A Tibetan man earlier this week set himself on fire and died in a protest calling for the return of the region’s exiled leader the Dalai Lama, a rights monitoring group reported. The Washington-based International Campaign for Tibet said 23-year-old Dorbe self-immolated on Sunday last week in Ngaba County, a traditionally Tibetan region of Sichuan Province. The group reported that Dorbe wished long life to the Dalai Lama before setting himself on fire, becoming the 154th Tibetan to self-immolate since the protests began in 2009. Such acts have grown increasingly rare in the past few years amid a smothering security crackdown by the authorities. Many Tibetans use just one name.
MPs propose medical pot
The legislature has officially proposed allowing the licensed medical use of marijuana, making the country a potential trailblazer in Asia in legalizing what used to be regarded strictly as a dangerous drug. The legislature on Friday submitted proposed amendments to the Ministry of Health that would put marijuana and the plant kratom, popular locally as a stimulant and painkiller, into a legal category that would allow their licensed possession and distribution under regulated conditions. Public hearings showed overwhelming support for the measures.
Nicaragua sanctions urged
Minister of Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell has called for international sanctions on the Nicaraguan government. Borrell told an Iberian-Latin American forum in Madrid on Friday that diplomatic pressure must be exerted on Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega’s Sandinista government amid a deadly political crisis. More than 300 people have been killed in Nicaragua since protests erupted in April calling for Ortega’s resignation. Spanish private news agency Europa Press quoted Borrell as saying that “regrettably,” international sanctions are “not currently on the radar screen” because Nicaragua’s problems are overshadowed by those of Venezuela.
Driver jailed for 55 years
A driver was sentenced to 55 years in prison on Friday for causing a church bus crash in South Texas that killed 13 people. Jack Dillon Young, 21, of Leakey, Texas, was sentenced after a three-day hearing. He had faced up to 270 years in prison for the collision in March last year. Young was driving his pickup after smoking marijuana and taking the prescription drug clonazepam, a sedative used to treat panic disorders and seizures, when he collided with the church bus near Uvalde, about 120km west of San Antonio, according to testimony. He pleaded no contest in May to 13 counts of intoxication manslaughter.
Merkel ally proposes ban
A close ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel has proposed a lifelong entry ban to Europe for asylum seekers convicted of serious crimes. Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer told daily FrankfurterAllgemeine in an interview on Friday that such a sanction should be considered for migrants who are deported after serving their sentences. Kramp-Karrenbauer, the general secretary of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, is one of three high-profile candidates vying to succeed her as party leader next month. A former state governor, Kramp-Karrenbauer suggested the entry ban should cover Europe’s 26-nation Schengen zone, where passport-free travel is possible.
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
‘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,