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Older News Archivescom0116

Obama Administration Resists Ebola Travel Ban Even As Other Nations Restrict Entry
More than two dozen countries in Africa, the Caribbean and elsewhere have instituted Ebola-related travel bans, but public health officials continued to insist Sunday that entry restrictions would do little to help prevent an outbreak on U.S. soil. Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, maintained that a travel ban would have “downsides” as he made the rounds on the Sunday talk shows. Washington Times

Aging In America: Stuck In The Middle
Former Democratic Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle says the problem of long-term care is becoming a national crisis, as more of us are living longer with limited resources. "I can't tell you the number of people that have told me they've given up everything -- they've sold cars, they've sold property, they've sold furniture, they've sold things that they otherwise would have kept, just to pay for their parents' care," he said. Daschle and a bi-partisan group of former public officials have created a task force to try to draw attention to the issue. "Care is highly-fragmented, and as a result available services and support are not coordinated," he said. CBS

Did Obama Make The Right Choice For Ebola "Czar"?
It's been just two days since former White House official Ron Klain was appointed by President Obama as the so-called "Ebola czar" tasked with overseeing the U.S. response to the virus, and some are already calling him the wrong choice for the job. In an interview on CBS' "Face the Nation," Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tennessee, said she was hopeful "we were going to have someone who had the experience, not only from the medical community but in emergency response, that would be out there and help walk not only our nation but the entire globe through this process." CBS

Submarine Hunt Sends Cold War Chill Across Baltic
Sweden's biggest submarine hunt since the dying days of the Soviet Union has put countries around the Baltic Sea on edge, with Latvia's foreign minister calling the incident a potential "game changer" in the region. In a scene reminiscent of the Cold War, Swedish naval ships, helicopters and ground troops combed the Stockholm archipelago for a fourth day Monday for signs of a foreign submarine or smaller underwater craft that officials suspect entered Swedish waters illegally. While Sweden hasn't said what foreign country they suspect — and Moscow denies involvement — the submarine search sent a chill through the Baltic Sea region, where Russian forces have been accused of a series of border violations on land, sea and air in recent months. SF Gate

Eric Holder's Legacy Stretches From Guantanamo To Ferguson
Attorney General Eric Holder strode in to a raucously triumphant welcome at Justice Department headquarters on cold, sunny February morning in 2009, less than a month after the inauguration of President Barack Obama. Hundreds of staffers packed the stairwells and hallways, cheering loudly as he made his way, as he called it, back home. This was the department where he first started his career as a lawyer in the public corruption unit in 1976, and where he has served 26 years, including as deputy attorney general in the Clinton administration, and for a few days as acting attorney general under President George W. Bush. CNN

Kerry: 'Irresponsible' Not To Aid Kurds Against IS
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday the Obama administration decided to airdrop weapons and ammunitions to "valiant" Kurds fighting Islamic State extremists in the Syrian border town of Kobani because it would be "irresponsible" and "morally very difficult" not to support them. Speaking in the Indonesian capital on Monday, Kerry told reporters that the administration understood ally Turkey's concerns about supplying the Kurds, who are linked to a Kurdish group that Ankara fiercely opposes. But, he said the situation is such in the besieged town of Kobani that the resupplies were deemed absolutely necessary in a "crisis moment." Houston Chronicle

'Dragon's Egg': Marines Who Guarded Saddam's Mysterious Bunker Fear Weapons Unleashed
The U.S. Marines who guarded the sprawling complex in northwest Iraq where Saddam Hussein’s 1980s war machine churned out some of the most deadly chemical and biological weapons known to man had a name for one especially mysterious bunker: The Dragon’s Egg. Although the Americans assigned to the Al Muthanna facility until 2008 were forbidden by superiors from peering inside the bunker, they knew the larger complex’s history. From 1983 to 1990, the brutal dictator’s scientists worked there, developing mustard, sarin, VX and Tabun gases for use on Iranian soldiers and Iraqi Kurds. And although it was under the control of U.S. and Iraqi military forces for most of the last decade, the entire facility - and whatever it held - is now firmly in the grasp of the Islamic State, the terrorist army that has claimed a vast swath of Iraq and Syria and allegedly used chemical weapons against Kurds this summer. Fox News

Pope Francis Takes Predecessor A Step Closer To Sainthood
Pope Francis moved a predecessor closer to sainthood on Sunday, beatifying Pope Paul VI on the last day of a gathering in Rome of church leaders from around the world. It was a ceremonious close to this year's Synod of the Bishops on the Family, which has ended in clinches over how to minister to gay and lesbian people or whether to give Holy Communion to Catholics who have divorced and remarried -- which the Catholic Church considers adultery. Paul VI, who was pontiff from 1963 until his death in 1978, had faced similar pressures during the advent of free love, when the church came out against birth control. Pope Paul VI based the decision on Catholic teachings on marriage. CNN

U.S. Hospitals Gird For Ebola Panic As Flu Season Looms
A young woman complaining of abdominal pain and nausea who had traveled to Africa arrived at a Long Island hospital fearful that she had contracted Ebola. She did not have the virus, but the pregnancy test was positive. The woman had been to South Africa, more than 3,400 miles (5,400 km) from the three West African countries enduring the worst Ebola outbreak on record, and the trip ended six weeks prior, or twice the potential incubation period for Ebola infection. "It tells you how ready for panic we can get ourselves," said Dr. Bruce Hirsch, an infectious diseases specialist at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, New York. "There's a lot of anxiety and the answer to anxiety is information and training." Reuters

Nazi Suspects Ousted From U.S. Collected Social Security
Denzinger, 90, is among dozens of suspected Nazi war criminals and SS guards who collected millions of dollars in Social Security payments after being forced out of the United States, an Associated Press investigation found. The payments flowed through a legal loophole that has given the U.S. Justice Department leverage to persuade Nazi suspects to leave. If they agreed to go, or simply fled before deportation, they could keep their Social Security, according to interviews and internal government records. Like Denzinger, many lied about their Nazi pasts to get into the U.S. after World War II, and eventually became American citizens. Seattle Times

Japan Leads Asia Stocks Higher After US Rebound
Asian stock markets rose Monday, led by a 4 percent surge in Japan, after Wall Street's rebound eased nerves about the outlook for the world economy and investors looked ahead to a report on China's economic growth. European shares wilted amid gloom about prospects for the region's economy. Japan's Nikkei 225 soared 4 percent to 15,083.91, helped by exporter stocks as the dollar resumed its rise against the yen and a report the Government Pension Fund will increase its domestic equity holdings to 25 percent from 12 percent. Tampa Tribune

Obama: No Judgeship For Me
President Obama is probably thinking about life after the White House, but he is ruling out one option: Becoming a judge. "When I got out of law school, I chose not to clerk," Obama told The New Yorker magazine in an interview. "Partly because I was an older student, but partly because I don't think I have the temperament to sit in a chamber and write opinions." That's not unusual, Only one president -- William Howard Taft -- became a judge after working in the White House, becoming chief justice of the Supreme Court. The New Yorker's Jeffrey Toobin, who wrote about Obama's efforts to shape the federal judiciary, asked the president if he entertained thoughts about becoming a judge. USA Today


The E-Team: Pentagon Announces Special Ebola Support Squad
The Pentagon will train a 30-person expeditionary medical support team to provide immediate assistance to civilian health professionals in the U.S. if additional Ebola cases arise, the Defense Department said Sunday. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered his Northern Command Commander, Gen. Chuck Jacoby, to assemble a 30-person team that will spend a week undergoing specialized training in infection control and personal protective equipment at Fort Sam Houston in Texas. The training is expected to begin within the next week and will be provided by the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby said in a statement. MSNBC

Petitions Urge Obama To Disclose Immigration Policy, Premium Hikes Before Election
President Obama has pushed a number of key policy decisions until after the Nov. 4 election, and Colin Hanna wants voters to realize that before they hit the ballot box. Mr. Hanna, president of the Pennsylvania-based conservative group Let Freedom Ring, is gathering signatures for two online petitions calling on Mr. Obama to reveal prior to the election his plans for an executive order on immigration and the 2015 Obamacare premium figures. While it’s doubtful the president will reverse course two weeks before the vote, Mr. Hanna said the “We Need to Know” campaign is aimed at spotlighting what he described as the Obama administration’s politically calculated move to postpone the potentially divisive announcements. Washington Times

Romney Leads Scattered 2016 GOP Field, Clinton Still Dominates The Democratic Race
Hillary Clinton continues to hold a commanding lead in the potential Democratic field for president in 2016, while the GOP frontrunner in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll is a familiar figure – but one not favored by eight in 10 potential Republican voters. That would be Mitt Romney, supported for the GOP nomination by 21 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents. That’s double the support of his closest potential rival, but it also leaves 79 percent who prefer one of 13 other possible candidates tested, or none of them. When Romney is excluded from the race, his supporters scatter, adding no clarity to the GOP free-for-all. In that scenario former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul have 12 or 13 percent support from leaned Republicans who are registered to vote. All others have support in the single digits. ABC

Obama Switches Gears, Confronting Ebola Head On
President Obama delayed acting on immigration and an attorney general nomination this fall to dodge the politics of the midterm campaign season. But there was one topic he could not push aside - Ebola.  The past week's jarring Ebola developments have put a spotlight on the president's management skills just as he was earning praise for acting militarily against Islamic militants. In recent months, Obama caught criticism for going golfing immediately after speaking about the beheading of an American, and for attending a fund-raiser after an airliner was shot down in Ukraine. This time, as the Ebola threat hit home in America, the president suddenly cleared his schedule, canceling travel and appearances to consult with cabinet members and talk with world leaders about how to contain the epidemic. Philadelphia Inquirer

Democrats Target Metro Detroit GOP House Seats
The Democrats hope to win back the Michigan House of Representatives on Nov. 4 and challenges of four Republican-controlled seats in Metro Detroit could help decide the balance of power next year. Democrats have their eyes on 12 competitive statewide races, including close re-election battles for Republican incumbents in the 30th District in Macomb County, 39th and 41st districts in Oakland County and 23rd District in Downriver Wayne County. If the Democrats take back control of the House, it at the least would break the Republicans' control of state government that includes the governorship, House, Senate, Attorney General's Office and Secretary of State. The GOP majority holds 59 of the 110 seats. With the expected loss of a Democratic-controlled seat in the Thumb, the Democrats need to capture at least six Republican seats to win back the majority. Detroit News

Schumer Urges Obama To Send Ebola Experts To NYC
Sen. Charles Schumer is calling on the ?Obama administration to immediately send a team of experts to the Big Apple to ensure the safety of New Yorkers should someone test positive for Ebola. Since the city is fed by two international ?airports — JFK and Newark — that see more travelers arriving from Ebola-??ridden West African nations than any other ?part of the country, the ?D?emocratic lawmaker on Sunday urged the ??Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to dispatch specialized teams to the city as a way to “remain vigilant.” NY Post

Hope Fades For Girls' Release After Boko Haram 'Truce' Breached
A wave of violence hours after Nigeria's government announced a truce with Boko Haram raised doubt on Sunday about whether more than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped by the Islamist militants will really be released, deflating the new hopes of their parents. Nigeria's armed forces chief Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh announced the ceasefire on Friday to enable the release of the girls, who were abducted from the remote northeastern village of Chibok in April. But Boko Haram has not confirmed the truce and there have been at least five attacks since — blamed by security sources on the insurgents — that have killed dozens. Talks were scheduled to continue in neighboring Chad on Monday. MSNBC

After Massive Data Breaches, Businesses Move To Make ID More Personal
Increasingly, legions of sophisticated hackers are infiltrating the most state-of-the-art data security strategies out there. The recent data compromises at Kmart and JPMorgan are in no way similar, except they share a common enemy. And while free retina scanners are probably a stretch, biometrics – the use of your biological data like fingerprints -- may well be the next “less hackable” thing. During what will doubtless be a relatively brief window of opportunity before biometrics make the move from being “poised to replace older forms of authentication” to “the new normal,” there is a marketing advantage, which is why it’s crucial for companies that handle sensitive information to get in front of the trend. ABC

Ukraine Fighting Simmers As No Breakthrough At Talks
Russia’s foreign minister said his country will refuse to accept conditions to end sanctions after talks in Italy failed to produce a breakthrough to bolster a truce in the eastern Ukrainian conflict. Russia has been told to comply with various criteria before the U.S. and its allies revoke the limitations, Sergei Lavrov said in the transcript of an NTV interview posted on the ministry’s website today. The U.S. and European Union imposed restrictions on Russian officials and companies after the March annexation of Crimea and July downing of a Malaysian passenger plane over eastern Ukraine. Russia’s partners, including overseas politicians and businessmen, understand that a policy designed to punish the country is doomed to failure, Lavrov said. Bloomberg

Obama Sees An Iran Deal That Could Avoid Congress
No one knows if the Obama administration will manage in the next five weeks to strike what many in the White House consider the most important foreign policy deal of his presidency: an accord with Iran that would forestall its ability to make a nuclear weapon. But the White House has made one significant decision: If agreement is reached, President Obama will do everything in his power to avoid letting Congress vote on it. Even while negotiators argue over the number of centrifuges Iran would be allowed to spin and where inspectors could roam, the Iranians have signaled that they would accept, at least temporarily, a “suspension” of the stringent sanctions that have drastically cut their oil revenues and terminated their banking relationships with the West, according to American and Iranian officials. The Treasury Department, in a detailed study it declined to make public, has concluded Mr. Obama has the authority to suspend the vast majority of those sanctions without seeking a vote by Congress, officials say. NY Times

Hillary Clinton To Headline Democratic Fundraiser
Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is returning to San Francisco to headline a Democratic fundraiser. Clinton is scheduled to address a sold-out women's luncheon at the Fairmont Hotel to raise money for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. The fundraiser will also feature House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi. The former secretary of state gave the keynote address last week at Dreamforce 2014, a software convention held in San Francisco. Clinton has traveled widely after leaving the State Department to give speeches to industry groups, college students and others. San Diego Union

Pay Raises Rarer Despite Strong US Hiring
U.S. businesses were much less likely to boost pay in the third quarter than in previous months, even as hiring remained healthy, a sign that wage gains may remain weak in the coming months. A quarterly survey by the National Association for Business Economics found that only 24 percent of companies increased wages and salaries in the July-September quarter. That's down from 43 percent in the April-June quarter and the first drop after three straight increases. Yet the firms still added jobs at a healthy pace, which usually pushes wages higher as employers compete for workers. A measure of hiring in the survey dipped in the third quarter but remained near a three-year high. The figures suggest that the number of people out of work remains high enough that companies aren't under any pressure to raise pay. Charlotte Observer

Indiana Reinstates Time Limits For Some Food Stamp Recipients
Indiana will begin cutting off food stamp benefits next year to tens of thousands of people who fail to get a job or train for work. Beginning in the spring, the state will limit benefits to no more than three months during a three-year period for able-bodied adults without children who don't work or participate in job training for at least 20 hours a week. The time limit is a requirement for the federally funded program, but states can ask for a waiver if jobs are scarce in all or part of the state. Although Indiana is among the majority of states that qualify for a waiver, the state plans to reinstate the requirement. Indy Star


Fauci Tries To Calm US After Missteps On Ebola, Amid Concerns Americans Have Lost Faith
America’s top infectious disease expert on Sunday again acknowledged that the safety protocols used for the nation’s first Ebola patient were inadequate, and that the Obama administration overstated the country’s readiness for the deadly virus, amid concern that Americans have already lost faith in the government. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told “Fox News Sunday” that the adopted World Health Organization protocol for handling an Ebola patient was better suited for field work than confined hospital care. Fox News

Marine Accused In Philippine Killing Tests U.S. Ties
U.S. authorities are cooperating in the investigation, and have ordered the ship to stay at the Subic Bay Freeport, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) northwest of Manila, until it is completed. The killing of Jennifer Laude, a 26-year-old transgender whose former name was Jeffrey, has sparked public anger in the Philippines and revived a debate over the U.S. military presence in a country seen by Washington as a major ally in Southeast Asia. The nations signed a new accord in April that allows greater U.S. military access to Philippine military camps, part of Washington's pivot back to Asia where it wants to counter China's rising might. Las Vegas Sun

Michelle Nunn Ad Again Features George H.W. Bush; Again He’s Not Pleased
A new ad from Democrat Michelle Nunn in the U.S. Senate race aims to puncture the notion that she is a lackey of President Barack Obama, pointing out that the oft-displayed picture of her with the president in attack ads came from an event honoring President George H.W. Bush. “Throughout my career, I’ve been able to work with Republicans and Democrats,” Nunn says as images of her with the past four presidents flash across the screen. But Bush has endorsed Republican David Perdue in the race and had expressed displeasure at the same image being used in a Nunn ad earlier this year. Atlanta Journal

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Dallas Officials Urge Calm In City On Edge Over Ebola
Texas officials are still working to contain the public's fear of Ebola even as dozens of people who may have had contact with a Liberian man who died from the virus are soon expected to be released from a 21-day monitoring period. There have been no new cases since two nurses who cared for Thomas Eric Duncan contracted Ebola. But one traveled on a plane shortly before her diagnosis, sparking worry that fellow airline passengers could be infected. In response, wary education officials deep-cleaned schools this weekend in seven north Texas school districts with links to the nurse's flights. On Saturday, Dallas transit officials temporarily closed a rail station for cleaning after a woman who was initially believed to be on the Ebola monitoring list fell ill at the station. Reuters

Cameron Puts Immigration At Heart Of European-Union Talks
U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron said he will put immigration from other European Union members at the center of talks with the 28-nation bloc in an attempt to stem the threat from the U.K. Independence Party. “We are committed to putting EU migration right at the heart of our negotiations in Europe,” Cameron wrote in a Sunday Telegraph article appealing to voters to back his Conservative Party in a straight contest with Labour at next May’s general election. Bloomberg

U.S. Drops Weapons, Aid To Kurds Fighting Islamic State In Syria
Turkey will allow passage for Iraqi Kurdish fighters seeking to reinforce Syrian Kurds battling the Islamic State, the Turkish foreign minister said on Monday, signaling another potential boost for the defenders of embattled Kobane. Turkey’s announcement followed overnight U.S. airdrops of weapons and ammunition to the Syrian border town, which has faced steady Islamic State attacks for weeks. The decision by Turkey marks a breakthrough in its political calculations over its role in aiding the U.S.-led battles against the Islamic State. A major consideration for Turkey is the interconnection between various factions of Kurds, whose ethnic homeland spreads across Syria, Turkey, Iraq and Iran. Washington Post

Tally Of Federal Probes Of Colleges On Sexual Violence Grows 50 Percent Since May
The number of federal investigations into how colleges handle sexual violence reports has jumped 50 percent in the past six months, reflecting a surge of recent discrimination claims and the difficulty of resolving high-profile cases that often drag on for years. On May 1, the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights released the first public list of colleges and universities under scrutiny for possible violations of federal law in their responses to sexual violence allegations. At the time, 59 cases were pending at 55 schools. As of this week, 89 cases are pending at 85 schools. Eight cases are more than three years old, including one focused on the University of Virginia, one on Harvard Law School and one on Princeton University. Washington Post

President Rivlin: Time To Admit That Israel Is A Sick Society That Needs Treatment
The time has come to honestly admit that Israel is a sick society, with an illness that demands treatment, President Reuven Rivlin said at the opening session on Sunday of  the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities’ conference on ‘From Hatred of the Stranger to Acceptance of the Other’. Both Rivlin and Academy President Prof. Ruth Arnon spoke of the painful and bloody summer experienced by Israel, and the resultant resurgence of animosity between Arabs and Jews that had escalated to new heights, with relations between the two sides sinking to a new low. Jerusalem Post

Netanyahu: Threat Of Iran Retaining Nuclear Breakout Capability More Dangerous Than ISIS
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday said that world powers were about to sign a deal with Iran that would allow the Islamic Republic to retain "nuclear breakout" capability. Speaking at a ground breaking ceremony for the Jerusalem roadway named after former prime minister Yitzhak Shamir, Netanyahu said that the deal would leave Tehran with "thousands of centrifuges with which Iran can create material for a nuclear bomb in a short amount of time." Jerusalem Post

Germany Must Invest More But Not Raise Debt - Schaeuble
His comments, in a newspaper interview on Sunday, follow a raft of economic evidence that shows Europe's most important economy is slowing down. Last week financial markets had a torrid time, partly rattled by the sight of a weakening German economy. Mr Schaeuble is under pressure to boost infrastructure spending. The list of potential projects includes roads, railways, and energy and broadband networks. In the interview with the Welt am Sonntag, Mr Schaeuble said criticism that the government was not spending enough was justified, but that it was trying to alter that. BBC

Whisper Chief Executive Answers Privacy Revelations: 'We're Not Infallible'
The chief executive of the “anonymous” social media app Whisper broke his silence late on Saturday, saying he welcomed the debate sparked by Guardian US revelations about his company’s tracking of users and declaring “we realise that we’re not infallible”. Michael Heyward’s statement was his first public response to a series of articles published in the Guardian which revealed how Whisper monitors the whereabouts of users of an app he has in the past described as “the safest place on the internet”. Whisper hosts 2.6 million messages a day posted through its app, which promises users a place to “anonymously share your thoughts and secrets” and has billed itself as a platform for whistleblowers. Guardain

Turkey Will Not Cooperate In US Support For Kurds In Syria, Says Erdogan
Turkey would not agree to any US arms transfers to Kurdish fighters who are battling Islamic State (Isis) militants in Syria, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was quoted as saying on Sunday, as the extremist group fired more mortar rounds near the Syrian-Turkish border and fighting around the besieged town of Kobani intensified. Turkey views the main Syrian Kurdish group, the PYD, and its military wing which is fighting Isis militants as an extension of the PKK, which has waged a 30-year insurgency in Turkey and is designated a terror group by the US and Nato. Washington has said recently that it has engaged in intelligence sharing with Kurdish fighters and officials have not ruled out future arms transfers to the Kurdish fighters. Guardian

More Than 1,200 Weapons Including Guns And Tasers Seized From New York Schoolchildren
More than 1,200 weapons including firearms and Taser stun guns were confiscated from schoolchildren in New York last year. Figures released by the New York Police Department (NYPD) show that the most common weapon seized from pupils were knives, including folding blades designed to look like credit cards. Nine guns were confiscated along with 41 BB air guns and various blades such as knives, box-cutters and razors. There were also a number of Tasers, which can be bought online for as little as $10.98 (£6.82). Around 42 per cent of the weapons were recovered after tip-offs from staff or students while 712, 58 per cent, were picked up by metal detectors at school gates. Telegraph

Father Of Woman's Children May Determine Her Risk Of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Women may develop rheumatoid arthritis as a result of having children with men carrying high risk genes, research has suggested. Cells from the baby can leak into the mother's bloodstream during pregnancy and in some women remain there for decades. They were thought harmless but now it has been found that if they contain certain high risk genes, which the child inherited from its father, then the mother may be at greater risk of rheumatoid arthritis. In some women their own immune system attacks the baby's cells, known as free fetal DNA, as if they were a foreign invader like an infection, and it is thought this may trigger rheumatoid arthritis. Telegraph

Dr. Congo: UN Rights Chief Condemns Government's Decision To Expel Envoy
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, said today that he “regrets and condemns” the decision of the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to order his top official in the country to leave within 48 hours, and the serious intimidation aimed at other human rights staff in there.
“Not only has my highly experienced and respected representative in DRC, Scott Campbell, been told to leave, but two other staff working in his team have been seriously threatened in recent days. This is unacceptable,” decalred Mr. Zeid in a press release. UN News

As Gaza Reconstruction Push Ramps Up, UN Urges Donors To Make Good On Pledges
A week after a major conference in Cairo on the reconstruction of war-ravaged Gaza, and in the wake of recent visits to Gaza by the Palestinian Prime Minister, Rami Hamdallah and United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, the key UN agency on the ground there has begun scaling up its response to meet critical needs of people in the Strip. In a press release, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) announced today that it is now focusing on providing food, water and sanitation services to over 40,000 displaced people in 18 of its installations, psycho-social support particularly for children, cash grants to the homeless for rent, as well as urgent repairs to 118 UNRWA installations, so that we can bring our services to full capacity. UN News

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