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Ebola Toll Rises to 74 in Guinea

Guinea said Tuesday 74 people had died so far this year in one of the worst ever outbreaks of the Ebola virus.

The health ministry said there had been 121 confirmed cases of Ebola -- an incurable disease that can kill up to 90 percent of its victims -- since January.

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Ebola Has Killed 61 in Guinea since January

The Ebola virus has claimed 61 lives in Guinea out of 109 laboratory-confirmed cases since January, the government said Saturday.

They were among 197 suspect cases recorded in the impoverished west African country.

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Saudi Halts Guinea, Liberia Pilgrim Visas over Ebola

Saudi Arabia on Tuesday announced the suspension of visas for Muslim pilgrims from Guinea and Liberia, two African countries hit by an outbreak of the deadly Ebola epidemic.

The "preventive" measure came at the request of the Saudi health ministry "due to the danger of the disease and its highly contagious" nature, state news agency SPA reported.

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Guinea Confirms Ebola as Source of Deadly Epidemic as Death Toll Rises to 59

Guinea identified the Ebola virus Saturday as the source of a highly contagious epidemic raging through its southern forests, as the death toll rose to 59.

Experts in the west African nation had been unable to identify the disease, whose symptoms -- diarrhea, vomiting and bleeding -- were first observed six weeks ago, but scientists studying samples in the French city of Lyon confirmed it was Ebola, the Guinean health ministry said.

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Teenage Deaths Trigger Riots in Guinea

Mobs rioted in the Guinean capital Conakry and in a mining town further north over the deaths of two teenagers in separate incidents, police and witnesses told Agence France Presse on Thursday.

A policeman in Fria, around 150 kilometers (93 miles) north of the capital, said hundreds of youths "armed with sticks, clubs and even knives looted, ransacked and set fire to the police station" and two local government buildings on Wednesday.

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Guinea President Criticized over 'Closed' New Government

Guinea's President Alpha Conde was criticized Tuesday for appointing a government described by opposition activists and analysts as stuffed with apolitical technocrats who would offer no dissent.

Conde issued a decree on Monday forming a new administration that kept in place his prime minister and more than half the cabinet but excluded any opposition figures.

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Guinea President Decrees New Government

Guinea's President Alpha Conde late Monday issued a decree forming a new government keeping in place his prime minister and over half the cabinet members, but excluding any opposition figures.

Prime Minister Mohamed Said Fofana -- who was reinstated on Saturday despite resigning just three days earlier -- will continue to head the 34-minister government, the decree said.

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Guinea Government Resigns

Guinea's prime minister stepped down and handed in the resignation of his cabinet on Wednesday as part of a transition to a new government after elections, a statement from the office of President Alpha Conde said.

Guineans had been expecting the move after Conde referred to the formation of a new government in his New Year speech.

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Opposition Protesters Barricade Streets in Guinea

Anti-government demonstrators barricaded roads and threw stones in Guinea's capital on Saturday in protest at a Supreme Court ruling handing September's controversial elections to the president's governing party.

Groups of protesters chanting "No to the electoral stitch-up" and "Death to the Supreme Court" burned tyres, overturned bins and stopped traffic on the main road into central Conakry, forcing traders to close their shops, an Agence France Presse reporter saw.

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International Anti-Piracy Drills Staged in Gulf of Guinea

Nigeria, United States, Britain, Spain and the Netherlands Friday conducted a joint military exercise as part of international efforts to curb piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, which has become a global hotspot.

Coastguards, frigates, warships and helicopter patrols took part in the joint amphibious exercise, codenamed "African Wings", in a show of military strength off Lagos.

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