Ebola conference agrees to set up regional fund | Africa | DW.DE | 03.07.2014

However, in an interview with DW, Anja Wolz of Medecins Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said the situation in Sierra Leone was still a matter of great concern. In the last two days, another 30 patients had been taken in at the treatment center where she works, she said.

According to Wolz, a major problem is that many people “are denying that Ebola exists.” People who fell sick were hiding rather than go to a doctor and could infect others. There was still a great need for public awareness campaigns, she said, as many Africans “think the white people are bringing Ebola.” MSF staff were working hard to overcome this but they could not go to every single village, Wolz said, addding that the problem was the same in Liberia and Guinea.

via Ebola conference agrees to set up regional fund | Africa | DW.DE | 03.07.2014.

In Panama, A Sad Retreat from the Rising Sea | The Beacon: Oceana’s Blog

While the retreat from rising seas may seem like a distant, if abysmal, end-of-the-century scenario, it is in fact already taking place in some low-lying island communities. For the Guna (pronounced “Kuna”) people of Panama the abandonment of their ancestral homeland, the San Blas Islands, has become the only option after frequent floods have made their way of life impossible.

While the flooding of the San Blas Islands is partly a consequence of rising sea levels, the Guna are not entirely blameless. Coral reefs that once surrounded and buffered the islands from storm surges and flooding have been destroyed after decades of exploitation (ironically, the Guna mined the reefs to build up the islands). It has been enough, according to Reuters “to submerge the Caribbean islands for days on end”.

The sad tale of the Guna, who are currently managing their retreat to mainland Panama, provides a cautionary tale of how climate change and poor resource management can combine to create disaster. But it isn’t just the direct exploitation of coral that threatens so many similar tropical, predominantly poor, coastal communities around the world. Coral reefs of the sort that once surrounded the San Blas Islands are under threat worldwide from carbon dioxide emissions that, when absorbed by the ocean, make it more acidic. When corals struggle in the more acidic water so too does the kaleidoscopic variety of life that depends on them. These once flourishing paradises may become barren monuments to changing ocean chemistry.

via In Panama, A Sad Retreat from the Rising Sea | The Beacon: Oceana’s Blog.

Study: 4 big wells injecting wastewater from energy drilling trigger more than 100 quakes

A new study explains how just four wells forcing massive amounts of drilling wastewater into the ground are probably shaking up Oklahoma.

Those wells seem to have triggered more than 100 small-to-medium earthquakes in the past five years, according to a study published Thursday by the journal Science. Many of the quakes were much farther away from the wells than expected.

Combined, those wells daily pour more than 5 million gallons (19 million litres) of water a mile or two underground into rock formations, the study found. That buildup of fluid creates more pressure that “has to go somewhere,” said study lead author Cornell University seismologist Katie Keranen.

Researchers originally figured the water diffused through underground rocks slowly. But instead, it is moving faster and farther and triggers quake fault lines that already were likely ready to move, she said.

“You really don’t need to raise the pressure a great deal,” she added.

The study shows the likely way in which the pressure can trigger fault lines — which already existed yet were not too active— but researchers need more detail on the liquid injections themselves to absolutely prove the case, Keranen said.

via Study: 4 big wells injecting wastewater from energy drilling trigger more than 100 quakes.

Burning Bridges

Night Owl Poetry - Dorinda Duclos

Photo via wall.alphacoders.com Photo via wall.alphacoders.com

 Through the smoke
I can still see you
Standing
On the other side

Your eyes ablaze
With the fire
Set upon the bridge
That now severs us

No chance to cross
As flames touch the night
The fear of being scarred
Ever fuels the heat, until

There is nothing but ashes
Burning embers
Absent confessions
Wafting away in the breeze

©2014 Dorinda Duclos All Rights Reserved

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I punched the man who broke into my home – it came naturally | Gia Milinovich | Commentisfree | The Guardian

Having spent most of my life feeling vulnerable to being attacked by a man, I now feel a great sense of freedom. Being strong and knowing how to punch has brought me something I wish every woman could feel: for the first time in my life I feel like a full human being. I am not a victim. I am not afraid. I am not trying to take up as little space as possible. I am not trying to keep my head down. I’m not trying to stay out of the way. I have a strong voice, a confident gait and, frankly, very sexy, strong arms. I know I have an absolute right to be wherever I am without threat and I can defend that right physically if I need to.

All women should take some sort of self-defence training. Yes, of course, it would be nice to live in a world where women weren’t assaulted and where there was no chance of waking at 5am to find a strange man in your house. But until that day, it makes sense to learn how to handle yourself in threatening situations. Self-defence training teaches not only practical skills on how to strike an attacker, but awareness, assertiveness and how to enforce your boundaries. Most importantly, it will teach you something far more valuable: it is possible to live without the fog of fear.

via I punched the man who broke into my home – it came naturally | Gia Milinovich | Commentisfree | The Guardian.

Lady Gaga’s Ultimate Little Monster Experience Gets Even Bigger – Look to the Stars

Curated by Lady Gaga, this first of its kind special event gives the five-time Grammy winner’s most devoted fans a behind-the-scenes all-access meet and greet and VIP experience at the art RAVE ARTPOP Ball Tour. In addition to the dinner with Chef Art, fans will get an in-depth look at the inner workings of a Lady Gaga concert.

For more information, click here.

The Ultimate Little Monster Experience includes:

• Gourmet dinner, including appetizers and drinks, prepared by Chef Art Smith

• An individual meet and greet with Lady Gaga during dinner

• An individual photograph with Lady Gaga

• A backstage Haus of Gaga tour including the wardrobe area, stage access, sound booth and more

• Premium up close and personal concert seating with optimal stage viewing

The IfOnly experience comes with very limited availability and will continue in the following cities. Advanced purchase is required:

• July 11th: Chicago

• July 17th: Dallas

• July 21st: Los Angeles

• July 30th: Phoenix

• August 6th: Denver

via Lady Gaga’s Ultimate Little Monster Experience Gets Even Bigger – Look to the Stars.

Afghan Women’s Writing Project | My Beautiful and Lovely Kandahar

I love the fresh fruit, the dry fruit: pomegranates,

raisins, figs. I love the kohl, henna and bangles,

the clothing, pottery, flowers, gardens. I remember

the village girls fighting, reconciling. I remember

wedding parties for our dolls, paper ships rising

on rainwater. I miss the stories from grandmothers,

handmade embroidery, the early morning birdsong.

I miss collecting wheat, miss flavors. I have questions

for the enemies of my city. Why do you plant poppies

instead of pomegranates? Why do you draw blood

instead of henna on the hands of girls? Why do you

put chains instead of bangles on our wrists? Was it

our fault? Is that why we have these coffins? I want

back my happy homeland, my smiling faces. I want

God to erase all this violence, these screaming mothers,

this sky of smoke. I am not weak and small anymore.

I will not let them destroy my city. I have speech

for those who would silence speech. My heart burns

to explain these problems, this terror, with honesty.

People are scared of losing their fingers if they vote,

scared of losing their sons if they work in the government,

scared of going outside. The Taliban will throw acid

in our eyes. Don’t think that I don’t see. You grow

narcotics in the yard, make us busy with them, sick

and useless. How will you hide from judgment?

You will not. I will work hard for my city. I will love

you until the end of my life. My beautiful and lovely

Kandahar, I will not let the hearts inside our people break.

By Shogofa Az

via Afghan Women’s Writing Project | My Beautiful and Lovely Kandahar.

1,512 suspected cases of chikungunya in addition to 5,698 confirmed cases of dengue – Fides News Agency

According to the Ministry of Health in El Salvador (MINSAL) there are 1,512 suspected cases of chikungunya in the State of El Salvador. Most of them in the department of San Salvador, with a total of 1,365; of these, 1,035 have been located in Ayutuxtepeque, 138 in Mejicanos, 73 in Apopa and 41 in the capital of the department, and in Ciudad Delgado. San Vicente is another department where there have been 118 cases of the virus, and 88 in the municipality of San Ildefonso. MINSAL has stated that the age of the people most affected by the disease varies between 10 and 19, with 395 cases. Compared to the situation of dengue in the territory of El Salvador, the Ministry of Health reported a total of 16.937 suspected cases and 5,698 confirmed cases. Compared to the same period of 2013 there has been an increase of 101%. Of the confirmed cases, 97 were severe dengue, 56% more than last year. MINSAL reiterates its appeal to the people to work together to prevent the proliferation of the mosquito aedes aegypti, vector of chikungunya virus and dengue.

via 1,512 suspected cases of chikungunya in addition to 5,698 confirmed cases of dengue – Fides News Agency.

Fifty Indian nurses forced onto buses in Tikrit | News , Middle East | THE DAILY STAR

Nearly 50 Indian nurses from the southern state of Kerala have been taken against their will from a hospital in the militant-controlled city of Tikrit in Iraq, India’s Foreign Ministry said Thursday.

The nurses were forced to board buses, Foreign Ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin told reporters at a briefing, but he declined to say who had ordered them aboard or where they were headed.

Asked if the nurses had been kidnapped, Akbaruddin said: “In zones of conflict there is no free will. This is a situation where lives are at stake.”

A senior aide to Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, who spoke to the nurses Thursday, told Reuters that “militants” had forced the nurses to vacate the hospital and board two buses.

Tikrit, the birthplace of former President Saddam Hussein, has been the site of fierce fighting this week as Iraqi troops battle to regain control of the city from Al-Qaeda splinter group the Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS).

via Fifty Indian nurses forced onto buses in Tikrit | News , Middle East | THE DAILY STAR.

Water supply key to outcome of conflicts in Iraq and Syria, experts warn | Environment | The Guardian

Armageddon on the horizon?

The Euphrates River, the Middle East’s second longest river, and the Tigris, have historically been at the centre of conflict. In the 1980s, Saddam Hussein drained 90% of the vast Mesopotamian marshes that were fed by the two rivers to punish the Shias who rose up against his regime. Since 1975, Turkey’s dam and hydropower constructions on the two rivers have cut water flow to Iraq by 80% and to Syria by 40%. Both Syria and Iraq have accused Turkey of hoarding water and threatening their water supply.

“There has never been an outright war over water but water has played extremely important role in many Middle East conflicts. Control of water supply is crucial”, said Stephen.

It could also be an insurmountable problem should the country split into three, he said. “Water is one of the most dangerous problems in Iraq. If the country was split there would definitely be a war over water. Nobody wants to talk about that,” he said.

Some academics have suggested that Tigris and Euphrates will not reach the sea by 2040 if rainfall continues to decrease at its present rate.

via Water supply key to outcome of conflicts in Iraq and Syria, experts warn | Environment | The Guardian.