First Ebola Suspect in Romania

A 51-year old Romanian guy returns from Nigeria some 2 weeks ago. Nobody bothers to check him or his medical condition even if the Ebola outbreak dates back prior to his arrival.

ebolaThe man gets to go on holiday at the seaside and today he even queues outside the hospital accusing symptoms similar to Ebola. For two weeks, the guy wanders around the country, meets and greets family or friends, and only today checks in at the hospital.

The lab tests confirming or not Ebola will only be available after 72 hours since Romania does not have a lab facility to run such tests.

Some days ago, the health officials assured the population that an Ebola virus outbreak in Romania is unlikely. It takes 72 hours to find out.

According to the WHO, the transmission of Ebola is fairly quick:

Ebola then spreads in the community through human-to-human transmission, with infection resulting from direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected people, and indirect contact with environments contaminated with such fluids.

Burial ceremonies in which mourners have direct contact with the body of the deceased person can also play a role in the transmission of Ebola. Men who have recovered from the disease can still transmit the virus through their semen for up to 7 weeks after recovery from illness.

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Ebola: a survivor’s story from Guinea

Originally posted on UNICEF Connect - UNICEF BLOG:


Kadiatou’s was one of the earliest cases of Ebola in the country. (c) UNICEF Guinea/2014/Timothy La Rose

Shortly after the outbreak of Ebola in Guinea, when it seemed like bad news was the only news, UNICEF’s office in Guinea started to receive reports of something that seemed almost impossible given the climate. Ebola victims were being released from the hospital, completely recovered. They were healthy and even given certificates signed by health authorities stating that they could safely return to normal life.

We knew that there would be a few survivors, but the initial days of the outbreak were grim enough to turn most optimists into cynics. Talk of very high mortality rates; a rapid spread of the virus to the capital and beyond the borders in neighboring countries; and a palpable fear on the streets zapped the psychic energy of us who live and work here.

But there they…

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#Gaza Truce: Will It Last?

Gaza cease fire

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Flight MH17: Aftermath

mh17 flight

Remains of flight MH17 in Grabovo, Ukraine

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Roma in Romania: Positive Discrimination vs Racial Segregation

Romanian Roma population is the ethnic national minority that has probably got the most sensible media coverage across Europe for various reasons. International organizations such as UNICEF constantly deplore lack of equity and social protection as well as different forms of Roma child social exclusion.

Credit: UNICEF / © Benno Neeleman

Credit: UNICEF / © Benno Neeleman

Various European funded projects implemented in Romania have not shown sustainable results. Recently President Basescu was advocating for an EU Roma protection strategy which points to the fact that Romania’s own policies in this field have failed.

Roma population accounts for 3.3% of Romania’s citizens if we were to credit the 2011 census. However, the real percentage is higher since many citizens refuse to declare their ethnic origins for fear of social stigma.

Education is one of the fields where the Romanian authorities could really play the card of inclusion if they really wished so. Consequently, to my dismay, some days ago I read about the initiative of Emil Boc, Mayor of Cluj-Napoca who publicly announced that he intended to support a Roma-only school project. Accused of ethnic segregation, he later said that the school project was not only designed for the Roma minority but had a much broader social inclusion goal.

When a former PM thinks of building ethnic schools, it’s questionable to believe that Romanian authorities have a solid inclusion strategy in mind. Hence, the undeniable recourse to European policies to supply for lack of vision and commitment to solve home affairs.

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Europe Isn’t Happy About Facebook’s News Feed Experiment

Originally posted on TIME:

Facebook may be subject to investigations by European data protection groups following revelations that it manipulated the news feeds of nearly 700,000 users.

The social media giant admitted altering the news feeds of 689,000 users to show specific emotional expressions, as part of a data research experiment conducted over a week in January 2012. The revelations have generated outrage as Facebook did not inform users it was altering their feeds. The company says users give permission for research when they create a Facebook account.

But despite this claim, European privacy watchdogs are now attempting to determine whether Facebook has broken any privacy laws.

Ireland’s Office of the Data Protection Commissioner, which regulates Facebook’s operations outside of North America, said in a statement: “This office has been in contact with Facebook in relation to the privacy issues, including consent, of this research. We are awaiting a comprehensive response on issues raised.”

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How to Enjoy Apricots

Apricots from Oradea

Apricots from Oradea / Credit:

Jennifer Grotz

I judged them very carefully, as though
I’d been given the charge to determine
which are good or bad, and they were all good,
even the slightly overripe ones with bruises
had a bitter ferment that only brightened
the scent. And the too young ones, firm
and slightly sour, not yet softened by the sun.
And the ripe ones, which felt like biting into
my own flesh, slightly carnivorous. [...]

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