Australian Outlook

Issues Brief

01 Aug 2014
Colin Chapman

Israel and Hamas have agreed a 72-hour humanitarian truce, with talks planned in Cairo to try to get it extended, the BBC reports. The corporation also comments at length about disarray at the United Nations over the issue.

Why hasn’t the United Nations done more to end the conflict in Gaza? Or Syria, Iraq, the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Libya, Afghanistan or Ukraine? This is a rhetorical question posed by the BBC’s UN correspondent Nick Bryant who moved to New York after several years in Sydney as the Australia correspondent. In a detailed analysis for the BBC (question: why do so few ABC correspondents provide analysis?) Nick argues it’s not due to lack of effort by officials, but dysfunction and deadlock within the organisation’s structure. He also recommends a recent article in the New York Times headed ‘Why the UN can’t solve the world’s problems’.

The rise and spread of the Ebola virus has also become a global concern with DFAT warning Australians not to travel to parts of West Africa and with alerts at major world airports. The WHO has sounded a global alarm and launched an $100 million emergency response.

The US Peace Corps has evacuated hundreds of its volunteers from the affected areas, The Guardian reports. Sierra Leone has declared a state of emergency.

Questions to Ask

What is the Ebola virus, read the World Health Organisation fact sheet. Stanford University, a brief history of the disease. We have the science to build an Ebola vaccine, so why has it not happened? What is the risk of an outbreak in Australia?