National / International News
In the latest Intelligence Squared debate, John Yoo and other legal scholars faced off over the constitutionality of the National Security Agency's phone surveillance program.
Doctors and nurses are desperately needed to fight the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. They're finally starting to volunteer in larger numbers, but getting them deployed is a slow, complicated process.
Another step in the relentless march of commerce over common sense, as found in the Huffington Post: Macy's is going to start Black Friday, the big day-after-Thanksgiving kickoff of Christmas shopping season by two hours.
It's now 6 p.m... Thanksgiving Day.
Yes, I know it's not even Halloween yet. Don't get me started on that one.
In September, the United Nations reported it would need nearly $1 billion to fight the Ebola virus, which has killed more than 4,000 people in West Africa, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Private donors have recently stepped up in order to help reach that goal. Donations so far have helped provide supplies such as masks, gloves and disinfectant. New thermal scanners help check travelers for fevers, one Ebola symptom, at airport screenings. More than 200 computers equipped with software and printers were part of donations for use in the field by the CDC and staff in the countries.
The CDC reported the U.S. government had contributed roughly $100 million by mid-September to fight Ebola, about as much as this (not-comprehensive) list of private organizations combined:
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and wife Priscilla Chan ($25 million)
Zuckerberg and his wife gave the money straight to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation ($50 million)
The Foundation donated to United Nations agencies and international organizations involved in the response, specifically $5 million to the World Health Organization and $5 million to UNICEF.
Microsoft co-founder and Seattle Seahawks owner Paul Allen ($20 million)
Allen gave to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, Medical Teams International, various other emergency services and medical supplies.
Kaiser Permanente ($1 million)
The health company gave to Doctors Without Borders and International Medical Corps.
William and Flora Hewlett Foundation ($5 million)
This foundation gave to CDC Foundation, the UN Foundation, Humanitarian Open Street Map Team, International Medical Corps, Population Services International, the Global Giving Foundation and Capital for Good.
Proposition 46 tackles painkiller abuse, malpractice caps and mandatory drug and alcohol testing of doctors. Backers say the law would enhance patient safety, but doctors say the cost is too high.
Born in 1900, Anna Stoehr has seen dramatic shifts in technology. But when the Minnesota woman tried to create a Facebook account, she hit a snag. The service couldn't handle her early birthdate.
Seventy-six of those were healthcare workers who had contact with the first Ebola patient. Only one had contact with the second Ebola patient.
Airports around the world have begun screening passengers arriving from West Africa for signs of Ebola. But as producer Rebecca Hersher live-tweets, not all of the exams are as strict as promised.
Sean Haugh is making waves as a Libertarian candidate in North Carolina's U.S. Senate race. He isn't the only one: Independent candidates are a factor in at least a dozen races.
Raising money for Ebola is hard.
“We try to put up stories and information and photos and let people know we have a microsite and a designated button that makes it easy for people to give,” says Jana Sweeny of the American Red Cross.
But people aren’t giving in significant numbers. The Red Cross, UNICEF and Doctors without Borders have raised a combined $20 million toward combating Ebola. Compare that to the $486 million the Red Cross alone raised after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.
“In the case of disease outbreak, I think that Americans tend to think immediately of government, our government helps manage that,” says Sweeny.
The CDC Foundation – the philanthropic arm of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – is having more success than the traditional charities; it’s raised $40 million.
“What we’ve had to say to our donors is trust those 150 CDC experts who are putting their lives on the line,” says Foundation President Charlie Stokes.
Stokes says major givers like Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Dr. Priscilla Chan, who pledged $25 million Tuesday, are trusting CDC epidemiologists to spend money at the scientists’ discretion. That risk, plus the invisibility of a viral epidemic makes raising money tricky, Stokes says.
“We’re talking about raising funding for people who are not yet sick but may die two weeks from now,” he says. “It’s harder to put a face on those victims.”
So, Stokes puts a face on public health scientists in the spooky Hazmat suits in West Africa, and how they are the ones best positioned to control this virus.