Ebola: the numbers tell their own story

The grim statistics of the current Ebola outbreak in north-western Congo are, frankly, horrifying to those who know the disease, and know the area.  The Telegraph reports: According to the DRC Ministry of Health, 1,008 people have died from the deadly virus, including 942 confirmed deaths and 66 probable. There have been 1,529 cases since the outbreak began last August – less than a third of those infected have survived. . . . On Tuesday, the DRC’s Ministry of Health confirmed that 26 people had died from the virus – the highest death toll on a single day. And with 126

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Trump’s tax records

Isn’t it interesting how the Democratic Party in Congress and their allies in Democratic Party-controlled states are pushing so hard to get their hands on President Trump’s financial records?  I can’t recall them ever doing the same about their own tax records.  When do we get to see Nancy Pelosi’s returns, and her husband’s?  How about Chuck Schumer’s?  The partisanship is so obvious it’s blinding . . . except to the mainstream media, of course, who wouldn’t recognize bias if it jumped up and bit them in the ass. I note there’s even an attempt by some states to flout the

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Notre Dame

I share the sadness of millions around the world at the loss to fire of much of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris yesterday. In cultural and historical terms, it was a tragedy of the first magnitude.  What’s lost can be rebuilt, but the original can never be replaced.  Of greater cultural import, at present it’s believed that something like 70% of the religious relics housed in the sacristy at the cathedral have been destroyed, or are still not accounted for.  Their loss (if confirmed) will be a grievous blow to the Catholic Church, where such items are regarded with far greater importance

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Tsunami “survival pods”? I doubt it!

City Journal recently published an excellent article about the danger of a megaquake in the Cascadia Subduction Zone off the west coast of North America.  I highly recommend reading it in full – it’s certainly enough to give anyone in their right minds pause for thought!  One aspect in particular, though, caught my eye. Tsunami pods … are now available, manufactured by Survival Capsule, a company based in suburban Seattle. Made with aircraft-grade aluminum, they’re watertight and supposedly strong enough to withstand just about anything that nature can hurl at them. They come with flares and personal-locator beacons that go out on marine-band

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Preparedness book proposal – what do you think?

Last week I reviewed Selco Begovic’s new book. At the time, I concluded: As a matter of fact, Selco’s book has got me wondering whether I shouldn’t write one of my own, about the lessons learned in SHTF situations in the many and varied circumstances in which I’ve found myself over the years.  I must think about that. Many of you left comments or sent e-mails to say that I should, indeed, write that book:  so I’ll add it to my plans for this year.  I’d like to get your input on how it should be structured, and what it should

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Ebola: ramping up slowly

The situation in north-eastern Congo, where a major Ebola outbreak is in progress, is slowly getting worse.  The vaccination of tens of thousands of people at risk is helping slow its spread, but the numbers don’t look good. In a bulletin on Thursday, the health ministry outlined the growth of the Ebola outbreak. “Since the start of the epidemic, the total number of cases is 715, including 666 confirmed and 49 probable. In all, there have been 443 deaths” in the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri, the ministry said. DR Congo, formerly Zaire, has seen 10 outbreaks of the highly

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At the heart of the Ebola crisis: Africa’s tribal culture

There’s a horrifying article in the New York Post about a recent mass rape in South Sudan.  I won’t publish all the gory details here. You can click on the link and read it for yourself.  Basically, one group wanted something, and when they couldn’t get it, they took it from another group.  In its essence, that’s the problem.  The women concerned were not regarded as human beings by their rapists, but as members of a group to be targeted. This is yet another aspect of the biggest problem in Africa:  tribal identity and culture.  There is no concept whatsoever in African

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Venezuela: where life is a burden to be endured

It’s truly astonishing to see how run-down, degraded and desperate life in Venezuela has become.  Two decades ago it was a cosmopolitan, wealthy society by Latin American standards, relatively carefree and prosperous.  Today, it’s a dystopian nightmare. Bloomberg has published a series of reports on life in Caracas, the country’s capital city.  All of them are worth reading, if only to illustrate how so much that we take for granted can be lost in a short time through mismanagement, envy and fear.  The latest looks at the street children of Caracas. Andrea is 9. Her father is dead. Her mother is pregnant,

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Ebola: OK, it’s crunch time

This morning’s headlines about the latest Ebola outbreak in the Congo make grim reading. Butembo, with more than 1 million residents, is now reporting cases of the deadly hemorrhagic fever. That complicates Ebola containment work already challenged by rebel attacks elsewhere that have made tracking the virus almost impossible in some isolated villages. “We are very concerned by the epidemiological situation in the Butembo area,” said John Johnson, project coordinator with Medecins Sans Frontieres in the city. New cases are increasing quickly in the eastern suburbs and outlying, isolated districts, the medical charity said. . . . This is by far

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Ebola’s still getting worse, and I’m getting worried

The most recent Ebola outbreak, about which we’ve written before in these pages, is steadily getting worse. The Ebola outbreak in eastern Congo is now the second biggest in history, with 426 confirmed and probable cases, the health ministry said late on Thursday. The epidemic in a volatile part of Democratic Republic of Congo is now only surpassed by the 2013-2016 outbreak in West Africa, where more than 28,000 cases where confirmed, and is bigger than an outbreak in 2000 in Uganda involving 425 cases. Ebola is believed to have killed 245 people in North Kivu and Ituri provinces where attacks by armed groups and

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