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August 7th, 2014
05:47 AM ET

A Worried World Watches as Ebola Death Toll Rises; Liberia Declares Emergency

A nurse in Nigeria. A businessman in Saudi Arabia. A Spanish priest in Liberia.

With the World Health Organization announcing Wednesday that 932 deaths had been reported or confirmed as a result of Ebola hemorrhagic fever, Saudi Arabia joined the list of countries with suspected cases.

"This is the biggest and most complex Ebola outbreak in history," Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said.

Nearly all of those deaths have been in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, where more than 1,700 cases have been reported, according to WHO. The agency said 108 new cases were reported between Saturday and Monday in those countries and Nigeria.

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has declared a state of emergency for 90 days because of the deadly outbreak, her office announced Wednesday.

"The scope and scale of the epidemic, the virulence and deadliness of the virus now exceed the capacity and statutory responsibility of any one government agency or ministry," she said in a written statement. "The government and people of Liberia require extraordinary measures for the very survival of our state and for the protection of the lives of our people."

She said Ebola is a "clear and present danger."

Concerns about the spread of the deadly virus escalated with Saudi Arabia reporting that a man died, apparently of the virus, after a trip to Sierra Leone, and Nigeria reported that a nurse died after treating someone believed to have contracted Ebola in Liberia.

WHO did not immediately confirm the deaths, and its count of Ebola cases does not include the two.

The Saudi man died Wednesday at a specialized hospital in Jeddah, the Saudi Ministry of Health said.

He had been in intensive care since late Monday "after exhibiting symptoms of viral hemorrhagic fever following a business trip to Sierra Leone," the ministry said in a statement.

The nurse in Nigeria had helped care for Patrick Sawyer, a Liberian-American man, who died in Nigeria after traveling there from Liberia, Nigeria's Ministry of Health said Wednesday.

See more on this developing story on CNN.com

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Russian Criminals Steal 1.2 Billion Passwords
August 6th, 2014
04:16 AM ET

Russian Criminals Steal 1.2 Billion Passwords

Russian criminals have stolen 1.2 billion Internet user names and passwords, amassing what could be the largest collection of stolen digital credentials in history, a respected security firm said Tuesday.

The news was first reported by The New York Times, which cited research from Milwaukee-based Hold Security. The firm didn't reveal the identities of the targeted websites, citing nondisclosure agreements and a desire to prevent existing vulnerabilities from being more widely exploited.

Hold Security founder Alex Holden told CNNMoney that the trove includes credentials gathered from over 420,000 websites - both smaller sites as well as "household names." The criminals didn't breach any major email providers, he said.

Holden said the gang makes its money by sending out spam for bogus products like weight-loss pills, and had apparently amassed its collection of digital credentials for that relatively innocuous purpose.

"It's really not that impactful to the individuals, and that's why they were under the radar for so long," Holden said. "They've ignored financial information almost completely."

But Holden said the gang's success at amassing passwords demonstrates that weak security procedures are common on websites of all sizes.

We'll have the latest information for you on "Early Start" at 5am ET.

MORE on CNN MONEY

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Filed under: Russia
August 5th, 2014
05:08 AM ET

Israel Pulls Out of Gaza During Cease-Fire

The Israeli military said Tuesday that it has withdrawn its ground troops from Gaza for a 72-hour humanitarian cease-fire in the conflict with Hamas.

"We have no forces within Gaza," Israel Defense Forces spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner told CNN.

Israel is implementing the Egyptian-brokered truce, which took effect Tuesday morning, from "defensive positions" outside Gaza, the IDF said.

Israeli officials had previously indicated they were winding down their ground operation in Gaza, which was aimed at demolishing Hamas' network of tunnels that extends under the border.

The Israeli military said Tuesday it had destroyed 32 of the tunnels, some of which were used by militants to launch attacks on Israeli soil during the four-week conflict.

Officials from the United Nations and United States, who have been pushing for a cease-fire for weeks, hope that the three-day pause will allow negotiations to take place for a more lasting peace.

MORE on CNN.com

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Filed under: Hamas • Israel
Water in Toledo, Ohio, Remains Undrinkable Pending More Tests
Ohio National Guard soldiers prepare to deliver water to Toledo residents after toxins were found in the city's water supply.
August 4th, 2014
04:31 AM ET

Water in Toledo, Ohio, Remains Undrinkable Pending More Tests

Residents of Ohio's fourth-largest city will have to wait a little longer to use their tap water.

Tests conducted by both the state and federal Environmental Protection Agency showed high levels of toxin levels in two neighborhoods in Toledo, Mayor D. Michael Collins said early Monday.

Instead of isolating the two neighborhoods, the Mayor said he'll keep the ban on drinking or using tap water in the entire city of Toledo until additional retests are completed. He declined to provide specifics on the name of neighborhoods in question and how high the toxin levels are.

"A majority of areas are satisfactory, but we have two areas of concern," he said at a news conference.

As many as 400,000 people were told not to consume, cook with or boil the tap water after a toxin called microcystin was found in the water supply Friday. Collins told reporters the advisories will remain in effect until further notice

Toledo's drinking water comes from Lake Erie, where a harmful algae bloom that causes microcystin has been growing.

The city has set up distribution centers for potable water, where members of the Ohio National Guard, fire officials and other first responders are giving out safe water.

About 350 Ohio National Guardsmen have been activated by the governor, according to a U.S. Defense Department official, adding that they have set up three Reverse Osmosis Water Purification Unit sites at two high schools and a police facility. The guardsmen have also delivered ready-to-eat meals, the official said.

MORE on CNN.com

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Filed under: Ohio • Water
August 1st, 2014
07:11 AM ET

As Many As 80 Bodies May Still Be in Wreckage of MH17

Australian and Dutch investigators have arrived at the MH17 crash site in eastern Ukraine for the second day of recovery efforts, CNN's Kellie Morgan reported on 'Early Start' Friday.

Officials said the investigation would take days, if not weeks.

The group of investigators is accompanied by monitors from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, also known as OSCE.

Foreign experts at the site are seeking human remains from the crash; the Australian foreign minister said Thursday that there could be as many as 80 unrecovered bodies.

Efforts to reach the crash site had been previously stymied by heavy fighting between pro-Russian separatists and the Ukrainian military.

Morgan reported that investigators were able to access the site after both the separatists and the Ukrainian military agreed to provide a safe corridor for entry.

Fighting surrounding the crash site, however, has remained intense, and the region is “very volatile,” according to Morgan.

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July 31st, 2014
05:28 AM ET

Ukraine Declares 1-Day Cease-Fire in MH17 Crash Site Area

Ukraine's military announced a one-day cease-fire on Thursday to allow international experts full access to the site where Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crashed two weeks ago, officials said.

Fighting between the military and pro-Russia rebels in the area of the crash site has repeatedly prevented international monitors and investigators reaching the debris field where human remains and victims' belongings still lie scattered.

World leaders, including U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon have appealed to all parties in the conflict in eastern Ukraine to halt the fighting so that the international teams can do their job.

The statement issued Thursday by Ukraine's Counter-Terrorist Operation's press center said the military would not take offensive action but will "respond to direct attacks."

The statement also accused the rebels of continued violence, including firing Grad rocket systems.

"The Russian militants do not adhere to the international agreements and demands. At 9 a.m. they used two Grad systems to shot in the village of Peremozhne. This demonstrates their attitude towards Ukraine and the international community."

The United States and others say Russia has provided arms to rebels in eastern Ukraine, including heavy weapons such as a missile system like the one believed used to down the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago.

Russia and the rebel fighters deny involvement in the shootdown of MH17.

See more on CNN.com

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Filed under: Ukraine
In Gaza, Safe Havens Appear to be Anything but Safe
July 31st, 2014
04:55 AM ET

In Gaza, Safe Havens Appear to be Anything but Safe

Mangled limbs wrapped in blood-stained rags were strewn across rooms in the school.

Run by the United Nations, the building was meant to be a refuge for more than 3,000 civilians fleeing the deadly conflict raging between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

But shells hit it in the early morning hours as those inside slept, punching huge holes in the roof and killing at least 20 people, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

"We saw the shells when they hit and shrapnel was falling like rain," said Sanaa abu Gerard, a woman who witnessed the blasts. "I was so scared and the school filled with smoke. We poured water in our eyes just to see."

The deadly strike Wednesday underscores growing concerns that in Gaza, where fighting is taking place in densely populated areas, safe havens appear to be anything but safe.

It's the sixth time a facility run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) has been struck in the current conflict, intensifying questions about the tactics being used by both sides in areas crowded with civilians.

"People who go to these places expect that they go there because they will be safe," said Pierre Krahenbuhl, the commissioner-general for UNRWA. "And here is the confirmation that it appears that there is nowhere where you can be safe."

The United Nations said it thinks the rounds that hit the school, in the Jabalya refugee camp in northern Gaza, were fired by Israeli artillery. The Israeli military said it is reviewing what happened, acknowledging that it exchanged fire with militants in the area.

See the latest on "Early Start" at 5am ET.

MORE on CNN.com

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Filed under: Gaza • Israel
July 30th, 2014
06:21 AM ET

Poll: Most Israelis Don't Want a Cease-Fire

While the vast majority of casualties are Palestinians in Gaza, Israel continues to ward off rocket attacks from Gaza with its Iron Dome missile defense system. Israeli officials say they are committed to destroying tunnels used by Palestinian militants in Gaza to make their way into Israel.

A poll released this week showed 86.5% of Jewish Israelis surveyed say Israel cannot accept a cease-fire because "Hamas continues firing missiles on Israel, not all the tunnels have been found, and Hamas has not surrendered," according to the Jerusalem Post.

But Israel's incursion into Gaza has had ripple effects around the world. Chile, Peru, Brazil and Ecuador have pulled their ambassadors out of Tel Aviv to protest the Israeli offensive.

It's unclear how many in Gaza want militants to stop rocket attacks.

Last month, a poll by the Washington Institute for Near East policy found most Palestinians in Gaza oppose a two-state solution and want to work toward a five-year goal of abolishing Israel. But the majority said they support nonviolent methods of "popular resistance."

Most Israelis support a two-state solution, according to a poll by the Dialog Institute, Haaretz reported.

See the latest on this story on CNN.com

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Filed under: Gaza • Israel
July 29th, 2014
06:59 AM ET

CNN Reporter's Close Call in Gaza

A large blast rocks a Gaza City building, forcing CNN's Karl Penhaul to dive for cover.

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Filed under: Gaza • Israel
OkCupid Set up Bad Dates in 'An Experiment'
July 29th, 2014
04:31 AM ET

OkCupid Set up Bad Dates in 'An Experiment'

Facebook isn't the only social network that experiments on its users.

Online dating site OkCupid revealed on Monday the results of a study it conducted, in which it told subscribers they were more compatible than they really were. The result? There's something to the power of suggestion.

OkCupid, which is owned by Internet conglomerateIAC (IACI), gives its users a compatibility score based on how they answer a series of questions on the site.

Among users who were just 30% compatible, a single message from one OKCupid subscriber to another led to a conversation only 10% of the time. But here's the twist: when OkCupid duped users who actually had low compatibility, telling them that their compatibility score was 90%, they had a 17% chance of having an online conversation.

"The mere myth of compatibility works just as well as the truth," said Christian Rudder, co-founder of the online dating site, in a blog post about the results of the OkCupid study,

The experiment worked in the other direction as well. That is, when users with 90% compatibility were told that their compatibility figure was only 30%, the likelihood of a conversation dropped from 20% to 16%.

OkCupid's results come after Facebook (FB, Tech30) caused a stir in June by revealing that it had changed the content mix in the News Feeds of almost 700,000 users in early 2012. Some people were shown a higher number of positive posts, while others were shown more negative posts.

See the full story at CNN MONEY

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Filed under: OkCupid • Tech • Technology
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