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.
PASTA PUNCHLINE: Billy McLean’s spoof poking fun at misinformation on the coronavirus was meant for friends, but is being eaten up by frazzled Britons It started off as an ad-libbed joke for some friends in a soccer banter group and ended up being heard by vast numbers of Britons within hours. However, the man responsible for a joke WhatsApp audio clip that claimed the UK Ministry of Defence was about to requisition Wembley Stadium to cook the world’s biggest lasagna has said his viral success also shows the risks of believing everything that gets sent to you on the messaging service. Billy McLean, a 29-year-old Londoner who works in software sales, came forward to the Guardian to identify himself as the creator of the much-shared clip
‘AN HONORABLE TASK’: The brigade to Italy is the sixth contingent of doctors the nation has sent abroad to aid governments contending with the COVID-19 pandemic Cuba has dispatched doctors and nurses to Italy for the first time this weekend to help fight COVID-19 at the request of the worst-affected region Lombardy, it said. The Caribbean nation has sent its “armies of white robes” to disaster sites around the world largely in poor countries since its 1959 revolution, with doctors on the front lines in the fight against cholera in Haiti and against ebola in West Africa in the 2010s. Yet with the 52-strong brigade, this is the first time Cuba has sent an emergency contingent to Italy, one of the world’s richest countries, demonstrating the reach of
There are growing concerns for the health of Rokia Traore, a Malian singer who has been on hunger strike at the Fleury-Merogis Prison near Paris since she was arrested on March 10 on allegations of kidnapping her daughter in a child custody dispute. “I am very worried,” said Kenneth Feliho, her lawyer. “She is only drinking. She has not been eating for over a week and her immune system is weak.” Among those calling for the musician’ release are African stars including Salif Keita, Youssou N’Dour and Angelique Kidjo. Damon Albarn, who performed with her in the group Africa Express, wrote: “We demand,
FATAL IDEA: The nation’s drugs regulator is curbing use of hydroxychloroquine, which Donald Trump has promoted for its alleged potential to treat COVID-19 Australia’s drug regulator has been forced to restrict powers to prescribe a drug undergoing clinical trials to treat COVID-19, because doctors have been inappropriately prescribing it to themselves and their family members, despite potentially deadly side effects. The anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine and the similar compound chloroquine are currently used mostly for patients with autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, but stocks in Australia have been diminished thanks to global publicity — including from US President Donald Trump — about the potential of the drug to treat COVID-19. Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine have potentially severe and even deadly side effects if used inappropriately, including