmine. That’s a victory for food security. (UN Dispatch http://bit.ly/1Q7NG9s)

The Nobel Peace Prize winner will be announced tomorrow. Mark speaks with Victor Ochen, an LRA survivor who was nominated for the 2015 award by the same organization that nominated MLK and Tutu. (Global Dispatches Podcast http://bit.ly/1EUCdD2)

After Kunduz, we must end impunity for those who break international law (ODI http://bit.ly/1VF1Wb3)

Why the World Bank is changing the definition of the word “poor” (Vox http://bit.ly/1Li6FOx)

Describing poverty is no substitute for producing hard evidence to help end it (Guardian http://bit.ly/1Q7M9QG)

One way to help fight preventable disease: Focus on frontline health workers (ONE http://bit.ly/1VESiFx)

Nigeria: Will New Code Clean Up Financial Corruption? (Africa in Fact http://bit.ly/1Q7KM4w)

My journey from Doctors Without Borders aid worker to Syrian refugee (Guardian http://bit.ly/1Q7Mym9)

Seven practical steps to protect our cities from the effects of climate change (ODI http://bit.ly/1LihIaB)

Why Obama’s legacy trade agreement matters for development (Devex http://bit.ly/1VF23Ue)

Comic of the Day: Control vs out of control groups http://bit.ly/1KZZuZT

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