Dengue infections hit 22
The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare is urging local authorities to be on the lookout for further outbreaks of dengue fever, after confirming another 19 cases that were contracted at a popular park in downtown Tokyo. The cases announced yesterday raise to 22 the number of dengue infections thought to have been contracted locally. The ministry earlier reported three local cases, the first in nearly 70 years. Tokyo began spraying Yoyogi Park, a vast green area next to Meiji Shrine that is popular with local and foreign tourists, after discovering the outbreak.
Man kills three in school
A knife-wielding man yesterday stabbed eight children and a teacher in a rampage at an elementary school in Hubei Province, leaving at least three dead, reports said. The man, surnamed Chen, killed himself by jumping from a building following the carnage at a school in Shiyan, Xinhua news agency reported, which said three of the victims had died. He carried out the attack “because he couldn’t enrol his child” at the school, local broadcaster Shiyan Television said on Sina microblog. It said six children had been killed, as did a local newspaper.
N Korea test-fires missile
North Korea yesterday test-fired what appeared to be a short-range missile into the sea off its east coast in the latest of a series of missile and rocket tests, military officials said. It was launched at 10:30am from a site northeast of Pyongyang toward the Sea of Japan (East Sea) and flew about 220km, the joint chiefs of staff said. Details were not given, but a military official said on condition of anonymity: “North Korea appeared to have test-fired a new tactical or short-range Scud missile.” The launch was made near Ryongnim, about 60km south of the border with China, he said, declining to confirm a Yonhap news agency report that Pyongyang has built an underground Scud missile base in the region.
Car bomb found airport
Four people were arrested yesterday after a bomb was found in a van parked at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Metro Manila, authorities said. The utility vehicle containing an “improvised explosive device” was found at the airport’s terminal three car park at about 1:45am yesterday, a short report released by the National Bureau of Investigation said. “Four suspects were arrested,” said the report, which was released by the airport’s media affairs office. The report gave no other details and did not identify the suspects or say if the bomb had been safely dealt with.
Police accused of coup plot
Authorities have issued arrest warrants for 33 police officers accused of plotting against the government. Dogan news agency said the warrants were filed yesterday for the officers, including the former head of a financial unit, on charges that include espionage. Yesterday’s move is part of a wave of arrests since July stemming from allegations by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that police conspired against him. It comes days after former foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu succeeded Erdogan as prime minister. Erdogan has accused a US-based spiritual leader, Fetullah Gulen, of infiltrating the police and judiciary and using powers to undermine the government, a charge that Gulen denies.
Party’s success downplayed
A top aide to Chancellor Angela Merkel is downplaying a new anti-euro party’s strong showing in a state election, saying that it is too early to say its long-term success is assured. The Alternative for Germany party won 9.7 percent support in Sunday’s election in the eastern state of Saxony, taking its first seats in a state legislature. Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats won, but need a new coalition partner to run the region. Merkel’s party so far has tried to ignore Alternative for Germany, which is shaping up as a threat to its right. Parliamentary caucus leader Volker Kauder said yesterday that there was a very low turnout in Saxony.
Celebrities’ photos stolen
Photographs purportedly showing many top stars, including Oscar-winner Jennifer Lawrence and singer Rihanna, bounced around social media on Sunday, in an apparent massive hacking leak, media reported. “It’s so weird and hard how people take your privacy away from you,” Lawrence said in a tweet. Meanwhile, the actress’ agent vowed to take legal action. “This is a flagrant violation of privacy. The authorities have been contacted and will prosecute anyone who posts the stolen photos of Jennifer Lawrence,” her representative told TMZ entertainment Web site. Word of the images began spreading early on Sunday, amid reports that the photos had been obtained by hacking iCloud accounts, Mashable and other media reported. Among the celebrities whose pictures were allegedly stolen and posted online were Avril Lavigne, Amber Heard, Gabrielle Union, Hayden Panettiere and Hope Solo, Mashable said.
Rock art age revised
Utah State University scientists have determined that world-renowned rock art of life-sized figures sketched into red rock cliffs in Canyonlands National Park were drawn 1,000 years more recently than what had long been believed. The team used modern luminescence dating techniques to analyze what is known as the “Great Gallery” in southeastern Utah’s Horseshoe Canyon. Researchers believe the figures were created 1,000 to 2,000 years ago instead of the previously thought 2,000 to 4,000 years ago. The findings were published last month in the online Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Nigerien politician flees
Nigerian National Assembly speaker and former prime minister Hama Amadou, who faces questioning in connection with a baby trafficking scandal, is in France, a source close to the office of the president said on Sunday. Amadou fled to Ouagadougou last week after Nigerien officials ruled his parliamentary immunity would not save him from being questioned over the scandal. The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to disclose Amadou’s itinerary, said Amadou was staying in Paris.
School retires Arab mascot
A California high school has retired a controversial Arab mascot. The bearded, snarling mascot with a large hooked nose who wears a head scarf did not appear at Coachella Valley High School’s season opening football game on Friday last week. A belly-dancing genie that often appears with the mascot during halftime was also retired. The Desert Sun reported that the change was among steps the Coachella Valley Unified School District is taking to give the mascot a makeover.
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
‘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,
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