National Service Official Blog

National Service Official Blog.

AmeriCorps members are finding careers, bringing new energy to disaster services

When looking at the emotional phases of a disaster there is an attempt to understand what individual survivors and communities are going through after an event. Time and again we see the greatness of humanity post impact with heroic moments both great and small.

During the heroic phase we see people opening their homes, helping out neighbors, and performing infinite small kindnesses.  It is during the heroic and honeymoon phases that survivors feel they are not alone, and they have hope for the future.  Unfortunately the realization of the long haul ahead along with the truth of the months or years it will take to recover often leads to disillusionment, and sometimes the loss of that very hope that was so strongly present just days or weeks before.

Ebola kills 56 in two days, says WHO | News , World | THE DAILY STAR

The Ebola virus killed 56 people in just two days, bringing the global death toll to 1,069, the World Health Organization said Wednesday.

The death toll, which passed the 1,000-mark at the weekend, soared higher between August 10 and 11.

The number of confirmed infections jumped by 128 over the two days, bringing the total number of cases to 1,975 people, the UN’s health agency said.

New cases and deaths had been registered in all four west African countries so far hit by the worst Ebola epidemic seen since the deadly virus was discovered four decades ago.

Liberia saw 71 new cases and 32 new deaths, while Sierra Leone recorded 53 new cases and 19 more deaths, according to fresh WHO data.

Guinea, where the outbreak began at the beginning of the year, counted four new cases and four new deaths.

Nigeria, meanwhile, counted one more death, bringing the total there to three, but WHO lowered the total number of suspected, probable and confirmed cases in the country to 12 from 13.

via Ebola kills 56 in two days, says WHO | News , World | THE DAILY STAR.

‘My wife thinks I will come home in a box’ – and three days later Gaza bomb disposal expert was dead | World | The Guardian

Rahed Taysir al’Hom was buried in the sandy soil of the cemetery of Jabaliya, the rough Gaza neighbourhood where he had grown up, at 1pm on the third day of the ceasefire.

His funeral was quick, attended by a hundred or so mourners, and accompanied by a quick sermon from a white-turbaned cleric, a sobbing father and some shots fired from a Kalashnikov by a skinny teenager.

Two breezeblocks and a ripped piece of cardboard with his name scrawled on it now mark the grave of a personable man with an easy smile, hollow eyes and a quiet intensity that was entirely understandable given his job.

The 43-year-old father of seven lies next to his brother – a Hamas fighter killed in an Israeli air strike two weeks ago. But the al’Hom who died on Wednesday was not a warrior. He was head of the sole bomb disposal unit of Gaza’s northern governorate and his job was to protect several hundred thousand people from the unexploded ordnance that now litters the streets, fields and the rubble of many homes.

Al’Hom, who died when a 500kg bomb he was trying to defuse exploded at 10.30am on Wednesday, was an incidental casualty of a month-long war that no one seems able to stop.

via ‘My wife thinks I will come home in a box’ – and three days later Gaza bomb disposal expert was dead | World | The Guardian.

Israeli Occupation Forces wage campaign of mass arrests in Jerusalem this morning

{Have not yet learned that this type of control cannot go on forever – if for no other reasons than expenses and allocation of personnel – 30% of Israeli’s working as police and military?} Today at dawn the Israeli Occupation Forces launched a campaign of mass arrests all over Jerusalem. They arrested more than 60 Palestinians under the pretext that they participated in protests in solidarity with Gaza and that they threw stones and bottles to the IOF and settlers during clashes.

A large group of Israeli Occupation Forces raided several districts and villages in and around Jerusalem in the early morning, causing the outbreak of clashes with the youth in different areas.

via Israeli Occupation Forces wage campaign of mass arrests in Jerusalem this morning.

Spider photobombs BBC Scotland news | Media | The Guardian

A spider photobombed a live BBC news bulletin when it crawled across the screen to catch an insect.

The spider, which which looked giant on screen, invaded the early morning edition of Reporting Scotland when it crept across the lens of the roof camera.

Newsreader Graham Stewart looked unperturbed as the spider grabbed the insect before retreating.

He later tweeted: “Never mind the pandas: giant hungry spider invades Reporting Scotland at breakfast time!”

via Spider photobombs BBC Scotland news | Media | The Guardian.

Watch Out: NYPD Starts 2-Week Bicyclist Crackdown Today!: Gothamist

Will the police knock bicyclists off their bikes to ticket them? Block the bike lane to ticket bicyclists? Hand out tickets for not wearing helmets (should be a field day with Citi Bike users)? Hand out pamphlets for “psycho cyclists”? Does Alec Baldwin know about this?!?

Anything could happen. Send your experiences to

via Watch Out: NYPD Starts 2-Week Bicyclist Crackdown Today!: Gothamist.

Party People on the Streets of Blackpool

Blackpool was never the Riviera. Twenty years ago, William E. Schmidt, a correspondent for The New York Times, wrote a travel article in which he said, “Even by the dreary standards of so many British beach resorts — foul water and worse weather — Blackpool is in a league of its own.”

via Party People on the Streets of Blackpool.

Avian Flu Diary: PNAS: Receptor Usage & Cell Entry Of Bat Coronaviruses

Bats, increasingly, are being viewed as substantial reservoirs for dangerous viruses. While long known to vector rabies, in the 1990s outbreaks of Hendra in Australia and Nipah in Malaysia and parts of Asia were eventually traced to bats, and while conclusive evidence is still lacking, the Ebola virus (and its cousin Marburg) are all believed to have bat origins


Bats are abundant (roughly 1/4th of all mammal species), mobile and wide ranging, and have adapted over millions of years to carry a variety of highly pathogenic viruses without ill effect.

via Avian Flu Diary: PNAS: Receptor Usage & Cell Entry Of Bat Coronaviruses.

Iain Duncan Smith claimed expenses for his underpants (really!)

Attack, attack, attack those weaker than you to feel and appear strong is so wrong…

Pride's Purge

(not satire – it’s Iain Duncan Smith!)

If there were ever any doubts that Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith is a very nasty bully of the highest order – as well as a hypocrite of the highest order – this little anecdote will surely remove them.

Around 10 years ago – when IDS was leader of the opposition – you may remember the ‘Betsygate‘ scandal when it was revealed he’d been using taxpayers’ money to pay his wife a wage for doing nothing.

In October 2003, a senior aide to IDS –  Dr Vanessa Gearson – gave written evidence to the House of Commons Select Committee on Standards and Privileges about the scandal.

In her written statement Dr Gearson revealed that she had written an email to Conservative Central Office expressing her concerns about IDS claiming money from the taxpayer for his own personal…

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