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News in the Humanosphere: Troubling New Ebola Statistics

Health ministers from across western Africa, the United Nations and NGOs met on Wednesday in a show of force against the Ebola outbreak, which has now claimed 467 people dead, a nearly 40% rise since last week. “”These kinds of outbreaks, these diseases, can be stopped,” Keiji Fukuda, assistant director-general for health security at the WHO, told AFP, as 11 west African health ministers gathered for a two-day conference in Accra on combatting the killer pathogen.”This is not a unique situation — we have faced it many times — so I’m quite confident that we can handle this. “This is, however, the most complicated Ebola outbreak ever because it is spreading so fast in both urban and rural areas. (AFP)

More Ebola News…

The Red Cross in Guinea said on Wednesday it had been forced to suspend operations tackling Ebola in the country’s southeast after staff there were threatened by a group of men armed with knives. (Reuters)

People at high risk of dying in West Africa’s Ebola outbreak should be offered experimental medicines to see if they work, despite the drugs being not fully tested, the head of an influential global health charity said. (Reuters)


Ethiopia is facing a huge wave of refugees from South Sudan, where the specter of famine threatens to heap further misery on a people already rocked by civil war, the UN’s food aid agency warned on Wednesday. (AP)

Proposals to review the Democratic Republic of Congo’s constitution to permit President Joseph Kabila to seek a third term of office, if accepted, will only plunge the Congolese further into poverty and insecurity, experts warn. (IPS)

African countries are coming under strong pressure from the United States and the European Union to reverse the decision adopted by their trade ministers to implement the World Trade Organization’s trade facilitation agreement on a “provisional” basis. (IPS)

Nigeria is suffering greater carnage at the hands of Islamist group Boko Haram than it did during a secessionist civil war, yet this has ironically made the country’s break-up less likely, Nigerian Nobel Literature Laureate Wole Soyinka said. (Reuters)


Hundreds of African immigrants began a hunger strike this week after Israeli police forcibly broke up a sit-in they were staging near the Egyptian border. (Guardian)


Rescuers in India pulled another 20 bodies from the ruins of a collapsed building, bringing to 49 the death toll since the weekend with slim chances of finding more survivors, police said. (AP)

Greenpeace campaigners are concerned that they could be deported from India ever since an intelligence report accusing several foreign-funded NGOs of stalling major infrastructure projects was leaked this month. (Guardian)

After suffering for years from a stagnant economy and inflation on basic items like food, even middle-class Pakistanis are feeling the economic pinch. As the Muslim holy month of Ramadan begins in Pakistan, many people are taking advantage of free iftar dinners sponsored by charities and wealthy individuals. (VOA)

The cost of health care is throwing many poor Afghans into a cycle of debt. While most now have access to basic public health care, the quality is so low that many patients seek out private services at a higher cost than they can afford – driving some of them further into poverty. (IRIN)

Police in Hong Kong arrested more than 500 protesters from an overnight sit-in early Wednesday that followed a massive pro-democracy rally. (VOA)

Prominent international human rights experts are calling on the Taiwan government to quickly enact a comprehensive anti-discrimination act, revamp the law on citizenship and take a wide range of other actions to curb gender discrimination. (IPS)

The Americas

As the costs of climate change continue to mount, officials with the Commonwealth grouping say it is vital that Small Island Developing States (SIDS) stick together on issues such as per capita income classification. (IPS)


Understanding the EU Human Rights Court’s Big Ruling on France’s Headscarf Band (UN Dispatch)

The time to act against Tuberculosis is now (Humanosphere )

How aid agencies can find their path in fragile states (Chris Blattman)

Republican family values put women’s lives in danger worldwide (Guardian)

Carbon taxes in South Africa: The political and technical challenges of pricing carbon (ODI)

Attack of the Big Tobacco Mutants (CGD)

New Zealand aid needs more gender mainstreaming (Dev Policy)

Nigeria’s bride price app may be a joke, but it’s not funny (Ms Afropolitan)


About Author

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]