International Monetary Fund

CDC Director on Ebola: ‘The Only Thing Like This Has Been AIDS’

NBC News

The widening Ebola epidemic is reminiscent of the health threat caused by AIDS, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday, urging action so Ebola “is not the world’s next AIDS.”

“In the 30 years I’ve been working in public health, the only thing like this has been AIDS,” CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden said at a World Bank and International Monetary Fund annual meeting in Washington, D.C., where many countries pledged funds and services to try to stem the virus ravaging West Africa. “And we have to work now so that this is not the world’s next AIDS.”

AIDS also started in Africa, and experts agree it spread to cause a global pandemic because the world was slow to recognize it and fight it. Many leaders denied the virus caused the disease, and others blamed the patients for catching it.

Frieden spoke a day after Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, died in a Dallas hospital. Meanwhile, in West Africa, 8,033 people have been diagnosed with Ebola and 3,879 have died, the World Health Organization said Wednesday, adding that the true numbers were almost definitely higher.

AIDS has killed 36 million people since it started a pandemic in the 1980s. The human immunodeficiency virus that causes AIDS currently infects about 35 million people. Like Ebola, HIV is spread through bodily fluids.

IN-DEPTH

10 things you need to know today: July 27, 2013

Week-long protests have culminated in bloodshed.

Week-long protests have culminated in bloodshed.

The Week

Violent protests rock Egypt, the U.S. government says it won’t pursue the death penalty for NSA leaker Edward Snowden, and more

1. VIOLENCE ERUPTS DURING PROTESTS IN EGYPT
Dozens of people were killed in protests in Alexandria and Cairo as demonstrations broke out across the country over the ouster of deposed President Mohamed Morsi, who is being held by the army in an undisclosed location. Pro- and anti-Morsi forces have repeatedly clashed over the last week. [The New York TimesCNN]
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2. U.S. GOVERNMENT SAYS IT WON’T PURSUE DEATH PENALTY AGAINST SNOWDEN
Attorney General Eric Holder told the Russian government that the U.S. has no plans to pursue the death penalty for NSA leaker Edward Snowden, who is still believed to be stuck at Moscow’s airport. Snowden, who could face up to 30 years in prison if convicted of espionage, has claimed asylum in Russia on the grounds he could could face torture or the death penalty in the United States. [Associated Press]
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3. DOMINIQUE STRAUSS-KAHN CHARGED WITH PIMPING
Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former head of the International Monetary Fund, was charged with “aggravated pimping as part of a group” on Friday for his alleged involvement in sex parties in the French city of Lille. Strauss-Kahn has admitted to attending the parties, although he claims to have not known that the women involved were prostitutes. He faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $2 million fine. [Reuters]
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4. EMBATTLED SAN DIEGO MAYOR TO TAKE TIME OFF FOR THERAPY
San Diego Mayor Bob Filner announced that he would take two weeks off for “intensive therapy” after being accused of sexual harassment by seven women, including four who went public on Thursday to claim he made sexual advances on them and touched them inappropriately. [ABC10 San Diego]
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5. CLEVELAND KIDNAPPER PLEADS GUILTY
Ariel Castro pleaded guilty to 937 criminal counts in connection with the abduction of Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight, who escaped from Castro’s Cleveland home in May after allegedly being held there for a decade. Castro now faces 1,000 years in jail with no parole, but will likely avoid the death penalty. A judge will decide the sentence on August 1. [USA Today]
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6. HALLIBURTON ADMITS TO DESTROYING OIL SPILL EVIDENCE
Hallburton pleaded guilty to destroying critical evidence connected with the Deepwater Horizon disaster that killed 11 people and spilled 5 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. The company agreed to a $200,000 fine and three years of probation. [The New York Times]
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7. SAC CAPITAL PLEADS NOT GUILTY TO INSIDER TRADING
SAC Capital, the hedge fund founded by billionaire Steve Cohen, pleaded not guilty on Friday to charges that it tolerated “insider trading that was substantial, pervasive and on a scale without known precedent in the hedge fund industry.” U.S. prosecutors say they are basing their case on “court-authorized wiretaps,” as well as electronic communications such as emails and instant messages. [Reuters]
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8. LINCOLN MEMORIAL VANDALIZED WITH GREEN PAINT
Unknown vandals splattered the Lincoln Memorial with green paint on Thursday night, causing park officials to close parts of it down as they began the cleaning process. U.S. Park police said they are reviewing surveillance tapes in hopes of identifying the perpetrators. [CBS News]
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9. DEFENSE CLOSES IN BRADLEY MANNING CASE
The lawyer for Pfc. Bradley Manning, who leaked hundreds of thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks, said in his closing arguments that Manning wasn’t a traitor looking for notoriety, but rather a “young, naive, well-intentioned soldier” whose “sole purpose was to make a difference.” The presiding judge, Colonel Denise Lind, is expected to reach a verdict within the next few days. [The Guardian]
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10. “PINK PANTHERS” JEWEL THIEF ESCAPES SWISS PRISON
Poparic Milan, a member of the Bosnian “Pink Panthers” gang of jewel thieves accused of 340 robberies since 1999, was busted out of a jail in Switzerland on Friday by a group of armed men, according to Swiss authorities. Interpol estimates that the gang has stolen $436 million in luxury goods from stores throughout Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and the United States. [NBC News]

STUDY: Super-Rich Hiding At Least $21 Trillion In Tax Havens

Not only is this a national security issue for our country, it’s a global security issue as well…

Think Progress

According to a new study, the world’s super-rich are shielding at least $21 trillion in secret offshore tax havens. Using data from the Bank of International Settlements, IMF, World Bank, and national governments, the Tax Justice Network found that an astonishing 100,000 people worldwide hold nearly $10 trillion of offshore wealth, equivalent to the size of the Chinese economy. According to the study:

1. Big banks manage the wealth. The three private banks handling the most assets offshore are UBS, Credit Suisse, and Goldman Sachs.

2. Offshore wealth is creating a global economic “black hole.” If the $21 trillion in offshore earned a conservatively-estimated 3 percent rate of return, and that income was taxed at just 30 percent, this would generate tax revenues of nearly $200 billion — roughly twice the amount OECD countries spend on international development assistance.

3. High impact on developing countries. In the 139 developing countries highlighted in the report, the richest citizens had amassed $7.3 to $9.3 trillion of unrecorded offshore wealth that is beyond the reach of local tax authorities. The report reveals that many developing “debtor” countries are actually quite wealthy, but the money is held by a few individuals.

4. Huge tax haven growth in the last few years. In 2005, the world’s top 50 banks managed $5.4 trillion in offshore money. By the end of 2010, the figure is over $12 trillion, representing an average annual growth rate of more than 16 percent.

This tax avoidance study comes at a time when many are questioning presidential hopeful Mitt Romney’s use of tax havens. As an executive at Bain Capital, Romney routed investmentsthrough companies in Bermuda or the Cayman Islands to allow investors to avoid U.S. taxes.

– Steven Perlberg