8.19.14:  WHO says Ebola has killed more than 1,200


GENEVA (AP) — The U.N. health agency says the Ebola outbreak in West Africa has now killed more than 1,200 people.


The World Health Organization says the death toll has risen to 1,229 from among the 2,240 reported cases in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.


The latest figures include 84 additional deaths from 113 new cases reported between August 14 and 16.


Agency officials warn that measures to restrict travel in heavily infected areas, including quarantines of whole villages and counties, are limiting access to food and other basic necessities in many cases.


8.18.14:  Missouri governor sends National Guard to Ferguson


FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) — Missouri’s governor says the National Guard will help “in restoring peace and order” to the town of Ferguson, where there’ve been protests, some violent, since an unarmed black teen was shot and killed by a white police officer.


Gov. Jay Nixon’s order to send in the Guard came after Sunday night’s violence in which police used tear gas to clear protesters off the streets well ahead of a curfew.


Police say they were responding to vandalism, looting, gunfire and some people tossing Molotov cocktails.

8.14.14 UN Says Iraq Humanitarian Crisis at Highest Level 


BAGHDAD (AP) — The United Nations has announced its highest level of emergency for the humanitarian crisis in Iraq. Islamic militants have overrun much of the country’s north and west and have driven out hundreds of thousands from their homes.

The U.N. declaration will trigger additional goods, funds and assets to respond to the needs of the displaced.

The U.S. and Iraqi military dropped food and water supplies to tens of thousands of those refugees who were trapped on a mountain range.

But Kurds from neighboring Syria battled insurgents to open a corridor to allow 45,000 of those refugees to escape.

8-13-14  Muslim Cleric Chides Islamic State for Ruining Future for Muslim Governments.

Egypt’s top cleric says the extremist Islamic State group paved the way for the destruction of Muslim nations. The group has been on a rampage in Iraq and Syria. Grand Mufti Shawki Allam, describes Islamic State as a “terrorist” organization which is “violating all the Islamic principles and the intentions of the Shariah Islamic law.

In his remarks, which were carried by Egypt’s state news agency late Tuesday, Allam also said the “bloody extremist group” had tarnished the image of Islam and paved the way for the destruction of Muslim nations.

The Islamic State is an al-Qaida breakaway group that has seized much of northeastern Syria and huge tracts of neighboring Iraq.  The group uses brutal tactics including religious cleansing and has has been accused of deliberately killing women and children.  The group has publicly stated they will fly their flag over the White House.


8.8.14:   Another 200,000 Iraqis displaced


BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraqi and Kurdish officials are welcoming the U.S. decision to authorize airdrops of humanitarian aid and airstrikes in northern Iraq to counter advancing Sunni radical militants.


A string of victories across the north of the country by the radical group Islamic State and their allies have sent Iraq’s minorities fleeing for their lives, exacerbating the country’s already-dire humanitarian crisis with another 200,000 people displaced.

8.8.14:   3-day truce ends


GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Palestinian officials say one of Israel’s airstrikes this morning hit the backyard of a mosque, killing a 10-year-old boy.


Cross-border attacks resumed today following a three-day truce, beginning with rockets from Gaza fired at Israel.


The Israeli army says by midday, militants had fired some 33 rockets.


It’s not clear if the renewed fighting will derail talks in Cairo aimed at ending the violence.

8.7.14:  Ebola outbreak in Africa


(AP) — Nigeria’s health minister says an emergency center to deal with the Ebola virus should be “fully functional” today.


Authorities yesterday disclosed five more cases of the virus and the death of a nurse who had treated a Liberian-American man who died of Ebola last month.


The World Health Organization is meeting to decide whether to declare an international public health emergency.


Authorities in Liberia are using troops as they step up efforts to enforce quarantines of communities infected by Ebola after the president declared a national state of emergency.


President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has said that some civil liberties may be suspended as authorities try to stamp out the disease blamed for more than 900 deaths in four West African countries this year.


By Thursday morning, soldiers had deployed to the town of Klay about 25 miles (40 kilometers) west of Liberia’s capital, Monrovia, in an effort to stop people from three Ebola-infected counties from coming closer to the capital.


National Health Workers Association president Joseph Tamba said the state of emergency is necessary but that people should have received advance notice to buy food ahead of the movement restrictions.

8.7.14:  Russia bans most US food imports


MOSCOW (AP) — Russia is banning most food imports from the West in retaliation for sanctions over Ukraine.


It’s a sweeping move that will cost Western farmers billions of dollars but could also lead to empty shelves in Russian cities.


Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev says the ban covers all imports of meat, fish, milk and milk products and fruit and vegetables from the United States, the European Union, Australia, Canada and Norway.

8.7.14:  Russia allows Snowden to stay another 3 years


MOSCOW (AP) — Edward Snowden’s lawyer says the NSA whistleblower has been granted permission to stay in Russia for three more years.


Snowden last year was granted temporary asylum of one year in Russia, but that had run out on Aug. 1.


His lawyer, Analtoly Kucherena, was quoted by Russian news agencies on Thursday as saying Snowden now has been granted residency for three more years.


8.6.14:  High ranking General killed


KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — An insider attack at a military training facility in Afghanistan has claimed the life of an American major general. The Army has identified him as Maj. Gen. Harold Greene. A gunman firing indiscriminately wounded about 15 people including a German general and two Afghan generals. Insider attacks rose sharply in 2012, with more than 60 coalition troops — mostly Americans — killed in 40-plus attacks.

Meanwhile another insider attack is being reported in Afghanistan.  This time the victims are Afghan police.  A local official says a policeman turned his gun on his colleagues at a checkpoint in southern Uruzgan province last night, killing 7.  The official says the attacker escaped the scene in a police car.