Officials from the World Health Organization said this week that current estimates of the death toll caused by the Ebola outbreak in West Africa—which currently sits at 4,877—may actually be dramatically low. Tragically, they say the real number of Ebola deaths is likely closer to 15,000. WHO predicted that in order to control the outbreak and treat those infected by the deadly virus, the number of laboratories, staff and body-management teams will need to significantly increase in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea ... Discuss
The freelance journalist who was working as an NBC cameraman in Liberia has officially been declared free of the Ebola virus after receiving treatment in Nebraska. For the last two weeks, 33-year-old Ashoka Mukpo has been in a special isolation unit at the Nebraska Medical Center, but will soon be released. On Twitter, Mukpo said, “Special shout out to Nancy Snyderman at NBC News. For the record me and her were never within 3 feet of each other once. Be nice to her plz.” TV’s Dr. Snyderman received criticism from the public after she was spotted outside of her home during a voluntary quarantine period following her NBC News crew’s return to the United States ... Discuss
One of three Americans held in North Korea has been freed and returned to the United States. Jeffrey Fowle had been detained in the reclusive country for five months after officials say he intentionally left a Bible while visiting a club in the country as part of a tourist visit. All religious activity is tightly controlled in North Korea and the act was seen as a serious crime.
CNN interviewed Fowle during his detention, who admitted to the “covert act and a violation of tourists' rules,” though the network said the interview process was tightly controlled by North Korean officials. The State Department seemed to be a little baffled by the sudden move by North Korea, telling the media, “we'll let the North Koreans speak for themselves about why they decided to do this, why now.” Two Americans—including missionary Kenneth Bae—are still imprisoned there, and the White House said they’ve been given no new news about their legal status ... Discuss
Piotr Naskrecki is a entomologist and photographer at Harvard University's Museum of Comparative Zoology but, after his recent encounter with a giant spider, he'll probably look into another field, or maybe another planet. Yes, Naskrecki says he was taking a walk in Guyana when he heard something scuttling underfoot. He turned his light on it, expecting to see a small mammal but instead, "couldn't quite understand what I was seeing," That's because human eyes were never meant to rest upon the South American Goliath birdeater—a spider that measures one foot across, with a body the size of your fist and two-inch fangs. Yes. This is not a nightmare. This is real life, and there is no waking up from it.
Naskrecki says that the spider's bite doesn't have enough venom to kill you, but why would anyone even want to go on living after something like that? ... Discuss
New reports of violence by the Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram have tragically raised doubts as to whether the militants will release the more than 200 schoolgirls they kidnapped back in April. Last week, the Nigerian government said that they had reached a ceasefire deal, and Boko Haram leaders had agreed to free the girls whose abduction gained international attention and started the #BringBackOurGirls campaign.
Over the course of the last four days—including the same day the ceasefire was announced—Boko Haram militants reportedly attacked several towns, sparking new rounds of fighting with the military. The violence casts doubts over the Islamists' initial promise to release the girls as part of a ceasefire agreement. For months Boko Haram has wage a brutal campaign of violence in northern Nigeria which has even spilled in to neighboring countries, killing hundreds. The Islamic terrorist group has raided villages, burned Christian churches, targeted fellow Muslims whom they disagree with, kidnapped children, car-bombed urban areas and indiscriminately murdered civilians. The kidnapping of the girls—and threats to sell them into sex slavery—sparked international outrage and military intelligence aid from several countries, including the United States. Despite the attention and international efforts, little has been done to stop Boko Haram’s on-going terrorism or to actually secure the release of the girls ... Discuss
In an open letter she read on the BBC, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf pleaded for assistance as her country continues to battle the spread of the Ebola virus, saying, "It is the duty of all of us, as global citizens, to send a message that we will not leave millions of West Africans to fend for themselves." The Liberian president said, “Ebola is not just a health crisis. Across West Africa a generation of young people risk being lost to an economic catastrophe." According to recent estimates, 9,000 people have been infected with the potentially deadly virus—almost all of them in West Africa. So far, Ebola has killed 4,500, though that number continues to grow. The BBC says that despite an international call to raise $988 million for aid groups and UN agencies, just $377 million has been donated ... Discuss