Ten Zika cases confirmed
The nation on Saturday said it has 10 confirmed cases of the mosquito-borne Zika virus, the ailment suspected of causing serious birth defects in newborns. Dominican Minister of Health Altagracia Guzman said lab testing of samples sent to the US had confirmed Zika in 10 out of 27 suspected cases. “In light of this finding, it is imperative to adopt strict measures across the nation to prevent and contain this illness,” Guzman said. Zika has been linked to a birth defect known as microcephaly, when babies are born with malformed and abnormally small heads. It is also associated with a higher incidence of miscarriages. Proposed measures to contain the illness include stepped-up mosquito eradication, including eliminating standing water that can be breeding grounds for the insects.
apsized boat kills 13
A tourist boat carrying more than 30 people capsized in bad weather off the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua on Saturday, killing 13 passengers, authorities said. Nicaraguan Navy Commander Mario Berrios said the dead were all Costa Rican nationals, who were traveling aboard the Reina del Caribe — Spanish for “Caribbean Queen.” The vessel went down amid rain and strong winds as it was ferrying between the Corn Islands, a popular tourist destination. Berrios said that of the 32 passengers on the boat, 25 were Costa Ricans, four were Americans and three were Nicaraguans. He added that most of the 13 dead were women. The other 19 passengers were rescued. “This is a great tragedy, truly painful, because they were our Costa Rican, Central American brothers and sisters, who were vacationing in the waters of the Nicaraguan Caribbean,” government spokeswoman Rosario Murillo told media portal El 19 Digital. Berrios said the boat’s captain and owner was detained because the vessel was not supposed to be sailing during the inclement weather that has been lashing the region for several days. “There was a warning that the weather conditions would be bad, but it appears that was ignored and this tragedy happened,” Berrios said.
Baboon on the loose
Police on Saturday warned the public not to approach a baboon on the loose after it escaped from a zoo in the country’s west. The primate, described as the size of an average dog, was still believed to be roaming the town of Esbjerg, close to Blavand Zoo, following its escape on Friday. “Do not try to catch it, but call the police,” police said on Twitter where they also posted a picture of the animal wandering along a road. Baboons, which can weigh up to 40kg, can become aggressive toward humans if hungry.
Airstrikes leave 47 dead
At least 47 people, including nine children, have died in airstrikes believed to have been carried out by Russian warplanes on a town in eastern Syria, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said yesterday. The raids on Khasham, near the city of Deir al-Zor, on Saturday were among a series of strikes that also hit two other town and others areas in the previous 48 hours, killing scores of people. Russian jets have been bombing around Deir al-Zor as Syrian pro-government forces clash with Islamic State group fighters, who control most of the province. The group has besieged remaining government-held areas of the city since March last year and last week launched new attacks.
OFF BORDER ISLAND: The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel wearing a life jacket and leaving behind his shoes, indicating an intentional move, Seoul said North Korean soldiers shot dead a suspected South Korean defector at sea and burned his body as a COVID-19 precaution after he was interrogated in the water over several hours, Seoul military officials said yesterday. It is the first killing of a South Korean citizen by North Korean forces for a decade, and comes with Pyongyang at high alert over the COVID-19 pandemic and inter-Korean relations at a standstill. The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel near the western border island of Yeonpyeong on Monday, the official said. More than 24 hours later, North Korean forces located him in their waters and
ACADEMIC FREEDOM: One professor told her students to submit anonymized papers and not to record any online classes. Some US schools have announced similar steps Students at Oxford University specializing in the study of China are being asked to submit some papers anonymously to protect them from the possibility of retribution under the sweeping new security law introduced three months ago in Hong Kong. The anonymity ruling is to be applied in classes, and group tutorials are to be replaced by one-to-ones. Students are also to be warned that it will be viewed as a disciplinary offence if they tape classes or share them with outside groups. The Hong Kong National Security Law was imposed on June 30 by Beijing after more than a year of pro-democracy
Japan’s government yesterday urged people to seek help if they were struggling to cope, following Sunday’s death of the popular actress and Miss Sherlock star Yuko Takeuchi, 40. News of her death shocked the nation and follows other recent cases of Japanese celebrities taking their lives, with figures showing a recent rise in suicides. Takeuchi was a household name in Japan and had given birth to her second child in January. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato did not mention a particular case, but said that some people were struggling to cope during the COVID-19 pandemic. “There has been an uptick in the number
China on Thursday lashed out at the US at a high-level UN meeting over its criticism on the COVID-19 pandemic, with its envoy declaring, “Enough is enough.” Two days after US President Donald Trump used his annual address to the General Assembly to attack China’s record, US Ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft, also took an outraged tone — after which her Chinese counterpart showed palpable anger. “I must say, enough is enough. You have created enough troubles for the world already,” Chinese Ambassador to the UN Zhang Jun (張軍) told a Security Council meeting on global governance attended through videoconference