Rains kill one, five missing
Heavy rains have drenched part of the country, killing one person, leaving five fishermen missing and sending nearly 10,000 people to emergency shelters. Disaster officials said most of the evacuations have been taking place along the Agusan River in Mindanao. Rising knee-deep floodwaters have damaged 60 houses, cut off roads and water and power supply. Flights to the regional capital in Butuan have been suspended. The national disaster agency said yesterday one man drowned and five fishermen were missing earlier this week in the north.
Thousands flee quake
Local authorities have evacuated 64,500 people from their homes in Yunnan Province, following a quake that damaged hundreds of houses, state media reported yesterday. The magnitude 4.8 quake rattled an area near the border with Myanmar shortly after 3pm on Tuesday, the US Geological Survey said. A total of 678 homes were damaged, but only one collapsed, Xinhua news agency said. No casualties have been reported in the quake. County officials said emergency supplies of tents, quilts, coats and rice had been sent to the area.
Links to Parkinson’s found
An international consortium of scientists has found five variants of genes that are linked to Parkinson’s disease, bringing the tally to 11, a paper published by The Lancet yesterday said. Until the first genetic clue was found in 1997, the medical consensus was that Parkinson’s had environmental — ie, non-inherited — causes. The five variants were netted in an overview of genomic studies carried out by scientists in Britain, Germany, France, Iceland, the Netherlands and the US. None of the tiny DNA changes is responsible by itself for causing for this complex disease of the nervous system, but in conjunction with other variants, boosts the risk of it. The 20 percent of patients who had the highest number of variants were two-and-a-half times likelier to develop Parkinson’s compared with the 20 percent with the least variants, the researchers said. found.
Rebel’s brother detained
The brother of the nation’s most prominent Islamist rebel, Doku Umarov, was detained in Italy on his way to seek political asylum, newspapers reported on Tuesday, citing Italian immigration officers. Chechen native Ruslan Umarov was traveling from France to Italy when he was detained in a train station outside Venice for entering the country illegally. Media reports said he was detained on Jan. 6. He was based in Europe after he won a 2008 case in the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights against Russia. Ruslan’s brother, Doku, leads the Caucasus Emirate, an Islamist insurgent group seeking to establish an independent Islamic state for the predominantly Muslim North Caucasus region.
‘Largest orchid’ on show
The “largest orchid in the world” was growing in a botanic garden in Brasilia, at a height of 2.5m, with some stems measuring as long as 3m, the environmental agency said on Tuesday. Displayed at the Brazilian Orchids Project garden, the flower — part of the Grammatophyllum genus — has been growing for five years and already has 19 long stems, on which 400 flowers bloom, the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources said. Experts are working on a special hybrid species of orchid by crossing Grammatophyllum flowers with the Cyrtopodium genus.
‘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,
Reporters Without Borders has accused the Algerian government of taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to “settle scores” with independent journalists, including those covering long-running anti-government protests. In a statement signed with Algerian non-governmental organizations, the watchdog on Thursday called for the immediate release of its correspondent, Khaled Drareni, who has been in pretrial detention since Sunday after being charged with inciting an unarmed gathering and endangering national unity. Drareni has been arrested several times for covering the “Hirak” anti-government protests held in the capital, Algiers, every Friday since February last year. Imprisoning people during a pandemic is “an act of physical endangerment,”
Vietnam has lodged an official protest with China following the sinking of a Vietnamese fishing boat that it said had been rammed by a Chinese maritime surveillance vessel near islands in the South China Sea. The Vietnamese fishing vessel, with eight fishermen onboard, was fishing near the Paracel Islands (Xisha Islands, 西沙群島) on Thursday when it was rammed and sunk by the Chinese vessel, the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement posted on a government Web site yesterday. All of the fishermen were picked up by the Chinese vessel alive and were transferred to two other Vietnamese fishing vessels
DIVIDED YOUTH: There is a belief that overseas students see themselves as superior, which is compounded by perceptions of their extreme wealth and multiple nationalities Chinese students flying home from overseas to escape the COVID-19 pandemic face a frosty reception from sections of the public who view them as wealthy, spoiled — and potentially contaminated. The number of officially reported cases in China has dwindled dramatically over the last month, but the country is now taking drastic steps to try and stem a second wave of infections brought in from abroad. With most international flights canceled and nearly all foreigners barred from entering the country, the vast majority of returnees are Chinese nationals, including many students. The situation has exposed animosities over class and privilege in Chinese society,