On November 25th, the United Nations (U.N.) World Health Organization (WHO) announced that Ebola response targets set for December 1st would not be met in some areas. However, the WHO reported the identification of patient contacts for daily monitoring has reached 99 percent. The WHO’s update on the Ebola situation in West Africa was provided here. On November 25th, U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) described the classes offered by the Department of Defense (DOD) Ebola Treatment Training Team. The classes, which are held at the National Police Training Academy (NPTA) in Monrovia, Liberia, as well as mobile classes that go out to more remote locations, are intended to help train health care workers in caring for Ebola patients. More information was shared here. On November 25th, the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) announced it will send more than 1.5 million medical personal protective sets to American aid workers working to contain the Ebola virus in West Africa. Items procured by DLA include medical clothing and textiles and construction equipment that will be used to help protect U.S. service members and other NGO personnel working in the region. Nearly 50,000 protective suits have already been provided. More information was posted here. On November 26th, the U.N. Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) opened its new location in Mali. Meanwhile, the World Bank approved a $70 million in financing for the development of Ebola prevention projects in Cote d’Ivoire. Details on the U.N. efforts to prepare for Ebola in Mali and Cote d’Ivoire were posted here. On November 26th, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) issued its 9th fact sheet on the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The latest fact sheet highlights USAID’s role in procuring and transporting personal protective equipment (PPE) to Monrovia, Liberia. In addition, the fact sheet notes USAID has committed more than $85 million to the U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) and the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) for the Ebola response in Liberia. The fact sheet can be accessed here. On November 26th, researchers at the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) said a potential Ebola vaccine developed by the NIH and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) appears safe in early testing and that a clinical study in West Africa could proceed as planned late this year or in early 2015, most likely in health care workers infected with Ebola in Liberia. The full story is available here. On November 26th , the White House congratulated the NIH on the first published results from Phase 1 clinical trials of a promising Ebola vaccine candidate. The White House said the outstanding work of the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), to conduct expedited vaccine trials is evidence of the Administration’s determination to mount an aggressive, whole-of-government response to the Ebola crisis. In addition, the White House announced that President Barack Obama would visit the NIH on December 2nd to make the case for prompt congressional action on his emergency funding request to combat Ebola at home and abroad. Feedback from the White House can be seen here. On November 28th, U.N. officials said the number of people that possess the skills necessary to treat and manage Ebola is small. Dr. David Nabarro, U.N. Special Envoy on Ebola, said such individuals are rare and that the U.N. is working tirelessly to find and deploy the best people in the world to the areas affected by Ebola. Regarding the U.N. targets for containing the virus, Dr. Nabarro said there have been promising changes in Liberia and parts of Sierra Leone. He did, however, note that new cases of Ebola are continuing to accelerate in parts of Sierra Leone and Guinea. Dr. Nabarro’s insights were shared here. On November 28th, the WHO reiterated it is possible for the Ebola virus to be present in semen for up to three months after recovery. In light of this information, UNICEF is mobilizing 2,700 teams to educate remote villages and communities in Guinea on both safe sex practices and proper care of children. According to a UNICEF, parents are also not bringing children to health centers due to fear of Ebola transmission. Additional information can be read here. On November 29th, the WHO reported the number of people killed by the Ebola outbreak in West Africa has risen to 6,928. The latest figures include a number of unreported deaths from earlier in the outbreak. In total, there have been over 16,000 reported cases of Ebola in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. While the infection rate has slowed in Liberia, the infection rate remains high in Sierra Leone. Additional statistics were provided here. On December 1st, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said Liberia hopes to have zero cases of Ebola by Christmas. While new cases in Monrovia have dropped to less than a third of their September peak, Ebola is now emerging in more isolated villages where it is more difficult to track disease transmission. President Johnson Sirleaf said officials in Liberia are adopting a more nimble response as part of a strategy to fight Ebola outside the capital. President Johnson Sirleaf’s comments were recorded here. On December 1st, the WHO said that although significant progress has been made in fighting Ebola in West Africa, it will be difficult to achieve the U.N. benchmarks of isolating and treating all patients and safely burying all of the dead by the end of the year. The WHO indicated one of the biggest challenges remains the task of tracking down every person potentially exposed to Ebola. To address this issue, the WHO announced plans to double the number of contact tracing experts on the ground to assist community health workers. The full story is available here. On December 1st, WHO Assistant Director-General Dr. Bruce Aylward announced that both Liberia and Guinea have met the December 1st target for isolating 70 percent of people infected with Ebola and safely burying 70 percent of those who die from the disease. Last week, the U.N. was skeptical that Liberia would meet the benchmark. Sierra Leone has not met the U.N. targets for isolating the infected and burying their dead. More information can be viewed here. On December 1st , speaking in Freetown, Sierra Leone, head of UNMEER Anthony Banbury said there is still a huge risk that Ebola could spread from West Africa to other parts of the world. Special Representative Banbury also said the targets to have 70 percent of all those infected with Ebola under treatment and 70 percent of all of the victims buried appropriately to stop the spread of the virus were now being met in the vast majority of areas in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. Special Representative Banbury’s comments were captured here. On December 1st -7 th , USAID Assistant Administrator for the Bureau of Global Health Dr. Ariel PablosMendez visited Liberia, as part of a delegation of senior U.S. Government officials, including representatives of the Department of State, Department of Defense (DOD), and HHS who are monitoring the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Assistant Administrator Pablos-Mendez was scheduled to meet with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Health Minister George Warner. He also visited an Ebola treatment unit, a safe burial site, and a training center for health care workers, in addition to holding a meeting with implementing partners to discuss international efforts to combat Ebola. Assistant Administrator Pablos-Mendez’s travel was announced here. On December 1st, the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) filed a request for permission to issue a sole-source contract to St. Louis-based Production Products Manufacturing and Sales to develop a transport isolation system that would be used for safe evacuation of Ebola-exposed or Ebola-infected personnel from afflicted areas. The system would allow patients and troops exposed to Ebola to travel to the U.S. on military aircraft. More information was shared here. On December 1st, U.S. Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and Bob Casey (D-PA) discussed the U.S. Government’s response to the Ebola outbreak. Senators Burr and Casey said the Obama Administration should identify one point person with public health experience to communicate with Americans about the Ebola virus. In addition, Senator Burr encouraged the Administration to remain focused on developing an Ebola vaccine. A recording of the discussion can be watched here. On December 2nd, World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim arrived in Ghana as part of mission to observe Ebola response efforts. In Ghana, President Kim met with President John Mahama to discuss Ghana’s economic challenges and to express appreciation for Ghana’s leadership role in coordinating the regional Ebola response. President Kim also participated in a roundtable discussion with private business leaders to discuss the impact of the Ebola outbreak on small and medium enterprises. Additionally, President Kim met with UNMEER officials. Following his stop in Ghana, President Kim traveled on to Liberia. President Kim’s visit to Ghana was outlined here. President Kim’s press conference with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in Liberia was transcribed here. On December 2nd, the World Bank published an Ebola Economic Impact Update assessing the epidemic’s impact in West Africa and recommending actions to reach the goal of zero cases of Ebola as soon as possible. The report finds the total fiscal impact of the Ebola outbreak is more than half a billion dollars in 2014 alone, imposing additional budget needs of more than six percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in Liberia, more than three percent in Guinea, and more than 2.5 percent in Sierra Leone. To discuss the social and economic crises expected from the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the U.N. Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) will convene a special meeting on December 5th . The World Bank report can be downloaded here. On December 2nd, the White House issued a fact sheet providing an update on the Obama Administration’s response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. According to White House Ebola Response Coordinator Ron Klain, the U.S. is far more prepared to cope with Ebola domestically and much farther along in efforts to stop the virus at its source than two months ago. The fact sheet highlights initiatives focused on hospital and health system readiness, ensuring adequate and effective PPE, enhancing domestic Ebola testing laboratories, strengthening prevention and detection measures, developing countermeasures to prevent and treat Ebola, and scaling up the international response. The fact sheet was posted here. On December 2nd, U.S. President Barack Obama visited the NIH to applaud the first published results from Phase 1 clinical trials of the Ebola vaccine developed by the NIH and GSK and to reiterate his call for Congress to approve his Ebola emergency funding request. President Obama acknowledged the Administration’s full support for the development of Ebola vaccines and treatments and said that if approved, the emergency funding request would help speed up testing and approval of Ebola vaccines and therapeutics. President Obama’s remarks were transcribed here. On December 2nd, the USAID Ebola Disaster Response Tram (DART) airlifted more than 135 tons of medical equipment and supplies to Liberia as part of the agency’s efforts to combat the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The cargo contained 107,000 sets of PPE to be distributed to health workers providing care to Ebola patients. A press release was issued here. On December 2nd, USAID reported that a new Ebola treatment unit in Kakata, Liberia, is now fully operational and accepting patients. The first Ebola treatment unit to be built and staffed by the U.S. started receiving patients on November 18th. The opening of the new treatment unit was marked with a visit by members of USAID’s DART and a Liberian delegation that included the Assistant Minister of Health and other county health officials. Information on the new facility was shared here. On December 2nd -5 th, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield traveled to Monrovia, Liberia, as part of a U.S. delegation reviewing ongoing Ebola response efforts. The delegation was led by Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict Michael Lumpkin and also included USAID Assistant Administrator for Global Health Dr. Ariel PablosMendez, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of HHS for Global Affairs Dr. Mitchell Wolfe. While in Liberia, the delegation met with U.S. personnel serving in the region, UNMEER representatives, and international medical staff. The delegation also met with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to discuss how to accelerate Liberia’s economic, political, and social recovery after the Ebola crisis. More information can be seen here. On December 2nd, the CDC announced 35 hospitals that have been identified as having the capability, preparation, and resources to treat patients infected with Ebola. The hospitals are intended to supplement the capabilities at the three national biocontainment units that have handled all but one of the ten cases of Ebola already treated in the U.S. The CDC also indicated additional treatment centers could be identified in the coming weeks. The current list of U.S. Ebola treatment centers can be seen here. On December 2nd, the U.S. Senate passed the Adding Ebola to the FDA Priority Review Voucher Program Act. The legislation will add Ebola and other filoviruses to the program created in 2007 to facilitate the development of new treatments for neglected tropical diseases. The bill has yet to be considered by the House of Representatives. A copy of the legislative text can be downloaded here. On December 2nd, the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation officially launched its #ISurvivedEbola campaign by posting the first in a series of videos featuring Ebola survivors from Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea. The campaign will use survivor stories to help inform the public about the virus and how they can protect themselves, reduce the stigmatization of Ebola survivors, and shift the international narrative on the Ebola outbreak toward resilience and hope. More information was posted here. On December 3rd, U.N. Special Envoy on Ebola Dr. David Nabarro visited Monrovia, Liberia, to assess Ebola response efforts. Dr. Nabarro met with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, staff at the UNMEER office in Monrovia, and other key Ebola response partners. Dr. Nabarro also participated in a radio interview with the U.N. Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), where he urged Liberians to remain alert and vigilant and to sustain Ebola response efforts until every last person with the infection is treated. Dr. Nabarro’s visit to Liberia was outlined here. On December 3rd, the WHO announced Dr. Dauda Koroma, a Sierra Leonean doctor treating Ebola patients, has been infected with the virus. Dr. Koroma is being treated at a military hospital in Freetown. The news of Dr. Koroma’s infection was reported as the WHO unveiled a new report raising concerns that inconsistencies in data collection make information unreliable for drawing any conclusions about the effectiveness of Ebola response efforts in West Africa. An update from the WHO was provided here. On December 3rd, World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim visited Freetown, Sierra Leone, to reaffirm the Bank’s support for the government’s response to the Ebola outbreak. President Kim met with President Ernest Bai Koroma and other government officials and visited the National Ebola Response Center (NERC) and UNMEER facilities. Following his visit to Sierra Leone, President Kim traveled on to Guinea, where he met with President Alpha Conde to discuss the response to the Ebola outbreak. President Kim’s visit to Sierra Leone was detailed here. A transcript of President Kim’s press conference with President Koroma was posted here. President Kim’s meeting with President Conde was summarized here. On December 3rd, AFRICOM Commander General David Rodriguez reported the current force level in West Africa of about 2,900 troops is probably at a peak. While stating it is too early to declare success in containing the spread of Ebola, Commander Rodriguez said the trend lines are moving in the right direction. He speculated Operation United Assistance may be completed and U.S. troops could leave West Africa as early as this summer. Commander Rodriguez’s remarks were captured here. On December 3rd, the main body elements of the 21st Theater Sustainment Command headquarters, 7th Civil Support Command, the 30th Medical Brigade and 16th Sustainment Brigade deployed to Dakar, Senegal, in support of Operation United Assistance. The team will provide strategic logistical support to Joint Forces Command, in addition to being tasked with establishing a life support area and an intermediate staging base for equipment and personnel. More information can be seen here. On December 3rd, eight soldiers from Joint Base Langley-Eustis’ 688th Rapid Port Opening Element completed their 21-day controlled monitoring period at Langley Air Force Base after returning from Liberia. The soldiers were among the first on the ground in West Africa to pave the way for international medical assistance in response to the Ebola outbreak. Two remaining soldiers from the base are still in Liberia, and will undergo similar monitoring at Fort Bliss, Texas, when they return in the coming days. Details can be found here. On December 3rd, officials at Emory University Hospital confirmed an American health care worker in West Africa who may have been infected with Ebola is being flown to Atlanta for treatment. Limited details were available on the patient, but it seemed the evacuation was planned although there was no confirmed Ebola diagnosis. The situation was reported here. On December 3rd, the Washington Post reported one of the biggest challenges to combating Ebola is persuading people to trust the medical system. Anecdotal evidence suggests some individuals who become infected with Ebola go into hiding in the jungle to avoid transmitting the virus to members of their family. Without treatment, many of these individuals die and their cases go unreported. The full article can be read here. On December 4th, AFRICOM reported that malaria poses a bigger threat to service members participating in Operation United Assistance than Ebola. According to Joint Forces Command – United Assistance, someone who is unprotected from malaria has a 50 percent chance per month of getting malaria in Liberia. Meanwhile, the vast majority of DOD personnel in Liberia will have no contract with patients infected with Ebola. The full story is available here. On December 4th, scientists at Oxford University launched the first clinical tests of a new Ebola vaccine approach, using a booster developed by Denmark’s Bavarian Nordic that may improve the effects of a shot developed by GSK. Thirty healthy volunteers in the U.K. who have already received the experimental GSK Ebola vaccine will also receive the Bavarian booster shot. Johnson & Johnson is also working the Bavarian to develop another prime-boost vaccine, with trials expected to begin soon. The new vaccine approach was detailed here. Nigeria On November 28th, U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR) Spokesman Adrian Edwards said that Nigerians fleeing the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria are continuing to arrive in Niger. After an attack by Boko Haram last week that killed 50 people in Damassak, 3,000 people fled to Niger’s Diffa region. UNHCR also reported that while young men were targeted in Damassak, militants also shot at women and children. The situation in Nigeria was addressed here. On November 29th , U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon condemned an attack on Kano Central Mosque in the northern city of Kano, Nigeria, in which dozens of people were killed and scores mores injured when gunmen reportedly set off multiple bombs and fired on worshipers at the mosque. Secretary-General Ban reaffirmed the U.N. commitment to ending terrorism in Nigeria. SecretaryGeneral Ban’s comments were recorded here.On November 28th, the U.S. Department of State condemned the attack on worshippers at the Central Mosque in Kano and recent attacks on innocent civilians in northeastern Nigeria. While no group had claimed responsibility for the attacks, the State Department observed the recent incidents had all the hallmarks of Boko Haram and the group’s disregard for human life as it continues its efforts to destabilize Nigeria. The State Department reiterated the U.S. stands with the Nigerian people in their struggle against violent extremism and the threat of terrorism. A statement was issued here. On November 30th, Shani, a northern Christian town in Nigeria, was attacked by suspected Boko Haram militants. Residents of the town reported that more than 30 men rode in on motorcycles throwing bombs and setting buildings on fire. Shani is in Nigeria’s Borno state, the center of Boko Haram’s insurgency which has displaced over one million people in the last five years. More details on the attack can be read here. On December 1st, suspected Islamic extremists launched attacks against the capitals of Yobe state and Borno state in Nigeria. In the Yobe state capital of Damaturu, insurgents attacked a police station, while in the Borno state capital of Maiduguri, attackers set off two explosions in the same market where two female suicide bombers killed dozens of people last week. It was not immediately clear how many people were killed and wounded in the attacks. While no group had claimed responsibility, Nigeria Defense Ministry Spokesman Major General Chris Olukolade speculated the attacks were orchestrated by Boko Haram. The attacks were described here. On December 1st, the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria indicated it had received a request from the Nigerian Government asking the U.S. to stop training a battalion of Nigerian soldiers to help fight the Islamic uprising in the northeastern part of the country. Observers believe the request may come in response to the U.S. refusal to sell Nigeria helicopter gunships for the fight against Boko Haram. More information is available here. Kenya On November 22nd, National Security Council (NSC) Spokesperson Bernadette Meehan condemned the attack in Kenya by the terrorist group Al Shabaab against innocent civilians traveling aboard a Nairobibound bus. The White House extended condolences to the families and loved ones of the 28 people who were killed and pledged to stand with Kenya in an effort to counter the threat of terrorism. The full statement can be read here. On December 1st, an attack carried out with an IED wounded one person in Garissa, Kenya. Due to the proximity of Garissa to the Somalia-Kenya border, the attack is suspected to be the work of Al Shabaab militants. Authorities were put on high alert following the attack. Details on the event can be found here. On December 2nd, Al Shabaab insurgents killed 36 non-Muslim workers at a quarry in northeast Kenya. Witnesses reported the workers were shot at close range and at least two were beheaded. In the wake of this attack and others, Police Chief David Kimaiyo resigned and Joseph Nkaissery was nominated to replace Interior Minister Joseph ole Lenku. The public has grown increasingly critical of the government and its inability to defend the country against Al Shabaab attacks. Information on the security challenges in Kenya can be viewed here. On December 2nd, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed outrage over the Al Shabaab terrorist attack in Mandera, Kenya, which left over 30 people dead. Militants claiming to belong to the Al Shabaab extremist group targeted non-Muslim civilian workers, killing at least 36 people. This is the second attack in Mandera in the past two weeks. On November 22nd, 28 people were killed on a passenger bus in an attack also carried out by Al-Shabaab. More information can be found here. On December 2nd, NSC Spokesperson Bernadette Meehan issued a statement condemning attacks in Wajir and Mandera counties in Kenya, as well as other recent attacks carried out by Al Shabaab against innocent civilians. Spokesperson Meehan said the U.S. will continue to support Kenya and other regional partners in combating terrorism and violent extremism and protecting human rights. The full statement was posted here. Libya On November 25th, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed concern over the increase in violence in Libya. Fighting resumed with intensity days after a U.N.-mediated ceasefire. In a statement, Secretary-General Ban asked all parties to stop the attacks to prevent a further escalation in hostilities. Excerpts from Secretary-General Ban’s statement can be seen here. On November 26th, the U.N. Security Council echoed a previous statement by Secretary-General Ban Kimoon and voiced profound concern over escalating violence in Libya. In a press release, the Security Council stated the Sanctions Committee was ready to sanction those who threaten Libya's peace, stability, or security, or that obstruct or undermine the successful completion of its political transition. The Security Council’s position was articulated here. On December 2nd, air strikes west of Tripoli killed at least three people. The strikes were carried out by forces loyal to the country’s internationally recognized government. Military officials reported that two of the three locations targeted were a food storage area and a fishing port. An account of the air strikes in Libya can be read here. On December 3rd, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom (U.K.), the U.S. Secretary of State, the High Representative of the European Union (EU) for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and the U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs met in Brussels to assess the current situation in Libya. The leaders expressed concern for the deteriorating security situation and welcomed the announcement by U.N. Special Representative for Libya Bernardino Leon that he will convene new peace talks on December 9th. More broadly, the global leaders condemned recent violence, called for an immediate cessation of hostilities, and encouraged stakeholders to work toward building a national unity government for Libya. The meeting was summarized here. On December 3rd, AFRICOM Commander General David Rodriguez said the U.S. military is closely monitoring a nascent effort by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) to train a couple of hundred fighters in eastern Libya. Commander Rodriguez indicated that intelligence suggests the trainees appear to be members of Libyan militias who are attempting to align themselves with ISIL. For the time being, the U.S. has not recommended the use of U.S. troops or air power to go after the ISIL training camps in Libya. Commander Rodriguez’s comments were recorded here. On December 4th, the internationally recognized Libyan Government led by Prime Minister Abdullah alThinni launched another air strike near Tripoli. While the rival government in Tripoli linked to Libya Dawn fighters reported the target of the air strike was a poultry farm in Qaser Ben Gashir, near Tripoli airport, the Libyan Army, now allied with the forces of former Army General Khalifa Hiftar, reported it had hit military installations and other strongholds of Libya Dawn in the area. This latest air strike is part of the Libyan Government’s newly announced offensive campaign to take back Tripoli. Accounts of the air strike can be seen here. South Sudan On December 2nd, a spokeswoman for U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon denied suggestions that the U.N. intends to place South Sudan under a protectorate, stressing neither the Secretary-General nor the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) is aware of any plans or discussions within the U.N. to take such a course of action. The U.N. reaction can be seen here. On December 3rd, U.N. Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said that an outburst of heavy fighting between government and opposition forces in South Sudan represents the most sustained hostilities between the two parties since May. According to the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), clashes in Jonglei State resulted in the displacement of approximately 4,000 civilians. In the wake of the fighting, UNMISS is continuing to provide protection and logistical support to the monitoring and verification teams working in South Sudan. More information is available here. Egypt On November 29th, an Egyptian court dropped all remaining criminal charges against former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, including charges in the killing of protestors demonstrating against his 30-year rule. In addition, the court acquitted President Mubarak, his two sons, and a wealthy business associate of corruption charges. Following his court appearance, President Mubarak was returned to the military hospital where he has been held due to his frail health. If normal legal procedures are followed, President Mubarak could be freed for the first time since he was removed from power in 2011. The court decision was met with protests in Tahrir Square that resulted in at least one person dead and 85 others arrested. Details were reported here. On December 1st, hundreds of demonstrators gathered at Cairo University to protest the court’s decision to drop criminal charges against Hosni Mubarak. The protesters demanded the fall of regime, the same cry used in the 2011 uprising, while holding pictures of Mubarak behind bars. Police were present at the gates to keep students from taking the protest into the streets. An article on the protest can be read here. On December 2nd, Egypt’s public prosecutor, Hesham Barakat, appealed the court decision to drop charges against former president Hosni Mubarak, his Interior Minister, and six of his aides for killing protesters in the 2011 uprising that toppled his government. The appeals court will now decide to accept or reject the appeal. If the court accepts the appeal, Mubarak will be retried for the third and final time, according to Egyptian law. More information can be found here. On December 2nd, in response to the conclusion of acquittal of former President Hosni Mubarak, at least five people, including two security officers, were reportedly killed in Cairo, drawing the deep concern of the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). OHCHR expressed alarm at the increasing polarization in Egyptian society, as well as forceful government responses to protests and demonstrations by Egyptian citizens. Egypt has witnessed considerable violence since the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak three years ago following mass protests. Feedback from OHCHR was posted here. Namibia On November 30th, the U.S. Department of State issued a statement congratulating the people of Namibia for exercising their democratic right to vote in presidential and parliamentary elections on November 28th . The State Department applauded Namibia’s commitment to an open electoral process and respect for presidential term limits, as well as the active participation of the country’s political parties, civil society, and citizens in shaping an inclusive discussion throughout the campaign. In addition, the State Department expressed eagerness to continue to work with the new Namibian Government to strengthen health care systems, counter threats to Namibia’s unique ecosystems, promote peace and security in the region, and protect human rights. The full statement was posted here. On December 1st, Namibia’s electoral commission announced a landslide victory for presidential candidate Namibian Prime Minister Hage Geingob and the South West Africa People’s Organization (SWAPO) party. Prime Minister Geingob won the presidential contest with 87 percent of the vote. In the parliamentary elections, SWAPO won 80 percent of the vote and, as a result, will hold 78 of the 96 seats in Namibia’s national assembly. The Democratic Turnhalle Alliance won 4.8 percent of the vote and will hold five seats, while the Rally for Progress and Democracy won just 3.15 percent of the vote and will hold just three seats. The elections were billed as Africa’s first e-vote. The elections results were announced here. Zambia On November 30th, a part of Zambia’s ruling party, Patriotic Front (PF), controversially elected Defense Minister Edgar Lungu as the party’s president, positioning him to run as the party’s candidate in the January presidential elections. According to Sylvia Masebo, head of the PF’s election committee, the choice was made illegally, as it was done prior to the complete registration of all the delegates. The eight other candidates have now discredited the process. The full story can be read here On December 3rd , Al Jazeera detailed the split in Zambia’s PF party, ahead of elections to select a permanent successor to President Michael Sata, who passed away in October. A faction of the party loyal to Acting President Guy Scott has selected President Sata’s nephew, Miles Sampa, as its candidate, while another faction of the party is backing Defense Minister Edgar Lungu. The PF division is expected to make United Party for National Development (UPND) leader Hakainde Hichilema and former President Rupiah Banda of the Movement for Multiparty Democracy more competitive in the January 20th elections. The situation was detailed here. On December 4th , Zambia’s high court declared Defense Minister Edgar Lungu the duly elected presidential candidate for the PF party. In announcing the ruling, Judge Mungeni Mulenga noted the election of Miles Sampa as another party president of the Patriotic Front was therefore illegal and void. In response to the ruling, Sampa said the judgment was made without input from his faction of the party and announced his lawyers will take the matter to Zambia’s supreme court. The full story is available here. United States – Africa Relations White House On December 1st, in recognition of World AIDS Day, the White House issued a fact sheet on the U.S. commitment to addressing HIV/AIDS. The fact sheet highlights that the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) has supported more than 6.5 million voluntary medical male circumcision procedures in Eastern and Southern Africa and details the new Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored, and Safe (DREAMS) initiative, which will further the goal of achieving an AIDS-free future for adolescent girls and young women in sub-Saharan Africa. The fact sheet can be downloaded here. On December 1st, National Security Advisor Susan Rice delivered remarks at a World AIDS Day event. National Security Advisor Rice discussed her travel through Africa 20 years ago and the hopelessness she observed at the time related to the AIDS crisis. She also noted that in sub-Saharan Africa, young girls are infected with AIDS at about four times the rate of boys. National Security Advisor Rice’s remarks were transcribed here. Department of State On November 28th, Secretary of State John Kerry issued a statement on Mauritania’s independence day. Secretary Kerry said Mauritania and the U.S. have a strong partnership founded on shared interests for regional peace and security, and countering the spread of Ebola in West Africa. Additionally, Secretary Kerry acknowledged President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz’s participation in the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, as well as his work in crafting a ceasefire agreement in Mali and his leadership in countering terrorism is the Sahel. Secretary Kerry’s full statement can be read here. On December 1st, Secretary of State John Kerry delivered a message on the Central African Republic’s (CAR) national day. Secretary Kerry said the U.S. is proud to stand with the courageous people of the CAR and commended Central Africans who are working to promote peace, advance the democratic transition, and promote national reconciliation. He also said the resumption of operations at the U.S. Embassy in Bangui in September is a testament to the U.S. commitment to supporting the CAR in seeking security, justice, and prosperity for everyone. Secretary Kerry’s comments can be viewed here. On December 1st, Secretary of State John Kerry delivered remarks at a World AIDS Day event. Secretary Kerry reported that since the launch of PEPFAR in 2003, new HIV infections are down by nearly 40 percent. As part of new efforts to fight HIV/AIDS, Secretary Kerry highlighted the launch of new programs in Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, to double the total number of children on lifesaving anti-retroviral therapy over the next two years. Secretary Kerry’s remarks were transcribed here. On December 1st, the State Department published a media note on new U.S. Government initiatives accelerating efforts to end the global HIV/AIDS epidemic and the effectiveness of PEPFAR to promote strategic partnerships and smart investments to achieve an AIDS-free generation. The State Department highlighted a partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Nike Foundation to reduce new HIV infections in adolescent girls and young women in ten countries, targeted investments in health systems for disease response, the launch of children’s HIV/AIDS treatment initiatives in ten sub-Saharan African countries, and the Global Pediatric Antiretroviral (ARV) Commitment to Action. Additional information can be found here. On December 2nd, State Department Chief of Protocol Ambassador Peter Selfridge hosted a farewell reception in honor of Ambassador of South Africa to the U.S. Ebrahim Rasool, at the Department of State. The reception was noticed here. On December 2nd, U.S. Ambassador to Morocco Dwight Bush, Sr., Principal Deputy Director of the Bureau of Overseas Building Operations (OBO) Heather Townsend, and local officials dedicated a new U.S. Embassy in Rabat. The $181 million, multi-building complex includes a Chancery, U.S. Marine Security Guard residence, and a service/utility building. The project also incorporated numerous sustainable features intended to conserve resources and reduce operating costs. Information on the new U.S. Embassy in Morocco was issued here. On December 4th, Special Representative for Global Partnerships Andrew O’Brien met with Secretary General of the Mohammadan League of Scholars and committee head of the U.S.-Morocco Strategic Dialogue Dr. Ahmed Abaddi, and partners of the J. Christopher Stevens Virtual Exchange Initiative. The meeting was listed here. On December 4th, State Department Director of Policy Planning David McKean met with Egyptian Ambassador to the U.S. Mohamed Tawfik, at the Department of State. The meeting was included on the State Department’s daily appointment schedule, which can be accessed here. U.S. Agency for International Development On November 26th, USAID’s Impact Blog featured a post on “Inspiring the Next Generation of Nutrition Leaders in Uganda.” The blog post details how the Strengthening Partnerships, Results, and Innovations in Nutrition Globally (SPRING) project has been effective in helping Bachelor of Science in Human Nutrition and Dietetics students at Kyambogo University gain technical experience to ease their transition into the working world. The blog can be accessed here. On November 28th , Reuters reported that President Obama’s Power Africa initiative, operated by USAID, has yet to make headway in doubling electricity output in Africa by adding megawatts of power to the grid. According to USAID, a year after the program’s launch, the U.S. Government had already achieved 25 percent of its goal to deliver 10,000 megawatts of electricity and bring light to 20 million households and businesses. However, it remains unclear how much of the $7 billion pledged has been spent and how much private sector investment has materialized. The full story can be viewed here. On December 4th, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah delivered remarks at the Linkages World AIDS Day Event. The event was held to launch the Linkages across the Continuum of HIV Services for Key Populations Affected by HIV (LINKAGES) project, the largest PEPFAR-supported project for key populations affected by HIV. An agenda for the event was posted here. On December 4th, USAID published its quarterly newsletter on the Power Africa initiative. The quarterly newsletter highlights some of the projects that have been launched as part of the Power Africa campaign, including the $50 million Azura-Edo power plant project near Benin City in Edo State, Nigeria, Cummins’ construction of a bio-digester project in Kenya, and emergency procurement of power generators to provide electricity to Ebola treatment units in Liberia. The newsletter was issued here. Department of Defense On November 25th, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Europe and Africa noted that a team of U.S. Marines and Coast Guardsmen recently conducted an outboard motor maintenance course for sailors of the Mauritanian Navy. The course was intended not only to improve boat maintenance to increase Mauritania’s overall military capacity, but also to showcase the strong military partnership between the U.S. and Mauritania. An article on the course can be read here. On November 30th, U.S. Marines conducted a maintenance training engagement with noncommissioned officers of the Ghanaian Armed forces. The Marines with the Mobile Training Team will work with partner militaries to enhance motor transportation maintenance and basic daily operations to include safety, records management, parts procurement, and parts accountability. The training engagement was described here. On December 1st, U.S. Marines with the Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force (SPMAGTF) – Crisis Response – Africa completed a training engagement with members of the Ugandan People’s Defense Force (UPDF) on detection techniques and safety precautions for improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Held at Camp Singo, Uganda, the training covered the basics for what steps each UPDF soldier can take to keep themselves and fellow soldiers safe if they encounter an IED. The training was detailed here. On December 3rd, Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) reported that senior enlisted leaders recently completed a trip to Burundi where they engaged with more than 100 students from Camp Burundi Non Commissioned Officers (NCO) Academy to share best practices, speak with students, and answer questions. The visit was noted here. On December 3rd, AFRICOM summarized a three-week basic intelligence course to help train and assist the Burundian Army that recently concluded in Bujumbura. The class consisted of 28 students, including some who were receiving their first intelligence training. The concepts covered in the course were designed to provide Burundian intelligence personnel with a baseline to help support peacekeeping missions in Somalia and the CAR. More information is available here. On December 4th, AFRICOM highlighted its recent donation of over $50,000 in educational materials to support the South African Government’s effort to improve education opportunities for children from lower quintile schools. More than 3,000 South African students have benefitted from the program, which has provided them with science kits, math instruments, and drawing sets. Details on the donations can be found here. Millennium Challenge Corporation On December 2nd, the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) notified Congress that it intends to obligate up to $2,800,000 to facilitate the development and implementation of a Millennium Challenge Compact with the Government of Liberia. The compact will help Liberia to achieve sustainable economic growth and inclusive economic development following the country’s civil war and will also help to promote economic recovery in light of the Ebola outbreak. Additional information can be seen here. Congress On December 1st, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) authored an op-ed on the House Intelligence Committee’s release of its report on the September 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya. Senator Paul criticized the report’s finding that there was no intelligence failure prior to the attacks. Senator Paul opined that the incident in Benghazi was the definition of intelligence failure. The full op-ed can be read here. On December 10th, the House Select Committee on Benghazi will hold a hearing titled, “Reviewing Efforts to Secure U.S. Diplomatic Facilities and Personnel.” Witnesses will include Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security Greg Starr and State Department Inspector General Steve Linick. The hearing was noticed here. North Africa On November 25th, and International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission concluded a visit to Cairo, Egypt, to hold discussions for the 2014 Article IV consultation. Discussions focused on economic and financial developments, the outlook, and the authorities’ economic policies and reform plans. The IMF team observed that Egypt’s economy is beginning to recover after four years of slow activity, while political consensus on the need for economic reforms is emerging. Additional analysis was provided here. On November 30th, Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, the Egyptian militant organization also known as Sinai Province that is aligned with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), claimed responsibility for the killing of American oil worker William Henderson in Egypt’s Western desert on August 6th. In claiming responsibility, the terrorist group published pictures of a passport and identification cards belonging to Henderson, who had been in Egypt working for Qarun Petroleum Co., a joint venture between Apache and the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation. More information can be seen here. On December 1st , the U.N.-African Union (AU) Hybrid Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) announced the launch of a campaign throughout the western region of Sudan against the recruitment of children as soldiers. The strategic plan establishes an implementation follow-up committee not only to raise awareness about the negative impact of using children as soldiers, but also to identify children who have served as fighters in past ethnic conflicts and to work with relevant organizations to rehabilitate and reintegrate them into society including through access to education and vocational training skills. The launch of the campaign was noted here. On December 1st, a Tunisian police officer was beheaded by Islamist militants near the Algerian border. Interior Ministry Spokesman Mohamed Ali Laroui said the victim was taken along with his brother by ten militants. The Tunisian Government is heightening security measures in preparation for the presidential election runoff between incumbent Moncef Marzouki and Beji Caid Essebsi, leader of the Nidaa Tounes party. The full details can be read here. On December 2nd, Tunisia’s first fully elected parliament held its first session. The parliament will sit for the next five years and faces the challenge of carrying out the democracy the public sought during the 2011 revolt against former Tunisian President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali. At the top of the agenda is forming a new government coalition and naming a prime minister. Additional information on the first session of Tunisia’s parliament can be read here. On December 3rd , the Telegraph reported that flooding following torrential rains in Morocco have left at least 11 people dead. Last week, a storm killed 36 people. Just this past weekend, parts of Morocco experiences the equivalent of an entire year’s rainfall. The situation in Morocco was described here. On December 4th, Tunisia’s parliament appointed secularist Mohammed Nacertaht of the Nidaa Tounes party as its speaker. Nidaa Tounes holds 86 of the 217 seats in the Tunisian parliament, while the Islamist Ennahda party holds 69 seats. Nidaa Tounes is seeking to create a ruling collation with smaller parties, but a government is unlikely to be formed until a second round of presidential elections is held later this month. First round winner Nidaa Tounes candidate Beji Caid Essebsi will face off against incumbent President Moncef Marzouki on December 28th. More information was shared here. East Africa On November 26th, the World Bank highlighted the technical assistance provided to the Government of Uganda to help encourage private sector investment in infrastructure projects in the country. To meet the increased demands on the road network, the Government of Uganda is seeking to fund a five-year program of roadway improvement projects. Government officials are closely examining public private partnership (PPP) arrangements to meet the funding gap for priority projects, including the KampalaJinja expressway. The full story is available here. On November 29th, the World Bank announced it will provide $1.2 billion and additional resources to support infrastructure development and improve the competitiveness of the East African Community (EAC) states. The World Bank’s investments and support to reforms anticipate the boom of extractives in the region and will facilitate the easier movement of people, goods, and capital. The financing is expected to yield the greatest benefits for East African farmers, traders, youth, and women. Details were shared here. On December 1st, the World Bank highlighted the effectiveness of the Total War Against HIV and AIDS (TOWA) Project to empower community-based organizations to expand the coverage of HIV/AIDS prevention and mitigation activities in their local communities, and particularly in Kenya, which has the fourth largest HIV epidemic in the world. Through TOWA, Kenya’s Ministry of Health and the National AIDS Control Counsel distributed over three million insecticide treated bed nets and 300 million condoms nationwide and funded grants to more than 10,000 community-based organizations. More information can be found here. On December 4th, the U.N. Security Council and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned an Al Shabaab terrorist attack in Mogadishu, Somalia. Al Shabaab militants ambushed a convoy of U.N. vehicles and killed and injured several Somali bystanders and security personnel. According to the U.N. Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), no staff was injured in the attack. The incident was reported here. West Africa On November 25th, the World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors approved a $750 million International Development Association (IDA) credit to help Cote d’Ivoire improve deployment and quality of health services focused on maternal, newborn, and child health and nutrition services. The financing will support the Health Systems Strengthening and Ebola Preparedness Project, which is aimed at promoting proactive measures to prevent the spread of Ebola in Cote d’Ivoire. The financing was announced here. On December 1st, the Executive Board of the IMF completed the first and second reviews of Mali’s performance under an economic program supported by a three-year Extended Credit Facility (ECF) arrangement. The IMF observed that while economic recovery is underway in Mali, the economy remains fragile in light of security challenges, as well as the Ebola epidemic in West Africa. The Board’s decision enables the immediate disbursement of $11.7 million. More information can be viewed here. On December 1st, the Government of Ghana announced it will be partnering with the Better Than Cash Alliance, hosted by the U.N. Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), to focus on transitioning forms of Government payments to electronic payments. This move will enhance the stability and transparency of Ghana’s fiscal apparatus and promote the financial inclusion of its citizens. The partnership was announced here. On December 1st, the Gambian Government condemned pressure by the EU to revoke its law against homosexuality. The EU is applying pressure as it decides whether or not to release 150 million euros in development aid to Gambia. Foreign Minister Bala Garba Jahumpa said the country would not allow foreign nations to use aid as a method to impose policies on the government. The full story can be read here. On December 1st , Nigerian billionaire Tony Elumelu held a press conference to launch The Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme (TEEP). The new program will commit $100 million to creating 10,000 entrepreneurs across Africa over the next ten years. By promoting African start-ups, the initiative will aim to create 1,000,000 new jobs and add $10 billion in annual revenues to Africa’s economy. More information was reported here. On December 2nd, Nigerian automaker Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company unveiled a new line of cars manufactured at the company’s Nnewi plant in Anambra state, Nigeria. Seventy percent of the parts used in manufacturing the cars are locally sourced, in line with a new policy in Nigeria to discourage the importation of wholly assembled automobiles in order to encourage local manufacturing. Innoson plans to launch its new line in neighboring countries, including Benin and Ghana. More information can be found here. On December 4th, following a state funeral and ceremony organized by the military to honor six civilians killed during the recent uprising in Burkina Faso, the general public appeared to express support for the involvement of the military in supporting the country’s political transition. Lieutenant Colonel Isaac Zida’s popularity remains high, especially as he assumes his role as Prime Minister of Burkina Faso. The situation in Burkina Faso was described here. On December 5th, the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) will host its third biannual PeaceGame event. The event will explore the economic and political causes of radicalization and support for violent extremism in the context of the current situation in Nigeria. Event details were shared here. Sub-Saharan Africa On November 26th, the U.N. Security Council condemned the civilian massacre that occurred on November 20th in North Kivu province in the DRC. While extending condolences to the families of the now more than 200 civilians that have been killed since October, the Security Council urged the DRC Government to increase efforts in civilian protection. The Security Council also said that any efforts to undermine the U.N. Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) would not be tolerated and perpetrators would be held accountable for threats or attacks against peacekeepers. The Security Council’s reaction to the situation in the DRC was detailed here. On November 28th, U.N. Special Rapporteur Farida Shaheed said addressing culture rights issues in Botswana should involve communities affected by government policies. After a 13-day visit to Botswana, Special Rapporteur Shaheed identified several best practices and potential challenges regarding the protection of cultural rights in Botswana. A press statement on her recent visit to Botswana was issued here. On November 29th, the Associated Press reported that South Africa-based Paramount Group, a manufacturer of military vehicles and other equipment, has launched an academy to train canines to serve as anti-poaching operatives. In South Africa, poachers have killed more than 1,000 rhinos this year, surpassing the 2013 record. In addition to implementing more robust patrols and surveillances, courses have been implemented to train canine units to find firearms or contraband, track suspects in the undergrowth, and abseil in harnesses from helicopters in pursuit of poachers. The new initiative was described here. On December 1st, the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) upheld Congolese rebel leader Thomas Lubanga’s conviction for recruiting and using child soldiers, handing down its firstever appeals verdict. Lubanga was sentenced to 14 years in prison in March 2012 for recruiting and using child soldiers in 2002 and 2003. The full story is available here. On December 1st, the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) announced plans to initiate a $32 million fiber optic backbone network to improve connectivity within the country. Consistent with the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socioeconomic Transformation (Zim-Asset), the project will require some 1,850 kilometers of cable and is intended to drastically improve national capabilities in power monitoring and grid control and increase internet bandwidth. The project was detailed here. On December 1st, the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) hosted its “Reframing South Africa” conference to address new ways to think about South Africa in the regional and global economy, possibilities for industrial policy, innovation in social programs, and shifts in economic structure. Speakers included Marianne Ulriksen of the University of Johannesburg, Ralph Mathekga of ClearcontentResearch and Consulting, Gavin Hartford of Stakeholders Solutions, Antoinette Handley of the University of Toronto, Mcebisi Ndletyana of MISTRA, Steve Friedman of the University of Johannesburg, Peter Leon of Webber Wentzel, and Faud Cassim of South Africa’s National Treasury. Details can be seen here. On December 2nd, a team of U.N. Special Envoys strongly condemned the killing of some 100 civilians on November 20th in the town of Beni, in North Kivu province of the DRC. Envoys called on the DRC Government to engage in robust military action against the group perpetrating these crimes. The civilian massacre was attributed to the Uganda-based militia group, Allied Democratic Forces (ADF). U.N. officials urged the ADF and other armed organizations to disband or face international military action. The reaction to the attack can be seen here. On December 2nd, Ford Motor Company announced the cancellation of contract components with SKF. It is estimated that 250 jobs at a South African forging company could be lost as a result of this change. The decision comes after 220,000 metal-workers went on strike for four weeks earlier this fall, impacting the assembly lines making car parts for Toyota, General Motors, and Ford. More details on the contract cancellations in South Africa can be read here. On December 2nd, ArcelorMittal South Africa, the continent’s largest steel maker, announced it would raise its prices if the South African Government implemented a carbon tax in 2016. If implemented, ArcelorMittal would be forced to pay approximately $54.5 million in carbon taxes per year. The full story is available here. On December 4th, the Government of the DRC said it is beginning to repatriate former M23 rebels from Uganda and Rwanda as part of an effort to prevent the defeated insurgents from regrouping. More than a thousand fighters are believed to have fled into neighboring countries when the rebellion fell in 2013, where they have been awaiting amnesties promised under a peace deal. A Congolese delegation tasked with helping to facilitate repatriation was expected to arrive in Uganda on Friday. Details were shared here. General Africa News On December 1st, the seventh issue of the Ericsson Mobility report, which shares forecast data and analysis on mobile subscriptions, was published. According to the latest mobility report, Africa has topped 880 million in mobile subscriptions in the third quarter of 2014. Additional findings were highlighted here. On December 1st, the ONE Campaign, an advocacy group working to end poverty and preventable disease in Africa, said the world has made significant progress in fighting AIDS. Erin Hohlfelder, ONE's Director of Global Health Policy, said the tipping point in the fight against AIDS has been reached, but progress can be stalled if efforts are not continued. Details on global HIV/AIDS data can be viewed here. * * * View ML Strategies professionals. Boston Washington www.mlstrategies.com Copyright © 2014 ML Strategies LLC. All rights reserved.