Global Scan

Canada will send an experimental Ebola vaccine to Africa

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Credit: Luc Gnago/Reuters

Health workers wearing protective masks and gloves gesture as they talk at the Felix Houphouet Boigny international airport in Abidjan August 12, 2014. Ivory Coast on Monday banned air travellers from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the three countries worst-hit by the Ebola outbreak.

In the wake of what appears to be success treating two American Ebola victims with an experimental serum, Canada has stepped forward with a limited supply of experimental Ebola vaccine it says can be tested in Africa.

The country has just 1500 doses, but has said it will ship them to Africa for use in treating the sick immediately. The vaccine has never before been tested in humans, but has shown positive signs in animal trials.

Canada will hold onto some of its stockpile, for small trials and in case an Ebola case arrives in Canada, but will turn most of what it has. Canadian officials have said it could take four to six months for them to make more of the vaccine in greater numbers, CTV reports.

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This French 'hamlet' refuses to change its hateful name

In the French countryside, there's a town that goes by the name of "Death to the Jews" — a name that goes back centuries. You'd think, in this modern, more politically correct world, there'd be some interest in changing the name to something less divisive and not outright anti-Semitic — but you'd be wrong.

According to a report from Vox, at least as far back as 1992, an effort was made to change the name of the little hamlet that is part of the tiny village of Courtmaux, 60 miles south of Paris. But that bid failed, and a new effort, led by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, seems likely to be headed for the same fate. Residents say the town's name is linked to history — so they couldn't possibly change it. 

Somali terrorist group uses water to wage war

In dry Somalia, water is life. It feeds children and adults, as well as livestock and crops. So when al-Shabbab forces find themselves forced out of a village by African Union or Somali troops, their first tactic is to cut off water supplies. Sometimes it means merely blocking access to a crucial river, other times it's more aggressive: sending forces into town to plug up or bury a well.

PRI's America Abroad looked at how al-Shabbab is continuing to exert influence and terror over residents of Somali communities, even after being defeated by government troops. Families are having to making the hard choice of who gets limited water rations — and who doesn't.

Saudi dad takes his sons to join ISIS, without telling his ex-wife

In a story that could have an absolutely tragic ending, a Saudi mother recently learned that her ex-husband had taken their two sons with him when he went to join ISIS terrorists fighting in Syria. The boys, 10 and 11, appeared in pictures holding assault rifles in front of the ISIS flag a few days after leaving Saudi Arabia for what was supposed to be a trip to a neighboring Gulf Arab country.

According to Reuters, the mother called her son, but got a message back from the boy's father — saying she should count her children as "birds in heaven." Many Saudis have joined ISIS in Syria as well as in Iraq, but the current situation, where a father took his sons, has jolted Saudi officials to take stronger action. They're coordinating with Turkish officials to try and bring the children home.

This blind 10-year-old makes the most beautiful music

Félix is a 10-year-old boy living in Quebec, Canada. He also happens to be blind — and that's been tough for him. He's not particularly outspoken; he's shy. But when you put a guitar in his hands, he really starts to come out of his shell. And it's not just noise — he's actually really good.

PRI's The World learned about Félix and his music — which isn't typical kids' stuff. He plays the blues, including one stirring rendition of B.B. King's Every Day I Have The Blues. Don't miss the video of his performance.

What we're seeing on social

Weather around the world

Organizers of a large surfing festival in Newquay, United Kingdom, may have gotten some more serious waves than they expected. Remnants of Hurricane Bertha hit the UK just in time to disrupt the "premier surf and music festival" — with music attendees sent home early because of high winds and heavy rains. The BMX and skateboarding contests were called early as well. But the surfing went on — and one attendee described it as simply "awesome." The Western Morning News has the story.

This post is a regular feature of PRI.org. It's a daily brief and email newsletter of stories, events and graphics that are catching the attention of our news staff. The World's Leo Hornak kicks it off from London and various folks on our editorial team around the globe contribute from there, like Cartoon Editor Carol Hills in Boston. Don't expect anything near the standard wrap of major news stories. This blog post and its email companion will be as idiosyncratic as our staff... and we'll want you to tell us what you like and don't like. Sign up for a PRI.org account and subscribe to our newsletter to get it delivered to your inbox. The newsletter arrives during the US morning hours.

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