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Sierra Leone has announced a four-day lockdown to try to tackle the Ebola disease.

According to a senior official, from 18 to 21 September people will not be allowed to leave their homes.

The aim of the move is to allow health workers to isolate new cases to prevent the disease from spreading further.

The Ebola outbreak has killed about 2,100 people in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and Nigeria in recent months.

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced on September 5 that health workers could be given vaccines as from November, when safety tests are completed.

Sierra Leone has announced a four-day lockdown to try to tackle the Ebola disease

Sierra Leone has announced a four-day lockdown to try to tackle the Ebola disease

More than 20 health workers have lost their lives to the virus in Sierra Leone since the start of the outbreak in March.

Last month Liberia sealed off a large slum in the capital, Monrovia, for more than a week in an attempt to contain the virus.

The disease infects humans through close contact with infected animals, including chimpanzees, fruit bats and forest antelope.

It then spreads between humans by direct contact with infected blood, bodily fluids or organs, or indirectly through contact with contaminated environments.

A presidential adviser described the measure as aggressive but argued that it was necessary to deal with the spread of Ebola.

Meanwhile, officials in Nigeria have decided to reopen schools in the country from September 22.

They were closed as a precaution to prevent the spread of the virus.

On September 5, the WHO announced that the blood of patients who recovered from Ebola should be used to treat others.

People produce antibodies in the blood in an attempt to fight off an Ebola infection. The antibodies may be able to help a sick patient’s immune system if they are transferred.

However, large scale data on the effectiveness of the therapy is lacking.

Large parts of the city of Boston remain in virtual lockdown amid a major manhunt for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, one of two brothers suspected of bombing the city’s marathon on Monday.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, remains at large after he escaped a shoot-out in which another suspect, his brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, died.

Police said they had searched 60-70% of a locked-down area of a Boston suburb.

Three people died and more than 180 were hurt when two bombs exploded near the finish line of Monday’s Boston Marathon.

On Friday afternoon, Col. Timothy Alben of the Massachusetts State Police said officers in Watertown were searching “door to door, street to street” for the suspect, but there was as yet no word on his whereabouts.

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick said there were “continuing developments” in the investigation, and that an order to stay indoors remained in place across the whole of Boston and surrounding suburbs.

Earlier the FBI released images of the two men they were hunting in relation to the bombing.

Police said one suspect – widely named in the US media as Tamerlan Tsarnaev – had been killed early on Friday, and they were looking for another suspect, later named as the dead man’s younger brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

Both are said to be of Chechen origin, and are reported to have moved to the US about 10 years ago.

The manhunt began late on Thursday when university police officer Sean Collier, 26, was killed on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) campus.

Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev carjacked a driver at gunpoint and drove away with the driver still in the car. They later released the man unharmed.

Police chased the suspects, who threw bombs and exchanged gunfire with police, seriously wounding one officer.

Large parts of the city of Boston remain in virtual lockdown amid a major manhunt for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

Large parts of the city of Boston remain in virtual lockdown amid a major manhunt for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

In the Boston suburb of Watertown, officers and the men were involved in a gun battle lasting 10 minutes, according to witnesses.

The authorities in Massachusetts Bay have suspended the transport system and no vehicles are being allowed in or out of the Watertown area.

The warning to stay indoors was later extended to the whole of Boston, in what correspondents said was an unprecedented move.

Meanwhile, President Barack Obama was briefed on developments in the manhunt and investigation for about an hour in the White House Situation Room.

Secretary of State John Kerry, also at the briefing on video link, said the authorities were “part of the way there” in bringing the Boston terror suspects to justice, AP reported.

Overnight, video footage emerged showing a fully-clothed suspect lying on the floor, surrounded by police. More video was shown by US media of a suspect being led into a police car after being stripped of his clothes.

But it is not clear who the men were, or what happened after their apparent arrests.

Dr. Richard Wolfe, of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, said an individual was brought in with multiple blast and gunshot wounds to his upper body.

He was in cardiac arrest when he arrived at hospital and despite attempts to resuscitate him, he was pronounced dead at 01:35 a.m., Dr Wolfe said.

The authorities were investigating whether the dead man had a home-made bomb strapped to his body when he was killed, reports said.

Boston police Commissioner Ed Davis said he believed the man being hunted in the Watertown area was a “terrorist”.

“We believe this to be a man who came here to kill people,” he said.

A grey Honda CRV vehicle, which reports said had been sought in connection with the suspects, was found on Friday morning in the Boston area, Connecticut police said.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s father, Anzor Tsarnaev, said his son was a second year medical student in the US and was hoping to be a brain surgeon.

He also said that he believed the secret services had framed his sons.

“It was a terrorist attack carefully organized by secret services – I don’t know which ones. My son used to go to a mosque, so they once paid us a visit to ask why he is doing that.

“Yes, there was such an episode. So they put all the blame on him and shot him. That’s it.”

Ruslan Tsarni, an uncle of the suspects who lives in Maryland, said he was “ashamed” of their alleged involvement in the bombings.

“Yes of course we’re ashamed, they’re the children of my brother,” he said.

Asked what the bombers’ motives may have been, Ruslan Tsarni replied: “Being losers, hating everyone around them.”

Monday’s attack on the Boston Marathon killed Martin Richard, 8, Krystle Campbell, 29, and Lu Lingzi, 23, a postgraduate student from China.

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New York City is on lockdown in anticipation of Hurricane Sandy, as it barrels towards America’s largest city, and its residents were quick to respond rushing to stock up the essentials.

Staples like bread, water, eggs, and produce have been flying off the shelves as the city’s 8 million residents prepare for the megastorm.

In addition, for only the second time in the subway’s hundred-year history, the entire metropolitan transit system, including buses, will be halted, starting at 7:00 p.m. tonight, adding a sense of urgency to New Yorker’s pre-storm preparations.

In a news conference shortly before noon, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that those living in low-lying areas must evacuate, and said that all public schools will be closed tomorrow.

The mayor urged residents of New York to stay inside as much as possible starting at sundown tonight, warning of high winds up to 70 mph and torrential rain.

In addition to low-lying areas of Manhattan, Michael Bloomberg ordered that residents of the Rockaways, a low-lying area of Queens by Jamaica Bay, evacuate.

“If you don’t evacuate, you are not only endangering your life, you are also endangering the lives of the first responders who are going in to rescue you,” he said today.

“This is a serious and dangerous storm.”

New York City is on lockdown in anticipation of Hurricane Sandy and its residents were quick to respond rushing to stock up the essentials

New York City is on lockdown in anticipation of Hurricane Sandy and its residents were quick to respond rushing to stock up the essentials

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo echoed Michael Bloomberg’s warnings.

“A situation like this, you don’t want to be overly panicked and overly prepared, but you want to be prudent, you want to do what’s necessary,” he said.

Andrew Cuomo also said the National Guard would be deployed, 200 troops in New York City, and 400 on Long Island.

In addition, nearly 4,000 flights were canceled for Monday, with 857 cancellations at Newark in New Jersey, followed by 632 at New York’s Kennedy Airport and more than 500 cancellations at both New York’s LaGuardia and Philadelphia International.

FlightAware said it expects the number of flight cancellations for Monday and Tuesday to “rise considerably”.

A spokesman for United Airlines parent United Continental Holdings Inc. told the Associated Press that the carrier has suspended an unspecified number of flights to New York and Washington-area airports beginning Sunday evening with plans to resume Tuesday as conditions permit.

JetBlue Airways, which flies out of JFK, said it has canceled more than 1,000 flights from Sunday through Wednesday morning.

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Virginia Tech campus is on lockdown after two people – including a police officer – are shot dead by a crazed gunman who went on a shooting rampage this afternoon.

According to Virginia Tech, a police officer pulled someone over for a routine traffic stop and was shot and killed. The ganman ran toward a nearby parking lot, where he gunned down the second victim, believed to be a student.

Montgomery County Schools are now on lockdown, sparking fears the gunman may have left the campus.

Virginia Tech campus is on lockdown after two people - including a police officer - are shot dead by a crazed gunman who went on a shooting rampage this afternoon

Virginia Tech campus is on lockdown after two people - including a police officer - are shot dead by a crazed gunman who went on a shooting rampage this afternoon

The suspect was described as a white male wearing gray sweat pants, a gray hat with neon green brim, a maroon hoodie and backpack.

TV footage showed heavily armed officers walking around campus. Caravans of SWAT vehicles and other police cars with emergency lights flashing patrolled nearby as students remained on lockdown.

Police were tracking several white males on campus who fit the description but it was unclear if any of them were the suspect.

It was the first shooting on campus since 33 people were killed in 2007 in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

FBI agents were called to the Performance Arts Building where they believed the gunman was hiding, but it turned out to be a false alarm as a student wearing similar clothes surrendered.

A SWAT team was placed at the Squires Student Centre but left after finding no suspicious persons inside.

Senior Virginia Tech police and university officials were all in Washington DC today to appeal the $55,000 fine for the way they handled the 2007 shooting.

Police are investigating if an armed robbery in the area which occurred at 11:25 a.m. is related.

Virginia Tech spokesman Mark Owczarski held a news conference and told reporters they have all hands on deck and are dealing with the situation in the most efficient, effective way possible. He told all students to stay inside and keep doors locked.

The university issued a statement saying: “Shortly after noon today, a Virginia Tech police officer stopped a vehicle on campus during a routine traffic stop in the Coliseum parking lot near McComas Hall.

“During the traffic stop, the officer was shot and killed. There were witnesses to this shooting.

“Witnesses reported to police the shooter fled on foot heading toward the Cage, a parking lot near Duck Pond Drive. At that parking lot, a second person was found. That person is also deceased.

“Several law enforcement agencies have responded to assist. Virginia State Police has been requested to take lead in the investigation.

“The status of the shooter is unknown. The campus community should continue to shelter in place and visitors should not come to campus.”

The shooting came the same day as Virginia Tech was appealing a $55,000 fine by the U.S. Education Department in connection with the university’s response to the 2007 rampage, when a student gunman killed 32 students and faculty and then shot himself.

A report of a possible gunman at Virginia Tech on August 4 set off the longest, most extensive lockdown and search on campus since the 2007 bloodbath led the university to overhaul its emergency procedures.

No gunman was found, and the school gave the all-clear about five hours after sirens began wailing and students and staff members started receiving warnings by phone, email and text message to lock themselves indoors.

Alerts were also posted on the university’s website and Twitter accounts.

The emergency was triggered by three teens who were attending a summer programme on campus and told police they saw a man walking quickly across the grounds with what might have been a handgun covered by a cloth, authorities said.

Police searched some 150 buildings on the square-mile campus and issued a composite sketch of a baby-faced man who was said to be wearing shorts and sandals, but they found no sign of him. They continued to patrol the grounds as a precaution even after the lockdown was lifted.

“We’re in a new era. Obviously this campus experienced something pretty terrible four years ago,” Virginia Tech spokesman Larry Hincker said at the time.

“Regardless of what your intuition and your experience as a public safety officer tells you, you are really forced to issue an alert.”

That incident marked the first time the entire campus was locked down since the 2007 shooting, and the second major test of Virginia Tech’s improved emergency alert system.

The system was revamped to add the use of text messages and other means besides email of warning students.

It was also put to the test in 2008, when an exploding nail gun cartridge was mistaken for gunfire. But only one dorm was locked down during that emergency, and it reopened two hours later.

Virginia Tech has opened a student help line on (540) 231-3787 and a police tip line on (540) 231-6411.

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