New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern yesterday vowed never to utter the name of the twin-mosque gunman, as she opened a somber session of parliament with an evocative “as-salaam alaikum” (peace be upon you) message of peace to Muslims.
“He will face the full force of the law in New Zealand,” Ardern pledged to grieving Kiwis, while promising that she would deprive the man, an avowed white supremacist who slaughtered 50 people in Christchurch, of the publicity he craved.
“He sought many things from his act of terror, but one was notoriety,” she told assembled lawmakers of the 28-year-old Australian accused of the slaughter.
“That is why you will never hear me mention his name,” Ardern said.
“He is a terrorist. He is a criminal. He is an extremist. But he will, when I speak, be nameless,” she said.
“I implore you: Speak the names of those who were lost rather than the name of the man who took them,” she added.
Dressed in black, the 38-year-old leader opened her remarks in parliament with a symbolic gesture, repeating the greeting uttered every day across the Islamic world: “as-salaam alaikum.”
She closed her address by noting that “on Friday, it will be a week since the attack, members of the Muslim community will gather for worship on that day. Let us acknowledge their grief as they do.”
“Wa alaikum salaam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh [May the peace, mercy, and blessings of Allah be with you too],” she said.
In related news, police said that the bodies of six of the victims had been released to their families after an anguished-filled delay, but added that only a fraction of those killed had been fully identified.
Police said that all 50 autopsies had been concluded, but only “12 victims have been identified to the satisfaction of the coroner.”
“Six of those identified victims have been returned to their families,” police said.
The delay has caused consternation among families of the dead, who would have liked to follow Islamic custom and bury their loved ones within 24 hours.
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
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
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,