Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 1st 2014 Contents A19
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People celebrate in a street outside of West Point slum in Monrovia, Liberia, Saturday after authorities reopened a slum where tens of
thousands of people were barricaded amid the country's Ebola outbreak. The slum of 50,000 people in Liberia's capital was sealed off
more than a week ago, sparking unrest and leaving many without access to food or safe water. AP PHOTO
TRIPOLI, LIBYA---A boat carrying
more than 100 migrants capsized
off the coast near the Libyan
capital, a coast guard official said
Abdel-Latif Mohammed said the
coast guard found the damaged
rubber boat off the shores of al-
Qarbouli, 50 kilometres (30 miles)
east of Tripoli.
The coast guard has not yet
confirmed the number of deaths but
estimated the boat carried at least
Last week, at least 100 African
migrants, including five children,
drowned in the same area.
Libya has grown increasingly
lawless since the 2011 overthrow of
dictator Moammar Gadhafi, making it
a migration hub for sub-Saharan
Africans seeking a better life.
Scores are killed every year on the
dangerous journey to Europe.
Boat carrying 100 migrants capsizes off Libya
The international community
needs to stop looking at neg-
lected tropical diseases (NTDs)
as a sub-Saharan African prob-
lem and realise that the G20
countries are now home to the
"lion s share" of the dangerous,
debilitating, yet low-profile ill-
nesses, a US expert has warned.
A huge programme by the
World Health Organization
designed to tackle NTDs, which
include dengue fever, Chagas
disease, Leishmaniasis and sleep-
ing sickness, has reached more
than a billion people over the
past eight years, many of them
But according to Dr Peter
Hotez, who is dean of the
National School of Tropical
Medicine at Baylor College of
Medicine in Texas, and president
of the Sabin Vaccine Institute,
the rise of NTDs among poor
people in Asia and the Americas
has gone largely unnoticed.
Hotez also singled out north-
ern Argentina, southern Mexico
and the southern US as areas
where a handful of NTDs are
common. He pointed particularly
to Texas and the Gulf coast,
where researchers are reporting
cases of dengue, Chikungunya,
Chagas disease and parasitic
worm infections such as Cys-
ticercosis or Toxocariasis.
Hotez, who estimates that
about 12 million Americans have
one or more tropical diseases,
said he was frustrated at the lack
of awareness of NTDs in the US
and the refusal to link their
prevalence to economic depri-
Infectious diseases, added
Hotez, rarely grabbed the head-
lines unless they appeared exotic
or unusually terrifying. "It s all
about what, in my frustration,
I call the imaginary illnesses that
scare white people: so it s all
about smallpox, anthrax, avian
flu and now, of course, Ebola,"
he said. "In the meantime, peo-
ple stay focused on that instead
of the 12 million Americans who
are already infected with NTDs
and who are not getting diag-
nosed or treated, and for whom
there are no efforts at public
But, he said, the economic
arguments of tackling NTDs in
countries such as the US, India
and China were overwhelming.
"Chronic hookworm infection
in childhood shaves IQ points
off kids and reduces future wage
earning by 40%," he said. "Lym-
phatic filariasis makes people
too sick to go to work every day.
India loses a billion dollars a
year." A major problem, said
Hotez, was that NTDs simply
lack the global profile of HIV-
Aids and malaria, despite killing
thousands of people each year.
"Dengue has reached an esti-
mated 390 million people around
the world," he said. "Everyone s
wringing their hands about the
Ebola epidemic but of course
dengue kills around 20 times as
many people. It s kind of a silent
pandemic, but it kills 14,700
people a year. We have other dis-
eases, like Chagas, that kills
another 10,000 people, and
Leishmaniasis, which kills anoth-
er 50,000 people." Although he
commended the US and UK
governments for providing three-
quarters of the global research
and development budget for
NTDs, Hotez said they had
shouldered the financial burden
for too long.
While many governments
were "a bit tapped-out" because
of their contributions to HIV
research, and the fight against
tuberculosis and malaria, they
needed to get involved, he said.
"We re working on the French
and the Germans, who, I think
are going to be very important.
But we need to look even beyond
the north and get all of the G20
countries involved -- especially
the Brics (Brazil, Russia, India,
China and South Africa). They
need to do more to invest glob-
ally in research and development.
China especially is investing bil-
lions of dollars in sub-Saharan
Africa, but what are they doing
for neglected tropical diseases?
Not enough." ---UK Guardian
Wealthier countries home to 'lion's
share' of neglected tropical diseases
MOGADISHU---Somalia s government forces have
regained control of a high security prison in the
capital, Mogadishu, that was attacked Sunday
morning by heavily armed suspected Islamic mil-
itants in an apparent attempt to free militants held
there, police said.
All of the attackers were killed, police said.
Godka Jilacow prison, the scene of the Sunday
morning attack, is a key interrogation center for
Somalia s intelligence agency and many suspected
militants are believed to be held there. Somali police
Capt Mohamed Hussein said all the attackers were
believed killed although he could not say how many.
He said he saw at least four dead bodies on the
ground outside the prison. The militants had been
"trying to free terrorists held in the prison," he said.
Eyewitnesses said soldiers in speeding pick-up
cars rushed to the prison and troops took positions
around the facility. The attack started when a suicide
car bomber detonated an explosives-laden vehicle
at the gate of the prison, followed by gunmen who
started fighting their way into the prison.
Guards fought the attackers who threw grenades
to penetrate the prison s defenses, police said.
BERLIN---Germany s domestic intelligence
agency expects that Islamic extremists who have
travelled to Syria and Iraq will return and commit
Unlike Britain, Germany hasn t raised its national
threat level for terrorism recently. But Hans-Georg
Maassen, head of the Federal Office for the Pro-
tection of the Constitution, said in an interview
broadcast Sunday that there was an "increased
abstract threat" of attacks in Germany.
At least 400 people from Germany have gone to
Syria and Iraq to fight with Islamic extremist groups,
though the real figure may be significantly higher,
Maassen told Deutschlandfunk radio.
"We have to assume ... that there may well be
people who return and commit attacks," he said,
adding that his agency is aware of at least 25 jihadists
with combat experience who have already come
back to Germany. Maassen said that the Islamic
State group, which has swept into northern Iraq
from Syria in recent months, has huge appeal among
Muslim extremists. German news weekly Der Spiegel
reported Sunday that there are about 20 former
German soldiers among the jihadists who have left
from Germany to fight in Syria. Citing unnamed
security officials, Der Spiegel reported that they
were former conscripts who are more valuable than
untrained recruits for groups such as IS.
Maassen noted that his agency wants to improve
its cooperation with Turkey, a key transit country
for Europeans seeking to join extremist groups.
He cited the high number of Germans traveling
to Syria, including at least five known to have com-
mitted suicide attacks, as "simply not acceptable
from a German point of view."
Germany on alert for
Isis terror attacks
Somalia: Army repels
attack on top prison
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