North Korea has imposed a travel ban on foreigners willing to participate in the annual Pyongyang marathon because of concerns over the spread of the Ebola virus, travel agencies say.
In October 2014, North Korea halted all non-essential travel into the communist country because of Ebola fears
The country began enforcing strict travel restrictions on incoming tourists including a 21-day quarantine.
No Ebola cases have been reported in North Korea or anywhere near it.
The marathon, one of the year’s most popular events for tourists, takes place on April 12.
“We are sorry to announce that we have been informed by our partners in North Korea that no foreign runners – amateur or professional – will be allowed to participate in this year’s Pyongyang Marathon,” Koryo Tours, a Beijing-based travel agency said on its website according to South Korea’s Yonhap new agency.
Foreigners are banned “due to the fear of the spread of Ebola”, Koryo Tours said on Twitter, local media reported. China-based Young Pioneer Tours also confirmed the ban.
The Ebola outbreak, which began in West Africa, has killed more than 9,000 people.
Last year’s race, which also included a 6 mile race and a half-marathon, was the first time the event was open to foreigners and an estimated 200 people from around the world took part.
This year, Koryo Tours alone was expecting to take 500 people to the marathon, its director Nick Bonner told Reuters news agency.
North Korea looks at tourism, especially from China, as a way of increasing foreign funds flowing into the country.
The country halted all visas for non-essential travel in October as a measure against Ebola.
It is not clear why North Korean authorities are particularly concerned Ebola could be brought into the country.
Much of the North Korean population lives in extreme poverty and the healthcare system would be ill-equipped to handle an Ebola epidemic.
North Korean state media has suggested the Ebola disease was created by the US military as a biological weapon.
A new version of the Band Aid charity single has been recorded by stars including One Direction, Emeli Sande, Rita Ora and Ed Sheeran in a studio in London.
Ellie Goulding, Sam Smith, Chris Martin and Bono also sang on the reworked Do They Know It’s Christmas?.
The recording, which comes 30 years after the original Band Aid, will raise money for the fight against Ebola.
The UK government has agreed to waive VAT on the single.
Organizer Bob Geldof, who also masterminded the original in 1984, said he addressed the participants “like the headmaster” before they sang the chorus.
The song’s first lines have been recorded by One Direction. It will get its first play on ITV’s X Factor results show on November 16.
Other artists taking part included Elbow, Seal, Jessie Ware, Fuse ODG, Sinead O’Connor, Angelique Kidjo, Olly Murs, Paloma Faith, Queen drummer Roger Taylor, Clean Bandit and Foals.
Rita Ora was the first to record her lines and left early.
Ed Sheeran flew in from his tour in Germany, while Bastille cancelled two US arena gigs to be involved. Disclosure and Underworld were also in the studio to do remixes.
Saturday’s recording session took place at the Sarm studios in west London, the venue where stars such as Wham!, Duran Duran, Sting and Status Quo recorded the original.
That single raised £8 million ($13 million) for famine relief in 1984. This time, the lyrics have been rewritten.
Instead of the line “Where the only water flowing is the bitter sting of tears”, the new version has the line “Where a kiss of love can kill you and there’s death in every tear”.
Bono’s famous line “Well tonight thank God it’s them instead of you” has been changed to “Well tonight we’re reaching out and touching you”.
The music video will be edited in “record time” so it can be shown on The X Factor at 20:00 GMT on November 16.
The song will be made available to download at 08:00 GMT on November 17, priced 99p ($1.5). A CD version costing £4 ($6) will be released three weeks later with a cover designed by artist Tracey Emin.
The track will not be made available on Spotify and other music streaming services until January.
Bob Geldof told fans: “Come Monday at 08:00 when every station plays this track across the nation, buy this thing. Don’t go looking for it free. Buy it.”
The original version sold 3.7 million copies. Five years later, another version was produced by Stock, Aitken and Waterman, largely featuring their artists such as Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan and Sonia.
In 2004, Band Aid 20 was recorded by the likes of Coldplay, Dizzee Rascal, Ms Dynamite, Will Young and Robbie Williams.
While both real companies and internet hoaxers alike have created tasteless Ebola-themed Halloween costumes this year, it doesn’t seem anyone actually wants to buy them.
Tim Callan, chief marketing officer at SLI Systems, has an answer that suggests the zeitgeist-driven, often downright appalling costumes that make their way into the annals of internet infamy each year are a distinct minority.
E-commerce site search specialists SLI Systems tracked more than 80 million searches across 17 websites selling Halloween costumes between September 1 and October 26. They looked at holiday-specific stores, party purveyors and larger retail chains getting in on the annual action.
The Brands On Sale’s Ebola worker costumes have caused a stir on social media (photo Brands On Sale)
Data shows that costume shoppers are seeking far more wholesome options in 2014, with characters from Disney’s mega-hit Frozen the most-searched by a wide margin despite the film being almost a year old.
Online costume retailer Brands On Sale has put on sale its newest Halloween costume, the “Ebola containment suit”.
The $59.99 getup comes with a white, nurse-inspired dress, an “Ebola face shield,” a breathing mask, safety goggles and blue latex gloves. The faux leather yellow boots are sold separately.
“As the deadly Ebola virus trickles its way through the United States, fighting its disease is no reason to compromise style,” the description reads.
“The short dress and chic gas mask will be the talk of Milan, London, Paris, and New York as the world’s fashionistas seek global solutions to hazmat couture.”
The Brands On Sale’s Ebola worker costumes have caused a stir on social media.
Texas school children have come into contact with the first patient to be diagnosed with Ebola on US soil, Governor Rick Perry has said.
At a news conference at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, Gov. Rick Perry said the children were being monitored “at home” for symptoms.
The patient is thought to have contracted the virus in Liberia before coming to the US nearly two weeks ago.
He is in a serious condition, a spokeswoman for the hospital said.
“Today we learned that some school-age children had been identified as having had contact with the patient and are now being monitored at home for any signs of the disease,” Rick Perry said.
“Parents are extremely concerned about that development. These children have been identified and they are being monitored.”
Rick Perry emphasized the disease could not be transmitted before a patient showed signs of the disease, and he said Texas had the medical infrastructure to prevent an outbreak.
“The public should have every confidence that the highly trained professional will succeed in this very important mission,” he said.
Texas school children have come into contact with the first patient to be diagnosed with Ebola on US soil
Meanwhile, in Liberia a government spokesman said the country had put in place “stringent screening” at the airport, where the man showed no symptoms or fever as he departed the country.
“What this incident demonstrates is the clear international dimension of this Ebola crisis,” Lewis Brown, Liberia’s information minister, said in a statement.
“For months, the Liberian government has been stressing that this disease is not simply a Liberian or West African problem.”
More than 3,000 people have already died of Ebola in West Africa and small number of US aid workers have recovered after being flown to the US.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says the Ebola virus seems to have been contained in Senegal and Nigeria, with no new cases reported there for almost a month.
CDC Director Thomas Frieden confirmed the Ebola case on September 30, saying the unnamed patient left Liberia on September 19 and arrived in the US the next day to visit relatives, without displaying any symptoms of the virus.
Symptoms became apparent in the patient on September 24, and on September 28 he was admitted to a Texas hospital and put in isolation.
The unnamed patient was described as critically ill on September 30, suggesting the hospital has upgraded his condition.
Health officials are working to identify all people who came into contact with the unnamed patient while he was infectious, including relatives and a “couple” community members.
Those people will then be monitored for 21 days to see if an Ebola-related fever develops.
However, they will not be monitoring passengers on the man’s flight, where Dr. Thomas Frieden said there was “zero risk of transmission” as the man had been checked for fever before boarding.
According to Thomas Frieden, it is possible a family member who came in direct contact with the patient may develop Ebola in the coming weeks.
On October 1, Zachary Thompson, the director of Dallas County Health and Human Services, told local broadcaster WFAA “there may be another case that is a close associate with this particular patient”.
In an interview with CNN, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, suggested the hospital which initially saw the patient should have asked about international travel.
“If the ER physician had asked for a travel history, [and said], <<Do you have any recent travel outside of the country?>> And if the person said, <<Well, I just came back from Liberia>>, that would have been an enormous red flag for anybody, given the publicity that we have,” Dr. Anthony Fauci told the broadcaster.
ZMapp, the experimental drug given to Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol to fight the Ebola virus, seems to be working, according to health specialists.
The untested drug was developed by San Diego-based Mapp Biopharmaceuticals.
What we need to know about ZMapp:
1. ZMapp is made from tobacco leaves
ZMapp is made from the leaves of modified tobacco plants, specifically, the Nicotiana benthamiana plant, Bloomberg reported. The tobacco leaves, which typically do more harm than good in regard to human health, help combat the Ebola virus because of the compound that’s created from their modification. The combination of compounds in ZMapp includes a compound called MB-003 and another called ZMAb. MB-003 protected 100% of monkeys exposed to the Ebola virus immediately after exposure. ZMAb provided 100% survival to monkeys one day after exposure. That number decreased to 50% after two days, according to NBC News. Erica Ollmann Saphire, a professor of immunology at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, said that one of the antibodies in the serum helps alert the immune system to the presence of infected cells so they can be destroyed. The other two antibodies seem, “to neutralize the virus,” Prof. Erica Ollman Saphire told WebMD.
ZMapp, the experimental drug given to Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol to fight the Ebola virus, seems to be working
2. ZMapp had never before been tested in humans
The drug had never been tried before in humans with Ebola, but had shown promise in monkeys with the disease. Both Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol knew the drug had never been tested in humans before taking it. Their improving conditions have left researchers optimistic about the effectiveness of ZMapp. Thomas Geisbert, a professor of infectious disease at The University of Texas Galveston Medical Branch, told WebMD: “If we can prove that whatever the treatment was worked, that’s fantastic. That’s exciting. But I’m cautiously optimistic, because with this particular outbreak, almost 40 percent of patients survive without treatment. So we want to make sure that it wasn’t somebody that was going to survive anyway.”
3. ZMapp’s creation was a collaborative effort
ZMapp was the result of collaboration among Mapp Pharmaceuticals, San Diego-based LeafBio, Defyrus in Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada, according to Times of San Diego.
Mapp Pharmaceuticals said in a statement: “ZMapp was first identified as a drug candidate in January 2014 and has not yet been evaluated for safety in humans. As such, very little of the drug is currently available. Mapp and its partners are cooperating with appropriate government agencies to increase production as quickly as possible.”
4. ZMapp’s use has raised ethical questions
The use of ZMapp has raised ethical questions regarding who has the right to experimental treatment, Bloomberg reported. Robert Garry, a virologist at Tulane University, told the publication: “There are a lot of Africans that are also dying. If we are going to do it for the Americans then we should certainly step up our game for the Africans.”
Liberia’s assistant health minister, Tolbert Nyenswah, told The Wall Street Journal health officials have become inundated with requests from the families of Ebola patients for ZMapp.
5. Mapp Biopharmaceuticals was part of a group awarded a $28 million grant to fight Ebola
Mapp Biopharmaceuticals was one of several companies and research to be selected for a five-year grant of up to $28 million awarded by the National Institutes of Health in order to fight Ebola, according to The Scripps Research Institute.
Whoopi Goldberg lashed out at Donald Trump on Monday’s The View when discussing his tweets about two Americans who contracted the Ebola virus while treating an outbreak in West Africa.
“I don’t really know how to respond to it in a polite way,” the actress said.
“I like Donald, I try to be respectful, but this was an idiotic comment.”
Whoopi Goldberg lashed out at Donald Trump on Monday’s The View when discussing his tweets about two Americans who contracted the Ebola virus while treating an outbreak in West Africa
Donald Trump took to Twitter on August 1 to protest the return of Dr. Kent Brantly and nurse Nancy Writebol to the US, where they are receiving treatment for the deadly virus at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.
“Stop the EBOLA patients from entering the US. Treat them, at the highest level, over there. THE UNITED STATES HAS ENOUGH PROBLEMS,” Donald Trump tweeted.
“The US cannot allow EBOLA infected people back. People that go to far away places to help out are great-but must suffer the consequences!”
Whoopi Goldberg said she understands why Donald Trump would be fearful of the virus hitting American soil, but stressed it “doesn’t carry in the wind” and can only be spread through bodily fluids.
“I’m not defending him, but he is also a friend of mine, so I don’t want to be disrespectful to him, but that was a stupid comment,” Whoopi Goldberg said.
“Do your homework, Donald. Just do your homework.”
Guinea government officials say the Ebola virus has been identified as the cause of an outbreak of hemorraghic fever now believed to have killed nearly 60 people in the country.
Dozens of cases have been recorded since the outbreak began early last month.
There is no known cure or vaccine for the highly contagious Ebola virus.
Ebola is spread by close personal contact with people who are infected and kills between 25% and 90% of victims.
Ebola virus has been identified as the cause of a deadly outbreak of hemorraghic fever in Guinea
The World Health Organization (WHO) says outbreaks of Ebola occur primarly in remote villages in Central and West Africa, near tropical rainforests,.
“We got the first results from Lyon yesterday [Friday] which informed us of the presence of the Ebola virus as the cause of this outbreak,” Sakoba Keita, chief disease prevention officer at the Guinean health ministry, told AFP.
“The Ebola fever epidemic raging in southern Guinea since February 9 has left at least 59 dead out of 80 cases identified by our services on the ground,” he said.
“We are overwhelmed in the field, we are fighting against this epidemic with all the means we have at our disposal with the help of our partners but it is difficult.”
Medical aid charity Medecins sans Frontieres said on Saturday it would strengthen its team in Guinea and fly some 33 tonnes of drugs and isolation equipment in from Belgium and France.