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The Future of Resilience

Around the World: Japanese Bullet Trains in Texas, Ebola Outbreaks and Stranded Russian Tourists

(Photo by su.bo via Flickr)

Updating the scariest story of the week: West Africa is still struggling to contain the urbanized outbreak of the Ebola virus, which has killed 728 people to date. Liberia ordered all bodies killed by the deadly disease cremated; in response, some communities, in which cremation goes against cultural norms, buried their dead in protest. Likewise, villagers in Guinea have ignored pleas from health officials to stop eating bat meat. Dr. Kent Brantly, the American infected with Ebola in Liberia, was quarantined in an Atlanta hospital. His infection has prompted some foreign health workers to flee their posts in Africa, further hampering the effort to fight the outbreak.

Meanwhile, African leaders head to Washington for a three-day summit on a range of bilateral issues including trade, investment and security.

Zhaotong, one of those Chinese cities most Westerners have never heard of — even though it’s bigger than Los Angeles and San Francisco combined — suffered a 6.1 magnitude earthquake, killing hundreds.

Officials from three countries reached a deal to lock down a freight train that runs from Guatemala to Texas that has become a popular way for migrants to smuggle themselves into the U.S.

Other Texas train passengers might soon find a comfier ride on a privately funded high-speed rail link that could run between Dallas and Houston as early as 2021. Japan Railway Company, which built that country’s famous shinkansen bullet-train network, is partnering with Texas Central Railway to get the system off the ground.

Bangkok’s newest subway line will begin operations next year, three to six months ahead of schedule. Second Avenue Subway watchers, fume.

And finally, some 25,000 Russian tourists are stranded in cities around the world today after Labirint, a major Russian tourism agency, shut down unexpectedly. Hotels whose payments from Labirint have stopped are kicking the agency’s guests out of their rooms. A Russian tourism association said it will try to raise enough money to “evacuate” Labirint’s customers back to the motherland.