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Saudi Arabia starts bombing Yemen – envoy

by on Mar.25, 2015, under News Events

Published time: March 25, 2015 23:49 

Edited time: March 26, 2015 01:21

Reuters / Fahad Shadeed

Reuters / Fahad Shadeed

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Saudi Arabian forces, joined by nine other countries, have launched a military operation in Yemen against Shiite Houthi rebels, the Saudi ambassador to the US said. The offensive, which started with airstrikes, will also involve “other military assets.”

According to Ambassador Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir, the military operation in Yemen started at 7 p.m. EST (11 p.m. GMT). The US is not participating in the operation, the envoy stressed.

Al Arabiya reported that warplanes of the Royal Saudi Air Force bombed positions of Yemen’s Houthi militia, targeting their air defenses.

Reports from the ground indicate that Saudi forces have bombed an office belonging to Houthi rebels in Sanaa’s Jiraf area, with many casualties.

Residents are saying that warplanes are targeting the capital’s airport, according to Reuters.

Houthis are allegedly using heavy anti-aircraft fire to respond to the bombing.

Another warplane attack was said to have been launched on Sanaa’s Dulaimi military airbase. The aircraft’s affiliation could not be immediately confirmed.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, and Kuwait issued a joint statement saying that they “decided to repel Houthi militias, Al-Qaeda and ISIS (Islamic State) in the country.” The Gulf states said they were responding to a “major threat” to the stability of the region, saying that their cause is to “repel Houthi aggression” in Yemen.

Al-Jubeir said the 10-country coalition launched the campaign “to protect and defend the legitimate government” of Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi after his appeal to intervene. Hadi is believed to have fled the country as Houthi rebels captured the southern seaport of Aden, the deposed leader’s stronghold.

Egypt is providing political and military support for the operation, the country’s state media said. Cairo is prepared to take part in air, naval and ground operations if necessary, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry has announced.

While the Saudi envoy insisted Washington only “consulted” Riyadh, a US official told Reuters on condition of anonymity that America has been supporting the military operation in an unspecified way.

READ MORE: Saudi Arabia moves heavy arms to border with chaos-stricken Yemen

Houthi leaders have in turn branded the Saudi offensive as “aggression” and warned that it will drag the entire Gulf region into conflict.

“There is an aggression underway on Yemen and we will confront it valiantly,” a member of the Houthi political office, Mohammed al-Bukhaiti, told Al Jazeera. “Military operations will drag the region to a wide war.”

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US House urges Obama to send arms to Ukraine

by on Mar.25, 2015, under News Events

Reuters/Valentyn Ogirenko

Reuters/Valentyn Ogirenko

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The US House has passed a resolution calling on President Barack Obama to send lethal weapons to Ukraine, despite the fragile truce in the eastern part of the country.

The non-binding resolution was approved by an overwhelming majority of 348-48.

Sending weapons to the Kiev government would not mean involvement in a new war for America, claimed US Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), a Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, who sponsored the document. “The people of Ukraine are not looking for American troops,” Engel said. “They are just looking for the weapons.”

According to Engel, “this war poses the greatest threat to European security since World War II, and we shouldn’t take it lightly, and we shouldn’t be idle, and we shouldn’t sit back, and we shouldn’t let other countries tell us what to do.”

It comes as the White House is unwilling to make any radical moves on Ukraine, and follows German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s efforts to persuade Obama to commit to Ukraine’s truce plan during her February visit to the US.

Back in September, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko requested Congress to authorize a delivery of US military equipment to the Ukrainian government. So far, Obama has only signed off on non-lethal aid and sanctions against Russia – which Kiev and Washington claim is involved in the conflict, despite giving no evidence to support the notion.

The Ukrainian military launched an operation in the country’s southeast last April, after the Donetsk and Lugansk regions refused to recognized the new authorities in Kiev which were installed during the February 2014 coup.

A woman reacts as she passes a destroyed house in the town of Debaltseve, north-east from Donetsk, March 17, 2015. (Reuters/Marko Djurica)

A woman reacts as she passes a destroyed house in the town of Debaltseve, north-east from Donetsk, March 17, 2015. (Reuters/Marko Djurica)

The death toll in the Ukraine conflict has exceeded 5,800 people, many of them civilians, while another 14,000 have been injured, according to a February UN report.

The Donetsk airport has remained a battlefield in the conflict since May 2014. The international airport – which used to handle some five million passengers annually – now lies in ruins.

The Donetsk region witnessed daily shelling before the latest Minsk ceasefire agreement on February 12. Civilians were killed when shells hit residential buildings, schools, hospitals, and public transport. Pro- and anti-government forces also fought around Debaltsevo, a strategic railway hub connecting the breakaway regions of Lugansk and Donetsk.

Last week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called on Germany and France to take action against Kiev’s non-compliance with the Minsk peace agreement. According to Lavrov, Kiev didn’t make an effort to start dialogue with the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Lugansk on the modalities of elections there.

READ MORE: ‘Glaring breach’: Minsk ‘violation’ sees Russia urge France, Germany to act on Ukraine

Moreover, Lavrov said on Saturday that the EU would not comply with Kiev’s request to send a peacekeeping force to Ukraine unless the rebels endorse such a mission. “I believe there are no madmen in the EU. [The EU previously deployed peacekeepers] only in situations in which, as in the Balkans, all sides of a conflict agreed to it,” Lavrov said in an interview to Rossiya 1 channel.

UK military personnel have arrived in Ukraine and are beginning their training mission there, Britain’s Ministry of Defence announced last week. US training will begin in April, as America has committed nearly 300 paratroopers to the mission.

READ MORE: UK troops start training Ukraine’s army, US confirms own mission

Russia has supported the Minsk peace plan and has been vocal in its opposition to sending lethal aid to Ukraine.

Washington’s decision to supply Ukraine with ammunition and weapons would explode the whole situation” in eastern Ukraine and Russia would be forced to respond “appropriately,” Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said at the end of February.

“It would be a major blow to the Minsk agreements and would explode the whole situation,” TASS quoted Ryabkov as saying.

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‘Use lots of lube and enter the anus slowly’: Chicago schools teach anal sex to 5th graders

by on Nov.17, 2014, under News Events

RT – Daily news / RT / 1 hours ago


Andrew Jackson Language Academy (AJLA) hosted several parent workshops during report card pickup on Wednesday, including a meeting on Chicago Public Schools’ (CPS) sex ed curriculum. Parents were given a binder that included the materials and topics that would be discussed, including the benefits of female condoms for extending sex and increasing pleasure, the use of lubrication and how to insert condoms into the anus for anal sex.

Parents were notified of Wednesday’s presentation in a letter from school principal Mathew Ditto. The letter said a CPS representative would be at the meeting where“we will share the lessons and information that will be taught to your child.” CPS has said some of the lessons are even intended for children in kindergarten, DNAinfo reported.

The letter said the topics included personal safety, human reproduction and childbirth, puberty, abstinence and healthy relationships. Fourth-graders and above would also learn information about HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infections. Students in fifth grade and above would also learn about contraception and pregnancy prevention, and lessons would include a condom demonstration, the letter stated.

 

 

The chairwoman of the Local School Council, Angela Bryant, has two children who attend AJLA, which has 565 students. She called the way the information was to be presented to students “appalling,” “obscene” and not age-appropriate.

“The curriculum is appalling,” Bryant told DNAinfo. “The language to me was the most offensive part initially. Pop and lube, lube lube, and those kind of things. … [It] serves to rob many of our children of their innocence.”

“The language for me is very much concerning to me as a parent. The content goes beyond what I feel is age-appropriate for a fifth-grader,”she added. Fifth graders are usually between 10 and 12 years old.

Another Chicago elementary school, Waters Elementary, posted the materials and slides that were included in the AJLA binder online. The presentation links to demonstration videos from Planned Parenthood, the Female Health Company and Teaching Sexual Health. The latter provides guidance on age appropriateness: “These videos should only be used for grades 8-12.” It also includes material called The 411 on Female Condoms that was developed by the Chicago Female Condom Campaign.

 

Bryant told DNAinfo she is in favor of health education that explains sex in an informative way, but said that the CPS handouts were composed “in a manner that actually is piquing curiosity about sexual pleasure.”

In a statement Friday afternoon, CPS officials said that the objectionable material presented at AJLA was a mistake.

“The objectionable material presented at Andrew Jackson Language Academy this week is not and never was part of the student sexual education curriculum,” CPS spokesman Bill McCaffrey said in a statement. “It was mistakenly downloaded and included in the parent presentation, and we agree with parents it is not appropriate for elementary school students.”

“As part of our sexual health education policy approved by the Board of Education in 2013, Chicago Public Schools offers a comprehensive sexual education curriculum that is designed to ensure age-appropriate material and minimum instructional minutes for every grade level, consisting of family and sexual health education topics for K-12 students,” McCaffrey continued.

 

 

Only teachers were supposed to see the material, WBBM reported. School officials say they’re taking steps to make sure teacher resources and supplemental materials are kept separate from the curriculum.

CPS passed a new, comprehensive sex ed policy in February 2013. At the school board meeting when the curriculum passed, Dr. Stephanie Whyte, chief officer of student health and wellness at CPS, presented statistics showing that Cook County, Illinois ‒ where Chicago is located ‒ ranks first nationally for rates of gonorrhea and syphilis among all counties and second in Chlamydia, DNAinfo reported.

She said more than half of all CPS high-school students report having had sexual intercourse, 12 percent before the age of 13. More than a third reported not using a condom during their last sexual intercourse, and more than a quarter say they’ve never been taught about HIV.

In a 2013 press release, CPS officials said implementation of this type of comprehensive education policy “helps to reduce school-level incidents of sexual misconduct and harassment and positively impact rates of [sexually transmitted diseases] and unintended pregnancy among Chicago’s youth.”

 

Many parents told WMAQ that, although they support sex education, the material went too far for elementary school students.

“Sexual awareness, OK ‒ but how to use a condom, and that it was going to be shown how, is a little bit extreme,” said parent Tamara Gear.

It definitely gets to an inappropriate level, things I wouldn’t even discuss in my own personal life,”AJLA parent Rachel Gigliotti said. “Sex with a condom, sex without a condom, sex with lube ‒ things that no sixth grader should ever be exposed to.”

“To tell my 5th-grader, who’s still into ‘Little House on the Prairie,’ that it’s OK to have safe anal sex ‒ I’m sorry. That’s just not appropriate,”another parent, Amy Miller, told WBBM.

 

Whyte plans to schedule a meeting with the AJLA staff to review the curriculum by grade. A community meeting will also be planned, McCaffrey said.

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First domestic Ebola case diagnosed in US

by on Sep.30, 2014, under News Events

Reuters / Stringer

Reuters / Stringer

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed on Tuesday that the first domestic case of Ebola was diagnosed in the United States of America.

On Monday, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas admitted a patient into strict isolation to be evaluated for potential Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), based on the patient’s symptoms and recent travel history, according to the hospital’s statement.

By Tuesday afternoon, the CDC received preliminary blood test results back, confirming that the patient was struck with the deadly disease marked by hemorrhagic fever. The victim had recently traveled to Liberia, a CDC spokesman told AFP.

“We [health professionals] all had been planning to look at what our next steps are if there is a confirmed case,” Dallas County Health and Human Services director Zachary Thompson said to KTVT Monday night. “Again, we have to do the public health follow up to see what contacts, where this individual has gone since they arrived here in Dallas. There are a number of things that have to be looked at.”

Thompson reminded North Texans who may have come into contact with the patient that the disease, while contagious, is spread through direct contact with bodily fluids. “The key point is, if there’s been no transmission, blood, secretion, any type of bodily fluids by the infected person to someone else, then that [infection] risk is low to none.”

On Tuesday, Thompson further sought to calm fears in Dallas. “This is not Africa,” Thompson toldWFAA. “We have a great infrastructure to deal with an outbreak.”

The CDC is dispatching a team to Texas in response to the preliminary Ebola diagnosis.

According to statistics released by the World Health Organization on Friday, the virus has infected 6,242 people in West Africa and killed 2,909 of them. The WHO warned, however, that the figures“vastly underestimate the true scale of the epidemic.”

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Unarmed Black Man, Ezell Ford, Shot by Police in Los Angeles

by on Aug.15, 2014, under News Events

Family members claim that Ford was complying with officers and was lying on the ground when he was fatally shot.

Posted: Aug. 13 2014 8:15 AM
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Ezell Ford, 25, was unarmed and, according to his family, was lying on the ground when he was fatally shot by a Los Angeles police officer Aug. 11, 2014.KTLA SCREENSHOT

While the country is still reeling from the news and aftermath of the fatal shooting by police of unarmed Ferguson, Mo., teen Michael Brown, KTLA is reporting that a 25-year-old mentally challenged man was shot and killed in Los Angeles while lying on the ground. His family says he was complying with officers. He was also unarmed.

According to the news station, Ezell Ford, 25, was only blocks from his South Los Angeles home Monday when officers stopped him. Police claim that it was an “investigative stop” but have not stated why Ford was being investigated. According to police, a struggle ensued and police “opened fire,” indicates a Los Angeles Police Department news release issued Tuesday and viewed by the news station.

Ford was taken to the hospital and underwent surgery, but he died from his injuries, according to the news station.

A police spokesman told the news station that officers received minor cuts during the incident and didn’t need medical attention, but a statement released by the LAPD indicated that no officers were injured.

Ford’s family tells a very different story. They claim that Ford was shot while he lay on the ground complying with the officers.

A witness who did not want to give his name, but told the news station that he was Ford’s cousin, also said that Ford was mentally disabled. “They laid him out, and for whatever reason, they shot him in the back, knowing, mentally, he has complications. Every officer in this area, from the Newton Division, knows that—that this child has mental problems,” the man said. “The excessive force … there was no purpose for it. The multiple shootings in the back while he’s laying down? No. Then when the mom comes, they don’t try to console her … they pull the billy clubs out.”

Ford’s mother, Tritobia Ford, told the news station that when she arrived at the scene to try to get information about her son, she was pushed to the ground. She also claims that police wouldn’t tell her what happened to her son or where he had been hospitalized.

Police officials told the news station that they were unaware of any information being withheld from Ford’s mother.

“My heart is so heavy,” Tritobia Ford told KTLA. “My son was a good kid. He didn’t deserve to die the way he did.”

News of Ford’s death was shared on social media, and KTLA reports that a rally is being organized for 3 p.m. Sunday at LAPD headquarters.

Civil rights leader Earl Ofari Hutchinson, president of the Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable, told the news station that several black activists are calling for a meeting with LAPD Chief Charlie Beck over Ford’s shooting.

“The killing of Ezell Ford—coming on the heels of the Michael Brown killing in Ferguson, Missouri—again raises the issue and problem of tense police-community relations,” Hutchinson said in a statement viewed by KTLA. “This is the sole reason we have called for a meeting … to get all the facts in the shooting and for assurances that the shooting will be subject to the most rigorous review to determine if there was any wrongdoing in Ford’s death.”

Read more at KTLA.

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These lousy ass cops don’t care about you israelites they will continue to gun you down like animals

by on Aug.12, 2014, under News Events

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Ignorance or deliberate disinformation? Obama’s ‘facts’ about Russia all wrong

by on Aug.05, 2014, under News Events

Published time: August 04, 2014 22:48
Edited time: August 05, 2014 09:21

U.S. President Barack Obama (Reuters / Larry Downing)

U.S. President Barack Obama (Reuters / Larry Downing)

Barack Obama has made light of Russia in his latest interview, coming up with four facts to illustrate the poor state of things in the country, which – strangely enough – had little to do with reality.

“I do think it’s important to keep perspective. Russia doesn’t make anything,” Obama said in his interview with the Economist. “Immigrants aren’t rushing to Moscow in search of opportunity. The life expectancy of the Russian male is around 60 years old. The population is shrinking.”

RT has gathered the more recent statistics on the subjects touched upon by the US president.

‘Russia doesn’t make anything’ – WRONG

According to Russia’s Central Bank, the export of products and services has brought Russia $593 billion in 2013.

Some $355 billion in that figure is from oil and gas sales, but the remaining $238 billion came from other – non-energy – sectors of the economy.

Russia long-ago established itself as the world’s second-largest suppliers of arms after the US.

Moscow sold $15.7 billion worth of weaponry to 60 countries, including the likes of China and India, last year.

Russian high-tech solutions in atomics, space industry, aviation, telecom, computer software and many other fields are also in great demand around the globe.

‘Immigrants aren’t rushing to Moscow’ – WRONG

In terms of migration, Russia is ranked second in the world and is only surpassed by the US, the United Nations has stated. According to UN estimates, there are currently 11 million foreigners residing in Russia.

Since the fall of the USSR, Russia has been an attractive destination to descendants of former Soviet republics, with the flow of immigration increased fourfold in the last decade, Lyubov Eltsova, deputy trade minister, said.

In 2013, over 420,000 immigrants arrived in the country, Russia’s Federal Migration Service calculated.

According to the agency, there are also 3.7 million foreigners who are staying in Russia illegally, without proper registration.

As for Moscow, the Russian capital hosted 1 million migrants in 2013, the Federal Migration Service said. This means every 12th person living in the megapolis is a ‘guest of the capital’, according to official data only.

‘Life expectancy… around 60 years old’ – WRONG

Back in 2000, following a decade of “the wild ’90s,” male life expectancy really was at catastrophic level in Russia, standing at just 58 years.

But this this marker has been improving at a good rate since then, reaching 64 years, according to the World Health Organization.

As for women, “We’ve have reached the highest level in the history of our country, including Soviet and post-Soviet periods – 76.5 years,” Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova announced this April.

The annual birth rate in Russia has been steadily increasing by 100,000 annually over the last few years, and has recently exceeded the death rate. Over the period of January-June 2014, more than 935,500 of children were born in Russia.

According to Russian Deputy Prime Minister for Social Affairs Olga Golodets, “It is desirable that the birth rate should reach 2 million… which would allow many of the risks for our state to be removed in this generation.”

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‘Terrifying’: Ebola panic after passenger on Sierra Leone flight to London dies

by on Aug.05, 2014, under News Events

Published time: August 04, 2014 12:08

Some of the ultrastructural morphology displayed by an Ebola virus virion is revealed in this undated handout colorized transmission electron micrograph (TEM) obtained by Reuters August 1, 2014. (Reuters)

Some of the ultrastructural morphology displayed by an Ebola virus virion is revealed in this undated handout colorized transmission electron micrograph (TEM) obtained by Reuters August 1, 2014. (Reuters)

A passenger from Sierra Leone died at London Gatwick airport, intensifying fears West Africa’s Ebola outbreak may reach Britain.

The 72-year-old woman, who was reportedly showing symptoms of vomiting and heavy sweating, collapsed on leaving a Gambia Bird jet, and later died in hospital.

The plane, with 128 passengers on board, was quarantined as officials traced those who had been in contact with the woman, although tests showed she did not have the virus, which has killed 256 people in Sierra Leone and a total of 826 across West Africa since February’s outbreak.

“We can confirm that a passenger on board a Gambia Bird flight on Saturday August 2 became unwell after disembarking the aircraft, was treated by experienced medical airport staff at the scene, but sadly later died at East Surrey Hospital,” a Gatwick Airport spokesperson said.

“Given the origin of the flight, the hospital carried out tests for Ebola and other infectious diseases as a precaution. The tests came back negative. As a precaution, the aircraft was isolated, as were relevant airline and airport staff. At every stage, we took advice from Public Health England, which cleared the aircraft for its return journey.”

Public Health England’s assurances, however, have not contained the public’s concern about the virus and the possibility of an outbreak in the UK.

“We’ve all seen how many people have died from Ebola, especially in Sierra Leone, and it’s terrifying,” an airport worker who witnessed the incident told the Daily Mirror newspaper.

“The woman was sweating buckets and vomiting.

“Paramedics arrived to try to help her. The next thing everybody was there… emergency crews, airfield operations, even immigration. They closed down the jet bridge and put the aircraft into quarantine. They took everyone’s details, even the guy who fuels the aircraft.”

 

Leaving Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, the plane stopped at Banjul, Gambia, before arriving into Gatwick at 8.15am on Saturday.

The director of global public health at Public Health England, Dr. Brian McCloskey, stressed there had been no risk to those in close contact with the passenger during the flight.

“There was no health risk to other passengers or crew, as the passenger did not have symptoms during the flight,” said McCloskey. “The correct procedures were followed to confirm there was no reason to quarantine the airplane, the passengers or staff.”

Cabin crew identifying a sick passenger with suspicion of infectious disease on board, as well as ground staff receiving the passenger at the destination, follow International Air Transport Association (IATA) guidelines for suspected communicable diseases. Dr. Paul Cosford, director for health protection at Public Health England, praised the system’s track record.

“As we have seen with Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome, we have robust mechanisms in place for detecting and responding to any usual infections within the UK,” he said.

There is currently no cure or human-safe vaccine for Ebola, which is spread via bodily fluids. Initial symptoms of fever and sore throat develop into vomiting, diarrhea and profuse internal and external bleeding. Victims may die of multiple organ failure within days of first contact, with some strains killing up to 90 percent of sufferers.

The last diagnosed case of Ebola in the UK was in 1979, when someone was accidentally infected in a laboratory. That patient survived the illness.

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Ebola – What you’re not being told

by on Aug.04, 2014, under News Events

Virus Ebola

© Fuse/Thinkstockphotos

There is something very, very important that the corporate media and public health officials are not telling you regarding the Ebola outbreak in west Africa. 

The information I’m about to present here is frightening. There’s really no way around that. However, I request that you do your very best to maintain a calm state of mind. 

Right now in West Africa the worst Ebola outbreak in history is in full swing and is jumping borders at an alarming rate. Already it has spread to four countries, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and now Nigeria. This latest jump into Nigeria is particularly serious since the infected individual carried the virus by plane to Lagos Nigeria, a city with a population of over 21 million. Doctors without borders has referred to the outbreak as “out of control”. 

To make matters worse, there is something very, very important that the corporate media and public health officials are not telling you regarding this crisis. 

You’ll notice if you read virtually any mainstream article on the topic that they make a point of insisting that Ebola is only transferred by physical contact with bodily fluids. This is not true, at all. 


study conducted in 2012 showed that Ebola was able to travel between pigs and monkeys that were in separate cages and were never placed in direct contact. 

Though the method of transmission in the study was not officially determined, one of the scientists involved, Dr. Gary Kobinger, from the National Microbiology Laboratory at the Public Health Agency of Canada, told BBC News that he believed that the infection was spread through large droplets that were suspended in the air. 

“What we suspect is happening is large droplets; they can stay in the air, but not long; they don’t go far,” he explained. “But they can be absorbed in the airway, and this is how the infection starts, and this is what we think, because we saw a lot of evidence in the lungs of the non-human primates that the virus got in that way.” 

Translation: Ebola IS an airborne virus. 

Now I’m not going to speculate as to whether these so called “journalist” and public health agencies who keep repeating the official line regarding the means of transmission are lying, or are just participating in some massive display of synchronized incompetence, but what I will say, is that this shoddy reporting is most likely getting people killed right now, and may in fact put all of humanity in danger. 

How so? 

By convincing people that the virus cannot travel through air, important precautions that could reduce the spread of the virus are not being taken. For example the other passengers on the plane that traveled to Lagos, Nigeria were not quarantined. 

To put this into context, Ebola kills between 50% and 90% of its victims, so the stakes are very, very high here. 

NOTE: We have reported on the fact that Ebola can spread through the air in three separate articles since March of 2014, here,here and here, however the corporate media has continued to misrepresent the vectors of transmission. 

This particular strain of Ebola is not Ebola Zaire. This is a new strain, and it may in fact be more dangerous than the Zaire variety. Not because of any difference in the symptoms (the symptoms are identical), but because this new virus seems to be harder to contain. Whether this is due to some characteristic of the virus itself or merely dumb luck is uncertain at this time, but the rate at which this outbreak has extended its range is unprecedented. 

Right now the question on everyone’s minds is whether this virus will spread outside of Africa. Considering the fact that Ebola has a three week incubation period, can travel through the air, and has already hitchhiked onto an international flight, this is a very real possibility. There are some that are downplaying the probability of this outcome, and to be honest, I hope that they are right, but the simple fact of the matter is that these people are basing their assessment on the faulty premise that Ebola is not an airborne virus. 

Now the first thing you might be feeling when looking at this situation is a sense of fear and helplessness, and while that’s a perfectly normal reaction it’s really not helpful. Instead we should be thinking in terms of practical steps we can take to influence the outcome. 

One thing we can all do is to start confronting journalists and public officials who keep making false statements regarding the way Ebola spreads. Use the links to the original study, the BBC report from 2012 and this video to put them in their place. 

We also need to confront the fact that there isn’t a full out, coordinated, international effort to contain this. This is being treated like a sideshow but it has the very real potential to become a main event. 

The doctors on the ground in West Africa don’t have enough staff or resources to deal with this situation. It is absolutely inexcusable for the U.S. and the E.U. to be investing billions of tax payer dollars into their little power games in Ukraine and Syria (which are both in the process of escalating right now by the way) while Ebola is getting a foothold in Africa. Every available resource should be shifted to West Africa in order to contain and extinguish this epidemic right now. 

This is serious. Call them, write them, heckle them in the streets if you have to, but don’t allow them to ignore this issue. Make it impossible for them to pretend later that they didn’t know. 

Now whether or not official policy towards the Ebola crisis changes there are some precautions that you should take right now for yourself and your family. 

1. Know where you would go if you needed to leave your home on short notice. If Ebola escapes Africa the last place you want to be is in a densely populated metropolitan area. It may be that the most practical destination for your family would be a rural area near your current home, but if you already have concerns about the government you are living under, and how they may handle a crisis like this, then you might want to start looking at alternatives. Finding an alternative location that suits your family’s needs is something that requires a lot of time and research, so don’t put this off. The primary characteristics you should be examining in an alternative destination are geography , political environment, climate, population density and visa terms and requirements. Ideally you would want to end up somewhere that is geographically isolated to some degree. 

2. If you don’t have passports for yourself and each of your dependents, get them now. This is not to say that you should leave your country, but you should have the means to do so. In countries where the Ebola outbreak is underway it is getting harder and harder to exit. Borders are being closed down. Flights are being cut off. This didn’t happen right away, but you definitely don’t want to be waiting for your passport to show up if Ebola arrives in your city. 

3. Know what you would carry with you if you had to leave on short notice. Have those items ready, and have the luggage to carry them. It would be wise to consider buying a pack of surgical masks as part of this. 

Now if you think about it, these preparations are wise steps to take regardless of whether the Ebola situation deteriorates or not.Knowing where you would go in an emergency, and having the means to get there on short notice is important for a wide variety of situations. The civilian population of Iraq, Syria, east Ukraine, and Gaza can attest to that. 

Whatever you do don’t let fear take control of your mind. Take the steps you can take now, monitor the situation calmly, and be prepared to adapt if necessary. 

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