TIME ebola

Study: Current Aid Promises Won’t Contain Liberia’s Ebola Outbreak

LIBERIA-HEALTH-EBOLA-WAFRICA
Health workers from the Liberian Red Cross wear protective gear as they shovel sand which will be used to absorb fluids emitted from the bodies of Ebola victims in front of the ELWA 2 Ebola management center in Monrovia on October 23, 2014. Zoom Dosso —AFP/Getty Images

Liberia does not have the resources it needs to end the Ebola outbreak any time soon.

The amount of treatment center beds and infection control resources needed to curb the Ebola epidemic in Montserrado County, Liberia vastly surpasses the donations pledged for the region from the international community, scientists say.

In a new report published in the journal The Lancet Infectious Diseases, researchers from Yale School of Public Health used modeling to compare estimates of case numbers in Liberia to currently available resources as well as those resources promised by international bodies. Their data show that without significantly scaled up efforts, there will be 170,996 cases of Ebola and 90,122 deaths related to the virus in Montserrado County by Dec. 15. But, the researchers say that if there’s a significantly ramped up effort that provides 4,800 treatment beds and a fivefold increase in detection and diagnostics in November, there could be 77,312 cases prevented by the same date.

Here’s the problem: The United States, for example, has only promised 1,700 beds to all of West Africa. Clearly, those numbers do not match up, making catastrophic projections for case and death tolls all the more realistic.

“While the window of opportunity for timely control of the Ebola outbreak has passed, the risk of catastrophic devastation both in West Africa and beyond has only just begun,” said study author Alison Galvani, a professor of epidemiology at Yale in a statement. “While vaccines to prevent Ebola remain unavailable, our study urges a rapid and immediate scaling-up of all currently available non-pharmaceutical intervention strategies to minimize the occurrence of new cases and deaths.”

But where is that scale-up going to come from? The answer is unfortunately unapparent.

TIME West Bank

Palestinian Killed in Clash With Israeli Military

(RAMALLAH, West Bank) — A Palestinian-American teenager was killed during clashes with the Israeli military on Friday amid heightened tensions in Jerusalem and the West Bank.

A relative identified the teen as 14-year-old Orwah Hammad and said he was born in New Orleans and came to the West Bank at age six. Hammad’s cousin Moath said he was among a group of Palestinians who were throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers.

A U.S. State Department official confirmed that the teenager was an American citizen. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the case.

Hammad is the second teen to be killed by army fire in eight days. A 13-year-old was killed last week in a West Bank village.

Another 12 Palestinians were wounded in the clashes on Friday, a hospital official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak with the media.

The Israeli military said soldiers “prevented an attack” by opening fire on a Palestinian who was throwing fire-bombs at traffic on a highway Friday evening.

Tensions have been high since June, when three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped and killed by Palestinian militants in the West Bank. Jewish extremists retaliated by kidnapping and killing a Palestinian teenager in east Jerusalem, sparking riots. The kidnappings set off a series of events that led to the 50-day Gaza war.

Earlier this week a Palestinian drove his car into a Jerusalem train station, killing a 3-month-old baby — who was a U.S. citizen — and wounding eight other people. Police called Wednesday’s crash a terror attack.

The car’s driver, identified as Abdel Rahman al-Shaludi, was a Palestinian from east Jerusalem who had served time in prison for militant activities. He was shot by police as he tried to run away and later died from his wounds.

The last few months have also seen clashes at Jerusalem’s most sensitive holy site between Palestinian stone throwers and Israeli police, adding to the tensions.

___

Associated Press writer Matthew Lee in Washington contributed to this report.

TIME ebola

Mali Aims to Limit Ebola Spread After First Case Dies

Electron micrograph of Ebola virus
NIAID/EPA

Two-year-old girl from Guinea tested positive on Oct. 23, died the next day

A two-year-old Guinean girl who recently traveled to Mali and was later confirmed to have Ebola has died, officials said on Friday, one day after her positive diagnosis meant the virus had reached its sixth nation in West Africa.

The child died around 4 p.m. local time at a treatment center in the western town of Kayes, a health official told Reuters. On Thursday, Health Minister Ousmane Kone told state television that she had traveled from neighboring Guinea, where more than 900 people have died in an outbreak that has killed nearly 4,900 and infected more than 9,900 others. The girl was admitted to a hospital on Wednesday night, where she tested positive for Ebola.

Health officials told the World Health Organization (WHO), according to a report released Friday, that she was accompanied to Mali by her grandmother. The girl’s mother was reported to have died a few weeks earlier, but WHO could not yet confirm that the grandmother went to Kissidougou, in southern Guinea, for the funeral. The pair returned to Mali by public transportation and arrived in the capital, Bamako, where they stayed for two hours before moving on to Kayes.

The girl had begun bleeding from the nose before she left Guinea, the report found, “meaning that the child was symptomatic during their travels through Mali” and that “multiple opportunities for exposure occurred when the child was visibly symptomatic.” The initial investigation identified 43 close and unprotected contacts, including 10 health workers.

The Ministry of Health and Public Hygiene said in a statement it had “taken all necessary steps to prevent the spread of the virus” and the government called for calm, claiming it had identified and isolated those who had contact with the child and begun monitoring for symptoms. Tracing this particular case is “a work-in-progress,” Isabelle Nuttall, the WHO’s director of Global Capacities, Alert and Response, tells TIME. WHO had already sent a team of 10 to Mali at the beginning of the week to work on mobilization activities and preparedness operations, and is sending more as part of a rapid response team.

Mali still has its border open to travelers from Guinea, though border checkpoints and health points have been implemented on major roads and crossings. Greg Rose, health advisor to the British Red Cross, says the fact that the child is now “in a more remote location is a good thing” because Kayes is not situated on the main transport routes (unlike larger towns situated on the Niger River) and only has a population of around 127,000, a fraction of Bamako’s 1.8 million. Another positive, Rose says, is that “it doesn’t look like the situation from where this child has come is out of control,” which could reduce the risk of transmission. He adds that Kissidougou, where the child’s mother is believed to have died, has seen relatively few cases since the beginning of the epidemic and is now the site of a treatment center.

Rose believes that being able to isolate people who are asymptomatic will prove a major advantage for Mali. Since the government has reacted very quickly and identified this case early, he adds, it will be able to do much more to contain any spread of Ebola from this sole case. In comparison, “when you have a disseminated outbreak like in Guinea, Liberia or Sierra Leone, where resources are limited, they can only isolate symptomatic people.”

Nuttall believes it is still too premature to assess the effectiveness of Mali’s public health response. But “so far, it looks good,” Rose says. “If you look back to Guinea when the outbreak first began in January of this year, nothing was being done because everybody was taken by surprise,” he adds. “Experience of Ebola in other contexts had shown that Ebola outbreaks tend to burn out so Guinea was neglected, which is why this got out of hand.”

While experts believe Mali’s health system is stronger than some of its neighbors, it is still quite weak. “In this part of Africa, as a general rule, the health system needs to be strengthened,” Nuttall says. Maternal mortality ratio, which Rose says is a solid indicator of public health infrastructure because it depends so much on the provision of health services and skilled attendants, is at 550 deaths per 100,000 live births in Mali. That figure isn’t as high as other countries affected by Ebola — Liberia stands at 640, Guinea at 650 and Sierra Leone at 1,100 — but is still remarkably high when compared with the U.S. (28 per 100,000) and the U.K., at just eight.

As the situations in Nigeria and Senegal have shown — both were recently declared Ebola-free — it is possible to contain the virus and control the epidemic. But as more cases pop up in the three hardest-hit countries, and now with Mali’s first case quickly turning deadly, controlling anxiety and fear alongside any actual spread could be a feat.

TIME ebola

WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses Could Be Ready Next Year

Liberia Races To Expand Ebola Treatment Facilities, As U.S. Troops Arrive
U.S. Navy microbiologist Lt. Jimmy Regeimbal handles a vaccine box with blood samples while testing for Ebola at the U.S. Navy mobile laboratory on October 5, 2014 near Gbarnga, Liberia. John Moore—Getty Images

Five new experimental vaccines are expected to undergo testing

Pharmaceutical companies are committed to making millions of doses of Ebola vaccines available next year, the World Health Organization announced Friday.

The United Nations organization said that two vaccines are currently ready for clinical trials and five more experimental vaccines are expected to undergo testing in the first four months of 2015.

The remarks were made by WHO Assistant Director-General for Health Systems and Innovation Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny and publicized on the WHO’s Twitter account. Kieny cautioned that the the vaccines might be “proven not usable” but it’s still “prudent” to prepare a large amount, according to the Twitter account. Over 4,800 people have died from Ebola this year.

If early testing goes well, more advanced trials of the potential Ebola vaccines could take place in the West African countries hardest hit by the Ebola outbreak as soon as December.

TIME ebola

NYC Doctor With Ebola Described As a ‘Dedicated Humanitarian’

Doctor Quarantined At NYC's Bellevue Hospital After Showing Symptoms Of Ebola
A health alert is displayed at the entrance to Bellevue Hospital October 23, 2014 in New York City. Bryan Thomas—Getty Images

Friends and colleagues have high praise for Dr. Craig Spencer as he begins a fight for his life

The New York City-based doctor who tested positive for Ebola Thursday after working with virus patients in the West African country of Guinea is a high achiever and a “dedicated humanitarian,” the hospital where he works said in a statement.

Dr. Craig Spencer “is a committed and responsible physician who always puts his patients first,” said a statement from New York Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, where Spencer serves as an emergency room doctor. Before being diagnosed with Ebola, Spencer had been working with humanitarian aid group Doctor’s Without Borders fighting the virus’ outbreak in West Africa.

Spencer, 33, left Guinea, one of the countries hardest hit by the recent Ebola outbreak, on Oct. 14. Spencer returned to the U.S. via New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport on Oct. 17. He began showing symptoms on Thursday, Oct. 23, when his temperature was recorded at a slightly elevated 100.3 degrees fahrenheit, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday morning, clarifying widespread reports Thursday that Duncan’s temperature was above 103 degrees. Ebola can incubate undetected in the body for up to 21 days before an infected person shows symptoms. Ebola patients are not contagious until they show symptoms, and they become increasingly contagious as they get more sick.

Spencer graduated from Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins University, studied Chinese language and literature at Henan University in China, earned a medical degree from Detroit’s Wayne State University School of Medicine and, in 2008, started his residency in New York, becoming a fellow at the Columbia University Medical Center’s International Medicine Program, according to information drawn from his LinkedIn profile by The Wall Street Journal. Spencer’s LinkedIn page has since been taken down.

“He was an outstanding student, humanitarian, excellent physician,” one of Spencer’s professors told the Journal. “He’s done a lot of good international work. He had been to parts of the world—marginalized, disenfranchised—working to improve the human condition.”

According to a friend who met Spencer through the website Couchsurfing, which connects travelers with free places to stay, he’s a runner who plays the banjo and speaks French, Chinese and Spanish.

TIME royals

Queen Elizabeth II Sends Her First Tweet

Britain’s monarch dabbled in social media on Friday by sending her very first tweet.

While opening the Information Age exhibit at London’s Science Museum, the Queen, referring to herself as Elizabeth R., tapped out her first tweet from the official Twitter account of Buckingham Palace.

A statement from the museum said director Ian Blatchford had invited Queen Elizabeth to mark the occasion on social media. “I mentioned earlier that Queen Victoria took a great interest in the invention of the telephone, and Your Majesty has followed in this tradition of embracing new technology,” he told her. “You made the first live Christmas broadcast in 1957 and an event relished by historians took place on [March 26, 1976], when you became the first monarch to send an email, during a visit to the Royal Signals and Radar Establishment. May I now invite you to join me so that you may send your first tweet.”

The tweet’s author was then verified by the @BritishMonarchy account with a follow-up tweet and a photo of the Queen sending the message.

Read next: See Kate Middleton’s Stunning Fashion Evolution

TIME Canada

Canada Gunman Wanted a Passport to Go to Mideast

ISIS media Twitter account posted a picture claiming to show Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, the dead Ottawa Parliament Hill shooting suspect.
ISIS media Twitter account posted a picture claiming to show Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, the dead Ottawa Parliament Hill shooting suspect. Postmedia News/Polaris

(OTTAWA, Ontario) — He seemed lost, “did not fit in,” had drug problems, and went more than five years without seeing his mother. In recent weeks, he had been living at a homeless shelter and had talked about wanting to go to Libya — or Syria — but became agitated when he couldn’t get a passport.

A day after Michael Zehaf-Bibeau launched a deadly attack on Canada’s seat of government, a portrait of the 32-year-old Canadian began to emerge, along with a possible explanation for what triggered the shooting rampage.

Bob Paulson, commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, said that Zehaf-Bibeau — a Muslim whose father was from Libya — may have lashed out in frustration over delays in obtaining a passport.

“I think the passport figured prominently in his motives. I’m not inside his head, but I think it was central to what was driving him,” Paulson said.

In what the prime minister called a terrorist attack, Bibeau shot a soldier to death at Canada’s national war memorial Wednesday, then stormed the Parliament building, where he was gunned down by the sergeant-at-arms. Bibeau was armed with what police said was a lever-action Winchester rifle, an old-fashioned, relatively slow-firing weapon.

The attack was the second deadly assault on Canadian soldiers in three days and forced the country to confront the danger of radicalized citizens in its midst.

It also exposed weak spots in security:

— During the attack, Prime Minister Stephen Harper hid in a closet-like space within a Parliament caucus room. The Mounties who are assigned to protect him were on the other side of the doors to the room. From now on, Paulson said, the Mounties will guard the prime minister around the clock, wherever he goes.

— In the wake of the tragedy, all members of the Canadian military have been ordered to avoid wearing their uniforms in public while doing such things as shopping or eating at restaurants.

— Earlier this week, the Mounties said that there are about 90 people in the country who are suspected of planning to join up with extremist fighters abroad or who have returned from such activity. But Paulson said Thursday that Zehaf-Bibeau was not on that list and was not under surveillance, in part because it was not until after the shooting rampage that they learned from his mother that he wanted to go Syria, where a host of militant groups such as Islamic State are fighting.

— Authorities are investigating how the gunman obtained the rifle, when he should been prohibited from possessing one because of his criminal record.

As for Zehaf-Bibeau’s passport application, it “was not rejected. His passport was not revoked,” Paulson said. “He was waiting to get it, and there was an investigation going on to determine to see whether he would get a passport.”

That obstacle appeared to weigh heavily on Zehalf-Bibeau, a petty criminal with a long rap sheet, including a string of drug offenses.

Abubakir Abdelkareem, who often visited the Ottawa Mission, a homeless shelter downtown where Zehaf-Bibeau stayed in recent weeks, said Zehaf-Bibeau told him he had had a drug problem but had been clean for three months and was trying to steer clear of temptation by going to Libya.

But in the three days before the rampage, “his personality changed completely,” Abdelkareem said. “He was not talkative; he was not social” anymore and slept during the day, said Abdelkareem, who concluded the man was back on drugs.

Lloyd Maxwell, another shelter resident, said that Zehaf-Bibeau had lived for some time in Vancouver, then Calgary, then came to Ottawa specifically to try to get a passport, believing that would be more easily accomplished in the nation’s capital.

“He didn’t get it, and that made him very agitated,” Maxwell said. Maxwell said that he suggested to the man that he might be on a no-fly list, and “he kind of looked at me funny, and he walked away.”

In an email to the AP expressing horror and sadness at what happened, Zehaf-Bibeau’s mother, Susan Bibeau, said that her son seemed lost and “did not fit in,” and that she hadn’t seen him for more than five years until having lunch with him last week.

“So I have very little insight to offer,” she said.

In a brief and tear-filled telephone interview with the AP, Bibeau said that she is crying for the victims of the shooting rampage, not her son.

“Can you ever explain something like this?” said Bibeau, who has homes in Montreal and Ottawa. “We are sorry.”

While he was living in Vancouver in 2011, Zehaf-Bibeau was arrested on a robbery charge, but during a court-ordered psychological evaluation, he said he committed the crime for the sole purpose of getting incarcerated.

“He wants to be in jail as he believes this is the only way he can overcome his addiction to crack cocaine,” the evaluation report said. “He has been a devoted (Muslim) for seven years and he believes he must spend time in jail as a sacrifice to pay for his mistakes in the past and he hopes to be a better man when he is eventually released.”

The evaluator said that while Zehaf-Bibeau was making “an unusual choice,” he didn’t appear to be mentally ill. He pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of making threats and was released after just over two months.

After initially reporting that two or three assailants may have taken part in the shooting rampage, Canadian police conceded Thursday that Zehaf-Bibeau was the lone gunman.

The bloodshed raised fears that Canada is suffering reprisals — perhaps so-called lone-wolf attacks — for joining the U.S.-led air campaign against Islamic State extremists in Iraq and Syria.

On Monday, a man described as an “ISIL-inspired terrorist” ran over two soldiers in a parking lot in Quebec, killing one and injuring the other before being shot to death by police. Before the attack, Canadian authorities feared he had jihadist ambitions and seized his passport when he tried to travel to Turkey.

The prime minister noted that both attacks were carried out by citizens born in Canada.

“The fact of the matter is there are serious security threats in this country, and in many cases those serious security threats continue to be at large and not subject to detention or arrest,” Harper said.

Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party, said in Parliament that this week’s attacks were probably “the acts of isolated, disturbed and deeply troubled men who were drawn to something crazy.”

Paulson appeared to agree in Zahef-Bibeau’s case, saying that his history of crime, violence, drugs and “mental instability” contributed to his radicalization. Court records indicate Zehaf-Bibeau had a string of convictions for assault, robbery, drug and weapons offenses, and other crimes.

The police commissioner said Zehaf-Bibeau’s email was found on the hard drive of someone charged with a terrorist-related offense. He didn’t say who and described the connection as tenuous.

Meanwhile, Kevin Vickers, the 58-year-old Parliament sergeant-at-arms credited with shooting and killing Zehaf-Bibeau, got a rousing standing ovation in the House of Commons for saving lawmakers’ lives. Vickers, dressed in his ceremonial robe and carrying his heavy mace, acknowledged the applause by nodding solemnly.

The former Mountie said in a statement that he was “very touched” by the attention but that he has the close support of a remarkable security team.

___

Gillies reported from Toronto. Satter contributed from London.

Read next: The Rise of the Lone Wolf Terrorist

TIME

The South Korean Ferry Tragedy Has Exposed a Bitter Political Divide

Sewol Disaster Impact On South Korea Continues
A man holds a candle as protesters continue their fight at the Sewol ferry protest camp September 16, 2014 in Seoul, South Korea. Paula Bronstein—Getty Images

Incredibly, right-wing groups in South Korea have a problem with families of Sewol victims continuing to mourn their loved ones

When the Sewol ferry sank in April, South Korea was united in trauma over the tragedy of a routine ferry ride that somehow resulted in the deaths of around 300 people, many of them high school kids.

More than six months later, that grief has mutated into bitterness along political lines, and given rise to a slow-burn faceoff between antagonistic civic groups in the heart of the South Korean capital.

In Gwanghwamun Square, Seoul’s symbolic center, amid groups of tourists taking selfies, relatives of some of those who died on the Sewol and their supporters have, for more than three months, been camped out in a makeshift tent city. And on a sidewalk across the square, civic groups with a very different take on the issue of the sinking have set up their own camp.

The relatives are calling on the government to mandate a thorough investigation into the cause of the sinking. “All we want is the truth,” said Kim Sung-shil, the 50-year-old mother of a high school boy who died in the sinking. More than six months after her son’s death, Kim still introduces herself as “Dong-hyuk’s mom.”

The families and their supporters argue that corruption and corner-cutting were behind the sinking, and need to be rooted out. The company that operated the Sewol is believed to have violated safety regulations by overloading the ship and failing to train the crew in how to carry out an emergency evacuation. The government’s emergency response has also been criticized for being late and ineffective.

When it went down on Apr. 16, the Sewol was carrying 476 people, only 172 of whom were rescued, many by private vessels who went to the scene to help out. Ten bodies have still not been recovered.

“If we never find the real truth behind the tragedy, our society will just become a darker place where people fear for their safety,” Kim said.

In part because most of them came from a working class suburb, victims of the sinking have become identified with the political left, leading to a forceful backlash from right wing groups that have their roots in red-bashing. Across the road from where Kim is camped out, right-wingers argue that the grieving families have been at it long enough and it’s time to get back to business as usual.

“It’s time for someone to stand up and say enough is enough,” said Bae Sung-gwan, a conservative activist and retired career soldier. He added, “At the time of the sinking, everyone felt sympathy for them, but a long time has passed and that sympathy has run out.”

In late September, while Sewol families and supporters were holding a hunger strike, rightwing activists held a protest of their own where they feasted on pizza and fried chicken directly in front of them.

Kim Sung-shil said of her conservative adversaries, “I have no idea why they’re here. It’s like they don’t have families.”

The Sewol incident and its fallout even led Lee and some associates, all graying men, to revive the Northwest Youth Association, a conservative youth group with a history of anti-communist purges.

After the 1951-53 Korean War, South Korea was, for decades, led by military dictatorships who argued that harsh controls were necessary to protect the country’s fragile peace from North Korean communist infiltration.

Some far-right activists also still believe that South Korea could at any time be overrun by communists from North Korea. “The leftists are using this [the Sewol sinking] as a chance to seize power. If they come to control the government, our country will be vulnerable to communists,” said Kang In-ho, a rightwing activist manning his side’s main table, gathering signatures for a petition seeking for any special Sewol investigation to be cancelled.

Parliament was deadlocked for weeks due to disagreement over the composure of the investigative body and the limits of its authority. The ruling and opposition parties reached a compromise on the law in early October, but the families are refusing to accept it on the grounds that they weren’t given a say in choosing who will carry out the investigation. The bill mandating the investigation will be passed at the end of October, once parliament finishes regular audits of government ministries.

The outdoor struggle is therefore likely to continue, even as Seoul’s crisp autumn weather segues into the bitter cold of winter. Kim says she’s in for the long haul. “I know Dong-hyuk is watching,” she said. “I can’t give up now.”

Kang In-ho says it’s time to move on from the Sewol tragedy. “The economy is suffering because they’re trying to keep everyone sad.”

But, Kang says, he’s not ready to move on from his own activist camp just yet. When asked how long his group planned to keep their post, Kang points over his shoulder at the Sewol families and says, “One day longer than them.”

TIME Malaysia

Malaysia’s Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim Awaits Sodomy Appeal Verdict

MALAYSIA-POLITICS-OPPOSITION
Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim addresses the media after a meeting with senior Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) leaders in Subang Jaya on Aug. 17, 2014. Manan Vatsyayana—AFP/Getty Images

The 67-year-old's conviction has been slammed by human rights groups as "politically motivated"

Malaysia’s opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim returns to court next week to learn whether he will be jailed on sodomy charges.

On Tuesday, Malaysia’s Federal Court will hear Anwar’s appeal of his March conviction for engaging in homosexual acts, charges both Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International say amount to “politically motivated persecution.”

Speaking to TIME on Friday, Anwar said his chances “didn’t look good.”

“Most of Malaysia does not believe that I will get a fair trial or a decision based on the facts of the law,” he said. “But I want to show young people that [my conviction] is a small price to pay in the struggle for freedom and justice.”

Anwar was originally arrested on July 16, 2008, after a former male aide alleged the pair had engaged in consensual sexual relations — criminalized under Malaysia’s colonial-era “sodomy law.” The High Court then acquitted Anwar on Jan. 9, 2012, ruling that DNA samples vital to the prosecution case could have been contaminated.

On March 7, 2014, the Court of Appeal overturned the acquittal and sentenced Anwar to five years imprisonment. The hearing was originally scheduled for April but was curiously moved forward a month. This meant Anwar was disqualified from running in the Kajang district state assembly election on March 23.

Phil Robertson, Asia director of Human Rights Watch, has urged the Malaysian authorities to drop the case or risk making a “travesty of the country’s criminal justice system.”

“Prosecuting Anwar for something that should never be considered a crime shows how far the government is prepared to go to remove a political opponent,” he said.

Anwar’s imprisonment has been stayed during his appeal, but if convicted he faces five years in prison plus a mandatory five-year prohibition on running for office, effectively ending the 67-year-old’s political career.

Malaysia’s May 5, 2013, general elections saw the Pakatan Rakyat (People’s Alliance) coalition led by Anwar win 50% of the popular vote. However, this only translated to 89 parliamentary seats due to the “first past the post” electoral system. (The incumbent National Front coalition government of Prime Minister Najib Razak gained 47% of the vote but 133 seats.)

Anwar and independent observers have alleged electoral irregularities and widespread gerrymandering, and thousands took to the streets to demand an investigation. Najib’s administration strenuously denies any impropriety.

TIME Nigeria

Dozens More Women And Girls Abducted By Boko Haram in Nigeria

Nigeria Kidnapped Girls
A man poses with a sign in front of police officers in riot gear during a demonstration calling on the government to rescue the kidnapped girls of the government secondary school in Chibok, in Abuja, Nigeria, Oct. 14, 2014. Olamikan Gbemiga—AP

Residents say the kidnappings come a day after a truce between the militants and the Nigerian government

The militant Islamist group Boko Haram has been accused of abducting dozens more women and girls from two villages in Nigeria’s northeastern Adamawa state.

Residents say the alleged kidnappings, which haven’t been confirmed by authorities, took place a day after a reported truce between the militants and Nigerian government, the BBC says.

The government hopes negotiations with Boko Haram will secure the release of more than 200 girls who were taken hostage by the militants in April. But the Islamist group has not confirmed the ceasefire.

The April kidnapping, in Borno state, sparked mass protests in Nigeria and calls for the government to do more to save the girls under the #BringBackOurGirls campaign.

Meanwhile a bomb blasted through a bus station Wednesday in northern Bauchi state, killing five people and injuring 12. No group has come forward to claim responsibility for the attack.

[BBC]

Your browser, Internet Explorer 8 or below, is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites.

Learn how to update your browser