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Speaking toCNN on Tuesday, Doctors Without Borders coordinator Anja Wolz said the country needs international help if it is going to stop the situation from getting worse. Specifically, she called on the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to become involved.
"I think that the government and the ministry of health here in Sierra Leone is not able to deal with this outbreak. We need much more help from international organizations – as WHO, as CDC, as other organizations – to come to support the government,” she said.
"Still we have unsafe burials; people who are doing the burial without disinfection of the body; still we have patients who are hiding themselves; still we have patients or contacts of patients who are running away because they are afraid."
Later on Tuesday, the WHO announced it would hold a two-day emergency meeting on Ebola beginning Wednesday, in order to decide if the outbreak requires international attention. Previously, it announced $100 million in funds to help combat the virus.
“The idea is that the WHO Director-General is seeking an opinion of the emergency committee on whether the current outbreak represented a public health emergency of international concern,” spokesperson Tarik Jašarevic said to reporters, according to the UN News Center.
“If it does, then the committee would recommend to the Director-General of WHO to declare it a public health emergency of international concern and recommend appropriate temporary measures to reduce international spread” of the virus.
The outbreak – which is primarily affecting Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia – has taken the lives of close to 900 people since February, sparking fears of a potential global pandemic in the making. As noted by CNN, one man is in critical condition in Saudi Arabia after returning from Sierra Leone, and doctors haven’t ruled out that Ebola could be the cause of his suffering.
Meanwhile, another individual is being tested for Ebola in Wales, where the person in question is believed to have potentially come in contact with the virus in West Africa. So far, no Ebola cases have been confirmed in the United Kingdom.
Panic over Ebola has also hit the United States, where two aid workers who contracted the disease in West Africa were transferred in order to receive treatment. As RT reported on Tuesday, the workers were given an experimental drug and have improved since, but it’s unclear to what extent the new medication is responsible for their recovery. One New York City man was also tested for the disease after traveling through West Africa, but the results were negative.
There is currently no cure for Ebola, which is highly contagious and typically has a fatality rate of 90 percent – though the most recent outbreak is killing at a notably lower 60 percent rate. The virus usually triggers diarrhea and vomiting before more serious conditions arise, such as internal and external bleeding.
In response to the deteriorating situation, the US is expected to send 50 health experts from the CDC in order to help address the outbreak and establish better detection and prevention systems.
"This is the biggest and most complex Ebola outbreak in history," Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a statement on July 31."It will take many months, and it won't be easy, but Ebola can be stopped," he said. "We know what needs to be done."
As the fatalities mount, some have called on the US Food and Drug Administration to fast-track authorization of new medication that could stop the disease. Several drugs and vaccines are currently being tested and have undergone human trials, but they have yet to be tried on sick individuals. A petition posted on Change.org claimed that, considering the circumstances in West Africa, the drugs should be offered to the sick there.
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) August 6, 2014
Assange has been detained without charge for 1,337 days – and 777 of those days have been spent in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, according to the latest WikiLeaks statement.
Meanwhile, the price tag for guarding Assange hit over seven million British pounds (US$11.8 million) early on Wednesday, according to govwaste.co.uk counter.
Officers have been staking out the embassy around the clock since June 2012, with the cost to the London taxpayers surpassing $15,000 per day.
At any time of the day or night, there are three officers stationed outside the embassy, ready to arrest Assange if he tries to leave.
The bill is likely to keep climbing; Ecuadorian authorities have said Assange is welcome to stay in the embassy for as long as required.
The UK has refused to provide Assange safe passage to Ecuador ever since the Australian sought refuge inside the embassy.
Many have criticized the cost of the UK’s obsession with guarding Assange, including London Mayor Boris Johnson. “It’s absolutely ridiculous, that money should be spent on frontline policing. It’s completely wasted,” the mayor said.
Deputy chair of the Police & Crime Committee at the London Assembly Baroness Jenny Jones said: “It’s absolute madness...either somebody else has to pay – that is, the Swedish authorities – or we just have to back off and stop guarding the embassy. It is ludicrous.”
The 42-year-old WikiLeaks founder is wanted for questioning in Sweden for allegedly sexually assaulting two women in Stockholm in 2010.
Assange denies the charges but will not travel to Sweden to be questioned because he says the charges are politically motivated for his work with WikiLeaks and he will be extradited to the US. WikiLeaks enraged Washington by publishing thousands of leaked diplomatic cables in 2010.
A Swedish court upheld an arrest warrant for Assange in July, following a legal challenge from his lawyers in June. The challenge was spurred by a change to the right to information in criminal procedures, which is in line with an EU directive.
Swedish Judge Lena Egelin was quick to dismiss the legal challenge to Assange’s arrest warrant, but noted that the decision could still be appealed.
Assange’s defense team had argued that the European arrest warrant should be lifted on the grounds that the prosecution had failed to act in a timely manner by not interviewing their client at the embassy. They also said that detaining a suspect for the duration of the investigation was an excessive use of force that was not in the public interest.
Some of the latest WikiLeaks releases have been cables about Israel and Gaza, including leaks on the bombing of UN schools in Gaza, cables on 'Israel's NSA,' and over 8,300 documents on Gilad Shalit – an Israeli soldier captured by Hamas in 2006.
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) August 2, 2014
Meanwhile, Assange is releasing a new book titled 'When Google Met WikiLeaks,' which will be published in September by OR Books. In the book, the WikiLeaks founder describes his vision of the future of the internet and recounts a meeting with Google chairman Eric Schmidt in 2011.
“Maybe many young people waste too many hours on futile things,” the pope said in a short speech in Rome on Tuesday, as quoted by Reuters.
“Our life is made up of time, and time is a gift from God, so it is important that it be used in good and fruitful actions,” he stressed.
According to Pope Francis, actions certainly not worthy of wasting one's time include “chatting on the internet or with smartphones, watching TV soap operas, and [using] the products of technological progress, which should simplify and improve the quality of life, but distract attention away from what is really important.”
The pope was addressing 50,000 German altar servers – young people who help the priest during religious services – who arrived to Rome on a pilgrimage.
Dozens of people could be seen filming the pope on their gadgets as he spoke.
The 77-year-old head of the Catholic Church, who has Twitter accounts in several languages – including the English-language @Pontifex with 4.3 million followers – has had ambivalent thoughts on the internet, calling it a “gift from God,” but also cautioning that it should be used properly.
According to Pope Francis, the high-speed world of online social media needed calm, reflection, and tenderness if it was to be “a network not of wires but of people.”
Dear young people, do not give up your dreams of a more just world!
— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) July 3, 2014
Pope Francis, born Jorge Mario Bergoglio in Argentina, has become extremely popular for his open-minded speeches, as well as for his noted humility and concern for the poor. In addition to speaking on an end to violence in the Middle East and eastern Ukraine, the Pope has blasted the Italian mafia and publicly apologized for the sexual abuse of children by Catholic clerics.
Recently, the Pope also shared ten tips for living a happy, peaceful and fulfilled life.