Just hours after moderate dissidents launched a new magazine, the Cuban government retaliated by confiscating various books and written documents, one of the dissidents said. \nManuel Cuesta Morua, a well-known intellectual who helped present the magazine Consensus on Tuesday, said authorities entered the house of his former partner that night and took all of the books, writings and computer discs he had left there. \n"It's a clear and direct message of intolerance," Cuesta Morua said in a statement Thursday. \nAccording to the activist, authorities presented a search warrant and said they took the belongings "to look for counterrevolutionary literature." \nThey said they believed there were documents connected to US institutions, he said. \nDozens of dissidents arrested in a government crackdown last year were accused of accepting money from US officials to undermine the island's government -- a charge the activists and Washington denied. \nConsensus was presented in the headquarters of a state-owned construction company, which was unusual for a dissident activity. Government opponents generally don't hold public gatherings, especially not in state-controlled offices. \nCollaborators said the magazine was necessary to broaden the spectrum of opinions presented in Cuba's state-run media. \nThe first printed edition of Consensus was handed out to journalists at the launching. It contained an interview with dissident writer Raul Rivero -- recently released from prison -- and articles about the death penalty and the situation of women in Cuba. \nThe magazine, to be published once every two months, will be publicly released on the Internet next week from a US-based server.
A coronavirus-free tropical island nestled in the northern Pacific might seem the perfect place to ride out a pandemic, but residents on Palau said that life right now is far from idyllic. The microstate of 18,000 people is among a dwindling number of places on Earth that still report zero cases of COVID-19 as figures mount daily elsewhere. The disparate group also includes Samoa, Turkmenistan, North Korea and bases on the frozen continent of Antarctica. A dot in the ocean hundreds of kilometers from its nearest neighbors, Palau is surrounded by the vast Pacific Ocean, which has acted as a buffer against the
Dutch scientists have found the coronavirus in a city’s wastewater before COVID-19 cases were reported, demonstrating a novel early warning system for the disease. SARS-CoV-2 — the virus that causes COVID-19 — is often excreted in an infected person’s stool. Although it is unlikely that sewage will become an important route of transmission, the pathogen’s increasing circulation in communities would increase the amount of it flowing into sewer systems, Gertjan Medema and colleagues at the KWR Water Research Institute in Nieuwegein said on Monday. They detected genetic material from the coronavirus at a wastewater treatment plant in Amersfoort on March 5, before
‘LIKE A CASSANDRA’: Chinese residents of Prato went into self-imposed lockdown and warned their Italian neighbors about what was coming, but were ignored In the storm of infection and death sweeping Italy, one big community stands out to health officials as remarkably unscathed — the 50,000 ethnic Chinese who live in the town of Prato. Two months ago, the country’s Chinese residents were the target of what Amnesty International described as shameful discrimination, the butt of insults and violent attacks by people who feared that they would spread the coronavirus through Italy. However, in the Tuscan town of Prato, home to Italy’s single biggest Chinese community, the opposite has been true. Once scapegoats, they are now held up by authorities as a model for early,
TRUE TOLL? Some Chinese are skeptical about official data, particularly given the overwhelmed medical system and initial attempts to cover up the outbreak The long lines and stacks of urns greeting family members of the dead at funeral homes in Wuhan, China, are spurring questions about the true scale of casualties at the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, renewing pressure on a Chinese government struggling to control its containment narrative. The families of those who succumbed to the coronavirus in the city, where the disease first emerged, were allowed to pick up their cremated ashes at eight funeral homes last week. As they did, photographs circulated on Chinese social media of thousands of urns being ferried in. Outside one funeral home, trucks shipped in about 2,500