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End Time News – Updated 1 Oct 2014 - 4 stories
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earthquake headlines             6.0 quakes            7.0 quakes            quakes in diverse places          quake map

Alaska Is Rattled By 6.2 Magnitude Earthquake
by Eyder Peralta

A 6.2 magnitude earthquake rattled Alaska on Thursday. Luckily, while very strong, it was a very deep quake, so no major damage was reported.

Alaska Public Media reports:

"The shaking caught the attention of residents across a large swath of the state, from Fairbanks down to Homer. In Anchorage, residents posted pictures on Facebook and Twitter of messy aisles in Fred Meyer, with shampoo bottles scattered across the floor, and tiles missing from ceilings in midtown buildings.

"[Michael West, who directs the Alaska Earthquake Center in Fairbanks], says events like this one are a reminder of what earthquakes are capable of in Alaska. He says a strong earthquake like this one that was more shallow and centered closer to a city would be capable of causing widespread damage and even death. A 6.3 magnitude earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand in 2011 killed 185 people. West says he worries Alaskans have been lulled into thinking that big earthquakes are no big deal."

Still, the Anchorage Daily News reports there were some dramatic moments during the temblor:

"On the fifth floor of a downtown Anchorage law office, lawyer Allen Clendaniel felt the shaking start slow and build in intensity.

"Out of the corner of his eye, Clendaniel saw bookcases come crashing down in his partner John Wendlandt's office across the hall. Legal volumes, case briefs and files tumbled onto a pair of sofas and spilled over the floor.

"Clendaniel said he ran into the office to see if Wendlandt had been pinned under the shelves."

"Luckily, he hadn't come in yet," said Clendaniel, whose office was mostly spared from falling objects.

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Wars and Rumors of Wars

Armed conflict continues to put Colombia’s indigenous communities at risk: Report
Matthew Sterne

Armed conflict and forced displacement persist as threats for Colombia’s indigenous peoples, according to a report by indigenous rights organization ONIC.

The communities are victims of human rights violations and breaches of international humanitarian law, according to ONIC.

Threats, attacks, killings, forced recruitment, sexual violence and torture remain common scourges in indigenous territories, the NGO said.

One of the most disturbing figures in the report is that between May and June this year 2,819 members of the Dobida Embera community in the western state of Choco were displaced due to clashes between the ELN and the Urabeños. The UN had previously said that at least 300 locals were forced to flee due to the violence.

MORE: 300 displaced in west Colombia over violence between ELN and ‘Urabeños': UN

“Despite the orders given by the Constitutional Court of Colombia regarding the protection of at least 64 indigenous people they continue to be at high risk for physical and cultural extermination. This is due to the armed conflict and forced displacement. The nature of the violations reaffirms the ineffective protective measures of the national and international bodies involved,” reads the document.

Between January and September ten people died “as a result of selective murder by the actions of armed forces.” Among the victims were three members of the Nasa people, two of the Awa, two from the Embera-Chami, two of the Embera-Dobida and the Embera-Eyabida people.

According to ONIC, these people were killed for refusing to collaborate with armed groups, denounce human rights violations or due to false accusations. Among the perpetrators of these murders are neo-paramilitary group Aguilas Negras, Marxist rebel group FARC and the National Army.

Furthermore, 36 indigenous leaders have been threatened and “despite the urgent actions that have been issued to the units responsible for the protection of our leaders today, nothing has been done to secure their lives. If anything, less is being done. ”

The presence of illegal groups and the Armed Forces on indigenous land is still causing the confinement of these communities. They are denied the right to travel freely on roads and rivers. The main perpetrator of these actions is the Army, said the ONIC.

“We require all armed actors in the conflict to not involve indigenous communities in the war. We also demand full respect for the rules of international humanitarian law to protect us as autonomous governments and unarmed civilians. Therefore, we demand that the ELN not bind our communities in war and conflict nor intimidate us with threats. For the indigenous people of Colombia peace is not just a word it is a practice that every day we live and practice in the territories, in our cycles of life and all those we interact with,” said the indigenous rights group.

The ONIC report was published just days after the first World Conference on Indigenous Peoples in New York, where the Economic Commission for Latin America presented its report “Indigenous Peoples in Latin America”. Governments are required to ensure the well-being of these communities in a world more focused on the extraction of natural resources from these regions than their welfare.


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As U.S. sees its first Ebola case, learn how the virus spreads
by Michael Martinez, CNN

(CNN) -- As the worst Ebola outbreak in history touches the United States with the diagnosis of the first case within America, questions arise about how the infectious virus is spread.

Ebola is spread by someone who is ill and showing symptoms of the virus. As people with the virus become sicker, they become more infectious, experts say.

"Remember, Ebola doesn't spread before someone gets sick," Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Tuesday. "Ebola does not spread from someone who's not infectious. It does not spread from someone who doesn't have fever and other symptoms.

"So, it's only someone who's sick with Ebola who can spread the disease," Frieden said.

The transmission of the virus occurs through contact with bodily fluids -- such as blood, sweat and feces -- from infected humans or animals.

According to the CDC's website, "Health care providers caring for Ebola patients and the family and friends in close contact with Ebola patients are at the highest risk of getting sick because they may come in contact with infected blood or body fluids of sick patients."

The virus cannot travel through the air, like a cold or flu virus.

"This is not an airborne transmission," said Dr. Marty Cetron, director of CDC's Division of Global Migration and Quarantine. "There needs to be direct contact frequently with body fluids or blood."

Although a transmission could occur when someone shakes the sweaty hand of an infectious person -- the uninfected person would have to have a break in the skin of their hand that would allow entry of the virus, said CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

"Keep in mind, this is something that's spread through bodily fluids," Gupta said. "Once somebody starts to get sick, it means the virus is being excreted in their bodily fluids. Shake hands with somebody ... and you think I don't have breaks in my skin, (but) we all have minor breaks in our skin. And there is a possibility that some of the virus can be transmitted that way."

Medecins Sans Frontieres says that while the virus is believed to be able to survive for some days in liquid outside an infected organism, agents such as chlorine, heat, direct sunlight, soaps and detergents can kill it.

What about planes? Can fellow passengers become infected if someone on the flight has the virus? Could Ebola spread around the world via air travel?

While the CDC acknowledges it is possible a person infected with Ebola in West Africa could get on a plane and arrive in another country -- which is apparently what happened in the U.S. case -- the chances of the virus spreading during the journey are low.

"It's very unlikely that they would be able to spread the disease to fellow passengers," said Stephan Monroe, deputy director of CDC's National Center for Emerging Zoonotic and Infectious Diseases.

"The Ebola virus spreads through direct contact with the blood, secretions or other body fluids of ill people, and indirect contact -- for example with needles and other things that may be contaminated with these fluids."

Travelers should take precautions by avoiding areas experiencing outbreaks and avoiding contact with Ebola patients.

"It is highly unlikely that someone suffering such symptoms would feel well enough to travel," the International Air Transport Association said.

Ebola virus: Nine things to know about the killer disease

CNN's Susannah Cullinane and Madison Park contributed to this report.


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Agencies battle to stave off starvation in South Sudan’s civil war sanctuaries
Andrew Green in Jonglei state

Remote villages like Pathai have been engulfed by refugees and agencies have been flying in rapid response teams to provide food and medical aid

Kwene Biel has moved as far away from Bor as she can, but she has still not managed to escape the conflict in South Sudan.

The capital of Jonglei state was one of the early frontlines when the fighting started in mid-December and for two mornings in a row the 30-year-old awakened to the sound of gunfire. Finally, she and her husband decided to flee. He was shot and killed a few metres from their house, but she kept running with their six children in tow.

It took them 10 days to reach Pathai, a scrubby village in remote central Jonglei. Though still within the war zone, she decided to stay because it is far from rivers and roads that could bring fighters. “If I had not come, I would have been killed,” she says.

Biel is one of nearly 14,000 people who have spilled into Pathai and the surrounding areas in Uror county since the fighting started, according to local leaders. It has brought the recent incomers relative security, but the war has choked off their access to food.

Traders refuse to make the trip to Pathai and for months the market has been empty of salt, oil and sugar. Stocks of sorghum from last year’s harvest are nearly exhausted. This year’s crop failed because there was not enough rain. Biel, who brought nothing with her and has no land to plant, is feeding her children boiled leaves.

“Hunger is here in this county,” says Peter Gai Dual, a local representative of the country’s relief and rehabilitation agency. “Death is even here.” But aid workers are scarce, because they cannot safely sustain relief efforts.

The conflict has left South Sudan riddled with these pockets of hunger, especially in the north-east, where most of the fighting has been concentrated. Officials have warned for months that the country is teetering on the brink of a man-made famine. Jean-Louis de Brouwer, a senior European commission official, says that while the worst appears to have been averted for the time being, 3.5 million people still face severe food shortages.

“Whether there is a famine or not, when you look at the number of people who are estimated to be in emergency or crisis food situations, all the conditions for a major humanitarian catastrophe and disaster are already met,” he says.

And officials readily admit they do not know just how severe the situation really is because of the difficulty of reaching places like Pathai.

In the best of circumstances, delivering aid in South Sudan is fraught with logistical challenges. Even more so during the rainy season between April and November, when frequent downpours turn the country’s few roads to glue. Relief must come from the air, which multiplies the cost. And then there is the added complication of gaining permission for access from the warring sides.

Over the past six months, the World Food Programme and UN Children’s Fund (Unicef) has turned to a rapid response mechanism (RRM). When the combatants allow, the agencies fly teams of experts by helicopter into remote areas to gauge food and health needs. Local leaders rally communities to come and register. While people sign up for food rations, health workers are on standby to put measuring tapes around children’s arms and quickly assess whether they are malnourished.

At the end of the registration, after health workers have started underweight children on a course of treatment and injected vaccines, there is a massive distribution of sorghum, lentils, salt and oil. Children who are under five years old also receive a heavily fortified porridge.

There have been 23 completed RRMs so far, reaching more than 460,000 people, according to Unicef.

Pathai is one of the newest missions. Kibrom Tesfaselassie, Unicef’s team leader, arrived late last week. He says at the start of each visit they are unsure what to expect. From Pathai, all they knew was that “community leaders had communicated there is a need.”

Tesfaselassie’s initial impression was that the “biggest problem is that there is no health system,” but was delighted there was no evidence of widespread malnutrition. The first few hours of registration had turned up only two severely and two moderately malnourished children. But he cautions that without the intervention, the situation in Pathai could become dire. Depending on how long the registration takes, the food drop should happen this week. They are scheduled to recur each month, though any fighting in the area could disrupt those plans.

Like Biel, Nyagik Duok Riang, a 60-year-old blind woman, was one of the first of nearly 2,700 people to turn up for registration on the first day, arriving at sunrise with several of her grandchildren.

She has lived in the area all of her life, even through the decades-long civil war between southern rebels and Khartoum, and says she had never experienced anything like the current food shortages. “During that time, the traders came. This,” she says, “is worse.”


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