The Democratic Republic of the Congo is going through its worst ever Ebola epidemic and there appears to be no end in sight. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 72 people contracted the disease last week — more than double the number of the previous weeks’ averages. Since the widespread outbreak of the epidemic in August 2018, more than 1,000 people have contracted Ebola, the Congo Health Ministry reports.
The World Health Organization on Wednesday declared DR Congo’s Ebola outbreak an international health emergency, sounding a rarely used global alarm after the virus threatened to spread to a major city and into neighbouring countries.
The health agency also says the disease has spread into neighbouring Rwanda citing the infection of a pastor who rode from Butembo to Goma, and it’s identified 60 people who were on his bus tha have since been quarantined and vaccinated.
West African Ebola virus epidemic
February 2014 – The Western African Ebola virus epidemic was the most widespread outbreak of Ebola virus disease in history—causing major loss of life and socioeconomic disruption in the region, mainly in the countries of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.
London (CNN Business)The world’s biggest metal exchange is changing its rules to combat child labour, money laundering, bribery and corruption. The London Metal Exchange will require producers that operate in high-risk and conflict zones to demonstrate that their products are responsibly sourced by 2022.
“Global consumers rightly demand action on responsible sourcing — and our industry must listen,” CEO Matthew Chamberlain said in a statement. He said the exchange is adopting the standards because “it’s the right thing to do” and because “the value of our market is based on providing metal which is acceptable to those consumers.
“The London Metal Exchange has come under increasing pressure after a 2017 Amnesty International report found child labour and human rights abuses at cobalt mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The country is responsible for roughly half of the world’s production of cobalt — some of which is traded on the London exchange and later used to produce batteries for smartphones and electric cars.
Media and watchdog reports have detailed widespread bribery and corruption connected to mining around the world, as well as evidence that revenue generated has been used to finance conflict. Many companies are trying to ensure their supply chains are free from conflict minerals and child labour. Volkswagen (VLKAF), for example, has just launched a pilot program that uses blockchain technology to trace raw material back to the point of origin.
The London Metal Exchange pledged last year to change its policy in response to allegations that it allowed untraceable metals to be traded. It published a position paper in December outlining its next steps, but more than a dozen NGOs including Amnesty International and Global Witness responded by pushing for even stricter standards and more transparency. The exchange, which handled $15.7 trillion in metals trade in 2018, said Tuesday that it had considered the feedback when drafting its new rules.
Companies that produce metals traded on the exchange will be required to run their own “red flag” assessments based on guidelines from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development by the end of 2020. The exchange will then review the assessments. Producers with red flags will be audited by the exchange by the end of 2022. Starting in 2024, the exchange will require the producers to publish their assessments. The exchange said Tuesday that it wants to work with the companies on a voluntary basis, but added that its “core power” is to suspend or remove the companies that refuse to cooperate.
Global Witness said Tuesday the new requirements are a step in the right direction. Sophia Pickles, a supply chain investigator at Global Witness, said that the decision to require brands to publicly report on financial crime and corruption risks was particularly important. However, she said the exchange should take additional steps.”The [London Metal Exchange] must also go further when it comes to tackling the impacts of its brands on the planet … [and] require companies to report on environmental and climate risk, too,” she added.
Heavily armed militiamen attacked a hospital treating Ebola patients in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo on Friday, killing a senior World Health Organization (WHO) epidemiologist and injuring two others, officials said.
GOMA, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) (Reuters) – Heavily armed militiamen attacked a hospital treating Ebola patients in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo on Friday, killing a senior World Health Organization (WHO) epidemiologist and injuring two others, officials said.
Three assailants from a local self-defense militia attacked the hospital in the city of Butembo, one of the epicenters of the second-largest Ebola epidemic in history, said Patrick Kambale, the city’s deputy mayor.
The outbreak is now spreading at its fastest rate since being declared last August, due largely to a spate of attacks by militiamen and others distrustful of the international response.
“The assailants are identified as Mai-Mai rebels demanding the departure of the international community engaged in the Ebola response,” Kambale told Reuters.
WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus identified the doctor killed as Richard Mouzoko, a senior epidemiologist from Cameroon.
“The @WHO family lost a dear colleague in the hospital attack in Butembo, #DRC, today,” Tedros wrote on Twitter. “We are outraged by the attack. Health workers are #NotATarget.”
The series of attacks since February against Ebola treatment centres has hastened the spread of the virus and led some first responders to pull out of the area.
The assailants have mostly been unidentified but are believed to comprise both local militiamen and community members who oppose the response efforts. Many believe that Ebola is a conspiracy cooked up by the government or foreign countries.
The Ebola outbreak in eastern Congo’s North Kivu and Ituri provinces is believed to have killed 843 people and infected over 450 more so far.
Reporting By Fiston Mahamba; Additional reporting by Stanis Bujakera in Kinshasa and Giulia Paravicini in Brussels; Additional reporting and writing by Aaron Ross, editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise and Marguerita Choy
US tourist and safari guide freed after kidnap in Uganda/AIWAI! NO!
BY STEFAN BECKET/ CBS NEWS
An American who was kidnapped along with her driver in Uganda last week has been recovered unharmed, a spokesman for the Ugandan government said Sunday. The pair were recovered along the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Kimberly Endicott, 56, and tour driver Jean-Paul Mirgene Remezo were taken hostage at gunpoint while on safari in Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth National Park last Tuesday. Their four kidnappers had demanded a $500,000 ransom and had not backed down from the demand as of Friday, authorities told CBS News last week. The abductors had been using Endicott’s phone to negotiate her release and were in contact with authorities nearly everyday, officials said.
The Uganda Police Force said the pair were rescued during a joint operation and are in “good health.” A spokesman for the Ugandan government said Ugandan security forces were involved in the operation. The two were brought back to the lodge where she had been staying, while the kidnappers managed to escape.
Wild Frontiers Uganda, which operates the lodge in the park where Endicott was staying, released photos of Endicott and Remezo meeting with Paul Goldring, the company’s managing director.
The kidnapping spurred a massive search effort along the edge of the park, which borders the DRC. The park is one of 10 national parks in Uganda, where tourism remains a major driver of the economy. Hundreds of thousands of visitors travel to the parks each year.
Endicott, an esthetician, runs a skin care clinic in Costa Mesa, California.
A power-sharing agreement might be Felix Tshisekedi’s only option as he tries to form a government following the recent disputed presidential election in the Democratic Republic of the Congo says Dr Julie Norman and Dr Drew Mikhael; AIWA! NO!
When Felix Tshisekedi was announced the winner of the disputed presidential election in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) it was widely assumed that he had agreed to a power sharing deal with outgoing President Joseph Kabila and his Common Front for Congo coalition.
This was denied by both parties. But the fact that the Front dominated the March elections, a agreement might be Tshisekedi’s only option as he tries to form a government.
This suggests that an arrangement between the president and his predecessor may be difficult to implement. Nor are there any useful precedents to draw on in the country. The DRC has a long history of failed power sharing deals. Previous agreements have been held back by a range of challenges. These have included widespread corruption, insecurity and ongoing conflict in the country.
Chances are high that a deal between Tshisekedi and Kabila could be beset by the same problems.
Dr Julie Norman is a Research Fellow at the Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security, and Justice at Queen’s University Belfast. She is the author of The Second Palestinian Intifada: Civil Resistance (Routledge 2010), and the co-editor (with Maia Carter Hallward) of Nonviolent Resistance in the Second Intifada: Activism and Advocacy (Palgrave 2011) and Understanding Nonviolence (Polity 2015).