U.S Flirts With Ebola Quarantine, But North Korea Has A Better Solution

Ebola US North Korea

In the U.S., some states are facing a backlash for imposing mandatory isolation on medical workers who have treated Ebola patients and the army has begun quarantining soldiers who deployed to in West Africa. But North Korea has gone one several steps further by banning all foreign tourists.

According to tour operators in North Korea, the authoritarian regime plans to bar entry to foreigners on tourist trips due to fears of Ebola. Oh no! At least seven people will have to change their vacation plans!

“We have just received official news from our partners in the DPRK that, as of tomorrow, tourists from any country, regardless of where they have recently visited, will not be permitted to enter,” said Gareth Johnson of Young Pioneer Tours.

As for foreigners who somehow make it into the country, they will be quarantined to prevent any possible spread of the Ebola virus. An announcement distributed Thursday to diplomatic missions in Pyongyang said that, regardless of country or region of origin, all foreigners will be quarantined under medical observation for 21 days. Some may say this is an overreaction considering no cases of the disease have been reported in the reclusive country, or anywhere in Asia for that matter, and very few foreigners are allowed to enter anyways, but any excuse to make the North Korean people more suspicious of the outside world is a good one.

Meanwhile, over in the United States, President Obama has taken a different route to combating the spread of the Ebola virus. Obama said on Wednesday that the U.S. may face more Ebola cases but denounced closing U.S. borders and imposing mandatory quarantines out of health fears.

But that didn’t stop New Jersey governor Chris Christie from defending the use of mandatory 21-day quarantines for all travelers returning through Newark who have had contact with Ebola patients. In particular, Christie has targeted quarantined nurse Kaci Hickox, who returned from treating Ebola patients with Doctors Without Borders in West Africa last week and was quarantined against her will in New Jersey, despite testing negative for Ebola.

Hickox has said that a quarantine is unnecessary as she is showing no symptoms and has tested negative.

“I am not going to sit around and be bullied by politicians and forced to stay in my home when I am not a risk to the American public,” Hickox said on Wednesday.

State officials have said they were going to court to try to detain her for the remainder of the 21-day incubation period – because there’s no way Chris Christie is going to let Ebola wipe out the state the New Jersey while North Korea sits around with a smug smile in their isolated Ebola-free haven!

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Boko Haram Agrees to ‘Bring Our Girls Back’…. Then Abducts 60 More

Boko Haram Girls

Time to rev up those hashtags! Shortly after a ceasefire was announced with Boko Haram, the terrorist group abducted 60 more women and girls.

Two weeks ago, Nigeria briefly celebrated the announcement that the 200 schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram would be freed, but the parents of the missing girls (along with the rest of Nigeria) remained skeptical. Especially after Boko Haram breached the ceasefire, killing dozens of people in five attacks over the weekend…

“We were jubilating. We had every reason to be happy,” said Lawan Abana, one of the parents of the missing girls. “But since then the ceasefire has been broken in quite a number of places already.”

“Can we trust him that he can deliver on this promise of releasing the girls when he has not delivered on the promise of the ceasefire?,” Abana asked, referring to Danladi Ahmadu, a previously unknown man who calls himself the secretary general of Boko Haram.

Turns out the parents had good reason to be skeptical of government claims of a truce with the Islamist militant group Boko Haram. Now sixty more women and girls have been kidnapped from two towns in north-east Nigeria. Residents in the town of Wagga said that suspected Islamist gunmen had gone door-to-door looking for young women and girls and abducted 40 of them. Witnesses in nearby Gwarta also reported a kidnapping involving another 20 female victims.

Lazarus Baushe, an elder of the Wagga community, said: “They left 1,500 naira (£5.67) and some kola nuts in each home where they seized a woman, apparently as a bride price.”

But on a more positive note, Ebola is now the least of Nigeria’s problems.

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Damn It, FedEx! ISIS Got U.S. Weapons Package

ISIS Weapons

In another instance of ‘giving weapons to foreigners gone wrong’, the Pentagon admitted that ISIS got its hands on one of the 28 bundles of weapons and medical supplies that the U.S. dropped to Kurdish forces. Oops!

Last week, the U.S. air-dropped weapons, ammunition, and medical supplies for Kurdish forces fighting ISIS jihadists near the besieged town of Kobani, located in Syria near the Turkish border. During the multiple air-drops, Air Force C-130 planes delivered arms and supplies that were provided by Kurdish authorities in Iraq and that were “intended to enable continued resistance” against ISIS and its attempts to “overtake Kobani.”

Sounds great. Only problem? Two of the bundles missed their marks. One of the misguided airdrops was destroyed by the U.S. The other ended up in the hands of the Islamic State fighters.

After video footage released by ISIS showed what appeared to be one of its fighters in desert scrubland with a stack of boxes attached to a parachute, the Pentagon admitted they effed up. US defence spokesman Army Lieutenant Colonel Steve Warren blamed the wind for possibly blowing the supplies off course and argued that one cache was not enough to make a significant difference to ISIS.

But just in case, a group of Syrian Arab rebels has arrived in Kobani to help defend the town against the Islamic State militants. Plus, considering the Islamic State militants already possess millions of dollars-worth of U.S. weaponry that they captured from fleeing Iraqi soldiers when the group seized parts of Iraq back in June, a couple of extra boxes of weapons shouldn’t make a huge difference.

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White House Security: Needs More Dog

White House Dog

The latest White House fence jumper was sent to a hospital to be treated for dog bites after he was nabbed by guard dogs on the White House lawn Wednesday.

Secret Service Dog23-year-old Dominic Adesanya of Bel Air, Maryland jumped the north fence of the White House on Wednesday but was stopped by the Secret Service’s secret weapon: angry guard dogs. Secret Service agents and K-9 units quickly subdued the intruder before he came too close to the residence. But Adesanya, who has a history of trying to break into government buildings, did manage to punch two of the Secret Service dogs, Hurricane and Jordan, before he was tackled.

While punching dogs is typically frowned upon, it turns out kicking a canine officer is also a federal offense. Adesanya was charged with “harming animals used on law enforcement” in addition to “unlawfully entering the restricted grounds of the White House.”

The two dogs were taken to a veterinarian and treated for minor bruising they suffered during the incident, but were later cleared for duty. No word on where the hell Bo and Sunny Obama were during the incident.

The latest intrusion onto the White House grounds came the same day that a gunman went on a rampage in Canadian Parliament. But Canada doesn’t need a guard dog to put a stop to crazed intruders – they have Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers. Vickers, who shot to death gunman Michael Zehaf-Bibeau outside the Library of Parliament, was given a standing ovation in the Canadian House of Commons on Thursday by MPs returning to work.

Meanwhile, Hurricane and Jordan were given some kibble.

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Five Years Isn’t Enough for Murder?

Pistorius Appeal Five Year

Not according to South Africa’s prosecutors. The lawyers will appeal the verdict and sentence of Oscar Pistorius, who received a five-year prison term for culpable homicide last week.

Prior to the sentencing, prosecutors had called for a minimum 10-year term, and the defence had argued for community service and house arrest. Judge Thokozile Masipa ultimately decided that five years in jail was plenty for killing girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. And, to add insult to injury, under the terms of the sentence, Pistorius may be released into house arrest after 10 months.

“A non-custodial sentence would send the wrong message to the community. On the other hand, a long sentence would also not be appropriate either, as it would lack the element of mercy,” the judge declared.

The element of mercy? You mean what was missing from Oscar Pistorius’ brain when he repeatedly shot his girlfriend through the bathroom door?

Although Reeva Steenkamp’s parents say that have “already forgiven a long time ago” and are “satisfied by the sentence”, the prosecutors are not. A spokesman for the National Prosecuting Authority, said the organization “will be appealing both the conviction and sentence.”

 “The appeal on conviction is based on the question of law,” NPA spokesperson Nathi Mncube said in a statement.

“The merits and the demerits of the NPA’s argument in this regard will become evident when we file papers for leave to appeal.”

I don’t know, eligible for house arrest after 10 months in prison seems like a pretty sweet deal to me. They might want to just leave it at that…

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North Korea Releases Bible Thumping American

North Korea Releases AMerican

American Jeffrey Fowle has been released from a North Korean prison camp and is on his way home. Perhaps Kim Jong Un’s cheese-induced gout is making him a little soft?

Jeffrey Fowle, 56, an Ohio municipal worker, was turned over to U.S. officials by authorities in Pyongyang and boarded a U.S. government aircraft sent to retrieve him.

Fowle was arrested for allegedly trying to leave a Bible at a sailors’ club in North Korea. Six months of detainment in a North Korean labour camp later, Fowle is back in Ohio reuniting with his family.

“We’d like to thank God for his hand of protection over Jeff these past six months,” family spokesman Tim Tepe said, giving thanks to the U.S. State Department, the Swedish government, and others for helping secure Fowle’s release.

I think it was God who got you into this mess in the first place, but whatever, at least Fowle’s release gives hope to the two other American detainees in North Korea: Matthew Miller, 24, of Bakersfield and Kenneth Bae of Lynnwood, Washington, a suburb of Seattle. The State Department said it is working on achieving their releases as well.

While Jeffrey Fowle was detained, the city terminated his employment as an equipment operator for Moraine, Ohio because of his prolonged absence, but City Manager David Hicks says can have his job back.

“The reinstatement opportunity is available to him. Assuming he wants to be reinstated, he will,” Hicks said. “I’m sure that we’ll have some celebration upon his return.”

Ugh. Continue working as a poorly paid equipment operator in small town Ohio and attend a depressing office party? He might have been better off in the North Korean labour camp.

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Current Event Cat of the Day: Gunman/men Attack Canada’s Capital

Current Event Cat - Canada Attack Gunman

What is going on in Canada?! Two days after two military officers were run over in Quebec, a gunman (or possibly gunmen) attacked Canada’s capital, wounding and killing a Canadian soldier and opening fire inside the nation’s parliament.

The gunman fatally shot a soldier who was standing guard at the National War Memorial then ran into the nearby parliament building and opened fire.

MPs and other witnesses reported several shots fired inside Parliament, but no one was seriously injured – except for the gunman. Police say the shooter was killed inside after exchanging fire with police – but that’s not the end of that. Police believe that there may be more than one assailant on the loose.

“The indications are there is more than one gunman. There may be several,” Canadian MP Marc Garneau said, adding he and fellow politicians were evacuated from the area.

And for those Stephen Harper fans out there, don’t worry – his director of communications tweeted that the Prime Minister “is safe and has left Parliament Hill”. Opposition Leader Tom Mulcair and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau are also reported safe, but no one cares.

In the meantime, downtown Ottawa is on lockdown as police search for the other gunman. The nearby University of Ottawa has been placed on lockdown, as well as all local police buildings and the US Embassy.

The latest attack comes two days after a radicalized Muslim struck two Canadian soldiers with his car in Quebec, killing one of them. Earlier on Wednesday, the Canadian government raised its terror threat alert from low to medium reportedly in response to an increase in online “general chatter” from radical groups including Islamic State and al-Qaeda.

Details are still developing but I think it’s safe to say that “Dead Canadian Soldier” and “Wounded MP” can now join “Rob Ford’s Tumor” on the list of Canada’s Top Taboo Halloween Costumes.

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New Jersey School Combats Ebola by Banning Kids From Non-Ebola Countries

Ebola Jersey

Although two African countries have now been declared officially free of Ebola and most are unaffected by the recent Ebola outbreak, one elementary school in New Jersey isn’t taking any chances. 

Nigeria was declared Ebola-free on Monday after six weeks with no new cases, following an announcement that Senegal is also rid of the virus. But despite these Ebola success stories, the virus is still rapidly spreading in Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone. As the death toll continues to increase, one elementary school in New Jersey is taking matters into their own hands… by banning children from Rwanda.

Two students from Rwanda, who were scheduled to start classes at a New Jersey school Monday, are being encouraged to stay home and complete a 21-day waiting period—the incubation period for Ebola—before they can enter the school, plus another week (you know, just in case).

The school informed teachers of two children from Rwanda who were set to start school today, but word got out and parents went nuts. Despite the fact that Rwanda hasn’t had one case of Ebola and it is 2,600 miles from the closest afflicted country in West Africa, the parents decided to err on the side of Ebola hysteria caution and object to their attendence. There’s no time to consult a map when faced with an Ebola outbreak!

The parental backlash worked and the parents of the symptom-free Rwandan students decided (with a little pressure from the school…) to keep their kids out of school for the next 21+ days.

“The Maple Shade School District takes the health of all students and staff very seriously. As many of you are aware, we have students who have spent time in the eastern portion of Africa that were scheduled to start in our schools on Monday. This area of Africa has been unaffected by the Ebola virus. Despite the fact that the students are symptom-free and not from an affected area, the parents have elected to keep their children home past the 21 day waiting period. The family is looking forward to joining the Maple Shade Schools the following week,” the school wrote in a statement.

Many parents seemed happy with the family’s decision to keep their possibly disease-ridden children away for 28 days.

“I think for another couple weeks. I don’t think it would hurt, I mean you have a lot of children that are involved, so I don’t think it would hurt,” said local parent Billy Dennison.

“Them taking an extra week beyond the 21 days before coming to school is more than appreciated,” another parent said.

Interestingly enough, Dallas, Texas has had 3 cases of Ebola and is only 1,500 miles away from New Jersey. Yet for some reason the school hasn’t taken any steps to quarantine any students from Texas…

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Current Event Cat of the Day: NHL Suspends Player for Domestic Abuse

Current Event Cat Domestic Abuse NHL

Turns out the NFL doesn’t own the rights to domestic abuse – hockey players can be violent too.

The NHL indefinitely suspended Los Angeles Kings defenseman Slava Voynov after he was arrested for domestic violence on Monday morning.

According to TMZ, the woman who was allegedly attacked by the L.A. Kings star was injured so badly, she was rushed to the hospital. Voynov, who accompanied her to the hospital, was arrested shortly after staffers called authorities to report him as the suspected attacker.

Not wanting to pull a Ray Rice, the NHL took a stronger stance on domestic abuse charges than they have in the past. Last season, when Colorodo Avalanche player Semyon Varlamov was charged with second-degree kidnapping and third-degree assault charges, he was allowed to keep travelling and playing with the team.

But the NHL’s response still wasn’t that strong. Although Slava Voynov will remain suspended until the league completes a formal investigation, he will continued to be paid during this suspension.

“These developments are of great concern to our organization,” the Kings said in a statement. “We support the NHL’s decision to suspend Slava Voynov indefinitely during this process, and we will continue to take appropriate action as the legal proceedings and the investigation by the NHL take their course.”

There have been 9 NHL players arrested since 2011 – not bad compared to the NFL, but still not great.

2014 – Slava Voynov – Domestic violence

2014 – Claude Giroux – Groping a cop

2014 – Ryan Malone – DUI, drug possession

2013 – Semyon Varlamov – Domestic violence

2012 – Ben Eager – Bar fight

2012 – Ondrej Pavelec – DUI

2011 – Dustin Byfuglien – Drinking while boating

2011 – Sean Avery – Pushing a cop

2011 – Nikolay Zherdev – Domestic violence

Now I’m not saying there’s a correlation between Russians and domestic violence… but there’s a definite correlation between Russians and domestic violence.

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Florida DOESN’T Let Someone Get Away With Shooting an Unarmed Black Teen… And Other News

Florida Dunn Trial

Michael Dunn, the Florida man who shot and killed 17-year-old Jordan Davis in a dispute over loud music, has received a life sentence (plus 105 years) without possibility of parole. Hopefully there’s no loud music in prison…

Michael Dunn shot and killed Davis outside of a Jacksonville, Florida convenience store in what he claimed was self-defense but everyone else claimed was just plain crazy. According to Dunn’s version, Davis and his buds were listening to some super loud rap music in their SUV. When he asked them to turn it down, he claims that one of them pulled a shotgun on him. Instead of overreacting, Dunn got his loaded gun from his car and shot 10 rounds into the SUV. The only catch? Davis and his friends were unarmed. At his sentencing Dunn publicly apologized for the first time, saying, “If I could roll back time and do things differently, I would. I was in fear for my life and I did what I thought I had to do. Still, I am mortified I took a life, whether it was justified or not.” Spoiler alert: it wasn’t justified. USA Today

K PopAt least 16 South Korean pop music fans were killed and 11 seriously injured Friday after a ventilation grate buckled under the weight of concertgoers in Seongnam, South Korea. The victims fell about 20 meters into a parking structure after the gate they had been standing on to get a better view of the performance by the popular South Korean girl band 4Minute collapsed. There were 700 people at the concert and while witnesses said many of the spectators were female students, most of the dead were men in their 30s and 40s who stopped to watch the concert, which was part of a local festival, after leaving work. Although standing on a flimsy metal grate with a group of people looks no safer than licking a frayed electrical cord, at least they were smart enough not to attend a PSY concert. Imagine the last words they ever heard were “Oppa Gangnam Style”? AP

boko-kidnapAnd six months later, the Nigerian schoolgirls are coming back – but in what state? The Nigerian government says that it has come to an agreement with Boko Haram, the militant group that kidnapped the almost 300 schoolgirls back in April. Nigeria’s chief of defence staff, Alex Badeh, announced the truce, telling his troops to stand down for a ceasefire. Boko Haram has not yet made a public statement but the negotiations are said to have the blessing of Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau. The government would not reveal what concessions it made to Boko Haram in order to bring the girls back, but I bet it was something good. BBC News

EbolamaniaEbolamania is sweeping the nation! After a vomiting passenger died (from non-Ebola realted causes) on a Nigeria-to-JFK flight, tension in the sky is high. On Thursday, a middle-aged African-American woman was locked in the lavatory of an American Airlines flight from Dallas to Chicago after she began vomiting. According to another passenger on the flight, after the woman vomited in the aisle, the crew feared the spread of Ebola and forced her to reveal all her recent travel and remain in the bathroom for the last 45 minutes of the trip. But was it really fear of Ebola that prompted this overreaction… or was it fear of black people? The witness, a University of Texas professor, thinks the latter, chalking the incident up to racial profiling. “If I had puked on the plane, would they have they done that to me? I’m a 60-year-old white woman with gray hair. No, they would not have,” she said. Actually, they probably would have. Ebola seems to bring out the hysteria in people. I’m surprised they didn’t push this woman out the door at 35,000ft. Houston Chronicle 

MEXICO SPRING BREAKThe French want to bid adieu to binge drinking. A draft health bill presented to French ministers on Wednesday aims to target binge drinking by hitting people who incite it with €15,000 fines and sentences of up to a year in jail. “It will be made illegal to sell products that make alcohol appear pleasant,” French health minister Marisol Touraine reportedly told RTL radio, such as “telephone cases or T-shirts that show amusing scenes based on drunkenness.” While France is among the world’s most liberal countries in terms of alcohol consumption, some feel the Irish-style binge-drinking has gotten out of control. “We see more and more seriously drunk young people in the emergency room, who will stay for 24 hours, sometimes two days, to sober up,” a French doctor told TV channel France24 last year. The proposed law presented to the Assemblée Nationale early next year, but hopefully legislators will be too drunk to pass it. Washington Post

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