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20 December, 2014


Ebola death toll reaches 7,373 in West Africa - WHO

The death toll from the Ebola virus in the three worst-hit countries in West Africa has risen to 7,373, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Saturday. The latest data shows a surge in deaths by 500 out of the 19,031 cases known to date in the effected Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. The current outbreak in West Africa, which began in March, is the largest and most complex Ebola outbreak since the virus was first discovered in 1976.


​5.9 quake hits off Japan’s Fukushima Prefecture coast

A 5.9-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Japan’s main Honshu Island on Saturday, the US Geological Survey reports. The quake happened not far from the power plant, but a spokesman for Tokyo Electric Power Co said no irregularities have been found at its Fukushima Daiichi or Daini plants, Reuters reported. The epicenter of the tremor was located at sea at a depth of 36.9 kilometers, some 49 kilometers east of the town of Namie in Fukushima Prefecture. National broadcaster NHK said there was no tsunami warning and no immediate reports of casualties or serious damage.


​Obama signs massive defense bill authorizing Syrian rebel training

President Barack Obama has signed the $585 billion defense policy bill that endorses US efforts to fight Islamic State militants and allocates military spending for fiscal year 2015. It also authorizes the training and sending of aid to Syrian rebels for two years, and provides $5 billion to train Iraqis battling ISIS. The bill offers the core funding of $521.3 billion for the military and $63.7 billion for overseas operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. When announcing the signing of the bill, Obama called on the Congress to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba.