Ebola crisis ‘to take six months to control

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The outbreak of Ebola in West Africa will take at least six months to bring under control, the medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) says.

Speaking in Geneva, MSF President Joanne Lui called for strengthened international co-ordination led by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Earlier, WHO said the scale of the outbreak appeared to be “vastly underestimated”.

It said that “extraordinary measures” were needed.

The epidemic began in Guinea in February and has since spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria.

So far, 1,069 people have died.

Ms Lui said that controlling the outbreak in Liberia – which has recorded more than 300 deaths – was vital to containing the epidemic.

“If we don’t stabilise Liberia, we will never stabilise the region,” she said.

Health systems in West Africa are being severely strained by the Ebola outbreak
“In terms of timeline, we’re not talking in terms of weeks, we’re talking in terms of months. We need a commitment for months, at least I would say six months, and I’m being, I would say, very optimistic.”

Ms Lui also called for more action from the international community, led by WHO – the UN’s health agency.

“All governments must act. It must be done now if we want to contain this epidemic,” she said.

“WHO needs to take leadership and bring some strong elements into the field at all operational levels. It’s already started but it needs to happen at all levels.”

Ebola is transmitted by direct contact with the body fluids of a person who is infected.

Initial flu-like symptoms can lead to external haemorrhaging from areas such as eyes and gums, and internal bleeding which can lead to organ failure.

The WHO recently said that the risk of transmission of Ebola during air travel remained low, as the disease is not airborne.

As a consequence, Kenya Airways has rejected pressure to suspend its flights to the Ebola-hit states of West Africa.

Kenyan media response to continued flights to West Africa

Mutuma Mathiu in The Daily Nation describes the move as “reckless” while The Star says the airline is “holding on to its lucrative West African routes as if they were the only business on its portfolio”.

“The government needs to get serious. An Ebola outbreak… would result in serious long term-damage” to the national brand, it continues.

The Standard notes that while it makes business sense for Kenya Airways to take advantage of West African destinations, the “economic escapade could be costly. The safety of Kenyans supersedes any profits and must come first.”

However, George Bodo in Kenya’s Business Daily recalls the carrier’s ailing share prices. “In calling on Kenya Airways to suspend nearly half of its high-margin flights, someone should, ideally, be ready with some form of compensation. Otherwise, its stock price will continue being more vulnerable in the coming weeks.”

The WHO said in a statement that its staff had seen evidence that the number of reported cases and deaths did not reflect the scale of the crisis.

WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl said that experts going house-to-house in Kenema, Sierra Leone, in search of infected people were discovering more cases.

“We have seen with the opening of new treatment centres, many more Ebola patients come forward, and so this has given rise to the belief that there are probably a lot of patients out there that we haven’t traced or contacted yet,” he said.

He said that an 80-bed treatment centre that recently opened in Liberia’s capital Monrovia filled up immediately and that the next day, dozens more people turned up to be treated.

Tarnue Karbbar, of the aid group Plan International in northern Liberia, said medical teams were not able to document all the cases erupting.

He said many of the sick were being hidden at home by relatives, and many victims were buried before teams could get to the area.

The outbreak is also affecting the Youth Olympic Games about to start in China. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has ruled that athletes from Ebola-hit countries will not be allowed to compete in combat sports or in the pool, and Sierra Leone and Nigeria have withdrawn from the Games.

Symptoms include high fever, bleeding and central nervous system damage
Fatality rate can reach 90% – but the current outbreak is about 55%
Incubation period is two to 21 days
There is no vaccine or cure
Supportive care such as rehydrating patients who have diarrhoea and vomiting can help recovery
Fruit bats are considered to be virus’ natural host

Patient quarantined with Ebola-like symptoms in Canada.

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A patient back from Nigeria who showed symptoms of fever and flu — possible signs of Ebola — was put in isolation in a Toronto-area hospital, Canadian health officials said.

Nigeria is one of several countries in West Africa that has had confirmed cases of Ebola, in the world’s largest ever outbreak of the deadly hemorrhagic fever that has seen 961 deaths and nearly 1,800 people infected since the beginning of the year.

The unnamed male patient was being treated at the William Osler Health System’s Brampton Civic Hospital in a suburb of Toronto.

“As a precautionary measure, Osler put in heightened infection control measures in the emergency department including isolating the patient,” the hospital said in a statement, released late on Friday.

Hospital doctors “are working closely” with public health officials “to confirm a diagnosis.”

In addition to quarantining the patient, the hospital said it enacted other strict precautionary measures.

“To date, there are no confirmed cases of Ebola in Ontario and the risk to Ontarians remains very low,” said Graham Pollett, the province’s Interim Chief Medical Officer of Health.

He also said that Ontario’s health care system “is prepared to respond should an individual arrive with symptoms that could suggest a disease, such as Ebola.”

He cautioned that initial Ebola symptoms “are similar to many more common diseases,” adding that health care providers “have been advised to be on heightened alert for Ebola cases.”

Another senior Ontario health official, Eric Hoskins, said in a statement that with the “experience and lessons learned from the SARS epidemic, our hospitals have sophisticated infection control systems and procedures … and are fully equipped to deal with any potential cases of Ebola.”

The worst affected countries so far have been Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, but Nigeria has also had nine confirmed cases of Ebola so far.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan on Friday declared a national emergency several hours after the World Health Organization called the epidemic a global health crisis.

Sierra Leone’s top Ebola doctor dies from virus

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The doctor leading Sierra Leone’s fight against the worst Ebola outbreak on record died from the virus on Tuesday, the country’s chief medical officer said.

The death of Sheik Umar Khan, who was credited with treating more than 100 patients, follows those of dozens of local health workers and the infection of two American medics in neighboring Liberia, highlighting the dangers faced by staff trying to halt the disease’s spread across West Africa.

Ebola is believed to have killed 672 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone since the outbreak began in February, according to the World Health Organisation.

The contagious disease, which has no known cure, has symptoms that include vomiting, diarrhea and internal and external bleeding. The fatality rate of the current outbreak is around 60 percent although Ebola can kill up to 90 percent of those who catch it.

The 39-year-old Khan, hailed as a “national hero” by the Health Ministry, had been moved to a treatment ward run by the medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres in the far north of Sierra Leone.

He died less than a week after his diagnosis was announced, and shortly before President Ernest Bai Koroma arrived to visit his treatment center in the northeastern town of Kailahun.

“It is a big and irreparable loss to Sierra Leone as he was the only specialist the country had in viral hemorrhagic fevers,” said the chief medical officer, Brima Kargbo.

FOOTBALL BAN

Weak health systems are struggling to contain the disease despite international help ranging from doctors to safety equipment.

Guinea, where the outbreak originated, has seen new cases in the capital Conakry and in the eastern mining town of Siguiri, where a new isolation ward has opened. In both areas, the infection spread through contact with visitors from Sierra Leone, according to Aboubacar Sidiki Diakite, who leads Guinea’s efforts to stop the outbreak.

In neighboring Liberia, the national soccer authority suspended matches nationwide, a spokesman said.

While the WHO has stopped short of recommending travel restrictions, the Togolese airline Asky has suspended flights to and from Sierra Leone and Liberia as concern over the spread of the virus has increased since the first death was reported last week in Nigeria’s coastal city of Lagos, home to 21 million people.

The dead man was Patrick Sawyer, a consultant for Liberia’s Finance Ministry in his 40s who had flown to Nigeria with Asky via its home hub, Lome.

His wife Decontee told the U.S. channel NBC News on Tuesday that he was an American from Minnesota.

Asky said it would no longer take on food in Guinea, and that passengers leaving the Guinean capital Conakry would be checked for signs of the disease before departure.

The airline added that medical teams would be deployed to screen passengers in transit through Lome.

Nigeria’s largest carrier, Arik Air, has suspended flights to Liberia and Sierra Leone because of the Ebola risk.

On Monday, a U.S. administration official said President Barack Obama was receiving updates and noted that U.S. agencies had stepped up assistance to help contain the virus.

Lampard joins MLS side New York City

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Former Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard has joined Major League Soccer side New York City FC on a two-year deal.
Lampard, 36, was released by the Blues at the end of last season after his contract expired to end his 13-year association with the London side.
He moved from West Ham to Chelsea in June 2001 in an £11m transfer and became the club’s record goalscorer with 211 goals in his 649 appearances.
“New York ticks all the right boxes for me. It’s very exciting,” said Lampard.
“Chelsea will always have a huge place in my heart, but it’s now a new challenge.
“I had a fantastic 13 years there and can look back at that with pride, but it was a great time for me and Chelsea to move on.
“Having seen the vision of this club, I have seen a real long-term plan and I want to be involved and I want to keep on challenging myself.”
Newly-formed New York City FC will play in their first MLS season in 2015.
The franchise, which is owned by Manchester City, are currently building their squad and have already signed ex-Spain striker David Villa from La Liga winners Atletico Madrid.
However, Villa, 32, will spend three months on loan from October to December at Australia A-League side Melbourne City and Lampard could look for a similar loan spell, or train in England to maintain his fitness.
New York sporting director Claudio Reyna, who played in Scotland with Rangers and in the Premier League with Sunderland and Manchester City, described the deal as “really exciting”.
“Frank Lampard is one of the greatest players in Premier League history and in European and world football over the last 15 years,” he added.
“He is a leader and we are extremely delighted to have him here.”
During his time at Stamford Bridge, Lampard was Chelsea’s vice-captain and won the Premier League title three times, the Champions League once and the Europa League once.
He also won four FA Cups and the League Cup twice and has also gained 106 England caps throughout his career, with his last international appearance coming in the 0-0 draw against Costa Rica in the World Cup.
England captain Steven Gerrard announced his retirement from international football last week and Lampard admitted he would have to consider his own future with the national team.
He added: “In terms of England, I’ve not had a lot of time after the World Cup. Getting my personal future was the most important, now I have to think about England.
“Now I know where I will be playing my football, I can make that decision and I will do soon.”

Top earning actors of the year.

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The movie industry is dominated by eye catching movies, spell bound thrillers and action packed comic movies. As much as the movie is rolling in day after day, so does the actors earning rise role after role either as a villian or a superhero. One superhero tops this chart and he is no other than Robert Downey Jr of the “IRON MAN franchise”. Here is a quick run down of the list according to forbes.com.

The 49-year-old star made most of his money from June 2013 to June 2014 from “Iron Man 3,” which made $1.2 billion at the box office and assured him the top spot again in the annual ranking.

“As Iron Man, he’s the driving force behind four of Marvel’s biggest hits, including ‘The Avengers,'” Forbes.com said.

Former wrestler Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, 42, who starred in “G.I. Joe: Retaliation,” and the “Fast and Furious,” films, jumped into second place this year from fifth in 2013 with earnings of $52 million, followed by “Hangover,” star Bradley Cooper, 39, with $46 million.

“His work in the lucrative ‘Hangover,’ franchise has given him the ability to take risks with smaller films like ‘Silver Linings Playbook,’ and ‘American Hustle,'” Forbes said about Cooper.

“The Wolf of Wall Street,” star Leonardo DiCaprio, 39, had a lucrative year with two hit films and came in fourth at $39 million in earnings, while Australian “Thor” actor Chris Hemsworth, rounded out the top five with $37 million.

DiCaprio was a driving force behind “The Wolf of Wall Street,” which made $395 million worldwide and he also starred in “The Great Gatsby,” which took in $351 million globally.

Mark Wahlberg, 43, who was in fourth place last year thanks to the comedy hit “Ted,” just made the top 10 this year along with actor Will Smith, 45. Each actor earned an estimated $32 million.

Forbes.com compiled the rankings and estimated earnings by talking to managers, producers and agents.

Shell offers 30 million pounds to settle 2011 Nigeria oil spills

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Royal Dutch Shell is ready to pay up to 30 million pounds ($51 million) in compensation for two oil spills in Nigeria in 2008 after a London court rejected a larger claim, sources involved in the case said on Friday.

Around 15,000 residents of the Bodo community in the Niger Delta represented by law firm Leigh Day appealed in 2011 to a London court for more than 300 million pounds in compensation.

Claimants say that the two spills resulted in the leakage of of 500,000 barrels of oil but Shell estimated the volume at around 4,000 barrels.

Shell has already offered some compensation for the spills.

The sources said a Shell offer from September 2013 to settle the case for 30 million pounds remained on the table. The lawyer representing the claimants on Friday rejected the sum.

“Shell have consistently sought to underestimate the damage whilst paying only lip service to an apology. These spills, which are some of the largest oil spills in history, have devastated a community of many thousands of people and ravaged the environment,” Martyn Day said in a statement.

“The offer of £30m has been offered before and has been flatly refused by our clients who found it insulting and derisory, nothing has changed this view.”

The London High Court on Friday rejected the claimants’ attempts to expand the scope of the compensation, ruling that the pipeline operator could not be held responsible for damage caused by oil theft.

A trial is planned to start in May 2015 in Nigeria, but Shell urged the claimants to reach a settlement beforehand.

“From the outset, we’ve accepted responsibility for the two deeply regrettable operational spills in Bodo,” Mutiu Sunmonu, Managing Director of the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Ltd (SPDC), said in a statement.

“We hope the community will now direct their UK legal representatives to stop wasting even more time pursuing enormously exaggerated claims and consider sensible and fair compensation offers,” Sunmonu said.

Massive oil theft, sabotage of infrastructure and leaks from ageing pipelines are cutting into the profits of oil majors operating in Nigeria, as well as damaging the public finances of the African nation.

How wise investment and careful spending made people millionaires.

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Doug Nordman, 53, and his wife spent their careers in the U.S. Navy. During their working years, they built robust portfolios and lived frugally, saving over 50% of their incomes at some points. As he prepared to retire from the military, he realized his investments could actually support him, without having to take a civilian job. Today, he and his wife live in Hawaii, where he spends his time surfing and completing do-it-your projects around his home. He’s chronicled his journey to early retirement on his web site, The Military Guide.

Ray Hinchliffe, Jr., now in his late sixties, saw his salary grow from just $67 a week to more than $100,000 a year over the course of his career working at grocery stores, first as a clerk and later as a manager. Through disciplined saving, he built a sizable nest egg under the guidance of his financial advisor. He says one of the best things he did for his finances was purchasing a home as soon as he was able to. Today, he owns multiple properties and enjoys a relaxing retirement.

Retirement
Hinchliffe: I find myself being in a very good position. I now have been retired for over 12 years. I’ve managed to go from $67 a week [in earnings] to [now having] several million dollars.

Nordman: My wife and I are millionaires. We have that much money in our retirement investments, and we plan to make that last the rest of our retirement. We didn’t really want to work until we were in our 60s and do a more traditional retirement age. Instead, we thought we’d be able to retire in our 50s or even our 40s, and as it turned out, it worked out for me to be at age 41.

Earnings
Hinchliffe: In 1959, I started as a food clerk with A&P. I was making $67 a week as a food clerk. After that, I went with Safeway food stores. I worked with them for 30 years. I made over $100,000 a year as a store manager for them, plus bonus, and was able to save quite a bit of money working with them and investing in their plans.

Nordman: I peaked out at about $88,000, and that was just before I retired in 2002. My wife’s salary peaked out at about the same number. As we got older, in our 30s, we realized that we had enough savings that our portfolio, our investments, were growing fast enough to almost replace our incomes.

Saving
Hinchliffe: I found that the best way to save money and easiest way to save money was through my work. Sometimes younger people aren’t disciplined enough to put money away as they should every week or every month, but what I would do is take advantage of 401(k) plans that might be at work, stock plans where they would match your money that you put into buying stock in the company.

Nordman: Our financial freedom came from saving a lot of money, saving a high percentage of our income. My wife and I were both active duty in the Navy for over 20 years and during that time we tried to save as much as we could. Most of the time we’d save over half of our income. We would reduce our expenses and just save the rest in mutual funds. Pretty much the boring mutual funds, index funds, exchange-traded funds that everybody should use for their retirement. Nothing special.

Frugal Habits
Hinchliffe: There’s lots of things that I wanted but not a lot of things that I needed. If you bought a used car, it did the same thing for you [as a new car] and you saved yourself quite a bit over a period of time. Another thing we used to do is vacations, we would go with friends rather than buy a big place and go by ourselves. We would go with other couples and split the bill and that helped out a lot.

Nordman: My wife and I have a lot of frugal habits that I think tended to make us big savers. We planted a lot of the yard with fruit trees, and so we have fruit year-round. We get crops all year here in Hawaii, and so we can grow some of our own fruit. And we also compost and use things around the house. By buying from Craigslist and Goodwill you’re effectively recycling possessions that other people don’t want anymore, and you’re getting them for yourself at a much cheaper price than if you bought them new.

Advice
Hinchliffe: My advice to someone young today is to stay on course with their investing aims. It’s like a boat. You set a course. You go from one spot to another. If you get off course, needless to say you don’t know where you’re going to end up. If you have a good plan and you follow it, I think that you’ll find that you’ll succeed and your investing will definitely pay you a huge dividend.

Nordman: Track your spending for a couple of months and see where your money goes. Don’t try to cut back, don’t try to change anything just track your expenses and see where you’re spending your money. Then you will figure out where you want to cut back, and you won’t feel like you’re depriving yourself or making yourself miserable.