Ebola Fears Continue

An Ebola quarantine center in Liberia was raided over the weekend when a group of armed men went on a looting spree.

Officials say angry residents in the West Point slum broke into the clinic, stealing items including medical equipment, blood-stained sheets, and mattresses, all while claiming “there’s no Ebola” in Liberia.

As many as 20 Ebola patients also fled during the attack and there are now increasing fears of the spread of the deadly virus through one of the capitol’s largest slums.

According to the World Health Organization, Ebola has killed more than 1,000 people in West Africa so far-- making it the worst outbreak in history.  They also say the disease has been vastly underestimated and will require “extraordinary measures” in order to be contained.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning the public against products sold over the internet claiming to treat or cure the Ebola virus.

The FDA has received numerous complaints from consumers regarding fraudulent drugs, dietary supplements, and other items geared towards the treatment of Ebola.   

“Individuals promoting these unapproved and fraudulent products must take immediate action to correct or remove these claims or face potential FDA action,” the agency said.

There are some experimental treatments in development, but the FDA warns they are in the early stages and not yet available for purchase. Currently, there is no known cure or treatment for the Ebola virus.

The World Health Organization also released a statement saying, “Recent intense media coverage of experimental medicines and vaccines is creating some unrealistic expectations, especially in an emotional climate of intense fear.”

Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol, the two Americans currently being treated in the U.S. with Ebola, were given experimental treatments and both show signs of a slow recovery. While this is a positive sign, officials stress that Ebola is not a significant threat to the U.S. and consumers should be wary of people trying to take advantage.

Special Report Guest: Karwan Zebari

Tonight on Special Report Bret Baier sits down with Karwan Zebari, the acting director of Congressional and Academic Affairs of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), to discuss the latest coming out of Iraq. 
 
Zebari is the highest KRG official in Washington, DC and supervises all relations between the KRG and U.S. Congress. Zebari also develops academic initiatives and programs with universities and academic institutions nationwide on matters related to Kurdistan. He can provide insight on the situation on the ground--
 
If you have a question for Karwan Zebari please tweet us @BretBaier or post via Facebook at facebook.com/bretbaiersr using #AskBret . Your question might just end up on our air! 

 

GOP wins come at a price

Tea Partiers and conservative DC-based super PACs have targeted seven GOP senators in Republican-leaning states they hoped to replace in this year's primaries. All of the Republicans in the cross hairs have won their primaries. 

Tennesee Senator Lamar Alexander was the last, and Thursday's Tennessee primary marks the first time since 2008 that every GOP Senate incumbent has been re-nominated.

But the win of the "establishment" comes at a financial expense - the Senators who have been challenged have spent millions of dollars in this year's primaries - money they'd prefer to have now to spend running against Democrats.

We have the very latest for you tonight on Special Report with "Campaign Carl" Cameron.

Sexual Assault—Can surveys solve the campus issue?

By: Bridget Creel—Special Report Summer Associate

Despite the fact that school does not start until next month, college campus issues, specifically concerned with sexual assault, have generated a response from members of the Senate.

This morning, a bipartisan group of senators introduced a bill that would require all colleges to conduct anonymous sexual assault surveys. If the colleges failed to administer the surveys, the Department of Education would impose financial consequences.

The outcome of the surveys would then be to publish the experiences of sexually assaulted students online.

According to the Associated Press, “This bill would require campuses to designate advocates who would confidentially discuss available options with victims and to develop an agreement with local law enforcement over how such cases are handled. It would also increase penalties for universities that did not comply.”

An interesting section of the bill states that victims who come forward to discuss their experience with sexual assault will automatically be pardoned from violations such as underage drinking. A unique—yet effective way to get victims to come forward, but it could pose other complications.

Back in January, President Obama created a task force to administer efforts to prevent sexual assault on college campuses. It addressed certain schools who did not deal rightfully with sexual abuse cases.

The current bill faces several speed bumps before it can be passed and there is no guarantee, with limited work days left for Congress. There is strong support by several senators for the bill, which has strong intentions, however the outcome is unpredictable. 

Renewal of Highway Trust Fund in peril

Per Chad Pergram:

House Republicans are doubling-down on the reauthorization of the Highway Trust Fund. The House GOP leadership is insistent it will not take the Senate-version of the bill…which only re-ups the plan through December, not May of next year. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-CA) was insistent that the House do that. And time is running short…which means the Highway Trust Fund may go belly-up in August…and it could cost the economy 800,000 construction jobs.

The Speaker’s Office says it will in essence ignore the Senate-approved plan and re-pass its version of the bill tomorrow.

From Mike Steel, spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH):

“The Senate-passed highway bill contains a critical error, and is not fully offset through December 19. The only responsible course is for the Senate to pass the original House-passed highway bill, which we will soon send back to them.”  

Ebola—Should we be fearful?

By: Bridget Creel—Special Report Summer Associate

Flying to and from West Africa introduces new concerns for travelers as the Ebola epidemic continues to fester throughout Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.  

Although the CDC announced that there is little risk for Americans, people cancelled their travel plans when Liberian government official Patrick Sawyer died from the virus after travelling from Liberia to Nigeria last week. Worry among the people intensifies in Minnesota, where Sawyer’s family lives. 

The outbreak first emerged in March, with a report from the World Health Organization (WHO) announcing 86 suspected cases and 59 deaths. According to a report released on Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Ebola virus disease (EVD) has killed 660 people.

Even though the virus has not been spotted in the United States, the consequences of Ebola in Africa have quickly startled the attention of Americans.

Ebola is first transmitted from infected animals to humans. Then, the virus is spread between humans through contact with blood or bodily fluids. The symptoms of the virus may include muscle pain, headache, vomiting, diarrhea and internal/external bleeding.

Interestingly enough, it can take up to 21 days after exposure for symptoms to surface. With fatality rates up to 90%, there is timely pressure to find a cure for this illness. So, why is obtaining a resolution so difficult?

First and foremost, Ebola is caused by a virus, not bacteria. This means that the Ebola virus found in the body consists of small molecules, which are difficult for doctors to target for treatment. Due to the high mortality rate, the tests conducted are limited and can only be carried out in a safe and secure environment.

Currently, there have been no signs of controlling the disease because doctors are more focused on instantly treating patients, instead of long term prevention. Treatment for patients who have contracted Ebola typically consists of general remedies, meaning hydration and maintenance of proper blood and oxygen levels. In order to keep Ebola from further dispersing, it is required that patients be isolated from others. Still, that does not stop concerned families from taking care of their sick relatives, or burying contaminated bodies, which enhances disease spread and mortality rate.

Proper precautions must be taken in West Africa to guarantee that the disease can be confined, treated and not transmitted to any other countries. Health workers who are treating the disease are extensively trained and taking cautious measures such as wearing several layers of protective clothing and masks. However, that has not stopped two American health workers from catching the virus, and several doctors from dying.

Convert or Die

By: Bridget Creel, Special Report Summer Associate

In response to a deadly ultimatum delivered by ISIS, thousands of Iraqi Christians have left their homes to seek safety from religious persecution.

Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, was captured by ISIS in June and the extremists have threatened and even harmed all inhabitants who do not practice Islam. 

This weekend, the Islamic State terror group (ISIS/IS) delivered a statement to Christians that gave them the choice between converting to Islam, paying a tax or fleeing their ancient homeland. The offer was time sensitive and if they failed to choose by Saturday, July 19, ISIS said there would be “nothing for them but the sword.”

Christians who were not willing to compromise with the militants fled Mosul. Before they were able to officially depart, ISIS demanded that they be stripped of all valuable belongings, leaving most Christians with nothing but remnants of their clothing.

Christians are not the only ones affected by the acts of ISIS. ISIS is responsible for the destruction of mosques and shrines, causing other religious minorities to flee Mosul as well.

Iraqi Prime Minister, Nuri Al-Maliki, called for governmental support for the homeless Iraqis who were forced to leave Mosul. He said that this specific event demonstrates "the extreme criminality and terrorist nature of this group.”

Although many have moved away, some Iraqi Christians are facing the alternatives. Several Christians have converted to Islam and those that choose to stay, refuse to abandon their religious beliefs.

Syrian Catholic Archbishop of Mosul, Yohanna Petros Mouche told the Washington Post, “If we all leave, it sends the message that there is nowhere safe for Christians to live in Iraq — and this worries me. I’m not a vagabond. This is my home, and I will die here if necessary.”

Innocent civilians seek shelter from Israeli-Hamas violence

By: Bridget Creel, Special Report Summer Associate

Right in between the surge of rockets from Islamic extremist group Hamas and ground offensives from Israeli forces, innocent inhabitants of Gaza City turn to other options for shelter and safety. The Gazans run into one problem: they are literally trapped.

The rectangular geography of the Gaza Strip poses implications for those wishing to relocate. The Gaza Strip, which is 25 miles long and between three and seven miles wide, has concrete walls and fences along the perimeter of the eastern and northern boundaries. Israel and Egypt can be found at the southern end of the strip and the western side of the strip borders the Mediterranean Sea, leaving the Gazans immovable.

Due to the travel restrictions on Gazans from Egypt and Israel, Gazans are forced to seek out new living situations within the unsafe area. Those along the border have fled to relatives’ homes and those with nowhere else to turn have looked to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency’s (UNRWA) emergency shelters for accommodation.

Beginning on July 7, UNRWA issued a state of emergency in all areas within the Gaza Strip.

Early this morning, UNRWA tweeted, “More than 83,000 people are now taking refuge in UNRWA schools in #Gaza. Numbers are growing.”

Despite consistent efforts to keep up with the rising number of inhabitants, the UNRWA has run into several difficulties, some more unexpected than others. Last week, 20 rockets were found in one of the agency’s abandoned schools. Following the discovery, the agency issued a statement that prohibited the storage of the Gaza militants’ harmful rockets in their facilities.

UNRWA continues to distribute food and water to the shelters but the combat has disrupted the delivery of the supplies. The agency runs into numerous other problems, such as the destruction of schools, as the conflict escalates.

In the past 24 hours, numbers released by the UNRWA revealed a devastating loss for both sides. Innocent Palestinian and Israeli citizens are facing the repercussions of the battle.

This morning, President Obama said Israel has the right to defend itself against Hamas but that the United States has “serious concerns about the rising number of Palestinian civilian deaths and the loss of Israeli lives.”

He went on to say that the focus should be “a cease-fire that ends the fighting and that can stop the deaths of innocent civilians, both in Gaza and in Israel.” 

Inside United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) on July 18, 2014 in Gaza City. Israel launched a Gaza ground campaign after 10 days of bombardments from the air and sea failed to stop militants' rocket attacks, stepping up an offensive that already has taken a heavy toll in civilian lives.(Photo by Momen Faiz/NurPhoto/Sipa USA) (Sipa via AP Images)

Special Heart Book Signing: Politics and Prose

I am wrapping up the 'Special Heart' book tour, but I wanted to share these photos taken at Politics and Prose in Washington, DC. Children's National helped with this signing and it was a huge success--Paul even came with us to sign a few books. He was a little shy at first, but he really got into it and even started to sign his name with a heart and a scar next to it. 

Thank you to photographer Cassidy DuHon for these photos. 

Paul gearing up for the signing

A little shy at first--

Paul signs his name wiht a heart and a scar next to the heart

Paul signs his name with a heart and a scar next to it--chicks dig scars ;)

Gearing up for more books--

With Paul's cardiologist Dr. Deneen Heath

Pictured with Paul's Cardiologist Dr. Deneen Heath

Paul meeting Emma-- also 7 and has undergone 2 open-heart surgeries

A very special moment-- Paul met Emma, who is also 7 years old and has had 2 open-heart surgeries. Emma is waiting on a third surgery. They compared scars and seemed to really enjoy meeting one another--

Paul and Daniel Pose with Tennis Trophy

Paul and Daniel didn't mind my 2nd place trophy following the Washington Kastles Charity Classic-

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