TIME ebola

Red Cross Officials: Ebola Flaring Anew in Africa

(BRUSSELS) — Red Cross officials helping to lead the fight against Ebola in West Africa say the virus is spreading, and they’re having trouble recruiting health care workers to combat it.

Antoine Petitbon of the French Red Cross said Monday that it’s easier for him to recruit people to go to Iraq, despite the security hazards there. He said the French Red Cross is facing a problem it’s never had before: Sixty percent of people who sign up to work in the Ebola zone back out later due to pressure from families and friends.

Meanwhile, Birte Hald of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies told reporters in Brussels that the virus “is flaring up in new villages, in new locations.”

She said: “It is absolutely premature to start being optimistic.”

TIME ebola

Nebraska Hospital Says Surgeon From Sierra Leone Dies of Ebola

An undated photo shows Dr. Martin Salia at United Methodist Kissy Hospital outside Freetown, Sierra Leone.
An undated photo shows Dr. Martin Salia at United Methodist Kissy Hospital outside Freetown, Sierra Leone. Mike DuBose—United Methodist News Service/EPA

Dr. Martin Salia had arrived for treatment on Saturday

(OMAHA, Neb.) — A surgeon who contracted Ebola in his native Sierra Leone died Monday while being treated in a biocontainment unit at a Nebraska hospital, the facility said.

Nebraska Medical Center said in a news release that Dr. Martin Salia died as a result of the disease. Hospital spokesman Taylor Wilson said Salia died shortly after 4 a.m. Monday.

“Dr. Salia was extremely critical when he arrived here, and unfortunately, despite our best efforts, we weren’t able to save him,” said Dr. Phil Smith, medical director of the biocontainment unit.

Salia arrived Saturday to be treated at the Omaha hospital, where two other Ebola patients have been successfully treated.

Salia had advanced symptoms when he arrived at the hospital Saturday, which included kidney and respiratory failure, the hospital said. He was placed on dialysis, a ventilator and given several medications to support his organ systems.

“We used every possible treatment available to give Dr. Salia every possible opportunity for survival,” Smith said. “As we have learned, early treatment with these patients is essential. In Dr. Salia’s case, his disease was already extremely advanced by the time he came here for treatment.”

Salia’s wife, Isatu Salia, said Monday that she and her family were grateful for the efforts made by her husband’s medical team.

“We are so appreciate of the opportunity for my husband to be treated here and believe he was in the best place possible,” Salia said.

Ebola has killed more than 5,000 people in West Africa, mostly in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. Five other doctors in Sierra Leone have contracted Ebola, and all have died.

The 44-year-old Salia had been working as a general surgeon at Kissy United Methodist Hospital in the Sierra Leone capital of Freetown. It’s not clear whether he was involved in the care of Ebola patients. Kissy is not an Ebola treatment unit, but Salia worked in at least three other facilities, United Methodist News said, citing health ministry sources.

Salia, a Sierra Leone citizen who lived in Maryland, first showed Ebola symptoms on Nov. 6 but tested negative for the virus. He eventually tested positive on Nov. 10.

Isatu Salia said in a telephone interview over the weekend that when she spoke to her husband early Friday his voice sounded weak and shaky. But he told her “I love you” in a steady voice, she said.

They prayed together, she said, calling her husband “my everything.”

TIME Crime

U.S. Cities Brace for Unrest As Ferguson Grand Jury Decision Nears

Demonstrators yell "Hands Up, Don't Shoot" alongside a highway overpass to voice their opinions as the area awaits a grand jury decision near Ferguson, Mo. on Nov. 15, 2014.
Demonstrators yell "Hands Up, Don't Shoot" alongside a highway overpass to voice their opinions as the area awaits a grand jury decision near Ferguson, Mo. on Nov. 15, 2014. Joe Raedle—Getty Images

Jury will decide whether Officer Darren Wilson should be indicted for the killing of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown

(BOSTON) — From Boston to Los Angeles, police departments are bracing for large demonstrations when a grand jury decides whether to indict a white police officer who killed an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri.

The St. Louis County grand jury, which has been meeting since Aug. 20, is expected to decide this month whether Officer Darren Wilson is charged with a crime for killing 18-year-old Michael Brown after ordering him and a friend to stop walking in the street on Aug. 9.

The shooting has led to tension with police and a string of unruly protests there and brought worldwide attention to the formerly obscure St. Louis suburb, where more than half the population is black but few police officers are.

For some cities, a decision in the racially charged case will, inevitably, reignite long-simmering debates over local police relations with minority communities.

“It’s definitely on our radar,” said Lt. Michael McCarthy, police spokesman in Boston, where police leaders met privately Wednesday to discuss preparations. “Common sense tells you the timeline is getting close. We’re just trying to prepare in case something does step off, so we are ready to go with it.”

In Los Angeles, rocked by riots in 1992 after the acquittal of police officers in the videotaped beating of Rodney King, police officials say they’ve been in touch with their counterparts in Missouri, where Gov. Jay Nixon and St. Louis-area law enforcement held a news conference this week on their own preparations.

“Naturally, we always pay attention,” said Cmdr. Andrew Smith, a police spokesman. “We saw what happened when there were protests over there and how oftentimes protests spill from one part of the country to another.”

In Las Vegas, police joined pastors and other community leaders this week to call for restraint at a rally tentatively planned northwest of the casino strip when a decision comes.

Activists in Ferguson met Saturday to map out their protest plans. Meeting organizers encouraged group members to provide their names upon arrest as Darren Wilson or Michael Brown to make it more difficult for police to process them.

In a neighboring town, Berkeley, officials this week passed out fliers urging residents to be prepared for unrest just as they would a major storm — with plenty of food, water and medicine in case they’re unable to leave home for several days.

In Boston, a group called Black Lives Matter, which has chapters in other major cities, is organizing a rally in front of the police district office in the Roxbury neighborhood the day after an indictment decision.

In Albuquerque, New Mexico, police are expecting demonstrations after having dealt with a string of angry protests following a March police shooting of a homeless camper and more than 40 police shootings since 2010.

Philadelphia police spokesman Lt. John Stanford said he anticipated his city will see demonstrations, regardless of what the grand jury returns.

But big-city police departments stressed they’re well-equipped to handle crowds. Many saw large but mostly peaceful demonstrations following the 2013 not-guilty verdict in the slaying of Florida teen Trayvon Martin by neighborhood watch coordinator George Zimmerman. In New York, hundreds of protesters marched from Union Square north to Times Square, where a sit-in caused gridlock.

The New York Police Department, the largest in the nation, is “trained to move swiftly and handle events as they come up,” spokesman Stephen Davis said.

In Boston, McCarthy said the city’s 2,200 sworn police officers have dealt with the range of public actions, from sports fans spontaneously streaming into the streets following championship victories to protest movements like Occupy.

“The good thing is that our relationships here with the community are much better than they are around the world,” he said. “People look to us as a model. Boston is not Ferguson.”

TIME Infectious Disease

British, Dutch Slaughter Poultry to Fight Bird Flu

(LONDON) — Chickens were being slaughtered in the Netherlands and Britain was preparing to kill ducks after two cases of bird flu were discovered in Europe — but officials insisted Monday that the risk to public health was very low.

British officials said they were investigating a case of the H5 bird flu virus in northern England, but noted it’s not the more dangerous H5N1 strain. They said all 6,000 ducks at a breeding farm in the Driffield area of East Yorkshire will be killed and a restriction zone was being set up to prevent further spread of the infection. Tests were also being carried out at nearby farms.

The UK government food agency said there is no risk to the food chain and British Chief Veterinary Officer Nigel Gibbens told BBC the risk of the disease spreading is probably quite low.

It was the first bird flu outbreak in Britain in six years, officials said. A government spokeswoman said Britain has a “strong track record of controlling and eliminating previous outbreaks of avian flu in the UK.”

The Dutch government, meanwhile, banned the transport of poultry and eggs throughout the Netherlands after finding the H5N8 strain of bird flu at a chicken farm. All 150,000 chickens at the farm in Hekendorp, 65 kilometers (40 miles) south of Amsterdam, were being slaughtered and 16 other nearby farms were being checked. It was not clear how the farm became infected.

“There is a small risk that it can be transmitted from animal to humans but there has to be intensive contact. Those at risk are really only the farmer, his family and the workers slaughtering the animals. They are being monitored by health authorities,” said Harald Wychgel, a spokesman for the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment.

TIME Lebanon

Families of Captive Lebanese Soldiers Block Roads

(BEIRUT) — Relatives of Lebanese soldiers held hostage by Islamic militants have burned tires and closed roads in downtown Beirut in an escalation of their ongoing sit-in to secure their release.

Monday’s protests began after the militants threatened to start killing the hostages within hours unless the government revokes sentences handed down to Islamist prisoners.

The militants, including the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front and the extremist Islamic State group, have been holding some 20 Lebanese soldiers and policemen hostage since August, when they briefly overran a Lebanese border town.

Since then, at least three have been killed by their captors. Families of remaining soldiers have pitched tents in downtown Beirut opposite the prime minister’s office in an effort to pressure the government into mediating with the captors.

TIME Football

DEA Agents Raid NFL Medical Staffs After Games

NFL Football Giants 49ers DEA Drugs
Jayron Hosley #28 and Adrien Robinson #81 of the New York Giants take the field prior to playing against the San Francisco 49ers at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. on Nov. 16, 2014. Al Bello—Getty Images

Federal drug enforcement agents showed up unannounced Sunday to check at least three visiting NFL teams’ medical staffs as part of an investigation into former players’ claims that teams mishandled prescription drugs.

There were no arrests, Drug Enforcement Administration spokesman Rusty Payne said Sunday. The San Francisco 49ers’ staff was checked at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, after they played the New York Giants. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ staff was checked at Baltimore-Washington International airport after playing the Redskins. The Seattle Seahawks, who played at Kansas City, confirmed via the team’s Twitter account that they were spot-checked as well.

The operation was still ongoing, and other teams may be checked later Sunday, Payne said.

“DEA agents are currently interviewing NFL team doctors in several locations as part of an ongoing investigation into potential violations of the (Controlled Substances Act),” Payne said.

The spot checks were done by investigators from the federal DEA. They did not target specific teams, but were done to measure whether visiting NFL clubs were generally in compliance with federal law. Agents requested documentation from visiting teams’ medical staffs for any controlled substances in their possession, and for proof that doctors could practice medicine in the home team’s state.

“Our teams cooperated with the DEA today and we have no information to indicate that irregularities were found,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in an email.

The nationwide probe is being directed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York — where the NFL is headquartered — but involves several U.S. attorney’s offices.

The investigation was sparked by a lawsuit filed in May on behalf of former NFL players going back to 1968. The number of plaintiffs has grown to more than 1,200, including dozens who played as recently as 2012. Any violations of federal drug laws from 2009 forward could also become the subject of a criminal investigation because they would not be subject to the five-year statute of limitations.

“This is an unprecedented raid on a professional sports league,” said Steve Silverman, one of the attorneys for the former players. “I trust the evidence reviewed and validated leading up to this action was substantial and compelling.”

Federal prosecutors have conducted interviews in at least three cities over the past three weeks, spending two days in Los Angeles in late October meeting with a half-dozen former players — including at least two who were named plaintiffs in the painkillers lawsuit, according to multiple people with direct knowledge of the meetings who spoke on the condition of anonymity because prosecutors told them not to comment on the meetings.

The lawsuit alleges the NFL and its teams, physicians and trainers acted without regard for players’ health, withholding information about injuries while at the same time handing out prescription painkillers such as Vicodin and Percocet, and anti-inflammatories such as Toradol, to mask pain and minimize lost playing time. The players contend some teams filled out prescriptions in players’ names without their knowledge or consent, then dispensed those drugs — according to one plaintiff’s lawyer — “like candy at Halloween,” along with combining them in “cocktails.”

Several former players interviewed by The Associated Press described the line of teammates waiting to get injections on game day often spilling out from the training room. Others recounted flights home from games where trainers walked down the aisle and players held up a number of fingers to indicate how many pills they wanted.

The controlled substance act says only doctors and nurse practitioners can dispense prescription drugs, and only in states where they are licensed. The act also lays out stringent requirements for acquiring, labeling, storing and transporting drugs. Trainers who are not licensed would be in violation of the law simply by carrying a controlled substance.

The former players have reported a range of debilitating effects, from chronic muscle and bone ailments to permanent nerve and organ damage to addiction. They contend those health problems came from drug use, but many of the conditions haven’t been definitively linked to painkillers.

The lawsuit is currently being heard in the northern district of California, where presiding judge William Alsup said he wants to hear the NFL Players Association’s position on the case before deciding on the league’s motion to dismiss. The NFL maintained that it’s not responsible for the medical decisions of its 32 teams. League attorneys also argued the issue should be addressed by the union, which negotiated a collective bargaining agreement that covers player health.

The DEA investigation comes during a turbulent time for the NFL.

The league is still weathering criticism over its treatment of several players accused of domestic violence and just wrapped up an arbitration hearing involving Ravens running back Ray Rice, who is contesting the length of his suspension. The league has hired former FBI director Robert Mueller III to investigate its handling of the Rice case.

The NFL is also trying to finalize a $765 million class-action settlement reached in August 2013 over complaints by thousands of former players that the NFL concealed the risk of concussions.

TIME celebrities

Jennifer Lawrence: Privacy Loss Takes Heavy Toll

"Being chased by 10 men you don't know, or being surrounded, feels invasive and makes me feel scared and gets my adrenaline going every day."

NEW YORK — Jennifer Lawrence says she knew being a movie star would bring with it a certain loss of privacy. What she didn’t know, she says, was the deep emotional and even physical toll it would take.

“I knew the paparazzi were going to be a reality in my life,” the 24-year-old Oscar winner said in an interview Saturday. “But I didn’t know that I would feel anxiety every time I open my front door, or that being chased by 10 men you don’t know, or being surrounded, feels invasive and makes me feel scared and gets my adrenaline going every day.”

Lawrence was recently in the news when private nude photos of her and other celebrities were hacked, then posted online. She took the forceful position then that the hacking was not a scandal but “a sex crime.”

The actress spoke to the AP Saturday while promoting “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay: Part 1,” the third installment of the blockbuster franchise that catapulted her to stardom.

“You can say, ‘This (invasion of privacy) is part of my job and this is going to be a reality of my life,’” Lawrence said, “but what you don’t expect is how your body and how your emotions are going to react to it.”

And yet, she added with her typical candor, the general public isn’t very sympathetic to such celebrity complaints: “Nobody wants to help us because it seems like, you know, ‘Shut up, millionaires!’”

Sitting alongside her co-stars Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth, Lawrence told the AP that although she adores her job, “There are some things that I couldn’t really prepare for.”

As an example, she described checking into a hotel and opening the window to discover “a team of paparazzi outside that are shooting up into my hotel room. And we can’t ask them to move because they’re on public property. And they can photograph me because I’m a public person or can chase me because I’m a public person.”

“If these laws are going to be in place to protect the press and to protect the paparazzi and to protect the news,” she said, “then new measures need to be made, because this is an entirely new phenomenon. This didn’t exist 200 years ago.

“And my belief, and it’s something I am going to work very hard on changing and I hope it changes before I die, is to make it illegal to buy, post or shop a photo that’s been obtained illegally,” she said. “I have photographers that jump my fence … if somebody jumps my fence and takes a picture through my window of me naked, that’s illegal, but the photos can still be everywhere (online) the next day, and that makes no sense!”

Lawrence told Vanity Fair not long after the hacking episode, in which the photos were posted on various websites, that even those who looked at the photos online were perpetuating what she called the sex crime.

Calls for more policing of the Internet have clashed with concerns that such actions could mute its role as a megaphone for exposing abuses in government and elsewhere.

A “safe harbor” clause in the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act absolves websites of legal liability for most content posted on their services. The law, known as the DMCA, requires websites and other Internet service providers to remove a piece of content believed to be infringing on a copyright after being notified of a violation by the copyright owner.

Though some websites pulled the naked photos of Lawrence and others, it didn’t happen quickly enough to prevent people from making their own copies on personal devices.

Lawrence’s co-stars echoed her concerns.

“They say, well, this is part of it, you should have known — but you can’t know. You don’t know how hard it is to lose your anonymity until it’s gone,” noted Hutcherson, 22, who plays Peeta Mellark to Lawrence’s Katniss Everdeen.

Added Hemsworth, 24, who plays Gale Hawthorne: “There’s really no right reason for that (kind of thing) to be allowed.”

 

TIME space

Results From Comet Lander’s Experiments Expected

Before its batteries died, the Philae lander sent data on various experiments it executed on the comet

(BERLIN) — The German aeronautics and space research center says it will release a first evaluation of the data that comet lander Philae sent down to the European Space Center before its depleted batteries forced it to go silent.

Spokesman Andreas Schuetz says the scientists are getting together to discuss their data analyses Monday morning and following that meeting, the center will publish the scientists’ findings.

Philae landed Wednesday on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko about 311 million miles (500 million kilometers) from Earth. Before its batteries died, it sent data on various experiments it executed on the comet.

One of the things scientists are most excited about is the possibility that the mission might help confirm that comets brought the building blocks of life — organic matter and water — to Earth.

TIME Infectious Disease

CDC: 172 People on Cruise Fell Ill With Norovirus

CRUISE SHIP
The Crown Princess cruise ship returns to the port at Cape Canaveral, Fla. on July 18, 2006. John Raoux—AP

Over 4,100 people on board and will be met by CDC staff upon arrival in San Pedro

LOS ANGELES — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that 172 people on a cruise ship arriving in California on Sunday have fallen ill with the highly contagious norovirus during a nearly monthlong trip.

The Crown Princess has more than 4,100 people on board and will be met by CDC staff upon arrival in San Pedro. CDC staff will conduct testing and evaluate the response.

Princess Cruises has “enacted our stringent disinfecting protocols” developed in consultation with the CDC and will do a deep cleaning of the ship and terminal in Los Angeles before departing Sunday night for a weeklong cruise through the Mexican Riviera, said spokeswoman Susan Lomax.

In April, 129 people on the same ship contracted norovirus during a seven-day cruise off the California coast. Lomax said that the ship went through the same stringent disinfecting process after it docked.

“As it is the cold and flu season, when the stomach flu circulates on land, we encourage all of our guests to be diligent in following the widely accepted practices of frequent hand washing with soap and water and the use of hand sanitizers,” Lomax said.

Symptoms of norovirus include vomiting, diarrhea, fever and body aches. According to the CDC, most people recover within three days.

The 28-day cruise visited Hawaii and Tahiti.

TIME Terrorism

Graphic ISIS Video Claims US Aid Worker Beheaded

Peter Kassig in front of a truck somewhere along the Syrian border between late 2012 and autumn 2013 as Special Emergency Response and Assistance (SERA) was delivering supplies to refugees before the American aid worker was held captive by Islamic State jihadists.
Peter Kassig in front of a truck somewhere along the Syrian border between late 2012 and autumn 2013 as Special Emergency Response and Assistance (SERA) was delivering supplies to refugees before the American aid worker was held captive by Islamic State jihadists. AFP/Getty Images

(BEIRUT) — The Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria released a graphic video on Sunday in which a black-clad militant claimed to have beheaded U.S. aid worker Peter Kassig, who was captured last year.

The militant was standing over a severed head, but it was not immediately possible to confirm that it was Kassig, 26, who was pictured in the video. U.S. officials said they were working to determine the video’s authenticity and the Kassig family said it was awaiting the outcome of the investigation.

The video, which was posted on websites used by the group in the past, appeared to be the latest in a series of blood-soaked messages to the U.S. warning of further brutality if it does not abandon its air campaign in Iraq and Syria.

“This is Peter Edward Kassig, a U.S. citizen, of your country; Peter who fought against the Muslims in Iraq, while serving as a soldier,” the militant says near the end of the nearly 16-minute video. He speaks in an audible British accent despite his voice being distorted to make it more difficult to identify him.

The video identifies the militant’s location as Dabiq, a small town in the northern Syrian province of Aleppo, near the Turkish border.

The video also shows what appears to be the mass beheading of several Syrian soldiers captured by the group. The militants warn that U.S. soldiers will meet a similar fate.

“We say to you, Obama…you claim to have withdrawn from Iraq four years ago,” the militant said. “Here you are: you have not withdrawn. Rather, you hid some of your forces behind your proxies,” he said, apparently referring to Western-backed Syrian rebels, Kurdish fighters and the Iraqi military.

“Here we are, burying the first American crusader in Dabiq, eagerly waiting for the remainder of your armies to arrive.”

Kassig, a former U.S. Army Ranger, was providing medical aid to Syrians fleeing the civil war when he was captured inside Syria on Oct. 1, 2013. His friends say he converted to Islam in captivity and took the first name Abdul-Rahman.

Previous videos have shown the beheading of two American journalists and two British aid workers. The latest video did not show the person identified as Kassig being beheaded. Unlike previous videos, it did not show other Western captives or directly threaten to behead anyone else.

The group also holds British photojournalist John Cantlie, who has been shown in several videos delivering long statements in English on the group’s behalf, perhaps under duress.

Kassig’s family said in a statement they were aware of the reports of the video and were awaiting confirmation from the U.S. government.

“The family respectfully asks that the news media avoid playing into the hostage takers’ hands and refrain from publishing or broadcasting photographs or video distributed by the hostage takers,” they said.

“We prefer our son is written about and remembered for his important work and the love he shared with friends and family, not in the manner the hostage takers would use to manipulate Americans and further their cause.”

The White House said the U.S. intelligence community was working to determine the authenticity of the video. National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said that if the video is authentic, the White House would be “appalled by the brutal murder of an innocent American.”

The White House expressed its deepest condolences to Kassig’s family and friends, Meehan said.

The video emerged just minutes after President Barack Obama departed Australia for the U.S. The president was in Australia for the Group of 20 economic summit.

Kassig formed the aid organization Special Emergency Response and Assistance, or SERA, in Turkey to provide aid and assistance to Syrian refugees. He began delivering food and medical supplies to Syrian refugee camps in 2012 and is also a trained medical assistant who provided trauma care to wounded Syrian civilians. His friends say he helped train 150 civilians in providing medical aid.

ISIS has beheaded and shot dead hundreds of captives — mainly Syrian and Iraqi soldiers — during its sweep across the two countries, and has celebrated its mass killings in a series of slickly produced, extremely graphic videos.

The group has declared an Islamic caliphate in the areas under its control in Syria and Iraq, which it governs according to an extremely violent interpretation of Shariah law.

The U.S. began launching air strikes in Iraq and Syria earlier this year in a bid to halt the group’s rapid advance and eventually degrade and destroy it.

The fight against the militant group adds another layer to Syria’s complex civil war, now in its fourth year, which began as an uprising against President Bashar Assad.

ISIS emerged from the remains of al-Qaeda in Iraq and spread to Syria, where it battled both government forces and rebel groups as it carved out its self-styled Islamic state.

In June the group swept into northern Iraq, capturing about a third of the country, including the second largest city Mosul, and eventually prompting the U.S. to resume military operations in the country less than three years after withdrawing. In September the U.S. expanded the air campaign to Syria.

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