Day: November 13, 2022

‘Black Panther’ Sequel Scores 2nd Biggest Debut Of 2022

The box office roared back to life with the long-awaited release of “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.”

The Marvel sequel earned $180 million in ticket sales from more than 4,396 theaters in the U.S. and Canada, according to estimates from The Walt Disney Co. on Sunday, making it the second biggest opening of the year behind “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.” Overseas, it brought in an additional $150 million from 50 territories, bringing its worldwide total to $330 million.

“Wakanda Forever” was eagerly anticipated by both audiences and exhibitors, who have weathered a slow spell at the box office since the summer movie season ended and there were fewer bigger budget blockbusters in the pipeline. The film got off to a mighty start a bit stronger than even the first film with an $84 million opening day, including $28 million from Thursday previews.

“Some may have hoped for $200 million like the first film, but this is solid,” said Paul Dergarabedian, Comscore’s senior media analyst. “This is the type of movie that theaters really need to drive audiences.”

The first film opened to $202 million in February 2018 and went on to gross over $1.4 billion worldwide, making it one of the highest grossing films of all time and a cultural phenomenon. A sequel was inevitable, and development began soon after with director Ryan Coogler returning, but everything changed after Chadwick Boseman’s unexpected death in August 2020. “Wakanda Forever” became, instead, about the death of Boseman’s King T’Challa/Black Panther, and the grieving kingdom he left behind. Returning actors include Angela Bassett, Lupita Nyong’o, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke and Danai Gurira, who face off against a new foe in Tenoch Huerta’s Namor. The film would face more complications too, including Wright getting injured and some COVID-19 related setbacks. All told, it cost a reported $250 million to make, not accounting for marketing and promotion.

AP Film Writer Jake Coyle wrote in his review that, “‘Wakanda Forever’ is overlong, a little unwieldy and somewhat mystifyingly steers toward a climax on a barge in the middle of the Atlantic. But Coogler’s fluid command of mixing intimacy with spectacle remains gripping.”

It currently holds an 84% on Rotten Tomatoes and, as is often the case with comic book films, the audience scores are even higher.

Superhero films have fared well during the pandemic, but none yet have reached the heights of “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” which opened to $260.1 million in Dec. 2021. Other big launches include “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” ($187.4 million in May), “Thor: Love and Thunder” ($144.2 million in July) and “The Batman” ($134 million in March).

“Wakanda Forever” is the first film to open over $100 million since “Thor” in July, which has been difficult for exhibitors that are already dealing with a calendar that has about 30% fewer wide releases than in a normal year.

Holdovers populated the rest of the top five, as no film dared launch nationwide against a Marvel behemoth. Second place went to the DC superhero “Black Adam,” with $8.6 million, bringing its domestic total to $151.1 million. “Ticket to Paradise” landed in third, in weekend four, with $6.1 million. The Julia Roberts and George Clooney romantic comedy has made nearly $150 million worldwide. “Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile” and “Smile” rounded out the top five with $3.2 million and $2.3 million, respectively.

Some awards hopefuls have struggled in their expansions lately, but Searchlight Pictures’ “The Banshees of Inisherin,” with Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson, looks like an exception. The Martin McDonagh film expanded to 960 theaters in its fourth weekend and got seventh place on the charts with $1.7 million, bringing its total to $5.8 million.

“It’s been a very interesting post-summer period for movie theaters, with some gems out there doing well like ‘Ticket to Paradise’ and ‘Smile,'” Dergarabedian said. “But movie theaters can’t survive on non-blockbuster style films. The industry needs more of these.”

After “Black Panther,” the next blockbuster on the schedule is “Avatar: The Way of Water,” arriving Dec. 16.

The weekend wasn’t completely without any other high-profile releases. Steven Spielberg’s autobiographical drama ” The Fabelmans” opened in four theaters in New York and Los Angeles with $160,000. Universal and Amblin will roll the film out to more theaters in the coming weeks to build excitement around the likely Oscar-contender. Michelle Williams and Paul Dano play parents to the Spielberg stand-in Sammy Fabelman, who is falling in love with movies and filmmaking as his parents’ marriage crumbles.

“This will be an interesting holiday season,” Dergarabedian said. “I think a lot of the dramas and independent films will have their time to shine over the next couple months.”

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.

  1. “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” $180 million.

  2. “Black Adam,” $8.6 million.

  3. “Ticket to Paradise,” $6.1 million.

  4. “Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile,” $3.2 million.

  5. “Smile,” $2.3 million.

  6. “Prey for the Devil,” $2 million.

  7. “The Banshees of Inisherin,” $1.7 million.

  8. “One Piece Film Red,” $1.4 million.

  9. “Till,” $618,000.

  10. “Yashoda,” $380,000.



Unmanned, Solar-powered US Space Plane Back After 908 Days

An unmanned U.S. military space plane landed early Saturday after spending a record 908 days in orbit for its sixth mission and conducting science experiments.

The solar-powered vehicle, which looks like a miniature space shuttle, landed at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. Its previous mission lasted 780 days.

“Since the X-37B’s first launch in 2010, it has shattered records and provided our nation with an unrivaled capability to rapidly test and integrate new space technologies,” said Jim Chilton, a senior vice president for Boeing, its developer.

For the first time, the space plane hosted a service module that carried experiments for the Naval Research Laboratory, U.S. Air Force Academy and others. The module separated from the vehicle before de-orbiting to ensure a safe landing.

Among the experiments was a satellite dubbed the FalconSat-8 that was designed and built by academy cadets in partnership with the Air Force Research Laboratory. It was deployed in October 2021 and still remains in orbit.

Another experiment evaluated the effects of long-duration space exposure on seeds.

“This mission highlights the Space Force’s focus on collaboration in space exploration and expanding low-cost access to space for our partners, within and outside of the Department of the Air Force,” said Gen. Chance Saltzman, Chief of Space Operations.

The X-37Be has now flown over 1.3 billion miles and spent a total of 3,774 days in space.


Researchers Identify More Potential Hydro Energy Storage Sites 

Australian researchers have identified 1,500 additional locations across the country that could be used as pumped storage hydropower facilities. They have said it should reduce Australia’s reliance on fossil fuels.

Academics at the Australian National University have said pumped storage hydropower is a “low-cost, mass storage option” that could help Australia reach its emissions reduction targets.

Emeritus Professor Andrew Blakers at the university’s College of Engineering, Computing and Cybernetics told VOA the process involves transferring water between two reservoirs or lakes at different elevations.

He said water is pumped to the higher reservoir when there are plentiful supplies of wind and solar energy. The water is then released at night, or at other times when it is not windy or sunny, maximizing the use of the stored energy in the reservoirs.

“We have two reservoirs; one at the top of a hill and the other down in a valley connected with a pipe or tunnel,” he said. “On sunny and windy days, the pump turbine pumps water uphill to the upper reservoir and then in the middle of the night the water is allowed to come back down through the turbine to recover the energy that was stored. So, the same water goes up and down between the two reservoirs for 100 years. So, if you want large-scale storage, you go to pumped hydro.”

Researchers studied the area near every reservoir in Australia looking for a potential site for another reservoir that could be used as pumped storage hydropower.

They identified 1,500 locations that could help Australia store the energy it generates from wind and solar projects.

Blakers says Australia is becoming a world leader in the field.

“All Australian governments and companies are focused on very rapid construction of solar and wind, and equally rapid construction of new transmission to bring the new power to the cities, and pumped hydro and battery storage to balance the variable solar and wind. Australia is the global pathfinder. We are leading in every department,” he said.

Australia has a target of producing 82% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030.

Because of the country’s heavy reliance on coal and natural gas, it has been one of the world’s worst emitters of greenhouse gases, per capita.

Those fossil fuels continue to generate much of Australia’s electricity, but researchers believe that the country’s path toward a cleaner energy future is well underway.

The Australian National University study released Friday follows the team’s identification of 530,000 potential pumped-storage hydro sites across the world.


After Hurricanes, Program Aims to Help Alleviate Stress

The 10 women gathered on yoga mats in a New Orleans suburb, the lights dimmed.

“I’d like to invite you to close your eyes,” instructor Stephanie Osborne said in a soothing voice from the front of the room. The only other noises were the hum of the air conditioner and the distant sounds of children playing in a nearby field.

For the next hour the women focused on various mindfulness exercises designed to help them deal with the stress of everyday life.

The six-week mindfulness program in Slidell, Louisiana, is the brainchild of Kentrell Jones, the executive director of East St. Tammany Habitat for Humanity, who was concerned about the health of her colleagues and others affected by Hurricane Ida, which ripped through this region east of New Orleans last year.

Participants meet for an hour once a week for six weeks beginning with the inaugural session this fall and plans for future sessions next year.

Prospective participants, who had to be living in the parish during Hurricane Ida, filled out a survey asking them questions such as whether they had struggled with lack of sleep or had problems paying bills or having to relocate since the hurricane. They don’t have to be clients of Habitat for Humanity’s housing programs, although some are.

Jones said the organization’s clients have struggled with being displaced from their homes, trying to complete repairs while dealing with insurance and living through another hurricane season in which the calendar is filled with anniversaries of previous storms and everyone keeps an eye glued to the television for weather alerts.

One family she works with had to move to Mississippi in the aftermath of Ida while their tree-damaged home was repaired. Just as the repairs were completed, the husband died of a heart attack.

“You have people that are stressed,” she emphasized.

The program hits on a growing concern — the long-term stress that extreme weather events such as hurricanes can take on the people who live through them. People who work in hurricane-affected areas often talk about the stress the long rebuilding process can take on people and the anxiety stirred up during hurricane season.

In late August, with anniversaries of Hurricanes Katrina and Ida looming, the New Orleans emergency preparedness social media feed reminded residents of something called the “anniversary effect,” which might trigger feelings of depression or PTSD. After Hurricane Ian hit Florida in September, two men in their 70s took their own lives after seeing their losses.

In the north shore region of Louisiana, local mental health officials note that hurricanes are often followed by increased suicides in ensuing years. Nick Richard, who heads the local branch of the National Alliance on Mental Health, said that following 2005’s Hurricane Katrina suicides climbed by 46% in 2007. Other events such as 2008’s Hurricane Gustav or the 2016 floods have shown similar jumps.

Research also suggests extreme weather events such as hurricanes can have long-term health effects on survivors. A Tulane University study found hospital admissions for heart attacks were three times higher after Katrina than before the storm.

Another study published earlier this year looked at mortality rates for counties that experienced a tropical cyclone over a 30-year period, from 1988 to 2018. The research found there were increases for certain types of deaths, including cardiovascular and respiratory disease in the six months after landfall — suggesting death tolls often tabulated in the initial weeks after a storm might be undercounted.

The study’s lead author, Robbie Parks, assistant professor of environmental health sciences at Columbia University, said while major hurricanes such as this year’s Ian get a lot of attention, his research suggested repeated strikes with weaker cyclones also take a toll. He’s concerned that the full extent of events like hurricanes aren’t being captured. It’s an “incredible challenge” just counting the dead after a hurricane, he said.

“What if someone has a heart attack in the week after a hurricane?” he said. “Then you’re getting into subjective territory.”

One of the women taking part in the inaugural meditation course is Louise Mace of Slidell. She had just opened her shop selling home decor goods when Katrina wiped it out in 2005. Then, last year, Hurricane Ida’s winds and a tornado damaged her roof; she’s been battling with her insurance carrier ever since as she lives in a camper.

The stress has taken a toll on Mace’s health with her blood pressure jumping up and down. Her doctor recommended meditation and then she ran into Jones, who recruited her for the course. Mace said it has helped her learn techniques to deal with the stress and to know she’s not alone.

“You think you’re dealing. You think you’re fine. You’re not. Listening to other people made it better,” Mace said.

The program is funded by the Northshore Community Foundation. Susan Bonnett, the foundation’s president and CEO, says in the immediate aftermath of events like hurricanes the foundation would receive funding requests around traditional post-disaster needs — tarps for damaged roofs, for example.

But the foundation also noticed funding requests for mental health services months after the storm. At the same time, there was a dearth of mental health services in the region so the organization started looking for creative ways like Kentrell’s mindfulness proposal to address the problems they knew would build after events like Ida.

The mindfulness classes are designed to build skills that the participants can use to address any stresses in their lives, whether those are weather-related or something else like a conflict with a family member.

Instructor Stephanie Osborne says people don’t always realize the mental strain that extreme weather can cause.

Take the lead-up to Hurricane Ian, for example, when it wasn’t yet clear the storm was going to hit Florida and not Louisiana. Some of the women gathered outside the community room after the class and talked about whether they needed to book a hotel room in Baton Rouge or get gas for the generator. All of that buildup takes a toll, Osborne said.

“There is an anxiety, a stress around that, especially for folks who are struggling financially,” she said. And if people aren’t aware of how much anxiety they’re holding inside, it can affect things like their health or their jobs: “It starts spilling out in other ways.” 



‘Death Every Day’: Fear and Fortitude in Uganda’s Ebola Epicenter

As Ugandan farmer Bonaventura Senyonga prepares to bury his grandson, age-old traditions are forgotten and fear hangs in the air while a government medical team prepares the body for the funeral — the latest victim of Ebola in the East African nation.

Bidding the dead goodbye is rarely a quiet affair in Uganda, where the bereaved seek solace in the embrace of community members who converge on their homes to mourn the loss together.

Not this time.

Instead, 80-year-old Senyonga is accompanied by just a handful of relatives as he digs a grave on the family’s ancestral land, surrounded by banana trees.

“At first we thought it was a joke or witchcraft but when we started seeing bodies, we realized this is real, and that Ebola can kill,” Senyonga told AFP.

His 30-year-old grandson Ibrahim Kyeyune was a father of two girls and worked as a motorcycle mechanic in central Kassanda district, which together with neighboring Mubende is at the epicenter of Uganda’s Ebola crisis.

Both districts have been under a lockdown since mid-October, with a dawn-to-dusk curfew, a ban on personal travel and public places shuttered.

The reappearance of the virus after three years has sparked fear in Uganda, with cases now reported in the capital, Kampala, as the highly contagious disease makes its way through the country of 47 million people.

In all, 53 people have died, including children, out of more than 135 cases, according to the latest Ugandan health ministry figures.

‘Ebola has shocked us’

In Kassanda’s impoverished Kasazi B village, everyone is afraid, says Yoronemu Nakumanyanga, Kyeyune’s uncle.

“Ebola has shocked us beyond what we imagined. We see and feel death every day,” he told AFP at his nephew’s gravesite.

“I know when the body finally arrives, people in the neighborhood will start running away, thinking Ebola virus spreads through the air,” he said.

Ebola is not airborne — it spreads through bodily fluids, with common symptoms being fever, vomiting, bleeding and diarrhea.

But misinformation remains rife and poses a major challenge.

In some cases, victims’ relatives have exhumed their bodies after medically supervised burials to perform traditional rituals, triggering a spike in infections.

In other instances, patients have sought traditional healers for help instead of going to a health facility — a worrying trend that prompted President Yoweri Museveni last month to order traditional healers to stop treating sick people.

“We have embraced the fight against Ebola and complied with President Museveni’s directive to close our shrines for the time being,” said Wilson Akulirewo Kyeya, a leader of the traditional herbalists in Kassanda.

‘I saw them die’

The authorities are trying to expand rural health facilities, installing isolation and treatment tents inside villages so communities can access medical attention quickly.

But fear of Ebola runs deep.

Brian Bright Ndawula, a 42-year-old trader from Mubende, was the sole survivor among four family members who were diagnosed with the disease, losing his wife, his aunt and his 4-year-old son.

“When we were advised to go to hospital to have an Ebola test, we feared going into isolation … and being detained,” he told AFP.

But when their condition worsened and the doctor treating them at the private clinic also began showing symptoms, he realized they had contracted the dreaded virus.

“I saw them die and knew I was next, but God intervened and saved my life,” he said, consumed by regret over his decision to delay getting tested.

“My wife, child and aunt would be alive, had we approached the Ebola team early enough.”

‘Greatest hour of need’

Today, survivors like Ndawula have emerged as a powerful weapon in Uganda’s fight against Ebola, sharing their experiences as a cautionary tale but also as a reminder that patients can survive if they receive early treatment.

Health Minister Jane Ruth Aceng urged recovered patients in Mubende to spread the message that “whoever shows signs of Ebola should not run away from medical workers but instead run towards them, because if you run away with Ebola, it will kill you.”

It is an undertaking many in this community have taken to heart.

Dr. Hadson Kunsa, who contracted the disease while treating Ebola patients, told AFP he was terrified when he received his diagnosis.

“I pleaded to God to give me a second chance and told God I will leave Mubende after recovery,” he said.

But he explained he could not bring himself to do it.

“I will not leave Mubende and betray these people at the greatest hour of need.”


UN Climate Talks Reach Halftime with Key Issues Unresolved

The U.N. climate talks in Egypt have reached the halfway mark, with negotiators still working on draft agreements before ministers arrive next week to push for a substantial deal to fight climate change.

The two-week meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh started with strong appeals from world leaders for greater efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions and help poor nations cope with global warming.

Scientists say the amount of greenhouse gases being pumped into the atmosphere needs to be halved by 2030 to meet the goals of the Paris climate accord. The 2015 pact set a target of ideally limiting temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century but left it up to countries to decide how they want to do so.

Here is a look at the main issues on the table at the COP27 talks:

What about the U.S. and China?

The top U.S. negotiator suggested that a planned meeting Monday between U.S. President Joe Biden and President Xi Jinping of China on the sideline of the Group of 20 meeting in Bali could also provide an important signal for the climate talks as they go into the home stretch.

With impacts from climate change being felt across the globe, there’s been a push for rich polluters to donate more cash to help developing countries shift to clean energy and adapt to global warming; increasingly there are also calls for compensation to pay for climate-related losses.

China is the biggest polluter by far right now, but the U.S. has the most historical pollution over time.

Keeping cool

A group of major emerging countries that includes oil-and-gas exporting nations has pushed back against explicit references to keeping the target of limiting global warming to under 1.5 degrees Celsius. Egypt, which is chairing the talks, convened a three-hour meeting Saturday in which the issue was raised several times.

“1.5 is a substantive issue,” said Wael Aboulmagd, a senior Egyptian negotiator, adding it was “not just China” which had raised questions about the language used to refer to the target. Still, he was hopeful of finding a way of securing a “maximum possible advance” on reducing emissions by the meeting’s close.

Cutting emissions

Negotiators are trying to put together a mitigation program that would capture the different measures countries have committed to in order to reduce emissions, including for specific sectors like energy and transport. Many of these pledges are not formally part of the U.N. process, meaning they cannot easily be scrutinized at the annual meeting. A draft agreement circulated early Saturday showed large sections were still unresolved. Some countries want the plan to be valid only for one year, while others say a longer-term roadmap is needed. Expect fireworks in the days ahead.

US-China relations

While all countries are equal at the U.N. meeting, in practice little gets done without the approval of the world’s two biggest emitters, China and the United States. Beijing canceled formal dialogue on climate following Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, and relations have been frosty since. U.S. climate envoy John Kerry said Saturday that he had held only informal discussions with his Chinese counterpart Xie Zhenhua lately.

“I think we’re both waiting to see how things go with the G-20 and hopefully we can return,” he told reporters.

Shunning fossil fuels

Last year’s meeting almost collapsed over a demand for the final agreement to state that coal should be phased out. In the end, countries agreed on several loopholes, and there are concerns among climate activists that negotiators from nations that are heavily dependent on fossil fuels might try to roll back previous commitments.

Money matters

Rich countries have fallen short on a pledge to mobilize $100 billion a year by 2020 in climate financing for poor nations. This has opened a rift of distrust that negotiators are hoping to close with fresh pledges. But needs are growing, and a new, higher target needs to be set from 2025 onward.

Aminath Shauna, the environment minister of the Maldives, said her island nation conservatively estimates that it will need $8 billion for coastal adaptation. And even that may not be enough, if sea levels rise too much.

“It is very disheartening to see that it may be too late for the Maldives, but we still need to address (the issue of finance),” she said.


The subject of climate compensation was once considered taboo because of concerns from rich countries that they might be on the hook for vast sums. But intense pressure from developing countries forced the issue of “loss and damage” onto the formal agenda at the talks for the first time this year. Whether there will be a deal to promote further technical work or the creation of an actual fund remains to be seen.

John Kerry said the United States is hopeful of getting an agreement “before 2024” but suggested this might not come to pass in Egypt. But he made it clear where the U.S. red line lies for Washington: “The United States and many other countries will not establish some … legal structure that is a tied to compensation or liability.” That doesn’t mean money won’t flow, eventually. But it might be branded as aid, tied into existing funds and require contributions from all major emitters if it’s to pass.

More donors

One way to raise additional cash and resolve the thorny issue of polluter payment would be for those countries that have seen an economic boom in the past three decades to step up. The focus is chiefly on China, the world’s biggest emitter, but others could be asked to open their purses too.

Side deals

Last year’s meeting saw the signing of a raft of agreements that weren’t formally part of the talks. Some have also been unveiled in Egypt, though hopes for a series of announcements on Just Transition Partnerships — where developed countries help poorer nations wean themselves off fossil fuels — aren’t likely to bear fruit until after COP27.

Hope until the end

Jennifer Morgan, a former head of Greenpeace who recently became Germany’s climate envoy, called the talks this year challenging.

“But I can promise you we will be working until the very last second to ensure that we can reach an ambitious and equitable outcome,” she said. “We are reaching for the stars while keeping our feet on the ground.” 


Uganda’s Health Ministry Says Ebola Cases Stabilizing, Despite Reports to Contrary

As Uganda struggled to control the spread of the deadly Ebola virus, Health Ministry officials said Friday the cases are gradually stabilizing. This comes after media reports that some leaked documents show the disease could claim 500 lives by next April. The country has recorded 137 Ebola cases and 54 deaths since the outbreak began in September.

Ugandan Health Ministry officials have gone on the defense in the face of reports that the deadly Ebola Sudan virus disease is spiraling out of control.

Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng, Uganda’s health minister, told reporters Friday that the country’s cases are gradually stabilizing, as shown by trends in the last week.

An article in the British daily newspaper, The Telegraph, this week reported that leaked donor documents said the ministry had projected 250 deaths by the end of this year and 500 Ebola deaths by next April.

Aceng said the outbreak is being monitored closely and cases are being followed. She said cases in Kampala and other areas are under quarantine, apart from Kasanda district, which has made it easy for authorities to control the epidemic.

The government has placed the two districts most affected by the Ebola outbreak — Kasanda and Mubende — under quarantine for another 21 days, although Mubende is not reporting new cases. The government also is ordering an early closure of primary schools countrywide.

“We have never done any modeling for this Ebola outbreak. Not Ministry of Health, not the scientific advisory committee, not the National Planning Authority. So that modeling was done by them., said Aceng, referring to the newspaper. “In addition, the two districts of Mubende and Kasanda are under quarantine. It does not mean that we are 100 percent sure that no case will pop up anywhere.”

During the press conference, WHO Country Representative Yonas Tegen described the projected Ebola death case numbers as”dramatic.”

Tegen said in the last week there have been five confirmed cases and a sharp decrease in the last three weeks. Tegen said he was surprised to see some wrong details claimed to have been taken from the WHO.

“That’s not telling us a doomsday scenario. Even in normal cases,” said Tegen. “For example, WHO puts the viral hemorrhagic kits in various places. We keep supplies enough to manage 300, 400, 500 patients. Does that mean that the disease is there? No, it is getting prepared. I would assure you that also WHO didn’t do modeling. I was surprised to see a graph; our graphs are not done like that.”

Local reports also indicate there is a conflict brewing between the minister and donors over how funds to fight Ebola are being managed.

At a press conference last week, U.S. Ambassador Natali Brown said since the outbreak was declared in Uganda on September 20, the United States had channeled more than $22.3 million through implementing partners to support the government of Uganda-led Ebola response with $6 million available to the Health Ministry. She was quick to urge the proper use of the funds.


“We also, you know, appeal to everyone in government and everyone involved to really do what they can, and to clamp down on corruption,” said Brown. “This costs everyone when these funds are leaking out and ending up in someone’s pockets instead of reaching the communities that need the support and resources.”

There is still no proof from scientists on the actual cause of the current Ebola Sudan virus disease outbreak. Last month, the Health Ministry indicated it had caught 189 bats and obtained 320 samples to ascertain the actual cause of the Ebola virus. The Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention country director, Dr Lisa Nelson, said at the press conference that tests are ongoing.

“We are interested in understanding the source of this outbreak. Why Mubende and Kassanda?” asked Nelson. “This will help us in terms of preventing future outbreaks and understanding who is at risk based on the environment and based on the reservoir. What is the source of this very deadly infection? We do know and there have been studies in the past that there are bats who harbor filoviruses including the Marburg virus.”

Uganda acknowledged the disease had started claiming lives in August.

Health officials report 16 admitted cases, 65 recoveries reported, and 4,147 contacts listed for follow-up — all part of the 137 cumulative cases.