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News in the Humanosphere: Obama’s $6.2 billion Ebola ask

President Barack Obama talks with Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and National Economic Council Director Jeffrey Zients in the Oval Office Nov. 4, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

A day after his party got walloped in the elections, President Obama has asked Congress to authorize $6.2 billion to fight Ebola. Obama wants swift action on this request, meaning it may be taken up during the lame-duck session. “Administration officials say $2 billion of the total would be apportioned to the United States Agency for International Development and $2.4 billion would go to the Department of Health and Human Services. More than $1.5 billion would be for a contingency fund to deal with any unanticipated developments like a flare-up in West Africa or a need to vaccinate U.S. health care workers. … The nearly $2 billion for USAID and $127 million for the Department of State would help carry out the U.S. anti-Ebola mission in West Africa. More than $2.4 billion would go to HHS, but administration officials would not break down the request on the basis of what was to be used to fight the disease overseas and what was meant to boost defenses in the United States. The Pentagon would get about $112 million.” (ABC

The world’s biggest companies disclose little or no financial details about their operations outside their home countries, watchdog Transparency International said in a report. (Guardian

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation pushes back on the report we highlighted yesterday, which accused the foundation of only spending a small fraction of its food security funds directly in Africa. (Reuters )


Sierra Leone said Wednesday it was holding a journalist in a maximum security prison after a guest on his radio show criticized President Ernest Bai Koroma’s handling of the Ebola outbreak. (Yahoo

Scientists across the United States say they cannot obtain samples of Ebola, complicating efforts to understand how the virus is mutating, and develop new drugs, vaccines and diagnostics. (Reuters

The World Bank’s president on Wednesday reported mixed progress in the fight against the deadly Ebola virus in West Africa, pointing to encouraging signs in Liberia and a more worrisome trend in neighboring Sierra Leone. (Reuters

Australia’s prime minister said Wednesday that his government expects to staff a British-built Ebola hospital in Sierra Leone by the end of the month after reaching a deal with Britain on treating Australian health workers who might become infected with the deadly disease. (AP

With nearly 5,000 dead of Ebola in West Africa, the World Health Organization elected a new director Wednesday of its Africa regional office, which has been accused of bungling the response to the outbreak in its early stages. (AP


The U.S. delegation to the United Nations informed members of the Security Council that it would circulate a draft resolution establishing an international sanctions regime for conflict-torn South Sudan, a U.S. official said. (Reuters

Ugandan security forces committed “reprisal killings” in a remote mountain region earlier this year to crush tribal clashes, Human Rights Watch said Wednesday, highlighting reports of torture and mass graves. (AFP

One of the world’s leading AIDS activists has accused Britain of “signing a death warrant” for South Africans in need of treatment after withdrawing aid from an influential campaign group, which now faces ruin. (Guardian

The WHO says the ongoing polio vaccination campaign is facing resistance in Central African countries. The United Nations has been assisting six countries in the region with synchronized vaccinations after Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea reported more than a dozen cases of the wild polio virus in less than three years. (VOA

In Uganda, an estimated 16 women die every day from childbirth-related complications. Obstetric fistula is usually a result of prolonged, obstructed labor, but socio-economic factors such as poverty, lack of education and early marriage contribute to its onset and development. (Guardian

Royal Dutch Shell pushed South Africa on Wednesday to decide on its application, now nearly four years old, to explore for shale gas in the Karoo, a pristine semi-desert that may contain some of the world’s largest reserves. (Reuters

Three West African presidents urged Burkina Faso on Wednesday to appoint a transitional government to guide the country to elections next year following the people’s overthrow of longtime ruler Blaise Compaore last week. (Reuters

Local UNHCR chief in South Sudan says all efforts are being made to find new sites for those waiting at border sites – and for the thousands more who may pour into the country. But existing camps are already struggling. (AFP

Sudanese troops denied U.N. and African Union peacekeepers access to a town in the country’s western Darfur region to investigate reports of an alleged mass rape of some 200 women and girls, the United Nations said on Wednesday. (Rueters

Angola’s government is tightening the noose around free expression, according to a top Angolan journalist and an international rights watchdog. (VOA


Amnesty International on Wednesday accused Israel of committing war crimes during the war in the Gaza Strip this summer, saying it displayed “callous indifference” in attacks on family homes in the densely populated coastal area. (AP

The United States and other countries on Wednesday slammed the human rights situation in Egypt at a United Nations meeting reviewing the country’s record for the first time since the 2011 ouster of longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak. (AP

At least 11 children were killed in Damascus when mortars fell on a school in an eastern district of the Syrian capital, a monitoring group said on Wednesday.  (Reuters

Britain will boost the number of its army trainers in Iraq in the coming weeks to support the Iraqi armed forces’ battle against Islamic State militants, the British defense secretary said on a visit to Baghdad on Wednesday. (Reuters


The incidence of polio in Pakistan hit a 15-year high on Wednesday, as the prime minister vowed to rid the country of the crippling disease in the next six months despite a Taliban campaign to kill workers distributing vaccines for it. (AP

Nearly one week after a central Sri Lankan village was hit by a deadly landslide on Oct. 29, officials are reviewing how dozens of injuries, at least six deaths and hundreds of displacements could have been avoided with better disaster preparedness. (IRIN

Mongolia’s parliament voted on Wednesday to remove Prime Minister Norov Altankhuyag amid concerns about a serious economic downturn as gold, copper and coal prices and foreign direct investment slump. (Reuters

Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has a message for President Obama and other world leaders as they head to Myanmar: The international community’s faith in its military-dominated government came too early and too fast, and democratic reforms stalled long ago. (AP

Myanmar authorities exhumed the body on Wednesday of a journalist killed in military custody, and one rights activist said the body bore what he thought were marks of torture. (Reuters

The Americas

Students in Mexico call a 72-hour strike to demand the authorities do more to find 43 trainee teachers who went missing in September. (BBC

A federal prosecutors’ office has alleged irregularities in the way Brazil pays Cuban doctors participating in a program set up to provide health care in remote areas, and is urging the country to pay the physicians directly rather than through their government. (AP

Twelve people have died in Haiti as a result of heavy rains unleashed by a cluster of storms in the northern Caribbean, authorities said Wednesday. (AP


Fighting worsens as South Sudan keeps famine at bay, for now (Humanosphere

The foreign policy implications of the U.S. midterm elections (Global Dispatches

A helpful Ebola map for people who think Africa is a country (A View From The Cave

The Open Government Partnership’s commitment to development and contract transparency (CGD

Why your brain wants to help one child in need (NPR

Shaping the market for global health data (CGD

Rethinking U.S. foreign assistance: six development proposals for the next Republican-led Congress (CGD

Global governance – we need to bring civil society to the table (IPS

Tackle malnutrition head on (allAfrica

Africa is rising and so Africa is uprising (The Star

Interview with Gilles Yabi on protests in Burkina Faso and lessons for other countries (Congo Siasa

A dull, boring, humdrum, unimaginative, prosaic proposal to combat corruption (Global Anticorruption Blog


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]