7/29/2014

Ebola Outbreak: New Fears About Ebola Spread Beyond Africa

http://world.einnews.com/article/216018953/PBJRVqcjWaYhGmRT


Doctor who contracted Ebola in grave condition

DAKAR, Senegal—No one knows for sure just how many people Patrick Sawyer came into contact with the day he boarded a flight in Liberia, had a stopover in Ghana, changed planes in Togo, and then arrived in Nigeria, where authorities say he died days later from Ebola, one of the deadliest diseases known to man.
Now health workers are scrambling to trace those who may have been exposed to Sawyer across West Africa, including flight attendants and fellow passengers.
Health experts say it is unlikely he could have infected others with the virus that can cause victims to bleed from the eyes, mouth and ears. Still, unsettling questions remain: How could a man whose sister recently died from Ebola manage to board a plane leaving the country? And worse: Could Ebola become the latest disease to be spread by international air travel?
Sawyer’s death on Friday has led to tighter screening of airline passengers in West Africa, where an unprecedented outbreak that emerged in March has killed more than 670 people in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. But some health authorities expressed little confidence in such precautions.
“The best thing would be if people did not travel when they were sick, but the problem is people won’t say when they’re sick. They will lie in order to travel, so it is doubtful travel recommendations would have a big impact,” said Dr. David Heymann, professor of infectious diseases at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
“The important thing is for countries to be prepared when they get patients infected with Ebola, that they are isolated, family members are told what to do and health workers take the right steps.”
The World Health Organization is awaiting laboratory confirmation after Nigerian health authorities said Sawyer tested positive for Ebola, WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl said. The WHO has not recommended any travel restrictions since the outbreak came to light.
“We would have to consider any travel recommendations very carefully, but the best way to stop this outbreak is to put the necessary measures in place at the source of infection,” Hartl said. Closing borders “might help, but it won’t be exhaustive or foolproof.”
The mere prospect of Ebola in Africa’s most populous nation has Nigerians on edge.
In Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, Alex Akinwale, a 35-year-old entrepreneur, said he is particularly concerned about taking the bus, which is the only affordable way to travel.
“It’s actually making me very nervous. If I had my own car, I would be safer,” he said. “The doctors are on strike, and that means they are not prepared for it. For now I’m trying to be very careful.”
It’s an unprecedented public health scenario: Since 1976, when the virus was first discovered, Ebola outbreaks were limited to remote corners of Congo and Uganda, far from urban centers, and stayed within the borders of a single country. This time, cases first emerged in Guinea, and before long hundreds of others were stricken in Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Those are some of the poorest countries in the world, with few doctors and nurses to treat sick patients let alone determine who is well enough to travel. In Sawyer’s case, it appears nothing was done to question him until he fell sick on his second flight with Asky Airlines. An airline spokesman would not comment on what precautions were being taken in the aftermath of Sawyer’s journey.
Liberian Assistant Health Minister Tolbert Nyenswah told The Associated Press last week that there had been no screening at Liberia’s Monrovia airport. That changed quickly over the weekend, when President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said a new policy on inspecting and testing all outgoing and incoming passengers will be strictly observed. She also announced that some borders were being closed and communities with large numbers of Ebola cases would be quarantined.
International travelers departing from the capitals of Sierra Leone and Guinea are also being checked for signs of fever, airport officials said. Buckets of chlorine are also on hand at Sierra Leone’s airport in Freetown for disinfection, authorities said.
Still, detecting Ebola in departing passengers might be tricky, since its initial symptoms are similar to many other diseases, including malaria and typhoid fever.
“It will be very difficult now to contain this outbreak because it’s spread,” Heymann said. “The chance to stop it quickly was months ago before it crossed borders … but this can still be stopped if there is good hospital infection control, contact tracing and collaboration between countries.”
Nigerian authorities so far have identified 59 people who came into contact with Sawyer and have tested 20, said Lagos State Health Commissioner Jide Idris. Among them were officials from ECOWAS, a West African governing body, airline employees, health workers and the Nigerian ambassador to Liberia, he said. He said there have been no new cases of the disease.

Doctor Who Contracted Ebola in Grave Condition

FORT WORTH, Texas—An American doctor who contracted the Ebola virus felt a deep calling to work in Liberia and was exhausted after months of treating patients with the deadly disease.
Kent Brantly’s mother, Jan Brantly, says her 33-year-old son’s “heart is in Africa.” She says he comes from a long line of physicians and missionaries.
The director of maternal-child health at JPS Health Network where Brantly completed his residency just months before heading to West Africa has been in touch by phone and email.
Dr. David Mcray says Brantly had been working for months when he contracted the disease. Mcray says Brantly has told him he is “terrified.”
Mcray says Brantly’s prognosis is grave. The doctor is suffering fever, headache and abdominal pain in an isolation unit for Ebola patients on the outskirts of Liberia’s capital.

7/26/2014

Gunmen in army uniforms seize, later release Sunni official in Baghdad

http://world.einnews.com/article/215689324/EGM3zh7VNRNuB8sI


(Reuters) - Gunmen wearing army uniforms who seized a senior local official and prominent member of a Sunni Islamist party from his Baghdad home on Friday night have released him, an official said late on Saturday.
The armed men in SUVs with tinted windows had shown up at the home of Riyadh al-Adhdah, who heads Baghdad's Provincial Council and belongs to the Sunni Islamist Iraqi Islamic Party, and taken him away.
Adhdah told Alhurra-Iraq television station he was held by an organised gang and that Sheikh Qais al-Khazali, leader of the Asaib Ahl al-Haq Shi'ite militia, found out his whereabouts and helped win his release.
Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's military spokesman was not immediately available for comment on the incident.
Adhdah had previously faced terrorism charges but was not convicted due to a lack of evidence. Sunni politicians have long accused Maliki's security forces of targeting them on false terrorism-related charges in a witch-hunt.
The lightning sweep of Sunni militants through northern Iraq has deepened sectarian tensions and raised fears not only that Baghdad faces a violent carve-up but also a possible return to the kidnappings and killings of the 2006-2007 civil war.
In a sign of the breakdown of security in and around Baghdad, 15 people, including an entire Shi'ite family, were found shot or beheaded, according to police and medical sources.

SECTARIAN HATRED
Tensions between Sunnis and Shi'ites are increasingly at the forefront of the violence in Iraq, threatening to fragment the country, a major OPEC oil producer.
Gunmen beheaded a Shi'ite family of five in their home in the town of Taji just north of Baghdad, police and medics said.
Security forces, meanwhile, retrieved the bodies of six men in military trousers who had been handcuffed and shot in the head and chest in Taji, security sources said.
In eastern Baghdad, security forces found the corpses of four men who had been handcuffed, blindfolded and shot execution-style, security sources said.
Sunni insurgents led by the hardline Islamic State seized vast swathes of territory in the north last month, posing the biggest challenge to Maliki's Shi'ite-led government since U.S. forces withdrew in 2011.
Iranian-trained Shi'ite militias accused of sectarian killings have become a powerful force rivaling the battered Iraqi military in its ability to challenge the well-equipped and disciplined militants.
Twelve volunteers fighting alongside the army were killed in clashes with Sunni insurgents near the town of Baquba, 65 km (40 miles) northeast of Baghdad, a military source said.
Kurdish peshmerga forces are also taking on the Islamic State. The two sides have fought each other for control of Jalawla, 115 km (70 miles) northeast of the capital in recent weeks.
A senior Kurdish commander was killed in clashes on Saturday and another commander was kidnapped by insurgents in the town, security sources said.
Critics say Maliki, a Shi'ite, is a divisive figure whose alienation of Sunnis has fuelled sectarian hatred and played into the hands of insurgents.
The head of the Provincial Council's security committee told Reuters that Adhdah was seized along with four of his bodyguards from his home in the mostly Sunni district of Adhamiya by men in army uniforms driving SUVs.
Provincial councils are the top tier of local government in a system set up after the U.S. invasion in 2003. Members are elected.

(Writing by Maggie Fick; Editing by Michael Georgy, Raissa Kasolowsky and Lynne O'Donnell)

Kuwait: Fear over freedoms as nationalities revoked

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-28485187

The Kuwaiti government's decision to revoke the nationalities of the owner of a pro-opposition TV channel and newspaper, and a former MP along with three members of his family, has sparked fears for the political future of the Gulf state.
Kuwait's dynamic political scene and vocal opposition have distinguished it from its Gulf neighbours, but recent years have been fraught with unrest and power struggles within the ruling family, resulting in growing dissatisfaction among Kuwaitis and calls for reform.
'Threat to state'
A cabinet statement said that the decision to strip the nationality of Ahmed Jabr al-Shemmeri, a naturalised Kuwaiti and owner of Al-Yawm satellite channel and Al-Alam Al Yawm newspaper, was based on an article in the nationality law relating to those who pose a threat to the state.
The government gave the reason for former MP Abdallah al-Barghash and his three siblings having their citizenships withdrawn as being that they had been obtained on the basis of false information.
Mr Shemmeri's TV station and newspaper also had their licences revoked and were ordered to shut down, with the Information Ministry citing the reason as "losing some of the terms and conditions for obtaining a licence".
The Al-Alam al-Yawm newspaper was suspended twice earlier this year for breaching a media blackout ordered by the country's attorney-general to avoid discussion of a video allegedly showing a plot to overthrow the Emir.
Recent months have witnessed a resurgence of the opposition's activities. While some are sceptical that this poses a greater threat to the country's leadership, what is clear is that long-standing tensions have come to a head in this most recent period of unrest.
Earlier this month, prominent opposition leader Musallam al-Barrak was detained for 10 days pending a court case brought against him for allegedly insulting the judiciary and slandering its head, Faisal al-Marshed.
In June, Mr Barrak accused Mr Marshed along with some senior former officials of bribery and corruption involving billions of dollars, in a characteristically dramatic speech to thousands of Kuwaitis gathered at the capital's Irada Square.
The prime minister was swift to dismiss the allegations, saying that the documents presented by the leader did not warrant investigation.
But Mr Barrak's speech had reignited the support of many by tapping into a widely held grievance regarding the perceived misuse of public funds by Kuwait's political elite.
Stifling of dissent
The order for Musallam al-Barrak's detention sparked days of protests, bringing at their height thousands of Kuwaitis onto the streets to call for his release.
During the subsequent crackdown on the demonstrations images were shared widely on social media by activists and protesters allegedly showing the Special Forces using tear gas and rubber bullets against them.
The Interior Ministry released a statement denying the use of tear gas and rubber bullets, saying that only stun grenades had been used to disperse the protesters, having previously warned that it would "respond firmly to those conducting illegal and uncivilised acts".
Other Gulf states have in the past revoked citizenship as punishment for political activity deemed a threat to state security.
In 2012, the UAE stripped the nationalities of six Islamists calling for reform. But the recent decision of the Kuwaiti government is viewed by many as part of a systematic stifling of the opposition.
Bandar al-Khairan, the secretary-general of the opposition Kuwait Democratic Forum, said the threat of revoking nationality would not prevent the forum from continuing its activities. He told the BBC: "We're not afraid because we didn't commit any crimes. We will continue to demand our rights and call for reform."
Human rights defender Nawaf al-Hendal expressed concerns that the recent decision is part of a long-term move by the government towards imposing greater restrictions on freedoms in the country.
"It's true that Kuwaitis previously had more freedom than other Gulf countries, but in recent years the government has been implementing harsher measures on dissent and freedom of expression", he told the BBC.
He said that following protests in 2012, the number of Twitter users arrested for posting tweets deemed offensive to the Emir increased dramatically, in what he believed was a sign of growing intolerance of politically sensitive debate.

7/21/2014

Bahrain asks court to suspend main opposition group’s activities

http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/bahrain/bahrain-asks-court-to-suspend-main-opposition-group-s-activities-1.1361973

Manama: Bahrain’s justice ministry has filed a lawsuit against Al Wefaq National Islamic Society to suspend its activities for three months until it rectifies its status.
The ministry said that Al Wefaq had failed to abide by the rules and regulations in holding four general assemblies, making them null and void, and the society needed to address the situation.
In a statement carried by Bahrain News Agency (BNA), the ministry said that it had contacted Al Wefaq on the situation several times, but the society did not address the violations and did not abide by the required commitment to “the objectives of legitimate political work based on openness and transparency”.
The ministry added that the irregularities by Al Wefaq included holding two general assemblies without following the quorum rules and calling for two others with a total lack of transparency.
“The society has also adopted a peculiar endorsement concept by giving a committee set up within it and headed by a [cleric] the right to accept or reject candidates for the post of secretary-general and deputy secretary-general,” the ministry said. “The move is contrary to the foundations of democratic practices and imposes limits on the will of the general assembly.”
The ministry said that such irregularities were “a substantial violation in the procedures to form the components of the society and choose their leaders as well as to engage in activities and organise relations among members on a democratic basis”.
“Transparency in political activism under the law is one of the cornerstones of democratic development and a major component of the pioneering reforms project,” the ministry said.

7/19/2014

Christians flee Mosul after ISIS ultimatum to convert or leave

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2014/07/18/Christians-flee-Mosul-after-ISIS-ultimatum-to-convert-or-leave.html

Christians were fleeing Iraq’s jihadist-held city of Mosul en masse Friday after mosques relayed an ultimatum giving them a few hours to leave, the country’s Chaldean patriarch and witnesses said.

“Christian families are on their way to Dohuk and Arbil,” in the neighboring autonomous region of Kurdistan, Patriarch Louis Sako told AFP. “For the first time in the history of Iraq, Mosul is now empty of Christians.”

Witnesses said messages telling Christians to leave the city by Saturday were blared through loudspeakers from the city’s mosques Friday.

A statement dated from last week and purportedly issued by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) jihadist group that took over the city and large swathes of Iraq during a sweeping offensive last month warned Mosul’s Christians they should convert, pay a special tax, leave or face death.

“We were shocked by the distribution of a statement by the Islamic State calling on Christians to convert to Islam, or to pay unspecified tribute, or to leave their city and their homes taking only their clothes and no luggage, and that their homes would then belong to the Islamic State,” Sako said.

The patriarch, who is one of the most senior Christian clerics in Iraq, and residents contacted by AFP said Islamic State militants had in recent days been tagging Christian houses with the letter N for “Nassarah”, the term by which the Koran refers to Christians.

The statement, which was seen by AFP, said “there will be nothing for them but the sword” if Christians reject those conditions.
Last Update: Friday, 18 July 2014 KSA 21:34 - GMT 18:34

7/17/2014

Israel starts Gaza ground offensive

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-28359582

The Israeli military has begun a ground offensive against Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip, extending its 10-day-old Operation Protective Edge.
It said it was in response to continued militant rocket fire and to strike a "significant blow to Hamas", which controls Gaza.
Hamas said Israel would pay a high price for the ground offensive.
There had been a five-hour humanitarian truce on Thursday, but exchanges of fire resumed when it ended.
Some 230 Palestinians and one Israeli have died during the Operation Protective Edge period.
Tunnels
In a statement, the Israel Defense Forces said: "Following 10 days of Hamas attacks by land, air and sea, and after repeated rejections of offers to de-escalate the situation, the IDF has initiated a ground operation within the Gaza Strip."
Graphic
It said the goal was to "establish a reality in which Israeli residents can live in safety and security without continuous indiscriminate terror, while striking a significant blow to Hamas' terror infrastructure".
One Hamas spokesman told Reuters news agency the ground offensive was "foolish" and would have "dreadful consequences".
The Palestinian Maan news agency said an intensive bombardment of Gaza by Israeli planes, artillery and ships was under way.
Media in Gaza have reported seeing Israeli commandos on the beach there.
The BBC's Yolande Knell in Gaza says journalists were warned to take shelter, shortly before the ground offensive announcement was made.

7/14/2014

NELSON MANDELA

Nadine Gordimer, South African author, dies at 90

http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-28295542


South African Nobel Prize-winning author Nadine Gordimer has died in Johannesburg aged 90.
The writer, who was one of the literary world's most powerful voices against apartheid - died at her home after a short illness, her family said.
She wrote more than 30 books, including the novels My Son's Story, Burger's Daughter and July's People.
She jointly won 1974's Booker Prize for The Conservationist and was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1991.
'She cared most deeply'
The Nobel committee said at the time it was honouring Gordimer for her "magnificent epic writing" which had been "of very great benefit to humanity".
The daughter of a Lithuanian Jewish watchmaker, she began writing from an early age. Gordimer published her first story - Come Again Tomorrow - in a Johannesburg magazine at just 15.
Her works comprised both novels and short stories where the consequences of apartheid, exile and alienation were the major themes.
Gordimer's family said she "cared most deeply about South Africa, its culture, its people, and its ongoing struggle to realise its new democracy".
Committed to fighting apartheid, the author was a leading member of the African National Congress (ANC) and fought for the release of Nelson Mandela.
They went on to become firm friends and she edited Mandela's famous I Am Prepared To Die speech, which he gave as a defendant during his 1962 trial.
The Nelson Mandela Foundation paid tribute to Gordimer, saying it was "deeply saddened at the loss of South Africa's grande dame of literature".
"We have lost a great writer, a patriot and strong voice for equality and democracy in the world," it added.
A number of Gordimer's books were banned by the South African government under the apartheid regime including 1966's The Late Bourgeois World and 1979's Burger's Daughter.
Her last novel, No Time Like the Present, published in 2012, follows veterans of the battle against apartheid as they deal with the issues facing modern South Africa.
Despite her hatred of apartheid, the author was proud of her heritage and said she only considered emigrating once - to nearby Zambia.
"Then I discovered the truth, which was that in Zambia I was regarded by black friends as a European, a stranger," she said.
"It is only here that I can be what I am: a white African."
In her later years, Gordimer became a vocal campaigner in the HIV/Aids movement, lobbying and fund-raising on behalf of the Treatment Action Campaign, a group pushing for the South African Government to provide free, life-saving drugs to sufferers.
She was also critical of South African President Jacob Zuma, expressing her opposition to a proposed law which would limit the publication of information deemed sensitive by the government.
"The reintroduction of censorship is unthinkable when you think how people suffered to get rid of censorship in all its forms," she said in an interview last month.
The ANC said it sent its "heartfelt condolences" to Gordimer's family.
"Our country has lost an unmatched literary giant whose life's work was our mirror and an unending quest for humanity," it said.
Paying tribute on Twitter, Canadian author and fellow Booker Prize winner Margaret Atwood said: "Very sorry to hear that Nadine Gordimer has died. One of the greats, and a fearless spokesperson for human rights."
Gordimer's family said a private memorial service would be announced at a later date.
She is survived by two children.

7/13/2014

GAZA

Mazen Mahdi ‏@MazenMahdi ·

BAHRAIN: Sermon shock!

http://www.gulf-daily-news.com/NewsDetails.aspx?storyid=380995

A CLERIC from Bahrain has allegedly been spotted speaking at an Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) gathering in Mosul, Iraq.
US-based security analysts Flashpoint Partners has released a photo that it claims shows Shaikh Turki Al Ban'ali giving an ISIS sermon.
Bahraini authorities have repeatedly warned people against joining militant groups engaged in fighting overseas.
Those who do face arrest on their return and jail sentences of up to five years.
Shaikh Al Ban'ali is a prominent cleric in the Busaiteen area of Muharraq, according to Al Asala MP Shaikh Adel Al Ma'awada.
The GDN last month reported concerns of Al Asala bloc president MP Abdulhaleem Al Murad that Busaiteen had become a recruiting ground for a radical group encouraging Sunni Bahrainis to join insurgencies in Iraq and Syria.
Shaikh Al Ma'awada, whose Al Asala group is a Sunni Islamist political movement, said it had warned the public about the "dangerous" and "grave" ideas being espoused by those sympathetic to ISIS - who he described as a "very dangerous kind of extremist".
"We have made many statements about him (Shaikh Al Ban'ali) warning people to take care," he told the GDN yesterday.
ISIS, which announced last month it had changed its name to Islamic State, has seized large parts of northern and western Iraq since launching a bloody assault just over a month ago.
It wants to create an Islamic Caliphate that spans international borders. ahmed@gdn.com.bh


A CLERIC from Bahrain has allegedly been spotted speaking at an Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) gathering in Mosul, Iraq.
US-based security analysts Flashpoint Partners has released a photo that it claims shows Shaikh Turki Al Ban'ali giving an ISIS sermon.
Bahraini authorities have repeatedly warned people against joining militant groups engaged in fighting overseas.
Those who do face arrest on their return and jail sentences of up to five years.
Shaikh Al Ban'ali is a prominent cleric in the Busaiteen area of Muharraq, according to Al Asala MP Shaikh Adel Al Ma'awada.
The GDN last month reported concerns of Al Asala bloc president MP Abdulhaleem Al Murad that Busaiteen had become a recruiting ground for a radical group encouraging Sunni Bahrainis to join insurgencies in Iraq and Syria.
Shaikh Al Ma'awada, whose Al Asala group is a Sunni Islamist political movement, said it had warned the public about the "dangerous" and "grave" ideas being espoused by those sympathetic to ISIS - who he described as a "very dangerous kind of extremist".
"We have made many statements about him (Shaikh Al Ban'ali) warning people to take care," he told the GDN yesterday.
ISIS, which announced last month it had changed its name to Islamic State, has seized large parts of northern and western Iraq since launching a bloody assault just over a month ago.
It wants to create an Islamic Caliphate that spans international borders. ahmed@gdn.com.bh


By AHMED AL OMARI ,  Posted on » Sunday, July 13, 2014

A CLERIC from Bahrain has allegedly been spotted speaking at an Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) gathering in Mosul, Iraq.
US-based security analysts Flashpoint Partners has released a photo that it claims shows Shaikh Turki Al Ban'ali giving an ISIS sermon.
Bahraini authorities have repeatedly warned people against joining militant groups engaged in fighting overseas.
Those who do face arrest on their return and jail sentences of up to five years.
Shaikh Al Ban'ali is a prominent cleric in the Busaiteen area of Muharraq, according to Al Asala MP Shaikh Adel Al Ma'awada.
The GDN last month reported concerns of Al Asala bloc president MP Abdulhaleem Al Murad that Busaiteen had become a recruiting ground for a radical group encouraging Sunni Bahrainis to join insurgencies in Iraq and Syria.
Shaikh Al Ma'awada, whose Al Asala group is a Sunni Islamist political movement, said it had warned the public about the "dangerous" and "grave" ideas being espoused by those sympathetic to ISIS - who he described as a "very dangerous kind of extremist".
"We have made many statements about him (Shaikh Al Ban'ali) warning people to take care," he told the GDN yesterday.
ISIS, which announced last month it had changed its name to Islamic State, has seized large parts of northern and western Iraq since launching a bloody assault just over a month ago.
It wants to create an Islamic Caliphate that spans international borders. ahmed@gdn.com.bh

7/10/2014

John Kerry describes Gaza conflict as a 'dangerous moment'

http://world.einnews.com/article/213215479/KTts56MZopi2tBrM


3:55PM BST 10 Jul 2014
John Kerry described the crisis in Gaza as a “dangerous moment” on Thursday, but refrained from offering to visit the Middle East despite a warning from the United Nations of another “full-blown war”.
During a visit to China, the US secretary of state made his first public comment on the conflict in Gaza, which has claimed at least 75 Palestinian lives since Tuesday. By Thursday, Israel had carried out 780 air strikes on targets across the territory and Hamas, the radical Islamist movement, had fired almost 400 rockets at Israeli population centres, including Tel Aviv.
Mr Kerry said that “de-escalating” the crisis was in the interests of both sides, adding that he had spoken by telephone to Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, and Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority. “We’re already engaged in trying to see if it is possible to bring an end to the violence and find a different way forward,” he said.
But Mr Kerry stressed that “no country can accept rocket fire aimed at civilians and we support completely Israel’s right to defend itself against these vicious attacks.” He added that “de-escalation ultimately is in the interests of all parties, in the interests of the region, in the interests of Israel and the Palestinians.”
David Cameron offered Britain’s support to Israel during a telephone conversation with Mr Netanyahu. Downing Street said that the Prime Minister had “strongly condemned the appalling attacks being carried out by Hamas against Israeli civilians” and “reiterated the UK’s staunch support for Israel in the face of such attacks”.
However, Ban Ki-Moon, the UN secretary general, warned that the conflict had placed Gaza on a “knife-edge”, adding: “The deteriorating situation is leading to a downward spiral which could quickly get beyond anyone’s control. The risk of violence expanding further is real. Gaza and the region as a whole cannot afford any other full-blown war.”

Iran prepares to assault iranian dissidents in Iraq

http://world.einnews.com/article/213224428/S03f33ie7y0BNvJi


Consider the strategic value of Iranian dissidents in Iraq, current preparations and prior attacks by Iranian regime proxies, and responsibility to protect.
For Tehran, Iranian dissidents in Camp Liberty, Iraq are of strategic import. Despite the regime’s charm offensive, talks on its nuclear file are likely to deadlock. And even if negotiations resume after a pause, military options are bound to become front page news again. The dissidents have extensive contacts on the ground in Iran and are potential strategic assets for Washington and its allies against Tehran. The dissidents have historic ties in the area that can help tilt the balance against radical Sunnis and counter an extremist “Shiite arc” of Tehran and its counterpart in Damascus. Iran seeks to demoralize the dissidents in Iraq so they abandon their cause, repatriate them to Iran, and destroy them as the only organization that challenges clerical rule in Tehran. Moderate Sunni Arab Kingdoms like Jordan and Saudi Arabia are quietly sympathetic to the dissidents because they help counter the threat from radical Iran.
Because of their strategic import, during June 2009 demonstrations in Iran in which colleagues of the dissidents participated, Iraqi forces acting on behalf of Tehran attacked the dissidents in Camp Ashraf, Iraq on July 30. Iraqis raided the Camp, killed 11, held 36 as hostages, and then released them in October.
When unrest recurred in Iran during February 2011, Baghdad again ordered an attack to be launched against dissidents in Ashraf on April 8. There is video evidence of Iraqi forces directly aiming and firing at Camp residents.
On September 1, 2013, there was an attack on Ashraf that killed 52 residents, and assailants seized 7 as hostages. The UN stated, “The missing persons are reportedly being held somewhere in Iraq and may be at risk of being returned involuntarily to Iran, which would be a serious breach of international law.”
Rocket and mortar shells fell on the dissidents in Camp Liberty, killing six and wounding over fifty, on February 9, 2013. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) called these attacks, “a despicable act of violence” and described residents as asylum seekers entitled to international protection.
Dissemination of bogus reports of Iranian dissidents’ involvement in attacks against Iraqis is Tehran’s way to justify assaults. The regime’s Qods Force disseminated false reports alleging collusion between the dissidents and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), to justify attacking the dissidents in their residences at Camp Liberty, Iraq.
After distributing one such report on July 1, Iran’s State-run news agency, ISNA said that if such cooperation were proven, Baghdad would deal with the dissidents in a decisive manner. On July 6, Iraq’s al-Alam newspaper that supports Maliki charged that the dissidents were fighting alongside ISIS in Syria and Iraq. It is unclear how they can be combat while being held under prison-like conditions in Camp Liberty.
As a result of the public relations campaign of fabrications against the dissidents, it is reasonable to infer ominous intentions of the regime against the residents of Camp Liberty. As such, the dissidents requested immediate action by the U.S. government and the United Nations for protection of Camp Liberty.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon popularized “responsibility to protect” unarmed civilians subject to harm by well-armed states. The principle holds nations responsible for shielding civilians in their midst from war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and related crimes against humanity. According to the secretary general, the doctrine “requires the international community to step in if this obligation is not met.”
After the American-led takedown of Saddam Hussein, the U.S. military consolidated Iranian dissidents found in Iraq into Camp Ashraf. Washington recognized them as “protected persons” under the Fourth Geneva Convention, which imposes conditions on the transfer and dispersal of protected persons. After the 2011 withdrawal of American forces, Iraq assumed the obligation of protecting residents according to humanitarian law and the Convention Against Torture of 1984, which Baghdad signed.
Even without American boots on the ground in Iraq, Washington has diplomatic clout with Baghdad and it is in the U.S. interest to do so in view of the strategic value of the Iranian dissidents, U.S. pledge to protect them, and the principle of responsibility to protect.
Tanter is president of the Iran Policy Committee and was a member of the National Security Council staff in the Reagan-Bush administration. His latest book is "Arab Rebels and Iranian Dissidents."


Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/foreign-policy/211744-iran-prepares-to-assault-iranian-dissidents-in-iraq#ixzz376ju4xg8

New Hamas rockets reach deep into Israel

Bahrain questions opposition leader after expelling U.S. diplomat

http://world.einnews.com/article/213013325/I1cvj9UUTm6k_iK5

(Reuters) - Bahrain interrogated its top opposition leader on Wednesday after expelling a senior U.S. diplomat for meeting him, a remarkable slap at Washington from an ally that hosts the U.S. Navy's Middle East fleet.
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Tom Malinowski left Bahrain late on Tuesday, the U.S. embassy said, after the foreign ministry ordered him out because he had "intervened flagrantly" in the country's internal affairs by "holding meetings with one party". Washington said it was "deeply concerned" about Malinowski's expulsion and was considering a response. Bahrain's opposition al-Wefaq group said late on Wednesday that its leader Sheikh Ali Salman had been summoned to meet the public prosecutor on Thursday.
The dispute exposes the sensitivity of Washington's relationship with one of its main regional allies. Bahrain hosts the headquarters of the U.S. Fifth Fleet responsible for all U.S. sea power in the region, but has bristled at American criticism over its human rights record since suppressing a popular uprising in 2011.
The Gulf island kingdom is ruled by a Sunni Muslim royal family, but the majority of its population are Shi'ites, whose political leaders have demanded democratic reforms.
The authorities, backed by troops sent from Saudi Arabia, put down demonstrations during the "Arab Spring" revolts that swept the region three years ago, and low level violence is still common.
Malinowski attended a Ramadan evening meeting of opposition group al-Wefaq on Sunday and met with its leader Ali Salman and an aide again at the U.S. embassy on Monday.
Salman was summoned by the Interior Ministry and interrogated at the Criminal Investigations Department on Wednesday morning. He told Reuters he was questioned for about half an hour. His lawyers were not allowed to be present but were permitted to observe from another room.
"The subject of the interrogation was ... about the content of the (embassy) meeting and what was discussed at it," he told Reuters from Manama. "The answer was that it was a normal meeting and that they (Americans) heard our point of view of the political and human rights situation in Bahrain, based on the request of the U.S. Assistant Secretary."
He said he was asked whether Wefaq had made specific requests of the Americans and replied that they had not. Wefaq said Salman had been summoned to meet the public prosecutor on Thursday to discuss his meeting with Malinowski.
Malinowski's expulsion was "a message that shows that there is no real intention for dialogue in Bahrain. There is no real intention for reform in Bahrain", Salman added.

RULES OF COMMUNICATION
The Interior Ministry said Salman and the aide had been summoned for interrogation because they violated a law about "the rules of communication between political societies with foreign political organisations or parties". It appears to have been the first time that the law, a new measure barring diplomatic meetings with politicians, had been applied.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Malinowski's visit had been coordinated with the authorities in advance, and the Bahrain government was "well aware" visiting U.S. officials typically meet different political groups. She said Bahrain had asked to have an official present at all Malinowski's meetings, which she described as a violation of traditional protocol.
The tough response to Wefaq's meeting with the Americans suggests some jostling within the ruling Al Khalifa family pitting hardliners against reformers, said Simon Henderson, director of the Gulf and Energy Policy Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
"Inside the royal family, Crown Prince Salman and Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed al-Khalifa are perceived as supporting reform, though Salman is countered by influential relatives in the military and security services who have pressed the king not to make any concessions to Shi'ites," he wrote in an online commentary.
The Bahrain government says it is committed to finding a political settlement with opposition groups.
Justin Gengler, a Bahrain expert at Qatar University, said Bahraini authorities may have also been pushed to take a harder line by the worsening warfare between Sunnis and Shi'ites unfolding now in Iraq and Syria, which they fear could spread.
"Given the state of Iraq and Syria right now, Bahrain could hardly have felt that the outside involvement of the U.S. in what is another instance of sectarian political conflict was likely to have helped matters," said Gengler.
An opposition source who was present at the Ramadan meeting attended by Malinowski said the mood there was "jubilant" and the talks "candid". He also said the opposition saw the government's heavy-handed response as a boon.
"It seems the hardliners have mishandled the case, given the reaction of the State Department. I think the opposition has won in this episode via rekindling international attention on events in Bahrain. This was a gift sent by God for the opposition."

(Additional reporting by Farishta Saeed in Manama; Writing by Yara Bayoumy; Editing by Peter Graff and Will Waterman)

7/09/2014

US diplomat says Bahrain expulsion ‘not about me’

http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/bahrain/us-diplomat-says-bahrain-expulsion-not-about-me-1.1357864

Manama: A senior US diplomat who was ordered to leave Bahrain after meeting with a leading Shiite opposition group said on Tuesday that the kingdom’s move appears aimed at undermining reconciliation efforts between the government and the opposition.
US Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labour Tom Malinowski made the comments on his Twitter feed a day after Bahrain’s Foreign Ministry said he is not welcome in the strategic island nation, which has long hosted the US Navy’s 5th Fleet.
Bahrain alleged he intervened in the country’s domestic affairs by holding meetings with some groups at the expense of others. The order to leave came after he held talks with Bahrain’s main Shiite opposition group, Al Wefaq.
He arrived in the country on Sunday and had been scheduled to stay for three days.
On Tuesday, Al Wefaq said two of its leading members were summoned by the Bahraini Interior Ministry for questioning the next day.
In his Twitter comments, Malinowski said Bahrain’s decision to expel him is “not about me but about undermining dialogue. Those committed to reconciliation should not be deterred”.
Bahrain continues to face low-level unrest more than three years after a Shiite-dominated opposition movement inspired by the Arab Spring protests took to the streets to demand greater political rights from the government. Bahrain moved to quell the uprising with the help of security forces from Saudi Arabia and other neighbouring Gulf Arab states.
Repeated rounds of talks between the government and members of the opposition have failed to significantly defuse the tensions. Some Shiite factions oppose the dialogue efforts altogether because they don’t think they will lead to real change.
Activists frequently clash with security forces on the streets, occasionally deploying explosives that have caused a number of casualties, including a police officer killed in a bomb blast last week.
Bahraini officials could not be reached to comment on Tuesday on Malinowski’s comments.
The head of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council regional bloc joined Bahrain in criticising Malinowski’s actions in the country, raising the possibility of a wider rift between Washington and its Gulf allies.
GCC Secretary-General Abdul Latif Bin Rashid Al Zayani, who is Bahraini, said the US envoy’s meeting does not reflect the historic bilateral relations between Bahrain and the US, and that it does not help confidence-building efforts among different parts of Bahraini society, according to comments carried by the official Bahrain News Agency.
The GCC includes regional heavyweight Saudi Arabia, along with Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
The UAE released a statement about the incident later on Tuesday, saying its neighbour has the right to take any measures it deems suitable to prevent the promotion of contacts with groups “that justify, instigate and commit violence and use their foreign connections to present false and distorting information about Bahrain”.
US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on Tuesday that Malinowski’s trip was planned with the government prior to his arrival. She said he held internal meetings at the US Embassy on Tuesday and is scheduled to leave Bahrain later in the day. She said the government of Bahrain has not changed its position.
“We remain and will be in close touch with both the government of Bahrain and any other country that expresses a concern, as would be normal protocol and process,” she said. “It’s worth noting he was scheduled to meet with high-level government officials and had some of those meetings before all of these events happened just yesterday.”
Psaki said the envoy was scheduled to meet with a broad spectrum of Bahraini society, including the crown prince and other senior government officials. The US Embassy in Manama, the capital, said he held talks on Monday with the Minister of Interior, police chief and the National Institution for Human Rights, in addition to Al Wefaq.
The State Department says Malinowski visited Bahrain to strengthen bilateral ties and support King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa’s reform and reconciliation efforts. Psaki said on Monday that the US is “deeply concerned” by Bahrain’s demand that he leave and said Bahrain’s government “is well aware that US government officials routinely meet with all officially recognised political societies”.
Bahraini authorities insisted that a Foreign Ministry official attend all of its envoy’s private meetings, including those at the US Embassy, she added. A Bahraini law passed in late 2013 prohibits meetings between opposition societies and international diplomats without the presence of an Interior Ministry official.

Hamas rockets land deep in Israel as it bombards Gaza

http://world.einnews.com/article/212898231/rP2TPCmDPWzkfW4s

(Reuters) - At least 20 people were killed across Gaza on Tuesday, Palestinian officials said, by a bombardment Israel said may be just the start of a lengthy offensive against Islamist militants whose rockets reached hit unprecedented depths of its interior.
Israelis ran for cover as air-raid sirens sounded in the business capital Tel Aviv and the holy city of Jerusalem, both of which were hit in the previous Gaza war of November 2012.
Hamas said it also fired at rocket at northern Haifa, 140 km (88 miles) away, and though this was not confirmed Israel said a rocket had landed in Hadera, 100 km (60 miles) from Gaza - further than had previously been reached.
While the Israelis reported no casualties, the long-range salvo was celebrated by the outgunned Palestinians as proof of their resolve in hostilities that flared three weeks ago after the abduction and murder of three Jewish seminary students.
The rocket strikes could, however, draw an Israeli invasion, something officials have said is a possible option.
In densely populated Gaza, explosions echoed day and night, shaking buildings and sending up plumes of smoke. At least 12 civilians, including five children, were among the 20 dead, Palestinian officials said. On the Israeli side, at least two people were wounded, medics said.
On Tuesday afternoon, Israel's Iron Dome interceptor shot down a rocket fired at Tel Aviv by Gaza faction Islamic Jihad.
"We will not tolerate rocket fire against our cities and townships, and therefore I ordered a significant broadening of IDF (Israel Defence Force) operations against the terrorists of Hamas and other terror groups in the Gaza Strip," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement.
He called on Israelis to rally together and "show resilience, because this operation could take time".
Israel has threatened to invade Gaza if the rockets persist.
In a bold infiltration, gunmen from Hamas landed on the shore near Zikim, where a kibbutz and an army base are located, just over the Gaza border. Israel's army initially said it killed five gunmen, but later put the death toll at four.

ABBAS TALKS TO EGYPT
U.S.-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who is based in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and entered a power-share with Hamas in April after years of feuding, said he had spoken to regional powerbroker Egypt about the Gaza crisis.
Under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Cairo has tightened closures on the Egyptian-Gaza border, increasing economic pressure on Hamas from a long-running Israeli blockade.
"Sisi stressed Egypt was interested in the safety of the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip and sparing this grave assault," a statement from Abbas's office said, adding that Cairo would "exert efforts to reach an immediate ceasefire".
Washington backed Israel's actions in Gaza while the European Union and United Nations urged restraint on both sides.
"We strongly condemn the continuing rocket fire inside of Israel and the deliberate targeting of civilians by terrorist organisations in Gaza," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.
"No country can accept rocket fire aimed at civilians and we support Israel's right to defend itself against these vicious attacks."
The surge in violence along the Gaza border - the worst since an eight-day war in 2012, when Tel Aviv was also targeted - followed a chain of events begun by the abduction of three Jewish seminary students in the occupied West Bank on June 12.
Blaming Hamas, which neither confirmed nor denied a role, the Israelis arrested hundreds of its activists in their search for the teenagers who were eventually found dead, as was a Palestinian youth abducted in Jerusalem last Wednesday in a suspected revenge murder.
Palestinians have since launched more than 200 rockets from Gaza, Israel says.
While threatening an "earthquake" of escalation against Israel, Hamas said it could restore calm if Israel halted the Gaza offensive, recommitted to a 2012 Egyptian-brokered truce and freed prisoners it detained in the West Bank last month.
"The enemy must not think about enjoying security unless these terms are met," the Hamas armed wing spokesman said.
The Israeli military said on Tuesday that, to support regular forces, it had called up 1,000 reserve troops out of a pool of 40,000 approved on Tuesday by the security cabinet. Some 1,500 other reservists have already been mobilised.
One Israeli attack overnight destroyed the house of a Hamas member's family, killing six people inside, locals said. The Palestinian Interior Ministry said the family had received a telephone call from an Israeli officer telling them to leave.
Locals said people had been urged to gather there as "human shields" to deter a second attack after it was hit earlier.
Another strike killed a Hamas commander, identified as Mohammed Shaaban, and three others travelling in a car together, a pro-Hamas website said.

(Additional reporting by Jeffrey Heller and by Mark Felsenthal in Washington; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

7/08/2014

Bahrain moves to expel 'unwelcome' US official for meeting Shia opposition group

http://world.einnews.com/article/212895703/tcJnmDEKMG-TTR6O


Bahrain has ordered a top US diplomat visiting the island to leave the country after he met leaders of the main Shia opposition party. The government said that the US assistant secretary for human rights, Tom Malinowski, was “unwelcome” and he should end his official three-day visit to Bahrain “due to his interference in its internal affairs”.
Sheikh Ali Salman and Khalil al-Marzouq, the leaders of the al-Wifaq opposition party, were summoned to meet the public prosecutor for interrogation today about what they discussed with Mr Malinowski. The US State Department said that at the last minute the Bahraini authorities had demanded that a member of its foreign ministry attend all private “meetings with individuals and groups representing a broad spectrum of Bahraini society, including those held at the US embassy”.
A State Department spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, sounded surprised at the turn of events, saying the Bahrain government was “well aware that US government officials routinely meet all officially recognised political societies.”  
By deliberately provoking a diplomatic incident out of an unexceptional prearranged visit by a senior US diplomat, the ruling al-Khalifa royal family is giving the impression that it continues to be split over how to respond to the democratic protests by the Shia majority that started in 2011. The demonstrations were brutally crushed, with many arrests and widespread torture of any critics of the government, but repression has failed to stop rallies and protests in Shia districts of Bahrain.
The US and Britain have been embarrassed by charges of hypocrisy stemming from their mild reaction to the suppression of all dissent by the Sunni monarchy in Bahrain compared to their forthright condemnation of President Bashar al-Assad for human rights abuses.
Bahrain has been seeking through a public-relations exercise to persuade the rest of the world that life on the island has returned to normal. In May, Prince Andrew was to be the keynote speaker at a London conference celebrating Bahrain as a place of religious freedom and tolerance of divergent opinions, but he pulled out after criticism of his support for the Bahraini government. During a visit to the island earlier in the year, he said: “I believe that what’s happening in Bahrain is a source of hope for many people in the world and a source of pride for Bahrainis.”
As the confrontation between Sunni and Shia gets increasingly bitter and more violent across the Islamic world after the military success of virulently anti-Shia Isis in Iraq and Syria, Bahrain is likely to be affected. Ali al-Aswad, a former MP and spokesman for al-Wifaq, said the order for Mr Malinowski to leave showed that those opposed to reform and reconciliation within the al-Khalifa family were prevailing.
Bahrain has pursued a policy of presenting itself as open to political reform but at the same time suppressing media reporting. While downplaying protests in Shia villages as insignificant, it has jailed or brought criminal charges against four photographers. Others have been sacked by their newspapers, allegedly on government orders.
Hussain Hubail, who won an award for his pictures of anti-government protests, was sentenced to five years in jail after he was arrested while boarding a flight to Dubai. His mother told Human Rights Watch that he had told her he was blindfolded and handcuffed after his arrest and exposed to cold temperatures for long periods until he signed a confession. The security forces’ campaign against photographers appears to be aimed at suppressing pictures of continuing anti-government demonstrations.

7/07/2014

US diplomat Tom Malinowski expelled from Bahrain

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-28204511

A US diplomat has been ordered to leave Bahrain after meeting with members of a leading Shia opposition group, say Bahrain officials.
Tom Malinowski, US Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, went to Bahrain on Sunday.
While there, he met with members of Al Wifaq, a move which the the Foreign Ministry of Bahrain says intervened in the country's domestic affairs.
Protests by members of the majority Shia population have been ongoing.
Mr Malinowski "held meetings with a particular party to the detriment of other interlocutors, thus discriminating between one people, contravening diplomatic norms and flouting normal interstate relations", state news agency BNA reported.
Mr Malinowski was expected to visit Bahrain for three days, and had meetings scheduled with Al Wifaq, government officials, and a leading human rights activist, Nabeel Rjab.
In meeting with Al Wifaq, Mr Malinowski's actions ran "counter to conventional diplomatic norms", the Foreign Ministry argued.
The small island nation near the Arabian Peninsula has experienced frequent protests by Shias, who seek enhanced political rights.
Political talks have thus far failed to mend rifts between the Shia factions and the Sunni monarchy.
Despite the diplomatic clash, Bahrain's Foreign Ministry was quick to note relations with the US remain sound.
"The government of Bahrain asserts that this should not in any way affect the two countries' relationship of mutual interests," according to a statement.
Bahrain, an American ally in a volatile region, is currently home to the US Navy's Fifth Fleet.

7/06/2014

WHO on Ebola outbreak in West Africa: “Leave no stone unturned”

http://world.einnews.com/article/212532283/nTN-R2PILYm_5gD0


By eTN Staff Writer | Jul 05, 2014
Urging health authorities in West African countries affected by the largest Ebola outbreak in history to “leave no stone unturned” in their efforts to contain the spread of the deadly virus, a United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) official earlier this week underscored the critical need to engage community, religious and opinion leaders in the region to be at the forefront of the response.
Speaking at the opening session of the two-day Emergency Ministerial meeting on July 2 in Accra, Ghana, Dr. Luis Gomes Sambo, WHO Regional Director for Africa, reiterated his call for urgent, cross-border, concrete actions to bring an end to the ongoing Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa, which he said is the largest reported outbreak in terms of number of cases, deaths and geographical spread.
As of 1 July, a total of 750 cases and 455 deaths have been reported in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. “The impact of this outbreak has been enormous in terms of loss of human lives and negative socio-economic effects,” said Dr. Sambo, adding that health workers have been disproportionately affected, with over 60 cases and 32 deaths reported amongst this group.
Another disturbing marker for this West African outbreak, he warned, is that the Ebola virus is circulating in both urban and rural communities. “The current trend of this epidemic and the potential of cross-border and international spread constitute a public health matter of grave concern,” he declared.
Urging health ministers of the affected countries to “leave no stone unturned” in their efforts to contain the outbreak, Dr. Sambo said: “Your leadership is critical in ensuring that preventive and containment measures are effectively implemented in your countries. To this end, I would like to stress the need to redeploy human resources and reallocate funds to facilitate operations in affected communities.”
WHO notes that cultural practices and traditional beliefs which are contrary to recommended public health preventive measures are contributing “to a great extent” to the continued spread of the virus in the three affected countries.
One example is traditional funerals involving ritual washing and close contact with the dead person. In addition, the extensive movement of people across borders has facilitated rapid spread of the virus across and within the three countries.
“The current Ebola outbreak has the potential to spread outside the affected countries and beyond the region if urgent and relevant containing measures are not put in place,” said Dr. Sambo, calling for improved communication between the Governments, partners and communities to generate reliable evidence for implementation of effective and relevant actions.
Addressing the delegates, Dr. Sherry Aryeetey, the Minister of Health of Ghana said, “We are here to make a real difference, a difference that will be felt beyond this room for millions of people in dire need for solutions. We have a small window of opportunity to prevent the outbreak of Ebola from spreading further.”
Dr. Sambo said that the meeting is expected to agree on “a single inter-country strategy, which will galvanize key actors, bring together expertise and mobilize resources for accelerated actions to combat the epidemic.”
Health ministers from 11 West African countries, high ranking health officials and international partners are attending the two-day meeting, which aims to agree on the best way to interrupt the transmission of the Ebola virus to reduce the socio-economic impact of the disease and prevent future outbreaks.
The Ebola virus first struck human beings in 1976 in Yambuku, a village in the Democratic Republic of Congo, along the river Ebola. Since then, more than 20 Ebola outbreaks have occurred mainly in East and Central African countries.
In March 2014, Guinea notified WHO about cases of Ebola, which were initially confined to rural Guinea with the epicenter being Gueckedou. What started as a rural outbreak has now spread to Conakry, the capital of Guinea, as well as across borders into Sierra Leone and Liberia.

Iran confirms death of Iranian pilot in Iraq

http://world.einnews.com/article/212497604/fVvSG_RTPUGXgI5K



State media reported Saturday that an Iranian military pilot was killed in Iraq, the first confirmation that Iranian forces are involved in the Iraqi government’s battle to repel an offensive by al-Qaeda-inspired extremists.
IRNA, Iran’s official news agency, did not provide details of how or when the pilot was killed but said he died defending holy places in the Iraqi city of Samarra, which is home to an important Shiite pilgrimage site.
Tehran has repeatedly pledged its support for the Shiite-dominated government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki but has said it would not send military forces into its embattled neighbor’s territory unless asked to do so.
Iranian officials are likely to defend their presence in Iraq. Protecting Shiite holy sites in Samarra and the Iraqi cities of Karbala and Najaf is considered part of the government’s responsibility in Iran, the world’s main Shiite power.
The semiofficial Fars News Agency published photos of a funeral that it said was for the pilot, who was identified as Col. Shoja’at Alamdari Mourjani, in his home province of Fars, in Iran’s south.
Jason Rezaian has been The Post’s correspondent in Tehran since 2012. He was previously a freelance writer based in Tehran.
 
THE WASHINGTON POST

7/05/2014

Policeman dies in Bahrain blast

http://world.einnews.com/article/212466747/8lZRHsmaYpEvQwBO

Manama: A police officer who was injured in a terrorist blast on Friday evening has died, the interior ministry said.
Mahmoud Fareed died early Saturdy morning from the serious injuries sustained in the terrorist attack in the village of East Eker, south of the capital Manama, Public Security chief General Tareq Al Hassan said in a brief statement.
“The competent authorities rallied the site of the incident to examine the area,” he said. “An investigation was launched to identify and apprehend the perpetrators of this act of terrorism and refer them to justice,” he said.
Al Hassan added that the interior ministry offered its condolences to the family of the blast victim.
Attacks on security forces have been on the rise in the country, which hosts the US Fifth Fleet.
One of the deadliest attacks in recent months was in March, when three policemen were killed by a remotely detonated home-made bomb. A car bomb on April 19 killed two men and wounded another in a mainly Shiite village.
Since then, several explosions have wounded at least four policemen in Shiite villages around Manama.
- With inputs from Reuters