Eight dead in Guinea as spread of Ebola is hastened by mistrust

The Ebola virus is advancing throughout West Africa and the threat to the world is growing by the day. With the years-long conflict of emerging government leaders in Africa and the corruption that each brought, remote African villages are not allowing foreigners free entry into their villages. The links below describe the murder of eight people, including three journalists and a pastor, who attempted entry into one of those villages to educate the village residents of the dangers lurking. The reason for their death is unclear, particularly in light of reports a few weeks ago of military quarantined villages in West Africa that included people who were infected with the virus as well as those who were not. The implication in the prior reports was that the quarantine of those who had not been infected with those who had been infected resulted in attempted breaches of the military boundary lines that quarantined everyone in the village. Some were killed as they attempted to breach the military boundary lines. Whether the deaths of the eight people were a result of speculation of the village residents that this might also occur to them, or for some other reason is not certain at present. Regardless, the Ebola epidemic in Africa is causing protective measures not only in Africa but around the world.

(Reuters) – The killing in Guinea of eight people trying to educate locals about Ebola showed how much rural populations in West Africa mistrust authorities after years of instability and conflict, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday. Eight bodies were found after an attack on a team visiting remote southeastern Guinea, a government spokesman said on Thursday, showing the dangers faced by health workers fighting the deadly virus that is surrounded by suspicion and stigma. Read more.

(Reuters) – Eight bodies, including those of three journalists, were found after an attack on a team trying to educate locals on the risks of the Ebola virus in a remote area of southeastern Guinea, a government spokesman said on Thursday. “The eight bodies were found in the village latrine. Three of them had their throats slit,” Damantang Albert Camara told Reuters by telephone in Conakry. Read more.

 

When I read the Reuters articles above, I was amazed that few major news services around the world seemed to be interested in reporting the deaths of the eight. I wonder if most Americans even know what Ebola is. I think that will change.

Jesus come quickly.

Jack

 

WHO pleads for more health workers – 144 health care workers have died in Liberia

Liberia's President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

LONDON/GENEVA Fri Sep 12, 2014 11:20am EDT

(Reuters) – The number of new Ebola cases in West Africa is growing faster than authorities can manage them, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday, renewing a call for health workers from around the world to go to the region to help. As the death toll rose to more than 2,400 people out of 4,784 cases, WHO director general Margaret Chan told a news conference in Geneva the vast nature of the outbreak — particularly in the three hardest-hit countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone — required a massive emergency response. Sarah Crowe, a spokeswoman for UNICEF, said the U.N. children’s agency was using innovative ways to tackle the epidemic, including telling people to “use whatever means they have, such as plastic bags, to cover themselves if they have to deal with sick members of their family”. Read more.

In a separate Reuters report, the health care crisis is having a devastating impact on the limited health care workers in the region, particularly, Liberia:

The disease has taken a particularly heavy toll on healthcare workers who have stationed themselves on the frontline of the fight against the disease.

Some 144 healthcare workers have died in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, according to Sept. 7 figures from the World Health Organization (WHO).The first Sierra Leonean female doctor to be diagnosed with Ebola died on Sunday, according to two government sources. Olivette Buck was head of the Lumley Health Centre in a densely-populated suburb west of the capital Freetown. She tested positive for the virus on Tuesday, apparently contracting it as she treated an Ebola patient.  Read more.

I think the Ebola crisis in Africa is particularly distressing. The world is so focused on the Middle East that the Ebola virus is literally a living, thriving aggressive death virus that is killing the people of West Africa, and before long, perhaps the entire African continent.  Rarely does Ebola make it to the front page of U.S. newspapers (at least in the Baltimore Sun). I read frequently of more funding to combat the virus (the Bill Gates Foundation recently announced its largest gift ever to combat the virus), but I have yet to read of success in controlling the virus (except for Americans who have contracted the virus and have been brought home to be cured). How long will it take for funding for the virus to materialize into hospitals in Africa, staffed with trained and protected medical care workers? Can you imagine the time it will take to decide what a treatment center need entail, bring the products to port for shipping, deliver the products to Africa, build the hospitals (including an electric generation facility), staff the hospital, and treat the first patient?  Will the Africans still be alive when help arrives and is ultimately delivered?

I implore you. Pray for God to do a miracle to stop the advance of this death virus.

“Jesus – I pray for the people infected with this deadly pestilence. May your wounds be sufficient to provide healing and save lives in Africa; and may your will be done on earth as you have so willed it in heaven.”

Blessings.

Jack

Obama’s ISIS Strategy – Ignore “Islam” in ISIS

President Obama on eve of 9/11 addressing nation on ISIS

President Obama on eve of 9/11 addressing nation on ISIS

I thought the President gave one of his best speeches (9/10/2014, the eve of 9/11); at least from the perspective of why America need to be involved in world conflicts regardless of the source of aggression (although he really stuck his chest out at the Soviets!). His emphasis came at a time when Americans are more concerned about terrorism than at any other time dating to 2007 (perhaps prior year’s as well). According to the Pew Research Center’s most recent survey (9/10/2014), 62% of American’s are very concerned about the rise of Islamic extremism around the world (53%, very concerned about the rise of Islamic extremism in America). In case you are wondering how that compares to prior years, in 2011 the figure was 37%, and in 2013, 49%. I can only imagine how the 62% reacted when they heard the president make this statement in his speech:

Now let’s make two things clear: ISIL is not “Islamic.” No religion condones the killing of innocents, and the vast majority of ISIL’s victims have been Muslim. And ISIL is certainly not a state. It was formerly al Qaeda’s affiliate in Iraq, and has taken advantage of sectarian strife and Syria’s civil war to gain territory on both sides of the Iraq-Syrian border. It is recognized by no government, nor the people it subjugates. ISIL is a terrorist organization, pure and simple. And it has no vision other than the slaughter of all who stand in its way. In a region that has known so much bloodshed, these terrorists are unique in their brutality. They execute captured prisoners. They kill children. They enslave, rape, and force women into marriage. They threatened a religious minority with genocide. . .  Right click to read transcript here.

When I heard the president make this remark, I almost turned the TV off. How could Obama be so naive or uninformed (or politically correct) to state that the Islamic State was not “Islamic”? First, the reason why its victims were killed is because ISIS was following the Qur’an, the holy book of Muslims. Second, the fellow Muslims were killed because ISIS saw them as infidels, non-Muslims, who were not following the Qur’an. Third, why did the president imply that  “State” has the same meaning most Americans understand it to have, i.e., geographic with boundaries recognized by governments and citizens? The Islamic State is not about boundary lines. It is about adherents, followers of the Qur’an, the revelation of Allah through his messenger, Muhammad. In fact, what Islam defines as “salafi,” or purist Islam, not Islam as defined by modern day culture or moderate Muslims, but the literal words of the Qur’an. Purity as defined by the actions of the companions of Muhammad in the generation of his followers after his death in 632 a.d. Lastly, the Islamic State has little concern over whether it is recognized by other governments — its only interest is whether  fellow Islamists will come under the dominion of Caliph Ibrahim and join in the expansion of the Islamic State according to the command of Muhammad. Continue reading

The Race is on – Al Qaeda and the Islamic State, Who Will Claim the Other?

 

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi "Caliph Ibrahim"

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
“Caliph Ibrahim”

Al-Monitor reports Matthew Olsen, Director of US National Counterterrrorism Center, describes two issues — the threat of an attack on US soil on 9/11/14, and the Islamic State becoming the dominant voice in the global jihadist movement (outpacing al-Qaeda):

By Barbara Slavin, Sept 3, 2014. Matthew Olsen, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, said Sept. 3 that the Islamic State (IS) “poses a multifaceted threat” to the United States but there was no “credible information” at present that the group was planning to attack in the United States or had a cell of fighters here capable of doing so. … However, in rare, wide-ranging public comments that followed the beheading of a second American journalist in Syria by IS, Olsen told a packed audience at the Brookings Institution in Washington that the terrorist group was “an extremely dangerous organization” that was “threatening to outpace al-Qaeda as the dominant voice of influence in the global jihadist movement” because of its territorial advances, financial resources and sophisticated propaganda. …IS “has proven to be an effective fighting force,” Olsen said, which “employs a battlefield strategy that is both complex and adaptive” and mixes terrorism with paramilitary assaults. … Even though al-Qaeda expelled IS earlier this year because of the latter’s extreme brutality toward other Muslims and religious minorities, members of al-Qaeda have traveled from Pakistan to Syria recently and IS pamphlets have been spotted in the Pakistani border city of Peshawar. Asked if IS might not assist in a revival of al-Qaeda and the Taliban in South Asia, especially as the US withdraws from Afghanistan, Olsen said the United States was aware of the possibility and would work to prevent that…. “Since the fall of Mosul, [al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri] has said nothing about IS, Caliph Ibrahim or the American war in Iraq,” Riedel told Al-Monitor in an email. “That is very unusual for him and very intriguing. AQAP has called IS ‘brothers’ and offered advice on fighting drones. My guess is that AQ/[Zawahri] and AQAP want to avoid further public disagreements with what is a winning organization at least now.” Read more.

Continue reading

Obama’s War Strategy Against the “JV Terrorists” of Islamic State

Washington Times Reports, September 10, 2014, By Dave Boyer

Source: Washington Times

Source: Washington Times

 

Nine months after belittling the Islamic State as a “JV” terrorist group, President Obama will devote an urgent prime-time address Wednesday to his plan for defeating the suddenly resurgent militants, a strategy that will rely heavily on U.S. partnership with an untested Iraqi government and unproven Syrian rebels.
In a speech from the White House at 9 p.m., Mr. Obama will tell Americans that the Islamic State is now a “high national security priority,” aides said. And the president will try to marshal public and international support for what would likely be a years long counterterrorism campaign, launched little more than a year after he declared that the large-scale fight against Islamist terrorism was all but over. Read more.

Continue reading

Is the Islamic State Impacting Egypt?

Former Egyptian President Muhammad Mursi

Former Egyptian President Muhammad Mursi

Exclusive: Islamic State guides Egyptian militants, expanding its influence

Cairo, Friday, September 5, 2014

(Reuters) – Islamic State, fighting to redraw the map of the Middle East, has been coaching Egypt’s most dangerous militant group, complicating efforts to stabilize the biggest Arab nation. Confirmation that Islamic Sate, currently the most successful of the region’s jihadi groups, is extending its influence to Egypt will sound alarm bells in Cairo, where the authorities are already facing a security challenge from home-grown militants.  A senior commander from the Sinai-based Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, [a Sunni Salafi jihadist group] which has killed hundreds of members of the Egyptian security forces over the last year, said Islamic State has provided instructions on how to operate more effectively.((Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis was designated as a terrorist organization by the US State Department on 9 April 2014, as well as by the government of the United Kingdom on 7 April 2014.)) … Ansar recently said it had beheaded four Egyptians, accusing them of providing Israel with intelligence for an air strike that killed three of its fighters. Four headless corpses were found in the Sinai Peninsula. It was the first time that any decapitations had been made public in Egypt, a strategic U.S. ally which has a peace treaty with Israel and controls the Suez Canal, a key global shipping route. … The Ansar commander, who said his group had contacted Islamic State for advice, described the beheadings as a clear message that anyone cooperating with the group’s enemies would face a similar fate. “The beheadings had a purpose,” he said. (Read more)

Imagine how quickly the remnants of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood would align with ISIS? Even if they don’t agree with ISIS’ use of brutal violence or of Caliph Ibrahim’s legitimacy as caliph, I really don’t think that will matter. After all, Muhammad Mursi, the former Egyptian president, removed from office by General Abdel al-Sisi and still in confinement, would hardly have to be talked into supporting ISIS in getting himself out of jail. Consider this prophecy:

Daniel 11:42-43 (NASB)  Then he will stretch out his hand against other countries, and the land of Egypt will not escape.  “But he will gain control over the hidden treasures of gold and silver and over all the precious things of Egypt; and Libyans and Ethiopians will follow at his heels.

If you think about it there are so many disenfranchised Muslims all over the Middle East, it is quite literally fertile breeding ground for the Islamic State. The monarchies of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and the political instability of Egypt and other Middle East countries, many of which have Arab Spring fresh on their minds, make the reach of the Islamic State much greater than the geographies of Iraq and Syria.

I do not think the Islamic State is even near to being corralled, whether coalition forces join President Obama or not.

Jesus come quickly.

Blessings.

Jack

Ebola timeline is chilling. How many deaths before contained?

World’s Worst Ebola Virus tests Global Response

September 5, 2014, 5:23pm

(Reuters) – International agencies and governments are struggling to contain the world’s worst epidemic of the Ebola hemorrhagic virus, which has killed over 1,900 people in West Africa.
Here is a timeline of the main developments in the outbreak.
March 22 – Guinea confirms that a previously unidentified hemorrhagic fever, which killed over 50 people in its southeast Forest Region, is the Ebola virus. One study traces the suspected original source to a 2-year-old boy in the town of Gueckedou. Cases are also reported in the capital, Conakry.
March 30 – Liberia reports two Ebola cases; suspected cases are also reported in Sierra Leone.
April 1 – Noting the spread, medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) warns it is “unprecedented”, but a World Health Organization (WHO) spokesman calls it “relatively small still”.
April 4 – An angry mob attacks an Ebola treatment center in southeast Guinea. Health workers in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia face increasing hostility from fearful and suspicious local people, many of whom refuse to believe the disease exists.
May 26 – WHO confirms the first deaths in Sierra Leone.
June 17 – Liberia says disease reaches its capital Monrovia.
June 23 – With the death toll surging above 350, making the West African outbreak the worst Ebola epidemic ever recorded, MSF says the outbreak is “out of control” and calls for massive resources.
July 25 – Nigeria, Africa’s biggest economy, confirms its first Ebola case, a Liberian-American man who died in the commercial hub, Lagos, after traveling from Monrovia.
July 29 – Dr. Sheik Umar Khan, who was leading Sierra Leone’s fight against the epidemic, dies of the virus.
July 30 – Liberia shuts schools and orders the quarantining of the worst-affected communities, using troops to enforce it.
July 31 – The U.S. Peace Corps withdraws all volunteers from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, citing Ebola risks.
Aug 2 – An American missionary aid worker infected with Ebola in Liberia, Dr. Kent Brantly, is flown to Atlanta in the United States for treatment at Emory University Hospital.
Aug 4 – The World Bank announces up to $200 million in emergency assistance to help Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
Aug 5 – Second U.S. missionary infected with Ebola, Nancy Writebol, is flown from Liberia to Atlanta hospital.
Aug 8 – WHO declares Ebola an “international public health emergency” but stops short of calling for a ban on international trade or travel.
Aug 12 – WHO says death toll from outbreak rises above 1,000, approves use of unproven drugs or vaccines.
Spanish priest infected with Ebola dies in Madrid hospital.
Aug 14 – WHO says reports of Ebola deaths and cases from the field “vastly underestimate” the scale of the outbreak.
Aug 15 – MSF compares the West African Ebola outbreak to “wartime,” says it will take about six months to control.
Aug 20 – Liberian security forces in Monrovia fire live rounds and tear gas to disperse crowd trying to break out of Ebola quarantine. One teenager later dies of gunshot wounds.
Aug 21 – The two American missionary aid workers treated in Atlanta are released from the hospital free of the virus. They received an experimental therapy called ZMapp.
Aug 24 – Democratic Republic of Congo declares an Ebola outbreak in its northern Equateur province, apparently separate from the larger West African outbreak.
Infected British medical worker flown home for treatment from Sierra Leone.
Aug 28 – WHO says death toll climbs above 1,550, warns outbreak could infect more than 20,000 people. The U.N. health agency announces a strategic plan to fight the epidemic, says $490 million needed over the next six months.
Aug 29 – Senegal reports its first confirmed Ebola case.
Aug 30 – World Food Program says it needs $70 million to feed 1.3 million people at risk in Ebola-quarantined areas.
Sept 2 – MSF President Joanne Liu tells United Nations members the world is “losing the battle” to contain the Ebola outbreak and slams “a global coalition of inaction”.
The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says the Ebola epidemic has endangered harvests and sent food prices soaring in West Africa. FAO warns the problem will intensify in coming months.
Sept 3 – Pace of the epidemic accelerates, with death toll topping 1,900. Officials say there were close to 400 deaths in the past week.
The United Nations says $600 million in supplies will be needed to fight the outbreak in West Africa, and Guinea warns the virus has penetrated a new part of the country.
Officials announce human safety trials for two vaccines and a U.S. government contract to accelerate testing of the experimental ZMapp treatment.
A third U.S. missionary infected with Ebola, Dr. Rick Sacra, a 51-year-old Boston physician, is flown out of Liberia for treatment in the United States.
Sept. 5 – WHO puts Ebola death toll in West Africa at more than 2,100 out of about 4,000 people thought to have been infected.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban-ki Moon says the world body plans to set up a center to coordinate the response to Ebola and to strive to halt its spread in West Africa within six to nine months.
U.S. medical missionary Dr. Rick Sacra arrives at Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha for treatment.
The European Union pledges 140 million euros (US$180 million) toward the fight against Ebola.
WHO says experts agree that blood-derived drug therapies and serum from survivors may be used to treat the virus and calls for investment in the experimental drugs.
Israeli hospital tests Nigerian visitor for possible Ebola after admitting her for fever.
Sierra Leone says will impose a four-day countrywide “lockdown” starting Sept. 18 as it escalates efforts to half the spread of Ebola. Citizens will not be allowed to leave their homes between Sept. 18-21.
(Writing by Pascal Fletcher and Jonathan Oatis; Editing by Toni Reinhold)

Jesus come quickly.

Blessings.

Jack