Grim Predictions in the Ebola Virus Outbreak

A young girl suspected of Ebola is left in the middle of the street by her aunt in Monrovia, Liberia. A medical worker prepares to transport her.

A young girl suspected of Ebola is left in the middle of the street by her aunt in Monrovia, Liberia. A medical worker prepares to transport her.

According to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) the Ebola virus could infect well over 1 million people by January 2015. Officially the report claims that the number of infected could be between 550,000 and 1.4 million by January. So far, according to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) numbers, over 5,800 people have been infected by the virus in West Africa. In their statement the CDC claims that these numbers could be severely underreported and the actual number of infected could be close to 2.5 times more than the 5,800 people reported.

Recently President Obama sent over 3,000 troops and severely needed medical equipment to help stop the spread of the virus in West Africa. In addition, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation recently donated 50 million dollars in aid to the affected African nations. This much needed response along with that of “Doctors Without Borders” could help turn the tide of Ebola infection. However despite these efforts, experts on the ground say that it is going to take a massive international effort to get this outbreak under control.

Sweat, blood and saliva can transmit the deadly virus from one individual to another, making the process of containment extremely difficult. While listening to NPR about a week ago, I heard a report from a correspondent in Liberia saying that taxi cab drivers were transporting sick patients from their homes to the nearest hospital, sometimes more than three hours away, only to be rejected care. A lack of medical staff and equipment has compounded the effects of the virus, as sick patients are not able to get proper medical attention. Moreover, a lack of medical transport vehicles has led to the rampant infection of taxi drivers and passengers, due to poor sanitation procedures.

Experimental treatments have been underway in the U.S. and around the globe to stop the spread of this virus but no single vaccine has been verified. However, according to a report by the WHO, using the blood of Ebola virus victims who survived the disease could be a viable treatment for new patients. Once a person develops the proper antibodies to fight off the virus, they can donate those antibodies to people fighting the virus. Doctors who treated the two American’s that survived the virus said that the most crucial treatment right now is making sure that the patients are hydrated and replenishing vital electrolytes.

As you may or may not already know, one of the most pressing issues in stopping the spread of this virus has been the protection of medical staff who are treating the patients. After doing research on several organizations that are mobilizing to help put an end to this outbreak, I found directrelief.org. If you are looking to help and do your part in the fight against Ebola, donating to this organization may be a good start. I will continue praying for the people of West Africa and hope that awareness of this issue helps to end this outbreak. I’ll leave you with a sobering video below by the New York Times on the current situation in Liberia. Thank you for stopping by and have a great day.

Ps: For those of you interested in learning more about Liberia (the worst hit African nation by the Ebola outbreak) feel free to watch the video by Vice News shown on my post from a few months ago titled “Cannibal Warlord General Butt Naked”. It won’t take long before you realize that the country has virtually no sanitation, public service or rule of law. It’s something to think about when considering that this country is the hardest hit by the Ebola virus.

sources

cdc.gov

who.int

 

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How the Islamic State Became So Powerful

Islamic State Militants with a scud missile at a parade

Islamic State Militants with a scud missile at a parade

Lately the U.S. news networks have all been covering the Islamic State militant crisis in Iraq and Syria. The situation has progressed so quickly that the U.S. has “had to” authorize airstrikes in Iraq to halt the Islamic State advance. Each day we find out more information about this group and their horrific acts against humanity. U.S. Congressmen and women talk about the need for a greater military presence to stop this “cancer” from spreading any further into the already unstable region. President Obama has made remarks about increasing this airstrike campaign in Iraq in order to combat the terrorist organization. All the while everyone seems to have forgotten how this group got to be so influential and powerful in the first place.

Islamic State Militants with a Tank at a parade

Islamic State Militants with a Tank at a parade

How did a group of radical Islamic State militants get the necessary firepower to overrun two countries almost simultaneously? They got their weapons from the most powerful military in the world of course, the United States. Our U.S. military spent trillions of tax dollars on creating, training and arming Iraq’s military with the most modern military equipment. The plan was to leave Iraq’s own people in-charge of their military so that terrorist organizations (like the Islamic State) could not overrun their country again. However, shortly after leaving Iraq’s military in charge of security, the Islamic State militants began attacking their bases and acquiring all of their weapons. Iraq’s military abandoned their posts at the first sign of conflict and of course, left behind all of their brand new U.S. military equipment.

Islamic State Militants hauling away abandoned military equipment

Islamic State Militants hauling away abandoned military equipment

But why does the Islamic State even exist? Didn’t the U.S. destroy all of the terrorist networks in the Middle East over the past decade? No, obviously they didn’t. Here’s what they did do. The U.S. spent trillions of dollars and more than a decade occupying the Middle East only to find that it is the main source of funding for the very terrorists it has been fighting. Airstrikes, drones and other military assets that were used against the people of the Middle East for the sake of ending terrorism have only caused resentment and anger towards the U.S. The result of this campaign has been the creation of a monster. Islamic State militants are now terrorizing their country and undermining everything that the U.S. has done. It seems to me that occupying a foreign nation and battering it with military equipment is not the best solution to ending terrorism after all.

Now I hear that Obama is authorizing airstrikes in Iraq and possibly Syria in the future. I can’t help but wonder why. How is it that this country has not learned from its mistakes? The longer that we occupy the Middle East with our military, the stronger the resistance becomes. The more military equipment that we send to the Middle East, the more powerful the resistance becomes. After more than a decade of war I wonder if we are still fighting terrorists. Or is it possible that now we’re fighting people who are just sick and tired of our occupation of their country. People who have been so battered by our military that they will do anything necessary to get rid of us. The next time that we hear about the Islamic State being a “cancer” in the Middle East, maybe we should ask what caused that cancer in the first place.

Thanks for stopping by. Happy Monday everyone.

Largest Outbreak of Ebola Virus in History

CDC map of affected African Countries

CDC map of affected African Countries


The African continent is once again dealing with an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus, though this time the virus is spreading much faster than in previous years. According to the CDC, as of August 1st, there are 1603 cases of the virus. So far the countries of Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria have confirmed cases. 887 people have already died from the virus, which unfortunately has no known vaccine. Studies currently suggest that the virus is first contracted by bats and then transmitted to humans, though the actual process by which the virus infects humans is unknown.

Experts say that the virus has spread at such a rapid rate in part due to the poor conditions found in West Africa. Guinea, which was the first location of the outbreak, is one of several West African nations that is poorly equipped to deal with the virus from a healthcare point of view. A lack of facilities to treat the virus coupled with insufficient healthcare resources has led to the spread of Ebola in the region. Experimental vaccines are supposedly being tested on two U.S. citizens who contracted the virus while treating infected patients in Africa.

Symptoms of the Ebola virus can be high fever, sore throat, vomiting, diarrhea, kidney damage, liver damage, internal bleeding, external bleeding and skin rashes. The images that I saw when researching this virus were so horrific that I chose not to add any to my post. My heart goes out to those who are suffering from this virus. All that I could do is pray that a vaccine is found shortly and that the virus ceases to spread any further. If there is any progress with this situation I’ll make sure to do a follow-up post on this. Thanks for stopping by everyone.

Source: http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/outbreaks/guinea/

Health officials wait to screen passengers at the arrival hall of Lagos airport. Photograph: Sunday Alamba/AP

Health officials wait to screen passengers at the arrival hall of Lagos airport. Photograph: Sunday Alamba/AP

Israel Conducts Major Anti-Terror Operation in Gaza

Israeli Police Evacuating Warzone in Gaza

Israeli Police Evacuating a Warzone in Gaza

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to put an end to Hamas’ military attacks on his country. Years of rocket fire on the Jewish state along with constant terrorist operations from Hamas have led Israel to this decisive point. Talks of a truce between Hamas and Israel only worsened the situation as Hamas rejected the idea of a cease-fire. Now Israel has deployed thousands of troops to infiltrate the terror network and asked more than 100,000 Palestinians to leave the area of conflict.

Air power is perhaps Israel’s strongest weapon against Hamas, but terror tactics have made the use of air strikes close to impossible without causing civilian casualties. Hamas takes advantage of its people and asks innocent civilians to stand on the rooftops of their buildings to prevent Israeli air strikes. The result has been a massive ground operation by Israel in which soldiers, tanks and marine assets have all descended upon the Gaza Strip. Underground tunnels used by Hamas to store weapons and move terrorists into the city are being destroyed by the overwhelming ground force.

Just today Delta airlines canceled all flights to Israel due to concerns of rocket fire and ground to air missile attacks. After diverting a flight from Israel to Paris, the airline claimed that it would not risk the lives of its passengers or crew and therefor will be cancelling all flights to Israel for the time being. As the conflict in Israel rages on, the death toll has reached about 550 Palestinians and 25 Israelis. Prime Minister Netanyahu has warned that calling off this operation before destroying Hamas’ terror network could pose a greater threat to Israel in the future.

While waging war against Hamas is a necessary action for stability in Israel, I can’t help but reflect on the U.S. war against Al Qaeda which resulted in more damage and resentment than it did resolution. So how can a country battle terrorism and actually win? I’m not sure if there is any way of achieving a victory against this type of enemy but at least Israel is fighting this battle in its own country and not abroad. My heart goes out to the innocent lives being lost in this confrontation and I hope that a peaceful resolution could be achieved. Thanks for stopping by everyone and feel free to leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts on this conflict.

Israeli Tanks Mobilized in Gaza

Israeli Tanks Mobilized in Gaza

Map of Israel

Map of Israel

 

 

 

 

Recreational Marijuana Legalized in Washington

Marijuana

Marijuana shop in Washington

Marijuana shop in Washington

Tuesday July 8, 2014 the state of Washington has allowed for the legal sale of recreational Marijuana. Washington is the second state after Colorado to legalize the sale and consumption of recreational Marijuana. With only a handful of locations open to the public, lines have formed outside of the lucky Marijuana businesses. While the state received overwhelming support for the initiative, some cities have protested and written counter-legislation to outlaw the sale and use of Marijuana. However, despite these few rebellious cities, the majority of Washington’s population is in favor of the initiative.

Colorado and Washington are now the social experiment of the United States as their techniques of monitoring and taxing the plant are being monitored closely. Meanwhile investors and venture capitalist are jumping at the opportunity to make serious profit from this unique time. So many years of prohibition towards Marijuana has made the public reluctant to accept the status quo but activists remain hopeful that the trend will spread. With the economy in a vulnerable state and our national debt to China on the rise, it’s hard to see how there’s any resistance to this new source of income.

I began to think about the benefits and consequences of legalizing Marijuana in Florida and I too believe that more good than bad can come from this type of legislation. Speaking for myself, I would like to see a national effort to change these laws and lift this current state of prohibition. The legalization of Marijuana has the potential to divert billions of dollars of revenue to hard working Americans, instead of illegal drug traffickers. In addition the revenue from its taxation could prove to be useful in this time of economic struggle.

Currently 23 states have legalized the medical use of Marijuana and 2 states have legalized the recreational use of Marijuana. Florida recently passed a bill that allows for the consumption of Marijuana for medical patients with chronic illnesses given that it has a low dose of THC and is not smoked but rather vaporized or in pill form. Little by little progress is being made around the country and it seems that we are well on our way to the end of this prohibition. I would love to hear from anyone living in Colorado or Washington. What do you think about the new laws? Leave a comment and let me know. Thanks for stopping by!

Thailand’s Undercover Military Operation

The past six months in Thailand have been chaotic to say the least. At first, the judicial branch of government overthrew its political leaders and democratically elected Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. During this transition the opposition group led by Suthep Thaugsuban created the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) to temporarily control the country until new elections could be held. Unsurprisingly enough, this coalition did not last for long, as the country’s military ordered a coup d’état. Today Thailand is under strict rule and martial laws are being enforced daily. This is where it gets interesting.

Under the order of General Prayuth Chan-ocha, commander of the Royal Thai Armed Forces, any opposition to the coup d’état is punishable by law. With orders to break up any gathering of more than five people, the military has had its hands full with the task of detaining all opposition groups. Realizing that the military is on a mission to silence anyone who challenges them, the people have assembled in small groups and quietly expressed their political beliefs. Small acts of defiance like putting up three fingers or passing out sandwiches to supporters has even been prohibited by the military.

In the video above, you will see anti-military activists simply walking through a mall to assemble a resistance and then undercover military forces detaining them. In the past month, hundreds of anti-military activists have disappeared, as undercover military forces take them to undisclosed locations. Posing as security guards to disguise their military status, the militants grab any opposition activists they see and detain them immediately, never to be seen or heard from again. Meanwhile the military government has placed curfews, limited social media usage, taken full control of the judiciary, taken full control of the media and imposed martial law.

It is unclear whether or not the military intends on simply restoring order and then establishing elections, or if they plan on remaining in power. Hundreds of former politicians await their fate in prison as the military has accused and sentenced most of the former leaders to jail. The video that I posted above is one of five installments from Vice News. For more episodes you could visit their YouTube page and check out the other dispatches. I would love to hear from anyone who is from Thailand about the situation that is going on. Are you pro or anti military and why? If you know anything about the conflict that we should know please leave a comment. Thanks for stopping by!

Thailand and its neighbors

Thailand and its neighbors

Thailand on a World Map

Thailand on a World Map

U.S. Movie Causes Kim Jong-un to Threaten War

How did James Franco and Seth Rogan piss off North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un so much that he threatened to declare war on the U.S.? They killed him in their movie of course. In their most recent film “The Interview”, the comedy duo finds themselves with the task of assassinating the North Korean dictator. Kim Jong-un took to the state-run news immediately and did what he does best, complain and threaten to start a war. The North Korean dictator said that he would mercilessly retaliate against the U.S. if the film was allowed to be aired. He also said that he would consider the U.S.’s approval of this type of film to be a blatant act of war and the highest form of a terrorist threat.

Above is the movie trailer for the new comedy that sparked the outrage by Kim Jong-un. It shows Rogan and Franco on a secret mission in North Korea. According to BBC News, Seth Rogan has since replied to the recent events via twitter saying, “”People don’t usually wanna kill me for one of my movies until after they’ve paid 12 bucks for it.” His comments always get a good laugh out of me. The movie which has deeply offended the North Korean leader is set to release later this year. I could only hope that Kim Jong-un has to pay “12 bucks” to watch the film which he considers “an act of war”. FYI Kim Jong-un, America makes movies about killing its own President, one of the many joys of living in a free democracy! Thanks for stopping by everyone.

North Korean Dictator Kim Jong-un

North Korean Dictator Kim Jong-un

Seth Rogan (Left) and James Franco (Right)

Seth Rogan (Left) and James Franco (Right)