By Saliou Samb CONAKRY (Reuters) - Liberia's President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf apologised on Saturday for the high death toll among the country's healthcare workers who have fought an Ebola outbreak, which has killed nearly 1,000 people in three countries. Johnson Sirleaf pledged up to $18 million for the Ebola fight, part of which will be given to health workers to help with insurance and death benefits, to fund more ambulances and to increase the number of treatment centres. "If we haven't done enough so far, I have come to apologise to you," she told hundreds of health workers who gathered at Monrovia's City Hall for a meeting with her government. The West African Ebola outbreak, centred on Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, is the worst in history. The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday it is an international health emergency that will likely continue spreading for months. The disease has put a severe strain on the health systems of affected states and governments have responded with a range of measures, including the declaration of national emergencies in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria, which confirmed seven cases of Ebola in Lagos. Ebola has reaped a high toll on health workers who have acted as first responders. Liberia alone has lost at least three doctors to the virus and 32 health workers. Sierra Leone's Health Ministry said a senior physician had contracted the disease at the Connaught referral hospital in the capital, Freetown. Dr. Modupeh Cole contracted the disease "after treating a patient ... who was later proved to have the virus and died," said ministry spokesman Sidi Yahya Tunis. Cole was taken to an Ebola treatment centre in eastern Kailahun district, run by medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres, Tunis said. He is the latest Sierra Leonean medical practitioner to contract the virus. The country's leading Ebola doctor, Shek Umar Khan, died of the disease last month and several nurses have died. GUINEA BORDERS TO STAY OPEN Guinea said earlier on Saturday at a news conference attended by four government ministers that it had closed its borders with Sierra Leone and Liberia to halt the spread of Ebola. Authorities said the decision was taken primarily to prevent infected people crossing into Guinea, where at least 367 people have died of Ebola since March and 18 others are being treated in isolation. However, state television later said the borders remained open, in an about-face that appeared to highlight the difficulties governments face in coordinating policy in the face of the fast-moving outbreak. "Guinea has not closed its borders with Sierra Leone or with Liberia. It's rather that we have taken health measures at the border posts," the television channel said. A government source said the minister who made the original announcement had not been in possession of accurate information. Ebola is one of the deadliest diseases known to humanity. It has no proven cure and there is no vaccine to prevent infection. The most effective treatment involves alleviating symptoms that include fever, vomiting and diarrhoea. The rigorous use of quarantine is needed to prevent its spread, as well as high standards of hygiene for anyone who might come into contact with the disease. These measures have proved hard to enforce given that Ebola has spread in rural parts of some of the world's poorest countries. The task is made harder because of mistrust of health workers in areas with inadequate public health services. FRESH EBOLA TESTS The WHO said on Friday 961 people have died during the outbreak and 1,779 have been infected. The infections and deaths have led to tests on suspected Ebola cases around the world. Authorities in Ghana said they were testing samples from a man from Burkina Faso who died while being transported to hospital in the Upper East region. "He had fever and was bleeding from the nose so we are testing him for Ebola because we don't want to take chances," Yaw Manu, medical head at Bawku Presbyterian Hospital, said by telephone. Ghana has previously conducted about 20 Ebola tests, though none has proved positive. Test results for a patient being treated in a Toronto-area hospital for a suspected case of Ebola are due within 24 hours, Ontario's health ministry said on Saturday. The patient recently came to Canada from Nigeria. Authorities in Benin also said they were testing a patient for Ebola, the second suspected case in the country, while Saudi Arabia's Health Ministry said initial tests on a dead Saudi citizen suspected of having Ebola were negative. International alarm over the spread of the disease increased last month when a U.S. citizen died in Nigeria after travelling there by plane from Liberia. Since then, other countries with no cases of the disease have taken measures as a precaution. Zambia said it would restrict the entry of travellers from countries affected by the virus and would ban Zambians from travelling to those countries, in one of the strictest actions by any nation outside of West Africa. Zambia's Health Ministry also advised against holding any "international events" such as conferences and other gatherings, citing concerns about controlling potential outbreaks. Gambia's Ministry of Transport said any planes flying to the capital, Banjul, should not pick up passengers at airports in Conakry, Freetown or Monrovia.
- Yahoo News
Republicans built up QAnon backer Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, but now are they afraid of what they created?
On the eve of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, freshman Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, the combative Georgia Republican known for her association with QAnon, was back on Twitter after a 12-hour suspension, and back to making waves.
Tam Dinh Pham of the Houston police department was part of the deadly mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. A veteran Houston police officer is in trouble after attending the U.S. Capitol riots in Washington, D.C., then lying about it. Officer Tam Dinh Pham joined the deadly mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
- The Week
Constitutionally-speaking, Chief Justice John Roberts is meant to preside over President Trump's impeachment trial, but he apparently wants out, Politico reports.Multiple Republican and Democratic sources have reportedly told Politico that Roberts is seeking a way to avoid the job because of how things played out when he oversaw Trump's first impeachment trial last year. Roberts, Politico notes, has worked hard to keep the Supreme Court apolitical during his tenure, so he was reportedly displeased that he "became a top target of the left" during the proceedings. "He wants no further part of this," one source told Politico, although there's been no official word from Roberts' camp about what he'll ultimately do.Trump's trial is a bit of a constitutional oddity. On the one hand, it's a presidential impeachment, but on the other hand, the trial will take place after he leaves office, which is why there's a chance Roberts may have some wiggle room. Historically, either the vice president or the longest-serving member of the Senate have taken up the mantle for lower-level impeachments, per Politico. That means Vice President-elect Kamala Harris or Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) could be the choice. Read more at Politico.More stories from theweek.com 5 more scathing cartoons about Trump's 2nd impeachment Biden honors coronavirus victims during somber ceremony Trump's White House staff and alumni are reportedly using the same excuse to skip his big sendoff
An independent panel said on Monday that Chinese officials could have applied public health measures more forcefully in January to curb the initial COVID-19 outbreak, and criticised the World Health Organization (WHO) for not declaring an international emergency until Jan. 30. The experts reviewing the global handling of the pandemic, led by former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark and former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, called for reforms to the Geneva-based United Nations agency.Their interim report was published hours after the WHO's top emergency expert, Mike Ryan, said that global deaths from COVID-19 were expected to top 100,000 per week "very soon". "What is clear to the Panel is that public health measures could have been applied more forcefully by local and national health authorities in China in January," the report said, referring to the initial outbreak of the new disease in the central city of Wuhan, in Hubei province.
- Yahoo News Video
On a day when U.S. deaths from COVID-19 topped 400,000, President-elect Joe Biden led a memorial service on the National Mall to remember the victims of the pandemic.
- Associated Press
Pakistan’s prime minister reacted angrily Monday to media reports of a text exchange between an Indian TV anchor and a former media industry executive that suggests a 2019 Indian airstrike inside Pakistan was designed to boost Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s chances for reelection. Imran Khan took to Twitter to respond to Indian media reports of an exchange on the WhatsApp messaging service between popular Indian TV anchor Arnab Goswami and Partho Dasgupta, the former head of a TV rating company.
- The Independent
‘It’s unfortunate’: Ashley Biden confirms first lady snubbed her mother on traditional White House handover
"I think we’re all OK with it,' says incoming first daughter in first ever TV interview
A boy who was killed in an alleged murder-suicide by his father has been identified as 9-year-old Pierce O’Loughlin. Family tragedy: The boy and his father, Stephen O'Loughlin, 49, were both found dead at their home on Scott Street, Marina District in San Francisco on Wednesday afternoon, SF Chronicle reports. The boy’s mother, Lesley Hu, asked authorities to check on her son after learning that he did not show up for school that day.
- NBC News
Suspect William McCall Calhoun Jr. faces a host of charges stemming from the Jan. 6 pro-Trump riot at the U.S. Capitol Building.
"This is also a desire that's shared by other GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries," he said in an interview. Separately, the Qatari government was supporting discussions between Iran and South Korea to secure the release of an oil tanker seized by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards early this month, the foreign minister said. As far as any potential U.S.-Iran talks, he said that Qatar will facilitate the discussions if asked and will support whoever is chosen to do so.
- Associated Press
Vice President Mike Pence will be returning to his southern Indiana hometown Wednesday afternoon following the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden. The Republican former Indiana governor and his wife Karen are expected to attend Biden’s inauguration and will then fly into the Columbus Municipal Airport, where they will be greeted by some supporters, the Indiana Republican Party said Tuesday. Pence grew up in Columbus and some family members still live there.
- Architectural Digest
Mercedes-Benz’s Hyperscreen, General Motors’ Bright Drop, and Jeep’s Electric Wrangler were among the unveils that turned headsOriginally Appeared on Architectural Digest
Inauguration Day is a time of great expectancy and transformation. There are reports of at least 12 National Guard members being removed from the inauguration patrol duties. There are 25,000 troops in D.C. to protect attendees at the inauguration after the deadly and unprecedented Jan. 6 Capitol Hill insurrection.
- The Week
Anthony Scaramucci was right: The White House appears to be having trouble rounding up a sizable crowd for President Trump's official send-off from Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on Wednesday."In what looks like a desperate attempt to build a crowd for the crowd-obsessed president, an email has been making the rounds to current and former White House officials inviting them, and as many as five plus-ones, to Trump's elaborate exit ceremony," Politico reported Tuesday morning. "The go-to excuse for skipping out has been the 6 a.m. call time at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland. But truly, many just don't want to be photographed sending off their former boss."Trump's current staffers have a good reason to avoid their outgoing boss. "Former White House officials and campaign staffers who would typically land plum jobs in corporate America after serving their time are now out in the cold," Politico says. One former White House official who got out early put it this way: "No one wants to touch them, they're just toxic." Another former Trump aide, pointing to the fallout from the Jan. 6 insurrection, was more blunt, telling Politico: "They're f---ed."Trump will be the first president since Andrew Johnson, another member of the tiny impeached president club, to skip the inauguration of his successor. "Johnson snubbed Ulysses S. Grant in 1869," The Washington Post notes. More stories from theweek.com 5 more scathing cartoons about Trump's 2nd impeachment Biden honors coronavirus victims during somber ceremony Chief Justice John Roberts reportedly wants no part of Trump's impeachment trial
German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that Germany may need to consider border crossing curbs if other European countries do not act to halt the spread of the coronavirus, particularly its new, more transmissible variants. Her comments came after she and leaders of Germany's 16 states agreed to extend for another two weeks a lockdown for most shops and schools until Feb. 14. Germany shares borders with nine countries, and there are growing concerns about infection rates in some of them, including Czech Republic, where commuter traffic is heavy.
- Associated Press
A California sheriff’s deputy was killed and another deputy was wounded in a shootout with a suspect who gunned down a K-9 dog before he was fatally shot, authorities said. The gunbattle erupted in Sacramento near a racetrack at the Cal Expo event venue after a vehicle pursuit late Monday, Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones said. The deputy who died was identified as Adam Gibson, a six-year veteran of the department, Jones said.
- The Independent
President-elect’s nominee will now need votes of 60 senators to move forward
- NBC News
Election experts have uniformly declared that the 2020 election was conducted fairly.
- The Telegraph
Israeli Covid czar says first Pfizer jab not as effective as hoped and blames spike in cases on British strain
Israel’s coronavirus czar has warned that the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine offers less protection than expected, as he blamed the country’s surge in Covid cases partly on the new British variant. Nachman Ash said many Israelis had caught Covid in between their first and second doses of the Pfizer vaccine, suggesting that the first jab is “less effective than we thought,” according to Army Radio. His remarks underline the importance of receiving a second vaccine dose, which according to recent studies is more than 90 per cent effective in protecting against coronavirus. Israel has already given the first of two jabs to nearly 30 per cent of the population and on Tuesday announced it would extend eligibility to those aged 40 and over. But Mr Ash is said to have warned at a cabinet meeting that a new strain of Covid originating in Britain was hampering efforts to tackle the pandemic, as it was responsible for nearly 40 per cent of new cases. It comes after two studies by Israeli healthcare providers found that the first dose of the vaccine reduced the risk of infection by between 30 and 60 per cent. And according to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, a survey by the health ministry found that around six per cent of 189,000 citizens who had received the first jab tested positive for Covid within two weeks. It also stated that 69 people from the sample had tested positive for coronavirus after receiving their second dose of the vaccine. Another study of a hundred people in Israel found that 98 per cent were protected from the disease once the second dose was administered. That research, carried out by the Sheba Medical Center, also said that a second dose of the Pfizer vaccine significantly refused the risk of spreading the virus to others.
- Architectural Digest
Store your stemware and sauvignon blanc in styleOriginally Appeared on Architectural Digest