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News Wrap: West Africa’s Ebola fatality rate rises to 70 percent

October 14, 2014 at 6:50 PM EDT

JUDY WOODRUFF: The death rate in the Ebola outbreak in West Africa has hit 70 percent. The World Health Organization updated its count today to nearly 4,450 fatalities out of 8,900 cases. The agency also warned that there could be 10,000 cases a week within two months.

Meanwhile, the Dallas nurse who contracted Ebola issued a statement, saying she is doing well.

And, in Atlanta, Dr. Thomas Frieden, who heads the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, announced more aggressive measures.

DR. THOMAS FRIEDEN, Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: We’re increasing our education and information to health care workers throughout the U.S. We’re also initiating an immediate response team from CDC to any future case of confirmed Ebola in the U.S., so we will be there, hands-on, within hours helping the hospital deal with the situation if there is another case.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Later, President Obama said the U.S. health care system makes an Ebola epidemic here highly unlikely. He also complained again that the world as a whole is not doing enough to contain the threat.

Also today, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, donated $25 million to the CDC Foundation to help fight Ebola. Last month, the Bill and Melissa Gates Foundation donated $50 million.

GWEN IFILL: The U.S. coalition sharply intensified airstrikes today in a bid to stop Islamic State forces from capturing a key Syrian town. Kurds trying to hold Kobani, near the Turkish border, reported strikes throughout the day. The U.S. military said there’d been 21 in two days, the most yet.

The air campaign accelerated as the president met with coalition defense ministers at Joint Base Andrews just outside Washington.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Obviously, at this point, we’re also focused on the fighting that is taking place in Iraq’s Anbar province and we’re deeply concerned about the situation in and around the Syrian town of Kobani, which underscores the threat that ISIL poses in both Iraq and Syria. And coalition airstrikes will continue in both these areas.

GWEN IFILL: Turkey attended today’s meeting, but has so far refused to help the Kurds in Kobani. That’s prompted deadly riots by Kurds in Turkey, and news reports say Turkish warplanes attacked Kurdish militants yesterday in Southern Turkey.

JUDY WOODRUFF: And in Iraq, Amnesty International reported Shiite militias are retaliating for Islamic State attacks by killing Sunnis. The human rights group charged today that the Shiite-led government has been unable or unwilling to stop the militias. We will take a closer look at Islamic State gains across Iraq later in the program.

GWEN IFILL: Shiite rebels who captured Yemen’s capital last month seized more of the country today. The rebels, known as Houthis, took control of the Red Sea port of Hodeida, as well as a southern province. The group already controls swathes of the country’s north.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Up to one million people in Afghanistan are going with less food due to lack of funding. The U.N.’s World Food Program reported today it faces a gap of about $30 million.

The head of the agency’s Afghan operations said other needs are competing for the money.

CLAUDE JIBIDAR, Country Director, U.N. World Food Programme in Afghanistan: Just to name a few, the needs for Ebola, what’s happening in Syria, in Iraq, in Central African Republic, in Sudan. I mean, all of those emergencies, of course, are all having a toll on the capacity of the donors.

JUDY WOODRUFF: The World Food Program feeds about 3.7 million Afghans, 10 percent of the population.

GWEN IFILL: Back in this country, a federal grand jury in Washington indicated an accused ringleader in the Benghazi attack on 17 new charges. Some carry the death penalty. Ahmed Abu Khattala was captured and brought to the U.S. in June on a single conspiracy count. The attack in Benghazi in 2012 killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans.

Word from the White House today is that President Obama will wait until after next month’s election to announce his pick for attorney general. A number of Senate Democrats sought the delay to avoid making the nomination a campaign issue. Attorney General Eric Holder announced last month that he’s stepping down after six years.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Wall Street’s day was less volatile, but stocks struggled again, amid continuing concerns about the global economy. The Dow Jones industrial average lost about six points to close below 16,315. The Nasdaq rose 13 points to close at 4,227. And the S&P 500 added just three to finish at 1,877.

And on the oil market, crude prices in New York dropped below $82 a barrel. That was for the first time in more than two years. We will delve more into what’s been roiling the markets in just a moment.