Curfew eased for prayers
Authorities were yesterday to ease a curfew in troubled Kashmir so that the Muslim-majority population could go to Friday prayers, the region’s police chief told reporters. “People are allowed to pray within their neighborhood, there is no restriction on that,” Jammu & Kashmir Police Director-General Dilbag Singh said. “But they should not venture out of their local area.” Kashmir, also claimed by Pakistan, has been on lockdown since Monday with no Internet or telephone service and severe restrictions on movement after the government canceled the Himalayan region’s special autonomous status. Tens of thousands of additional troops have been sent to the region to impose the clampdown, which has been condemned by Pakistan and some opposition politicians. However, there have been sporadic protests, with police chasing groups of pro-separatist demonstrators, many of whom gather at night, residents said.
Mayor decries nuclear arms
Nagasaki yesterday marked the 74th anniversary of the atomic bombing of the city as the mayor criticized nuclear states, including the US and Russia, for challenging survivors’ efforts toward establishing a nuclear-free world. Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue lamented in his peace declaration that the opinion that nuclear weapons are useful is gaining traction. The US and Russia are returning to development and deployment of nuclear weapons, as the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty was dissolved, he said. Taue urged world leaders to visit the atomic-bombed cities and learn firsthand the inhumanity of nuclear weapons. Survivors and other participants marked the 11:02am blast with a minute of silence.
Heat caused more deaths
Almost 400 more people died in the nation during Europe’s record-breaking heat wave than in a regular summer week, Statistics Netherlands said yesterday. In total, 2,964 people died during the week that started on July 22, the agency said, which was about 15 percent more than during an average week in the summertime. Temperature records tumbled across Europe during the heat wave late last month and on July 25 topped 40°C in the country for the first time since records began. The death toll during that week was comparable to the rate during two heat waves in 2006, which were among the longest ever in the country, researchers said. About 300 of the additional fatalities were among people aged 80 or older. Most of the deaths occurred in the east, where temperatures were higher and the heat wave lasted longer. The heat wave was Europe’s second in a month, and climate specialists warned that such bursts of heat might become more common due to global warming.
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,