Congress asked to approve $6.2 billion Ebola aid request

The Obama administration told Congress Wednesday that a $6.2 billion emergency aid request to fight Ebola is crucial to tackling the epidemic in West Africa and preventing it at home, to continue the training of 250,000 U.S. nurses and other health workers in how to safely handle any infected patients who arrive in this country.

“These resources are essential to stop the outbreak in Africa, and protect us,” said Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Senate Appropriations Committee on Wednesday began evaluating the request, which includes $4.64 billion in immediate spending to fight the outbreak abroad, shore up U.S. preparedness, and speed the development and testing of Ebola vaccines and treatments.

More than $1.5 billion would be for a contingency fund to deal with any unexpected developments, such as if Ebola begins spreading in another country neighboring the hardest-hit Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.


Automakers sign pledge to protect drivers’ privacy

Nineteen automakers accounting for most of the passenger cars and trucks sold in the U.S. have signed onto a set of principles they say will protect motorists’ privacy in an era when computerized cars pass along more information about their drivers than many motorists realize.

The principles were delivered in a letter Wednesday to the Federal Trade Commission, which has the authority to force corporations to live up to their promises to consumers. Industry officials say they want to assure their customers that the information that their cars stream back to automakers or that is downloaded from the vehicle’s computers won’t be handed over to authorities without a court order, sold to insurance companies or used to bombard them with ads for pizza parlors, gas stations or other businesses they drive past, without their permission.

The principles also commit automakers to “implement reasonable measures” to protect personal information from unauthorized access.

In vehicles with GPS and mobile communications technology integrated into their computers and navigation systems, information on where drivers have been and where they’re going is continually sent to manufacturers when the systems are in use.

– From news service reports