In brief | Nation & World, 08-24-14


New Sierra Leone law makes it illegal to hide Ebola patients

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone — Sierra Leone has passed a new law imposing possible jail time for anyone caught hiding an Ebola patient — a common practice that the World Health Organization believes has contributed to a major underestimation of the current outbreak.

The new law, passed Friday, imposes prison terms of up to two years for violators, said lawmaker Ansumana Jaiah Kaikai. It now goes for presidential approval.

He said the measure was necessary to compel residents to cooperate with government officials, noting that some residents had resisted steps to combat Ebola and build isolation centers in their communities.

A total of 2,615 infections and 1,427 deaths have been recorded in the Ebola outbreak now hitting West Africa, according to figures released Friday by the World Health Organization. Sierra Leone has been hard-hit, with at least 910 cases and 392 deaths.

But these numbers don’t capture all Ebola cases because families hide patients, fearing high fatality rates and the stigma that comes with a positive diagnosis, the U.N. health agency said.

Bombings in Baghdad, Kirkuk kill 42 as government probes Sunni mosque attack

BAGHDAD — Bombings in Baghdad and the northern city of Kirkuk killed at least 42 people in Iraq on Saturday as the government investigated a deadly attack on a Sunni mosque the day before that has heightened sectarian tensions amid a fragile political transition.

In oil-rich Kirkuk, long disputed by Baghdad and the Kurdish regional government, three bombs went off in a crowded commercial district, killing 31 people and wounding dozens, Kirkuk deputy police chief Tarhan Abdel-Rahman said.

One witness said he heard “an explosion between the cars, and then we started carrying out the dead bodies from there while people were burning inside the shops and cars.” The witness asked not to be named for fear of retribution.

In Baghdad, a suicide bomber had earlier driven an explosives-laden car into the gate of the intelligence headquarters in Karrada district, killing six civilians and five security personnel, a police officer said. He said 24 other people were wounded.

A medical official confirmed causality figures. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to brief the media.

Peace prevails as thousands march over black man’s death after chokehold by officer

NEW YORK — Thousands of people expressing grief, anger and hope for a better future marched peacefully through Staten Island on Saturday to protest the chokehold death of an unarmed black man by a white police officer.

Police reported no arrests after the afternoon rally and march that drew well over 2,500 people to the streets where Eric Garner was taken to the ground on July 17 by a New York Police Department officer using a prohibited martial arts maneuver.

“This is a Birmingham, Alabama, moment!” the Rev. Herbert Daughtry announced to about 100 demonstrators at a nearby Staten Island church before the march. He asked for anyone who had been harassed, humiliated or disrespected by police to stand. Almost everyone did.

The Rev. Al Sharpton repeated his call for a federal takeover of the criminal probe into the death of the 43-year-old Garner, an asthmatic father of six who was stopped for selling loose cigarettes.

Europe’s navigation program goes off course as 2 satellites launched into wrong orbits

PARIS — European space officials say they’re investigating whether the inaccurate deployment of two satellites will complicate their efforts to develop a new Galileo satellite navigation system that would rival America’s GPS network.

The European Space Agency and launch company Arianespace say the satellites ended up in off-target orbits after being launched Friday from Kourou, French Guiana, aboard a Soyuz rocket.

Saturday’s agency statement did not explain whether their orbital paths could be corrected. Arianespace said the satellites settled into a lower, elliptical orbit instead of the circular one intended.

Israel said Arianespace along with customer ESA and the Commission will create an independent panel to investigate what caused the inaccurate deployment and to develop corrective actions so Soyuz launches can resume.

By wire sources