Midday Roundup: American missionary with Ebola in 'grave condition'

by Leigh Jones
Posted 7/29/14, 12:35 pm

Terrifying. A Texas doctor communicating with a medical missionary in Liberia via email told The Associated Press his friend is in “grave condition”and is “terrified”his case of Ebola will progress further. “I’m praying fervently that God will help me survive this disease,” Kent Brantly wrote to David McRay, the director of maternal-child health at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas, where Brantly completed his four-year residency. Brantly also asked for prayers for Nancy Writebol, an American co-worker who also contracted Ebola. Brantly and Writebol were part of a team treating victims of the deadly disease in Monrovia, Liberia’s capital city. Health officials in Liberia are trying to figure out how Brantly, who directed the hospital’s Ebola clinic and wore full-body protective gear while treating patients, got the disease. They now worry Ebola could spread rapidly across Africa after a man with the disease flew on a commercial airline from Liberia to Nigeria, where he later died.

Brantly and his family, who returned to the United States shortly before he was diagnosed, have been in Liberia since October. But it was not his first experience with medical missions. During his residency, he accompanied McRay on trips to Uganda and earthquake-devastated Haiti. He also spent several weeks working in Tanzania, where his cousin lives and works as a medical missionary, McRay said.

Battle lines. Fighting in eastern Ukraine has intensified, leaving dozens of civilians dead and temporarily ending attempts to investigate the crash of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17. Ukrainian forces are trying to push pro-Russian rebels out of the region’s major cities. Shelling hit the center of Donetsk, one of the insurgents’strongholds since declaring autonomy from the government in Kiev. Meanwhile, European officials are meeting today to consider imposing broader sanctions on Russia that would target sectors of the country’s economy rather than just its prominent citizens.

History, not religion. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday that the steel cross formed when the twin towers collapsed can stay in the 9/11 Museum in New York. An atheist group challenged the cross as an endorsement of religion. Jordan Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice said the court was very strong in its rejection of that argument. “The idea that you cannot acknowledge anything religious when you’re talking about the history of our country is absurd,” he said. The group American Atheists brought the legal challenge. “There are no better examples of Christian privilege and prejudice in this country than this decision,” the group said in a statement. It has not decided whether it will appeal the court’s ruling.

Done deal? A Los Angeles judge ruled against Clippers owner Donald Sterling yesterday, saying his estranged wife has the right to negotiate and complete the sale of the pro basketball team. Shelly Sterling reached an agreement earlier this year to sell the team to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion. Sterling bought the team in 1981 for $12 million. In April, the NBA banned Sterling for life and fined him $2.5 million after his girlfriend made an audio recording of him making racist remarks. Shelly Sterling argued her husband should not be allowed to block the team’s sale because he had signs of Alzheimer’s disease and couldn’t manage his affairs. The judge agreed, ruling Shelly Sterling had negotiated a good deal and was not trying to secretly steal the team from her 80-year-old husband.

Night at sea. Passengers on a whale-watching tour in Massachusetts spent a little more time at sea then they had planned on Monday after their boat got caught on a lobster trap rope. The 157 passengers or six crew members aboard the Boston Harbor Cruises boat spent the night just offshore while divers attempted to untangle the rope from the boat’s propeller. The vessel returned to land at about 8 a.m. this morning. No one was injured in the incident.

The Associated Press and Jim Henry contributed to this report.

Leigh Jones

Leigh lives in Houston with her husband and daughter. She is the news editor for The World and Everything in It and reports on education for WORLD Digital.

Read more from this writer