Liberian studies white-breasted guineafowl

This October 2011 video is called First ever footage in Sierra Leone [Tiwai island] of White-breasted guineafowl.

From the University of Kansas in the USA:

Former war refugee maps habitat for West African bird

June 26, 2019

Summary: A former war refugee has projected the geographic distribution of a West African bird through 2050.

Growing up in Liberia during that country’s brutal 14-year civil war, Benedictus Freeman and his family fled into the rainforest, where they survived for years eating bush meat and foraging. The rainforest provided Freeman sustenance and protection — but more than that, the experience ignited a passion in him for understanding and preserving nature.

“At that time, I really didn’t know how important the forest would become for me — I saw the forest as a source of resources like food and shelter,” said Freeman, who today is a doctoral student in ecology & evolutionary biology at the University of Kansas and KU Biodiversity Institute. “But I developed an interest in nature there, and eventually I started studying forestry for my undergraduate degree. That actually influenced my decision to get more interested in nature and conservation.”

The rainforests that once protected Freeman and his family host one of West Africa’s flagship bird species — the White‐breasted Guineafowl (Agelastes meleagrides). Now, Freeman is lead author of a new paper in the peer-reviewed journal Avian Research that projects the geographic distribution of the bird through 2050 as it shifts habitat due to climate change.

“This bird is endemic to West Africa, but it’s not fully understood — it’s poorly studied,” Freeman said. “Because of this poor history, there’s very little understanding about its range. Our study recharacterizes its distribution and helps us to understand to what extent it’s distributed across the region. The bird is threatened, and it’s of conservation concern. So that’s why it was selected for study.”

According to Freeman, the vulnerable White-breasted Guineafowl, which has appeared on Liberian postage stamps, serves as an iconic “flagship species”, conservation of which could preserve habitat of many lesser-known animals at the same time.

The KU researcher said West Africa suffers from extensive deforestation due to increasing populations, urbanization, agriculture expansion (both substance farming and industrial-scale farming of palm oil), logging and mining. Because of its exclusive dependence on the forest for habitat, the White-breasted Guineafowl is particularly susceptible to habitat loss.

“It occurs within rainforest habitats in West Africa where it feeds like regular birds, like chickens feed, and depends on insects and seeds and things,” Freeman said. “The important thing about this bird is that it’s a specialist — it’s more restricted to rainforest habitats. There is a sister species (Black Guineafowl, Agelastes niger) of the same bird that occurs on the other side of the Guinean forest, but this one is range-restricted, and it’s only found in this region. It’s not going to be found anywhere else in the world.”

Freeman hopes his research predicting the distribution of the bird in coming decades can help inform policymakers about which areas of rainforest should be prioritized for conservation.

For the new paper, Freeman and his colleagues — Daniel Jiménez‐García of Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla in Mexico, Benjamin Barca of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds in Sierra Leone and Matthew Grainger of Newcastle University in the United Kingdom — used occurrence data from the Global Biodiversity Information Facility and datasets about occurrences of the White-breasted Guineafowl in Sapo National Park in Liberia and Gola Rainforest National Park in Sierra Leone, including data collected by Freeman.

The authors used environmental datasets from NASA and other open sources to perform ecological niche modeling, which the researchers said “integrates known occurrences of species and environmental variables (e.g., temperature, precipitation) to characterize potential future geographic distributions of species in response to global climate change.”

The team created maps showing current and likely future habitats where the White‐breasted Guineafowl could migrate in response to a shifting climate. Unexpectedly, there was good news for the iconic bird in the findings: “The projected impacts of climate change on the geographic distribution of White-breasted Guineafowl were minimal, suggesting stability across the species’ range for the present and in the future, at least as regards climate change effects,” researchers said. “Low sensitivity to climate change in this species does match the general observation for West African birds.”

However, the team found coastal areas where the White‐breasted Guineafowl is found today would be degraded by sea-level rise and resulting coastal erosion, destroying some of the species’ range.

As for Freeman, this summer he’s back in Liberia conducting more fieldwork on birds in some of the same areas his team found to be suitable for the White-breasted Guineafowl.

“We were pleased to document populations at the sites where we worked, and then we were able to collect data on other bird species,” he said. “We have some interesting records that might be species not yet known to science, but we need to do some detailed studies.”

Freeman aims to finish his doctorate at KU next year, he said. After that, he’ll look for opportunities for postdoctoral work.

“I don’t know exactly where that’s going to be,” he said. “But I’m hoping that wherever I get a good job, I can have an opportunity to work in West Africa to do more research. There’s a huge capacity gap in that area. There’s a need to have homegrown scientists involved with this kind of research specifically. So, my passion is to work there.”

Liberian greenbul, a non-existent bird?

The Liberian Greenbul was sighted in the 1980s and only one specimen exists. Credit: University of Aberdeen

From the University of Aberdeen in Scotland:

Rare songbird may never have existed

October 5, 2017

One of the world’s most elusive species of songbird may be so hard to spot because it never existed in the first place, according to new research from the University of Aberdeen.

The Liberian Greenbul (Phyllastrephus leucolepis) has eluded experts for decades after it was spotted in a forest in the West African country in the early 1980s.

The only specimen that exists differs from the commonly found Icterine Greenbul by the distinctive white spots on its feathers.

The Liberian Greenbul has long been one of the world’s most poorly known bird and was listed as Critically Endangered up until 2016.

Now DNA analysis by experts at the University of Aberdeen has concluded that the Liberian Greenbul is most likely an unusual plumage variant of the Icterine Greenbul, possibly caused by nutritional deficiency while the feathers were growing.

The study, published in the Journal of Ornithology compared DNA from the Liberian Greenbul specimen with DNA from the Icterine Greenbul and others and found there was no significant genetic difference between Icterine and Liberian Greenbuls.

Comparatively, studies of other species of greenbul revealed large genetic differences between different species, suggesting the lack of difference between the Icterine and the Liberian indicates they are the same bird.

“The Liberian Greenbul has gained almost ‘mythical’ status since it was sighted in the ’80s, says Professor Martin Collinson, a geneticist from the University of Aberdeen’s Institute of Medical Sciences.

“We can’t say definitively that the Liberian Greenbul is the same bird as the Iceterine Greenbul but we have presented enough evidence that makes any other explanation seem highly unlikely. The genetic work was performed independently by scientists here in Aberdeen and in Dresden to make sure there could be no error – we both came to the same conclusion.”

The Liberian Greenbul was seen on nine occasions between 1981 and 1984 in the Cavalla Forest in Eastern Liberia. The only known specimen was collected in January 1984 and described as species ‘new to science’.

The devastating civil wars that subsequently engulfed the country prevented any serious attempt by ornithologists to find any more individuals for another 25 years. Targeted searches of the two known sites in 2010 and 2013 failed to find any sign of the bird, meaning the Liberian Greenbul had never been seen since the only known bird was shot.

The Cavalla Forest is of global conservation significance and was recognised as an important bird and biodiversity area by BirdLife International, not only for the Liberian Greenbul but also for the presence of other globally threatened , including the Vulnerable White-breasted Guineafowl and Brown-cheeked Hornbill and mammals such as Chimpanzee, Western Red Colobus Monkeys and Pygmy Hippopotamus.

Bill Gates’ private school scandal in Liberia

This video says about itself:

Liberia’s education debate: Opposition to plans to outsource running of public schools

14 May 2016

In Liberia, a radical plan to outsource the running of public primary and nursery education has met fierce opposition. Currently Liberia has some of West Africa’s worst school results. The government says paying a private education provider could quickly turn things around. But some teachers unions are not convinced, as Katerina Vittozzi reports.

By James Tweedie:

Liberia: Private shack school scheme ‘overspent and unsustainable’

Friday 8th September 2017

A HIGHLY controversial pilot scheme in which 93 schools were outsourced to a private company in Liberia is over-spent and unsustainable, a leaked think tank report reveals.

Bridge International Academies (BIA), the private shack school outfit bankrolled by the world’s richest man Bill Gates, is spending more than 20 times the amount per pupil as originally stated.

The National Teachers Association of Liberia (NTAL) raised the alarm over the Partnership Schools for Liberia (PSL) scheme after a summary of the report Can Outsourcing Improve Liberia’s Schools? was leaked on Wednesday.

Although it found that student learning had increased by 60 per cent compared to state schools, NTAL President Mary Mulbah noted that the improvements had been achieved “on the back of increased funding ranging between 100 per cent to 2,000 per cent more than public schools.”

At the Bridge schools the national allowance of $50 US (£38) per pupil was doubled to $100 (£76) as a “realistic medium-term goal for public expenditure.”

But BIA spent up to $1052 (£800) per pupil — despite laying off 74 per cent of teachers.

“The programme has yet to demonstrate that it can work in average Liberian schools, with sustainable budgets and staffing levels, and without negative side effects on other schools,” the report concluded.

Global teaching union federation Education International said: “With its billionaire funders footing the bill, Bridge has gone to any length to try to convince the public that it has the answer to quality education.”

The Liberian government announced it was outsourcing scores of primary schools to BIA in January 2016.

Following protests over the apparent sweetheart deal, the scheme was opened up to rival bidders and 93 schools were tendered out to eight firms.

Education Minister George Werner pledged to review the results after one year before continuing the scheme. But earlier this year, just six months into the trial, he announced PSL would be expanded to 202 schools.

Ms Mulbah said: “The negative findings of this report may explain the minister’s rush to expand the privatisation programme.

“What is most disturbing is that in many instances the improved student outcomes were achieved by pushing out students from schools on the ‘trial’.

“In some cases this has resulted in children being left out of school.”

BIA’s network of 63 “lowfee” private schools in Uganda was shut down by the Education Ministry last year after it found they were not meeting basic educational or sanitary standards, putting pupils’ health at risk.

‘Bill Gates’ privatisation threatens Liberian education’

This video says about itself:

Profiting from the Poor: the case of Bridge International Academies in Kenya

8 November 2016

Pupils are not really learning and teachers are not really teaching at Bridge International Academies in Kenya. Still, many families sacrifice large sums of their budget, which go into the “low cost” education provided by this chain. But what lies behind the green walls of these schools? Should parents trust them, pupils put their future into their hands and international donors contribute to the success of a chain that is not up to standards when it comes to offering quality education for all? This video will be eye-opening for many.

Bridge runs more than 400 nurseries and primary schools across Africa. It started its expansion after opening its first school in a slum in 2009 in Nairobi, Kenya, where it currently operates 359 academies throughout catering to 102,644 students with over 4255 academy staff.

Bridge is financially supported by the likes of Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and education conglomerate Pearson Ltd. It is also supported by the World Bank and DfID-UK.

Bridge’s business model, which includes fee charging schools run by unqualified teachers delivering a scripted standardised curriculum, has faced heavy criticism. The Ugandan branch of Bridge has recently come under scrutiny for offering an education well below the national standards, which prompted the order by the Ugandan Education Ministry to close the schools in October 2016. Also attracting significant criticism is the Liberian government’s announcement to outsource its primary schools to Bridge.

The company has plans to dramatically increase the scale and scope of its operations to deliver education services to over 10 million children across a dozen countries by 2025.

To find more about Bridge go here.

By James Tweedie:

Liberia: Teachers warn against school privatisation

Saturday 29th July 2017

Expanding ‘charter’ scheme will ‘lead to crisis’

EXPANDING primary school privatisation in Liberia will have “grave” consequences, a new report by teachers’ unions warns.

Global union federation Education International will release its scathing report into Education Minister George Werner’s Partnership Schools for Liberia (PSL) scheme in the capital Monrovia today.

PSL has already seen 93 primary and nursery schools outsourced to eight companies over the last year — including Bridge International Academies (BIA), the shack-school outfit bankrolled by world’s richest man Bill Gates.

Another 107 are set to be added this autumn, despite a string of failings in the first cohort of schools, exposed by the National Teachers Association of Liberia (NTAL).

Classes were hugely overcrowded and promised subsidised school dinners were never provided, leading to a high dropout rate.

In a recent article, NTAL president Mary Mulbah wrote that Liberia had been turned into a “battleground” over private education for the poor.

She said the conflict was between “those who see for-profit ‘charter’ schools as the solution to the problems that plague public education across the world, and those of us who point to under-investment and poor management as the true culprits.”

Teachers at one BIA school said they had been paying their NTAL dues but were threatened with the sack after they complained about low wages.

Mr Werner announced the PSL scheme last April. BIA was originally contracted to run all 93 schools, but it was reduced to 25 following protests over anti-corruption laws.

PSL was described as a “pilot” scheme to be independently reviewed before the start of the new school year.

But the Education International report, by the University of Wisconsin in the US, found a “striking lack of transparency and independent evidence in the development of the PSL project.

It “puts increased power in undemocratic, private institutions, that make decisions with little community input and accountability.”

BIA hit the headlines last year after Ugandan Education Minister Janet Museveni closed its chain of 63 schools for failing basic educational and sanitation standards, putting pupils’ health at risk.

The US-owned firm employs unqualified teachers to read scripted lessons off a tablet computer in tin-shack buildings.

BIA also operates in Kenya, with 100,000 pupils, Nigeria and India.

Its financial backers include Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Ebay’s Pierre Omidyar, the Dutch Foreign Ministry and — formerly — Britain’s Department for International Development.

In 2011, in his characteristically crude and cynical manner, Rupert Murdoch spelled out the agenda that now underlies the provision of so-called “public education” in Australia: here.

New rainforest national park in Liberia

This video, recorded in Ghana in 2014, is called Yellow-headed Picathartes (=White-necked Picathartes).

From BirdLife:

Threatened African rainforest teeming with unique life declared a National Park

By Alex Dale, 23 Sep 2016

It is one of the last strongholds of the Guinean Forest, a moist forest eco-region that once covered West Africa like a blanket from Guinea to Togo, but has shrunk by 70% over the last several centuries due to human activities in the region.

It offers vital resources to the communities who live on the forest edges, and harbours an impressive array of animal and plant life both big and small, many of which are endemic, and are now threatened by the fragmentation of their forest habitats.

But the future of Liberia’s Gola National Forest, a large block of evergreen and semi-deciduous rainforest that stretches into neighbouring Sierra Leone, was, until now, far from secure. This vital area, which forms part of the largest remnants of the Guinean Forest, has been severely threatened by a number of factors, such as mining and quarrying, charcoal production and bushmeat hunting.

However, thanks to many years of tireless work from Society for the Conservation of Nature in Liberia (SCNL, BirdLife Partner), Gola Forest was officially declared a National Park on September 22, providing protection and security to this internationally-recognised biodiversity hotspot.

Gola Forest National Park will connect with Sierra Leone’s similarly-named Gola Rainforest National Park, which was established in 2011, effectively creating a transboundary ‘peace park’ which covers over 395,000 acres of protected land. Two decades ago, the sounds of gunshots were commonplace in this area with Liberia in a state of civil war and high tensions in Sierra Leone; now the transboundary forest is a symbol of peace and dedication of the countries’ governments to nature conservation.

The area has previously been recognised by BirdLife as an Important Bird & Biodiversity Area (IBA), with over 300 species recorded, including species which transcend the countries’ international border. The Lofa-Gola-Mano Complex IBA is home to numerous species categorised by BirdLife for the IUCN Red List as Vulnerable, including Yellow-beared Greenbul Criniger olivaceus; Western Wattled Cuckooshrike Campephaga lobata; and Yellow-casqued Hornbill Ceratogymna elata. Perhaps the most recognisable and charismatic of the IBA’s Vulnerable species is White-necked Picathartes Picathartes gymnocephalus, a large passerine whose unusual looks have gifted it the alternative name ‘bald-headed crow’, and is a symbol for ecotourism in the area.

The declaration of Gola Forest National Park is also welcome news for the area’s incredible megafauna, such as African bush elephant Loxodonta africana, common chimpanzee Pan troglodytes, (both classified as Endangered), and pygmy hippopotamus Choeropsis liberiensis (listed as Vulnerable).

However, it could be argued that the newly-formed park’s most interesting inhabitants are actually its smallest; recent surveys into the area have revealed several species new to science, including six dragonfly and damselfly species, three butterfly species and one frog species.

With less than three percent of Africa’s remaining forests officially protected, it is possible many other animal species will be lost before we even get a chance to discover them. The formation of this new transboundary park, right in the heart of West Africa, is a huge step in the right direction.

BirdLife launches Regional Implementation Team for the Guinean Forests of West Africa Biodiversity Hotspot: here.

Intensified pressure on natural resources by human beings is having a damaging effect on biodiversity in the Guinean Forests of West Africa hotspot, and could lead to a loss of countless ecosystem services to humanity and biodiversity in the region, stakeholders have warned: here.

For its 2017 Nature’s Heroes, the Society for the Conservation of Nature in Liberia named two of the people whose work has helped with conservation work in the Guinean Forest in West Africa: here.

Losing tropical forest might raise risks of human skin ulcers, deformed bones. Bacteria causing Buruli disease prosper with certain landscape changes: here.

Rare forest elephant on camera trap in Liberia

This video says about itself:

Rare forest elephant filmed in Liberia

27 February 2015

A camera-trapping survey carried out by Fauna & Flora International in north-west Liberia has yielded a number of interesting results, including the country’s only footage of elephants filmed outside a designated protected area.

From Wildlife Extra:

Liberian camera trap survey captures rare footage of forest elephants

Camera traps in Liberia have captured footage of chimps, pygmy hippos and elephants. This is the country’s only footage of elephants filmed outside a designated protected area and includes scenes of a forest elephant heaving its massive body up a steep slope with surprising agility.

The cameras are part of a biodiversity baseline study carried out by Fauna & Flora International (FFI) in Wonegizi Proposed Protected Area, which aimed to gain a better understanding of the current health of the ecosystem and its wildlife.

“The initial surveys found at least three elephants in the area, but we have barely scratched the surface – we suspect that a more intensive, elephant-focused survey might reveal many more,” explained FFI’s Project Adviser, Josh Kempinski.

This not only highlights the importance of the area for biodiversity, but also strengthens the case for formal protection and will likely prove an important step towards the official designation of Wonegizi as a protected area.

Poaching and habitat loss have reduced forest elephant populations in Central Africa by 63 percent since 2001. This poses consequences not only for elephants but also for the region’s forests, a new study finds. Without intervention to stop poaching, as much as 96 percent of Central Africa’s forests will undergo major changes in tree-species composition and structure as local populations of elephants disappear and surviving populations are crowded into ever-smaller forest remnants: here.

Liberian refugee not deported to Ebola today

This video is called Ebola Virus: Film reveals scenes of horror in LiberiaBBC News.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Monday 27 Oct 2014 19:35

The Liberian who today would be deported to Liberia can remain temporarily in the Netherlands. According to his lawyer, the court in Roermond has decided that. The Liberian at that time was already on the way to the airport.

The court in Den Bosch last week ruled that the Ebola epidemic was not a reason to stop deportation, because people can protect themselves against Ebola. …

The lawyer had filed a case in Roermond with different arguments.

Ebola virus family is 16 to 23 million years old: here.

EBOLA FIGHT A LOGISTICAL NIGHTMARE: “Because of the limited time they can spend in the sick wards in their stifling protective suits, the risks of certain procedures and even the amount of medicines available, health workers [in Liberia] and elsewhere in West Africa ration care, operating under constraints they often find frustrating.” And contact tracing in Liberian slums is near impossible as mass fear of quarantine and treatment hampers any separation of the sick from the healthy. [NYT]

Israel’s Ebola-testing lab too slow to diagnose disease, critics say: here.

Australia has become the first Western country to impose a total entry ban on people from Ebola-stricken West African countries. Medical experts, UN agencies and African government leaders denounced the move as discriminatory and damaging for international efforts to combat the catastrophe: here.

Don’t deport refugee to Ebola, Liberian government says

This video is called Cuba to send more Ebola medics to West Africa.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Liberia: do not deport asylum seeker

Thursday Oct 23, 2014, 11:48 (Update: 23-10-14, 12:14)

Liberia does not want the Netherlands to deport an asylum seeker. The Deputy Ambassador of Liberia calls on the Dutch government to let him stay here until the Ebola crisis in the country has passed.

The court in Den Bosch decided on Monday that the 31-year-old Liberian can be expelled. The man claimed that the Netherlands provides a travel warning for Liberia and that Belgium also does not deport Liberians because of Ebola. But according to the court, the probability of an Ebola infection is small and the man can take steps to not be contaminated.

“The court must look again at this issue on humanitarian grounds,” said Deputy Ambassador Jarjar Kamara in the program The Ochtend on NPO Radio 1. “Let the applicants stay in the Netherlands until the crisis will be over.” …

Kamara gets support from immigration law professor Anton van Kalmthout. He calls the appeal understandable. “There is an emergency. Flights are canceled. Why does the negative travel advice not apply to a Liberian that is deported? … ” said Van Kalmthout in De Ochtend.

Monday deportation

It is intended that the Liberian this Monday will be put on a plane. His lawyer is trying to prevent this with an action before the European Court of Human Rights.

Next week, the Lower House of Parliament will be talking about the issue, but by then the man may have already been deported. Professor Van Kalmthout believes that the government should postpone the deportation until it will be clear what the outcome of the parliamentary debate will be.

LIBERIA’S Ebola crisis stepped up a gear today as dozens of starving quarantined people threatened to break out of isolation: here.

England: No, there is not a ‘black illegal immigrant with Ebola’ missing in Leicester: here.

The giant pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline said yesterday that its work on a vaccine for Ebola will “come too late” to do anything about the current situation. Even now it is trying to compress trials that would normally take a decade into a year. The impression it gives is that it is working flat out, no holds barred. But hang on a moment. Ebola was discovered back in 1976. What has GlaxoSmithKline been doing since then? Answer: not much: here.

All incoming travelers from Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone must self-report their temperatures for 21 days after arriving in the U.S. [NYT]

Ebola animated cartoon by Mark Fiore: here.

The imperialist powers are using the West Africa Ebola outbreak as a cover for re-establishing or strengthening their military presence in their former colonies. Their aim is to further their geo-strategic interests including control of the region’s offshore oil resources. To this end, rather than sending financial or healthcare assistance, they are deploying military forces: here.

BAMAKO, Oct 23 (Reuters) – Mali confirmed its first case of Ebola on Thursday, becoming the sixth West African country to be touched by the worst outbreak on record of the haemorrhagic fever, which has killed nearly 4,900 people: here.

Send Liberian refugee to Ebola, Dutch court says

This video says about itself:

Fighting the 2014 Ebola Virus Outbreak Street by Street | The New York Times

16 October 2014

Some ambulance workers in Monrovia have been infected with Ebola, while others have been attacked for not getting to patients in time. A week on the road as Liberia’s capital dips deeper into crisis.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Liberian sent back despite Ebola risk

Monday Oct 20, 2014, 19:49 (Update: 20-10-14, 20:14)

A 31-year-old man from Liberia should be deported to his native country. The court in Den Bosch decided this.

The man says that in Liberia he would be at real risk of infection by the Ebola virus. Therefore, expulsion would be contrary to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights.

The judge said that the risk of infection is small and that the man can take measures to prevent contamination.

Such measures are expensive, unaffordable for poor refugees. Even nurses or doctors often don’t know the details of such measures, leading to these professionals getting Ebola anyway.

Let us ask these Den Bosch judges to prove their ‘small risk’ point. Ask them to accompany this refugee on this deportation flight to Liberia. And then, hear what coward subterfuges these judges will use in order not to have to go to Liberia.

‘Dutch government, don’t deport refugees to Ebola countries’

This 26 June 2014 video is called Monkey Meat and the Ebola Outbreak in Liberia.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

“Asylum seekers should not be returned to Ebola countries”

Monday Oct 20, 2014, 11:06 (Update: 20-10-14, 11:17)

Teeven, Dutch State Secretary of Homeland Security and Justice, temporarily should not return asylum seekers to Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia because of the Ebola crisis. [Opposition parties] SP, D66, Christian Union and Green Left say so, reports The Morning radio show.

The opposition parties think it is inhumane to send back asylum seekers to those countries now. Also, the government has “double standards,” said D66 parliamentarian Schouw in the show. “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs recommends not to travel to those countries, but the Justice Department says that asylum seekers can be deported there OK.”

According to Schouw, the Netherlands should follow Belgium’s example. There, it has already been decided that asylum seekers will not be returned to countries where Ebola is rampant.

The world’s political and economic elite, the financial aristocracy that dominates the global capitalist system, will take only token measures to help the millions who face sickness and death in the Ebola epidemic ravaging West Africa. This is clear from the dismal response to appeals from doctors, nurses and aid workers fighting the epidemic, and from leaders of the three hardest-hit countries, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea: here.

TV audiences in Britain could be forgiven for believing that international aid is confined to US and British military personnel arriving in west Africa to build medical facilities, alongside representatives of Medecins Sans Frontieres. Thursday’s early morning BBC World News did let slip that medical teams from China were also there, but that’s it. Morning Star readers know the impact that socialist Cuba has in not only deploying 50,000 health professionals in 66 developing countries but in sending its teams immediately when crises erupt: here.