Around the World in 400 Words: October-November 2014

By Anna Shaw

Ebola Epidemic:  As of October 2014, there have been nearly 5,000 deaths due to Ebola, according to BBC News.  While 4,000 of them occurred in Liberia and Sierra Leone, the other thousand have taken place in Guinea, Nigeria, Mali, and the United States.  While the USA has had, by far, the least amount of deaths out of any of these countries, the Ebola outbreak has been some of the biggest news since the Swine Flu.  However, despite the fears in our home country, Liberia and Sierra Leone are experiencing an epidemic far worse; at least 50-75% of people infected die, a number that triples in some of the less accessible areas of these countries.

Istanbul Coal Miners:  According to multiple sources including CNN and, the hope of finding the 18 trapped coal miners in Istanbul are fading fast as of Wednesday, October 28th.  On Monday the 26th, a mine shaft holding 44 miners was flooded with water, with 26 lucky men escaping but the other 18 stuck 1,000 feet down.  The town has been pumping out water through tubes in hopes of freeing them, but the water has continued to rise until it finally started to fall the night of the 28th.  The president of Istanbul, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, responded to the accident by traveling to the scene after cancelling a holiday celebration.  Erdogan is being especially careful in handling this disaster due to the criticism over his handling of an earlier explosion in May.  The country is in fear over what could happen not only to these miners, but their economy if disasters like these continue.

Russian Air Activity:  According to a press release from The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO, there have been reports of a large amount of Russian air activity as of October 29th.  NATO says that it has intercepted four separate groups of Russian warplanes that were “conducting significant military manoeuvres.”  The different types of planes, including strategic bombers, fighters, and tanker aircrafts, have been recorded flying over the Black Sea, North Sea, Atlantic Ocean, and Baltic Sea on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.  In NATO’s released press statement, they said that “these sizeable Russian flights represent an unusual amount of air activity in European airspace.”  While the report didn’t mention any link between the spike in activity and the Russia-Ukraine conflict, which NATO itself has said is the most serious threat to US-European security, these reports have created tension between Russia and NATO sky-high.