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Two Baghdad Car Bombs Kill 17, Injure Dozens

Two Baghdad Car Bombs Kill 17, Injure Dozens

File photo. iStock/Thinkstock(BAGHDAD) -- A pair of car bombs exploded in the Baghdad area on Friday, killing 17 people and injuring more than 60 others.Police told ABC News that one of the bombs went off in the area of Baladiyat, in eastern Baghdad. That explosion killed at least 14 and injured 50 more.The second explosion occurred in Sulaikh, in the northern part of the city. At least three people were killed and 19 injured in that attack. In their most recent report, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraqi announced that 1,119 Iraqis were killed and 1,946 injured in terror attacks and acts of violence in September. The largest numbers of injuries and deaths were reported in Baghdad, where 352 were killed and 983 hurt.

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Hurricane Gonzalo Approaching Bermuda

Hurricane Gonzalo Approaching Bermuda

NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team(HAMILTON, Bermuda) -- Hurricane Gonzalo continues to roar towards Bermuda Friday and is now less than 200 miles from the small island.The Category 3 hurricane -- packing maximum sustained winds of 125 mph -- forced officials in Bermuda to issue a Hurricane Warning.While the storm will weaken as it approaches, loss of life and property remains a genuine concern. Storm surge could top 10 feet at the shore, waves could climb above 20 feet and winds could surpass 100 mph.It's been a while since Bermuda has taken a hit as strong as this may be. Hurricane Fabian in 2003 brought winds to 120 mph and killed at least four people.

Watch a live stream from Bermuda as Hurricane Gonzalo approaches, courtesy of PTZtv.com:

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Comet to Skim Past Mars in ‘Once in a Million Years’ Encounter

Comet to Skim Past Mars in ‘Once in a Million Years’ Encounter

NASA(HOUSTON) -- A once in a million years cosmic event will grace the heavens this weekend when a comet is expected to have a close encounter with Mars.Comet Siding Spring will pass within 87,000 miles of the Red Planet on Sunday, Oct. 19 -- that's about one-third the distance between the Earth and the moon, according to NASA scientists.The comet is expected to come closest to Mars at 2:27 p.m. ET that day, moving at about 34 miles per second.The best view of the rare show can be viewed via binoculars or telescope from the Southern Hemisphere, with South Africa and Australia having the best views as the comet grazes past Mars, scientists said.The rest of the world can look forward to incredible images captured by NASA's fleet of spacecraft, which have taken up prime positions to capture images, and information about the size, rotation and gas composition of Siding Spring, agency officials said.John Grunsfeld, astronaut and associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, called the event a "cosmic science gift that could potentially keep on giving."The comet is comprised of icy debris that researchers believe are remnants from the formation of the solar system. Its dramatic brush past the Red Planet is expected to yield new insights into the materials that existed during the formation of the solar system 4.6 billion years ago.

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US Tourist Tweets His Way Out of Locked London Bookstore

US Tourist Tweets His Way Out of Locked London Bookstore

Zoonar/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- A Dallas man visiting London got more of a visit than he bargained for when he found himself locked inside a Trafalgar Square bookstore for over two hours.David Willis, 30, went into the Waterstones bookstore on Thursday to use their Wi-Fi but ran into trouble when he went to the store’s upstairs section to browse for books.When he came back down to leave, Willis discovered a startling surprise.“All the lights were turned out and the door was locked,” Willis told ABC News. “I thought to myself, it really looks like am locked in, but surely that didn’t happen.”Once it sunk in for Willis that he was, in fact, trapped inside the bookstore, he turned to a last resort: tweeting.

This is me locked inside a waterstones bookstore in London. I was upstairs for 15 minutes and came… http://t.co/EefA1antuG

— David Willis (@DWill_) October 16, 2014

Hi @Waterstones I've been locked inside of your Trafalgar Square bookstore for 2 hours now. Please let me out.

— David Willis (@DWill_) October 16, 2014

Willis’s second tweet was retweeted thousands of times. Some Twitter users replied with offers of assistance, while others offered book recommendations, not that Willis was picking out any books during his time in Waterstones.“I was too scared to even touch anything,” Willis said. “I didn’t want them to think that I hid in the store.”Just over two hours after his first tweet, police and the store manager arrived to free Willis.

We're pleased to announce that @DWill_ is a free man once more. Thanks for your concern and tweets!

— Waterstones (@Waterstones) October 16, 2014

I'm free

— David Willis (@DWill_) October 16, 2014

“I think it was just a simple mistake,” said Willis. “The manager asked me to come back but I'll just make sure that it's not close to closing time."

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Details Emerge in London Terror Arrests

Details Emerge in London Terror Arrests

iStock/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- The four men arrested in London on terrorism charges allegedly had a silenced weapon and had conducted "hostile reconnaissance" of a police station and an army barracks, police said Friday.A post on the London's Metropolitan Police website lays out a list of accusations against the four men, who were all arrested over the last two weeks, in connection to the charge that they, "with the intention of committing acts of terrorism, or assisting others to commit such acts...engaged in conduct in preparation for giving effect to that intention."Four men, including 21-year-old Tarik Hassane, nicknamed "The Surgeon," are accused of, among other things, taking an "oath of allegiance" to the brutal Iraqi terror group the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), acquiring a silenced handgun and ammunition, using code words when discussing money or firearms, looking at Instagram images of individual cops, and using Google Street View to conduct "hostile reconnaissance" of a police station and army barracks.The men had also allegedly downloaded "jihadi material" including issues of the Al Qaeda magazine Inspire.A fifth man faces weapons charges for allegedly providing the gun.In another post on the MET website Friday, National Policing Lead for Counter Terrorism Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley wrote that the MET has made over 200 arrests this year and is running "exceptionally high numbers of counter-terrorism investigations, the likes of which we have not seen for several years.""These plots are of varied sophistication, from individuals planning to carry out spontaneous yet deadly attacks to more complex conspiracies, almost all seemingly are either directed by or inspired by terrorism overseas," he said. "Public safety is our number one priority and we will always focus our disruption activity against those posing the greatest and most imminent threat. Sometimes this means intervening very early -- essential to prevent attacks, but presenting enormous challenges in securing sufficient evidence to charge."

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Prosecutor: Oscar Pistorius Tried to Affect Sentence with Money to Victim’s Family

Prosecutor: Oscar Pistorius Tried to Affect Sentence with Money to Victim’s Family

Reeva Steenkamp's parents at the Pistorious trial. Pool/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(PRETORIA, South Africa) -- Oscar Pistorius tried to influence his sentence by giving money to the parents of Reeva Steenkamp, the girlfriend he is convicted of shooting to death, the prosecutor in the trial of the Olympic athlete claimed Friday.Prosecutor Gerrie Nel addressed the $530 (R6,000) monthly payments that Pistorius has made to June and Barry Steenkamp since shortly after Reeva Steenkamp's death in February 2013. Pistorius also recently sold his car for $33,000 (R375,000) and offered the money to the Steenkamps.The payments were revealed this week when the Steenkamps said they would remain "neutral" during the penalty phase of the trial and not testify against the man who killed their daughter."The offer is nothing but an attempt to influence sentence," Nel said during closing arguments in sentencing proceedings Friday while referring to the lump sum payment.Nel said he was saddened when he heard that Steenkamp's parents were so financially strapped they had to take money from Pistorius. Barry Steenkamp's eyes moistened and he tugged on his white beard as he struggled to keep his composure.The prosecutor questioned why the offer was made between Pistorius' conviction and the sentencing proceedings."If I heard that after this case was finalized Mr. Pistorius donated money...it would be different. But no," Nel said.Nel said the parent's choice to remain neutral on sentencing was to avoid further trauma after months of grief following Steenkamp's death. He said the parents had Reeva Steenkamp's cousin, Kim Martin, speak on the family's behalf.The prosecutor pointed out that June Steenkamp had rejected Pistorius' lump sum offered as "blood money."The family said they would pay back the monthly payments, which totaled more than $9,000. Their lawyer claimed their financial situation has improved significantly since they were forced by their circumstances to accept the money from Pistorius.Pistorius' lawyer Barry Roux, referred the court to a statement issued by the Steenkamps about the issue earlier this week, in which they admitted receiving a monthly payment from Pistorius since shortly after their daughter's death. They also explained in the statement that they indicated their dire financial position to Pistorius' lawyers, after which he offered the money.Nel Friday asked the court to sentence Pistorius to at least 10 years in prison while Pistorius lawyer urged the court spare him prison, claiming Pistorius is devastated with grief and broke spiritually and financially. Culpable homicide carries a maximum sentence of 15 years, but the judge has the discretion to set a lower punishment, even no prison at all.Judge Thokozile Masipa said she will pronounce her sentence on Tuesday.

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Vent Grate Collapses at South Korea Concert, At Least 16 Dead

Vent Grate Collapses at South Korea Concert, At Least 16 Dead

iStock/Thinkstock(SEOUL, South Korea) -- At least 16 people are dead and nearly a dozen injured after the ventilation grate they were standing on collapsed at an outdoor pop concert in South Korea Friday, officials said.The crowd had climbed up a 13 square feet steel grate to get a better view of the stage, and their weight caused the grate to collapse -- sending their bodies crashing 40 feet below, rescue authorities told ABC News.

Hundreds of people were gathered at the show in Seongnam, just south of Seoul, to watch 4Minute, a popular girls' band, perform as part of a local festival.Many of the concert-goers were female students, witnesses said.Eleven people were injured.

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Oscar Pistorius Should Get at Least 10 Years, Prosecutor Argues

Oscar Pistorius Should Get at Least 10 Years, Prosecutor Argues

Werner Beukes/SAPA/Gallo Images/Getty Images(PRETORIA, South Africa) -- Oscar Pistorius should be sent to prison for at least 10 years for shooting his girlfriend, a prosecutor said Friday while Pistorius' lawyer invoked the spirit of Ubuntu, an African term that includes compassion.Judge Thokozile Masipa told the court she will impose her sentence on Pistorius next Tuesday.The legless Olympic athlete was found guilty of culpable homicide last month in the death of Reeva Steenkamp, a model who was shot through a locked bathroom door on Valentine's Day 2013. The conviction carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison with no minimum prescribed sentence. During the penalty phase of the trial, several witnesses urged the court to sentence Pistorius to house arrest.Prosecutor Gerrie Nel cited the testimony of Steenkamp's cousin, Kim Martin, who tearfully told the court this week about the devastating effect Steenkamp's death had on her family."Every other mother who heard her evidence felt the pain. I felt the pain," Nel said.

The prosecutor said Martin was not just the voice of the family, she was the voice of society, adding that her plea to have her Pistorius sent to jail cannot be ignored."The minimum that society will be happy with will be 10 years in prison," Nel said. "This is a serious case."The prosecutor rejected arguments that Pistorius, 27, should be spared prison in the spirit of Ubuntu."It's not even a principle that can be considered. The interest of society demands a prison term," Nel said.Pistorius' lawyer Barry Roux, however, said Ubuntu is appropriate in this case arguing that the sprinter known as the Blade Runner was anguished by Steenkamp's death, had been vilified in the press, would be vulnerable to attacks in prison because of his disability, and was broke spiritually and financially.Tears streamed down Pistorius' face as Roux described his condition."My Lady, that is what is happening. He lost everything. This man was a global icon. He has nothing left, he can't even pay his legal fees," Roux said.Roux said that the spirit of Ubuntu -- an African term referring to essential human virtues, like compassion and humanity, and restorative justice -- should be taken into account. He said that the basic principle of Ubuntu was to do something good in society, coupled with an apology, to pay back society and the victim.

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Has ISIS Lost the Battle for Kobani?

Has ISIS Lost the Battle for Kobani?

iStock/Thinkstock(KOBANI, Syria) -- The tide may have turned in favor of Kurds defending the key Syrian town of Kobani from Islamic State invaders, according to the BBC.A Kurdish commander reportedly told the British news service that ISIS has been driven out of most sections of Kobani.Baharin Kandal claimed that the town, where 200,000 people have fled fighting that has gone on for weeks, will be "liberated soon."According to Kandal, militias battling ISIS forces have received weaponry and other supplies from unidentified sources.Meanwhile, U.S. military jets have launched a relentless air campaign to strike ISIS targets around the besieged town.Holding Kobani is considered crucial because losing it could allow the Sunni extremist group to control the border between Syria and Turkey.

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US Officials in Liberia Confident in CDC’s Ebola Guidelines

US Officials in Liberia Confident in CDC’s Ebola Guidelines

Mohammed Elshamy/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(MONROVIA, Liberia) -- The top U.S. officials leading America’s response against Ebola in Liberia are comfortable that the CDC safety guidelines U.S. personnel have been using are protecting them from contracting the deadly virus. With as many as 4,000 U.S. military personnel expected to serve in Liberia in the coming months, the officials say the guidelines have succeeded in protecting troops from Ebola.“I have great confidence in the CDC guidelines,” said Maj. Gen. Darryl Williams, who is commanding the U.S. military forces in Liberia. “I don’t plan on adjusting any of the current guidelines.”

U.S. Ambassador Debra Malac said her embassy staff has followed the guidelines for six months that she said “are keeping us safe.” “We have no need or feel any need to have to make a change or deviate from those guidelines,” she said. “It has been very successful."Malac also said that closing the borders of countries where Ebola has manifested itself is not a good idea because Liberia’s poor infrastructure and adverse environmental conditions make importing resources essential.“Isolating these countries is not the way to address the epidemic,” Malac said. “We need to be able to get people and resources and supplies in.”She said the reduction of commercial flights has made it “very difficult to get things like food as well as supplies that are critically needed in order to help address this epidemic.”Maj. Gen. Williams said the 500 U.S. military personnel serving as part of the Liberia mission are also following the strict guidelines to minimize any potential exposure to the virus.“We don’t shake hands. I wash my hands a lot, OK, with chlorine. We step on chlorine. We don’t shake hands. We keep our distance. And as I mentioned before, soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines are not in contact with folks infected with the Ebola virus. They just are not and are not going to be,” Williams added.Williams said he himself is more worried about contracting malaria, which is why he has disciplined himself to take a malaria pill with his breakfast every morning. “That’s my biggest concern,” he said.Additionally, U.S. personnel are constantly monitored for symptoms of Ebola. Williams said he had his temperature taken eight times Wednesday. In the event of an Ebola infection within the U.S. ranks, Williams insisted that stabilizing the patient in Liberia before evacuation is of utmost importance.Should military service members become infected in Liberia, Williams said they will be quarantined and then stabilized for transportation back to the United States. He indicated that a private airplane might be used for transportation, if needed.The general said military construction crews have nearly finished building the 25-bed medical facility that will provide care to health care professionals who become ill with Ebola. He said the lack of infrastructure and weather conditions has posed a challenge to the crews that are set to build 17 100-bed Ebola Treatment Units in Liberia.“I wouldn’t say we underestimated, but I think we didn’t realize how wet it would be here, and that’s become somewhat of a challenge,” Williams said.The West African nation, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, is known for its tropical climate and tempestuous, rainy summers. The adverse weather conditions are compounded by a lack of infrastructure; the poor roadways that link the more remote areas of the region become even less accessible when drenched. And it is not just getting to Liberia’s isolated regions; what to say on arrival poses another challenge.“We have that overall challenge of understanding how we can communicate with all parts of the country,” said Ambassador Malac, who also noted very low literacy rates and disarray in the wake of Liberia’s devastating civil war as communication barriers.Williams said that, fortunately, the rainy season in Liberia is expected to end soon with the onset of cooler weather that should ease the challenges U.S. construction crews are facing.

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Reserve Troops May Be Sent to Assist with Ebola Outbreak in Liberia

Reserve Troops May Be Sent to Assist with Ebola Outbreak in Liberia

pongsak deethongngam/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Reserve troops or National Guardsman could be sent to assist in the fight against the Ebola outbreak in Liberia after President Obama signed an executive order on Thursday.Current rules limit National Guardsman from being deployed overseas for more than 30 days. A U.S. official told ABC News that the executive order allows for involuntary mobilization of National Guard or Army Reserve troops for deployments of over 30 days to Liberia if needed.Obama's decision, the official says, does not mean that a significant call-up of Guard or Reserve members is being planned.

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WHO Expects Ebola Infections in West Africa Will Surpass 9,000 This Week

WHO Expects Ebola Infections in West Africa Will Surpass 9,000 This Week

Pawel Gaul/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(GENEVA) -- The World Health Organization believes that the number of people impacted by the Ebola outbreak in West Africa will surpass 9,000 this week, and that more than 4,500 of those will have died from the disease.Dr. Isabelle Nuttall, director of the WHO's global capacities, alert and response, said that over 2,700 of those infected are health workers, 236 of whom have died. Every four weeks, the WHO says, the number of Ebola cases in West Africa is doubling.The organization also identified top priority countries -- those with land borders or high volumes of travel with affected nations, including Cote d'Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Nigeria and others.As far as dealing with the Ebola outbreak, Nuttall said that the principles the West African nations must adhere to are the same as ever -- "be ready, detect, inform, assess, respond."

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At Least 27 Killed in Nepal Avalanche

At Least 27 Killed in Nepal Avalanche

boggy22/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(KATHMANDU, Nepal) -- Search teams have found the bodies of at least 27 climbers and guides who were killed in a Tuesday avalanche that is the deadliest in the area in over a century.According to the Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal, at least 70 people may still be missing. BBC News reports that approximately 220 people have been rescued since the avalanche.Citizens from Canada and Israel are believed to be among those killed, along with 11 Nepali guides.

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Venezuela Elected to UN Security Council

Venezuela Elected to UN Security Council

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The United Nations General Assembly on Thursday elected Venezuela as a non-permanent member of the U.N. Security Council next year.U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power reacted to the move, saying in a statement, "Venezuela’s conduct at the UN has run counter to the spirit of the UN Charter and its violations of human rights at home are at odds with the Charter’s letter.""The United States will continue to call upon the government of Venezuela to respect the fundamental freedoms and universal human rights of its people," Power added.She said the "Security Council must meet its responsibilities by uniting to meet common threats," and all its members "have an obligation to meet the expectations of those who have entrusted them with these critical responsibilities."Also voted onto the U.N. Security Council for 2015-2016 were Angola, Malaysia, New Zealand and Spain.

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Europe Cracks Down on Irregular Migrants

Europe Cracks Down on Irregular Migrants

iStock/Thinkstock(ROME) -- A European-wide operation to stop and possibly deport people without proper documents is being denounced by human rights groups as a "hunt."For the next two weeks, police will be on the lookout for irregular migrants at bus depots, border crossings and train stations. The Italian-led and Europe-wide operation is being called "Mos Maiorum," or "ancestral tradition."Experts estimate that anywhere up to 450,000 people without proper documents are in the European Union, having fled war-torn countries like Syria and Eritrea.Some migrants are avoiding the checks with an app where users share information of where the checkpoints are.

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Hurricane Gonzalo Strengthens as It Heads Toward Bermuda

Hurricane Gonzalo Strengthens as It Heads Toward Bermuda

NASA/NOAA GOES Project(HAMILTON, Bermuda) -- Hurricane Gonzalo is strengthening and heading straight for the island of Bermuda. If it makes landfall, the hurricane could be the strongest one to strike the island in more than a decade.Gonzalo is currently a Category 4 hurricane with winds reaching 140 miles per hour, the first storm to reach such strength in three years in the Atlantic Basin.Island residents are still recovering from Tropical Storm Fay, which struck over the weekend. That storm knocked down trees and damaged homes, leaving thousands without power.Even if it switches paths, Bermuda should still be ready for some severe weather.On its current path, it could hit Bermuda late Friday morning. Then the storm is expected to head toward Newfoundland in Canada, where it could land as a strong tropical storm, with winds of 80 miles per hour.The storm surge and huge waves could cause catastrophic flooding on the 20 square mile island.

A hurricane warning is in effect.

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US Carries Out 14 More Airstrikes Against ISIS in Kobani

US Carries Out 14 More Airstrikes Against ISIS in Kobani

Hemera/Thinkstock(TAMPA, Fla.) -- The U.S. military continues its campaign to cut down the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) fighters in Kobani, conducting strikes against 14 more targets in Iraq and Syria, U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) said Thursday.All 14 strikes took place near Kobani. According to CENTCOM, the strikes "successfully" struck 19 ISIS structures, including two command posts, three fighting positions, three sniper positions, one staging location and an ISIS heavy machine gun.U.S. bomber and fighter aircraft were deployed to the U.S. Central Command area of operations to conduct the strikes, which took place over Wednesday and Thursday. All the aircraft managed to exit the areas safely.CENTCOM said Thursday, "Indications are that airstrikes have continued to slow [ISIS] advances, but that the security situation on the ground in Kobani remains tenuous."Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Afghan Security Captures Haqqani Founder’s Son

Afghan Security Captures Haqqani Founder’s Son

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Security forces in Afghanistan have captured the son of the leader of the Haqqani network -- the group blamed for attacks on U.S. targets across Afghanistan as well as for kidnappings and murders.Anas Haqqani, the organization's second in command and son of the network's founder Jalaluddin Haqqani, was arrested late Tuesday says the National Directorate of Security (NDS), the Afghan intelligence agency.Though the network is militarily the most capable of the Afghan Taliban factions and operates independently, it remains loyal to Taliban leader Mullah Omar.

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Is Egypt at War with Islamic Militants in Libya?

Is Egypt at War with Islamic Militants in Libya?

iStock/Thinkstock(CAIRO) -- There were reports Wednesday of Egyptian military jets bombing Islamic militant targets in the Libyan city of Benghazi, although government officials in Cairo publicly denied such military action was taking place.However, if it turns out to be true, it would signal Egypt's determination to root out terrorists in the region who might eventually threaten its own security.Contrary to government denials, at least two Egyptian officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the air campaign could last three-to-six months.Much of Libya has been essentially lawless since the execution of former dictator Moammar Gadhafi three years ago. The central government in Tripoli is considered ineffectual as hundreds of armed militias have popped up all over the country.However, former Libyan General Khalifa Haftar has vowed to rid the country of Islamist radicals, which includes a new bid to retake Benghazi from the militants, apparently with Egyptian help.Haftar launched an operation in Benghazi last summer but was unable to send the Islamists packing.

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USAID Announces Additional $142 Million in Aid to Combat Ebola in West Africa

USAID Announces Additional $142 Million in Aid to Combat Ebola in West Africa

Pawel Gaul/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(MONROVIA, Liberia) -- The U.S. Agency for International Development on Wednesday announced an additional $142 million in humanitarian aid to help combat the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.In a press release, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah noted that "stopping Ebola in West Africa will require a significant international effort, and the United States urges our global partners to provide additional assistance to help bring the outbreak under control." Shah met with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf prior to the announcement as part of a week-long trip that will include stops in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Senegal.The latest funding brings the total U.S. humanitarian assistance to combat Ebola to over $258 million.The newest funding will go to support construction of Ebola treatment units, training for health care workers and safe burial teams, the establishment and staffing of community care centers and logistical support for international partners providing aid in West Africa.

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