World News Brief, Wednesday September 17

Obama to expand efforts on ebola; China finds natural gas in South China Sea; Philippines government orders evcuation of volcano region; US steps up Iraq airstrikes; new tax breaks for Brazil; and more

Top of the Agenda

Obama to Expand Ebola Efforts

President Barack Obama is set to announce on Tuesday an expansion of military and medical resources (WSJ) to combat the spread of the Ebola virus in West Africa, where the U.S. military will deploy roughly 3,000 personnel to coordinate international aid, build treatment centers, and train health-care workers. The proposal comes after weeks of international pressure on Washington to escalate its response to the epidemic (NYT), which has killed at least 2,400 people and sickened more than 4,700. The Obama administration has also requested an additional $88 million from Congress to combat the virus, including $58 million to hasten the production of experimental antiviral drugs (FT).


"Any non-indigenous military use must be carefully considered, weighing the tremendous professional skills and experience combat medics could bring to the epidemic fight against potential blowback from conspiracy-mongers and Islamists," writes CFR's Laurie Garrett for Foreign Policy.

"The United Nations is the only international organization that can direct the immense amount of medical, public health and humanitarian aid that must come from many different countries and nongovernmental groups to smother this epidemic. Thus far it has played at best a collaborating role, and with everyone in charge, no one is in charge," writes Michael T. Osterholm for the New York Times.

"Countries cannot focus solely on measures to protect their own borders. Only by battling the epidemic at its roots can we stem it. This is a transnational crisis, with social, economic and security implications for the African continent," writes Joanne Liu for the Washington Post.



China Finds Gas in South China Sea

A Chinese oil rig made its first gas discovery in the South China Sea (AP), state media announced Tuesday. The rig, which China recently moved from Vietnam's exclusive economic zone, was at the heart of confrontation between China and Vietnam this summer.

This CFR InfoGuide provides background and analysis on China's maritime disputes.

PHILIPPINES: Authorities ordered an evacuation near Mayon volcano (AFP), warning of a "hazardous eruption within weeks" as magma neared the volcano's crater.


US steps up Iraq airstrikes

New tax breaks for Brazil