Jimmy Carter: World powers should rethink approach to Hamas | Maan News Agency

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Former US president Jimmy Carter said in an op-ed Monday that in order for the Israel-Gaza status quo to change, the international community needs to recognize Hamas as a “legitimate political actor.”

“Hamas cannot be wished away, nor will it cooperate in its own demise,” an op-ed written by Carter and former Irish president Mary Robinson said.

“Only by recognizing its legitimacy as a political actor — one that represents a substantial portion of the Palestinian people — can the West begin to provide the right incentives for Hamas to lay down its weapons,” the op-ed, published in Foreign Policy, said.

“Ever since the internationally monitored 2006 elections that brought Hamas to power in Palestine, the West’s approach has manifestly contributed to the opposite result.”

Carter and Robinson called for an “partial lifting” of the eight-year-old blockade on the Gaza Strip, and said an international force should be put into place to monitor border crossings.

The presence of an international force is also necessary to hold both sides accountable for ceasefire violations, they said.

The op-ed was also heavily critical of the Israeli army’s handling of its offensive on Gaza.

“There is no humane or legal justification for the way the Israeli Defense Forces are conducting this war,” the op-ed said.

“Hundreds of Palestinian noncombatants have been killed. Much of Gaza has lost access to water and electricity completely. This is a humanitarian catastrophe.”

The op-ed also noted “unacceptable” actions by Hamas, but stressed that while Gaza militants have killed three civilians, the vast majority of the 1,875 Palestinians killed by Israeli forces throughout the assault have been civilians.

Both Carter and Robinson are members of the Elders, a non-governmental organization that describes itself as a group of “independent global leaders working together for peace and human rights.”

Carter is among the most notable American public figures to criticize Israeli policy toward Palestinians. He is the author of “Peace Not Apartheid,” a book for which he has earned praise for its frank speech about Israel and Palestine. Some key American figures, however, accuse him of being biased against Israel.

via Jimmy Carter: World powers should rethink approach to Hamas | Maan News Agency.

Middle East – Kurds unite in bid to rescue Iraq’s Yazidi minority – France 24

Pray that they succeed! Though Peace is still the answer.

Kurdish fighters from Iraq, Syria and Turkey were coordinating operations in northern Iraq Wednesday to reclaim areas lost to jihadists and rescue thousands of Yazidi civilians stranded in nearby mountains.

The fate of the civilians from the Yazidi minority, who fled to the Sinjar mountains after an attack by the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) group at the weekend, has sparked international concern.

On Tuesday a Yazidi lawmaker broke down in tears during a parliamentary session as she urged the government and the international community to save her community from being massacred or starved into extinction.

“Over the past 48 hours, 30,000 families have been besieged in the Sinjar mountains, with no water and no food,” said Vian Dakhil.

via Middle East – Kurds unite in bid to rescue Iraq’s Yazidi minority – France 24.

AKA: We’ll do it when no one is watching! Government drops enough hint to allow confined field trials of GM crops – The Times of India

A day after allaying members’ concerns over genetically modified crops in Parliament, the government on Wednesday dropped enough hint that it may eventually give its nod for ‘confined’ field trials of certain varieties of GM crops including rice, brinjal, chickpea, mustard and cotton.

“We are not saying no to science. Nobody can say no to science. We have to take proper caution. We have to take proper action. But you cannot deny, we are not living in the Galileo times,” said environment minister Prakash Javadekar on sidelines of a function here.

via Government drops enough hint to allow confined field trials of GM crops – The Times of India.

40,000 Iraqis stranded on mountain as Isis jihadists threaten death | World | The Guardian

{No one cares, no one will help?}

Tens of thousands of members of one of Iraq’s oldest minorities have been stranded on a mountain in the country’s north-west, facing slaughter at the hands of jihadists surrounding them below if they flee, or death by dehydration if they stay.

UN groups say at least 40,000 members of the Yazidi sect, many of them women and children, have taken refuge in nine locations on Mount Sinjar, a craggy mile-high ridge identified in local legend as the final resting place of Noah’s ark.

At least 130,000 more people, many from the Yazidi stronghold of Sinjar, have fled to Dohuk, in the Kurdish north, or to Irbil, where regional authorities have been struggling since June to deal with one of the biggest and most rapid refugee movements in decades.

Sinjar itself has been all but emptied of its 300,000 residents since jihadists stormed the city late on Saturday, but an estimated 25,000 people remain. “We are being told to convert, or to lose our heads,” said Khuldoon Atyas, who has stayed behind to guard his family’s crops. “There is no one coming to help.”

Another man, who is hiding in the mountains and identified himself as Nafi’ee, said: “Food is low, ammunition is low and so is water. We have one piece of bread to share between 10 people. We have to walk 2km [1.2 miles] to get water. There were some air strikes yesterday [against the jihadists], but they have made no difference.”

via 40,000 Iraqis stranded on mountain as Isis jihadists threaten death | World | The Guardian.

Q & A On Experimental Treatments and Vaccines for Ebola | Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever | CDC

What is ZMapp?

ZMapp, being developed by Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc., is an experimental treatment, for use with individuals infected with Ebola virus. It has not yet been tested in humans for safety or effectiveness. The product is a combination of three different monoclonal antibodies that bind to the protein of the Ebola virus.

How effective is the experimental treatment?

It is too early to know whether ZMapp is effective, since it is still in an experimental stage and has not yet been tested in humans for safety or effectiveness. Some patients infected with Ebola virus do get better spontaneously or with supportive care. It’s important to note that the standard treatment for Ebola remains supportive therapy.

This consists of the following measures:

balancing the patients’ fluids and electrolytes;

maintaining their oxygen status and blood pressure; and

treating them for any complicating infections.

Why aren’t more people getting ZMapp?

At this time, very few courses of this experimental treatment have been manufactured. Since the product is still in an experimental stage, it is too early to know whether ZMapp is effective. The manufacturer of this experimental treatment continues to research and evaluate the product’s safety and effectiveness. It has not yet been tested in humans for safety or effectiveness and much more study is needed.

Did the NIH play a role in getting the experimental therapy to the two U.S. patients in Liberia?

This experimental treatment was arranged privately by Samaritan’s Purse, the private humanitarian organization, which employed one of the Americans who contracted the virus in Liberia. Samaritan’s Purse contacted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), who referred them to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). NIH was able to provide the organization with the appropriate contacts at the private company developing this treatment. The NIH was not involved with procuring, transporting, approving, or administering the experimental treatments. {But they did not stop the drug from being transmitted and given – aka: turned away and is not enforcing its own regulations to protect the public – there is a procedure to ask for and quickly get emergency experimental treatment|

via Q & A On Experimental Treatments and Vaccines for Ebola | Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever | CDC.

WHO | Ebola virus disease

Key facts

Ebola virus disease (EVD), formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever, is a severe, often fatal illness in humans.

EVD outbreaks have a case fatality rate of up to 90%.

EVD outbreaks occur primarily in remote villages in Central and West Africa, near tropical rainforests.

The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission.

Fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family are considered to be the natural host of the Ebola virus.

Severely ill patients require intensive supportive care. No licensed specific treatment or vaccine is available for use in people or animals.

Ebola first appeared in 1976 in 2 simultaneous outbreaks, in Nzara, Sudan, and in Yambuku, Democratic Republic of Congo. The latter was in a village situated near the Ebola River, from which the disease takes its name.

Genus Ebolavirus is 1 of 3 members of the Filoviridae family (filovirus), along with genus Marburgvirus and genus Cuevavirus. Genus Ebolavirus comprises 5 distinct species:

Bundibugyo ebolavirus (BDBV)

Zaire ebolavirus (EBOV)

Reston ebolavirus (RESTV)

Sudan ebolavirus (SUDV)

Taï Forest ebolavirus (TAFV).

BDBV, EBOV, and SUDV have been associated with large EVD outbreaks in Africa, whereas RESTV and TAFV have not. The RESTV species, found in Philippines and the People’s Republic of China, can infect humans, but no illness or death in humans from this species has been reported to date.

via WHO | Ebola virus disease.

“Forget Media – getting too hyped” – read: WHO | Ebola virus disease update – West Africa

“WHO=World Health Organization”

Between 2 and 4 August 2014, a total of 108 new cases of Ebola virus disease (laboratory-confirmed, probable, and suspect cases) as well as 45 deaths were reported from Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone.

via WHO | Ebola virus disease update – West Africa.

‘Fashion police’: Xinjiang city goes off deep end, bans burkhas, beards from buses: Shanghaiist

It appears China’s war on terror has devolved into a McCarthyist witch hunt, the latest ‘extremist’ measure concerning the banning of beards, burkhas, and headscarves on buses in Karamay, Xinjiang. Well known fact: only uyghur terrorists sport beards.

Foreign Policy reports:

“The QQ news portal and other Chinese news sites that picked up the report also ran a graphic showing the “five abnormal styles” that weren’t allowed on Karamay public transport. It showed pictures of women in full and partial veils, headscarves, and men with full beards and even a modest goatee.”

So if you’re a rabbi, hipster, or any other one of our shaggy friends, you might want to hold off on that Xinjiang trip, unless you want to walk the whole time. Other banned items include the ilbab, a type of robe, and anything sporting the crescent moon and star. Violators are subject to arrests.

We figure it’s only a matter of time before they start banning anybody who’s eaten pita bread in the last month or ever watched a Muhammad Ali fight. In fact, we’re not far off. Last July, Urumqi authorities prohibited bus passengers from carrying cigarette lighters, yogurt and even water, to prevent attacks…somehow.

via ‘Fashion police’: Xinjiang city goes off deep end, bans burkhas, beards from buses: Shanghaiist.