United States ambassador Samantha Power arrived in Guinea’s capital Conakry on Sunday to begin a tour of West African countries affected by Ebola. From Guinea, Power will head to Sierra Leone and Liberia to meet with health workers and identify the most pressing gaps in resources.
The three countries have been hardest-hit by the hemorrhagic fever, which has infected more than 10,000 people and killed nearly 5,000, according to the most recent figures from the World Health Organization (WHO).
“We are not on track right now to bend the curve…It is not a virus that is going to remain contained within these three affected countries if we don’t deal with it at its source,” Power told news agency Reuters. She said she would take note of what help was needed and report back to US President Barack Obama, “who’s got world leaders now on speed dial on this issue.”
The last U.S. Marines unit and final British combat troops in Afghanistan officially ended their operations on Sunday as they packed up to leave the country and transferred a massive military base to the Afghan military. The American and British flags were lowered and folded up for the final time at the regional headquarters of the international military, 13 years after the toppling of the Taliban’s radical Islamist regime launched America’s longest war.
The timing of the troops’ withdrawal from the base in the strategic province of Helmand was not released for security reasons. Camp Leatherneck is the largest U.S. base to be handed over to Afghan control as the coalition ends its combat mission at the end of the year, leaving most of the fight against a resilient Taliban insurgency to Afghan army and police.
While people in the USA may not hold Kenny G in high regard as a musician, the Chinese adore his … um, work.
So, when the sax player expressed support for the pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong during recent visit, the protesters were overjoyed. Mainland officials, however, were less than pleased and has some stern words about the popular figure siding with Occupy Central.
The Occupy protestor, who did not want to be named, told South China Morning Post, “It’s a bit disappointing. Kenny G has in effect said that what he told the protesters was not what he meant. He said, ‘As an American we take democracy for granted… You guys hang in there. Hope you guys will win eventually.’”
Kenny G’s buddy, Jackie Chan, would not approve.*
The witness, one of several fans who spoke with the star, said that while he understood that Kenny G may not fully appreciate the Occupy situation, “Judging from what he told protesters, I would hardly interpret it as him not supporting them. I appreciate he might be under pressure from his agent, but he is a popular and widely-respected musician. His response and the way he handles this is disappointing.” He also added, “I guess it’s beyond the imagination of all people that such a trivial thing would end up becoming an international issue, that even the Chinese foreign ministry would give comments.”
Nothing like standing firm for one’s principles, Kenny.
The disappearance of several top officials from North Korean state media in recent weeks has prompted fears Kim Jong-un has ordered another “extensive purge” during his period away from the spotlight.
Kim vanished from public view for 40 days, sparking rumours of illness, power struggles in Pyongyang and even a coup. Now, speculation is growing that the leader may have instead used this time to oversee another major purge, after executing his uncle and other officials last year.
Tens of thousands of people from Kobane have fled months of fighting between besieging IS forces and Syrian Kurd defenders.
Until now Turkey has refused to allow Kurdish fighters to cross into Syria.
Violent clashes erupted in Hong Kong early on Sunday for a second night, deepening a sense of impasse between a government with limited options and a pro-democracy movement increasingly willing to confront police.
The worst political crisis in Hong Kong since Britain handed the free-wheeling capitalist city back to China in 1997 entered its fourth week with no sign of a resolution despite talks scheduled for two hours on Tuesday between the government and student protest leaders.
Beijing has signaled through Hong Kong’s leaders that it is not willing to reverse a decision in August that effectively denies the financial hub the full democracy the protesters are demanding.
Border guards of the rival Koreas exchanged gunfire Sunday along their heavily fortified border in the second such shootout in less than 10 days, South Korean officials said. The shootout occurred after South Korean soldiers broadcast a warning and fired warning shots against about 10 North Korean soldiers who were approaching the military demarcation line inside the Demilitarized Zone that bisects the Korean Peninsula, according to a statement from South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Two shots believed to have been fired by those North Korean soldiers were found at a South Korean guard post and South Korean soldiers fired toward the North, the statement said.
To the sound of drums and a children’s choir, Mitsubishi Aircraft on Saturday rolled out Japan’s first commercial jet in half a century, amid doubts it can attain an ambition to sell more than 2,000 aircraft in a competitive market segment.
Developed by a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries that includes Toyota Corp as a shareholder, the $42-million regional jet, with just under 100 seats, is Japan’s second bid to break into the commercial aircraft market.
“This has been a long-held dream of ours, and one that all of Japan has waited for,” Hideaki Omiya, chairman of Mitsubishi Heavy, said at a factory in Nagoya in central Japan, which was also the site of the roll-out, 75 years ago, of the prototype of the World War Two-era Zero fighter plane.
Community leaders in the hometown of more than 200 kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls are cautiously optimistic about news of a cease-fire with the Islamic extremists who abducted their daughters six months ago.
Bana Lawan, chairman of Chibok Local Government Area, says there will be no celebration until they see the girls, “and then we will know it is true.”
Community leader Pogu Bitrus says “people rejoiced, but with caution.”
The advance of Islamic State fighters on Kobani stalled on Thursday according to a monitoring group, after U.S.-led coalition warplanes launched their heaviest bombardment yet on the militants, who have been assaulting the Syrian border town for nearly a month.
Last week Turkish and U.S. officials said Islamic State were on the verge of taking Kobani from its heavily outgunned Kurdish defenders, after seizing strategic points deep inside the town.
A dramatic ramping up of coalition air strikes reached a new crescendo in recent days, with Islamic State targets around Kobani being hit nearly 40 times in 48 hours. The barrage has halted the militants’ advance, with Kurdish sources saying that Kurdish YPG fighters had managed to retake some territory.