Journalist gets three years
A court yesterday sentenced a journalist from opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet to three years in prison on a charge of spreading terrorist propaganda over a tweet that the paper briefly posted in May, state media said. The newspaper’s online editor, Oguz Guven, was accused of discrediting Ankara’s fight against supporters of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, who the government says orchestrated a coup attempt last year. The tweet had referred to a prosecutor being killed in a road accident with the expression that he had been “mowed down by a truck.” Cumhuriyet says the tweet was replaced within one minute by one saying the prosecutor “died awfully in a truck accident.” The prosecutor who died had prepared an indictment against Gulen’s network.
Object from another system
A rocky cigar-shaped object detected in space last month came from another solar system, astronomers said on Monday, as they confirmed an unprecedented observation. The discovery could provide clues as to how other solar systems formed, said the researchers, who published their study in the British journal Nature. The asteroid, named Oumuamua by its discoverers, is 400m long and highly elongated — perhaps 10 times as long as it is wide. That odd shape is unprecedented among an estimated 750,000 asteroids and comets observed in our solar system where they formed, the researchers said. They concluded that the cigar-shaped thing is from another solar system due to data on its orbit. Asteroids like Oumuamua enter our solar system about once a year, but they are hard to trace and had not been detected until now, thanks to stronger telescopes, they said.
Bus ruins demolition show
An unlucky TV producer has been left cursing a large commuter bus, after it pulled up at just the wrong moment to ruin a live broadcast. On Monday, the Georgia Dome, an 80,000-capacity stadium that hosted events at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, was demolished in a spectacular controlled implosion. Like many other media outlets, the Weather Channel set up a livestream to catch the moment on film. In footage posted online, a crowd of onlookers can be seen lined up to watch the demolition, as a voice slowly counts down to the demolition of the stadium. Seconds after the first plume of smoke appears, a bus slowly enters the frame. “No bus. Go away,” a man can be heard shouting. The bus then stops, completely obscuring the stadium, while he swears and sighs in frustration. By the time the 20-second stop is over, the implosion has finished.
Mother ‘dumps’ babies
A mother who dumped four of her babies in buckets filled with concrete that she then kept in her apartment for two decades was arrested yesterday. Mayumi Saito, 53, told investigators she had given birth to the infants between 1992 and 1997, a police spokesman said. Saito handed herself in at an Osaka police station on Monday and confessed, saying she did not think her financial predicament made it possible for her to look after the babies, local media reported. Detectives who searched her home found four concrete-filled buckets in a closet. Scans indicate that each one contains what appears to be the remains of an infant, the Asahi Shimbun reported. Police are still interviewing the woman, who lives with her son, and trying to determine whether she killed the babies or whether they were stillborn, the report said.
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
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
KEEN INTEREST: India is trying to procure medical gear from domestic producers and abroad, and China has emerged as a possible supplier as its factories reopen India is to buy ventilators and masks from China to help it deal with COVID-19, a government official said yesterday, even though some countries in Europe had complained about the quality of the equipment. India has recorded 1,251 cases of the coronavirus, with 32 deaths, but health experts said the country of 1.3 billion people could see a major surge in cases that could overwhelm its weak public health system. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government said that it was trying to procure medical gear, including masks and body coveralls, both from domestic firms and from countries such as South Korea and