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August 10, 2014

20:52  Tracing Ebola's breakout to an African 2-year-old:  

Patient Zero in the Ebola outbreak, researchers suspect, was a 2-year-old boy who died Dec. 6, just a few days after falling ill in a village in Gueckedou, in southeastern Guinea.


Bordering Sierra Leone and Liberia, Gueckedou is at the intersection of three nations, where the disease found an easy entry point to the region.A week later, it killed the boy's mother, then his 3-year-old sister, then his grandmother.


All had fever, vomiting and diarrhea, but no one knew what had sickened them.Two mourners at the grandmother's funeral took the virus home to their village. A health worker carried it to still another, where he died, as did his doctor.


They both infected relatives from other towns. By the time Ebola was recognized, in March, dozens of people had died in eight Guinean communities, and suspected cases were popping up in Liberia and Sierra Leone - three of the world's poorest countries, recovering from years of political dysfunction and civil war.In Gueckedou, where it all began, "the feeling was fright," said Dr. Kalissa N'fansoumane, the hospital director.


He had to persuade his employees to come to work.On March 31, Doctors Without Borders, which has intervened in many Ebola outbreaks, called this one "unprecedented," and warned that the disease had erupted in so many locations that fighting it would be enormously difficult.Now, with 1,779 cases, including 961 deaths and a small cluster in Nigeria, the outbreak is out of control and still getting worse.


Not only is it the largest ever, but it also seems likely to surpass all two dozen previous known Ebola outbreaks combined. Epidemiologists predict it will take months to control, perhaps many months, and a spokesman for the World Health Organization said thousands more health workers were needed to fight it.


Read more on NDTV

20:51  US unleashes new round of airstrikes as Kurds advance against ISIS:  

The U.S. military carried out a new series of airstrikes Sunday against ISIS targets in Iraq, marking the heaviest flurry of activity since the operations began. In five hours the military struck five targets, including armed vehicles and a mortar position, U.S. Central Command said.


The strikes began at 9:15 a.m. local time (2:15 a.m. ET), the military said. "All aircraft exited the strikes areas safely," Central Command said in a statement.


Meanwhile, Kurdish forces recaptured two towns from ISIS, a senior Kurdish official said. "Mahmour and Gweyr are in Kurdish hands," Qubad Talabani, deputy prime minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government told CNN on Sunday. The Islamist militant group had seized the towns Wednesday on a march toward Irbil. ISIS fighters have carried out slaughter in parts of Iraq and Syria, where they claim an Islamic caliphate. The group has driven tens of thousands of Yazidis into nearby mountains.


Read more on CNN

20:49  Iraq crisis: France urges 'unity cabinet' to fight IS:  

Iraq needs a "broad unity government" if it is to combat Islamist militants who have seized swathes of territory and are threatening minorities, says French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius.


He is in Iraq for crisis talks on the rapid advance of Islamic State (IS). His visit comes after the US launched a new round of air strikes targeting IS fighters near Irbil in Iraqi Kurdistan.


The president of the autonomous region, Massoud Barzani, appealed for weapons to help fight IS, Reuters reported. Speaking alongside Mr Fabius, Mr Barzani said: "We are not fighting a terrorist organisation, we are fighting a terrorist state". US military action came after members of the Yazidi sect were forced to flee the town of Sinjar into the surrounding mountains.


Read more on BBC

20:14  Army Chief visits Siachen Glacier:  

Chief of the Army Staff General Dalbir Singh Suhag today visited Siachen Glacier, the highest battlefield in the world, as part of his three-day visit to Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir.    


"The Army Chief visited the Siachen Glacier. He paid tribute to the brave soldiers who had laid down their lives in this sector by laying a floral wreath at the Siachen War Memorial," a Srinagar-based defence spokesman said.    


In his address to the troops at the Siachen Base Camp, the Army Chief lauded the efforts put in by the brave soldiers of the Siachen Brigade.     The Army Chief will visit forward posts of Eastern Ladakh and will review the Army's defence preparedness in that sector.   


"This is Army Chief's first visit to the region after taking over on July 31," the spokesman said.     The Army Chief was accompanied by General Officer Commanding-in-Chief Northern Command Lt General D S Hooda.

19:06  Delhi Police launches WhatsApp helpline to curb corruption:  

Smartphones and the popular chat messenger -- WhatsApp -- in it has now turned into an effective weapon against errant policemen with Delhi Police launching a new anti-corruption helpline where one can send audio or video clips if any cop seeks bribe or harasses a person.        


The new helpline number, 9910641064, has been started on August 6 where one can not only just call and register your complaint but also send a recorded audio or video clip if any police man harasses a person or demands bribe.         "The new helpline was launched on August 6 and the response so far has been encouraging. People can do a sort of sting operation and sent the audio or video clip on this number via WhatsApp," said Deputy Commissioner of Police (Vigilance) Sindhu Pillai.        


Delhi Police has given advertisements in all popular Hindi and English newspapers as well as on FM channels to raise awareness about the new helpline.        


The new helpline is the brainchild of Delhi Police Commissioner B S Bassi who wants the force to be corruption free. "Once we get an audio or video clip, it will be checked at the Forensic Science Laboratory for its genuineness and once the authenticity is established, action will be taken against the errant policeman. So far we have got one genuine complaint and action is being taken in this regard," said Pillai.        

Anybody who will be found guilty in this connection will be booked under Section 7 (public servant taking gratification other than legal remuneration in respect of an official act) and Section 13 (criminal misconduct by a public servant) of the Prevention of Corruption Act and other sections under the Indian Penal Code. If found guilty, the officer will be suspended and arrested immediately, police said.

17:10  15-yr-old girl gang-raped by students in Assam:  

A minor girl was allegedly raped in front of her neighbour by a gang of four students, of whom three have been arrested within hours of the crime, a senior police official said today.        


The incident took place around 11:45 pm last night when the 15-year-old girl, along with a teenage boy, her next-door neighbour, had gone to Dibrugarh station to board the Brahmaputra Mail, Additional Superintendent of Police (ASP), Dibrugarh, Hiranya Burman said.        


The duo were on their way to Panitola station in Tinsukia district, the ASP said. They were dropped outside the station complex by an auto driver and were walking towards the station when they were intercepted by the four college students, Burman said.        


"The boy was thrashed and pinned down by a few while others took turns to rape her", he said.        


At around 1:30 am, a police patrol party found the girl on a road near the Dibrugarh railway station. She was immediately taken to Assam Medical College and Hospital, where the assault was confirmed. She is critical and is being treated there, the ASP said.        


Acting swiftly, the police arrested three youths at around 3.30 am, while search for absconding accused is on, Burman said.

15:25  Govt issued letter stating Saif's Padma Shri won't be withdrawn: Kareena:  

While there were reports that the government is planning to take back Saif Ali Khan's Padma Shri award, the Bollywood actor's wife Kareena Kapoor has put the rumours to rest by saying that the authorities have sent a letter mentioning they are not taking back the award.


"Government has already issued a letter saying they are not taking his Padma Shri back," Kareena told reporters during an event here. The fourth highest civilian honour was conferred on the actor in 2010 for his contribution in the field of art but it was reported that the government is planning to take it back in the wake of a Mumbai court framing charges against him for assaulting an NRI businessman at a hotel here.


Read more on CNN IBN

14:10  Bharat Ratnas for Vajpayee, Netaji, Malviya and Kanshi Ram?:  

Reports are coming in that the Narendra Modi-led NDA government is considering conferring Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian award, to former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Banaras Hindu University founder Madan Mohan Malviya and Bahujan Samaj Party founder Kanshi Ram.  


The government reportedly ordered five Bharat Ratna medals from the Reserve Bank of India mint on Saturday.

13:17  Passenger plane crashes in Iran, almost 50 dead: Reports:  

AFP: A civilian airliner crashed on take-off in a residential area near Tehran's Mehrabad airport today, Iranian news agencies said, with reports that almost 50 people were killed.        


The plane was headed to the eastern city of Tabas, the IRNA and Fars news agencies said, and crashed at 9.18 am (local time).        


The official IRINN television channel said the plane crashed in the Azadi neighbourhood, west of the airport, but did not state if fatalities were confined to passengers or if people were also killed on the ground.       


"All the passengers are dead," a fire service spokesman said on IRNA. A second unnamed official said 48 people were on board the turboprop Antonov An-140 aircraft when it crashed.        


There were conflicting accounts of the airline that the plane belonged to, with one report saying it was a Taban Airlines aircraft while another said it was owned by Sepahan Airlines.        


Mehrabad is near central Tehran and is Iran's main domestic hub and by far the busiest of the country's airports, serving routes to all Iranian cities.        


Most international flights take off from Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport, which is located further west of the Iranian capital.  

12:40  Four children drown in a canal in Bijnore:  

Four children, including three siblings drowned while bathing in a canal in Bijnore, police said today.        


The incident took place last evening when Imran (11), his sisters Shahana (12) and Rehana (8) and neighbour Nadeem, all belonging to Thana Noorpur village had gone to graze the cattle, following which Imran and Nadeem started bathing in the canal, they said.   Seeing them drown, Shahana and Rehana came to their rescue but all four of them met a watery grave, police said.        


Upon getting information by passersby, locals tried to rescue the children but they had succumbed by the time their bodies were discovered.

12:39  Russian humanitarian mission in Ukraine unjustified: US, Europe:  

The leaders of the US and Europe have warned Russia against sending a humanitarian mission to eastern Ukraine calling it "unjustified and illegal" and said international community would impose tougher sanctions if it continues to do so.        


US President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed during phone calls yesterday that any Russian intervention, "even under purported humanitarian auspices," without the agreement and authorisation of the Ukrainian government, will be unacceptable and will provoke additional consequences, the White House said in a statement.        


The US and European leaders reiterated that they will continue to urge Russia to engage with the international community and the Ukrainian government to find a political solution to the conflict in eastern Ukraine, the statement said.        


In Berlin, the German Press Office said Russia's plan to send a humanitarian convoy to eastern Ukraine was at the centre of the discussions between Obama and Merkel.        


They agreed that any humanitarian mission to eastern Ukraine should be sent only under the auspices of the International Committee of the Red Cross and with the approval of the Ukrainian government.        


The British prime minister's office in London said Obama and Cameron expressed grave concern about reports that Russian military vehicles have crossed the border into Ukraine and that Russian armed forces are exercising a humanitarian intervention.

12:05  Don't need 'broker' Jaya Bachchan to patch up relations with Mulayam: Amar:  

Lashing out at Rajya Sabha member Jaya Bachchan, former Samajwadi Party leader and Rajya Sabha member Amar Singh has said that he does not need a broker to patch up his relations with SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav.


Speaking to Network18, Amar Singh said that he has always been available whenever Mulayam had asked him to. "As and when Mulayam has personally asked me for anything I have done it. Let him contradict this statement of mine, the trouble started brewing when he appointed Mrs Jaya Bachchan as middleman between him and me," he said blaming Jaya for his strained relations with the SP chief.


"For the rapport that we shared, there was no need of a middleman, middlewoman or broker to do brokerage of relationships between us," he said.


Read more on CNN IBN

11:54  Muzaffarnagar: Khap Panchayat bans jeans, mobiles for girls:  

In yet another bizzare dikat of the Khap Panchayat in Uttar Pradesh's Muzzafarnagar district, it has banned unmarried girls from wearing jeans and using mobile phones.


The panchayat claimed that these have a bad influence and were responsible for girls being harassed. The panchayat of Gujjar community was held at Jadwad village on Friday.


It passed the diktat banning wearing of jeans and use of mobile phones by unmarried girl. The panchayat also claimed that eve-teasing incidents had increased due to "objectionable" clothes worn by girls. It also asked the community people not to have disc jockey during wedding functions. One of the residents said, "Wearing jeans is not good as boys get attracted to it and it gives rise to crimes." One of the girls, "I am ok with not wearing jeans and not using mobiles. We should keep control on ourselves."


Read more on CNN IBN

11:53  Passenger plane with 40 onboard crashes in Iran:  

State television in Iran is reporting that a small passenger plane carrying 40 people has crashed today into a residential complex in the capital, Tehran, reports Associated Press.        


There was no immediate word on casualties from the crash.        


State TV reported that a Taban Air plane crashed while taking off from an airport west of Tehran. It said there were 40 people aboard the Iran-141 plane. Iran has suffered a series of airplane crashes, blamed on its aging aircraft and poor maintenance. Many of the Boeing aircraft in IranAir's fleet were bought before the country's 1979 Islamic Revolution, which disrupted ties with the US and Europe.        


The Iran-141 is a small passenger plane produced in Iran with Ukrainian technology.  

00:09  Rebel leader calls for cease-fire in besieged Donetsk:  A top separatist leader on Saturday admitted that Ukrainian forces had surrounded Donetsk, the stronghold of Russian-backed rebels, and called for a ceasefire on humanitarian grounds.

"We are ready for a ceasefire in order to avert the humanitarian catastrophe growing," Alexander Zakharchenko, prime minister of the self-styled Donetsk People's Republic, said in a statement posted on a rebel website, according to the Associated Press and AFP news agency.
00:09  Russia denies trying to send troops into Ukraine:   Russia today denied that it had attempted to send troops across the border under the guise of a humanitarian mission, and pledged it would not make such a unilateral intervention. 

"Russian troops made no attempt to penetrate" into Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying by Interfax news agency. "We have difficulty understanding what the Ukrainians are talking about," he added.
00:08  Priyanka joining politics solely Gandhis' call: Shukla:  Congress leader Rajiv Shukla today said that whether or not Priyanka Gandhi Vadra joins politics is a matter to be solely decided by the Gandhi family, and people should leave the issue to them. 

"Nobody has a right to comment on the issue as the matter relates solely to the Gandhi family," Shukla told reporters here after attending a meeting of Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association.
00:08  US strikes destroyed arms ISIL could have used in Iraq: Obama:  US air strikes in northern Iraq have successfully destroyed arms and equipment that ISIL terrorists could have used in Erbil city, President Barack Obama said. 

Before he left for a two-week summer vacation, Obama told reporters that the American forces have conducted targeted air strikes against terrorist forces outside the city of Erbil to prevent them from advancing on the city and to protect US diplomats and military personnel.
00:06  Pune university renamed after women's icon Savitribai Phule:  University of Pune, one of the oldest in the country, was today renamed after Savitribai Phule, the pioneer of women's education in Maharashtra. At the function here to rename the 66-year-old varsity as the 'Savitribai Phule Pune University', Maharashtra Governor K Shankarnarayanan congratulated the state government for taking the "revolutionary" decision.
00:05  Withdraw orders on spl powers to Guv: Telangana govt to Centre:  Telangana government today appeared on a collision course with Centre after it refused to "honour or implement" Union Home ministry's directives on special powers related to law and order in Hyderabad vested in Governor, with Chief Minister K Chandrasekhara Rao tonight seeking immediate withdrawal of the orders.
00:05  Top headlines in that last 24 hours:  

Flood woes compounded by fresh rains in Odisha
8 killed as Pak cleric's supporters clash with police
Congress slams PM, BJP for 'misleading' people
Telangana not to 'honour' Centre's directives on special powers to governor
Ex-PM Manmohan Singh visits ailing Jaswant Singh
My father should write his autobiography: Daman Singh
BJP attacks UPA regime, hails 'strong and able' Modi
Those who lost polls still engaging in vote-bank politics: PM

Inculcate habit of winning all polls, says BJP chief Amit Shah
BJP, Cong spat over Rahul's remark on UP communal conflicts

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