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Council on Foreign Relations Daily News Brief
October 21, 2014

Top of the Agenda

CDC Announces New Ebola Guidelines

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced new guidelines (Al Jazeera) for treating Ebola on Monday night. The regulations call for a site manager to supervise healthcare workers when putting on and removing protective gear. Healthcare workers are also required to wear head-to-toe gear (Reuters) with no skin exposure, undergo special training, and show competency in using protective equipment. U.S. emergency doctors say that with proper protocols in place, there is no need to panic over the spread of Ebola.


"We cannot be a country ruled by fear. We must care for those in need. But a few hospitals cannot combat this public health threat alone. We need government leadership to provide the resources necessary to implement a coordinated, scalable national plan. It can be done," writes John T. Fox in the Washington Post.

"The fear and panic could place further constraints on government capacity to tackle the public health emergency. Worse, the associated social distancing measures, in conjunction with the government anti-Ebola interventions, could have substantial negative economic impacts in the United States. […] Americans may be overreacting to the threat of Ebola, but that overreaction is understandable. When planning further Ebola control measures, the Obama administration has to seriously take this fear factor into account," writes CFR's Yanzhong Huang.

"[Ebola] is a frightening disease. […] But Americans need to relax. We need to be realistic. The real problem is not one, two cases here in the United States. The real problem is that this epidemic is completely out of control in Africa," said CFR's Laurie Garrett on NBC's Meet the Press.


What Threats and Conflicts Will Emerge or Escalate in 2015?

CFR's annual Preventive Priorities Survey aims to assist policymakers in anticipating and planning for international crises that threaten U.S. national interests. What threats and conflicts will emerge or escalate in 2015? Tell us what you think.


China's Third-Quarter Growth Falls Short of Target

China's economy grew by only 7.3 percent in the third quarter, its lowest in five years (SCMP) and short of the targeted 7.5 percent for 2014. Slowed Chinese growth heightens concerns about the reversal of a global economic recovery.

The common U.S. conception of state capitalism in China is dated and wrong, writes CFR's Peter R. Orszag.

SRI LANKA: The government announced on Tuesday that Sri Lanka will hold presidential elections in January 2015 (Irrawaddy), nearly two years ahead of schedule. The announcement follows signs of President Mahinda Rajapaksa's waning popularity and accusations of his party's power abuse.



Afghan Opium-Poppy Production Near Record Highs

Afghanistan's opium-poppy production (Bloomberg) is at record levels despite $7.6 billion in U.S. counter-narcotics funding, according to a report by the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction. The narcotics trade in Afghanistan remains an important financial source for the Taliban and other insurgent groups.

This CFR Backgrounder looks at the emergence of the Afghan Taliban.

PAKISTAN: Pakistan's media regulation authority suspended the license of ARY News (BBC), a private broadcast network that supports opposition leader Imran Khan. A court ruled that the network defamed the judiciary, and ordered the station off the air for fifteen days, and imposed a nearly $100,000 fine.



Report: Signs of Iranian Nuclear Compliance

A report by the UN's nuclear watchdog indicates Iran is making efforts to comply (IBT) with the interim nuclear agreement, diluting more than 4,100kg (9,000 pounds) of enriched uranium. The deadline for a nuclear deal is Nov. 24.

The United States and Iran have an interest in not allowing a confrontation over the nuclear issue interfere with the campaign against ISIS, says nuclear expert Gary Samore in this CFR Interview.

SYRIA: Fighting intensified (AFP) between ISIS and Kurdish forces for the town of Kobani on Monday night. ISIS appeared to be attempting to cut off access to the Turkish border before reinforcements and supplies could reach the Kurds, according the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Without a capable military partner on the ground, the U.S.-led coalition will likely consider introducing special forces in the battle against ISIS, says expert Frederic C. Hof in this CFR Interview.



New Wave of Violence Tests Cease-Fire in Nigeria

Twenty-five suspected Boko Haram militants and five civilians are dead following clashes in northern Nigeria (Reuters), according to a military source and local residents. The violence comes after the government and Boko Haram declared a truce over the weekend in hopes that the agreement would lead to the release of more than two hundred schoolgirls who were kidnapped in April.

This CFR Backgrounder chronicles the rise of Islamist group Boko Haram.

SOUTH SUDAN: A UN special envoy condemned sexual violence (Sudan Tribune) in South Sudan. The UN says that as many as twenty-four thousand women are at risk of sexual violence committed by members of the army, the police service, and an opposition group.



Franco-Spanish Energy Dispute Tests EU

Madrid claims that France has long blocked Spanish wind energy (FT) from connecting to European power networks in order to protect the French nuclear energy market. The Franco-Spanish energy dispute surfaces before an EU summit this week and heightens concerns over European energy supplies as the EU's relationship with Russia is tested.

RUSSIA: The chief executive of French oil giant Total, Christophe de Margerie, was killed in a plane accident (Bloomberg) on a Moscow runway. De Margerie had overseen a global expansion in Total's operations, including shale fields in Siberia.

De Margerie spoke about the future of energy in a CFR meeting in 2013. Watch the video.



Chile Installs First Solar Plant

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet attended the ceremony for the installation of Chile's first solar plant (LAHT) in the northern Atacama region. The facility is the largest in Latin America and will provide power to approximately 170,000 homes. Meanwhile in Chile, a former aide to military dictator Augusto Pinochet was arrested and charged for the disappearance and murder (Santiago Times) of thirteen people as part of an ongoing investigation in human rights abuses during Pinochet's rule.



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