- Associated Press - Friday, October 24, 2014

World Health Organization: 2-year-old who brought Ebola to Mali dies, many at risk

BAMAKO, Mali (AP) - Many people in Mali are at high risk of catching Ebola because the toddler who brought the disease to the country was bleeding from her nose as she traveled on a bus from Guinea, the World Health Organization warned Friday.

The U.N. agency is treating the situation as an emergency since many people may have had “high-risk exposures” to the 2-year-old girl during her journey through several towns in Mali, including two hours in the capital, Bamako. The girl was traveling with her grandmother.

The toddler died while being treated at a hospital in the western city of Kayes on Friday, according to a statement from the Health Ministry read out on television.

This is the first Ebola case in Mali and may expand to many more. The case highlights how quickly the virus can hop borders and even oceans, just as questions are being asked about what precautions health care workers who treat Ebola patients should take when they return home from the hot zone. Doctors Without Borders insisted Friday, after one of its doctors who worked in Guinea came down with Ebola in New York, that quarantines of returning health workers are not necessary when they do not show symptoms of the disease.

In the Mali case, however, the girl was visibly sick, WHO said, and an initial investigation has identified 43 people, including 10 health workers, she came into close contact with who are being monitored for symptoms and held in isolation. The child was confirmed to have Ebola on Thursday.

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Stocks rise, helped by results from Microsoft, others; S&P; 500’s best week since January 2013

NEW YORK (AP) - The stock market closed out its best week in nearly two years on a positive note Friday, helped by strong quarterly earnings from Microsoft and other big U.S. companies.

After weeks of speculation over the fate of Europe’s economy, Ebola fears and plunging oil prices, investors were able to get back to basics. Wall Street is in the midst of one of the busiest times of the year, when companies report their quarterly results. Ultimately what drives stock prices higher is the potential for a company to earn more, so higher profits generally mean higher stock prices.

“What matters most to the market are earnings expectations and corporate fundamentals, and so far they’re looking pretty good,” said Michael Arone, chief investment strategist at State Street Global Advisors.

Profits for S&P; 500 companies are up 5.6 percent from a year ago this earnings season, according to FactSet. That growth is better than the 4.6 percent increase the market was expecting.

Quarterly results from Microsoft and UPS helped lift stocks Friday, but there have been other strong reports this week. Caterpillar, 3M, Apple and others have all came in well above expectations.

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Authorities: Remains found are those of missing University of Virginia student Hannah Graham

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Remains found nearly a week ago in a rural area of Virginia are those of a university student who disappeared last month, authorities said Friday, ending a search that left the campus and community on edge.

University of Virginia sophomore Hannah Graham, 18, disappeared Sept. 13 after a night out with friends. Her remains were found Oct. 18 about 12 miles from campus, in a heavily wooded area of Albemarle County that is home to rolling hills and horse farms.

The man Graham was last seen with, 32-year-old Jesse Leroy Matthew Jr., has been charged with abduction with intent to defile Graham. His attorney, Jim Camblos, said in a voicemail greeting that he is not answering questions about the case.

The remains were discovered roughly 6 miles from where the body of 20-year-old Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington was found after she vanished in 2009. Police have said forensic evidence connects Matthew to Harrington’s killing, which in turn is linked by DNA to a 2005 sexual assault in northern Virginia. Matthew has been charged in the 2005 case.

“When we started this journey together we all hoped for a happier ending. Sadly that was not to be,” Graham’s parents, John and Sue Graham, said in a statement provided by the Albemarle County Police Department. “We are devastated by the loss of our beautiful daughter. … Although we have lost our precious Hannah, the light she radiated can never be extinguished.”

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More calls for travel bans or quarantines as new Ebola cases appear in New York City and Mali

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Ebola virus’s arrival in New York City and yet another West African nation - Mali - renewed questions Friday about whether imposing quarantines or new travel restrictions would help lock down the deadly disease.

There was good news, too, as one of the two American nurses who caught Ebola from a patient headed home from the hospital, stopping by the White House to get a celebratory hug from President Barack Obama. European nations pledged more money to fight the virus in Africa.

A look at Ebola developments worldwide:

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NERVOUS NEW YORKERS

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Police: 2 dead, including student gunman who shot self, in high school attack near Seattle

MARYSVILLE, Wash. (AP) - A student opened fire Friday in a high school cafeteria north of Seattle, killing at least one person and shooting several others in the head before killing himself, officials said.

Students in the cafeteria said the gunman stared at the students as he shot them. They described a chaotic scene at Marysville Pilchuck High School, as panicked students ran for safety.

Student Alan Perez told KING-TV he was eating his lunch near the gunman when he heard the shots.

“He had a little gun in his hand. I saw the flash from the muzzle,” Perez said.

Another student, Austin Taylor, told the station the shooter “was just staring down every one of his victims as he shot them.”

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Is Amazon still a good buy? Big spending drives sales but major losses too, investors irked

NEW YORK (AP) - Amazon has long acted like an ideal customer on its own website: a freewheeling big spender with no worries about balancing a checkbook. Investors confident in founder and CEO Jeff Bezos’ invest-and-expand strategy flooded into the stock as the company revolutionized shopping, upended the book industry and took on the cloud - even though its vast range of initiatives ate up all the company’s profits.

After all, when Amazon.com filed for its IPO 17 years ago, it was very clear: the company would post losses for the “foreseeable future” while it invested in the business to drive bigger and bigger sales. Stockholders seemed to like playing Bezos’ long game: shares more than quadrupled between 2010 and 2014 to over $400 apiece.

Lately, they’ve lost a little patience.

After the Seattle company on Thursday reported a huge third-quarter loss and issued a disappointing holiday forecast, the stock sold off by nearly 10 percent. It’s now lost 28 percent of its value since the beginning of the year, closing at $287.06 Friday.

Daniel Morgan, a Synovus Trust portfolio manager, invests in Amazon. He has no current plans to sell, but he knows Wall Street investors and analysts “tend to have very little patience; they don’t really want to hear a long-term story.”

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Poll: 2 of 3 Americans think the threat posed by Islamic State is very important

WASHINGTON (AP) - Sixty-five percent of Americans now say the threat from the Islamic State group is very or even extremely important, and nearly half think the U.S. military response in Iraq and Syria has not gone far enough, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll. Most want to see America’s partners step up their contribution to the fight,

Less than half, 43 percent, approve of the way President Barack Obama is handling the danger posed by the extremist militants.

Greg Franke, 24, of Columbia, South Carolina, was among the 55 percent of those who disapproved. Franke, a 24-year-old assistant editor at a research library, said he thought Obama was too hesitant in responding to the militants, who have employed brutal tactics to swiftly seize territory.

“I understand the need to be hesitant, but this was a group that was marching across parts of the Middle East, which is already unstable,” Franke said. “I think it warranted a swift and more decisive response.”

“I also think that his declaration that U.S. troops would not be involved was premature,” he said. “I don’t want U.S. troops involved. But I don’t think we need to close doors.”

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Newly released Ebola-free Dallas nurse receives Obama’s thanks and a hug at the White House

BETHESDA, Md. (AP) - A nurse who caught Ebola while caring for a Dallas patient who died of the disease walked out of a Washington-area hospital virus-free Friday and into open arms.

Nina Pham got a hug from President Barack Obama in the Oval Office at the White House. Outside the hospital where she has been since last week, she got hugs from one of the doctors who oversaw her care.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest called the meeting with Obama “an opportunity for the president to thank her for her service.” But the close contact between the president and the former patient also came as officials in New York tried to calm fears after a doctor was diagnosed with Ebola in that city.

Pham said she felt “fortunate and blessed to be standing here today,” as she left the National Institutes of Health’s Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, where she had been since she arrived Oct. 16 from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas.

Pham thanked her health care teams in Dallas and at the NIH and singled out fellow Ebola survivor Dr. Kent Brantly, who recovered after becoming infected in Liberia, for donating plasma containing Ebola-fighting antibodies as part of her care.

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NY and NJ will quarantine doctors and others exposed to Ebola; move prompted by New York case

NEW YORK (AP) - The governors of New Jersey and New York on Friday ordered a mandatory, 21-day quarantine for all doctors and other arriving travelers who have had contact with Ebola victims in West Africa.

The move came after a New York City doctor who returned to the U.S. a week ago from treating Ebola victims in Guinea was diagnosed with the lethal disease.

Many New Yorkers and others were dismayed to learn that after he came home, Dr. Craig Spencer rode the subway, took a cab, went bowling, visited a coffee shop and ate at a restaurant.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the case led them to conclude that the two states need guidelines more rigorous than those of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which recommends monitoring exposed people for 21 days but doesn’t require quarantine, in which people are kept away from others, either at home or some other place.

“It’s too serious a situation to leave it to the honor system of compliance,” Cuomo said.

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Horrifying, or no big deal? Jittery New Yorkers wrestle to put Ebola fears into perspective

NEW YORK (AP) - Traveling into Manhattan by subway from Brooklyn on Friday, the day after a New York doctor was diagnosed with Ebola, Dennis Johnson and his fiancee, Lian Robinson, were trying to be sensible about the odds of the disease spreading.

Still, they found themselves discussing possible escape routes out of the city, just in case.

“I think we’d have to drive,” said Johnson, 42, noting that planes, trains and ferries were modes of transport he’d avoid. New York, he added, “is a big city. It’s a melting pot.”

Veronica Lopez had another way of describing the nation’s most populous city: “Like a giant cesspool.” The 21-year-old student was feeling especially jittery because she lives in a Harlem building next door to that of the patient, Dr. Craig Spencer, who’s now in isolation at Bellevue Hospital.

For the moment, Lopez was planning to decamp to Westchester. “I’m going home to my parents tomorrow,” she noted. “I’m sure we’re fine. But it’s right next door!”

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