Ebola Comes to DR Congo

Ebola has come to the DRC. “Two out of eight cases tested in an outbreak of deadly fever in the northwest of the Democratic Republic of Congo were positive for the Ebola virus, the central African nation’s health minister confirmed on Sunday.”The results are positive. The Ebola virus is confirmed in DRC,” Felix Kabange Numbi said, referring to samples taken from people infected with the previously unidentified fever that has killed dozens since mid-August. The World Health Organization (WHO) announced on Thursday that 70 people had died in an outbreak of hemorrhagic gastroenteritis. A WHO spokesman said the outbreak was not Ebola. DRC is now the fifth African nation to confirm cases of the Ebola outbreak, which began in March. A total of 2,617 infections and 1,427 deaths have been recorded, including in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and Nigeria. Liberia has seen the most deaths, at more than 600, with the disease confirmed in all regions of the country.” (DW http://bit.ly/1tzIMrw )

Libya on the Brink…The country’s main international airport has been overrun by Islamist militants. “The Islamist groups, led by a militia from the western city of Misrata under the umbrella of “Operation Dawn,” said they had captured the airport in Tripoli on Saturday after more than a month of fighting against the liberal Zintan militias, who have been assigned by the government to guard the airport since 2011…Neighboring Egypt is set to host a regional meeting on Monday to discuss the Libyan crisis. The meeting is expected to include foreign ministers from Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Sudan and Chad, as well as representatives of the Arab League and the African Union’s envoy to Libya.” (LAT http://lat.ms/1tI3rbM)

 Ebola

A Royal Air Force plane carrying a British healthcare worker who contracted Ebola in Sierra Leone – the first Briton to catch the deadly virus – took off from the capital Freetown on Sunday bound for Britain. (Reuters http://bit.ly/XKjE6G)

When disaster strikes a poor country, aid workers from all over the world normally flood the zone. This time, fear of the virus is keeping experts from answering West Africa’s calls for help. (NPR http://n.pr/1qadFkI)

The Philippines is pulling out almost 3,500 workers from three West African states due to the Ebola outbreak, the foreign ministry said on Sunday, a day after Filipino troops in Liberia were ordered to go home. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1qae3zO)

Sierra Leone’s parliament has made the harbouring of Ebola victims a crime punishable by two years’ jail in an attempt to stop the spread of the deadly virus, the justice minister said. (Reuters http://bit.ly/XKjXOX)

A meeting of African health ministers scheduled for early September in Benin has been postponed because of the Ebola epidemic, an official said Sunday. http://yhoo.it/XKlDrz

The worst-ever outbreak of the Ebola virus is taking a heavy toll on west Africa’s economy as crops rot in the fields, mines are abandoned and goods cannot get to market. http://yhoo.it/XKlHrq

Africa

Amnesty International is accusing Mali of holding children  accused of belonging to armed militias in Mali and participating in the country’s ongoing unrest in jails and being held alongside adults. (ABC http://abcn.ws/1tI3HYv)

A member of an East African regional body monitoring a ceasefire in South Sudan died of a heart attack after some monitors were detained by rebels to the north of the country, further complicating a peace process. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1qaehXy)

Niger’s agriculture minister has been arrested on suspicion of involvement in a baby-trafficking network, a spokesman for his political party and legal sources said. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1qaetGq)

MENA

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Palestinian civilians on Sunday to leave immediately any site where militants are operating, one day after Israel flattened a 13-storey apartment block in Gaza. (Reuters http://reut.rs/1tI3PXM)

The US government says an American held hostage for about two years by an al-Qaida-linked group in Syria has been released. (AP http://bit.ly/1tI4kkR)

In a country where civil liberties remain the prerogative of the powerful and wealthy, the Lebanese gay scene is to be treaded carefully. The recent arrest of 27 members of the LGBT community shows that those not so lucky – those belonging to the more vulnerable tranches of society – are always at risk. (IPS http://bit.ly/1qadXbe)

Italy’s maritime search and rescue service saved 3,500 migrants and found 19 corpses in the Mediterranean since Friday as thousands attempted to cross to Europe by boat over the weekend, the Italian navy said. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1qaeave)

Asia

The authorities in Xinjiang, the ethnically divided region in far western China, said on Saturday that eight people had been executed on charges related to separatist violence, including an attack last year in which a car plowed through tourists near Tiananmen Square in Beijing and erupted in flames. (NYT http://nyti.ms/1tI45Gp)

In Sri Lanka’s poverty-stricken Northern Province, residents say they must stretch the few resources they have in order to survive. (IPS http://bit.ly/1qadSV8)

A new UN report points to a sharp increase in numbers of boat people mostly from Myanmar and Bangladesh.  Activists fear a further surge of refugee boat people, especially ethnic Rohingya fleeing squalid refugee camps and persecution in Myanmar. (VOA http://bit.ly/XKkzUw)

The Americas

Venezuela used to be a world leader in managing malaria, but is now the only country in Latin America where incidence of the disease is increasing. Around 75,000 people were infected last year, and according to government figures, 60% of cases were in Sifontes, a tiny region of the country where gold mining – where workers drill for gold in mosquito-friendly standing water – is booming, and healthcare is scarce. (BBC http://bbc.in/1qaeFFx)

Opinion/Blogs

The Islamic State’s media logic (The Interpreter http://bit.ly/1sltTar)

A New Focus on Peaceful Conflict Resolution at the UNSC? (UN Dispatch http://bit.ly/1slupoD)

Development blog: Does Banning Child Marriage Really Work? (CGD http://bit.ly/1sluzMT)

A Bold New Way of Measuring A Country’s REAL Wealth (UN Dispatch http://bit.ly/1AL9Wie)

Conflict and disaster reporting: Does the public still care? (ODI http://bit.ly/1AL9ZKQ)

If It Looks Corrupt, It Is Corrupt (Global Anticorruption Blog http://bit.ly/XKofpz)

Win $20,000 to be part of the problem? (Chris Blattman http://bit.ly/1ALadBZ)

Which is more important – changing policies, or changing social norms and behaviours (and how are they connected)? (From Poverty to Power http://bit.ly/1ALakx8)

A Storm in a Bucket: Lessons from the Ice Bucket Challenge Controversy (Policy Innovations http://bit.ly/XKoEbla