Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 9th 2014 Contents A23
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LONDON---The World Health Organization
yesterday declared the Ebola outbreak in West
Africa to be an international public health emergency
that requires an extraordinary response to stop its
It is the largest and longest outbreak ever
recorded of Ebola, which has a death rate of about
50 per cent and has so far killed at least 961 people.
WHO declared similar emergencies for the swine flu
pandemic in 2009 and for polio in May.
WHO chief Dr Margaret Chan said the
announcement is "a clear call for international
solidarity" although she acknowledged that many
countries would probably not have any Ebola cases.
"Countries affected to date simply do not have the
capacity to manage an outbreak of this size and
complexity on their own," Chan said at a news
conference in Geneva.
The current outbreak of Ebola emerged in Guinea
in March and has since spread to Sierra Leone and
Liberia, with a suspected cluster in Nigeria. (AP)
WHO: Ebola an international emergency
GAZA CITY---Gaza militants
resumed rocket attacks on Israel
yesterday, refusing to extend a
three-day truce after Egyptian-
brokered talks between Israel and
Hamas on a new border deal for
blockaded Gaza hit a deadlock.
Israel responded with a series
of airstrikes, including one that
killed a ten-year-old boy and
wounded five children near a Gaza
City mosque, Palestinian officials
said. Two Israelis were wounded
by rocket fire, police said.
The renewed violence threw the
Cairo talks on a broader deal into
doubt. Hamas officials said they
are ready to continue talks, but
Israel s government spokesman
said Israel will not negotiate under
Egypt s Foreign Ministry
expressed "extreme regret" over
the failure to extend the truce,
urged restraint by both sides and
called for a new cease-fire to
resume negotiations. The ministry
said progress had been made in
the talks, but did not explain.
Hamas wants Israel to open
Gaza s borders, following a seven-
year closure also enforced by
Egypt, but Israel says it will only
do so if the Islamic militants dis-
arm or are prevented from re-arm-
ing. Hamas has insisted it will
never give up its weapons.
The wide gaps became clear at
an all-night meeting between
Egyptian and Palestinian negotia-
tors that preceded the renewed
fire. Hamas negotiators told the
Associated Press that Israel rejected
all of their demands.
Hamas had entered the Cairo
talks from a position of military
weakness, following a month of
fighting in which Israel pounded
Gaza with close to 5,000 strikes.
Israel has said Hamas lost hundreds
of fighters, two-thirds of its rocket
arsenal and all of its tunnels under
the border with Israel.
The heavy toll of the war appears
to have made Hamas even more
resistant to returning to the status
quo. The group is unlikely to accept
a cease-fire without assurances
that Gaza s borders will be
opened---particularly after the
fighting left close to 1,900 Gaza
residents dead, more than 9,000
wounded and tens of thousands
displaced, with entire neighbour-
hoods reduced to rubble.
Gaza militants began firing rock-
ets at Israel even before the tem-
porary truce expired at 8 am yes-
terday. By midday, 33 rockets had
been fired. Twenty-six landed in
Israel, three were intercepted and
four fell short in Gaza, the army
The war grew out of the killing
of three Israeli teens in the West
Bank in June. Israel blamed the
killings on Hamas and launched a
massive arrest campaign, rounding
up hundreds of its members in the
West Bank, as Hamas and other
militants unleashed rocket fire from
Israel, Hamas resume fire as 3-day truce fails to break deadlock
Palestinians attend noon prayers next to a destroyed mosque that was hit by Israeli strikes, in Gaza City,
yesterday. Israel and Gaza militants resumed cross-border attacks after a three-day truce expired and Egyptian-
brokered talks on a new border deal for blockaded Gaza hit a deadlock. AP PHOTO
dropped bombs on Islamic mili-
tants in Iraq yesterday, the Pen-
tagon said, carrying out President
Barack Obama s promise of mili-
tary force to counter the advancing
militants and confront the threat
they pose to Iraqi civilians and
Americans still stationed there.
Pentagon press secretary Rear
Adm John Kirby said that two F/A-
18 jets dropped 500-pound (227-
kilogramme) bombs on a piece of
artillery and the truck towing it.
Kirby said the fighters had taken
off from the aircraft carrier USS
George HW Bush in the Persian
Gulf to conduct the mission. He
said it wasn t clear how many mil-
itants might have been killed in the
The Pentagon said the militants
were using the artillery to shell Kur-
dish forces defending Irbil.
For the United States, it was a
re-engagement in the long sectarian
war from which American combat
forces had been withdrawn---on
Obama s orders---in late 2011.
In a televised speech Thursday
night, Obama threatened to renew
US military involvement. At the
same time, he announced that US
military planes already had carried
out airdrops of food and water, at
the request of the Iraqi government,
to tens of thousands of Iraqi reli-
gious minorities atop a mountain
surrounded by militants and des-
perately in need of supplies.
"America is coming to help,"
The Yazidis, who follow an
ancient religion with ties to Zoroas-
trianism, fled their homes after the
Islamic State group issued an ulti-
matum to convert to Islam, pay a
religious fine, flee their homes or
"Earlier this week, one Iraqi in
the area cried to the world, There
is no one coming to help. Well,
today, America is coming to help,"
"We re also consulting with other
countries---and the United
Nations---who have called for action
to address this humanitarian cri-
The announcement reflected the
deepest American engagement in
Iraq since US troops left.
Obama, who made his remarks
in a steady and sombre tone, has
staked much of his legacy as pres-
ident on ending what he once called
the "dumb war" in Iraq.
Mindful of the public s aversion
to another lengthy war, Obama
acknowledged that the prospect of
a new round of US military action
would be a cause for concern among
many Americans. He vowed anew
not to put American combat troops
back on the ground in Iraq and said
there was no US military solution
to the crisis.
"As commander in chief, I will
not allow the United States to be
dragged into fighting another war
in Iraq," Obama said.
Even so, he outlined a rationale
for airstrikes in the event the Islamic
State militants advanced on Amer-
ican troops in Irbil and the US con-
sulate there in the Kurdish region
of Iraq. The troops were sent to
Iraq earlier this year as part of the
White House response to the
extremist group s swift movement
across the border with Syria and
"When the lives of American cit-
izens are at risk, we will take action,"
Obama said. "That s my responsi-
bility as commander in chief."
He said he had also authorised
the use of targeted military strikes
if necessary to help the Iraqi security
forces protect civilians. (AP)
Obama orders response to advancing militants
US troops in Iraq airstrikes
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