Christie and Cuomo

Big Drop in American Volunteers to Ebola Zone

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It turns out unnecessary quarantine rules and the stigmatization of aid workers is undermining the fight to defeat ebola at its source. Thanks, Chris Christie and Andrew Cuomo!“Aid groups have been warning about a possible “chilling effect” on volunteers since the two states’ rules were announced in late October. And now there is some data to back up those claims. The United States Agency for International Development, which handles applications from medical personnel volunteering to serve in West Africa, says applications declined by about 17 percent after October 26th, when the rules for mandatory quarantine rules were announced. “There was an unquestionable drop-off,” says USAID spokesman Matt Herrick. “And unfortunately, that decline has continued.” (NPR

New Data on Access to Clean Water and Sanitation…Global efforts to provide improved water and sanitation  for all are gaining momentum, but serious gaps in funding continue to hamper progress, according to a new report from the World Health Organization on behalf of UN-Water. The UN-Water Global Analysis and Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking-Water (GLAAS 2014), published biannually, presents data from 94 countries and 23 external support agencies….2.5 billion men, women and children around the world lack access to basic sanitation services. About 1 billion people continue to practice open defecation. An additional 748 million people do not have ready access to an improved source of drinking-water. (WHO

For your Bemusement….Here’s Bob Geldof getting pulled from live TV for an intemperate reaction to a perfectly legitimate line of inquiry. (Daily Mirror. And here’s the excellent Amanda Taub asking more perfectly legitimate questions. (Vox


The failure of a top Malian hospital to detect probable cases of Ebola has raised questions about whether the country’s health system is sufficiently prepared to tackle the disease. (IRIN

The United Nations is worried about the potential for further isolation of the hardest-hit nations in West Africa. (IPS

Why is Sierra Leone reporting an uptick in Ebola cases while Liberia’s outbreak is slowing? The chain of events in one village points up the obstacles that the country is facing. (NPR


Fewer babies could mean an “economic miracle” for sub-Saharan Africa, with gains of $500 billion a year over three decades for the region, the UN Population Fund said. (AFP

Michel Kafando was sworn in as transitional president of Burkina Faso on Tuesday, faced with the task of leading the West African country to elections in a year following a brief military takeover. (Reuters

South Africa plans to spend $2.2 billion over two years to buy HIV/AIDS drugs for public hospitals, a government minister said on Monday, as a study shows the prevalence of the virus is rising. (Reuters

Aid workers in Somalia, which faces worsening hunger three years after famine struck the country, believe the humanitarian system is “rotten” and are hamstrung by fears of being prosecuted for aiding terrorists, an expert said. (Reuters

Human Rights Watch accused police in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Tuesday of summarily executing at least 51 people in an anti-gang operation and of being responsible for the disappearance of at least 33 more. (Reuters

Guyana President Donald Ramotar’s decision to suspend parliament to avoid a no-confidence motion against him has plunged the small former British colony into political crisis, as foes decry the president as a dictator. (Reuters

 Sudan’s government and rebels from war-torn South Kordofan and Blue Nile adjourned a week of peace talks late Monday, with mediators claiming they were “not too far” from a deal. (AFP

Former rebels now serving in Cote d’Ivoire’s army erected barricades and blocked streets outside barracks across the country on Tuesday in protest over unpaid benefits and bonuses, military and diplomatic sources said. (Reuters


Tensions are incredibly high in Israel and Palestine following the murder of four rabbis in their Jerusalem synagogue tuesday morning by two Palestinian cousins who were not part of any known terrorist group. Haaretz

A U.N. panel of experts monitoring al-Qaida is recommending new sanctions that would authorize the seizure of tanker trucks carrying oil from areas in Syria and Iraq controlled by the Islamic State group or the Nusra Front. (AP

An Egyptian rights group said Tuesday the government has repeatedly violated the country’s new constitution, calling it a crime that must be addressed immediately. (AP

Spanish lawmakers were set to vote on Tuesday in favor of their government recognizing Palestine as a state in a symbolic move intended to promote peace between the Palestinians and Israel but which has angered the Jewish state. (Reuters


Students in Myanmar have threatened to protest nationwide if the government does not amend an education law that prohibits them from engaging in political activities and curbs academic freedom. (AP

More than 600 trafficking victims from Myanmar and Bangladesh have been rescued off the South Asian coast, a navy spokesman in Dhaka said on Tuesday, in the single biggest operation of its kind by Bangladesh authorities. (Reuters

Indonesia must stop subjecting female police recruits to physical tests in an effort to determine whether they are virgins, a leading human rights group said Tuesday, describing the practice as degrading and discriminatory. (AP

Myanmar’s influential parliament speaker said Tuesday that any changes to the military-drafted constitution that bars opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi from becoming president will not take effect before next year’s election. (AP

Cambodia’s government is using the country’s judiciary to silence opposition parties and other critics of its policies, a United Nations investigator said on Tuesday. (Reuters

The UN General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to recommend that crimes against humanity in North Korea be referred to the International Criminal Court. Now, it’s up to the Security Council to decide if that will actually happen. (NYT

The Americas

The head of Brazil’s state-owned oil company Petrobras promises to improve the way it is run as it struggles to deal with a corruption scandal. (BBC

A tweet from the account of Colombia’s Marxist FARC rebel group’s peace negotiators said on Tuesday that kidnapped General Ruben Dario Alzate was a “prisoner of war”. But in a message from the same account minutes later, the FARC said its Twitter account had been hacked. It did not deny or confirm the general’s status. (Reuters


The Problem With “Safe Zones” in the Middle East (UN Dispatch

 Will There be Peace Between Iran and the West? (IPS

Even with social media boost, big challenges ahead for Rohingya advocates (GlobalPost

10 Million Stateless and Growing: How Donors Can Help (CGD

Is the BRICS moment over? (CNN

Nairobi’s ‘miniskirt’ march exposes sexual violence in Kenya (Guardian

Reflections on the Arab uprisings (Monkey Cage

Reactions to Reflections on the Arab Uprisings (Dart-Throwing Chimp

One Year Later—the Road to Resilience After Typhoon Haiyan (USAID Impact

Stitching a more sustainable garment industry for Haiti (Development that Works


Give women the same access to land, credit, advice and markets as men, and they could increase yields on their farms by more than 20 percent, boosting total global agricultural output by up to four percent, a leading land rights researcher said. (Reuters

New technology has “brought the bank” to millions of low-income women in a revolution that could help drive economic growth, according to an authority on women’s finance. (Reuters

More than 10,000 people protested in the Hungarian capital, demanding the ouster of the head of the tax authority and greater accountability from Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government. (AP

Sexual exploitation of adolescent girls in Uganda (Overseas Development Institute