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Aug 16, 2014

Ebola-hit states plead for more help, WHO rebuked for slow response

GENEVA/FREETOWN, (Reuters) – Two West African nations and a medical charity fighting the world’s worst Ebola epidemic chided the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Friday for its slow response, saying more action was needed to save victims threatened by the disease and hunger.

With the death toll over 1,000 and still climbing, the U.N. health agency is facing questions over whether it moved quickly enough to declare the months-old outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern”, which it did on Aug 8.

Aug 15, 2014

African Ebola outbreak like “wartime”, food shortages threaten

GENEVA/MONROVIA (Reuters) – The Ebola epidemic in West Africa has created a “wartime” situation, including the threat of food shortages, and could take six months to bring under control, medical charity MSF and the Liberian government said on Friday.

With global alarm rising over the worst outbreak of the virus that has killed more than 1,000 people so far, MSF (Doctors Without Borders) questioned whether the World Health Organisation (WHO) had moved quickly enough to declare it a “public health emergency of international concern”, which it did on Aug 8.

Aug 15, 2014

African Ebola outbreak like ‘wartime’, will take six months to control: MSF

GENEVA (Reuters) – It will take about six months to bring under control the Ebola epidemic, the head of Medecins Sans Frontieres said on Friday, saying the outbreak in West Africa felt like “wartime, is moving, advancing.”

Joanne Liu, international president of MSF (Doctors Without Borders), speaking after a 10-day trip to West Africa, said more experts were needed on the ground and was critical of the World Health Organization (WHO) for declaring Ebola a “public health emergency of international concern” only on Aug 8.

Aug 15, 2014

African Ebola outbreak like “wartime”, will take 6 months to control – MSF

GENEVA, Aug 15 (Reuters) – It will take about six months to
bring under control the Ebola epidemic, the head of Medecins
Sans Frontieres said on Friday, saying the outbreak in West
Africa felt like “wartime, is moving, advancing.”

Joanne Liu, international president of MSF (Doctors Without
Borders), speaking after a 10-day trip to West Africa, said more
experts were needed on the ground and was critical of the World
Health Organisation (WHO) for declaring Ebola a “public health
emergency of international concern” only on Aug 8.

Aug 14, 2014

Senior ICRC official in Kiev for talks on aid convoy

GENEVA (Reuters) – A senior official of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) arrived in Kiev on Thursday for talks on the delivery of Russian aid to eastern Ukraine, an ICRC spokeswoman said.

Laurent Corbaz, head of ICRC Operations for Europe and Central Asia, will meet Ukrainian authorities on Friday and also discuss a separate Ukrainian-led aid convoy heading to the eastern region before he goes to Moscow, ICRC spokeswoman Anastasia Isyuk said.

Aug 13, 2014

U.N. experts grill U.S. on racial discrimination

GENEVA (Reuters) – United Nations experts grilled U.S. officials on Wednesday about what they said was persistent racial discrimination against African-Americans and other minorities in jobs, housing, education and the criminal justice system.

“Stand Your Ground” laws, a controversial self-defense law in some 22 U.S. states, use of force by police against migrants, and FBI racial profiling were also raised by the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD).

Aug 13, 2014

WHO backs use of experimental Ebola drugs in West Africa

LONDON/GENEVA (Reuters) – People infected in the West African Ebola outbreak can be offered untested drugs, the World Health Organization said on Tuesday, but the scarcity of supplies has raised questions about who gets priority access to treatment.

Liberia said it planned to treat two infected doctors with an unproven Ebola medicine called ZMapp. They would become the first Africans to receive the drug, which has been given to a Spanish priest who later died and two U.S. aid workers.

Aug 12, 2014

WHO backs use of experimental Ebola drugs in West Africa epidemic

LONDON/GENEVA (Reuters) – People infected in the West Africa Ebola outbreak can be offered untested drugs, the World Health Organization said on Tuesday, but scarce supplies raise questions about who gets priority in the epidemic of the virus, which has no proven treatment.

Liberia said it planned to treat two infected doctors with an unproven Ebola medicine called ZMapp, the first Africans to receive the drug, while a Spanish priest, who the Health Ministry in Madrid said had also been given ZMapp, died.

Aug 12, 2014

WHO backs use of experimental Ebola drugs in West Africa outbreak

LONDON/GENEVA (Reuters) – It is ethical to offer unproven drugs or vaccines to people infected or at risk in West Africa’s deadly Ebola outbreak, a World Health Organization panel of medical ethics experts ruled on Tuesday, but cautioned supplies will be limited.

The panel said any provision of experimental Ebola medicines would require “informed consent, freedom of choice, confidentiality, respect for the person, preservation of dignity and involvement of the community”.

Aug 12, 2014

U.N. names panel to probe war crimes in Gaza; Israel slams it

GENEVA (Reuters) – The United Nations on Monday named experts to an international commission of inquiry into possible human rights violations and war crimes committed by both sides during Israel’s military offensive in the Gaza Strip.

Israel, however, dismissed the inquiry as a U.N. Human Rights Council “kangaroo court”.