A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘liberia

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

  • Bad Astronomy notes a new detailed study suggesting that asteroid Hygeia is round. Does this mean it is a dwarf planet?
  • The Buzz notes that the Toronto Public Library has a free booklet on the birds of Toronto available at its branches.
  • Crooked Timber looks forward to a future, thanks to Trump, without the World Trade Organization.
  • D-Brief notes how the kelp forests off California were hurt by unseasonal heat and disease.
  • Bruce Dorminey notes an impending collision of supergalactic clusters.
  • Karen Sternheimer at the Everyday Sociology Blog looks at how judgement can complicate collective action.
  • Language Hat looks at the different definitions of the word “mobile”.
  • Language Log looks at the deep influence of the Persian language upon Marathi.

    Marathi and Persian

  • Erik Loomis at Lawyers, Guns and Money notes how, if anything, climate scientists make conservative claims about their predictions.
  • Marginal Revolution wonders if planned power outages are a good way to deal with the threat of wildfires in California.
  • The NYR Daily looks at the ethnic cleansing being enabled by Turkey in Kurdish Syria.
  • Corey S. Powell at Out There interviews archeologist Arthur Lin about his use of space-based technologies to discovery traces of the past.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer looks at the staggering inequality in Chile, driver of the recent protests.
  • At Roads and Kingdoms, Anthony Elghossain reports from the scene of the mass protests in Lebanon.
  • Drew Rowsome tells how his balcony garden fared this year.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel looks at stellar generations in the universe. (Our sun is a third-generation star.)
  • Strange Company looks at the murder of a girl five years old in Indiana in 1898. Was the neighbor boy twelve years old accused of the crime the culprit?
  • Denis Colombi at Une heure de peine takes a look at social mobility in France.
  • Understanding Society’s Daniel Little considers economic historians and their study of capitalism.
  • Window on Eurasia looks at the pro-Russian policies of the Moldova enclave of Gagauzia, and draws recommendations for Ukraine re: the Donbas.

[NEWS] Five notes on migration: Asians in the US, Ghana to Libya, Indian women, Brazil, Canada

  • Noah Smith notes at Bloomberg View that Trump’s bizarre opposition to chain migration would hit (for instance) Asian immigrant communities in the United States quite badly.
  • The Inter Press Service shares one man’s nearly fatal attempt to migrate from his native Ghana through Libya.
  • The Inter Press Service notes a hugely underestimated system of migration within India, that of women moving to their new husbands’ homes.
  • In an extended piece, the Inter Press Service examines how wars and disasters are driving much immigration to Brazil, looking particularly at Haiti and Venezuela as new notable sources.
  • Canada is a noteworthy destination for many immigrants who move here to take part in Canadian sports, including the Olympics. The Mational Post reports.

[URBAN NOTE] Six city links: California, Toronto, Vancouver, Saint John, LA, NYC, Philadelphia

  • Wired notes a bill proposed at the state level in California to force cities to provide affordable and accessible housing through non-NIMBY zoning.
  • The Toronto and Vancouver housing markets, perhaps uniquely among the markets of Canada’s major cities, are not seeing as much new supply as others. The Globe and Mail reports.
  • The population of Saint John, New Brunswick, has fallen by a quarter since 1971. The city government wants to change this, somehow. Global News notes.
  • VICE reports a new census of homelessness in Los Angeles, amid fears of locals that prior estimates might be undercounts.
  • The mystery of what happened to Princess Pamela, a famous soul food cook whose Harlem restaurant was famous to those in the know, is explored in this thought-provoking essay.
  • At Slate, Annie Risemberg explores how old connections to Liberia and ethnic restaurants helped a corner of southwestern Philadelphia become “Little Africa”, a destination of note for West African immigrants.

[LINK] “The Long Tail of Ebola: Depressing African Economic Progress”

Wired‘s Maryn McKenna reports on the lasting economic consequences of the West African Ebola epidemic.

It has almost completely vanished from the news in the United States, but Ebola persists in three countries in Africa: Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone. The World Health Organization’s update today puts the case toll at 21,171 in those three countries, with 8,371 deaths. (Eight thousand deaths. Think about that, for a minute.)

But the uncomfortable reality is that the impact of Ebola reaches far beyond those individual cases. In reports issued today and in December — which I missed at the time, so am bumping it back up for reading now — the World Bank predicts that the disease will cripple the economies of these countries into the future.

Some examples from the current reports, on Liberia and Sierra Leone:
■Half of the heads of households in Liberia are out of work.
■60 percent of women and 40 percent of men in Liberia are unemployed.
■80 percent of families growing food had smaller harvests in the past growing season than the year before, because they were unable to find workers to help with the harvest.
■Two-thirds of Liberian households were not able to buy enough food.
■In Sierra Leone, 179,000 people have lost their jobs due to Ebola’s effects.

Written by Randy McDonald

January 22, 2015 at 12:01 am

[BLOG] Some Friday links

  • blogTO notes the erection of a new LCBO in a former funeral home on Queen Street West.
  • The Dragon’s Tales links to a study of Titan’s magnetic field.
  • Joe. My. God. notes a group of American pastors who are responding to civil same-sex marriage by refusing to enact civil marriages themselves.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the complicity of Firestone in Liberia with Charles Taylor’s rebel army in the early 1990s.
  • Marginal Revolution notes the numerous human-dolphin fishing cooperatives scattered across the world.
  • The Planetary Society Blog’s Casey Dreier notes the probability of an American mission to Europa has risen.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog links to a statistical study of the Ukrainian election suggesting it was fair.
  • Strange Maps notes Al Ahwaz, a former Arab-populated pseudo-state in Iran on the Persian Gulf coast.
  • Torontoist notes a Toronto protest arguing refugee claimants should be allowed access to social assistance.
  • Towleroad notes that the National Organization for Marriage is facing financial meltdown.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the Crimean Tatars’ demand for recognition as an indigenous people.

[BLOG] Some Monday links

  • Anthropology.net notes the importance of anthropological knowledge in understanding the West African Ebola crisis.
  • Centauri Dreams looks at the strange protoplanetary belt of GG Tauri-A.
  • Discover‘s Crux considers requirements for a starfaring civilization.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze points to an apparently young and planet-forming binary star, OGLE-LMC-ECL-11893.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes that China and Russia have blocked the formation of an Antarctic marine reserve, notes the ways in which diverse sciences can be used to understand the pre-Columbian Amazon, and notes a simulation of Titan’s ancient climate.
  • Eastern Approahces looks at the Ukraine-Russia gas deal.
  • Geocurrents examines regional divides in Brazil on the basis of the 2014 presidential election vote.
  • Joe. My. God. notes that PReP can prevent HIV infection even on short notice, and observes that the coming out of Apple CEO Tim Cook has been followed by a Russian parliamentarian’s proposal to ban Apple and the taking down of a monument to Steve Jobs.
  • Language Hat links to a beautiful family tree illustration of Europe’s languages.
  • Language Log notes complex translation issues between Cantonese and Mandarin in Chow Yun Fat’s position on Hong Kong.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money does not like Frank Gehry.
  • Marginal Revolution notes a quixotic movement in the Italian island of Sardinia to be annexed by Switzerland.
  • Peter Watts of No Fucking Icons dislikes the political uses of terrorism by the Canadian government.
  • The Planetary Society Blog notes a design for a drill that could drill deeply into the surfaces of different moons and notes the return of Chinese test moon vehicle Chang’e 5’s probe.
  • Savage Minds notes an interesting comparative study of Seoul and Baltimore.
  • Spacing Toronto looks at the recovery of Toronto’s lost Tomlins Creek.
  • Torontoist discusses the importance of finding a new police chief for Toronto.
  • Towleroad examines reasons
  • Window on Eurasia notes the need to sustain the survivors of the Aral Sea, and observes the new isolation of Kaliningrad.
  • Zero Geography links to a paper examining the spread of telecommunications networks in East Africa now with the spread of modern transport a century earlier.

[LINK] Paul Farmer on Ebola in Africa

Doctor Paul Farmer, whose sensitive and insightful book AIDS and Accusation on the Haitian AIDS epidemic I reviewed in 2006, has a diary article up at the London Review of Books recounting his experiences of Ebola in Africa. As he notes, if Ebola is an epidemic, is it an epidemic defined–created, even–by extreme poverty.

Both nurses and doctors are scarce in the regions most heavily affected by Ebola. Even before the current crisis killed many of Liberia’s health professionals, there were fewer than fifty doctors working in the public health system in a country of more than four million people, most of whom live far from the capital. That’s one physician per 100,000 population, compared to 240 per 100,000 in the United States or 670 in Cuba. Properly equipped hospitals are even scarcer than staff, and this is true across the regions most affected by Ebola. Also scarce is personal protective equipment (PPE): gowns, gloves, masks, face shields etc. In Liberia there isn’t the staff, the stuff or the space to stop infections transmitted through bodily fluids, including blood, urine, breast milk, sweat, semen, vomit and diarrhoea. Ebola virus is shed during clinical illness and after death: it remains viable and infectious long after its hosts have breathed their last. Preparing the dead for burial has turned hundreds of mourners into Ebola victims.

Many of the region’s recent health gains, including a sharp decline in child mortality, have already been reversed, in large part because basic medical services have been shut down as a result of the crisis. Most of Ebola’s victims may well be dying from other causes: women in childbirth, children from diarrhoea, people in road accidents or from trauma of other sorts. There’s little doubt that the current epidemic can be stopped, but no one knows when or how it will be reined in. As Barack Obama said, speaking at a special session of the United Nations, ‘Do not stand by, thinking that somehow, because of what we’ve done, that it’s taken care of. It’s not.’ Preventing the next eruption is an even more distant goal.

As of 1 October, a third of all Ebola cases ever documented were registered in September 2014. More than seven thousand cases have been recorded since March, more than half of them fatal. In epidemiological terms, the doubling times of the current Ebola outbreak are 15.7 days in Guinea, 23.6 days in Liberia and 30.2 days in Sierra Leone. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggested at the end of September that unless urgent action is taken, more than a million people could be infected in the next few months.

The worst is yet to come, especially when we take into account the social and economic impact of the epidemic, which has so far hit only a small number of patients (by contrast, the combined death toll of Aids, tuberculosis and malaria, the ‘big three’ infectious pathogens, was six million a year as recently as 2000). Trade and commerce in West Africa have already been gravely affected. And Ebola has reached the heart of the Liberian government, which is led by the first woman to win a presidential election in an African democracy. There were rumours that President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was not attending the UN meeting because she was busy dealing with the crisis, or because she faced political instability at home. But we knew that one of her staff had fallen ill with Ebola. A few days ago, we heard that another of our Liberian hosts, a senior health official, had placed herself in 21-day quarantine. Although she is without symptoms, her chief aide died of Ebola on 25 September. Such developments, along with the rapid pace and often spectacular features of the illness, have led to a level of fear and stigma which seems even greater than that normally caused by pandemic disease.

Written by Randy McDonald

October 16, 2014 at 10:46 pm

[LINK] “How Nigeria contained its Ebola outbreak”

CBC’s Mark Gollom reports on Nigeria’s swift and apparently successful response to Ebola. A quick response by a functioning state was key, explaining why Nigeria has been spared the horrors of Liberia and its immediate neighbours.

Nigeria recorded 19 laboratory-confirmed Ebola cases and one probable one in two Nigerian states, and nearly 900 patient contacts were identified and followed since mid-July when the outbreak took off, the Atlanta-based Center for Disease Control (CDC) said in a statement this week. Meanwhile, there have been no new cases since Aug. 31, “strongly suggesting the outbreak in Nigeria has been contained,” CDC said.

Marty said Nigeria was fortunate in that the Liberian-American who brought in the disease by plane to Lagos back in July was suspected of having Ebola.

According to the CDC, Nigerian authorities took swift action, putting him into isolation and then determining he had exposed 72 people on commercial aircraft, at an airport and at a hospital. They immediately began tracing those he may have had contact with, and created an incident management centre, which later became the emergency operations centre for the disease.

The disease didn’t spread rapidly, in part, because it was mostly limited to the wealthier population of Nigeria, said Marty, who is also director of the Florida International University’s Health Travel Medicine Program

“The person who brought the infection was a diplomat,” Marty said. “He was brought to one of the best hospitals in Nigeria, and the people who were infected were individuals who quickly comprehended the importance of following our recommendations.”

Nigeria is also vastly more politically stable and economically affluent than other West African countries, having not suffered years or decades of civil strife.

Written by Randy McDonald

October 9, 2014 at 2:31 am

[URBAN NOTE] “In Little Liberia, expats nervously eye those returning from Africa to NYC”

Amel Ahmed’s Al Jazeera America feature about how Little Liberia, an immigrant enclave on New York City’s Staten Island, is coping with the Ebola epidemic makes for disturbing reading. Fear is everywhere.

In Little Liberia, some 4,500 miles from where Ebola has ravaged parts of West Africa, the disease is still taking a toll. As fear and rumors spread around this enclave in New York’s Staten Island — home to the largest concentration of Liberians outside Africa — so, too, have stories of lost relatives and fracturing communities.

“I told my mom to stay away from that lady,” said Assie Jalloh, gesturing toward an apartment building near where she was picking up groceries on Targee Street in the Clifton area of the borough.

The object of her concern was a woman who recently returned from West Africa, said Jalloh, a nurse and a Sierra Leonean expat. She favors a mandatory 21-day isolation period for all travelers arriving from the affected countries.

In Little Liberia, Jalloh is not alone in her concern. Many Liberian-Americans share her fears. Momo Fully, a father of four, lost his cousin to Ebola in August. He worries the disease, which has killed more than 3,000 people in West Africa, could take hold in the United States.

“People go back and forth all the time. There’s always the possibly of Ebola coming to America and spreading,” he said.

[. . .]

“This is the sad reality. If my own brother came from Africa, I wouldn’t be comfortable meeting him,” Fully said.

He faces another burden. Since the death of his cousin, he and his wife have been providing financial help for the man’s wife and children. “We are all they have now. We have to support them,” he said.

Written by Randy McDonald

October 6, 2014 at 10:42 pm

[LINK] “Why Liberia Is Prosecuting the Man Who Brought Ebola to the U.S.”

The Atlantic‘s Adam Chandler makes the case that the promise of the Liberian government to prosecute Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian currently hospitalized in Texas with Ebola, for lying about coming into contact with someone who had Ebola, makes sense.

Responding to the controversy on Thursday, Binyah Kesselly, chairman of the board of directors of the Liberia Airport Authority, declared that Duncan “will be prosecuted” when he returns home.

As West African countries battle the largest Ebola outbreak on record, the notion of pursing criminal charges against a man who claims he wasn’t exposed to the virus may come off as wasteful, if not extreme. Given that thousands of people continue to move between the borders of West African countries, Liberia’s intention to prosecute Duncan for traveling to the United States with Ebola—unwittingly or not—also rings a little hypocritical.

But as Jens David Ohlin of Cornell University Law School contends, the prosecution of Duncan may have less to do with what he did (or did not) do and more with the precedent his case could set.

“Liberia is probably anxious about maintaining travel connections to the United States and other countries,” Ohlin told me. “And countries have probably felt comfortable keeping air connections with Liberia so long as protocols for screening passengers are in place.”

He added that were Liberia to ignore this potential breach of its screening process, it would ultimately convey that “these protocols are worthless.”

Written by Randy McDonald

October 2, 2014 at 11:03 pm