Some random encounters change lives forever. But luckily for the 48 who had contact with Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan, the potentially deadly effect lasted just 21 days. They’ve been released from quarantine, disease free. Two nurses who treated Duncan remain ill. But a Spanish nurse appears to have recovered, a feared cruise-ship case has been ruled out, and Nigeria and Senegal have been declared Ebola-free. The Pentagon, meanwhile, is assembling a crack team of 30 caregivers to battle domestic Ebola emergencies.
The Presidential Daily Brief
First bombs, now arms. The U.S. military is dropping firearms, ammunition and medical supplies to Kurdish Syrian forces near the besieged border town of Kobane. The move bolsters allies’ efforts, including scores of airstrikes, to quash ISIS. Meanwhile Turkish officials announced they would help Iraqi Kurdish troops cross into Syria to fight the ISIS threat – a huge shift for the country, which feared giving a little would lead to more unrest from Kurdish communities inside Turkey, too. Maybe the Turkish protestations over U.S. intervention were all bluster: realpolitik in action.
The stock market might be on a roller coaster, but that’s not likely to shake the Federal Reserve’s plans. It still has every intention of ending its economy-boosting bond-buying at the end of the month, and aims to start raising interest rates sometime in the middle of 2015. Though some see the market jitters as a sign the economy isn’t that robust, the action hasn’t been triggered by any “real” economic indicators, according to the Boston Fed’s chief.
Perhaps Prime Minister Shinzo Abe isn’t much of a ladies’ man. He campaigned with promises of restructuring the economy and making Japan’s politics more functional and diverse. But allegations of wrongdoing have forced out two of five female ministers in his cabinet. Justice Minister Midori Matsushima — accused of violating election laws — stepped down just hours after the resignation of Trade and Industry Minister Yuko Obuchi, who allegedly misused election funds. Abe remains popular, but this political shuffling threatens his image as a reformer.
Widodo takes office as Indonesian president. (DW)
Hong Kong protesters deny foreign influence allegation. (BBC)
Large banks pull back on global presence. (FT) sub
China’s corruption allegations lead to abuses. (NYT)
Serena Williams slams ‘sexist’ Russian official. (CNN)
Outrunning pollution is impossible, so thousands of marathoners donned face masks to run Beijing’s 26-mile endurance race yesterday. How bad was the air? City officials warned folks to remain indoors to avoid choking on soot, race organizers supplied sponges so runners could wipe crud from their faces, and the haze was so thick that competitors couldn’t see nearby buildings. The World Health Organization caps healthy air at 25 micrograms of particulate matter per cubic meter; Beijing’s measurement yesterday was 344.
This must’ve been hard to take. A giant inflated sculpture, inspired by a sex toy and vaguely resembling a Christmas tree, was sabotaged this weekend in Paris’ ritzy Place Vendôme. American artist Paul McCarthy said his work — part of the International Contemporary Art Fair — was meant as an abstract joke. But passersby weren’t laughing. One irate art-lover slapped McCarthy in disgust, and vandals ensured his massive erection fell flat. The mayor said Paris wouldn’t be soft on those who attack artistic freedom.
Someone paid a fortune for the “Captain America” Harley-Davidson supposedly used in the 1969 counterculture movie’s final crash scene. Former Grizzly Adams star Dan Haggerty had restored — and authenticated — two different bikes used in the film. He insists the one sold this weekend was the one from star Peter Fonda’s death scene. The owner of the other bike disputes that. “There’s a big stinking rat someplace in this,” said Fonda, who had signed both bikes. But the anonymous buyer clearly didn’t mind the stench.
It may be the end of the road for northern white rhinos. One of only two remaining breeding males was found dead in Kenya’s Ol Pejeta Conservancy, leaving just six of the animals alive. The 34-year-old Suni died of natural causes, but most of the creatures have been slaughtered by poachers. His death brings the species to the brink of extinction, which the conservancy says is “a sorry testament to the greed of the human race.”
Brett who? With three first-half completions Sunday night, Denver’s Peyton Manning tied and broke Brett Favre’s record of 508 TD passes — and then threw two more — to crush San Francisco 42-17. After 399 scoring passes in 13 seasons with Indianapolis, Manning was considered damaged goods due to a debilitating neck injury. But since the New Orleans native joined the Broncos in 2012, he’s averaged 45 TD passes and surpassed a record it took 20 seasons to set, promising to make his eventual tally an incredible feat.