Health workers suiting up in hazmat gear. Scene from an Ebola outbreak containment team.
Scene from an ebola outbreak. Credit: WHO

Down to Just Three Ebola Cases Worldwide

Some excellent news on the ebola front. “There were 3 confirmed cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD) reported in the week to 23 August, all of which were reported from Guinea. No new confirmed cases were reported from Sierra Leone for the second consecutive week. Overall case incidence has held at 3 confirmed cases per week for 4 consecutive weeks. In addition, the number of contacts under observation continues to fall, from over 800 on 16 August to approximately 600 on 23 August throughout 4 prefectures in Guinea and 2 districts in Sierra Leone. All contacts associated with the recent cluster of cases in Tonkolili, Sierra Leone, have now completed the 21-day follow-up period. However, there remains a significant risk of further transmission. All 3 cases in Guinea this week were reported from the capital, Conakry, and have generated a substantial number of high-risk contacts. One of the cases, who was detected after post-mortem testing of a community death, was one of 35 contacts to have been lost to follow-up in Conakry in the past 6 weeks.” (WHO

Humanity Affirming Facebook Video of the Day: A crowd of cheering Germans welcomes a bus load of Syrian refugees.

Listicle of the Day: 5 Ways China’s economic crisis will affect Africa. (BBC

It took less than a minute for a panel of judges in Senegal to sentence seven men to six months in prison for homosexuality last week, but campaigners say the harm to the African nation’s anti-HIV efforts could last much longer. (Reuters

Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza unveiled his new cabinet, with the central African nation’s government dominated by hardliners and loyalists. (AFP

On Wednesday, the Botswana Court of Appeal unanimously ruled that the government is required to provide foreign prisoners treatment at government expense. (VOA

As South Sudan’s transport minister traveled to South Africa to sign a deal he hopes will be part of a new inflow of infrastructure investment needed to develop the world’s youngest country. (Reuters

African music legend Salif Keita has called for people with albinism to be protected, as Tanzania begins campaigning for general elections with fears growing over a rise in witchcraft attacks. (AFP

A U.N. panel of experts said that a major Chinese state-owned arms supplier sold more than $20 million of weapons to South Sudan’s government last year, several months into the country’s deadly internal conflict. (AP


Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon accused all parties in the Syrian conflict of “indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks” on civilians and said the U.N. and its partners couldn’t deliver food to 422,000 people in besieged areas in July. (AP

Medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres said on it treated a Syrian family with symptoms of exposure to chemical agents from an area where Islamic State fighters have been battling other rebels. (Reuters

Beirut’s garbage protests seem to be gaining steam. (WaPo


Heavy rain in North Korea killed 40 people, stranded thousands in flash floods and caused “massive” damage on the weekend, the International Federation of the Red Cross said and North Korean media said. (Reuters

At least five people were killed in clashes between police and protesters in India’s western state of Gujarat on Wednesday after a huge rally by a powerful clan demanding more government jobs and college places. (Daily Times

Despite growing anger among retail investors and a strong sense of economic decline, a major shakeup is unlikely in China, given the rigidity of the political system, the leadership’s need to exude calm and the idea that changes could be perceived as signs of weakness or error. (AP

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has warned armed ethnic minority groups not to rush into signing a nationwide cease-fire, a top party colleague said Wednesday, a position that pits her against President Thein Sein, who has made reaching a deal before November elections his top priority. (AP

The Americas

Guatemala’s Supreme Court has taken the first step in allowing impeachment proceedings against President Otto Perez Molina and his former Vice President Roxana Baldetti has been ordered to stand trial in a fraud case that has pushed the country into political crisis. (AP

A convicted black market money dealer who turned state’s evidence told lawmakers that Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and her predecessor, former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, knew of the sprawling corruption kickback scheme that has engulfed state-run oil company Petrobras. (AP

More than 100 Colombians carrying their possessions on their shoulders waded knee-deep across a river back into their homeland, fleeing a Venezuelan crackdown on illegal migrants and smugglers that is generating an increasingly angry dispute between the South American neighbors. (AP

A food safety advocacy group sued an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Tuesday, saying it illegally withheld public information on genetically engineered crops. (AP

Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Hungary’s migrant crisis escalated Wednesday as police fired teargas at its main processing centre and the government announced it was sending 2,000 “border hunters” to stem the flow of record numbers of people entering from Serbia. (AFP

Hungary made plans on Wednesday to reinforce its southern border with helicopters, mounted police and dogs, and was also considering using the army as record numbers of migrants, many of them Syrian refugees, passed through coils of razor-wire into Europe. (Reuters

German Chancellor Angela Merkel vowed Wednesday there would be no tolerance for “shameful and vile” anti-migrant violence, facing down a noisy far-right protest during a visit to a refugee centre. (AFP

After a series of highly charged custody disputes, Norway now faces accusations of cultural insensitivity at best and child theft at worst, as increasing numbers of immigrant children are being seized by officials and handed over to Norwegian foster families. (AP

Some 50 migrants were found dead in the hold of a boat off the coast of Libya on Wednesday during a rescue operation which saved 430 other people, the Italian coast guard said. (Reuters

A parliament-appointed rights official in Serbia has suggested that the country, blighted by years of depopulation, should ask migrants flooding through the Balkans from the Middle East to settle in hundreds of empty villages. (Reuters

…and the rest

A new study calls for urgent action to integrate anti-smoking strategies into the care of people being treated for tuberculosis and HIV. (VOA

Greater support and training is needed at national level to increase the chances of prosecuting crimes of sexual violence in conflict, according to new research from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law. (Guardian

Five million people in England are at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, which is linked to unhealthy lifestyles and obesity, a health authority said on Wednesday. (AFP


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In the Debate Towards Nuclear Disarmament, Where Are All the Women? (ISS