Eboal Crisis Deepens Further, Immigration Problem Worsens, Environmental Disasters in Ohio, California and the Gulf of Mexico

On Tuesday, two American aid workers infected with Ebola are receiving an experimental drug that has never been tested for safety in humans and was only identified earlier this year as a potential treatment due to research programs by the U.S. government and military, Marilynn Marchione reports, U.S. gov’t had role in Ebola drug given to aid workers. Nancy Writebol and Dr. Kent Brantly are improving even though ti is not know if the treatment is the reason for the recovery or they are recovering on their own as other victims have done. Both are being treated at Atlanta’s Emory University Hospital in a special isolation unit. They were both infected in Liberia, one of four West African countries crippled by the disease outbreak which is the largest on record. On Monday, the World Health Organization estimated the death toll at 887 from 729 in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria with more than 1,600 people infected. The Nigerian Health Minister said a doctor who helped treat Patrick Sawyer, the Liberian American who died July 25 after reaching Nigeria, has contracted the disease. Tests are pending for three other people who treated Sawyer and are showing symptoms. There is no cure or current treatment for Ebola, while several are under development including the treatment the U.S. aid workers are getting called ZMapp made by Mapp Biopharmaceuticals Inc. of San Diego. The drug aims at boosting the immune response to fight off Ebola and is made from antibodies produced in lab animals exposed to parts of the virus. Kentucky BioProcessing complied with a request from Emory and the international relief group Samaritan’s Purse to provide a limited amount of ZMapp to Emory, even though it will take several months. The United States Food and Drug Administration granted permission to use the drug in the U.S., but the FDA does not have the authority over its use in other countries where the aid workers were first treated in Liberia. In the meantime, dozens of African heads of state met in Washington for the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit for a three day gathering hosted by President Barack Obama. On Monday, U.S. health officials spoke with Guinean President Alpha Conde and senior officials form Liberia and Sierra Leone about the outbreak. Ann Flaherty reports, Feds watch airplane passengers for ebola symptoms, as the delegations from 50 countries arrive in the nation’s capital for the leadership summit this week, officials said Monday that federal agents at U.S. airports especially Washington’s Dulles International and New York’s JFK airport are watching travelers from Africa for flu-like symptoms tied to the Ebola outbreak. If passengers are suspected of carry the virus then they must be quarantined immediately and evacuated by medical personnel, according to the CDC which provided the training to local airports. A person exposed to the virus can take up to 21days to exhibit symptoms making it possible for infected travelers to enter the U.S. without knowing it.

Meanwhile the U.S. on Monday closed three emergency shelters established on military bases to temporarily house children crossing the Mexican border alone explaining that fewer children are being caught and other shelters area adequate, Alicia Caldwell reports, Gov’t closing emergency child immigrant shelters. According to Kenneth Wolfe, a Health and Human Services Department spokesman, a shelter in Oklahoma at Fort Sill is expected to close as early as Friday, Shelters in Texas at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland and in California at Naval Base Ventura County-Port Hueneme will wrap up operations in the next two to eight weeks. About 7,700 children have been housed at these three bases since the shelters opened in May and early June with stays averaging 35 days. Since Oct. 1 more than 57,000 unaccompanied minors, mostly from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, have been caught crossing the Mexican border illegally. Just before leaving for summer recess, the House approved a pair of bills to provide the administration with $694 million and end a program protecting young immigrants from deportation up to two years. The Senate blocked its version of the border bill and left the problem unresolved before leaving Washington for its five week recess. Last month, Homeland Security Department said the number of child immigrants crossing the border alone declined from 2,000 per week in June to 500 per week in mid-July. Administration officials said as many as 90,000 child immigrants could cross the border by the end of the budget year in September. Wolf said the military may reopen the shelters if the numbers spike again.

While the U.S. deals with some pressing international crisis, California, Ohio and the area around the Gulf of Mexico suffered ecological disasters affecting thousands of peoples. On Tuesday, firefighters fought two wildfires near each other in Northern California that has consumed more than a 100 square miles of terrain threatening a small town and prompting the evacuation of a long term care hospital, according to the Associate Press, State Of Emergency Declared Over California Wildfires. On Saturday, Shasta County sheriff had Burney on evacuation watch after ordering residents of three small neighboring communities to leave. The state Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said more than 700 residences were threatened. The two out of 14 currently burning in the state started within a day of each other in Lassen National Forest expanding into private property. In all, 102 square miles have been burned as of late Sunday. In Burney, officials at Mayer Memorial Hospital were forced to evacuate their 49 bed annex for patients with dementia and other conditions that need nursing care. the patients were taken to Redding about 55 miles away. Officials said evacuations also remain in effect for a community on the edge of the second fire which was sparked by lightning. State Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman Dennis Mathisen said Sunday: “Today we are looking at slightly cooler temperatures, but Northern California continues to be hot and dry and breezy in some areas, and in fact we are looking at a fire weather watch going into effect Monday morning for a large portion of Northern and northeast California and possible thunderstorms, which could mean more lightning.” On Saturday, Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency due to the circumstances and magnitude of the wildfires beyond the control of any single local government. Siskiyou County, across the border in Oregon, was contending with two fires started by lightning last week threatening 58 square miles in both states late Sunday. A fire in Ellensburg, Washington, started during a lightning storm Saturday night burned 3 square miles and evacuation notices were going out to the residents of the 180 homes in the area. In Ohio’s fourth largest city, two days after warning 400,000 people in Ohio and Michigan not to drink their tap water, the mayor declared Monday that the water was safe and took a sip, John Seewer reports, Ohio Water Ban Lifted; Toledo Mayor Says City’s Water Is Safe. The city lifted the advisory after dozens of tests over the weekend showed an algae induced toxin contaminating Lake Erie dropped to safe levels following chemical treatment. Ohio Gov. John Kasich said the state will conduct a full review of what happened and look at Toledo’s aging water system to figure out how to reduce pollution feeding algae in the western end of the lake. The weekend warning led Kasich to declare a state of emergency in three counties forcing the Ohio National Guard to deliver bottled water and operate purification systems to produce drinkable water. After the ban was lifted, city officials told the residents to flush their systems if they had not used their water since Saturday. The Gulf of Mexico, as Melodi Smith reports, Gulf of Mexico ‘dead zone’ is the size of Connecticut, has a dead zone the size of Connecticut. Environmental Protection Agency scientists and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration found that 5,052 square miles of low oxygen water or hypoxia in their annual survey caused by nutrients washing into the Gulf’s waters allowing algae blooms to suck up all the oxygen. According to both agencies, these nutrients are from “human activities, such as agriculture and wastewater.” The survey taken from July 27 to August 2 found this year’s dead zone is right in line with predictions and is smaller than the five year average at 5,500 square miles. Nancy Rabalais with the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium said, “The number of Dead Zones throughout the world has been increasing in the last several decades and currently totals over 550.” With the dead zone marine life struggling to find enough oxygen to grow e.g. crabs, mussels and other crustaceans on the ocean floor who cannot leave, the lack of oxygen causes them to die. NOAA estimates the annual cost of algae blooms to U.S. seafood and tourism industries at $82 million or more.

Climate Change Progress Yet to Happen

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Continuing with the Obama administration climate change action plan rolled out only one year ago, the White House will be hosting two roundtable discussion this week on the economic threat climate change poses and how to overcome those risks according to a White House Official. The discussion will focus on the costs of not addressing planet warming emissions, according to the email sent on the 23 of June,2014 and reported by Kate Sheppard of HuffPost. In the article, White House Plans Another Big Climate Push, explains that Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and White House leaders will meet with billionaire climate activist Tom Steyer and former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson on Wednesday to assess the economic costs of climate change and release the report later this week entitled “Risky Business.”  Steyer, a former hedge fund manager turned environmental activist has decided to pledge $100 million to back candidate who support climate change action through his group, NextGen Climate Change. Lew, White House advisers John Podesta and Valerie Jarrett, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration head Kathryn Sullivan and Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate met on Tuesday with insurance industry representatives on climate impacts. Obama will address the issues at the League of Conversation Voters on Wednesday night, while Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz and Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell will speak earlier in the day at a League of Conservation Voters sponsored event. Wednesday marks the one year anniversary of Obama’s speech at Georgetown where he unveiled his climate action plan. The administration has made an effort to push new regulations on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and announced initiatives to streamline government climate efforts and make climate data more widely available.

Unfortunately, on Monday June 23 of 2014, the Supreme Court placed limited on Obama plan to deal with power plant and factory emissions of gases blamed for global warming, the Associate Press reports. In the article, Supreme Court Justices Limit Existing EPA Global Warming Rules, the justices explain that the Environmental Protection Agency does not have the authority in some cases to force companies to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions in cases where the company needs a permit to expand facilities or build new ones increasing overall pollution. The decision does not affect EPA proposals for first time national standards for new and existing plants, the Associated Press reports. The most recent proposal aims at 30 percent reduction of greenhouse gases by 2030, but won’t take effect for another two years. The ruling does protect the EPA’s existing authority over facilities that emit pollutants that the agency regulates other than greenhouse gases. Since 2011, the EPA has issued 166 permits through state and federal regulators as of late March including permits for power plants, chemical plants, cement plants, iron and steel plants, fertilizer plants, ceramics plants and ethanol plants. In addition, oil refineries and landfills have also obtained greenhouse gas permits.

NYC, New England Brace for Massive Blizzard – SKYE on AOL

NYC, New England Brace for Massive Blizzard – SKYE on AOL.

Huge storm has already made its way to the East Coast where people are preparing for a long weekend of being locked in doors. The region which is still recovering from Superstorm Sandy has dealt with several weather phenomenon that seem to hit one after another. This on is no different with expected snowfall of up to 3 feet from Boston to New York and beyond, however the weather predictions seem to be wrong lately especially in this region with regards to how the weather will behave. As the snow begins to fall, experts are predicting this on to be a massive possibly historic blizzard sending people into survival mode.  Some areas are doing voluntary evacuations while other are buckling down with supplies and plenty of gas. In fact, several places in the northeast region have sold out of basic food and supplies including milk and gas. Even before it began to snow, Boston, Providence, R.I., Hartford, Conn., and other New England towns and cities as well as Upstate New York canceled school Friday and airlines scratching more than 3,700 flights through Saturday disrupting flights throughout the U.S. The heaviest snowfall is expected on Friday night into Saturday, while wind gusts could reach 75mph. Many states are trying to prepare for power failures and coastal flooding in areas still recovering from Superstorm Sandy in October. Mayor Michael Bloomberg has plows and 250,000 tons of salt on hand as New York City is expecting 10 to 14 inches. Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick has banned all traffic on roads after 4 p.m., the first since 1978. In Whitman, Massachusetts, public works has already started preparing for plowing the roads later in the day. In Maine, 6 inches of snow was blamed for a 19 car pileup on Friday morning in Cumberland. Some New Jersey towns hit hard by Superstorm Sandy have issued voluntary evacuations for the area especially in flood prone areas. Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor services will be suspended at 1:15 p.m. EST between New York and Boston. The organizer’s of New York Fashion Week will add a few more layers to the venue, turn up the heat, and have extra crews to remove snow. Blizzard warning were posted in parts of New Jersey, New York’s Long Island, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Maine and Providence.

Major Winter Storm Heads East After Twisters Hit South; 6 Dead – SKYE on AOL

Major Winter Storm Heads East After Twisters Hit South; 6 Dead – SKYE on AOL.

What is going on with the  weather lately? I mean global warming is partially to blame but their are other factors. There is no way 34 tornadoes hit pretty much in the same area of the south just by chance. The snow and the blizzards in the Northern US caused flights some 325 to be canceled stranding holiday travelers.