• Mon 71°F / 42°F

ABC Digital

Home » Entries posted by ABC Digital (Page 8)

VA Scandal Taking Center Role in 2014 Political Ads

VA Scandal Taking Center Role in 2014 Political Ads

ABC News(WASHINGTON) — Judging by candidates’ ads, the hottest issue in House and Senate midterm elections this year is easily care for America’s veterans.This month alone, 23 House races and 10 Senate races have seen over 13,000 airings of television ads on the topic of veterans’ healthcare or veterans’ benefits, according to Kantar Media’s Campaign Media Analysis Group (CMAG).The number of ads focusing on veterans’ care and benefits has been steadily climbing in both House and Senate races. In May of this year there were 3,405 airings of TV ads, in June 6,366 airings, in July just over 8,000.Elizabeth Wilner, senior vice president at Kantar Media Intelligence, said the number of political ads on the issue of veterans swamps every other issue.”I’m struck by how many veterans-themed ads are popping up and really cannot think of any other issue this year… that started resonating in such a widespread way across so many races,” Wilner said.Serving in the military has always been something candidates tout, especially in what is known as a “bio ad,” or the ad that introduces the candidate to the viewer. This year voters saw GOP nominee Dan Sullivan’s first general election ad telling Alaskans, “The Marine Corps shaped who I am.” Rep. Tom Cotton, running for Senate in Arkansas, touts his service, saying in an ad that the values he learned in the Army is what he’ll bring to Washington. “Serious times deserve serious leaders,” Cotton says.The VA scandal, though, has given a reason for candidates running that perhaps don’t have a military background to mention their care for veterans. Some are using service members in their ads explaining why the candidate will help fellow veterans.Republicans have especially taken advantage of the scandal, using it to criticize the Obama administration and their Democratic opponents. The first ad to mention the scandal was the Karl Rove-backed group Crossroads GPS; the ad aired in Alaska in May. “A national disgrace,” the narrator says. “Veterans died waiting for care that never came,” with the spot reminding viewers their “Senator Mark Begich sits on the Veterans Affairs Committee.” Begich then aired two ads of his own featuring veterans, calling the attack ads false, and stressing his efforts to help Alaska veterans get the healthcare they need.An audit by the VA’s Office of Inspector General released this week, however, found that no veterans died because of delayed care at VA facilities.Democrats have been more cautious in using the issue in ads. The Democratic Senate Campaign Committee is running an ad in Louisiana accusing Republican nominee Bill Cassidy of putting “millionaires before veterans.”In Iowa, where Democrat Rep. Bruce Braley is in one of the tightest Senate races this cycle against National Guardsman Joni Ernst, a Braley ad features another National Guardsman saying, “We were the longest serving unit in the history of the Iraq conflict,” and because of the extended stay is entitled to extra pay which he says Braley “fought for us” to get. A Crossroads ad then aired hitting Braley on the veterans’ care issue directly, saying he missed meetings of the Veterans’ Affairs committee.In House races, some candidates are lumping the VA scandal in with other administration crises or other issues. In the fight for New Hampshire’s second congressional district, state Rep. Marilinda Garcia says in an ad the “IRS and Benghazi scandals, the VA disaster, and Obamacare’s broken promises” are all reasons “we need a new generation of conservative leaders” in Washington. In Florida’s 18th district, Democratic incumbent Rep. Patrick Murphy is in a tight toss-up race in the Palm Beach County area. His first general election ad features him talking to elderly veterans and stressing his work on their behalf, as well as “hold(ing) the VA accountable for excessive wait times.”Labor Day weekend is considered the unofficial kick-off to the midterm season, and it’s only after the summer finally dwindles away that Americans really start paying attention to the campaigns. If that’s true, it’s possible we may see even more ads stressing the VA scandal and mentioning veterans as we get closer to November.
Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Immigration Sit-In Outside White House Results in About 100 Arrests

Immigration Sit-In Outside White House Results in About 100 Arrests

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — For the second time in a month, progressive activists disillusioned with the Obama administration’s immigration policies intentionally had themselves arrested outside the White House in what they called an act of “civil disobedience.”The highly choreographed sit-in, organized by a coalition of labor, immigration reform and religious groups, featured roughly 100 demonstrators who sat down on the sidewalk outside the president’s residence in an area already cordoned off by law enforcement. After several warnings from law enforcement officers on standby, the scores of protesters were peacefully detained for obstructing sidewalk traffic.The demonstrators are demanding the federal government cease an estimated 1,000 deportations a day of undocumented immigrants, a number likely to rise as the administration grapples with a surge of thousands who have overwhelmed Southwest states in the last several months, creating a humanitarian crisis. The migrants come mostly from Central America, fleeing violence and epidemic poverty.
Hundreds of their supporters looked on, waving picket signs that read “Don’t deport my dad,” and, “Immigration reform is obstructed by racism.”A mile away at a pre-rally outside the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency headquarters, organizers said the undocumented “would have justice.””Seventeen American citizen children, today, will be losing their moms or dads for a senseless deportation system that ICE does on daily basis,” said AFL-CIO executive vice president Tefere Gebre. “The president can and will stop this. Yes, we can!”Other groups present included CASA de Maryland, the National Organization for Women and the Sisters of Mercy.Arrests were made by the National Park Service Police, which has jurisdiction over the park land adjacent to the White House compound. Officers were prepared with tents and foldout tables to quickly process those who were arrested.Staged arrests inside the nation’s capital are not an uncommon occurrence, and several of the groups present Thursday were veterans of the tactic, used to draw attention to their cause. Typically, detained demonstrators are handed over to the city’s metropolitan police force for processing and released after a few hours, with no fine or further punitive action. Even members of the U.S. Congress have been known to participate.In June, President Obama announced he would exercise his executive authority to circumvent congressional intransigence on long-term immigration reform. Senior officials told ABC News a decision would come by mid-September, but the end result will likely not be as sweeping as many progressive activists have hoped.Early summer reports suggested the administration was considering measures that would allow millions of the undocumented to remain in the U.S. without deportation. Now, with the fall midterm elections rapidly approaching, red state Democrats fear comprehensive reform could tip a precariously balanced battle for majority control against them, particularly in the Senate.
Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Wall Street Posts Losses After Hot Start to Week, Labor Department Releases Positive Unemployment Numbers

Wall Street Posts Losses After Hot Start to Week, Labor Department Releases Positive Unemployment Numbers

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — After a strong start to the week, Wall Street posted losses on Thursday, while a Labor Department report indicated slightly improved unemployment numbers.The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 17,079.57, down 42.44.The Nasdaq finished at 4,557.70, a drop of 11.92 from Wednesday’s close, while the S&P 500 slipped 3.38 to 1,996.74, finishing below 2,000 for the first time since it broke that mark earlier this week. The Labor Department’s weekly report indicated a slight decrease in jobless claims last week. The department also noted that there were no “special factors” that helped to decrease the figures.Also on Thursday, the investigation into a cyberattack against JPMorgan Chase continued. Wednesday night, the FBI and Secret Service announced the investigation, though they were unable to definitively determine whether customer information was at risk due to the attack.
Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Apple Sends Invitations for Mysterious Sept. 9 Event

Apple Sends Invitations for Mysterious Sept. 9 Event

Apple Press(CUPERTINO, Calif.) — The wait is almost over.Apple sent out mysterious invitations on Thursday for a Sept. 9 media event in Cupertino, California.Much of the speculation has centered around the possible release of an iPhone 6 and a wearable device, however Apple isn’t commenting on what it has up its sleeve.A gray and white invitation sent out to members of the media on Thursday teases, “Wish we could say more.”
The event will be held at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts in Cupertino, California, at 10 a.m. PT.It will be the first time Apple has held an event at the 2,405-seat theater since 1999, when it launched a new iMac, according to Mashable.
Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

NFL: Six-Game Suspension for Any Domestic Violence Charge

NFL: Six-Game Suspension for Any Domestic Violence Charge

Christian Petersen/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Any player that commits a domestic violence crime will be handed a six-game suspension for a first offense and a lifetime ban for a second offense, the NFL announced on Thursday.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell admitted that he did not get the suspension to Ravens running back Ray Rice correct, which led to the news.
“At times, however, and despite our best efforts, we fall short of our goals,” Goodell wrote in a letter. “We clearly did so in response to a recent incident of domestic violence….My disciplinary decision led the public to question our sincerity, our commitment, and whether we understood the toll that domestic violence inflicts on so many families. I take responsibility both for the decision and for ensuring that our actions in the future properly reflect our values.”
Rice was suspended for the first two games of the regular season after being arrested on a charge of aggravated assault after allegedly knocking out his fiancee in an elevator in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Goodell and the NFL received much criticism for not coming down harder on a domestic violence case.
“Our personal conduct policy has long made clear that domestic violence and sexual assault are unacceptable. We clearly must do a better job of addressing these incidents in the NFL. And we will,” Goodell continued.
Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Woman Dies at Burning Man Festival in Nevada Desert

Woman Dies at Burning Man Festival in Nevada Desert

iStock/Thinkstock(LAS VEGAS) — A woman has died at this year’s Burning Man, a weeklong art festival in the Nevada desert.
Authorities say 29-year-old Alicia Louise Cipicchio, from Jackson, Wyoming, fell under a bus early Thursday morning and was killed.
Organizers say this is the first death at the festival in seven years.
The festival, which takes place in the Black Rock Desert in Northern Nevada, will continue as planned.
Cipicchio’s death remains under investigation.
Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt Married Saturday in France

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt Married Saturday in France

Kevin Winter/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are now husband and wife, a spokesperson for the couple confirms.The couple tied the knot in Chateau Miraval, France last Saturday in a private, civil ceremony attended by friends and family.Pitt, 50, and Jolie, 39, announced their engagement in 2012.  A spokesperson says they obtained a marriage license from a judge in California, who also conducted the marriage ceremony in France.  Jolie and Pitt’s children were participants in the ceremony, said the spokesperson. The bride was walked down the aisle by sons Maddox, 12, and Pax, who’s 10.  Daughters Zahara and Vivienne, 9 and 5 years old, respectively, threw flower petals, while daughter Shiloh, 7, and son Knox, 5, served as ring bearers.
Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Lockheed Martin Joins Australian Firm to Track Space Junk

Lockheed Martin Joins Australian Firm to Track Space Junk

Most orbital debris is in low Earth orbit, where the space station flies. NASA(NEW YORK) — A proposed new facility in Western Australia will provide a clearer picture of just how much space junk is orbiting earth. The facility, which is a partnership between Lockheed Marin and Australia’s Electro Optic Systems, will use lasers and optical systems, like those found in telescopes, to detect and learn more about man-made space junk. This includes how fast the debris is moving, what direction its spinning and what it’s made of. The space junk facility won’t act as a space janitor — but will instead make sure government and commercial organizations are aware of the location of junk so they can protect their investments in space, according to Rick Ambrose, executive vice president, Lockheed Martin Space Systems. Space junk, or as NASA calls it, “orbital debris,” can range from items as small as flecks of paint released by thermal stress to as large as pieces from satellite explosions and collisions, according to NASA’s Orbital Debris Programs Office. More than 21,000 pieces of space junk larger than 10 centimeters are known to exist, according to figures released by NASA in 2012. There are an estimated half-million pieces of debris that range in size between one and 10 centimeters, while the number of particles smaller than the size of a fingernail is estimated to be more than 100 million.
Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Husband of Whitney Houston’s Daughter Arrested for DUI

Husband of Whitney Houston’s Daughter Arrested for DUI

Imeh Akpanudosen/WireImage(ROSWELL, Ga.) — Bobbi Kristina Brown’s husband has been arrested and charged with DUI, police said. Nick Gordon attempted to change lanes in a BMW sedan Thursday morning in Roswell, Georgia, when the vehicle struck a curb and overturned, police told ABC News. Afterward, Gordon was arrested for DUI, failure to maintain a lane and driving with a suspended license. Brown, 21, announced last year that she was married to her childhood friend, Gordon, who had a longtime relationship with her family. They announced their engagement in 2012. This is not the first time Gordon has been in trouble with the law. In 2012, he was arrested for reckless driving and speeding. A rep for Brown has not yet responded to a request for comment.
Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Homer Simpson Accepts the Ice Bucket Challenge

Homer Simpson Accepts the Ice Bucket Challenge

FOX via Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Even animated characters are accepting the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.In a new video released online, a shirtless Homer Simpson takes on the challenge. He nominates his neighbor Ned Flanders — twice — his co-worker Lenny and Donald Trump before spilling a glass of water on his head.However, Bart then dumps gallons of water, plus penguins, a bear, hockey players, a snowman, Santa Claus, an ice cream truck and more, on his unsuspecting dad from a helicopter.  The 26th season of The Simpsons premieres on Fox on September 28. You can catch up on previous seasons by tuning in to the ongoing Simpsons marathon on FXX, which concludes on Labor Day.Elsewhere in celebrity Ice Bucket Challenge news, Bridesmaids actor Chris O’Dowd got drenched in a video in which he nominated “Baby O’Porter,” thus revealing that he and wife Dawn O’Porter are expecting a child. Dawn is seen pouring water on her baby bump.So far, the Ice Bucket Challenge has raised $94.3 million for the ALS Association.
Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

WATCH: Reese Witherspoon’s Inspiring Message to Boy with Cancer

WATCH: Reese Witherspoon’s Inspiring Message to Boy with Cancer

Jason Merritt/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) — Reese Witherspoon transformed into “Pink Lady” Elle Woods from her hit movie Legally Blonde to send a hopeful message to a four-year-old boy battling cancer.The Oscar-winning actress sent the message to four-year-old Will after learning that he was a big fan of Legally Blonde.“This is for one of the strongest little four-year-olds I can imagine. Will — I hear that you’re fighting so hard and strong against cancer and that in the hospital you’ve been watching a lot of Legally Blonde and loving it. I hope it makes you laugh!”Witherspoon captioned an Instagram photo of herself holding a sign with the hashtag “Team Will.”“I wanted you to know that I made this sign in your honor — and I’m sending a big big hug and my hope and prayers. Just know — I’m a really big fan of YOURS!” Witherspoon wrote. “PS anyone else – feel free to make your own sign for Will and post it with the hashtag #TeamWill so he can see it. …I’m sure he’d love that!”In addition, the mother of three made a short YouTube video titled “The Pink Lady’s Message To Will.”
Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Gillibrand Recalls ‘Porky’ Crack by Male Colleague

Gillibrand Recalls ‘Porky’ Crack by Male Colleague

Office of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand(WASHINGTON) — In her upcoming book Off the Sidelines, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., reveals she was the subject of insensitive comments about her weight from male colleagues in the House and Senate.According to an excerpt posted by People, Gillibrand details an incident in her book where a male colleague saw her in the gym said, “Good thing you’re working out, because you wouldn’t want to get porky!” According to the Huffington Post, Gillibrand responded, “”Thanks, a–hole.”Gillibrand also discussed an episode where a senator commented on her weight after she lost 50 pounds. The senator grabbed her stomach and said, “Don’t lose too much weight now. I like my girls chubby!”The New York senator has talked about struggling with her weight after giving birth to her sons, saying she’s fluctuated between a size 6 and size 16. 
In her book, Gillibrand brushes off the comments from her male colleagues.“It was all statements that were being made by men who were well into their 60s, 70s or 80s,” she writes. “They had no clue that those are inappropriate things to say to a pregnant woman or a woman who just had a baby or to women in general.”
Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Titans Reward Jurrell Casey with Contract Extension

Titans Reward Jurrell Casey with Contract Extension

National Football League(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) — After a breakout season in 2013, the Tennessee Titans have rewarded defensive lineman Jurrell Casey with a four-year extension.
ESPN reports Casey’s deal will pay him $36 million over those four years, with $20.5 million guaranteed.
“We are excited to come to an agreement on an extension with Jurrell,” Titans general manager Ruston Webster said in a statement. “This is something Jurrell has earned not only with his play on the field but his work ethic as well. We appreciate Jurrell’s professionalism through this process and look forward to many good years to come.”
Even though the team has moved from a 4-3 defense to a 3-4, the team has assured Casey he will still be able to play like he’s used to at the pro level.
Casey is entering his fourth season with the Titans after the team selected him in the third round back in 2011. After accumulating 5.5 sacks his first two seasons, Casey exploded for 10.5 sacks in 2013 to go along with 55 total tackles.
Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio 

Fictional Tearjerkers Can Be Powerful as True Stories

Fictional Tearjerkers Can Be Powerful as True Stories

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Whether they want to admit it or not, just about everybody at one time has gotten a little choked up watching a movie that pulls on the heart strings.However, the assumption that a true story carries more of an emotional wallop than a fictional tale is wrong, according to researchers at Brandeis University and NYU.For instance, people who want to avoid getting upset may decide to read a fictional book filled with tragedy because they figure it won’t affect them nearly as much as a tragic true-life story.Yet, what the researchers discovered was that “fictional nature does not alter the impact of the tragic story, leaving them more emotionally distraught than if they had read the true story instead.”If that indeed is the case, then movie producers and book publishers should greenlight more fictional stories.Although sales of true stories may be stronger, the researchers contend realism “does not necessarily increase satisfaction.”
Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

US to Test Ebola Vaccine Amid Growing Outbreak in West Africa

US to Test Ebola Vaccine Amid Growing Outbreak in West Africa

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — U.S. scientists will begin testing an Ebola vaccine in humans next week, health officials announced Thursday. But it could take 11 months to learn whether the vaccine is safe as the virus’ toll in West Africa continues to rise. More than 3,000 people have contracted Ebola since March, a number projected to swell to 20,000 in the next six months, according to the World Health Organization. The virus has killed at least 1,500 people in Ebola Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. The experimental vaccine, co-developed by the National Institutes of Health and GlaxoSmithKline, “performed extremely well in protecting nonhuman primates from Ebola infection,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the NIH’s infectious disease branch, said. Now it will be tested in 20 healthy adults to make sure it’s safe and effective in mounting an immune response. “A vaccine will ultimately be an important tool in the prevention effort,” Fauci said in a statement, adding that the phase 1 study is “the first step in a long process.” The 20 subjects will be followed for 48 weeks but initial safety results are expected later this year, according to an NIH statement. The vaccine works by delivering fragments of genetic material from two Ebola strains into a healthy person’s cells. The cells then transform that genetic material into a protein found on the virus, and that protein triggers an immune response that should fend off the infection. “It is important to know that the Ebola genetic material contained in the investigational vaccine cannot cause a vaccinated individual to become infected with Ebola,” the NIH said in a statement.
Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Bud Light’s $250K Offer to Descend on Town Hits a Wall

Bud Light’s $250K Offer to Descend on Town Hits a Wall

Anheuser-Busch(CRESTED BUTTE, Colo.) — Bud Light wants to know whether a small mountain town in Colorado is “up for whatever.” The answer this time from the divided townspeople: maybe, although $10 million might be just enough to swing more support toward the beer-inspired party.Bud Light, one of Anheuser-Busch’s beer brands, is planning to host a three-day event “of unexpected fun” that will transform part of Crested Butte, Colorado, known for its outdoor activities and music festivals, into a fictitious town of Whatever, USA.As part of the deal, Anheuser-Busch will donate $250,000 to the town, as a sign of gratitude, but some of the 1,500 residents are not thrilled with the idea of Whatever from Sept. 5-7.
One resident, former Colorado Sen. Tim Wirth, called the $250,000 donation a “paltry and insulting sum.””My own view is that this is truly an inappropriate function for a town that has built its reputation so carefully,” Wirth told ABC News. “It should cost them a pretty penny and they won’t even notice it.”Bud Light’s “UpForWhatever” ad campaign began during the Super Bowl, in which random people on the street, seemingly between the ages of 21 and 35, are whisked off to celebrity-laden adventures. In Bud Light commercials for the town of Whatever, USA, there’s a fake, mustached mayor.For this specific campaign in Colorado, the company will select 1,000 Bud Light fans across the United States who auditioned with a 10-second video explaining why they should be flown into Whatever, USA. Winners will be notified 48 hours before the trip.The audition deadline is next Thursday and more than 150,000 people have applied so far.The town will host a public hearing and council vote Friday about the proposed plans, which include street performers, a parade, music, dancing, closing off the local Big Mine Ice Arena and, of course, lots of Bud Light.”There are a lot of different opinions in the town,” town manager Ted Crossett said. “There are a lot of people who support it and a lot of people who do not for a variety of reasons.”Crossett’s staff report about the weekend describes some of the activities, including “stumble upon events, which are low impact activities such as games, low-key races and curiosities. Most would be open to the public.””Some would be closed to contestants. Activities would take place on both the street and in private businesses,” the Aug. 23 report states.The town council has “allowed themselves to be put into this dreadful corner” that has divided the town, Wirth said.Wirth and other residents decry the council’s working behind the scenes with Bud Light to coordinate such a major event. But Wirth said he was proud of the “democracy in action” during Monday’s hearing at which residents spoke openly with town leaders.”Crested Butte has every bit of leverage right now to say to Bud Light, ‘We’ll approve your event if you send us a check for $10 million from a multibillion-dollar corporation,’” he said.As for Anheuser-Busch, it is “optimistic” the town council will vote to approve the Whatever, USA activities, according to a company statement to ABC News.”We’ve spent several months planning and preparing with the town and local vendors, and hope that Whatever USA’s temporary citizens will get a chance to experience everything Crested Butte has to offer,” the statement reads. “We can’t imagine a better setting for a weekend of unexpected, unparalleled fun.”David Ochs, executive director at the Crested Butte/Mt. Crested Butte Chamber of Commerce, told ABC News he believes the majority of the 300 active members in the organization support the event. He argues that the event will bring an unknown amount of extra cash to local businesses and the town coffers, as the high tourist summer season comes to an end.”Keep locals working, keep paychecks coming and keep everything rolling,” he said. “Bud Light has been very good in incorporating retail businesses into the event, but the real benefit might be in the long term: the exposure and marketing of it is what they will see and want to come back to Crested Butte and that’s our bread and butter.”Kevin McGruther, a town resident of 18 years, attended the most recent hearing about the proposed event Monday. He said he is not arguing for or against the event, but points to the local government’s failure to adhere to its typical town-event application process.”The issue is the transparency, the preemption of the process and disenfranchisement of the community,” he told ABC News.Wirth, the former U.S. senator, said if Anheuser-Busch can pay big money, possibly millions, for celebrities like Arnold Schwarzenegger to play table tennis in a Super Bowl ad, the company should cough up for using the resources of the town and its reputation.”They paid him Schwarzenegger millions and they’re going to be here ripping up the town for a week for $250,000?” Wirth said. “That gets my indignant juices running.”Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

What Ebola Survivors Reveal About the Virus, ZMapp

What Ebola Survivors Reveal About the Virus, ZMapp

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The outbreak spreading through West Africa has a 53 percent fatality rate, according to the World Health Organization, meaning 47 percent of people survive the gruesome infection. And experts say those people could hold clues to Ebola’s weakness.“There’s something to be gained from understanding why certain people survive,” said Thomas Geisbert, a virologist studying Ebola at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas.
But studying survivors is a tall order in Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Nigeria –  countries simultaneously plagued by Ebola and a dearth of medical infrastructure. “The number one priority for health care workers in this chaotic situation is stopping the outbreak, not a scientific study looking at survivors,” Geisbert said.No one knows why some people recover from Ebola, but there are theories. It could be that they have a smaller viral load — fewer deadly pathogens streaming through their bodies. It could also be that their immune systems are more adept at attacking the virus, which uses spike-like protrusions to invade cells and replicate. The immune response theory is supported by studies of Zmapp, the experimental Ebola drug given to American aid workers Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol.The drug is a cocktail of three synthetic antibodies — immune proteins that attack the virus’ cell-splitting spike, according to Geisbert.“It’s a very specific response,” Geisbert said, explaining that antibodies that target other parts of the virus are thought to be less effective at slowing it down.
But no one knows whether ZMapp, which has only been tested in monkeys, helped Brantly and Writebol survive the virus. Of the six people known to have received it, four have lived and two have died. Brantly also received blood from an Ebola survivor — blood that likely contained natural antibodies to the virus.
A 2009 study of blood samples collected during three Ebola outbreaks in Gabon found that antibody levels peaked 30 days after exposure and “declined slowly over several years.” But again, there’s no way to know if the blood helped Brantly.A CDC study of blood samples collected during a 2000 Ebola outbreak in Uganda found that people who survived tended to have smaller viral loads and altered levels of immune biomarkers compared to people who perished. “That’s valuable information because it gives you insight into the immunobiology of the disease,” said Geisbert. “Then you can try to dissect what it means and look at treatments or interventions that mimic the response of a survivor.”Geisbert said the best way to stop the current outbreak is “good old-fashioned epidemiology and outbreak control,” and the best way to prevent future outbreaks is a vaccine.
The first phase 1 safety study of an Ebola vaccine is set to start next week, the National Institutes of Health announced Thursday. “I really hope that the next time we’re talking about this, those vaccines are across the finish line,” Geisbert said. Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Prospect of Another DC Shutdown Looms over Immigration Showdown

Prospect of Another DC Shutdown Looms over Immigration Showdown

Architect of the Capitol(WASHINGTON) — The prospect of another economically and politically crippling government shutdown looms over President Obama’s talk of taking executive action on immigration next month and Republican threats to thwart him by blocking certain funding measures.Republicans insist they are not interested in another shutdown and that the possibility is being raised by fear mongering Democrats, but the GOP does raise the possibility of using a September vote on a continuing resolution to fund the government as a weapon against any executive action by Obama.Obama is considering executive action to fix the country’s immigration system as Congress remains at a stalemate over immigration legislation passed in the Senate last summer. The White House has not laid out a concrete deadline, but it’s expected he will announce his decision in September.
In a letter to the president earlier this week, Rubio warned that any executive action on immigration would kill the prospect of immigration reform in Congress.“If indeed you move forward on such a decision, I believe it will close the door to any chance of making progress on immigration reform for the foreseeable future,” Rubio wrote.
Rep. Steve King, R-Ill., told the Des Moines Register “all bets are off” for passing a continuing resolution if President Obama decides to take executive action on immigration.“If the president wields his pen and commits that unconstitutional act to legalize millions, I think that becomes something that is nearly political nuclear,” King said. “I think the public would be mobilized and galvanized and that changes the dynamic of any continuing resolution and how we might deal with that.”In an interview with Breitbart News, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., hinted at Congress potentially using the budget process to address any executive action on immigration this year.“There will have to be some sort of a budget vote or a Continuing Resolution vote, so I assume there will be some sort of a vote on this,” Rubio said. “I’m interested to see what kinds of ideas my colleagues have about using funding mechanisms to address this issue. Beyond that, I’m not sure if the president is going to make this decision before we go back or after.”Democrats are highlighting these statements as examples of Republicans threatening to allow another government shutdown to take place.“As we near the 1-year anniversary of the Republican Government Shutdown of 2013 that cost our nation’s economy $24 billion Republican leaders, once again, prefer to threaten another government shutdown over advancing essential legislation,” said Drew Hammill, spokesman for House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi. “It’s time to end the kowtowing to the Tea Party extremist elements, get serious about legislating for the American people, and take these ridiculous threats off the table.”White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said a government shutdown threat would not make the president reconsider potential executive action on immigration.“No, it won’t because the president has determined to take the kinds of common sense steps that are required to address the worst problems of our…broken immigrations system,” Earnest said. “It would be a real shame if Republicans were to engage in an effort to shut down the government over a common sense solution like that, but they’ve done it before. Hopefully they won’t do it again.”A spokesman for Rubio said the senator is not interested in shutting down the government over an immigration fight.“The only people talking about shutting down the government are partisan extremists like Debbie Wasserman Schultz who are looking for a way to raise money and divert attention from the failed presidency of Barack Obama,” said Alex Conant, a spokesman for Rubio. “All Senator Rubio has called for is for Senator Reid to allow votes on Republican solutions to the immigration catastrophe our nation faces. Let’s be clear: The only thing Senator Rubio wants to shut down is Harry Reid’s tenure as majority leader by winning a Republican majority this November.”Congress is set to return from recess on Sept. 8 and will have only a few weeks to pass a continuing resolution to avoid another government shutdown. Last October, the government shutdown for 16 days after Republicans fought to defund the Affordable Care Act.Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Brain-Eating Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water Supply

Brain-Eating Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water Supply

iStock/Thinkstock(BATON ROUGE, La.) — Louisiana officials have cautioned residents to be careful after a deadly brain-eating amoeba was found in a parish water supply.The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals announced that the Naegleria fowleri amoeba was found in the water system of St. John the Baptist Parish.The microscopic amoeba can be deadly if contaminated water travels through the nose to the brain. The microscopic pathogen can cause a deadly form of meningitis that or a swelling of the brain and surrounding tissues.The amoeba cannot be contracted from drinking contaminated water, officials said.The water system where the amoeba was found serves 12,577 people in three Louisiana towns.While the source of the contamination was not found, officials said that they found the water supply did not have the required level of chlorine disinfectant and was vulnerable to contamination from Naegleria fowleri.There have been no reports of infections from the amoeba in the area.To kill the dangerous pathogens the department will flush the system with extra high levels of the chlorine for 60 days to kill any lingering amoebas in the system. The water will still be safe to drink.While the amoeba is extremely rare, the pathogen was responsible for at least three deaths in Louisiana parishes since 2011. Last year a 4-year-old boy from St. Bernard Parish was killed after contracting the infection from using a slip-in-slide.This summer a 9-year-old girl from Kansas died after being infected with the amoeba.”Families can take simple steps to protect themselves from exposure to this ameba, the most important being to avoid allowing water to go up your nose while bathing or swimming in a pool,” said Louisiana State Health Officer Jimmy Guidry. “It is important to remember that the water is safe to drink; the ameba cannot infect an individual through the stomach.”According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control the symptoms of an infection from Naegleria fowleri include headache, fever and nausea. As the disease progresses, infected people can have seizures, altered mental status, hallucinations and slip into a coma.The disease is almost always fatal. In the U.S. between 1963 and 2013, just three people out of 132 managed to survive the infection, according to the CDC. Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Marie and Cristobal: Two Storms and Lots of Questions

Marie and Cristobal: Two Storms and Lots of Questions

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — As we enter the most active part of the hurricane season in the Atlantic, we have our eyes on both coasts: Tropical Storm Marie in the Pacific and Hurricane Cristobal in the Atlantic.In the past 24 hours, ABC News’ Ginger Zee has fielded some frequently asked questions and wanted to share:
One question:
 

@Ginger_Zee Hurricanes are supposed to be in alphabetical order. How did we go from #CHRISTOBAL to #MARIE ? @GMA #GMA
— Col. Tim (@OriginalColTim) August 27, 2014

 
Ginger Zee’s Answer: It does, but each ocean has its own list. The Pacific is already through to “M” and the Atlantic is now on “C”.Another question: I thought hurricanes were called typhoons if they are in the Pacific?Ginger Zee’s Answer: Not in the eastern Pacific. A hurricane is a typhoon is a cyclone — just called different things in different parts of the world.
 

Why can’t #gingerzee say #Cristobal?She is still putting the accent in the wrong syllable. @GMA #annoyingthingspeoplesay
— Tim Ochipa (@timnoles) August 27, 2014

 
Follow NOAA’s guide to pronouncing hurricane names here.Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Advertise With Us

Would you like to advertise on East Idaho News? Fill out this form to contact a representative.
  • Full and Last
  • The name of your company, business or brand.