Society's Child


Ebola Update: 729 Dead, over 1,300 infected

© Abbas Dulleh/AP
An employee of the Monrovia City Corporation sprays disinfectant on a street.
This week, Awa Faye added a new feature to her restaurant on a crowded street in Sierra Leone's hilly capital of Freetown: a sign that instructs all patrons to wash their hands in the buckets of chlorinated water positioned outside. "I don't allow anybody inside if they don't wash your hands. We're all trying to protect ourselves from Ebola one way or another," said the 55-year old, who put the sign up after learning that the country's top Ebola doctor had died on Tuesday.

Over in neighbouring Liberia, residents in the capital Monrovia have also been placing "Ebola buckets" outside offices, restaurants and homes. In Guinea, the prices of hand sanitiser and rubber gloves have soared.

Initially focusing battling misinformation and mistrust, the effort to curb the world's biggest outbreak of Ebola, now spread across three nations, has shifted its emphasis to treating the number of cases coming forward, and finding those who have come into contact with victims of the highly contagious virus.

As Sierra Leone and Liberia declared states of emergency this week, a summit between the presidents of all three countries and the World Health Organisation underlined a renewed sense of urgency over the largest ever epidemic of the disease, which has so far claimed 729 lives.

Comment: Another 1,300 are infected and the rate of infection is going up. This outbreak is unlike any previous outbreak of Ebola, and there is evidence that's it's being transmitted via the air.

Comment: Eerily similar to the black death, and they're bringing two infected Americans back to the states.....

Light Saber

More than 7,000 NYC protesters condemn biased US media coverage of Israeli war on Gaza

nyc protest
Thousands of peace activists have held a demonstration in New York City to protest against Israel's crimes in Gaza and the biased coverage they receive in the US media, Press TV reports.

Despite the rain, more than 7,000 people gathered on Friday near Columbus Circle on the upper west side of Manhattan to show solidarity with the oppressed people of Palestine, Press TV's correspondent Caleb Maupin reports from New York.

The protest, which was organized by the International Action Center, began in front of the headquarters of CNN, a news broadcaster that a demonstrator said is functioning almost like a public relations department for Israel.

"The US media is absolutely biased. All we hear is pro-Israel [stuff]. All the leaders we hear from on television are Israelis," Palestinian-American Mohammed Hamad told Press TV.
Cell Phone

Obama signs the cellphone unlocking bill

cell phone art
An unlocking provider "free-for-all." Well, sort of...
President Barack Obama has signed into law a bill making it legal for consumers to "unlock" their cell phones in order to use a different wireless network.

Known as the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act, the law orders the Library of Congress to allow mobile phone owners to unlock their devices - typically tied, or "locked," to a specific service provider like Verizon or Sprint - and use them on competing networks.

Previously, wireless carriers kept phones locked to their networks even after contracts expired in an attempt to keep customers from switching companies. In 2012, the Library of Congress made it illegal to void this technology via cell phone unlocking, meaning those that untied their phones could potentially face legal action and, in some cases, jail time.

After Congress approved of legislation to make the action legal again, President Obama praised the move and said he looked forward to signing it.

"The bill Congress passed today is another step toward giving ordinary Americans more flexibility and choice, so that they can find a cell phone carrier that meets their needs and their budget," he said last week, when the bill cleared Congress.

In a statement to CBS News, the Public Knowledge group also welcomed the bill's passage.

"This bill ensures that consumers will be able to do what they rightfully expect to be able to do with phones they have purchased: use them on whatever network they like," said Laura Moy, one of the group's attorney.

"It protects consumers who unlock their devices from possible criminal and civil liability under an overreaching copyright law known as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which was designed to protect copyright but has had enormous unintended consequences."

Comment: The Cell-Out of America. It took 19 months, "against powerful, entrenched interests" to pass this bill in congress. Look for the upcoming law in California that requires cell phones to have an anti-theft kill switch to render phones inoperable and impossible to reset if stolen. Here's a thought: Can we opt for a similar Unlocking Consumer Choice Act and kill switch device regarding our non-service providing government?

Stock Down

Russian sanctions and eastern turmoil already taking economic toll on Western businesses

EU flag
© AP Photo/Yves Logghe
According to the newspaper, shares in Adidas, the world's second-largest sportswear group, dropped 15% after company issued profit warning and said it would accelerate the closure of stores in Russia

The sanctions against Russia and Ukrainian crisis are already taking toll on European businesses, The Financial Times reported on Thursday.

"The warnings came as the European Union published its toughest sanctions against Russia since the end of the cold war, targeting Russia's energy, financial and defense sectors," the newspaper's online article says.

Comment: The EU chose to ignore all the warnings against sanctions and instead kow-tow to the US like Pavlov's dog - now the consequences of such shortsightedness are becoming evident.

Senior EU official: EU should avoid economic sanctions against Russia
Boomerang effect! Putin: US sanctions contradict its national interests, will backfire
Is it worth it? Sanctions against Russia affect quarter of German exporters
Association of European Businesses: U.S. sanctions will hurt Europe

Heart - Black

Butchery in Rafah: The dead are kept in vegetable refrigerators

As Gaza stranglehold tightens, full morgues have forced people to store dead bodies in refrigerators
corpses in refrigerators rafah
© Twitter / @FoolowGaza
Corpses of the dead stored in a vegetable refrigerator in Rafah
Abu Taha, a farmer in Rafah, opened the refrigerator he normally keeps his potatoes and carrots in. In it were the corpses of children, young men and women lying on top of one another, soaked in blood. Many were impossible to identify and only a few have been placed in white burial shrouds.

Such was the savagery of Israel's bombardment in Rafah, such was the quantity of dead bodies, that there was simply no other option but to use vegetable refrigerators as makeshift morgues. The closure of hospitals which came under bombardment led to a cascade of corpses. It started when medical staff were forced to abandon Rafah's main hospital Abu Yousef al-Najjar which came under constant bombardment by artillery shelling from the east of the city.

They evacuated the injured to Kuwaiti Hospital, a facility totally ill-equipped to deal with major trauma injuries from the extended battlefield that the Gaza Strip has become. Even so, several bodies were left lying on the roads, bleeding for hours without any ambulance crew arriving to rescue them.

Solzhenitsyn praised Putin before his death

© Sipa Press/Rex Features
Russian author Alexander Solzhenitsyn contrasted Vladimir Putin's reign positively against those of Yeltsin and Gorbachev, an embassy cable said.
Four months before his death Alexander Solzhenitsyn offered qualified praise for Vladimir Putin, arguing that he was doing a better job as Russia's leader than Boris Yeltsin or Mikhail Gorbachev.

The US ambassador, William Burns, visited Solzhenitsyn in April 2008 at his dacha outside Moscow. He then sent a cable to Washington giving his impressions of the Nobel-prize winning writer who was exiled from the Soviet Union in 1974 and returned to Russia 20 years later.

"Solzhenitsyn, who will turn 90 this December has been in declining health for some time. A stroke has left his left arm paralysed and his hand gnarled, but Solzhenitsyn's legendary energy was undiminished, and he was alert, spoke clearly, and, as the conversation showed, actively engaged with the events of the day," Burns reported in the dispatch released by WikiLeaks.

RT reporter kicked out of Ukraine due to her 'Russian citizenship'

Alina Eprimian, picture from Twitter
A producer for RT's RUPTLY video agency has been ordered to leave Ukraine after local authorizes learned that she holds both American and Russian citizenships. The journalist says she has been forced out of the country because of her "Russian passport".

Alina Eprimian, a producer for RT's Ruptly video agency, has been covering an assembly of local activists in the town of Rakoshyno, some 30 km from the western Ukrainian city of Uzhgorod, in the province of Transcarpathia. People gathered to discuss to whether or not block the highway leading from Rakoshyno to Kiev.

Traffic on the major regional road has been halted for the past few days as local activists have been protesting against the mobilization of the Ukrainian army. They blocked the highway with benches, flowerbeds and vehicles, not letting any transport, except ambulances and emergency services, pass through.
They deleted all my footage. Journalists here r so proud of themselves now All they did was show the world what type of country they live in
- alina eprimian (@alina_eprimian) August 1, 2014
RUPTLY's producer has been at the scene with her equipment - camera and tripod which had labels of RT Ruptly.

According to RT's official statement, one of the Ukrainian journalists, who was also working at the scene, noticed labels of RT RUPTLY and started questioning her and filming with his video camera. This attracted attention of other reporters, who called the police. Security forces arrived along with Ukraine's Security Service (SBU) representatives.

Chinese factory explodes, killing 68 and injuring 187 workers

Photo from
At least 68 people have been killed and over 187 injured after a huge explosion hit a metal production factory in Kunshan City in China's eastern Jiangsu Province, China Central Television reports. The blast occurred at around 7:37 a.m. local time inside a wheel hub polishing workshop of a metal factory, according to Xinhua.

A regional hospital received nearly a hundred wounded, while medical teams returning from the scene reported numerous cases of severe burns and respiratory complications. Images posted online showed charred bodies and people with burnt clothing congregated outside the factory complex, which was still billowing black smoke, reports AFP.

"The scene is a mess, its unrecognisable," a witness at the scene wrote via Sina Weibo, a popular Chinese micro-blogging service.

Cowboy Hat

The Feds want to repopulate the U.S. with genetically pure bison

bison mom and calf
Bison: The next generation
The United States Interior Department is moving forward for now with a plan that could someday re-populate a large portion of America with herds of wild bison unlike anything seen since the 1800s.

On Wednesday, officials at Yellowstone National Park said they'll start asking for comments concerning an Interior Department proposal that would quarantine herds of bison to eliminate the spread of a certain disease, and then eventually relocate the healthy animals to ranges across the US.

Yellowstone holds most of America's bison, Reuters reported on Thursday, with around 4,000 or so of the animals, also known as buffalo, calling the park home. The Interior Department thinks public lands in parts of the American West like Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Nebraska and South Dakota could contain healthy bison herds, however, if an experiment the agency is considering works out as planned.

The Interior Department is holding two meetings next month in Montana, and wants the public to weigh in there on what they think about an effort to conserve the species and keep its population growing.

According to Reuters, roughly half of the bison in Yellowstone are believed to have been infected with a deadly type of infection spread by cows called brucellosis. Through the Interior Department's proposal, the government would move herds of the animal to external sites, and then quarantine them for years to attempt and prevent the disease from spreading further.

Then, once the animal population is ridden of the disease, new herds of healthy bison could be brought to parts of the West to re-establish buffalo populations there.

Already, though, some have expressed complaints over the proposal.

No dissent allowed: Israel kills 2, injures dozens of other peaceful protesters in West Bank

© Reuters / Abed Omar Qusini
Palestinian Hamas supporters shout anti-Israel slogans during a protest against the Israeli offensive in Gaza, in the West Bank city of Nablus August 1, 2014.
Two Palestinians have been killed and over 90 injured in West Bank as thousands marched against the IDF's assault on Gaza. The bloodshed happened after Israeli authorities used tear gas and live ammunition to block vocal yet seemingly peaceful rallies.

In the northern West Bank city of Tulkarem, a 22-year-old Tamer Faraj Sammur was shot in the chest during clashes with Israeli forces, AFP reports. Hamas urged the West Bank residents on Friday to stage a "Day of Anger" protest across another Palestinian enclave.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said she was looking into the incident. Another 14 Palestinians were injured by live and rubber-coated bullets shot by the Israeli army as more than 3,000 Palestinians took part in the demonstration.