German Model Aircraft Manufacturer Herpa Apologizes for Negative Reference …

“WingsWorld,” Herpa’s monthly magazine, carries a feature about El Al that refers to “US patronage of Zionism” and “a violent, illegal occupation and eviction.” Photo: The Algemeiner

The German company Herpa, the world’s leading manufacturer of quality model airplanes, has apologized for an article in its monthly magazine, WingsWorld, which included hostile references to Zionism.

As The Algemeiner reported on Tuesday, the article, which focused on Israel’s national airline El Al, contained a section which discussed the hijacking of El Al planes by Palestinian terrorists during the 1960s, and which was introduced with the following sentence: “The conflicts between Israel and the Palestinians, who have been experiencing the Jewish settlement of Palestine backed by US patronage of Zionism to this day as a violent, illegal occupation and eviction, increased significantly.”

The piece then went on to examine the hijackings carried out by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, including the following observation: “The terror of the PFLP and many other organizations didn’t remain restricted to El Al, and has its bitter climax with the events of ’9-11′.”

WingsWorld is marketed to model airplane collectors and includes large numbers of children among its readers.

Following a complaint to Herpa by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Dr. Shimon Samuels, Director of International Relations for the Jewish advocacy organization, spoke directly with Walter Wehr, Herpa’s General Manager for Sales and Production. Samuels told The Algemeiner that Wehr had assured him that a full apology would be published on the company’s website, that the offending sentences would be removed from the online version of the article, and that the company would now start visibly listing the El Al replica models it sells from its online shop. Samuels had expressed concern that the absence of El Al from a menu listing the different airline models available from Herpa gave the impression of a boycott of Israel.

“I welcome Herpa’s willingness to acknowledge the problem and apologize,” said Samuels. “What this episode demonstrates, however, is the ease with which antisemitic perceptions of Israel can be circulated, and the consequent need to educate against such manifestations. It’s almost as if the words ‘Jew’ and ‘Israel’ provoke a viscerally hostile reaction, even in the most innocent of contexts, like model airplanes.”

Samuels added that he warned Wehr that failure to publish the apology by Tuesday October 28, the deadline agreed during their conversation, would result in a “wave of protest” from Jewish organizations. Samuels also pledged to raise the issue at a forthcoming conference in Berlin marking the 10th anniversary of the Berlin Declaration on antisemitism issued by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in April 2004.

In a separate letter sent to The Algemeiner signed by Wehr and his colleagues Werner Kuhn and WingsWorld editor Thomas Borgmann, the company stated: “We were not aware that the quoted sentences would lead to any misconceptions or could be placed into a wrong context. For this we deeply apologize.”

The letter added that the “sole goal” of the article was to “recognize the achievements of the airline El Al without any defamatory or anti-Semitic intentions whatsoever.”

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43 declared Ebola-free in Texas; no longer being monitored

About 120 people are now being monitored for possible infection with Ebola because they may have had contact with one of the three people in Dallas who had the disease, Texas health officials said Monday.

Officials said 43 of 48 people on an original watch list have passed the 21-day maximum incubation period for the viral disease and are now in the clear.

But others who cared for a Liberian man who died Oct. 8 at a Dallas hospital remain at risk, along with two nurses he infected and their close contacts. That brings the total to 120 people now being monitored, with their wait period ending Nov. 7, said Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings. He said the number may fluctuate.

Clay Jenkins, the top administrator for Dallas County, said he was unaware that other health officials had allowed one of the nurses, Amber Vinson, onto an airplane the day before she was diagnosed. Vinson had contacted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Dallas County, and she was given permission to fly home to Dallas after visiting family in Ohio.

“It was a mistake” for Vinson to have flown “and we apologize,” Jenkins said during a news conference Monday morning.

Still, health officials said they were breathing a little easier Monday as the monitoring period ended for many, and after a cruise ship scare ended with the boat returning to port and a lab worker on board testing negative for the virus.

Among those no longer in isolation are the family and friends who were hosting Thomas Eric Duncan before he was diagnosed with Ebola. The Liberian man – who became the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S. – died from the disease Oct. 8 at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital.

“I want to breathe, I want to really grieve, I want privacy with my family,” Louise Troh, whose family had been hosting Duncan before he became ill, told The Associated Press.

Rawlings, the Dallas mayor, thanked Bishop Kevin Farrell of the Catholic Diocese of Dallas for providing housing for Troh and her family while they were monitored. Rawlings said the family was staying at a Catholic retreat in Dallas owned by the Diocese.

The incubation period also has passed for many health workers who encountered Duncan when he went to the Dallas hospital for the first time, on Sept. 25. Duncan was sent home, but then returned by ambulance and was admitted on Sept. 28. Two nurses who treated him during that second visit – Vinson and Nina Pham – are now hospitalized with Ebola.

Vinson’s family issued a statement saying they have hired a lawyer and are troubled by comments and media coverage that “mischaracterize” Vinson, who is being treated at Emory University in Atlanta. Vinson “has not and would not knowingly expose herself or anyone else,” and “suggestions that she ignored any of the physician and government-provided protocols recommended to her are patently untrue and hurtful,” the statement says.

On Sunday, a Carnival Cruise Lines ship returned to Galveston, Texas, from a seven-day trip marred by worries over a health worker on board who was being monitored for Ebola. The lab supervisor had handled a specimen from Duncan and isolated herself on the ship as a precaution, though she later tested negative for Ebola. About 4,000 passengers on the cruise had to miss a stop in Cozumel, Mexico, where the boat was not allowed to dock because of the scare.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said those caring for Duncan were vulnerable because some of their skin was exposed.

The CDC is working on revisions to safety protocols. Earlier ones, Fauci said, were based on a World Health Organization model for care in remote places, often outdoors, and without intensive training for health workers.

“So there were parts about that protocol that left vulnerability, parts of the skin that were open,” Fauci said.

Health officials had previously allowed hospitals some flexibility to use available covering when dealing with suspected Ebola patients. The new guidelines are expected to set firmer standards: calling for full-body suits and hoods that protect worker’s necks; setting rigorous rules for removal of equipment and disinfection of hands; and requiring a “site manager” to supervise the putting on and taking off of equipment.

The guidelines also are expected to require a “buddy system” in which workers check each other as they come in and go out, according to an official who was familiar with the guidelines but not authorized to discuss them before their release.

Hospital workers also will be expected to exhaustively practice getting in and out of the equipment, the official said.

Nurses have been clamoring for more guidance and better garb, saying they have never cared for Ebola patients before and feel unprepared and underequipped.

“If hospital administrators had to take care of Ebola patients, they would have the gold standard and hazmat suits,” said RoseAnn DeMoro, executive director of National Nurses United, a union with 185,000 members.

In some places where they have the suits, nurses have not practiced taking them on and off.

“The hospital is sending them essentially a link to the CDC website. That’s not preparation. That’s like a do-it-yourself manual,” DeMoro said.

The Pentagon announced Sunday that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel had ordered the formation of a 30-person military support team to assist civilian medical professionals in the U.S. to treat Ebola. The team won’t be sent overseas, and will “be called upon domestically only if deemed prudent by our public health professionals,” Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said in a statement.


Stobbe reported from Atlanta.


Associated Press writers Emily Schmall in Fort Worth, Texas; Jill Craig in Galveston, Texas; and Josh Hoffner in Dallas contributed to this report.

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Ebola fear, monitoring eases for some in Dallas

By The Associated Press

Posted Oct. 20, 2014 @ 11:21 am

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Radio-Controlled Planes Star In Laid-Back Fly-In at Lakeland Linder Airport

Frank Tiano runs both events, but 12 O’Clock High is not a competition.

“This is a cool, very laid-back event and you get to see everything,” Foushi said.

“You can go up and fly when you want, there’s no pressure of the judges and the whole nine yards so it’s a real fun event where an airplane or aviation enthusiast can come out and enjoy seeing the full spectrum of all the different airplanes,” he said.

Tiano said that, while it is not a competition, some awards, like for nicest model plane or best flying, are given out at the end of the three-day event.

“It’s a fly-in. That means it’s not a competition,” Tiano said. “They just come for the camaraderie, to come out and fly together.”

Foushi said planes can range from World War I era planes to modern day jets. All of the models are scaled-down versions of actual airplanes that Tiano said are usually very expensive.

“I’d say the average size may be 8 feet as opposed to the 25 inches you’d see in a park. The average weight might be 45 pounds,” he said. “They’re huge and they’re expensive. Not all of them are expensive but many. Some of them are $15,000 to $20,000. Some of them have engines that cost $5,000.”

Foushi will fly a T-45 Goshawk at the event. He said participating in 12 O’clock High is great practice for the Top Gun competition.

“One of my buddies was in Top Gun and I got a taste for that after I was a spotter for him for about a year,” Foushi said. “The following year I competed and I ended up winning Top Gun in 2011. It’s one of those things you get addicted to.”

Though he bought the 54-pound plane with a 102-inch wingspan, Foushi said he has built them in the past.

Tiano said 12 O’Clock High draws about 100 pilots with 220 airplanes and as many as 4,000 spectators. And while he enjoys providing entertainment to families, Tiano said he also likes the potential of boosting local businesses.

“I came to realize it’s also good for the community,” he said. “I enjoy making things work and people making money, people having a good time. So I’m providing a service and fun at the same time.”

Lance Ferguson can be reached at or 863-802-7533. Follow @Lance_Ferguson on Twitter.

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Best U.S. Stock Ideas Today

1. Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO): Marissa Mayer has started turning the ship
2. NXP Semiconductor (NASDAQ:NXPI): broad-based strength continues
3. EMC (NYSE:EMC): “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” – JKF
4. Earnings season triangulation (cont)
5. SAP (NYSE:SAP): remains a tough environment
6. Financial engineers are so “last Thursday”
7. Technicals
8. Trader watch

1. Yahoo: Marissa Mayer has started turning the ship

Last night, Marissa Mayer used YHOO’s earnings as an opportunity to go on the offensive with respect to her strategy for YHOO going forward. She defended her acquisition strategy for growth and reiterated her commitment to shareholders and maximizing value. “Today was really a good opportunity for us to show the progress we’ve made. We were able to reap the fruits of some of what we’ve been sowing over the past few years.”

However, Mayer did note that she is aligned with a number of Starboard’s proposals such as tax efficiency and capital allocation. She noted how “we will meet with them and engage with them.” She went on to say “we take all our investor inputs seriously.”

While not stellar, YHOO did experience 1% growth in revenues ex-TAC, which to us demonstrates the stabilization of the business. YHOO went on to guide Q4 revenues in the range of $1.14B-$1.18B (ex-TAC) versus street consensus of $1.17B. The stabilization and eventual growth will continue to be driven by YHOO’s initiatives in the mobile, social, native and video businesses. Third quarter display ad revenue (ex-TAC) was -6% Y/Y, better than Q2’s -7% drop. Display ads sold were up 24%, however, price per ad declined 24% as the transition to native ads from traditional banner ads continues. During the call, Mayer noted “we’ve affected this transformation remarkably quickly with 44% of our display ads now being native and our mobile revenue now being material.”

As for Alibaba, YHOO noted how they sold approximately 140M shares in the IPO that netted the company around $9.5B and the company expects to pay cash taxes on the gain of around $3.3B, which equates to about a 35% tax rate. Keeping their promise of returning at least half of the BABA windfall to shareholders, YHOO purchased $282M worth of shares in the third quarter in addition to an accelerated $1.1B share repurchase program in which YHOO prepaid $1.1 billion and received an initial delivery of approximately 15 million shares on September 30, 2014.”

We continue to believe that shares of YHOO are worth close to $50/share under conservative assumptions (higher tax rates for BABA) and shares could have further material upside should many of Starboard’s value creation suggestions be implemented. Mayer noted that Tumblr will generate positive EBITDA and still remains a positive platform for growth going forward, helping reinforce her strategy. In addition, the remaining company’s value in BABA remains around $34B+, which equates to about 85% of YHOO’s market cap pre-tax. We continue to believe with such a war chest, YHOO and Marissa Mayer can continue looking for transformative acquisitions that will be rewarded by the Street coupled with continued shareholder-friendly capital distributions. We remain positive on shares of YHOO over the medium and long terms.

2. NXP Semiconductor: broad-based strength continues

We think NXPI is seeing solid trends across all of its business segments, and expect a strong earnings print tonight (after 8PM EST).

Our research shows that NXPI’s Identification business (credit card security, etc.) is seeing very strong trends not only in China, but in the U.S. as well.

Our work also shows that their Portable and Computing business (driven by the iPhone 6) is seeing very strong demand, and that this will continue for several quarters.

Finally, we think that NXPI’s Infrastructure Industrial and Auto businesses are doing well. Note that Texas Instruments (NASDAQ:TXN) on Monday night described their Industrial, Auto and Communications (Infrastructure) businesses as “strong”, and that this matches with our very recent research.

Another anecdotal piece of evidence that semi demand trends are sound came from Broadcom (NASDAQ:BRCM) last night when they stated that they are not seeing anything unusual in their end markets.

NXPI trades at 12.1Xs F2015 (December) consensus EPS, which equates to a PEG Ratio of 0.80. We think 2015 consensus EPS has at least 20% upside, which will become evident over the next 1-2 quarters. Net debt is $11.67/share and TBV is -$6.96/share.

We also expect NXPI to talk about their continued strong buyback program on their 8AM EST earnings call tomorrow.

We remain BUYERS of NXPI.

Call for more.

3. EMC: “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” – JKF

We’re starting to think EMC’s management is going the way of eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) (in our minds) where it will be too little too late in monetizing on coveted assets when the moves finally come.

Last night’s extended hours trading saw shares of EMC rise when news emerged that the company plans to disclose a “new business development.” That fueled hopes a full VMware (NYSE:VMW) spin-off will be announced. Sadly, that was not it, and it was EMC acquiring a majority stake in VCE, which is a joint venture with Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO).

When openly asked about unlocking shareholder value, EMC management once again failed to give what we were looking for, a clear answer. CEO Joe Tucci stated:

”I am not aware of any statements that HP made, but, you know, we have been very clear that we don’t comment on speculation, rumors, so I’m not going to do that today. You know, and talking about the business, you know, it’s kind of baffling in a way because if you look at counting this year, assuming we make the forecast, and we believe we will, if you looked at our top line over the last three years, we’ve grown at 7%. If you look at our pre-cash flow, we’ve grown at 9%, and if you look at our EPS, or 8%, and if you look at our EPS, it is also about 8%. So — and that’s CAGR. So obviously stock price has not moved a lot. But so it is not reflecting our performance. So, you know, as I said before, our management Board, our management and Board is very focused on enhancing shareholder value but we also believe, and, again, this is what we do believe with Elliot, that we are in good businesses and we have a strong position in those good businesses. We do have great technology assets. We have a very talented leadership team. And a great workforce. And yep, we’re undervalued.

He went on to say that “buybacks and dividends are not a strategy, they’re a tactic.”

Despite the sum of the parts offering what we believe to be a mid-$30s stock price, a SOTP valuation is not an appropriate measure when management is not willing to explore alternatives. Besides the SOTP, as EMC themselves have noted there are secular shifts occurring in technology (just ask IBM (NYSE:IBM) and SAP) that are not favorable to EM. To us, EMC is set in their ways and their “federation model” and thus it becomes difficult to get cooperation to extract that hidden value outlined by us and the likes of Elliot.

As such, we are no longer favorable on shares of EMC and believe investors looking for exposure to virtualization and software defined data centers should look to shares of VMW given all the bad news now seems to be baked in and offers a better long-term opportunity than EMC.

4. Earnings season triangulation (cont)

Emerson Electric (NYSE:EMR) released their September order numbers and we believe they offer a good read-through as to the state of many geographies and industries worldwide similar to our read-through’s from many steel makers that made constructive comments yesterday.

EMR noted…

Trailing three-month orders grew moderately, as mixed trends across markets and heightenedcurrency volatility continued.

Strength in North America continued, supported by favorable energy market conditions and inventory growth in the HVAC industry ahead of upcoming regulatory changes.

Appreciation in the U.S. dollar drove the substantial impact from currency translation, which will reduce reported sales growth by 2 percentage points in 2015 if exchange rates remain unchanged.

Process Management orders growth moderated, as currency translation deducted 9 percentage points, including backlog revaluation. Underlying orders growth remained robust, led by continued momentum in North America oil and gas markets. Demand was also strong in Europe, driven byNorth Sea projects, and growth improved in the Middle East/Africa, although mixed across the region. Asia and Latin America increased modestly, led by strength in India and Mexico.

Industrial Automation order trends slowed, as weakness in Europe offset better market conditions in North America and Asia. Orders in the electrical distribution, power generating alternators, and materials joining businesses increased, while demand for motors and drives and in renewable energy markets was down.

Network Power orders were unchanged overall, with varied market conditions across geographies and businesses. Excluding currency translation, which deducted 2 percentage points, underlying order trends improved modestly, as growth in the data center business benefited from improvement in Europe and North America. Demand in telecommunications infrastructure markets was weak globally.

Climate Technologies orders grew at a robust rate, led by U.S. residential air conditioning markets that benefited from demand acceleration related to regulatory changes effective January 1, 2015.Strength in China drove improvement in Asia, while market conditions remained slow in Europe.

Commercial Residential Solutions orders growth was solid, as favorable momentum continued in North America.

Stanley Black and Decker (NYSE:SWK) this morning also echoed a number of similar concerns stated by EMR.

“While it is premature to provide detail guidance for 2015 at this time, the continued strengthening of the U.S. dollar and slowing emerging market economic growth is a known headwind of approximately $50 – $75 million to 2015 operating margin growth. However, we have a demonstrated track record of responding to these types of currency and macro economic pressures with surgical cost reduction actions. In this regard, we are currently considering several initiativeswhich would largely, if not completely, offset these headwinds. Such actions, if taken, would likely require additional restructuring charges of $10 – $25 million in excess of our current 2014 estimate of $25 million.

Continuing on the aerospace front tied to our preference for shares of AA, BA this morning noted “With three solid quarters behind us and confidence in our ongoing performance, we are increasing our earnings per share outlook for 2014, as our team remains focused on providing value to our customers and shareholders, profitably ramping up airplane production, executing on our development programs, and driving productivity and affordability throughout the enterprise.”

Adding further support to our secular Aluminum theme, Norsk Hydro (OTCQX:NHYDY) saying everything you would want, and expect. Demand up, supply down, and their operating costs are lower.

“Demand for aluminum is rising, and we now see demand growth of 3-4% in the world ex-China for 2014, helped by metal substitution in the automotive market.”

With respect to our positive thoughts on Anheuser-Busch Inbev SA/NV (NYSE:BUD) post SABMiller’s (OTCPK:SBMRY) revenue update, Heineken (OTCQX:HEINY) this morning noted how they see “positive growth momentum in Asia Pacific, Africa Middle East and the Americas region, offset by lower volumes in Europe.“ We continue to believe BUD’s outsized geographic exposure to the Americas bodes well for the company based on commentary we’ve seen.

Norfolk Southern Corp. (NYSE:NSC) this morning said the intermodal, automotive, and metals/construction commodity groups all saw double-digit sales growth over the period.


We’ve gotten a plethora of positive commentary supporting our view that significant North American exposure is still preferential in an uncertain market. Granted, globalization has made it difficult in the large cap space to isolate oneself from the troubles in Emerging Markets and Europe. However, we believe the impacts of the slowdown can be slightly mitigated if investors focus on areas where companies highlight continued strength such as Auto, Aerospace, Energy and Non-residential construction; particularly in North America. We continue to favor companies in our universe that have already reported earnings and reaffirmed our theses, thus removing further event risk. Investors updating their buy lists should look towards shares of Alcoa (NYSE:AA), Schlumberger (NYSE:SLB), United Rentals (NYSE:URI), Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), Micron (NASDAQ:MU), and UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH) remain attractive fundamental names that have already reported earnings and illustrated to us that business remains strong and the only thing that has changed is price. Additionally, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and TXN further supported our calls on NXPI, Skyworks (NASDAQ:SWKS), and InvenSense (NYSE:INVN) going into earnings.

5. SAP: remains a tough environment

SAP (sell): Big Blue down again.

“No FM lost their job for owning big blue” or so the saying goes.

A similar thing could be said for SAP.

When an industry is stable and predictable, the incumbent players have unassailable structural advantages – solid revenues, top talent, access to capital, and economies of scale just to name a few. But those advantages can end up being the catalyst for their undoing during times of disruptive change, like now. What digital did to the print industry, the cloud is doing to enterprise software and while it’s unfair to suggest all the incumbents will fail to transition, it’s clearly not without risks. Change more than often depresses multiples, which is why IBM on 9x yr 2 vs. SAP on 14x leaves the latter looking most vulnerable.

We remain a seller of SAP.

6. Financial engineers are so “last Thursday”

IBM down again in a very good market is a significant tell that time may be up on financial engineers with no top-line growth. Post the IBM fiasco, we think it’s fair to say that companies that have used their cash to fund EPS growth at the expense of returns are now at risk of a material de-rating. Tesco (OTCPK:TSCDY) is the poster child in Europe, and SAP stands out (to us) on this basis as well (although they still have some growth).


SAP has moved from a approximate €3bn net cash position in 2007 to an expected €6.5bn net debt position at the end of 2014. The reason? Approximately €23bn of acquisitions over the period (including Concur), which have done little to boost returns. The FCF generated ends up in the pockets of entrepreneurs who are constantly innovating to disrupt their incumbent offerings.

Remain a seller of SAP.

7. Technicals

Riccardo initiates on shares of Genuine Parts Company (NYSE:GPC) (please see all the positive auto market commentary we’ve highlighted) stating 5-year bullish breakout on strong volume, 12-month breakout in RS vs. SP 500. Targeting $110-$113, initial stop @ $85.44.

He reiterates his BUYS on shares of UNH (we’re fundamentally positive as well), Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:REGN), Alexion Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ALXN), Celgene (NASDAQ:CELG), Lowe’s Companies (NYSE:LOW) and Paychex (NASDAQ:PAYX).

He maintains his negative sentiment and short position on shares of General Motors (NYSE:GM).

Showing the pain across the street on many of the “safe” names, Riccardo gets stopped out on shares of Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) noting STOP LOSS -7% abs -6.65% rel SP 500. Closing our October 7th long position due to gap down on strong volume below our stop level. SELL.

SP 500 Consumer Services: important breakdown below 680 (now resistance), RS vs. SP 500 challenging multi-month supports. Keep UW.

SP 500 Consumer Discretionary: the important negative divergence seen in the RS vs. SP 500remains. This s/t bounce has not improved the pattern.

Daily SP 500: NEUTRAL+. Our s/t trend model is now bearish in a l/t bullish context. Tested our1820 level however look for 1760 to be challenged.

8. Trader watch

i) DF to benefit from USDA data?

DEAN FOODS (NYSE:DF) u/g this morning by Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) basically furthering our thesis and calling for Class I Milk prices to correct 25% next year on the back of recent butter price declines. We get USDA Class I Milk prices at 3pm. $23 handle would be great, low $24 would be good, $25 negative (but might also call the peak). We calculate a high $23 to low $24 milk price forecast using butter prices as a tell.

ii) CAP Gemini (OTCPK:CGEMY) to benefit from SAP’s demise?

If looking for the other side of the SAP trade, remember what Infosys said last week?

“Digital transformation is reshaping the business of every one of our clients. We see this as a great opportunity to help them renew the core of their business as well as to expand into new frontiers and are seeing early positive results.”

iii) US homebuilders, “you fix housing….”

Similar trends exist in the US as the UK, which support homebuilding, improved affordability, pent-up demand and lower rates. Existing home sales were also well ahead yesterday, which is a positive sign. In non-resi, we note a better ABI print of 55.2 in Sept. vs. 53.0 a month earlier, and the Inquiry index higher at 64.8 from 62.6, suggesting things look better in the future.

iv) Templeton on China

“Although the pace of China’s growth has diminished, we believe it is actually trending toward higher-quality, more sustainable growth patterns.”

We agree.

v) Baltic dry rates up 12% overnight?

China restocking…?

vi) US Wage Growth coming?


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Dallas officials: 120 still on Ebola monitoring

— Federal health officials on Monday issued new guidelines to promote head-to-toe protection for health workers treating Ebola patients.

Officials have been scrambling to come up with new advice since two Dallas nurses became infected while caring for the first person diagnosed with the virus in the United States.

Workers at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital were trying to follow earlier CDC guidance. Organizations representing nurses and other health workers have pressed the CDC, saying the old advice was confusing and inadequate, and health workers felt afraid and unprepared.

It’s not clear exactly how the two nurses at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital became infected, but clearly there was some kind of problem, said Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The bottom line is the guidelines didn’t work for that hospital,” Frieden said, in announcing the revised guidelines Monday evening.

Earlier CDC guidelines had been based on a model of how to treat Ebola patients in Africa, which sometimes has occurred in tents. They also allowed hospitals some flexibility to use available covering when dealing with suspected Ebola patients.

The new guidelines set a firmer standard, calling for full-body garb and hoods that protect worker’s necks; setting rigorous rules for removal of equipment and disinfection of hands; and calling for a “site manager” to supervise the putting on and taking off of equipment.

They also call for health workers who may be involved in an Ebola patient’s care to repeatedly practice and demonstrate proficiency in donning and doffing gear — before ever being allowed near a patient.

And they ask hospitals to establish designated areas for putting on and taking off equipment, whether it’s a room adjacent to an Ebola patient’s room or a hallway area cordoned off with a plastic sheet.

The CDC cannot require hospitals to follow the guidance; it’s merely official advice. But these are the rules hospitals are following as they face the possibility of encountering patients with a deadly infectious disease that a few months ago had never been seen in this country.

The CDC guidance was expected as early as Saturday, but its release has been pushed back while it continues to go through review by experts and government officials.

All this stems from the case of Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian man who came down with Ebola symptoms last month while visiting Dallas.

Duncan went to the hospital on Sept. 25 but was not tested for, or diagnosed with, Ebola. He returned to the hospital three days later and on Sept. 30 tested positive.

He died Oct. 8.

Duncan’s case led to the monitoring of about 50 people who came in contact with him before his second trip to the hospital, and dozens of health care workers who cared for him after his admission.

Some good news this week: The 50 in the initial contact group have passed a 21-day observation period and no longer are deemed at risk for coming down with the dreaded disease.

Youngor Jallah spent the past three weeks confined to her small apartment with her children and boyfriend, fearing they had contracted the deadly Ebola virus from Duncan, who was her mother’s fiance.

But with the household emerging symptom-free from the incubation period, Jallah’s family members are now trying to resume their lives – replacing the personal belongings incinerated in a cleanup at her mother’s home, and overcoming the stigma of the Ebola scare that has gripped Dallas.

On Monday, Jallah beamed as she sent her children back to school with clearance from the Dallas County health department tucked into their backpacks. Her mother emerged from her own confinement and started looking for a new place to live.

“We were sitting here traumatized,” Jallah told The Associated Press on Monday. “We just thank God we never came down with the virus.”

There are now about 120 people in Texas being monitored for symptoms, with their wait period ending Nov. 7, said Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings. He said the number may fluctuate.

There are also about 140 people being monitored in Ohio because of contact or potential contact with nurse Amber Vinson, Ohio officials said. Vinson, who cared for Duncan in Texas, flew from Dallas to Cleveland on Oct. 10 and flew back Oct. 13.

An Ebola patient who was being treated in Atlanta since early September was released from Emory University Hospital on Sunday after he was determined to be free of the virus and no threat to the public. Hospital and health officials never released his name, in keeping with his family’s wish for privacy.

Health officials said they were relieved as the monitoring period ended for many, and after a cruise ship scare ended with the boat returning to port in Texas and a lab worker on board testing negative for the virus.

After Duncan was diagnosed with Ebola, Jallah’s 13-year-old son, Troh, Duncan’s nephew, and a family friend were ordered by a Dallas court to stay inside the apartment among Duncan’s used linens. Five days later they were evacuated to a four-bedroom home in an isolated corner of a 13-acre gated property owned by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Dallas, southwest of downtown.

Except for a few plastic bins filled with personal documents, photographs, trophies and a Bible, the apartment was stripped down to the carpeting and the contents were incinerated.

The city of Dallas announced Monday it is coordinating with a local church and donors to provide Jallah’s mother, Louise Troh, with funds to pay for six months of housing. Once she chooses a location, nonprofits will assist the family with furniture, linens and other household items, the city said.

“We want to restore what’s lost but more than that, we want to give her a running start on her new life,” said Troh’s pastor, George Mason of Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas.

While health workers cleared Jallah of having Ebola, the disease’s stigma lingers — including among fellow Liberians, she said.

“If they see me at the store, they run away,” she said.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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