Top of the Morning: Ebola Outbreak Getting Worse

Health ministers from across western Africa, the United Nations and NGOs met on Wednesday in a show of force against the Ebola outbreak, which has now claimed 467 people dead, a nearly 40% rise since last week. “”These kinds of outbreaks, these diseases, can be stopped,” Keiji Fukuda, assistant director-general for health security at the WHO, told AFP, as 11 west African health ministers gathered for a two-day conference in Accra on combatting the killer pathogen.”This is not a unique situation — we have faced it many times — so I’m quite confident that we can handle this. “This is, however, the most complicated Ebola outbreak ever because it is spreading so fast in both urban and rural areas.  (AFP

More Ebola News…

The Red Cross in Guinea said on Wednesday it had been forced to suspend operations tackling Ebola in the country’s southeast after staff there were threatened by a group of men armed with knives. (Reuters

People at high risk of dying in West Africa’s Ebola outbreak should be offered experimental medicines to see if they work, despite the drugs being not fully tested, the head of an influential global health charity said. (Reuters

Israel+Palestine on the Edge…”The body of an abducted Palestinian youth was found in Jerusalem on Wednesday, raising suspicions he had been killed by Israelis avenging the deaths of three abducted Jewish teens. News of the discovery of 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khudair, who was last seen being bundled into a van earlier in the day, triggered clashes between rock-throwing Palestinians and Israeli police in the city.”  (Reuters

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Ethiopia is facing a huge wave of refugees from South Sudan, where the spectre of famine threatens to heap further misery on a people already rocked by civil war, the UN’s food aid agency warned on Wednesday. (AP

Proposals to review the Democratic Republic of Congo’s constitution to permit President Joseph Kabila to seek a third term of office, if accepted, will only plunge the Congolese further into poverty and insecurity, experts warn. (IPS

African countries are coming under strong pressure from the United States and the European Union to reverse the decision adopted by their trade ministers to implement the World Trade Organization’s trade facilitation agreement on a “provisional” basis. (IPS

Nigeria is suffering greater carnage at the hands of Islamist group Boko Haram than it did during a secessionist civil war, yet this has ironically made the country’s break-up less likely, Nigerian Nobel Literature Laureate Wole Soyinka said. (Reuters


Hundreds of African immigrants began a hunger strike this week after Israeli police forcibly broke up a sit-in they were staging near the Egyptian border. (Guardian


Rescuers in India pulled another 20 bodies from the ruins of a collapsed building, bringing to 49 the death toll since the weekend with slim chances of finding more survivors, police said. (AP

Greenpeace campaigners are concerned that they could be deported from India ever since an intelligence report accusing several foreign-funded NGOs of stalling major infrastructure projects was leaked this month. (Guardian

After suffering for years from a stagnant economy and inflation on basic items like food, even middle-class Pakistanis are feeling the economic pinch.  As the Muslim holy month of Ramadan begins in Pakistan, many people are taking advantage of free iftar dinners sponsored by charities and wealthy individuals. (VOA

The cost of health care is throwing many poor Afghans into a cycle of debt. While most now have access to basic public health care, the quality is so low that many patients seek out private services at a higher cost than they can afford – driving some of them further into poverty. (IRIN

Police in Hong Kong arrested more than 500 protesters from an overnight sit-in early Wednesday that followed a massive pro-democracy rally. (VOA

Prominent international human rights experts are calling on the Taiwan government to quickly enact a comprehensive anti-discrimination act, revamp the law on citizenship and take a wide range of other actions to curb gender discrimination. (IPS

The Americas

As the costs of climate change continue to mount, officials with the Commonwealth grouping say it is vital that Small Island Developing States (SIDS) stick together on issues such as per capita income classification. (IPS


Understanding the EU Human Rights Court’s Big Ruling on France’s Headscarf Band (UN Dispatch

The time to act against Tuberculosis is now (Humanosphere

How aid agencies can find their path in fragile states (Chris Blattman

Republican family values put women’s lives in danger worldwide (Guardian

Carbon taxes in South Africa: The political and technical challenges of pricing carbon (ODI

Attack of the Big Tobacco Mutants (CGD

New Zealand aid needs more gender mainstreaming (Dev Policy

Nigeria’s bride price app may be a joke, but it’s not funny (Ms Afropolitan