A man presented by Spanish television as a witness who led police to a suspicious van after this week's deadly bombings said Friday he had seen three men wearing balaclavas near the vehicle shortly before powerful blasts ripped through suburban trains killing 199 people. \nThe man, whose identity was not given, told TVE's Informe semanal program he had been surprised to see the trio wearing the winter gear in Alcala de Henares, east of the capital, even though temperatures were rather mild on Thursday morning when the attacks were carried out. \nTwo of the young men remained near the vehicle while the third, carrying a backpack and another bag and described as rather tall, headed to the Alcala train station from where the doomed trains departed for Madrid, he said. \nAfter Thursday's attacks the man had told police about the suspicious van in which investigators later found seven detonators and an audio tape with Koranic verses. \nInterior Minister Angel Acebes said Thursday the van had been reported stolen. The verses in Arabic were among those "usually used to teach the Koran," and that they "did not contain any threat," he said. \nThe find added a new element to the investigation into the blasts, which went off in rush-hour morning trains, also wounding more than 1,400 people. \nThe Spanish government has blamed the armed Basque separatist group ETA for the carnage, but there have been growing fears the attacks could have been carried out by Al-Qaeda in retaliation for Spain's role in the US-led occupation of Iraq. \nA temporary morgue set up at Juan Carlos exhibition center in northern Madrid for the bodies of the bomb attacks was closed Friday night after a first batch of identifications, a justice ministry official said. \nOf the 193 bodies taken to the morgue, 153 have been identified and returned to their families. \nThe 40 others were to be transferred to a morgue at Almudena cemetery in Madrid, justice secretary of state Rafael Catala said. \nRemains that are still unidentified because they are lacking distinctive signs like fingerprints will undergo DNA tests. Authorities hope to be able to identify them within 36 hours. \nMadrid's regional government meanwhile said that 289 of the 1,482 people wounded in the attacks were still hospitalized late Friday. \nEighteen of them were in critical condition, 175 were seriously hurt and 48 slightly injured.
THE ANSWER? The drug uses neutralizing antibodies produced by the human immune system, which the team isolated from the blood of 60 recovered patients A Chinese laboratory has been developing a drug it believes has the power to bring the COVID-19 pandemic to a halt. A drug being tested by scientists at Peking University could not only shorten the recovery time for those infected, but even offer short-term immunity from the coronavirus, researchers said. Sunney Xie (謝曉亮), director of the university’s Beijing Advanced Innovation Center for Genomics, said that the drug had been successful in animal testing. “When we injected neutralizing antibodies into infected mice, after five days the viral load was reduced by a factor of 2,500,” Xie said. “That means this potential drug has [a]
It was a much-anticipated milestone likely hastened by COVID-19: New Zealand has reached a population of 5 million people, after citizens and residents rushed home when borders began to close due to the pandemic. New Zealand grew from 4 million to 5 million in 17 years, the quickest rate of growth in the nation’s modern history, Statistics New Zealand said. Migration has been the chief driver for the population of the island-nation, which increased by half a million people in the past six years alone. “The global COVID-19 pandemic has caused unusual international travel and migration patterns in recent months,” Statistics New
‘SERIOUS QUESTIONS’: Three US senators sent a letter to the US commerce secretary asking whether the project ‘takes into consideration national security requirements’ US Senator Chuck Schumer and two other Democratic colleagues have written to top US administration officials asking for details of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd’s (TSMC) plan to build a US$12 billion fab in Arizona. Hsinchu-based TSMC on Thursday last week announced that it would build a plant to make 5 nanometer chips by 2024 that would have the capacity to produce 20,000 semiconductor wafers per month. The world’s biggest contract chipmaker already has one chipmaking fab in Camas, Washington, and design centers in Austin, Texas, and San Jose, California. It said it planned to start construction in Arizona next year and
MOM’S LONG CAMPAIGN: Mao Yin had been brought up in Mianyang, Sichuan Province, without any idea that he was the target of a decades-long, high-profile search A Chinese man who was stolen from his family as a toddler has been reunited with his parents after 32 years. Mao Yin (毛寅), then two-and-a-half years old, was snatched in 1988 when he was walking home from nursery with his father. His parents finally embraced him again on Monday in Xian, where he was born. After Mao vanished, his mother Li Jingzhi (李靜芝) quit her job and launched a decades-long search for her son, that included sending out more than 100,000 flyers and appearing on numerous TV shows. That long campaign helped 29 other families find their own missing children and made