Category Archives: International

Haiti Death Toll Rises to 1,000

By : Jodeph Guyler Delva

Haiti started burying some of its dead in mass graves in the wake of Hurricane Matthew, a government official said on Sunday, as cholera spread in the devastated southwest and the death toll from the storm rose to 1,000 people.

The powerful hurricane, the fiercest Caribbean storm in nearly a decade, slammed into Haiti on Tuesday with 145 mile-per-hour (233 kph) winds and torrential rains that left 1.4 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said.

A Reuters tally of numbers from local officials showed that 1,000 people were killed by the storm in Haiti, which has a population of about 10 million and is the poorest country in the Americas.

The official death toll from the central civil protection agency is 336, a slower count because officials must visit each village to confirm the numbers.

Authorities had to start burying the dead in mass graves in Jeremie because the bodies were starting to decompose, said Kedner Frenel, the most senior central government official in the Grand’Anse region on Haiti’s western peninsula.

Frenel said 522 people were killed in Grand’Anse alone. A tally of deaths reported by mayors from 15 of 18 municipalities in Sud Department on the south side of the peninsula showed 386 people there. In the rest of the country, 92 people were killed, the same tally showed.

Frenel said there was great concern about cholera spreading, and that authorities were focused on getting water, food and medication to the thousands of people living in shelters.

Cholera causes severe diarrhea and can kill within hours if untreated. It is spread through contaminated water and has a short incubation period, which leads to rapid outbreaks.

Our Prayers To Faculty and Students Affected In Kabul

Compliments of Al Jazeera

Explosions and gunfire rocked the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul on Wednesday, as armed men attacked the campus, according to an official and a student.

“Several gunmen attacked the American University in Kabul and there are reports of gunfire and explosions,” the official said on Wednesday.

“[The attackers] are inside the compound and there are foreign professors along with hundreds of students.”

Ahmad Shaheer, a student at the university, told the Reuters news agency that he was trapped inside the university.

“We are stuck inside our classroom and there are bursts of gunfire,” he said.

No group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack, which comes as the Taliban step up their summer fighting season against the Western-backed Kabul government.

The attack comes after two professors at the university – an American and Australian – were kidnapped in the heart of the capital earlier this month, the latest in a series of abductions of foreigners in the conflict-torn country.

The management of the elite American University of Afghanistan, which opened in 2006 and caters to more than 1,700 students, was not immediately reachable for comment.

Suicide Bomber Kills 38 In Yemen

Compliments of Reuters 

Three coordinated Islamic State bomb attacks on Yemeni government forces killed 38 people in the southern port city of Mukalla on Monday, medics and security sources said.

They said 24 other people were wounded in the bombings, which occurred just as soldiers were about to break their day-long fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Islamic State militants claimed responsibility for the attack via their online news agency, Amaq.

The first explosion occurred as an attacker detonated his suicide vest at a checkpoint on Mukalla’s western approaches.

A second blast came from a bomb-laden car at the military intelligence headquarters, and the last was an improvised explosive device which went off as soldiers were about to begin their evening meal.

Mukalla, capital of the vast eastern province of Hadramout and an important shipping hub, was the center of a wealthy mini-state that Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) built up over the past year as it took control of an almost 600-km (370-mile) band of Arabian Sea coastline.

In late April, Yemeni and Emirati soldiers wrested back Mukalla from AQAP, which put up little resistance before withdrawing its forces.

Islamic State’s Yemen branch carried out a suicide bombing in the southern port city of Aden on May 23 which killed 40 army recruits, the latest in a string of attacks claimed by the group.

Islamist militants have gained territory and freedom to operate thanks to a war raging for over a year in which government forces have been pitted against Iran-allied Houthi rebels who control the capital Sanaa.

Yemeni security officials believe there is an overlap between adherents of Al Qaeda and Islamic State, though the two groups are ideological rivals and compete for recruits.

“Sleeper cells still exist in Mukalla and we are working against them every day,” a security official said.

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Active Shooter: Four Killed, Six Wounded in Shooting Attack at Tel Aviv Shopping Center read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.723941

Compliments of Haaretz

Four people were killed and six others were wounded in a shooting attack at a food and shopping center in Tel Aviv on Wednesday, after two Palestinian gunmen opened fire on passersby. Netanyahu called a security briefing in Tel Aviv.
All of the wounded were evacuated to nearby hospitals. One of the shooters was captured by police and taken in for questioning, and the other was taken to Ichilov Hospital in serious but stable condition.

Five of wounded have been evacuated to Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital and another was taken to Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer. Three are in moderate condition after they underwent surgery and two are in light condition. The casualty at Sheba is in moderate condition.

Police said they had no prior knowledge of the two Palestinian attackers, who entered Israel illegally. Palestinian sources said the attackers were members of the same family and are from the Hebron area.
The attack took place at Sarona Market, an upscale food and retail center located opposite to the military headquarters in central Tel Aviv and near government buildings. Police said they received a call at 9:30 P.M. regarding shootings heard at Sarona. As emergency forces were making their way to the scene, there was another of a shooting incident at near the food and shopping center.
According to initial reports, two armed men dressed in suits opened fire at passersby near the Benedict restaurant. A shooter then reportedly opened fire at the nearby Ha’arbaa Street, where he was eventually captured by police.

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Earthquake Hits Japan

Compliments of Independent 

A powerful earthquake has struck southern Japan, killing at least two people and injuring hundreds of others.

The quake hit at 9.26 pm and was centered seven miles east from the town of Mashiki in the Kumamoto prefecture, according to Japan’s Meteorological Agency,

Initial reports placed the quake at a magnitude 6.4, but this was later downgraded to 6.2 by the US Geological Survey.

A number of “strong” aftershocks have also been reported.

One person was killed after being crushed by a collapsing building, and the other by a fire that broke out after the quake.

At least 400 people are being treated at local hospitals, public broadcaster NHK said. Others are feared trapped under fallen structures.

“We will do our utmost and carry on with life-saving and rescue operations throughout the night,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters.

japan-mashiki.jpg
The earthquake hit close to the town of Mashiki, in the Kumamoto district (Google)

Around 20 houses have collapsed, according to Japanese broadcaster NHK.

A fire also broke out in Mashiki, which has a population of around 34,000 people, and local television showed footage of firefighters tackling a blaze at a building.

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Zika Virus: Outbreak ‘Likely to Spread Across Americas’ Says WHO

Compliments of BBC

The Zika virus is likely to spread across nearly all of the Americas, the World Health Organization has warned.

The infection, which causes symptoms including mild fever, conjunctivitis and headache, has already been found in 21 countries in the Caribbean, North and South America.

It has been linked to thousands of babies being born with underdeveloped brains and some countries have advised women not to get pregnant.

No treatment or vaccine is available.

The virus was first detected in 1947 in monkeys in Africa. There have since been small, short-lived outbreaks in people on the continent, parts of Asia and in the Pacific Islands.

Zika spread

But it has spread on a massive scale in the Americas, where transmission was first detected in Brazil in May 2015.

Large numbers of the mosquitoes which carry the virus and a lack of any natural immunity is thought to be helping the infection to spread rapidly.

Mosquito

Zika is transmitted by the bite of Aedes mosquitoes, which are found in all countries in the region except Canada and Chile.

In a statement, The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the regional office of the WHO, said: “PAHO anticipates that Zika virus will continue to spread and will likely reach all countries and territories of the region where Aedes mosquitoes are found.”

PAHO is advising people to protect themselves from the mosquitoes, which also spread dengue fever and chikungunya.

It also confirmed the virus had been detected in semen and there was “one case of possible person-to-person sexual transmission” but further evidence was still needed.

Around 80% of infections do not result in symptoms.

But the biggest concern is the potential impact on babies developing in the womb. There have been around 3,500 reported cases of microcephaly – babies born with tiny brains – in Brazil alone since October.

PAHO warned pregnant women to be “especially careful” and to see their doctor before and after visiting areas affected by the virus.

Graphic showing babies' head size

Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador and Jamaica last week recommended women delay pregnancies until more was known about the virus.

Although officially PAHO says “any decision to defer pregnancy is an individual one between a woman, her partner and her healthcare provider”.

Maria Conceicao Queiroz said there was a sense of fear where she lives near the Olympic Park in Rio de Janeiro: “Every one is at risk, we’re all scared of getting Zika.

“We’re surrounded with dirty water, polluted water, but what can we do but put repellent on, to try to keep the mosquitoes away.”

Global threat

Prof Laura Rodrigues, a fellow of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences and from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said some data suggested that up to one-in-fifty babies had birth defects in one of the worst hit areas – Pernambuco state in Brazil.

She said: “Until November we knew nothing, this has caught us by surprise and we’re trying to learn as fast as we can.

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