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NSCC students hope for jobs at home – Halifax

HALIFAX – First year students at Nova Scotia Community College are hoping for jobs in the province when they complete their welding diplomas.

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In the past, students who completed skilled trades programs in Nova Scotia often went west to finish apprenticeships and find well paying jobs. Experts suggesting that out-migration significantly contributed to Nova Scotia’s so-called ‘brain drain’. In fact,  in his February 2014 report, Ray Ivany highlighted the impact of students leaving for work is having on the provincial economy.

Now, with a new semester beginning, the province and students are hoping that new opportunities will stem that tide and  bring some people back.

Chief among those new opportunities is the Irving Shipyard’s deal with the Federal Government to build ships that could be worth up to $25 billion.

“I’m planning on staying in Nova Scotia with my five year-old who’s just starting school and with the shipbuilding that does give me security to stay here,” said Chastity Husbands, a first year welding student.

The province says it’s not only hoping to keep young Nova Scotians who are getting their skilled trades training, but it’s also hoping to bring back those who have already left.

“It’s a one-two punch, you know getting our young Nova Scotians thinking about trades and its also about bringing some of the old folks home who have been training elsewhere,” said Labour and Advanced Education Minister Kelly Regan.

$5k ticket for streaking? Police warn frosh week rituals can be costly – Toronto

TORONTO – Add mooning and prank calls to the list of back-to-school expenses university students should plan for.

A Toronto-area police force is warning students about the hidden cost of some questionable frosh-week rituals such as streaking and putting cement in a public washing machine – both of which carry fines of up to $5,000.

York Regional Police say forcing a pet to smoke marijuana, for example, could cost thousands in fines and involve jail time, while the price of “dropping excessive bass at 4 a.m.” depends on “how excessive” it is.

Among the most affordable offences are hiding in a Walmart after closing time and “climbing onto the roof of the math wing,” both punishable by a $65 fine.

Others – including mooning, defacing faculty portraits and urinating in a neighbour’s yard – carry much heftier price tags of up to $5,000.

And a few, such as buying beer for underage siblings or starting a bonfire with a dorm-room sofa, could land students behind bars.

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©2014The Canadian Press

Canadian militants reportedly involved in capture of U.S. journalists – National

Canadians who left home to fight with Islamist militant groups in Syria have been linked to the kidnapping of two U.S. journalists.

Three Canadians who are said to have joined the al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nursra, were “directly involved in the holding and harsh interrogation” of Peter Theo Curtis and Matthew Schrier, according to CBC.

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  • Why ransoms are big business for terrorists and why the U.S. won’t pay

  • Islamic State video reportedly shows beheading of Steven Sotloff

  • Warning letter Islamic State sent to James Foley’s parents published

Jabhat al-Nusra, also known as the al-Nusra Front, released Curtis on Sunday after 22 months in captivity. Schrier escaped from the extremist group in August 2013, after being held hostage for 210 days.

At the time of his abduction, Curtis was working as a freelance journalist covering the Syrian civil war. He was kidnapped in Turkey, in Oct. 2012, while trying to cross into Syria.

Schrier was covering the war as a freelance journalist, when Jabhat al-Nusra militants captured him.

CBC reported Wednesday, citing unnamed sources, the Canadians involved in Curtis and Shrier’s captivity “reportedly forced the hostages to hand over their computers’ passwords and PINs, drained their accounts” and used their credit cards to buy computers and other electronics online.

The captors also posed as the hostages, writing messages to their families, the sources cited in the report said.

While Curtis has not discussed the identities of his captors, Schrier told the New York Times, in the wake of the Islamic State’s beheading of U.S. freelance journalist James Foley, he suspected his interrogators were Canadian.

READ MORE: Tech insider says firms plan to ‘scrub the web’ of grisly videos

The Canadian government has on several occasions expressed concern about Canadians travelling abroad to take part in terrorism-related activities, in particular those joining groups such as Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State.

The federal government, like those of the United States and United Kingdom, believe radicalized Canadians returning from the Middle East could pose a threat to national security.

In its 2014 Public Report on the Terrorist Threat to Canada, Public Safety Canada announced plans to carry out “targeted early interventions” against young people who “have not yet crossed the threshold into violent activity.”

READ MORE: John Baird pledges $15 million to help with Iraq security

The Canadian government said it is aware of at least 130 Canadian passport holders who are currently involved in “suspected” terrorism-related activities overseas. The CBC report suggests that number is more likely between 200 and 300, while approximately 80 who have returned to Canada for various reasons.

“Some may have engaged in paramilitary activities. Others may have studied in extremist schools, raised money or otherwise supported terrorist groups. Some had their travel interrupted by financial issues, injuries or outside intervention and may plan to travel again. Some extremist travellers never achieved their goals and simply returned to Canada,” the report stated, adding not all extremist travellers pose a direct security threat.

READ MORE: How the feds plan to stop Canadians from joining extremist groups

The federal government also made it a crime for Canadian passport holders who leave or attempt to leave Canada to fight with terrorist groups.

In July, Hasibullah Yusufzai, a 25-year-old man from Burnaby, B.C., became the first person charged under Bill S-7, the Combating Terrorism Act.

Yusufzai reportedly left Canada for Syria in January. He was charged in absentia and will be arrested if he returns to Canada.

Here’s how the loonie’s plunge will hit consumer prices – National

A sideshow to oil’s dramatic plunge has been the no-less-meaningful decline in the Canadian dollar, a process that could counter many of the benefits falling oil prices bring consumers.

The dollar declined more than a quarter of percent to just under 83.5 cents U.S. Wednesday – the weakest exchange rate in nearly six years. Experts suggest the loonie will remain around the low-80 cent level for months, if not decline further.

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  • Apple hiking prices in Canadian App Store thanks to falling loonie

    Crazy ride of the Loonie creates economic mixed bag

For every single product or service that’s imported into the country or priced in U.S. dollars, that means their real cost is climbing.

READ MORE: Here’s what’s in store for supermarket prices next year

New vehicles, machinery, agricultural products as well as fresh and processed fruit and vegetables, snack foods and red meat are just a few products that stand to feel upward pressure on prices amid the loonie’s fall.

Even the much-touted benefits of lower pump prices are diminished because of the dollar’s decline—Canada is a net importer of refined gasoline (which is priced in U.S. dollars).

“It could keep them a tad higher than they otherwise would be,” Robert Kavcic, an economist at Bank of Montreal said of gas prices.

Time of impact

Still, when prices will be affected by the most recent currency swings depends on what products you’re talking about.

There’s also a myriad of other factors that determine whether consumer costs move up or down, not least market-based dynamics like competition as well as supply of goods.

Durable goods

Big ticket items, like new vehicles, furniture and appliances may not feel the effect of the lower dollar for several months to come, experts say. That’s how long it will take for the weaker dollar to wind its way through the businesses making or producing the products.

Big orders and contracts have been signed months in advance at previously agreed upon prices. Those aren’t likely to be renegotiated.

“It doesn’t happen overnight,” BMO’s Kavcic said. “It might take six to eight months to flow through.”

Then again, for durable goods being imported using U.S. dollars now, like foreign cars, they could immediately see their sticker prices rise as importers flow their increased costs onto retail prices.

Food and clothes

Food and clothing are two retail categories that will feel the heat more quickly from the currency’s swoon. So-called non-durable goods are imported in high volumes and are more subject to currency fluctuations than durable goods, experts say.

Experts at the University of Guelph said last month they expect meat and produce price inflation of between 3 and 5 per cent this year, or growth rates that could be double the pace of inflation.

That call still stands. For now.

“We were expecting the currency to drop against the greenback, but not this quickly,” Sylvain Charlebois, a food industry professor at the University of Guelph, said. “If the loonie continues its spectacular decent, we may need to revise our forecast.”

Click here to view data »

The lower dollar also discourages cross-border shopping, meaning retailers aren’t competing with lower-priced retailers in the United States.

“There’s going to be a lot less pressure on retailers now to match that U.S. pricing,” BMO’s Kavcic said.

Inflation outlook

Still, determining whether or not the consumer benefits of lower oil are outweighed by the drawbacks from a declining loonie is difficult if not impossible task, experts suggest.

The official inflation reading, which tracks prices on a wide basket of consumer goods, is expected to come in around 2 per cent in 2015 – a slightly lower reading than last year. The loonie’s descent is being offset by oil’s, which has the opposite effect on consumer prices by cutting costs, Kavcic said.

“The flipside is that you have oil down 60 per cent and that’s going to dampen inflation.”

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Group want sculptures at Muzik nightclub moved onto public grounds – Toronto

TORONTO – A group of art lovers is petitioning the city to make public art available to the public.

The limestone sculpture garden, entitled Garden of the Greek Gods, was created by Canadian artist E.B. Cox who died in 2003. It had been on public display at Exhibition Place until Muzik Nightclub expanded their patio around the statues, dumping sand and mulch around each.

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“My father would be turning over in his grave if this had happened. He had a strong belief in the value of public art to the city, to tourism, to art lovers, to art lovers, to families with children. A place where people could go to a sculpture garden, admire the art, learn something about Greek mythology,” Kathy Sutton, the artist’s daughter said in an interview Wednesday.

“He never would have wanted people to have to go to a nightclub and pay the fees to look at the art in an inappropriate setting.”

The building and the surrounding property was put up for lease by the city over a decade ago and Councillor Mike Layton explained, no one asked about the art.

No one thought about the issue until the artist’s family wanted to see the now cordoned-off sculpture garden.

“Finally when it started coming back and the family came back and said the intentions of these was to be in the public domain so they could be enjoyed by everyone and I think we should respect the artist and the family’s wishes,” Layton said.

“It is unfortunate that these pieces of public art are essentially in a private collection.”

Some of the sculptures outside Muzik Nightclub

Kathy Sutton / Handout

Some of the sculptures outside Muzik Nightclub

Kathy Sutton / Handout

Some of the sculptures outside Muzik Nightclub

Kathy Sutton / Handout

Some of the sculptures outside Muzik Nightclub

Kathy Sutton / Handout

Some of the sculptures outside Muzik Nightclub

Kathy Sutton / Handout

Some of the sculptures outside Muzik Nightclub

Kathy Sutton / Handout

One of the sculptures outside Muzik Nightclub

Kathy Sutton / Handout

Exhibition Place currently doesn’t have a policy ensuring public art is actually available to the public, Layton said.

The artist’s great-granddaughter created a petition on Change杭州夜网 asking city council to move the sculptures out of the fenced-in patio area.

But it’s not clear if anything will come of the request.

The Exhibition Place Board of Governors signed off on a motion in May that delayed moving the 20 limestone sculptures. The motion suggested the process would cost nearly $500,000.

Sutton however says the sculptures could be moved for a tenth of that price.

Layton put forth a motion at the last Board of Governors that asked staff to look into the having scheduled times for public viewing or even moving the sculptures out of the patio.

“We have asked for a new plan for how exhibition place deals with its public art to ensure that it does in fact stay public,” Layton said.

But Sutton is worried about damages: the mulch, sand and “excessive cleaning” could lead to irreparable damage, she said.

“Many of the pieces have been buried, especially Hercules, almost up to his ankles, moisture is seeping into the rock, there is mulch around some pieces and the wood acid can deteriorate the stone,” she said.

She’s hoping councillors will address her concerns at the next Board of Governors meeting on September 10.

Exhibition Place refused to comment and Muzik Nightclub did not respond to phone calls and emails.

– With files from Christina Stevens

Star witness at corruption inquiry admits Rizzuto a contact – Montreal

MONTREAL — For years, former construction boss Tony Accurso has vigorously denied any links to organized crime, but on Wednesday, he came clean.

Asked by prosecutor Sonia LeBel if Mafia boss Vito Rizzuto was included in his list of business contacts, Accurso answered that he was a “minor contact.”

He also confirmed Vito’s son, Nick Rizzuto Jr., was also a minor contact and “someone he met with occasionally.”

The two men have since died.

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READ MORE: Tony Accurso testifies at Quebec corruption inquiry

For the past two days, prosecutors have questioned Accurso about his business activities at the Charbonneau inquiry, Quebec’s investigation into corruption in the province’s construction industry.

Accurso is the former head of Louisbourg Construction, one of the province’s most successful firms.

He is facing numerous criminal charges in Laval and Mascouche for using bribes, namely vacations on his luxury yacht, to secure public contracts.

During his testimony on Wednesday, Accurso was also grilled about his cosy friendships with union leaders, including former FTQ-Construction head Jean Lavallee.

“He was like a brother to me,” Accurso said.

“Like the brother I never had.”

Many in the construction industry and union executives appeared to have a problem with this description of the friendship. They believe Accurso’s company benefited financially from his relationships.

In a 2009, during a police wiretap conversation, former FTQ executive Jocelyn Dupuis is heard talking about Accurso, saying “he controls everything, he gets whatever he wants.”

On Wednesday, Accurso denied having any sort of influence.

His testimony resumes Thursday morning.

Passenger recalls seat dispute that diverted jet, says he could have handled it ‘much better’ – National

NEW YORK – The businessman whose dispute with a fellow airline passenger over a reclined seat sparked a national debate about air-travel etiquette says he’s embarrassed by the way the confrontation unfolded and that he regrets his behaviour.

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But don’t expect James Beach to stop using the Knee Defender, a $22 gadget that attaches to a passenger’s tray table and prevents the person in front from reclining. He just plans to be nicer about it.

“I’m pretty ashamed and embarrassed by what happened,” Beach told The Associated Press on Wednesday. “I could have handled it so much better.”

The argument became so tense that the pilots of the Aug. 24 fight diverted the Boeing 737 to Chicago. An AP story about the incident started a broad public discussion of whether passengers should be allowed to recline. In the days that followed, two other flights were diverted under similar circumstances.

Beach, 48, reached out to the AP to clarify a few things about the episode, primarily that he initially complied with flight attendant instructions to remove the device.

For the record, he said, he never reclines his seat.

“You have the right, but it seems rude to do it,” said Beach, who is 6 feet 1 inch tall.

READ MORE: Plane diverted after passenger uses gadget to prohibit another from reclining

The dispute occurred on the final leg of Beach’s trip back to his home near Denver. After returning to the U.S. from a business trip to Moscow, he went on standby for an earlier flight for the leg from Newark, New Jersey, to Denver and was given a middle seat. When the jet was airborne, Beach took out his laptop to review a contract for his company, which develops waste recycling facilities, primarily in Russia. He used the Knee Defender – a Christmas gift a few years ago from his wife – to prevent the woman in front from reclining.

U.S. airlines prohibit use of the Knee Defender, but the devices are not illegal.

“I put them in maybe a third of the time. Usually, the person in front tries (to recline) their seat a couple of times, and then they forget about it,” Beach said. The device comes with a courtesy card to tell passengers that you’ve blocked them, but he doesn’t use it.

“I’d rather just kind of let them think the seat is broken, rather than start a confrontation,” he said.

Beach, who said he flies 75,000 to 100,000 miles a year, wasn’t so lucky this time.

When the flight attendants came through the cabin to serve beverages, the woman said her seat was broken. That’s when Beach told one of them about the Knee Defender. The flight attendant asked him to remove the device, and Beach said he did.

“As soon as I started to move it, she just full force, blasted the seat back, right on the laptop, almost shattered the screen. My laptop came flying onto my lap,” he said.

Beach complained, saying that he couldn’t work like that, but the flight attendant informed him that the woman had the right to recline. Both passengers were sitting in United’s Economy Plus section, which offers 4 more inches of legroom than the rest of coach.

RELATED: What happens to unruly passengers who divert your flight?

His reply: “You asked me to let her recline a few inches, and she just took 100 per cent of it.”

That’s when Beach’s anger boiled over. He said he pushed the woman’s seat forward and put the Knee Defender back in. The woman stood up and threw a cup of soda – not water, as previously reported – at him.

“It was really just surreal and shocking. Did that just happen?” Beach recalls. “I said, ‘I hope you brought your checkbook because you just threw your Sprite all over my $2,000 laptop.”‘

The flight attendant stepped in quickly and moved the woman to another seat.

“I said a lot of things I shouldn’t have said to the flight attendant: some bad words, what’s your name and ‘I can’t believe you’re treating me like this,”‘ he recalled.

The pilots then changed course for Chicago – a decision that Beach said “amazed” him.

“The plane was dead quiet for the rest of that flight,” he added. “Nobody said a word.”

Ira Goldman, who invented the Knee Defender, said the passengers on the other diverted flights got upset after their knees and head were hit by reclining seats. He said airlines are “trying to wish this problem away.”

His solution: Install seats that slide forward within a shell to recline or to allow the use of his device, which has been sold since 2003.

RELATED: U.S. flight diverted over reclining seat dispute

“They’re selling the same space twice – to me to sit down and then inviting people to put their seat backs there as well,” he said.

When the plane landed in Chicago, police escorted Beach and the woman off. Neither police, nor the airline or the Transportation Security Administration has released any information about the passenger seated in front of Beach.

No criminal or civil charges were brought against them, but United would not let them continue on to Denver.

Beach says he spent the night at an airport hotel and then caught a flight home the next morning. He flew Spirit Airlines. It has no reclining seats.

©2014The Canadian Press

N.B. Election Notebook: Sept. 3 – New Brunswick

FREDERICTON, N.B. – As party leaders and candidates hit the road across New Brunswick campaigning for the upcoming provincial election, Global News will keep track of where they are and what they’re saying in our election notebook.

Read all 2014 New Brunswick election notebooks

Here’s what happened Wednesday, September 3.

Conservatives: Resource development

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PC leader David Alward was in Moncton Wednesday, reiterating his plan for job creation.

Alward continued to push his plan to create jobs by shale gas and natural resource development in New Brunswick, to avoid more workers leaving to pursue work in Western Canada.

He also said resource development will generate $10-billion in private sector investment.

Liberals: Infrastructure renewal

Liberal leader Brian Gallant was in Saint John, speaking in front of The Chamber, formerly the Saint John Board of Trade. Gallant continued to push his infrastructure renewal plan, to spend $900-million over six years on roads and highways, saying it will create jobs and boost the economy.

The Liberal plan also supports a variety of private sector opportunities, including the Energy East pipeline.

NDP: Supporting small business

NDP leader Dominic Cardy was in Fredericton, announcing his party’s plan for supporting small businesses.

Cardy pledged to get rid of the small business tax if elected. He says small businesses are the backbone of New Brunswick communities. This promise would cost the province $32-million.

Green Party: Platform

Leader of the Green Party, David Coon released their official party platform. Coon said the party is promising to ban shale gas, cancel all contracts signed under the province’s forestry plan, and make access to abortion easier.

Coon also announced his party would work on specific tax increases as a revenue source. He says he would increase corporate tax, raising about $68-million a year.

Read the party’s full platform here.

Canadians keep truckin’ as car models fall further out of favour – National

Despite a backdrop of towering debt levels and shaky employment, Canadian auto sales continue to race higher.

More specifically, sales are surging for pickups, crossovers and SUVs. Car models made by the top-selling makes meanwhile continue to drop sharply in popularity.

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Automakers said Wednesday total sales for the month of August rose eight per cent compared to August of last summer – an all-time high for the month and a clip that maintains this year’s record-setting pace.

Leading the pack is Ford, which sold nearly 28,000 vehicles, up 3 per cent in August compared to the same month in 2013.

MORE: Consumers on fresh shopping spree — despite lofty debt levels

That increase was powered by 10 per cent rise in truck sales, more than offsetting a steep drop in car sales, which declined by more than a fifth – or 20.5 per cent.

Ford sold 12,521 F-Series trucks and nearly 5,100 Escapes, representing two thirds of automaker’s total Canadian sales in the month. The Focus was Ford’s top selling car model, with 2,063 vehicles sold.

The percentage gain/loss of sales, truck vs. car across major automakers in Canada in August:

Click here to view data »

Car popularity plummets

The story at the country’s other major automakers is largely the same – strong sales growth in larger vehicle catagories while fewer consumers are opting for cars.

General Motors said sales were up 5 per cent overall in August, what Chrysler reported a spike of 22 per cent in sales.

At GM, the Chevy Silvarado and GMC Sierra models helped lift truck sales by 7.3 per cent, while the number of cars sold last month dipped by 1.1 per cent.

Chrysler’s boom in August was lifted by a 33 per cent uptick in truck, light truck, crossover and minivan sales. Car sales were off by nearly a third, or 32 per cent.

Gas prices decline

The run-up in sales of trucks hasn’t been dented by rising gas prices this summer. Gas prices rose sharply through June before coming back down through July and August to sit a few cents per litre lower than where they were a year ago, according to online tracking service gasbuddy杭州夜网.

Better incentives

August’s sales numbers build on July’s torrid pace, which saw car and light truck sales in Canada jump to an all-time record (1.93 million annualized), surpassing the previous peak set in May.

Experts suggest aggressive promotions from the big automakers is playing a major role, as well as rock-bottom interest rates that are encouraging bigger auto financing loans.

MORE: The rise of the 8-year car loan

“The advance reflects the best vehicle affordability in decades, partly due to enhanced incentives — including ‘employee pricing’ — as well as the rising popularity of crossover utility vehicles (CUVs),” Scotiabank auto expert Carlos Gomes said in a note.

Ebola: See how it spreads – National

If you’ve been following the fast moving Ebola outbreak in West Africa, you may wonder why containing the deadly virus is proving to be so difficult. After all, there have been nearly 20 previous Ebola outbreaks and few have gotten into the triple digits when the final case count is tallied. This outbreak, with over 3,700 cases and nearly 2,000 deaths, exceeds all previous known Ebola cases combined.

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An update released Wednesday by the World Health Organization provides a small but enlightening piece of the puzzle of how this virus is wreaking havoc through several countries in West Africa.

This story relates to spread in Nigeria, which experienced a single importation of the virus in late July. It has been hoped Nigeria would be able to stamp out spread of the virus by tracing contacts of cases and putting them into quarantine until it was clear whether they were infected or not.

For a while, it looked like the continent’s most populous country might be able to stop Ebola transmission. It looks considerably less promising now.

Here’s the story:

A man from Liberia named Patrick Sawyer became infected in that country, reportedly while looking after his sister, who died from Ebola. A government official, Sawyer was due to go to an economic conference in Nigeria and did so  — even though health officials in Liberia were urging people who were contacts of known cases not to travel.

Sawyer was sick by the time he arrived in Nigeria on July 20 and he died on July 25. Within days of his case being diagnosed, authorities in Nigeria were following 59 people who had had contact with the man. The case count started to grow. A doctor tested positive. Then a nurse, who died.

On Aug. 8, Nigeria declared its Ebola outbreak a national emergency.  The same day, the WHO declared the West African outbreak a public health emergency of international concern. A month after Sawyer arrived in Nigeria, the country was reporting 15 cases and four deaths, including Sawyer.

Despite the dismaying number of secondary cases from the single importation, Nigerian officials and the WHO still hoped the country’s actions would stop the spread of the virus. But one of the people who contracted the virus from Sawyer decided not to stay put.

The man broke his quarantine order and fled Lagos. He flew to Port Harcourt, in the oil-rich southern part of Nigeria. While there, he was cared for in his hotel room by a local doctor from Aug. 1 to 3.

The man who brought Ebola to Port Harcourt survived his infection. But he infected his doctor, who began to experience symptoms of the illness on Aug. 11. For the next two days, the doctor continued to treat patients  — even operating on at least two, the WHO report states.

On Aug. 13, when his condition deteriorated, the doctor stopped practising. He was admitted to hospital on Aug. 16.

While he was sick but before he was hospitalized, the doctor was visited by friends and relatives, some coming to celebrate the birth of a new child. In hospital, he was visited by members of his church, who performed what was described as a healing ritual involving the laying on of hands.

The WHO says that during his stay, the doctor was cared for, at one time or another, by the majority of the hospital’s health-care staff.

The doctor died on Aug. 22. His wife, also a doctor, has since been confirmed as an Ebola case. Another patient in the hospital is also infected. Multiple staff members are being tested for the virus.

More than 200 people who had contact with the doctor are being monitored. Of those, 60 or so are deemed to have had a high or very high risk exposure to the dead doctor.

“Given these multiple high-risk exposure opportunities, the outbreak of Ebola virus disease in Port Harcourt has the potential to grow larger and spread faster than the one in Lagos,” the WHO says.

An emergency operations centre has been activated and a 26-bed isolation facility has been put in place. The WHO’s release says rather ominously that there are plans for possible expansion of the facility.

It also warns that the area is unstable, with civil unrest, security concerns and fear of Ebola creating an environment that could hamstring response operations. “Military escorts are needed for movements into the isolation and treatment centre,” the WHO admits.

Fifteen WHO technical staff are on the ground in Port Harcourt; 21 contact tracing teams are at work. A mobile diagnostic laboratory is in place.

Those numbers speak to an expectation that the Port Harcourt event is likely to generate a whole new wave of cases in Nigeria. So much for early control.

This is how Ebola spreads.