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National & Global News Archives – Page 11 of 13 – Mirror Daily

According to an international health mission, extra measures have to be taken so as to combat the spread of the MERS virus in Saudi Arabia, which is by far the country worst hit by this Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus, or MERS-CoV. Reportedly over 20 countries have been affected by the MERS (UK, USA, the United Arab Emirates, France, Germany, Italy, Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan and Qatar) but most cases have definitely been linked to the Middle East.

Experts from the World Health Organization (WHO), along with the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and Institut Pasteur, France organised a mission to Saudi Arabia to evaluate the situation and to also make specific recommendations to improve the surveillance, the prevention and the control of the virus.

So the members of the joint mission had talks with high-level representatives from the Ministry of Health, they also visited the Command and Control Centre, which has been conducting all activities involving the control of the MERS-CoV, and made a tour of the emergency and isolation facilities of the Prince Mohammed Bin Abdulaziz Hospital, as well.

“The Kingdom did a lot to control the MERS-CoV. We want to hear WHO experts’ feedback on the Kingdom’s progress but also where we can improve. The government is fully committed to implementing the right control and prevention measures and also to funding any activities needed to control this disease,”

Ahmed Bin Aqeel Al Khateeb, the Saudi Arabian Health Minister, explained in a statement.

As far as statistics are concerned, a total of 899 people have been infected in the kingdom; 382 of them have died since the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) was identified back in 2012.  But concerns rose significantly as the health ministry recorded 5 deaths Thursday alone, thus bringing to 16 the number of deaths since February 11. There is no cure or vaccine for the disease caused by this virus.

Researchers are currently trying to establish the cause of the infection. It is believed that it crosses over to humans from animals ,possibly camels. But by now, person-to-person transmission has remained limited to clusters.  Nevertheless the WHO warns individuals to avoid raw camel milk and stay away from their urine and also to make sure the camel meat is properly cooked.

According to the British Defense Secretary, Michael Fallon, Russian President Vladimir Putin poses a “real and present danger” to countries like Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. He also said that NATO is preparing to repel any possible aggression.

Fallon admitted that the Russian leader could very well try to repeat the covert campaign he used in Crimea and eastern Ukraine, but this time against other former Soviet bloc countries such as Latvia, Lithuania or Estonia.  By this he means Putin’s sending irregular troops, or cyber attacks or even raising tensions with Russian minorities in nations that are seen as part of the country’s “near abroad.”

Fallon’s  comments came after the Ukrainian President, Petro Poroshenko, called for the UN peacekeepers to monitor a cease-fire in east Ukraine, a proposal pro-Russia rebels said would breach a peace deal.

“I’m worried about his pressure on the Baltics, the way he is testing NATO. NATO has to be ready for any kind of aggression from Russia whatever form it takes. NATO is getting ready,”

Fallon  said.

Moreover Fallon raised concerns regarding the increased Russian air activity above Britain as the of Defence announced the Royal Air Force had to escort 2 Russian long-range Bear bombers away from the south coast of England a day before. It’s the second time in many months that this happens.

The Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius is of the opinion that Russia actually poses a threat to the wider region, Moldova included. Moldova on Wednesday chose a pro-European as prime minister.

“If we fail to react properly to what’s happening in Ukraine there will be a big temptation [for Russia] to further instigate situations elsewhere and then we will face a bigger problem,”

said Linkevicius.

The Defence Secretary’s comments are at loggerheads with those told by the former MI6 Chief. On Monday he said that building up political and military pressure on Putin could determine change of Kremlin leadership which is likely to be for the worse.

Nevertheless chances are that the action taken by Western governments regarding the crisis in Ukraine is likely to provoke Putin, and thus lead to a deeper crisis in the area.

According to a new study, known as the Unprecedented 21st-Century Drought Risk in the American Southwest and Central Plains, because of climate change, Southwestern USA is soon believed to be facing the worst drought in 1,000 years. This is NASA’s most thorough research regarding draught prediction.

The American southwest region, along with other parts of this world are expected to face unprecedented megadroughts, because of the rising carbon emissions and global warming. Ben Cook, a NASA climate scientist explains the seriousness of the situation we’ll soon have to put up with:

“Recent droughts, like the ongoing drought in California and the southwest and historical droughts like the Dust Bowl in the 1930s, these are naturally occurring droughts that typically last several years or sometimes almost a decade. In our projections with climate change, what we’re seeing is that these droughts could last 20, 30, or even 40 years, even exceeding the duration of the long-term, intense megadroughts that characterised the really arid time period known as Medieval climate anomaly.”

The study was published last Thursday in the Science Advances journal, and is based on premises coming from several climate models, one sponsored by NASA being among them. The research undoubtedly found a continuous increase in human-produced greenhouse gas emissions, which will definitely drive up the risk of severe droughts.

So in other words a megadrought is basically a drought that lasts more than three decades. We are currently facing a 12% risk of having a mega-drought. However In case greenhouse gas emissions stop increasing in the mid-21st century, Cook and his colleagues projected the likelihood of a megadrought to over 60%. Also in case greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase along current trajectories throughout the 21st century, there is an 80% probability of a decades-long mega-drought in the Southwest and Central Plains between 2050 and 2099.

In order to reach this result, researchers applied 17 climate models in order to analyse the future impact of rising temperatures on regions starting from Mexico and going through the United States and Canada.

Moreover they projected a continued rise in emissions of the greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming, and also looked at a scenario in which they took some action so as to cut back on greenhouse gases that resulted in lower emissions. However both approaches are extremely pessimistic.

Here’s the video that explains it all:

Thousands of residents from this quiet town stood in a candlelight vigil at Chapel Hill, NC where three Muslim students will be buried. Authorities are still trying to figure out if the killing was for a parking space dispute or religious hatred played a role.

Deah Shaddy Barakat, a 23-year-old dental student, his wife Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21; and her sister Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19, of Raleigh were killed allegedly by their neighbor Craig Stephen Hicks. The Funeral will take place at Raleigh at 1.30 PM.

Police had ruled out .the possibility of religious hatred initially and investigation has revealed that the killing was a culmination of a long-simmering dispute.

All the victims were of Syrian origin and were born in the US and grew up in North Carolina region.

Deah Shaddy and Yusor Mohammad were recently married and were socially very active. They had volunteered to help the homeless and also helped to raise money for Syrian minorities in Turkey who had fled persecution in ISIS controlled Syria and Iraq.

The couple had met while helping to run the Muslim Student Association at N.C. State before Shaddy decided to pursue higher studies degree in dentistry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Yusor Mohammad also planned to join her husband in dentistry school in the fall.

Ali Sajjad, 21, the president of the Muslim Student Association at N.C. State said,” This was like the power couple of our community.”

The killing sent shock waves across the seemingly quiet town and as many as 2000 persons stood for a candlelight vigil in the heart of University of North Carolina campus Wednesday evening.

Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, faces charges of three counts of first-degree murder and is being held without bond.

Local authorities were at pains to explain that every aspect of this senseless and brutal act is being investigated.

Chris Blue of the Chapel Hill Police Department said, “We understand the concerns about the possibility that this was hate-motivated and we will exhaust every lead to determine if that is the case. Our thoughts are with the families and friends of these young people who lost their lives so needlessly.”

60 minutes correspondent Bob Simon dies in a car accident today. Simon had joined CBS in 1967 as a reporter and editor based in New York. Mr.Simmon is survived by his wife, Françoise, have one daughter, who is a producer for “60 Minutes”

In his momentous career, Simon had covered the Vietnam and the Gulf wars. Mr Simon aged 73 was killed in a freak car accident in New York.

Jeff Fager, the executive producer of 60 Minutes said, “It’s a terrible loss for all of us at CBS News. It’s such a tragedy, made worse because we lost him in a car accident — a man who’s escaped more difficult situations than almost any one journalist in modern times … we will miss him very much.”

In a career which spanned 50 years, saw him earning many accolades and countless awards.

CNN’s Anderson Cooper, who worked with Simon at “60 Minutes said, “Bob was, and I’ll tell you it’s very hard to talk about him in the past tense, but Bob was for the last five decades, simply one of the best, in my opinion … at getting a story, telling a story, writing a story and making it simply unforgettable.”

Simon was seated in the rear of the Lincoln Town car when it collided with another vehicle at a red light junction and then a stanchion dividing traffic. By the time Police officers arrived at the scene Simon who was seated in the rear of the vehicle was unconscious with serious injuries to his head and torso. He was transported to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. The vehicle’s driver is said to be in stable condition.

Simon was captured by the Iraqi forces at the beginning of Gulf War. He and three colleagues endured 40 days in prison and it also became the inspiration for a book he authored named ‘Forty Days’

A new ceasefire and a road map to end the war in Eastern Ukraine  was agreed upon by leaders of the major nations namely France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine after an exhaustive and long drawn talks. The talks were almost stalled before it was salvaged by last minute measures taken by the participating players.

Though the agreement has been finalized, things appeared far from being rosy with the major players agreeing that there was more work to be done.

The cease fire will come into effect from Saturday mid night. Though the agreement was made unanimously, the fact that the three leaders used three separate conferences to announce the cease fire showed a lack of unity between the players. Still the fact that the major aggrieved parties are talking after bitter fighting which has lasted for almost a year is heartening.

 The negotiations which was described in the words of President François Hollande of France as, “consisted of a long night and a long morning, but we have arrived at an accord on a cease-fire and a global end to the conflict. It is a relief for Europe.”

Mr Hollande further added that the ultimate success of the ceasefire will depend upon the implementation of the terms of the agreement like withdrawal of heavy weapons and border control.

The cease fire talks alternated between surging hopes and despair as the major powers cancelled a meeting to announce the cease fire and extended their talks. After marathon talks which lasted for more than 15 hours between President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, President Petro O. Poroshenko of Ukraine and Mr. Hollande, along with the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, the ceasefire agreement was finally agreed upon.

The urgency was further emphasized by the fact that Ms. Merkel and Mr. Hollande were scheduled to address the summit meeting of the European Union in Brussels, which Mr. Poroshenko was also scheduled to address. Both the leaders were keen to have a ceasefire agreement in place since they had committed themselves to make one last ditch effort to secure peace.

The 21st century did not start on a promising note .The previous century was also no better and today we see a glut of violent crisis stretching from Syria to Ukraine. The world also saw the momentous worldwide observation of the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. In the same month the head of the United Nations refugee agency stated that the agency “has never had to address so much human misery in its 64-year history”

Just because the past is commemorated does not mean that all the parties agree on a point. The Auschwitz anniversary was the occasion for an inept tussle between Poland, Ukraine and Russia over who exactly liberated it the most.

Behind the squabble over the largest Nazi Death Camp, a grim war is raging in Ukraine and Eastern Ukraine has become one of the most dangerous hotspots since the end of the cold war. The stakes are phenomenally high with no side budging from its much publicized positions.  Putin declares the actions by the West as imperialistic and the West continues to pour scorn on Putin’s aggression.

Officially the war has claimed 5350 lives but this is just the tip of the ice berg. Unofficial sources put the death toll to 50000. Only the dead saw the end of the war, for the hundreds of crippled and displaced, it is a never ending misery.

Mikhail Gorbachev, crucial in ending the Cold War, is now warning of a hot war between the West and Russia. The war in Ukraine is fast turning into a catalyst for a major shift. Crude propaganda seeks to impose a view that World War II was a valiant fight between Nazism and the Soviet Union. It seeks to reduce the other players into unimportant roles. Putin is following the same strategy in Ukraine.

It is now official; American Aid Worker Kayla Mueller who has been held hostage by ISIS has been killed. The acknowledgement was made a couple of days after ISIS said that US Hostage Kayla Mueller has been killed in a Jordanian Air Strike.

President Obama said in a statement released by the White House, “It is with profound sadness that we have learned of the death of Kayla Jean Mueller. On behalf of the American people, Michelle and I convey our deepest condolences to Kayla’s family – her parents, Marsha and Carl, and her brother Eric and his family – and all of those who loved Kayla dearly. At this time of unimaginable suffering, the country shares in their grief.”

ISIS had claimed in a statement on Friday that Mueller had been killed in a Jordanian Air Strike. However it did not present with any evidence leading to doubts about its claims.

A spokesperson for the White House National Security Council, Bernadette Meehan said that during the course of the week the Mueller family “received a private message from Kayla’s ISIS captors containing additional information. Once this information was authenticated by the intelligence community, they concluded that Kayla was deceased”

It is still not clear when or how Mueller was killed. Mueller was kidnapped in August 2013 in Syria.

Mueller’s parents, Carl and Marsha, released a statement shortly after the White House confirmation of Mueller’s death, “We are heartbroken to share that we’ve received confirmation that Kayla Jean Mueller, has lost her life. Kayla was a compassionate and devoted humanitarian. She dedicated the whole of her young life to helping those in need from freedom, justice and peace… Our hearts are breaking for our only daughter, but we will continue in peace, dignity and love for her.”

Mueller, from Prescott, Ariz., was kidnapped on Aug. 4, 2013 after leaving Spanish ‘Doctors without Borders’ hospital in Aleppo, Syria, according to information provided by a family spokesperson.

Ex Florida Governor Jeb Bush is all set to release thousands of e-mails and also what would be the first chapter of his e-book which seeks to focus on what he calls considerate leadership style and deep traditionalist credentials.

“One of things that came out of this was a sense there is a story to be told here,” Bush said, describing “a style of leadership that tried to help people” and an ideological consistency “where I think we stayed true to conservative perspective.”

Jeb Bush declared his singular focus on a potential White House bid.

Bush was talking about his accomplishment during his tenure as a Governor for eight years.

Bush said, “I’m really proud of the conservative record we had in cutting taxes. Even, for the nerdy guys and gals on the phone, even achieving a triple-A bond rating. It still warms my heart. Creating 1.4 million net new jobs by building a better business climate. Reforming the things that were broken, particularly our schools. All of that story we can begin to tell people and I’m really excited about it.”

Standard & Poor’s had raised Florida’s bond rating to AAA in 2005 by, while Bush was governor. Bush said that he would release the rest of the book later this year.

The diehard Republican interacting with his political allies during a Monday morning conference call said that he will release the material on Tuesday on a new website. Numerous news outlets had earlier obtained the e-mails from Bush’s stint as a Governor. Bush felt that his dealing with constituents and staff would help shape his message in a prospective presidential campaign.

Bush has not announced his political intentions but is coming out strongly as one of the most aggressive GOP presidential prospects in recent times. Bush is hobnobbing with top political donors across the country, and also expanding his political machine which has remained idle for 8 years since he left the Florida governor’s mansion.

The weather continues to take its toll and this has been the story of the winter of 2015. Boston happens to be once again in the cross hairs but with a difference – large sections of the North East will be facing the brunt of the storm including Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.

The National Weather Service forecasts 8 to 14 inches of snow for upstate New York while it is 12 to 16 inches of snow by the time the storm ends Tuesday for the North East. Schools in parts of the Northeast, including Boston, will be closed Monday and Tuesday.

Expecting worse weather Boston Mayor Marty Walsh issued another snow emergency and parking ban Sunday. The Mayor has urged the residents of Boston to remain indoors until the worst is over.

The snow storm is affecting the air traffic also. More than 1,500 flights in and out of US have been cancelled and this adds to another 700 flights which has been cancelled on Sunday. Though Boston Logan International Airport remained open, most of the flights were cancelled. The major issue is not the current snowfall but the accumulation of snow over the past two weeks which has been unprecedented. The past two weeks has seen 70 to 80 inches of snow.

Two other storms have ravaged the Northeast in the last fortnight creating mountains of snow, cancelled classes and closed airports. The weather has also delayed the big Massachusetts trials which included murder trial of former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez and the jury selection of Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

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