Monthly Archives: October 2014

EBOLA RACISM REACHES A NEW LOW IN TEXAS

EBOLA RACISM REACHES A NEW LOW IN TEXAS.

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EBOLA RACISM REACHES A NEW LOW IN TEXAS

Vaniceseasonal's Blog

Thanks;ABBY HAGLAGE
10.15.14

“Navarro College is not accepting international students from countries with confirmed Ebola cases.”

It was with shock that 33-year-old Nigerian-American academic Idris Bello read this sentence, signaling the rejection of a friend’s Nigerian brother-in-law to the Texas community college based solely on his citizenship. “I didn’t believe it, I was so surprised. I thought: This cannot be,” Bello says.

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A lead entrepreneur in Africa, with a master’s degree in global health from Oxford University, Bello received a copy of the letter from Dr. Kamor Abidogun, a mechanical engineer and friend of his in Houston. Abidogun’s brother-in-law also decided to apply to Navarro, and used his address as the point of contact. Along with the letter he received rejecting his 29-year-old brother-in-law, Abidogun received an identical one for his 20-year-old nephew, who had also decided to apply from Nigeria.

According to the letter, the…

View original post 647 more words

EBOLA RACISM REACHES A NEW LOW IN TEXAS

Thanks;ABBY HAGLAGE
10.15.14

“Navarro College is not accepting international students from countries with confirmed Ebola cases.”

It was with shock that 33-year-old Nigerian-American academic Idris Bello read this sentence, signaling the rejection of a friend’s Nigerian brother-in-law to the Texas community college based solely on his citizenship. “I didn’t believe it, I was so surprised. I thought: This cannot be,” Bello says.

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A lead entrepreneur in Africa, with a master’s degree in global health from Oxford University, Bello received a copy of the letter from Dr. Kamor Abidogun, a mechanical engineer and friend of his in Houston. Abidogun’s brother-in-law also decided to apply to Navarro, and used his address as the point of contact. Along with the letter he received rejecting his 29-year-old brother-in-law, Abidogun received an identical one for his 20-year-old nephew, who had also decided to apply from Nigeria.

According to the letter, the small community college 20 miles outside of Dallas has decided to stop accepting students from places with confirmed cases of Ebola. Nigeria, it seems, is an odd place to enact that policy. The country of 174 million has only registered 20 total cases of Ebola since the index patient in July, a response so strikingly effective that the CDC dispatched a team to the country to study their methods.

Already through the first 21-day incubation period following the initial cases, the country is now just five days away from being officially declared by the World Health Organization as Ebola-free. Much of the response is believed to center around what WHO has declared “world-class epidemiological detective work,” which traced all 20 cases back to one passenger at the Lagos airport—ironically, an American.

Unlike its three most affected neighboring countries, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea, citizens in Nigeria are under no threat of becoming infected with the disease within their borders, or at least no more than the threat we face in our country—and definitely not as much risk as an institution merely minutes away from its own outbreak.

The country of 174 million has only registered 20 total cases of Ebola since the index patient in July, a response so strikingly effective that the CDC dispatched a team to the country to study their methods.

Seven days after receiving the letter from Navarro, Abidogun had yet to break the “bad news” to his brother-in-law and his nephew. Neither applied to other universities. Living in Ibadan, Oyo State, neither are anywhere close to the small epidemic that swept through Nigeria in July—nor have either of them ever visited the most affected countries.

While Bello says he’s faced this kind of misinformed fear himself—he was recently stopped at a gym in Houston and asked if he’s Liberian, for example—he was most shocked to find an actual college making the same judgments. “I’ve had several people in the community act that way, but this is the first time I was going [heard] that from an institution,” says Bello. “An institution of learning, for that matter.”

He wasn’t the only one appalled by the news. When Bello posted the letter on his website, many took to Twitter to express similar feelings of disappointment. “@NavarroCollege so you won’t be accepting any Americans given Texas has confirmed cases? Seems like your enrollment will plummet. #messedup,” wrote one user. “I’m sure they didn’t mind discriminating against students from Africa beforehand, but this just gives them a new easy out,” posted another. “What a gross display of open bias. They descended too low. My brother, just choose another school,” said a third.

For Bello, spreading the message of this case isn’t about Navarro. Instead, it’s about influencing how American universities handle the epidemic in relation to their admissions moving forward. “I understand the fear about Ebola, but we’re not going to tackle epidemics by being scared or by misinformation, it’s going to be true education,” says Bello. “They are teaching students to be leaders in the future. Someone from that school needs to step forward and say, listen we made a mistake we are going to fix that mistake.”

UPDATE: Navarro College sent The Daily Beast the following statement—Our college values its diverse population of international students. This fall we have almost 100 students from Africa. Unfortunately, some students received incorrect information regarding their applications to the institution. As part of our new honor’s program, the college restructured the international department to include focused recruitment from certain countries each year. Our focus for 2014-15 is on China and Indonesia. Other countries will be identified and recruitment efforts put in place once we launch our new honors program fall 2015. We apologize for any misinformation that may have been shared with students. Additional information regarding our progress with this new initiative will be posted on our website.

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@BreakingNews tweeted: Enhanced screenings for Ebola have begun at JFK Airport in New York City

Vaniceseasonal's Blog

Thanks;MARC SANTORA
OCTOBER 11, 2014

As Ebola continues to ravage West Africa and fears grow that the virus will spread around the globe, enhanced screenings began on Saturday at Kennedy Airport in New York.

Travelers coming from three hard-hit African countries are being singled out, having their temperatures taken and questioned about their possible exposure to Ebola. Kennedy was the first of five American airports to introduce Ebola screening protocols, and the new measures were the latest indication of the risk that the disease presented.

Airports in Canada and Europe plan to take similar measures in coming days.

But even as nations try to reassure anxious citizens that they are doing all they can to prevent an outbreak within their borders, public health officials cautioned that the only way to truly eliminate the threat posed by the virus would be to defeat it in West Africa.

“As Ebola continues its…

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@BreakingNews tweeted: Enhanced screenings for Ebola have begun at JFK Airport in New York City

Thanks;MARC SANTORA
OCTOBER 11, 2014

As Ebola continues to ravage West Africa and fears grow that the virus will spread around the globe, enhanced screenings began on Saturday at Kennedy Airport in New York.

Travelers coming from three hard-hit African countries are being singled out, having their temperatures taken and questioned about their possible exposure to Ebola. Kennedy was the first of five American airports to introduce Ebola screening protocols, and the new measures were the latest indication of the risk that the disease presented.

Airports in Canada and Europe plan to take similar measures in coming days.

But even as nations try to reassure anxious citizens that they are doing all they can to prevent an outbreak within their borders, public health officials cautioned that the only way to truly eliminate the threat posed by the virus would be to defeat it in West Africa.

“As Ebola continues its slow-motion incursion into developed countries, right now the U.S. and Spain, there is an understandable level of fear growing among people about this terrible virus, even though the chances of seeing anything like the calamity in western Africa is profoundly remote,” said Dr. Irwin Redlener, the director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University and a special adviser to Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York.

While the screenings might catch a few cases, he said, the focus needs to remain on battling the disease at its source and reacting quickly and effectively to new cases when they appear.

The difficulty and complexity of monitoring people without symptoms but thought to have been at risk of exposure to Ebola was demonstrated on Friday night when the New Jersey Health Department ordered a crew from NBC News that recently returned from Liberia to be quarantined.

The crew included the network’s chief medical correspondent, Dr. Nancy Snyderman, who lives in Princeton, N.J. Dr. Snyderman had been covering the outbreak alongside Ashoka Mukpo, a freelance cameraman who was infected with the virus. Mr. Mukpo is being treated in isolation at a hospital in Omaha.

Citing privacy concerns, the authorities declined to provide information about the other crew members who were ordered to be quarantined.

New Jersey health officials said that upon returning from Liberia, the crew members agreed to isolate themselves from the community and monitor themselves for 21 days, the longest documented period of time it has taken for someone infected with Ebola to develop symptoms. “The NBC crew was ordered to be quarantined after failing to adhere to an agreement they made with health officials,” the department said in a statement without elaborating. “The order will be enforced by the Princeton Health Department in collaboration with the Princeton Police Department. The NBC crew remains symptom-free, so there is no reason for concern of exposure to the community.”

A spokeswoman for NBC News declined to comment on the quarantine, but said she expected the crew would comply with the department’s orders.

The decision to screen travelers entering the United States was announced on Wednesday, the day the first person with a case of Ebola diagnosed in the United States died.

That patient, Thomas E. Duncan, traveled to Dallas from Liberia, and like all airline passengers leaving the West African countries at the center of the epidemic — Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone — he was screened for symptoms before being allowed to board his flight.

Over the last two months, 36,000 people have been screened in Africa, and only 77 were kept off flights because of illness. Many of the 77 had malaria, and none were infected with Ebola.

Mr. Duncan did not have a fever or any other symptoms associated with Ebola when he left Liberia. He did not become ill until several days after arriving in Dallas.

Under the new protocols, Customs and Border Protection officers have been directed to single out travelers arriving from the three countries based on their passport information.

If any travelers have a fever or other symptoms, or are revealed to have possible Ebola exposure, they will be evaluated by a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention quarantine officer.

“The public health officer will again take a temperature reading and make a public health assessment,” according to the guidelines released by the agency.

In New York City, officials have designated Bellevue Hospital Center as the destination for any travelers who need to be put into isolation. Since September, the city’s Health Department has had the ability to test blood for Ebola and make a diagnosis within four to six hours.

Travelers who have no fever, symptoms or known history of exposure will receive health information for self-monitoring.

Buntouradu Bamgoura, 54, from Guinea, said she was examined by a health worker after arriving at Kennedy on a flight from Paris on Saturday afternoon. “They did take my temperature,” Ms. Bamgoura said as she left the airport.

She said that the examination was not burdensome and that she was not taken to a separate room. “It took like 15 minutes,” she said, adding that she felt fine and was sent on her way with a list of symptoms to watch for.

Beginning next week, Washington Dulles, Newark Liberty, Chicago O’Hare and Atlanta international airports will employ the same screenings as those put in place at J.F.K. About 150 people enter the United States every day from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, and nearly all of them come through those five airports.

Since at least the 14th century, when the bubonic plague devastated Europe, posting medical officers at a port of entry has been one of the main tools used to try to halt the spread of disease.

An outbreak of yellow fever in 1878 led the United States Congress to grant the federal government the authority to order a quarantine to prevent its spread.

Those powers were enhanced in 1892 to try to prevent another scourge, cholera.

For several decades, starting in the 1970s, the quarantine program in the United States was neglected until another threat, severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, prompted Congress and the C.D.C. to bolster the program.

Ebola cannot be transmitted through the air, but rather only through bodily fluids; people are contagious only when they are symptomatic. There is no vaccine.

Stopping an outbreak requires isolating infected patients, tracing all contacts and then isolating all of those who begin to show symptoms. That process must be repeated until there are no more new cases.

Nobel Peace Prize to Pakistan’s Malala Yousufzai and India’s Kailash Satyarthi on Friday

Vaniceseasonal's Blog

Thanks ; Jawed Naqvi
Dawn
Publication Date : 11-10-2014

By awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to Pakistan’s Malala Yousufzai and India’s Kailash Satyarthi on Friday, at a time when their militaries were locked in a volatile spiral on the borders, the Nobel Committee has shone the torch on a more real enemy the countries jointly confront — jeopardised future for millions of their children, analysts said.

Ms Yousufzai did not lose time to broach the idea of India-Pakistan peace, saying the award had emboldened her to invite the two prime ministers to the prize ceremony in Stockholm in December. Mr Satyarthi and Ms Yousufzai spoke on the phone and decided to persuade their leaders to come to Stockholm where the two would hopefully end their self-imposed aloofness with each other.

“We both agreed that every child goes to school and every child gets quality education,” Ms Yousufzai said in a…

View original post 560 more words

Nobel Peace Prize to Pakistan’s Malala Yousufzai and India’s Kailash Satyarthi on Friday

Thanks ; Jawed Naqvi
Dawn
Publication Date : 11-10-2014

By awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to Pakistan’s Malala Yousufzai and India’s Kailash Satyarthi on Friday, at a time when their militaries were locked in a volatile spiral on the borders, the Nobel Committee has shone the torch on a more real enemy the countries jointly confront — jeopardised future for millions of their children, analysts said.

Ms Yousufzai did not lose time to broach the idea of India-Pakistan peace, saying the award had emboldened her to invite the two prime ministers to the prize ceremony in Stockholm in December. Mr Satyarthi and Ms Yousufzai spoke on the phone and decided to persuade their leaders to come to Stockholm where the two would hopefully end their self-imposed aloofness with each other.

“We both agreed that every child goes to school and every child gets quality education,” Ms Yousufzai said in a televised message to her supporters. “Other than this we decided – as he is from India and I am from Pakistan – that we will try to build strong relationship between our countries,” she said of her talk with Mr Satyarthi.

They discussed the tensions on the borders and said this was not how they wanted their countries to be.

“The tension that is going on is really disappointing, and I am really sad because we want both the countries to have dialogue, to have talks about peace, to think about progress, to think about development rather than fighting with each other,” Ms Yousufzai said.

She asked Mr Satyarthi to request Prime Minister Narendra Modi as she would Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to join them at the prize ceremony. “I really believe in peace. I really believe in tolerance and patience, and it is really important for the progress of the two countries that they have peace and they have good relations.”

Both Ms Yousufzai, lauded as a brave advocate of girls’ education in Pakistan, and Mr Satyarthi who has fought child slavery and exploitation of children as forced labourers in India, have spoken for their causes at the United Nations.

“This news should be broadcast to the militaries and their political colluders on both sides,” said Om Thanvi, editor of Delhi’s premier Hindi daily Jansatta. “The prize comes as a lovely irony, and it is so timely that it almost seems planned to herald a specific agenda of peace between our two countries.”

Answering a question from The Hindu on whether he saw the prize contributing to peace in the subcontinent, particularly with strain at the border, Nobel Committee chairman and former Norwegian Prime Minister Thorbjørn Jagland said that “contribution to resolving conflict anywhere was welcome”.

At the age of 17, Malala is now the youngest Nobel Prize winner ever. She and Mr Satyarthi will share the $1.11million prize to be awarded in Oslo on December 10.

This year there were 278 nominees for the prize, more than any other year till date. The other major contenders for the prize this year were Edward Snowden, who exposed the surveillance activities of US intelligence agencies; Pope Francis, the first non-European Pope in modern times; Denis Mukwege, a Congolese leader who worked with rape victims; and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

While Ms Yousufzai is known for her human rights advocacy for education and for women in her native Swat Valley, where the local Taliban had at times banned girls from attending school, Indian analysts said there was a lot she had to offer as a role model for millions of disadvantaged Indian girls.

Similarly, they said, Mr Satyarthi could become an important ally of Pakistan’s National Human Rights Commission and other bodies that have been fighting child labour, which targets girls and boys in the most despicable ways.

Mr Satyarthi would find that children in Pakistan too are engaged in child labour, including in agriculture and in the worst forms of child labour in bonded labour. Data from the government’s 2012-2013 National Labour Force Survey indicate that the majority of child workers reside in rural areas.

Ms Yousufzai would find that millions of Indian girls of different religions, castes and regions face problems that are similar to the ones she confronted at home — a patriarchal resistance to their growth.

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