WHO Reports Significant MERS Outbreak in South Korea

MERS is the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, a little known and quite deadly virus that has spread in the middle east, mostly Saudi Arabia, since 2012. The WHO reported late yesterday afternoon that for the first time, a large outbreak has been confirmed outside the region, in South Korea. The index case was a South Korean who recently visited the middle east. It spread quickly from him. The WHO statement is not yet up on their website. But this came via email: “To date, contact tracing has identified a total of 25 laboratory-confirmed cases, including the index case and among health care workers caring for him, patients who were being cared for at the same clinics or hospitals, and family members and visitors. Some of these additional cases were in the same room as the index case; others were on the same ward. Though data are preliminary, exposure times that led to infection may have been as short as five minutes to a few hours.  To date, two of these cases have been fatal. Given the number of clinics and hospitals that cared for the index case, further cases can be expected.”

Taliban Once Again Target Aid Workers…Gunmen killed nine Afghan employees of a Czech aid organisation in their beds during an overnight raid Tuesday on their guesthouse in northern Afghanistan, the latest attack on humanitarian workers in the war-battered country…The nine victims were shot as they slept in a guesthouse belonging to People in Need (PIN), a Czech organisation that has been active in Afghanistan since 2001, delivering aid to remote communities in the east and north.(AFP http://yhoo.it/1KAN6yd)

Stat of the day: Multinational companies deprive African governments of $11 billion in taxes each year, and G7 world leaders should set up a new global body to regulate corporate taxation, Oxfam International said. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1M0Crx4)

Quote of the Day: “Although there are concerns that the funding may be mismanaged and that AFESIP’s shelters may be lacking in quality care, Somaly Mam’s efforts still represent a positive alternative to the severe sexual abuse victims would otherwise be facing.” – From a newly uncovered U.S. diplomatic cable from 2012 detailing the problems with the Cambodian anti-trafficking activist and her organization. (VOA http://bit.ly/1M0GDNw)


Police fired on protesters who took to the streets of Burundi’s capital on Tuesday in renewed protests against President Pierre Nkurunziza’s decision to run for a third term in office, witnesses said. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1M0BDbF)

An epidemic of meningitis has killed 545 people in Niger, out of 8,234 people who caught the disease, but has now peaked, the World Health Organization said on Tuesday. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1ALbw7W)

Alarmed by the rising tide of refugees fleeing Burundi, the United Nations moved to help Rwanda and Tanzania cope with the influx with $15 million in aid. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1KALeFM)

Sudan is likely to have supplied weapons by air to rebels battling the government in neighbouring South Sudan, a report released Tuesday said, despite Khartoum’s denials of involvement in the conflict. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1KALkgz)

Five South Sudanese dissident politicians who in 2013 faced accusations of mounting a failed coup have returned home from Kenya following talks mediated by African leaders, raising hopes for peace despite new fighting near the country’s oil fields. (AP http://yhoo.it/1AL9PY3)

Nigeria’s new President Muhammadu Buhari will this week make his first foreign trip since taking office, travelling to Chad and Niger for talks on Boko Haram, his spokesman said. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1KALfJG)


Violent protests against Ebola controls in a north Guinea town have prompted the Red Cross to withdraw workers, undermining efforts to stop the spread of Ebola into neighbouring Guinea Bissau. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1ALbBIP)

The United Nations’ Ebola chief says he believes it’s only a matter of weeks before the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone ends. (AP http://yhoo.it/1KALfcA)

The head of the UN mission on Ebola in Guinea on Monday said violence in the west of the country “jeopardised” the fight against the deadly virus. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1KALhRT)


Islamic State group jihadists have closed the gates of a dam in the Iraqi city of Ramadi which they seized last month, posing a humanitarian and security threat, officials said Tuesday. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1SUu4IW)

The advance of the Islamic State group in Iraq is a “failure” for the whole world community, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said Tuesday, hours ahead of a crunch international meeting in Paris to refine strategy against the jihadist group. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1AL9Yuu)


In what may become China’s worst shipping disaster in nearly 70 years, more than 438 people, many of them elderly Chinese tourists, are missing after a cruise boat was hit by a freak tornado and capsized on Monday night in the Yangtze River. (Times of India http://bit.ly/1SUtQl5)

Western governments and foreign non-profit groups are pressuring China to revise a proposed law they say would severely restrict the activities of non-government organizations, business groups and universities, according to people familiar with the matter. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1KALch2)

When transgender woman Maya K.C. sought help at a relief camp in the ruins of Nepal’s capital after a devastating earthquake, she was quickly made to feel as though she did not belong. (TRF http://yhoo.it/1AL9Paz)

Muslim Rohingya women who were held at human-trafficking camps in Thailand and Malaysia were subjected to gang rapes by their captors, assaults that left at least two of them pregnant, a Malaysian media report said. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1KALiFj)

Myanmar said a boat crammed with 727 migrants that it has kept stranded at sea for days was being escorted to a “safe” area for identity checks, bringing fresh criticism that it was only prolonging the suffering of people desperate to come ashore. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1KALiFw)

India’s earth sciences minister has blamed climate change for a heatwave that has killed 2,500 people and for deficient monsoon rains, after the government said on Tuesday the country was headed for its first drought in six years. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1M0BwNc)

The Americas

A protest movement organized over social media in Honduras has led to large demonstrations in cities around the Central American country. (AP http://yhoo.it/1KALe8u)

Reporters Without Borders urged Brazil to take “concrete and effective” measures to protect journalists after two reporters were murdered in May. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1KALgx9)

An environmental study has concluded a planned $50 billion canal across Nicaragua is “viable,” officials said, but without releasing details of the report. (AP http://yhoo.it/1AL9UuM)

The United States treasury department has designated Peruvian Maoist rebel group Shining Path a “significant foreign narcotics trafficker.” (BBC http://bbc.in/1ALbDQM)

…and the rest

With thousands worldwide being denied education due to attacks on schools and universities, and the use of school buildings by armed groups, 37 countries have committed to protecting students and their education during armed conflict. (IPS http://bit.ly/1M0C1H1)

Denmark topped the list in a new study ranking countries on how the rule of law is experienced by citizens. Britain came 12th and Venezuela trailed in last place. (Guardian http://bit.ly/1ALbInK)


Journalist Gayle Tzemach Lemmon is Mark’s podcast guest this week. She discusses her new book, Ashley’s War, about an all-female unit of American soldiers in Afghanistan, and the deep and untold history women in combat. (Global Dispatches Podcast http://bit.ly/1GRuKtP)

Investing in healthcare in Africa critical to meet 2030 goals (WEF http://bit.ly/1Q38P8H)

The future is here, but South Africa is stuck in the past (SACSIS http://bit.ly/1M0H4aA)

The phone app challenging violence against women in a Mumbai slum (Guardian http://bit.ly/1RH74eR)

Is there a ‘learning crisis’ in Africa? Education and development post-2015 (PDF http://bit.ly/1ALaKYu)