Sunday, October 19, 2014

Ebola Fear, Monitoring Eases For Some In Dallas

Christine Wade, a registered nurse at the University of Texas Medical Branch, greets Carnival Magic passengers disembarking in Galveston, Texas on Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014.

DALLAS (AP) — Ebola fears began to ease for some Monday as a monitoring period passed for those who had close contact with a victim of the disease and after a cruise ship scare ended with the boat returning to port and a lab worker on board testing negative for the virus.
Federal officials meanwhile ramped up readiness to deal with future cases. A top government official said revised guidance instructs health workers treating Ebola patients to wear protective gear "with no skin showing." The Pentagon said it is forming a team to support civilian medical staff in the U.S.
In Dallas, Louise Troh and several friends and family members will finally be free Monday to leave a stranger's home where they have been confined under armed guard for 21 days — the maximum incubation period for Ebola. They had close contact with Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian man who died of the disease at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital on Oct. 8.
"I want to breathe, I want to really grieve, I want privacy with my family," Troh told The Associated Press. The incubation period also has passed for about a dozen health workers who encountered Duncan when he went to the Dallas hospital for the first time, on Sept. 25.
Duncan was sent home but returned by ambulance on Sept. 28 and was admitted. Two nurses who treated him during that second visit — Nina Pham and Amber Vinson — are now hospitalized with Ebola. Vinson's family issued a statement Sunday saying they have hired a lawyer and are troubled by comments and media coverage that "mischaracterize" Vinson, who is being treated at Emory University in Atlanta. Vinson "has not and would not knowingly expose herself or anyone else," the statement says.
Dallas County and federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials cleared her to fly last week to Dallas from Ohio, and "suggestions that she ignored any of the physician and government-provided protocols recommended to her are patently untrue and hurtful," the family says.
On Sunday, a Carnival Cruise Lines ship returned to Galveston, Texas, from a seven-day trip marred by worries over a health worker on board who was being monitored for Ebola. The lab supervisor had handled a specimen from Duncan and isolated herself on the ship as a precaution.
About 4,000 passengers on the cruise had to miss a stop in Cozumel, Mexico, where the boat was not allowed to dock because of the scare. Carnival said it was informed by U.S. health authorities Sunday morning that the worker tested negative for Ebola.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said those caring for Duncan were vulnerable because some of their skin was exposed. The CDC is working on revisions to safety protocols. Earlier ones, Fauci said, were based on a World Health Organization model for care in remote places, often outdoors, and without intensive training for health workers.
"So there were parts about that protocol that left vulnerability, parts of the skin that were open," Fauci said. Health officials had previously allowed hospitals some flexibility to use available covering when dealing with suspected Ebola patients. The new guidelines are expected to set firmer standards: calling for full-body suits and hoods that protect worker's necks; setting rigorous rules for removal of equipment and disinfection of hands; and requiring a "site manager" to supervise the putting on and taking off of equipment.
The guidelines also are expected to require a "buddy system" in which workers check each other as they come in and go out, according to an official who was familiar with the guidelines but not authorized to discuss them before their release.
Hospital workers also will be expected to exhaustively practice getting in and out of the equipment, the official said. Nurses have been clamoring for more guidance and better garb, saying they have never cared for Ebola patients before and feel unprepared and underequipped.
"If hospital administrators had to take care of Ebola patients, they would have the gold standard and hazmat suits," said RoseAnn DeMoro, executive director of National Nurses United, a union with 185,000 members.
In some places where they have the suits, nurses have not practiced taking them on and off. "The hospital is sending them essentially a link to the CDC website. That's not preparation. That's like a do-it-yourself manual," DeMoro said.
On Sunday the Pentagon announced that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel had ordered the formation of a 30-person military support team to assist civilian medical professionals in the U.S. to treat Ebola. The team will be formed by Northern Command's Commander, Gen. Chuck Jacoby, and will comprise 20 critical care nurses, five doctors trained in infectious disease and five trainers in infectious disease protocols. Once formed, the team will undergo up to a week of specialized training in infection control and personal protective equipment at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, then remain in "prepare to deploy" status for 30 days.
The team won't be sent overseas, and will "be called upon domestically only if deemed prudent by our public health professionals," Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said in a statement.
Stobbe reported from Atlanta.
Associated Press writers Emily Schmall in Fort Worth, Texas; Jill Craig in Galveston, Texas; and Josh Hoffner in Dallas contributed to this report.

Pope Paul VI Beatified

 The tapestry of the newly-beatified Pope Paul VI is hanged on a balcony of St. Peter's basilica during the mass held by Pope Francis on the occasion of the end of the extraordinary synod of the family and the beatification of Paul VI in St Peter's Square, Vatican City, 19 October 2014. Paul VI, who was pope from 1963 until his death in 1978, got the go-ahead for beatification in May when the Vatican's Congregation for the Causes of Saints said that he performed a miracle by intervening in the inexplicable healing of an unborn child. Image: Maurizio Brambatti

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Suspected Boko Haram Militants Mount Two Deadly attacks After Nigeria 'Ceasefire'

MAIDUGURI NIGERIA (REUTERS) - Suspected Boko Haram militants have killed several people in two attacks on Nigerian villages that occurred after a government announcement of a ceasefire, security sources and witnesses said on Saturday.
In the first attack, suspected insurgents attacked the village of Abadam on Friday night, killing at least one person and ransacking homes, while another attack on the village of Dzur on Saturday morning left at least eight people dead.
Nigeria's armed forces chief, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, announced on Friday a deal with Boko Haram for a ceasefire that would enable the release of girls whose abduction in the remote northeastern town of Chibok in April caused international shock and outrage.

(Reporting by Lanre Ola; Writing by Tim Cocks; Editing by Mark Potter)

Ebola Monitoring Inconsistent As Virus Spread

An excerpt from a Texas Department of State Health Services document that healthcare workers with possible exposure to Ebola are being asked to sign. The document is signed by David L. Lakey, M.D.

DALLAS, TEXAS (ASSOCIATED PRESS) — The top administrator in Dallas County rushed to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital this week responding to urgent news: One of its nurses had caught Ebola from a patient. He quickly asked for the hospital's watch list to find out who else might be at risk.
"It was explained to me that this person, (nurse) Nina Pham, was not on a monitoring list because she was self-monitoring," said Judge Clay Jenkins, who is overseeing the county's emergency response. Simply put, she and her co-workers, who were handing fluids, inserting IVs and cleaning Thomas Eric Duncan in his dying days, were supposed to take their own temperatures and let someone know if they felt sick.
That wasn't nearly enough for Jenkins, and that evening, he began to make changes. Hospital officials told potentially exposed hospital workers to stop seeing patients other than Pham. But the next day, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention allowed another nurse who cared for Duncan, Amber Vinson, to get on a plane in Ohio and fly to Dallas with a mild fever. She was later diagnosed with Ebola, and CDC Director Tom Frieden has conceded that she "should not have travelled on a commercial airline."
Friends and family who had contact with Duncan before he was hospitalized were confined to homes under armed guard, but nurses who handled his contagious bodily fluids were allowed to treat other patients, take mass transit and get on airplanes. The inconsistent response by health officials in monitoring and limiting the movement of health workers has been one of the critical blunders in the Ebola outbreak.
"I don't think the directions provided to people at first were as clear as they needed to be, and there have been changes in the instructions given to people over time," said Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas, a doctor who did his residency in Dallas.
Local health authorities have said repeatedly throughout the response that their guidance and direction can change. "Please keep in mind the contact list is fluid meaning people may fall off the list or new people may be added to the list depending on new information that could arise at any time on any given day," said Dallas County health department spokeswoman Erikka Neroes on Friday when asked how many people are even being monitored.
On Thursday, Jenkins announced stricter restrictions that require hospital staffers who had been potentially exposed to stay away from the public for 21 days and check their temperature twice a day, once in person with a public health worker. It was the first written order anyone being monitored has been asked to sign.
"They can walk their dog, but they can't go to church; they can't go to schools; they can't go to shopping centers," said Mayor Mike Rawlings. Public health epidemiologists were notifying the health care workers of the directions Friday, said Texas Department of State Health Services spokeswoman Carrie Williams.
But even those medical agreements allow some wiggle room. For example, they say public transit isn't outright banned but "should be discussed with the public health authority." Officials say 125 friends, family, doctors, nurses, technicians, ambulance drivers and others may have been exposed in the days before Duncan died on Oct. 8. Since then, the two nurses have tested positive and at least 18 other people in Texas and Ohio have been identified as secondary contacts who also merit watching.
At first, the monitoring sounded relatively simple: track down the contacts, monitor them with a least twice daily temperature records and test people who develop symptoms for Ebola. State officials would be in charge, working with the CDC and Dallas County authorities.
But different hospital workers had different levels of monitoring, based in part on their exposure risk. Some self-reported some temperatures. Some continued to care for patients. The county moved Duncan's girlfriend, Louise Troh, her 13-year-old son, Duncan's nephew, and a family friend from their apartment to a guarded house in an undisclosed location, where a health official comes by twice a day and takes their temperatures. The unusual confinement order was imposed after the family failed to comply with a request not to leave their apartment, Jenkins said.
Pham and Vinson have been taken to medical centers with isolation units in Maryland and Atlanta. There are four such centers in the U.S. At the National Institutes of Health medical center in Bethesda, Maryland, spokeswoman Amanda Fine says staff involved in caring for people with Ebola are given thermometers and instructions and must measure and submit body temperatures twice daily.
Taylor Wilson, a spokesman for the Nebraska isolation unit, which has also been treating Ebola patients, said that every time health care workers go into the unit, they must stop and take their temperature and other vital signs and log the results. They are also advised to keep an eye out for any symptoms.
He said that there are no restrictions on the staff's movements outside of work.
Associated Press writer Emily Schmall contributed to this report from Fort Worth.

Food Deliveries In Sierra Leone To Fight Ebola

People from a community affected by Ebola virus receive food aid from World Food program in Monrovia, Liberia.

FREETOWN, SIERRA LEONE (ASSOCIATED PRESS) — The U.N.'s World Food Program on Saturday delivered emergency food rations to 265,000 people, many of them quarantined in Sierra Leone, to help fight the spread of Ebola.
Food supplies are being distributed in the Waterloo district on the outskirts of Sierra Leone's capital, Freetown, WFP's Alexis Masciarelli told the Associated Press. Waterloo has seen some of the highest cases of Ebola infections and the deliveries are to help quarantined families by providing them enough to eat so they do not leave their homes to look for food. The deliveries began Friday and are continuing Saturday, said Masciarelli.
More countries have banned travelers from Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, where the dreaded, fatal disease is believed to have claimed more than 4,500 lives. Cape Verde, an island nation, on Oct. 9 announced that it would deny entry to non-resident foreigners coming from those three countries or who have been to those countries in the previous 30 days, the International SOS website reported. Mauritius on Oct. 8 banned entry to all travelers who have visited Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia, Senegal and Congo in the last two months.
Seychelles on Oct. 8 suspended entry to travelers who have visited Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Nigeria or Congo (DRC) 28 days prior to their journey, with the exception of Seychellois citizens, International SOS, a medical and travel security services company, reported.
In Sierra Leone, WFP mobilized 700 aid workers to distribute more than 800 metric tons of food — rice and super cereal — to meet families' food needs for 30 days. The distribution is in partnership with Caritas, Community Integrated Development Organization, civil society organizations and young volunteers.
"Our team is out in Waterloo to distribute food," said WFP's Masciarelli. "We started on Friday and are continuing Saturday. It is a huge exercise." The aim of the distribution is to stabilize quarantined families by giving them enough to eat so that they do not leave their homes to look for food.
The food deliveries in the Waterloo area are going to "all Ebola-affected people - be it in treatment centers or in quarantined households - to prevent this health crisis from becoming a food and nutrition crisis," said Gon Myers, WFP Country Director in Sierra Leone.
"We have to deploy many staff, split people into smaller groups and speed up the distribution process to reduce risks both for the people receiving food and for staff, as Waterloo has seen some of the highest cases of Ebola infections in recent days," Myers said.
A ship containing 7,000 tons of rice is expected to dock at Freetown on Sunday, said Masciarelli. "About two-thirds of the rice will be unloaded in Freetown to be delivered to people in Sierra Leone. The ship will then deliver the remaining rice to Liberia."
A ship carrying British troops is also headed to Sierra Leone to battle the worst-ever outbreak of Ebola in history.
Meldrum reported from Johannesburg.

Independent Investigation Demanded For Nigerian Killed By Phoenix Police

Attorney Sabinus Megwa (center) with Ngozi Mbegbu, the widow of Balantine Mbegbu. 

(PHOENIX, ARIZONA) -- A neighbor had dialed 911 to report disturbances at the Mbegbus residence on Thursday, October 6, 2014. According to the Phoenix New Times, upon arrival of the police and attempts to calm Balantine Mbegbu down, a "belligerent and confrontational" Mbegbu assaulted one of the officers and kicked one on the groin, noted the police statement, from around which Mbegbu was shot with a taser gun and handcuffed by the officer. As it happened, from the Phoenix Police Department report, Mbegbu was rushed to the hospital by paramedics where the 63-year old was pronounced dead. In a related story, Sabinus Megwa, attorney for Mbegbu's wife gave a different account from what Mbegbu's wife and sister-in-law had told him, saying there was no fight at the Mbegbus' home, and there was no need for police presence. Meanwhile, Megwa, representing the Mbegbus and protesters stormed the Phoenix City Hall Thursday, October 16, 2014 with calls for an independent investigation into the case. Image: Mathew Hendley/PNT

Thursday, October 16, 2014

S. Africa Or Ghana Could Replace Morocco As African Cup Host


Johannesburg (AFP) - South Africa and Ghana have been asked by the Africa Cup of Nations organisers whether they are prepared to host the 2015 tournament if Morocco withdraw over Ebola fears.

A letter from African Football Confederation (CAF) secretary general Hicham El Amrani asks an unknown number of national associations whether they would be ready to organise the event.
The letter reads in part:

"In case Morocco refuses to maintain the staging of the competition at the agreed dates, CAF would like to know whether your federation would be willing and able to organise the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations.

"Kindly note that this letter is also sent to some other federations capable of staging the 2015 edition of the event.

"In case CAF receives two or more positive responses, a draw will be made by the executive committee to designate the host of the 2015 edition."

A senior football official in Johannesburg told AFP on condition of anonymity that South Africa and Ghana were among the countries who received the letter.

Morocco said last week that they wanted the January 17-February 8 tournament postponed because they feared it could trigger a spread of the Ebola epidemic.

Almost 4,500 people have died this year from Ebola, mainly in west African states Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Guinea and Sierra Leone play home fixtures outside the country, and neither team are likely qualifiers for the 2015 tournament.

Liberia were eliminated in the preliminary rounds.

CAF rejected the Moroccan request to delay the biennial African football showpiece, but will discuss the issue on November 2 in Algeria.

African football supremo Issa Hayatou will then travel to Morocco with a delegation for make-or-break talks.

If Morocco insist on a postponement, the African body will choose new hosts.

South Africa have twice been 'emergency' hosts, taking over in 1996 from cash-strapped Kenya and last year from strife-torn Libya.

Ghana staged the Cup of Nations in 1963, 1978 and 2008 and were last-minute co-hosts with Nigeria in 2000 after Zimbabwe failed to meet deadlines.

No country has hosted successive editions of the 57-year tournament.

White House Rejects Calls For Ebola Travel Ban

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Tom Frieden, left, prepares to testify on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014, prior to testifying before the House Energy and Commerce Committee's subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, to get answers about the Ebola outbreak from top U.S. health officials.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Warning that Americans are losing faith in their government's ability to stop Ebola, Republican lawmakers on Thursday pressed for a ban on travel to the U.S. from the West African outbreak zone. The White House resisted the idea and tried to tamp down fear as the pool of Americans being monitored expanded.

While a contentious congressional hearing focused on the three cases of Ebola diagnosed within the U.S., the World Health Organization said the outbreak in West Africa was on pace to top 4,500 deaths this week alone. President Barack Obama authorized the call-up of reserve and National Guard troops in case they are needed as part of the up-to-4,000 military personnel being sent to help with the crisis in West Africa.

Called to Capitol Hill for special hearing, federal health officials emphasized the importance of stopping the virus in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea to protect Americans and the rest of the world from its spread.

"You're right, it needs to be solved in Africa. But until it is, we should not be allowing these folks in, period," replied Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich. He called for a ban on the 100 to 150 people who fly into the U.S. each week from the three nations at the heart of the outbreak.

"People's lives are at stake, and the response so far has been unacceptable," declared Upton, chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee. At the White House, spokesman Josh Earnest rejected a travel ban. He said the U.S. was already taking the necessary steps to protect the public, because passengers are screened as they depart West Africa and most are checked for fever again when they arrive at a U.S. airport.

Besides, he said, imposing a ban might lead travelers "to go underground and to seek to evade this screening and to not be candid about their travel history in order to enter the country." Earnest said the chances for a widespread outbreak in the U.S. remain "exceedingly low," despite shortcomings in the government's initial responses. Health officials said the same.

Frieden told lawmakers that investigators still don't know how two Dallas nurses caught Ebola while caring for a Liberian man who died at their hospital. Thomas Eric Duncan was the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States since the West African outbreak began in March.

To protect other medical workers while the investigation continues, Frieden said, the CDC is focusing on improving safety procedures. He said one of the sick nurses was being moved Thursday from the Texas hospital to a specialized federal facility in Maryland. The other nurse has been transferred to an Atlanta hospital that has one of only four bio-containment units in the U.S.

Nations and global bodies continued to grapple with the crisis: — In Sierre Leone, the government said that two cases had turned up in what was the country's last untouched district. The mountainous Koinadugu district had been the only place in Sierra Leone "where you can go and breathe a sigh of relief, said John Caulker, the executive director of the nonprofit Fambul Tok. "To know that now in the whole country no district is safe is heartrending."

— In Spain, the condition of a nursing assistant infected with Ebola at a Madrid hospital appeared to be improving, but a person who came in contact with her before she was hospitalized developed a fever and was being tested. That second person is not a health care worker, a Spanish Health Ministry spokesman said.

— In Geneva, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, Zeid Raad al-Hussein, paired the Ebola outbreak and the Islamic State group as "twin plagues" that will cost the world many billions of dollars to overcome.

— The United Nations made an urgent appeal for more money to fight the disease. A U.N. trust fund launched to raise $1 billion has taken in only $20 million, and most has been spent. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, "Ebola is a huge and urgent global problem that demands a huge and urgent global response."

— France said it will begin screening passengers who arrive at Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport on the once-daily flight from Guinea's capital. In the U.S. on Thursday, Customs and health officials at airports in Chicago, Atlanta, suburban Washington and Newark, New Jersey, were beginning to take the temperatures of passengers from the three West African countries. The screenings, using no-touch thermometers, started Saturday at New York's Kennedy International Airport.

Obama, who directed his administration to respond more aggressively to the virus at home, made calls about Ebola to foreign heads of state as well as congressional leaders at home. He canceled a campaign trip for the second day in a row to focus on the outbreak.

The revelation that one of the Dallas nurses was cleared to fly on a commercial airline the day before she was diagnosed generated much criticism on Capitol Hill. Seven people in northeast Ohio were in voluntary quarantine because they had contact with the nurse, Amber Joy Vinson, who visited family in the Akron area last weekend before flying from Cleveland back to Dallas.

Some school and hospital employees also were staying home amid concerns that they might have had contact with her, and a store where she shopped was closed Thursday as a precaution. Still, health officials in Ohio emphasized that Vinson didn't show symptoms during her visit and therefore shouldn't have been contagious yet. The disease isn't airborne; it's spread through direct contact with bodily fluids.

As a result of the failure to protect the two nurses from infection and other mistakes, "the American public loses confidence each day," said Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa., chairman of the House panel conducting Thursday's hearing.

Frieden offered assurances that Americans who haven't traveled recently to West Africa need not worry about catching the deadly disease.

Associated Press writers Emily Schmall and Nomaan Merchant in Dallas and Erica Werner and Josh Lederman in Washington contributed to the report.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Second Texas Nurse Tests Positive For Ebola

President Barack Obama, second from left, speaks to the media about Ebola during a meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014.

DALLAS (AP) — The Ebola crisis in the U.S. took another alarming turn Wednesday with word that a second Dallas nurse caught the disease from a patient and flew across the Midwest aboard an airliner the day before she fell ill, even though government guidelines should have kept her off the plane.
Amid growing concern, President Barack Obama canceled a campaign trip to address the outbreak and vowed that his administration would respond in a "much more aggressive way" to Ebola cases in the United States.
Though it was not clear how the nurse contracted the virus, the case represented just the latest instance in which the disease that has ravaged one of the poorest corners of the earth — West Africa — also managed to find weak spots in one of the world's most advanced medical systems.
The second nurse was identified as 29-year-old Amber Joy Vinson. Medical records provided to The Associated Press by Thomas Eric Duncan's family showed she inserted catheters, drew blood and dealt with Duncan's body fluids.
Duncan, who was diagnosed with Ebola after coming to the U.S. from Liberia, died Oct. 8. Kent State University in Ohio, where three of Vinson's relatives work, confirmed she was the latest patient. Even though the nurse did not report having a fever until Tuesday, the day after she returned home, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said she should not have boarded a commercial flight.
The nurse also knew before heading home that another nurse, Nina Pham, had been diagnosed with Ebola, and she had a slightly elevated temperature — 99.5 degrees, according to government officials. While in Cleveland, she was contacted by health officials and told that her health would need to be more closely monitored for Ebola, the CDC said. It was unclear whether she was told not to fly.
From now on, CDC Director Tom Frieden said, no one else involved in Duncan's care will be allowed to travel "other than in a controlled environment." He cited guidelines that permit charter flights or travel by car but no public transportation.
On its website, the CDC says all people possibly exposed to Ebola should restrict their travels — including by avoiding commercial flights — for 21 days. Ebola patients are not considered contagious until they have symptoms. Frieden said it was unlikely that others on the plane were at risk because the nurse was not vomiting or bleeding.
Even so, the CDC is alerting the 132 passengers who were aboard Frontier Airlines Flight 1143 from Cleveland to Dallas-Fort Worth on Monday "because of the proximity in time between the evening flight and first report of illness the following morning." Officials are asking passengers to call the health agency so they can be monitored. The nurse flew from Dallas to Cleveland on Friday, Oct. 10.
Kent State said it was asking the workers related to Vinson to stay off campus for 21 days "out of an abundance of caution." Her Ebola diagnosis was confirmed Wednesday. The CDC's investigation suggests that health care workers were at highest risk from Sept. 28 to Sept. 30, the three days before Duncan was diagnosed. Both nurses who contracted Ebola worked on those days and had extensive contact with him when he had vomiting and diarrhea, Frieden said.
Medical records indicate that the workers wore protective equipment, including gowns, gloves and face shields during that time. The first mention in the records that they wore hazmat suits was on Sept. 30.
In his most urgent comments on the spread of the disease, Obama also warned that in an age of frequent travel, the disease could spread globally if the world doesn't respond to the "raging epidemic in West Africa."
The second nurse was transferred Wednesday to a special bio-containment unit at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, where other Ebola patients have been treated successfully. Pham will be monitored in Dallas to determine the best place for her care, Frieden said.
The CDC has acknowledged that the government was not aggressive enough in managing Ebola and containing the virus as it spread from an infected patient to a nurse at a Dallas hospital. The second case may help health officials determine where the infection-control breach is occurring and make practices safer for health workers everywhere.
For example, if both health workers were involved in drawing Duncan's blood, placing an intravenous line or suctioning mucus when Duncan was on a breathing machine, that would be recognized as a particularly high-risk activity. It might also reveal which body fluids pose the greatest risk.
At the Dallas apartment complex where the second nurse lives, emergency responders in hazardous-materials suits began decontamination work before dawn Wednesday. Police guarded the sidewalk and red tape was tied around a tree to keep people out. Notices handed out to neighbors advised of the diagnosis. Officials said she lives alone with no pets.
Ryan Fus, 24, who lives in the same building as the blocked-off apartment, said police knocked on his door before 6 a.m. to notify him and make sure he was all right. "It's a little shocking that it's right near me," he said.
Dallas city spokeswoman Sana Syed said a hazardous-materials crew cleaned common areas of the complex and that the state was sending a crew to clean the apartment. In all, public-health officials are monitoring more than 100 people who might have been exposed to Ebola through Duncan — at least 76 of them at the hospital.
Associated Press medical writers Marilynn Marchione and Mike Stobbe and AP reporters Martha Mendoza, Maud Beelman, Matt Sedensky and Alex Sanz in Dallas also contributed to this report

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Doctors Give Blood For Ebola-Infected Dallas Nurse

This 2010 photo provided by, the yearbook of Texas Christian University, shows Nina Pham, 26, who became the first person to contract the disease within the United States.

DALLAS (AP) — A Dallas nurse who caught Ebola while treating a Liberian patient who died of the disease has received a plasma transfusion donated by a doctor who beat the virus.
Ebola has killed more than 4,000 people in an outbreak the World Health Organization has called "the most severe, acute health emergency seen in modern times." Federal health officials say they are ramping up training for medical workers who deal with the infected.
Nurse Nina Pham was among about 70 staff members at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital who cared for Thomas Eric Duncan, according to medical records. They drew his blood, put tubes down his throat and wiped up his diarrhea. They analyzed his urine and wiped saliva from his lips, even after he had lost consciousness.
The 26-year-old nurse was in his room often, from the day he was placed in intensive care until the day before he died. Pham and other health care workers wore protective gear, including gowns, gloves, masks and face shields — and sometimes full-body suits — when caring for Duncan, but Pham became the first person to contract the disease within the United States. Duncan died on Wednesday.
On Monday night, members of the church that Pham's family attends held a special Mass for her in Fort Worth. Rev. Jim Khoi, of the Our Lady of Fatima Church, said Pham's mother told him the nurse had received a transfusion that could save her life.
"Her mom says that she got the blood from the gentleman, a very good guy. I don't know his name but he's very devoted and a very good guy from somewhere," Khoi said. Jeremy Blume, a spokesman for the nonprofit medical mission group Samaritan's Purse, confirmed that the plasma donation came from Kent Brantly, the first American to return to the U.S. from Liberia to be treated for Ebola. Brantly received an experimental treatment and fought off the virus, and has donated blood for transfusions for three others, including Pham.
"He's a doctor. That's what he's there to do. That's his heart," Blume said. Brantly said in a recent speech that he also offered his blood for Duncan, but that their blood types didn't match. Khoi said Pham's mother assured him the nurse was comfortable and "doing well," and that the two women had been able to talk via Skype.
Pham had been monitoring her own temperature and went to the hospital Friday night with a low fever. She was in isolation and in stable condition, health officials said. Since she tested positive for the disease, public-health authorities have intensified their monitoring of other hospital workers who cared for Duncan.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Tom Frieden said he would not be surprised if more fall ill because Ebola patients become more contagious as the disease progresses. Pham's name appears frequently throughout the hundreds of pages of medical records provided to The Associated Press by Duncan's family. They show she was in his room Oct. 7, the day before he died.
Her notes describe nurses going in and out of Duncan's room wearing protective gear to treat him and to mop the floor with bleach. She also notes how she and other nurses ensured Duncan's "privacy and comfort," and provided "emotional support."
Frieden has said a breach of protocol led to the nurse's infection, but officials are not sure what went wrong. Pham has not been able to point to any specific breach. The CDC is monitoring all hospital workers who treated Duncan and planned to "double down" on training and outreach on how to safely treat Ebola patients, Frieden said. He could not provide a number of health care workers under surveillance.
Health officials have relied on a "self-monitoring" system when it comes to U.S. health care workers who care for isolated Ebola patients. They expect workers to report any potential exposures to the virus and watch themselves for symptoms.
Besides the workers, health officials continue to track 48 people who were in contact with Duncan before he was admitted to the hospital and placed in isolation. They are monitoring one person the nurse was in contact with while she was in an infectious state.
None has exhibited symptoms, Frieden said. Among the things the CDC will investigate is how the workers took off protective gear, because removing it incorrectly can lead to contamination. Investigators will also look at dialysis and intubation — the insertion of a breathing tube in a patient's airway. Both procedures have the potential to spread the virus.
Duncan, who arrived in the U.S. from Liberia Sept. 20, first sought medical care for fever and abdominal pain Sept. 25. He told a nurse he had traveled from Africa, but he was sent home. He returned Sept. 28 and was placed in isolation because of suspected Ebola.
Officials said there was a dog in the nurse's apartment that has been removed to an undisclosed location for monitoring and care. They do not believe the pet shows any signs of Ebola. A dog belonging to an infected Spanish nurse was euthanized, drawing thousands of complaints.
Ebola has killed more than 4,000 people, mostly in the West African countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, according to WHO figures published last week.
Schmall reported from Fort Worth, Texas. Associated Press writers Mike Stobbe in New York, Martha Mendoza and Maud Beelman in Dallas and Tammy Webber in Chicago also contributed to this report.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Katie Holmes Reprising Jackie O Role In Miniseries

Katie Holmes portrays Jacqueline Kennedy in a scene from the eight-part movie, "The Kennedys," on cable's ReelzChannel network. Holmes will reprise her role as Jackie Kennedy Onassis in “The Kennedys -- After Camelot”, a follow-up to “The Kennedys” miniseries for ReelzChannel. The four-hour miniseries, based on a book by Randy Taraborrelli, will begin production next year and is slated to air in 2016.

NEW YORK (AP) — Katie Holmes will once again play Jackie Kennedy Onassis in a TV miniseries.

The actress has signed on to star in "The Kennedys-After Camelot," a follow-up to "The Kennedys" miniseries for ReelzChannel. It's based on a book by Randy Taraborrelli. The four-hour miniseries will begin production next year and is slated to air in 2016.

Thirty-five-year-old Holmes will executive produce and also direct one episode. John Cassar, who directed "The Kennedys," will direct the other three episodes. "The Kennedys" was originally made to air on History, but was dropped because the network said it didn't fit its brand. The miniseries was later picked up by ReelzChannel and scored record ratings for the network when it aired in 2011.

It starred Greg Kinnear as John F. Kennedy and Holmes as the first lady. Kinnear was nominated for an Emmy and SAG Award for his portrayal. Barry Pepper, who played Bobby Kennedy, won the Emmy Award for outstanding lead actor in a miniseries or movie.

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How Frenchman's Nobel Research Could Aid Consumers

French economist and Nobel Prize laureate Jean Tirole addresses the media during a press conference at the Toulouse School of Economics in Toulouse, southern France, Monday, Oct. 13, 2014. Tirole won the Nobel prize for economics Monday for research on market power and regulation that has helped policy-makers understand how to deal with industries dominated by a few powerful companies.

(ASSOCIATED PRESS) U.S. consumers might be paying less than they are for cable and Internet access if regulators had followed the guidance of Jean Tirole in promoting industry competition.

So say experts in assessing the work of Tirole, a 61-year-old Frenchmen who won the Nobel prize in economics Monday for showing how to encourage better products and competitive prices in industries dominated by a few companies.

"He has given us an instruction manual for what tool to use in what market," said Torsten Persson of the prize committee. "Politicians would be stupid not to take his policy advice." They haven't always listened.

Joshua Gans, management professor at the University of Toronto, says U.S. regulators didn't follow Tirole's advice to require cable and phone companies to sell competitors access to "the last mile" of cable connecting homes to telecommunications networks. Instead, giants such as Comcast and Time Warner now control the last mile.

To reach a home, a potential competitor must pay to install its own cable. That limits competition and allows existing telecom providers to charge more. As a result, Gans says, American consumers pay too much for cable TV and Internet access.

Tirole, a professor at the Toulouse School of Economics in France who earned a doctorate from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is the third Frenchman to win the $1.1 million Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, which has been dominated of late by U.S. economists. This is the first year since 1999 that an American has not been among the winners.

"I was incredibly surprised at the honor, and it took me half an hour to recoup" from the Nobel committee's call, Tirole said in an interview with the website Tirole did much of his work with his Toulouse School colleague Jean-Jacques Laffont, who died in 2004. Had he lived, Laffont "would have certainly shared" the prize with Tirole, says David Warsh, who follows academic economists on his Economic Principals blog.

Tirole cannot be easily categorized as pro- or anti-regulation. He agrees with free-market advocates that "because firms know more than regulators, regulation is necessarily going to be imperfect," said Eric Maskin, a Harvard University economist who taught Tirole at MIT and who won a Nobel prize himself in 2007. "But that doesn't mean there shouldn't be regulation. You have to be very careful so you don't do more harm than good."

At a news conference Monday, Tirole said, "The market needs a strong state to function normally." Left unregulated, companies with few competitors can stop innovating and charge unnecessarily high prices. But attempts to regulate them often fail. Companies typically grow close to the government agencies that are supposed to supervise them and find ways to exploit regulations to block competitors.

Studying specific industries, including telecommunications and finance, Tirole devised rules meant to align companies' interests with those of consumers, thereby nudging producers to provide better products and lower prices.

Tirole is the second French economist to make headlines this year. Thomas Piketty gained global fame with his best-seller, "Capital in the 21st Century," in which he used 300 years of data to document a widening gap between rich and poor. Piketty's book was based on research he conducted with his countryman Emmanuel Saez.

This year's economics prize was the second Nobel to be won by Frenchmen this year, after the literature prize awarded last week to Patrick Modiano. "After Patrick Modiano, another Frenchman in the firmament. Congratulations to Jean Tirole. A thumb in the eye for french bashing," French Prime Minister Manuel Valls tweeted.

The announcement also set off celebrations across the Atlantic at MIT, where Tirole earned his doctorate in 1981 and is still a visiting professor who typically comes to campus three times a year. "I'm thrilled for Jean," said Nancy Rose, an MIT professor who has known Tirole for more than three decades. "This is a prize I think we were confident would come."

"He's extremely generous. He's unselfish," added MIT economist Bengt Holmstrom. "He's always looking at ways to better government." Monday's prize completes the 2014 Nobel Prize announcements. The Nobel prizes for peace, literature, chemistry, physics and medicine were awarded last week.

The awards will be presented on Dec. 10, the anniversary of prize founder Alfred Nobel's death in 1896. Though the economics award isn't an original Nobel — it was added in 1968 by Sweden's central bank — it is presented with the others and carries the same prize money.

Wiseman reported from Washington, Ritter from Stockholm. Nathalie Rothschild in Stockholm, Lori Hinnant in Paris and Mark Pratt in Boston contributed to this report.

Ebola Deflating Hopes For 3 Poor African Economies

People do business at the Waterside local market in the center of Monrovia, Liberia. Just as their economies had begun to recover from the man-made horror of coups and civil war, the West African nations of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone have been knocked back down by the Ebola virus.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Just as their economies had begun to recover from the man-made horror of coups and civil war, the West African nations of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone have been knocked back down by a terrifying force of nature: the Ebola virus.

In addition to the human toll — more than 4,000 dead so far — the outbreak has paralyzed economic life. Across the Ebola zone, shops are closed, hotels vacant, flights cancelled, fields untended, investments on hold.

In Conakry, capital of Guinea, stray dogs, goats and sheep are plopping down next to empty stalls in street markets devoid of shoppers. About the only things people want to buy are products meant to guard against Ebola — antiseptic gels and devices that attach to faucets and add chlorine to the water.
"These are selling like bread at the market," said Cece Loua, who sells pharmaceutical products in Conakry. The World Bank has dramatically downgraded its expectations for economic growth this year in the three countries hardest hit by the outbreak. Guinea will grow 2.4 percent, down from a previously forecast 4.5 percent, it predicts; Liberia 2.5 percent, down from 5.9 percent; and Sierra Leone 8 percent, down from 11.3 percent.

"It's been really devastating," said Rosa Whitaker, CEO of the consultancy the Whitaker Group and a former U.S. trade official. It's an especially cruel turn for three impoverished economies that had been making steady progress after years of devastating conflict:

— In Sierra Leone, which endured a civil war from 1991 to 2002 that killed 70,000 and left 2.6 million homeless, the economy surged 20 percent last year and 15 percent in 2012. — Liberia, which lost 250,000 people to civil wars from 1989 to 2003, has recorded double-digit economic growth four of the past five years.

— Guinea, with a history of bloody coups and political strife, has grown more slowly (2.5 percent last year and 3.9 percent in 2012), but had expected its economy to accelerate as foreign companies invested in such projects as the Simandou iron ore mine.

"No one could have imagined the extent of the economic and social turnaround," said Steven Radelet, a foreign aid expert at Georgetown University and an adviser to the Liberian government. "The past 10 years, there's been remarkable progress, and a lot of investors coming in."

Ebola has frozen the economic revival. "They were coming back and now have been set back in a big way," said Francisco Ferreira, the World Bank's chief economist for Africa. The epidemic damages the economy directly. Commerce stops. The sick can't work. Contaminated areas close down. Tax collections dry up. Health care costs swell, squeezing governments already struggling with expenses.
But the indirect damage can be even worse as fear paralyzes Ebola-stricken communities. "People are obviously very afraid of it," Ferreira said. "People stay home and don't consume... Flights are being canceled because no one wants to go there. Hotels are firing people because no one is staying there."
Liberia canceled soccer games because it's "a contact sport, and Ebola is spread through sweat," said Musa Bility, president of the Liberia Football Association. The suspension of sporting events has hurt Boima Folley's sporting goods shop in the Liberian capital Monrovia.

"No one comes to even ask for — let alone buy — sports materials these days," he said. Analysts are at least optimistic that the economic damage from the crisis can be contained to the hardest-hit countries. The three Ebola-stricken nations are, after all, economically small, and their troubles are unlikely to disrupt commerce beyond their borders: Combined, their three economies amount to half the size of Vermont's.

Last week, the International Monetary Fund forecast that the 25 African countries it has grouped as "low-income"— including the three most hit by Ebola — would register a combined 6.3 percent economic growth this year, faster than the 6.1 percent in 2013.

One factor in Africa's favor: Nigeria, West Africa's dominant economy, and Senegal moved decisively to identify and isolate Ebola victims and those who had come into contact with them. "We're incredibly impressed by the ability of Nigeria and Senegal to keep their epidemics contained," Ferreira said.

The World Bank still fears a worst-case scenario in which Ebola breaks out of three countries and spreads across West Africa. Under that scenario, economic losses across West Africa would rise as high as $32.6 billion this year and next, up from no more than $9 billion if the disease were contained.

Continent-wide, Africa has made significant strides. Six of the world's fastest-growing economies are in Africa, the White House reported at an August U.S.-Africa Summit meant to celebrate the continent's rise.

Most analysts think Africa's overall economy will continue to expand. The momentum remains strong, and damage from Ebola still seems likely to be contained. "I don't think there will be lasting damage," said Anna Rosenberg, head of Frontier Strategy Group's sub-Saharan Africa practice. "The growth story coming out of sub-Saharan Africa is too big and too real to be ignored. There's nothing that is going to stop it going forward."

Diallo reported from Conakry, Guinea. AP Writers Christopher S. Rugaber in Washington and Jonathan Paye-Layleh in Monrovia, Liberia, contributed to this report.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Brazilian Opposition Candidate Endorses Neves

Marina Silva, presidential candidate of the Brazilian Socialist Party, PSB, who finished third in the first-round of Brazil's presidential election, drinks tea during a news conference in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014. Silva gave her endorsement Sunday to the leading opposition candidate Aecio Neves in the runoff with President Dilma Rousseff set for Oct. 26.

SAO PAULO, BRAZIL (ASSOCIATED PRESS) — Marina Silva, a popular environmentalist who finished third in the first-round of Brazil's presidential election, gave her endorsement Sunday to the opposition candidate challenging President Dilma Rousseff in the Oct. 26 runoff.

The endorsement from Silva comes as Rousseff appeared to be in a tight race with Aecio Neves, a business-minded former governor who has promised to open Brazil's economy and boost its growth. The two candidates are in a statistical tie according to surveys by the polling firms Datafolha and IBOPE. Some 51 percent of voters surveyed in the last week supported Neves, compared to 49 percent for Rousseff. Both polls had a margin of error of 2 percentage points.

In the weeks before the first-round vote on Oct. 5, Silva had for a time led Rousseff in voter surveys, and many were surprised to see her finish behind Neves. After the election, his campaign said an endorsement by Silva would be key to their attempt to upset Rousseff's bid for a second term.

Silva waited a week to announce her support of Neves. "I will vote for Aecio and support him," she said Sunday. "I trust in the sincerity of the proposals of the candidate and his party, and I give to the Brazilian society the task to see that they are fulfilled."

Polls conducted before the first-round vote suggested as many as 60 percent to 70 percent of Silva's supporters would choose to back Neves if he became the candidate to challenge Rousseff in the runoff.
Neves defied expectations by finishing second in the first round, winning 34 percent of the vote to Rousseff's 42 percent. Silva, who finished with 21 percent of votes, had been a strong contender after she was thrust into the Socialist Party's nomination following the death of its initial presidential candidate a plane crash in August. But her support waned after Rousseff launched an aggressive campaign to discredit her skills.

Neves, of the center-right Social Democracy Party, has said the fact that opposition candidates as a whole outpolled Rousseff in the first round indicates that Brazilians are eager for change after 12 years of rule by the president's Workers' Party.

He said he learned of Silva's endorsement during a phone call with the former environment minister late Saturday. "From now on, we are one body, one project in favor of Brazil and the Brazilians," he told reporters Sunday. "Today is a glorious day in our journey to the country's presidency."

Whether Silva's supporters will give Neves the backing he needs to topple Rousseff, however, is not certain. "I don't think that an endorsement of Marina or of her party guarantees that her voters will follow," said Francisco Fonseca, political analyst with Getulio Vargas Foundation. "In Brazil, unlike other countries, party loyalty is not as strong, it's not a personal, family or generational matter. Here they vote more for people than for parties."

Rousseff has strong support from Brazil's poor, many of whom have benefited from her party's social programs. She has warned that a movement away from her protectionist trade policies would set back the advances made over the last 12 years. Nevertheless, her showing in the first round was the weakest for a Workers' Party candidate in 16 years.

Neves' Social Democracy Party, Brazil's most powerful opposition group, held the presidency between 1994 and 2002, when President Fernando Henrique Cardoso was credited with stabilizing inflation. Neves also has the advantage of family legacy: His grandfather Tancredo Neves, was a cherished politician who was chosen to become Brazil's first post-dictatorship president in 1985 but fell ill and died before taking office.

Car Bomb In Somalia's Capital Kills 11

Somalis carry away a body from the scene of a car bomb attack in the capital Mogadishu, Somalia Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014. A car bomb exploded outside the popular Aroma cafe in Somalia's capital killing at least 11 people and wounding a number of others, a senior police official said Sunday, adding that the bomb was believed to have been detonated by remote control.

MOGADISHU, SOMALIA (ASSOCIATED PRESS) — A car bomb exploded outside a popular cafe in Somalia's capital on Sunday, killing 11 people and wounding eight others, a senior police official said.

The blast struck the Aroma cafe in Mogadishu and the bomb was believed to have been detonated by remote control, senior police official Mohammed Hussein said. Most of those who died were sitting outside the cafe, he said.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but suspicion has fallen on the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab militants who have vowed to avenge the death of their leader, Ahmed Abdi Godane, who was killed in early September in a U.S. airstrike. Godane has been replaced by Ahmed Omar, also known as Abu Ubeid.

Al-Shabab has continued to carry out attacks on Somalia's capital despite being pushed out of Mogadishu by African Union forces supporting Somalia's weak U.N.-backed government in August 2011. The Somali government troops backed by AU forces are making progress in capturing the remaining al-Shabab strongholds. Last week, they captured the port town of Barawe.

Earlier Sunday, gunmen shot and seriously wounded a Somali television reporter, officials said. The African Union Mission in Somalia, or AMISOM, condemned the attack on the reporter, who was shot three times while fleeing from the gunmen.

The attack is the third targeting journalists in Somalia this year, AMISOM said. Somalia remains one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a journalist. Last year, 18 journalists were killed in Somalia.

Obama Gets Update On Latest Ebola Developments

Seen through the window of his Oval Office, President Barack Obama talks with Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell for an update on the new Ebola virus diagnosis in Dallas at the White House in Washington, Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014.

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama has gotten an update about the latest developments on Ebola from his health secretary and his assistant for homeland security.

The White House says Obama has asked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to move as quickly as possible in investigating the apparent breach of infection control procedures at the Texas hospital that had treated a Liberian man with the virus.

 Obama also is having federal authorities take more steps to make sure hospitals and health care providers are ready to follow the proper procedures in dealing with an Ebola patient.

US Says Turkey OKs Use Of Bases Against Militants

Thick smoke, debris and fire rise following an airstrike by the US-led coalition in Kobani, Syria as fighting intensified between Syrian Kurds and the militants of Islamic State group, as seen from Mursitpinar on the outskirts of Suruc, at the Turkey-Syria border, Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014. Kobani, also known as Ayn Arab, and its surrounding areas, has been under assault by extremists of the Islamic State group since mid-September and is being defended by Kurdish fighters.

ABOARD A US MILITARY AIRCRAFT (AP) — Turkey will let U.S. and coalition forces use its bases, including a key installation within 100 miles of the Syrian border for operations against Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq, American defense officials said Sunday.

The Obama administration had pressed Turkey for a larger role against the extremists, and a senior U.S. official confirmed Saturday that Ankara had agreed to train and moderate Syrian rebels on Turkish soil. A Turkish government official said Sunday that Turkey put the number at 4,000 opposition fighters and said they would be screened by Turkish intelligence.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who has been traveling in South America, has said the U.S. wanted access to the Turkish air bases, including one at Incirlik in southern Turkey, from which to launch strikes against the Islamic militants.

That base is part of the agreement, according to U.S. defense officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss private talks between the Americans and Turks. Beyond the training and bases, there are other issues the U.S. hopes Turkey will agree to. U.S. officials have not said what all of those would be because discussions are continuing. The militants have taken over large swaths of Iraq and Syria and driven refugees into Turkey.

Hagel spoke by telephone Sunday with Turkey's defense minister, Ismet Yilmaz, and thanked him for his country's willingness to assist in the fight against Islamic State militants. Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, said Hagel "noted Turkey's expertise in this area and the responsible manner in which Turkey is handling the other challenges this struggle has placed upon the country, in terms of refugees and border security."

Earlier, President Barack Obama's national security adviser, Susan Rice, made clear that the U.S. has not asked "the Turks to send ground forces of their own into Syria." American officials are "continuing to talk to the Turks about other ways that they can play an important role. They are already essential to trying to prevent the flow of foreign fighters" and extremists from exporting oil through Turkey. "So Turkey has many ways it can contribute," Rice told NBC's "Meet the Press."

Turkey and other American allies are pressing the U.S. to create a no-fly zone inside Syrian territory, and seeking creation of a secure buffer on the Syrian side of the border with Turkey. A "safe zone" would require Americans and their partners to protect ground territory and patrol the sky, meaning enforcement of a no-fly area.

Hagel has said American leaders are open to discussing a safe zone, but creating one isn't "actively being considered." Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has estimated it would require hundreds of U.S. aircraft and cost as much as $1 billion a month to maintain an area in Syria safe from attacks by the Islamic State group and Syria's air force, with no assurance of a change in battlefield momentum toward ending the Syrian civil war.

"Do I anticipate that there could be circumstances in the future where that would be part of the campaign? Yeah," Dempsey told ABC's "This Week."