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Ebola-Stricken Man Takes Bus To DRC Travel Hub With 2 Million Residents

Ebola-Stricken Man Takes Bus To DRC Travel Hub With 2 Million Residents

The Congolese health ministry announced that a pastor infected with Ebola took a bus to the city of Goma late Sunday, the first time the virus has spread to the major travel hub and home to more than two million people. 

The man, traveling from Butembo, was quickly identified and transported to an Ebola treatment center, while authorities say that they have tracked down the other 18 passengers aboard the bus and would vaccinate them on Monday, according to the Washington Post

“Because of the speed with which the patient was identified and isolated, and the identification of all the other bus passengers coming from Butembo, the risk of it spreading in the rest of the city of Goma is small,” the ministry said in a statement. 

The official statement was echoed by WHO director-general Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who said “Goma is a city of two million people, near the border with Rwanda, and is a gateway to the region and the world,” adding “We are confident in the measures we are put in place and hope that we will see no further transmission of Ebola in Goma.” 

Nevertheless, we cannot be too careful.” 

The outbreak has killed 1,665 people as of Monday, while nearly 700 have survived the virus, which causes high fevers and internal bleeding. Days with dozens of new cases are common, despite a massive public health intervention across the affected area. 

Health workers worry that some cases — if not whole transmission chains — are in places that are inaccessible because of poor infrastructure or insecurity, making the extent of the outbreak hard to fully measure.

The area where the outbreak is taking place is also home to one of Congo’s most protracted and violent conflicts — a patchwork of ethnic militias, vigilantes and government-aligned forces.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

“Massive Loss Of Life”: 3,500 Deaths As Simultaneous Ebola & Measles Outbreaks Hit Congo

“Massive Loss Of Life”: 3,500 Deaths As Simultaneous Ebola & Measles Outbreaks Hit Congo

World Health Organization (WHO) officials released new staggering numbers this week on the death toll from central Africa’s latest deadly Ebola virus outbreak. 

Image source: Reuters

Confirmed deaths in the Democratic Republic of Congo have risen to 1,536 since the outbreak began there a little under a year ago. And by July 7, a total of 2,418 what are deemed confirmed and probable cases have been reported, Bloomberg said, citing the WHO’s latest report on the outbreak.Image source: Reuters

“While the number of new cases continues to ease in former hot spots, such as Butembo, Katwa and Mandima health zones, there has been an increase in cases in Beni and a high incidence continues in parts of Mabalako health zone,” according to the report.

The report further noted that in parts of the DRC the “Ebola outbreak continues this past week with a similar transmission intensity,” suggesting while it’s still largely contained within the country’s borders, the outbreak is still going strong despite emergency interventions. 

“The Ministry of Health (MoH) and other national authorities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, WHO, and partners are implementing several outbreak control interventions together with teams in the surrounding provinces, who are taking measures to ensure that they are response-ready,” the report continued

From the World Health Organization’s (WHO) new External Situation Report in the DRC.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

WHO Expected To Declare Ebola Outbreak “International Emergency” As It Jumps Borders

WHO Expected To Declare Ebola Outbreak “International Emergency” As It Jumps Borders

In April, we pointed out that over the prior months, many public health experts had claimed the deadly Ebola virus outbreak that has been ravaging the Congo will not become a global health threat, despite recent events painting a much less optimistic picture. We also warned that despite people in the West often thinking of Ebola as a disease that only strikes “superstitious locals” in the deepest jungles of the Democratic Republic of Congo, there are now pressing warning signs and it’s time to start paying attention.

According to Reuters, the World Health Organization (WHO) is now preparing to declare an “international emergency” over the latest Ebola epidemic fast spreading through central Africa. 

The deadly disease, which can take just days to kill an infected person, has now jumped from the Democratic Republic of Congo where the newest outbreak was first documented, to neighboring Uganda. 

The number of total confirmed cases is reported as follows:  

Congo’s epidemic is the second worst worldwide since West Africa’s Ebola outbreak in 2014-16, with 2,084 cases and 1,405 deaths since being declared in August. The WHO said on Thursday that two people had died in Uganda having arrived with the disease from Congo.

Despite hopefulness that the virus can be contained in Uganda, given so far there’s been no known human-to-human cases of its spreading inside Uganda, health officials are still urging the WHO to quickly move forward with a global emergency declaration. 

The WHO’s Emergency Committee (EC) reportedly met Friday to evaluate whether the epidemic constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) amid growing pressure to immediately make the declaration. 

Reuters reports further of the outbreak

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Putin, the African Queen

Putin, the African Queen

While filming “The African Queen” everyone fell sick from drinking the water except for Humphrey Bogart and John Huston, who drank whiskey

Luke Harding is a former journalist for the Guardian. I say former because while he is still writing for the paper, he lost his one remaining shred of credibility last November with an article about Paul Manafort visiting Julian Assange multiple times in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, which soon was discredited as badly as an article can be, but has still not been retracted or corrected by the paper.

If you get caught in that kind of nonsense, you’re surely not a journalist. Of course that was just one in an endless list of blubber that Harding produced about the likes of Assange and Trump. And Putin of course. And now he’s back with more. About Putin.

Somewhere in this new article by Luke Harding and Jason Burke for the venerable publication, they say that Russia only became interested in Africa in 2014. And obviously you know you can stop reading right there. Russia’s been interested in Africa for decades. Because it’s laden with resources. Because everybody else is there to get to those resources.

But Harding manages to write up a piece that makes Russia’s interest terribly suspicious and menacing. Because, you know, Skripal. The Russians did it. He’s basing this on docs he claims to have seen, but doesn’t provide, given to him by an “investigative unit” based in London and funded by Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Putin’s worst domestic enemy.

Leaked Documents Reveal Russian Effort To Exert Influence In Africa 

Russia is seeking to bolster its presence in at least 13 countries across Africa by building relations with existing rulers, striking military deals, and grooming a new generation of “leaders” and undercover “agents”, leaked documents reveal.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Skeleton In The Electric Car Closet

The Skeleton In The Electric Car Closet


The number of electric vehicles is increasing rapidly, but at great human cost.

You probably have not heard anything other than praise for electric cars in the mainstream media. They are sexy and environmentally friendly too, we are told. The first may be true, but not the latter. Batteries are not good for the environment, and their raw materials are mined at the expense of human health.

Rare Earth Metals

Rare earth metals are needed to make efficient batteries. The minerals are found in low densities in the earth’s crust, and tons of rock need to be mined, filtered, and transported in order to find the amount required to make a vehicle battery. Typically, the energy needed to create them exceeds the amount that they store during their lifetime. That is why they are so expensive.

Congo

Mining for cobalt in the Congo.

Cobalt is one of the ingredients needed to make batteries. In 2018, 70% of this mineral came from the Democratic Republic of Congo in Central Africa. The metal is mined by poor Congolese people who work under conditions that would have been unthinkable and highly illegal in any Western country. Accidents are common, sometimes killing the miners.

Little attention is given to those who toil to make wealthy Western environmentalists happy. It is not uncommon for green ideals to be at odds with human health. DDT is a miracle chemical that was used to eradicate malaria in America and Europe, but environmentalists were able to de facto ban it in the 1970s, resulting in tens of millions of unnecessary deaths in developing nations.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Et Tu, RT? Amplifying Western Disinformation on Rwanda

Et Tu, RT? Amplifying Western Disinformation on Rwanda

The great lie about the Rwandan bloodbath opened the door to a far larger genocide in Congo and helped justify U.S. military interventions in Libya and Syria, argues Ann Garrison.


During a recent campaign event, Florida Senator Bill Nelson said, “That story of Rwanda is very instructive to us because when a place gets so tribal that the two tribes won’t have anything to do with each other, and that jealousy turns into hate—we saw what happened to the Hutus and the Tutsis in Rwanda, it turned into a genocide. A million people hacked to death within a few months. And we have got to watch what’s happening here.”

That got a lot of headlines even though U.S. ethnicity is binary only if seen as white vs. everybody else. Whatever Sen. Nelson meant, those who do see it that way have certainly gained prominence since Trump took the White House.

That was a newly minted reference to the Rwandan genocide in U.S. discourse, however. Rwanda is most often remembered in urgent calls for “humanitarian intervention,” a.k.a. war, to stop another genocide. We’re told that the U.S. failed to stop Rwanda’s 1994 genocide, so we’re now obliged to “intervene” anytime and anywhere another genocide is underway. That’s why, we’re falsely told, the U.S. and its NATO allies had to bomb Libya into ongoing chaos in 2011. That’s why Lockheed Martin had to step up production of cruise missiles to drop on Syria. That’s why Sens. Cory Booker and Elizabeth Warren, both 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls, became initial co-sponsors of an Orwellian bill to “enhance” our government’s ability to “prevent genocide and mass atrocities” with military force: Senate Bill 1158, the Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act of 2018.

Paul Kagame, the president of Rwanda. (Chatham House / CC BY 2.0)

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

CDC Director: Congo’s Ebola Outbreak May Not Be Containable

CDC Director: Congo’s Ebola Outbreak May Not Be Containable

Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that people need to be prepared for the worst.  Redfield said the Democratic Republic of Congo’s newest Ebola outbreak may not be containable.

Tom Inglesby, the director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in Baltimore, said that if the Ebola outbreak becomes endemic in the Congo’s North Kivu province, it shows “we’ve lost the ability to trace contacts, stop transmission chains and contain the outbreak.” In this situation, Ebola could spread, which could negatively impact both trade and travel, according to a report by Becker’s Hospital Review.

“I do think this is one of the challenges we’ll have to see, whether we’re able to contain, control and end the current outbreak with the current security situation, or do we move into the idea that this becomes more of an endemic Ebola outbreak in this region, which we’ve never really confronted,” Dr. Redfield told The Washington Post.

According to The Washington Post, if international Ebola containment efforts fail in the Congo, it would mark the first time the virus was not stopped since 1976 when Ebola was first identified. The current Ebola outbreak is going on its fourth month, totaling 300 cases and 186 deaths as of November 4th.

The problems with containment of this particular Ebola outbreak stem from the fact that the disease is spreading in an active war zone with several armed groups attacking health officials, government aids and civilians. Some civilians with Ebola have refused treatment, and health care workers are still being infected. About 60 to 80 percent of new cases do not show an epidemiological link to prior cases.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Batteries, mine production, lithium and the “cobalt crunch”

Batteries, mine production, lithium and the “cobalt crunch”

Growth in Li-ion batteries depends on a number of imponderables, such as how rapidly the world converts to electric vehicles, how quickly battery manufacturing capacity can be ramped up and where the electricity to power millions of EVs will come from. This post ignores these issues, concentrating instead on the question of whether the mining sector can increase production of the metals and minerals needed to support a high-battery-growth scenario without running out of reserves. The data are not good enough to reach a firm conclusion, but the main uncertainty seems to be whether cobalt production from the Congo, which presently supplies over half of global demand, can be relied on. Lithium and cobalt reserves will not be exhausted in the time frame considered (out to 2030) but will be close to it if no additional reserves are discovered. (Inset, lithium mine in Chile).

Unless otherwise specified the data used in this post are from the following three sources:

The 2018 BP Statistical Review of World Energy, which provides annual production and price data for lithium, cobalt, graphite and rare earths since 1995 but reserve data for 2017 only.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) annual Mineral Commodity Surveys, which provide annual production and reserve data for cobalt since 1990 but incomplete data for lithium (US production is excluded) and no price data.

The British Geological Survey (BGS), which provides annual production data for all metals since 1970 but no data on reserves or prices.

Opinion is pretty much unanimous in projecting rapid growth in Li-ion batteries in coming years:

The Apricum Group predicts a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22% through 2025: Global battery demand will increase fivefold from ~100 GWh today to ~500 GWh by 2025.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Congo: Ebola “Bungle in the Jungle” a Planned Mishap

Congo: Ebola “Bungle in the Jungle” a Planned Mishap

Malthusian theory holds that depopulation (or zero population growth) is a necessity to control a species (namely humanity) that reproduces and consumes natural resources without limits. This is a “New Age” mantra adopted early on by Communists as far back as Marx and Lenin. The ball has been carried successively by Edward House and Woodrow Wilson, and further exacerbated by such “gems” as Kissinger, Bill Gates, Al Gore, and so forth. Much of the public and almost all of the youth (a recent poll taken showed young people prefer Socialism to Capitalism) have fallen for this mantra.

The “problem” for them is how to push it along quickly: war is one answer, and disease is another.

There has been another outbreak of Ebola in the Congo, with WHO (World Health Organization) estimates as many as 1,500 people have been exposed to it. The Daily Mail has a good article on this that was posted on 8/17/18, titled to that effect. It is a good read, as it summarizes with brevity the parameters of the disease itself.

This is how they’re “setting the stage” for this planned “mishap” tied in to the recent outbreak. Read this excerpt very carefully to see the hidden agenda:

The World Health Organization said on Friday [8/17/18] that at least 1,500 people had potentially been exposed to the deadly Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s North Kivu region, where fear of local militia is preventing aid workers from reaching some areas. But it is expected more people to become infected and could not be sure that it had identified all chains by which the virus is spreading in the eastern part of the country beset by militia violence. The region is haunted in particular by the Allied Defence Forces, a Ugandan Islamist rebel group blamed for hundreds of civilian deaths over the past four years.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Ebola Death Toll Climbs To 55 As Number Of Infected Rise; Congo Authorities Lay Plans For Crisis 

Authorities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DNC), South Africa, announced five new cases of Ebola hemorrhagic fever in the Mabalako hot zone of the North Kivu district, bringing the total number deaths to 55. Of the 69 currently infected with the disease, 13 are heath workers – just under 20%.

Photo: MSF UK

To manage the crisis, DNC officials have announced free treatment for all victims over the next three months, supplies are being delivered to vital areas, and new facilities are being constructed to handle the ill.

Health officials in Mabalako, Beni and Mangina are have been utilizing the unlicensed vaccine, rVSV-ZEBOV, which was used during another DRC Ebola outbreak earlier this year in which there were 33 fatalities out of 54 confirmed cases. The DRC, meanwhile, has said a new Ebola treatment center (ETC) will soon open in nearby Ituri province, as the currently established ETCs are at capacity.

Tarik Jasarevic, a spokesperson with the World Health Organization (WHO), told CIDRAP News that 13 healthcare workers have tested positive for Ebola, a troubling development, because infected health workers were one of the main factors in the rapid spread of the disease during the 2013-2016 outbreak in West Africa.

Jasarevic also commented on a recent UNICEF report that said children were being infected at high rates during this outbreak. –CIDRAP News

“The case distribution is slightly younger than what we might expect when compared to previous outbreaks, but still within the general range; each outbreak is different,” said Jasarevic.

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced over Twitter that 10 vaccination rings had been identified around 28 recently confirmed cases, while around 1,300 have been vaccinated.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Ebola Breach: Vomiting Patients “In Active Phase” Smuggled Out Of Quarantine, Die Within Hours

Congo health officials are scrambling to contain the country’s newest Ebola outbreak, which has made its way from the small remote town of Bikoro to the town of Mbandaka, home to around 1.2 million residents.

On Thursday, Dr. Jean-Clement Cabrol of Doctors Without Borders revealed that two vomiting patients “in the active phase of the disease” were smuggled out of quarantine on Monday, put on motorcycles, and taken to a prayer meeting with 50 people – where they died hours later.

“The escape was organised by the families, with six motorcycles as the patients were very ill and couldn’t walk,” Cabrol said at a news briefing in Geneva after returning from the affected region.

They were taken to a prayer room with 50 people to pray. They were found at two in the morning, one of them dead and one was dying. So that’s 50-60 contacts right there. The patients were in the active phase of the disease, vomiting.”

Health officials started trying to trace the motorcycle drivers and other people who came into contact with the patients as soon as the escape was reported, Dr. Peter Salama, head of emergency response at the World Health Organization (WHO), told Reuters on Thursday. -Reuters

“From the moment that they escaped, the (health) ministry, WHO and partners have been following very closely every contact,” he said.

Ebola is highly contagious through bodily fluids, and can move from infected animals to humans who come into contact with contaminated blood. For those who come into contact with the disease, the incubation period lasts between two and 21 days, with a fatality rate of 42.3% in the current outbreak.

While Congo’s health ministry says the death toll stands at 12, the WHO puts the total number at 52 cases and 22 deaths as of Wednesday, while the number of suspected cases has spiked over the last several days.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

“We Now Have Urban Ebola” In Congo, WHO Warns Of “Potentially Explosive Increase” In Cases

Experts fear an “explosive increase” in Ebola cases after an outbreak in Congo entered a “new phase” and spread from the countryside to a city.

The BBC reports that Health Minister Oly Ilunga Kalenga confirmed a case in Mbandaka, a city of a million people about 130km (80 miles) from the area where the first cases were confirmed earlier this month.

The city is a major transportation hub with routes to the capital Kinshasa.

Forty-four people have been infected and 23 people are known to have died.

Senior World Health Organization (WHO) official Peter Salama said the spread to Mbandaka meant there was the potential for an “explosive increase” in cases.

“This is a major development in the outbreak,” he told the BBC. “We have urban Ebola, which is a very different animal from rural Ebola. The potential for an explosive increase in cases is now there.”

Mr Salama, the WHO’s deputy director-general for emergency preparedness and response, said Mbandaka’s location on the Congo river, widely used for transportation, raised the prospect of Ebola spreading to surrounding countries such as Congo-Brazzaville and the Central African Republic as well as downstream to Kinshasa, a city of 10 million people.

This puts a whole different lens on this outbreak and gives us increased urgency to move very quickly into Mbandaka to stop this new first sign of transmission,” he said.

The BBC adds that the WHO said it was not recommending any trade or travel restrictions either within DR Congo, for example between Mbandaka and Kinshasa, or internationally.

But Mr Salama said that 13 countries in the region were boosting border screening measures and said DR Congo itself was increasing exit screening measures.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

WHO Prepares For “Worst Case” As Congo Ebola Outbreak Spreads

In the week since we first noted the new outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the number of cases has risen by 50%, and The World Health Organization has now said it is preparing for “the worst case scenario.”

The WHO has tallied 32 suspected or confirmed cases in the northwestern area of Bikoro, on the shores of Lake Tumbathe near the border with the Republic of Congo, including 18 deaths, between April 4 and May 9.

The outbreak, declared by the DRC health ministry on Tuesday, is the DRC’s ninth known outbreak of Ebola since 1976, when the deadly viral disease was first identified in then-Zaire by a Belgian-led team.

Scientists are greatly concerned that this outbreak in the remote Bikoro region will travel 175 miles to the city of Mbandaka – the capital of Equateur province and home to around 1.2 million residents.


We’ve updated this map. Turns out that the provincial capital of Equateur, Mbandaka, is home to roughly 1M people. It’s less than 300 km or 175 miles from Bikoro and reachable by water.


What’s worrisome is that the most recent WHO update says that there are two probably cases at Wangata – which is very close to Mbandaka.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Plunging Commodities Interfere With The New World Order

Anglo American, a British company, and one of the world’s biggest miners, and a ‘producer’ (actually just a miner, how did those two terms ever get mixed up?!) of platinum (world no. 1), diamonds, copper, nickel, iron ore and coal, said today it would scrap dividends AND fire 85,000 of it 135,000 global workforce (that’s 63%!). 
Anglo is just the first in a long litany line we’ll see going forward. Commodities ‘producers’ are being completely wiped out, hammered, killed, murdered. They’ve been able to hedge their downside risks so far, but now find they can’t even afford the price of the hedges (insurance) anymore. And then there’s all the banks and funds that financed them.

And they’ve all been gearing up for production increases too, with grandiose plans and -leveraged- investments aiming for infinity and beyond. You know, it’s the business model. 2016 will be a year for the record books.

Just check this Bloomberg graph for copper supply and demand as an example. How ugly would you like it today?

And what’s true for copper goes for the whole range of raw materials. Because China went from double-digit growth to shrinking imports and exports in pretty much no time flat. And China was all they had left.

Iron ore is dropping below $40, and that’s about the break-even point. Of course, oil has done that quite a while ago already. It’s just that we like to think oil’s some kind of stand-alone freak incident. It is not. With oil today plunging below $37 (down some 15% since the OPEC meeting last week), it doesn’t matter anymore how much more efficient shale companies can get.

They’re toast. They’re done. And with them are their lenders. Who have hedged their bets too, obviously, but hedging has a price. Or else you could throw money at any losing enterprise.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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Olduvai III: Cataclysm
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