World – Eastern Mirror https://www.easternmirrornagaland.com The latest and breaking news from Nagaland, northeast India and India, current affairs and politics, latest updates on business news, sports and entertainment Fri, 21 Feb 2020 17:13:43 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://www.easternmirrornagaland.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/cropped-FavIcon-32x32.png World – Eastern Mirror https://www.easternmirrornagaland.com 32 32 Iran votes in general election marred by disqualifications https://www.easternmirrornagaland.com/iran-votes-in-general-election-marred-by-disqualifications/ https://www.easternmirrornagaland.com/iran-votes-in-general-election-marred-by-disqualifications/#respond Fri, 21 Feb 2020 17:13:39 +0000 https://www.easternmirrornagaland.com/?p=294237 Tehran, Feb. 21 (PTI/AFP): Iran went to the polls on Friday for a general election that conservatives are expected to dominate amid voter apathy after an economic slump, multiple crises and the disqualification of thousands of candidates. The 11th parliamentary election since the 1979 Islamic Revolution comes after steeply escalating tensions between Iran and the United States and the accidental downing of a Ukrainian airliner by Iranian air defences that sparked anti-government protests. As he cast the first ballot in the election, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei urged all Iranians to take part, saying that doing so would “guarantee the country’s national interests”. Voters formed long queues at polling stations in south Tehran, where conservatives have a solid support base, but far fewer were seen waiting to vote in upmarket northern neighbourhoods. One official accused Iran’s enemies of overplaying an outbreak of the new coronavirus — which killed two people in the Islamic republic this week — in a bid to harm the credibility of the election. “The counter-revolutionaries’ latest trick was to exaggerate the coronavirus news by saying that finger ink had been infected,” Tehran election committee chief Shokrollah Hassanbeygi said, quoted by semi-official news agency ISNA. In a...

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Tehran, Feb. 21 (PTI/AFP): Iran went to the polls on Friday for a general election that conservatives are expected to dominate amid voter apathy after an economic slump, multiple crises and the disqualification of thousands of candidates.

The 11th parliamentary election since the 1979 Islamic Revolution comes after steeply escalating tensions between Iran and the United States and the accidental downing of a Ukrainian airliner by Iranian air defences that sparked anti-government protests.

As he cast the first ballot in the election, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei urged all Iranians to take part, saying that doing so would “guarantee the country’s national interests”.

Voters formed long queues at polling stations in south Tehran, where conservatives have a solid support base, but far fewer were seen waiting to vote in upmarket northern neighbourhoods.

One official accused Iran’s enemies of overplaying an outbreak of the new coronavirus — which killed two people in the Islamic republic this week — in a bid to harm the credibility of the election.

“The counter-revolutionaries’ latest trick was to exaggerate the coronavirus news by saying that finger ink had been infected,” Tehran election committee chief Shokrollah Hassanbeygi said, quoted by semi-official news agency ISNA.

In a bid to allay fears over the spread of the coronavirus, the use of ink-staining to stop people voting multiple times was made optional.

Experts predict a low turnout that they say will serve the conservatives at the expense of President Hassan Rouhani, who was re-elected in 2017 promising more freedoms and the benefits of engagement with the West.

Iran has been hit by an economic slump and high inflation since US President Donald Trump reimposed harsh sanctions after unilaterally pulling out of a landmark nuclear deal with Tehran in 2018.

“Our elections are useless,” said Amir Mohtasham, who is 38 and jobless.

“Even the current parliament has 90 sitting MPs who are under investigation for financial corruption.” After three hours of voting, five million of the 58 million people eligible to vote had done so, the interior ministry said.

Around half of the 16,033 hopefuls will contest the 290 seats up for grabs across 31 provinces after the Guardian Council barred thousands of would-be candidates, mostly moderates and reformists.

Outgoing lawmaker Elyas Hazrati said he voted despite being disqualified.

“The Guardian Council said I don’t accept Islam,” he said.

On Thursday, the US slapped sanctions on five officials from the Council, including Ahmad Jannati, a powerful cleric.

Jannati laughed off the sanctions.

“I wonder, what are we going to do about all that money we have in American accounts?” the 92-year-old was quoted as saying by Tasnim news agency after voting.

“Now we can’t even go there for Christmas anymore!”

The Guardian Council said it expected at least 50 percent of registered voters to turn out, down from an average of 60.5 percent at the past 10 elections.

Many voters, however, have voiced disillusionment.

Real estate worker Alireza Hashemi, 25, criticised Rouhani’s government.

“After we elected Rouhani everything collapsed. He signed a very bad (nuclear) deal and looked to the West without any real guarantees,” he told AFP.

“Rouhani is very weak. He just looks to the West. If he considered his people’s interests this would not have happened.”

In November, demonstrations over petrol price hikes spread across Iran and turned violent before being crushed in a deadly crackdown.

Tehran and Washington have nearly gone to war twice in the past seven months, most recently after the US assassinated prominent Iranian general Qasem Soleimani on January 3.

The “martyrdom” of the hugely popular general provoked an outpouring of grief.

Millions of people turned out to mourn his death, but that unity suffered a blow after Iran finally admitted that it had accidentally shot down a Ukrainian airliner on January 8, killing 176 people.

The authorities denied for days that Iran was to blame, before owning up to a jittery reaction by a missile operator.

The disaster unfolded as Iran’s defences were on high alert for US retaliation after it carried out missile strikes hours earlier at American troops stationed in Iraq in response to the killing of Soleimani.

Voting for the parliament, or Majles, lasts 10 hours but can be extended. Final results are not expected before Sunday.

Apart from the parliament, voters will also choose replacements for deceased members of the Assembly of Experts, an 88-strong clerical body that appoints and monitors the supreme leader.

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One more Wuhan doctor dies from coronavirus https://www.easternmirrornagaland.com/one-more-wuhan-doctor-dies-from-coronavirus/ https://www.easternmirrornagaland.com/one-more-wuhan-doctor-dies-from-coronavirus/#respond Fri, 21 Feb 2020 17:06:20 +0000 https://www.easternmirrornagaland.com/?p=294233 Wuhan, Feb. 21 (IANS/PTI): Peng Yinhua, a doctor from a Wuhan hospital that receives patients infected with the deadly coronavirus, has died from the virus, authorities said on Friday. Peng, 29, a respiratory acute care medical professional, became infected while working at the First People’s Hospital of Jiangxia district of Wuhan, reports Xinhua news agency. He was hospitalized on January 25 and transferred to the Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital for treatment five days later. He died at 9.50 p.m. on Thursday despite doctors’ all-out efforts to save his life. Peng’s death comes just days after Liu Zhiming, the director of Wuchang hospital in Wuhan, died of the disease on Tuesday. Earlier this month, Li Wenliang, a 34-year-old doctor in Wuhan who was sanctioned for attempting to bring the coronavirus to light, had died. Xi warns coronavirus yet to peak amidst its spread to Chinese prisons; death toll over 2,200 The deadly coronavirus, which has brought the world’s second largest economy to a standstill, has not yet peaked, Chinese President Xi Jinping warned the ruling Communist party officials on Friday amidst its spread to prisons across the country as the death toll climbed to over 2,200. The death toll has gone up...

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Wuhan, Feb. 21 (IANS/PTI): Peng Yinhua, a doctor from a Wuhan hospital that receives patients infected with the deadly coronavirus, has died from the virus, authorities said on Friday.

Peng, 29, a respiratory acute care medical professional, became infected while working at the First People’s Hospital of Jiangxia district of Wuhan, reports Xinhua news agency.

He was hospitalized on January 25 and transferred to the Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital for treatment five days later.

He died at 9.50 p.m. on Thursday despite doctors’ all-out efforts to save his life.

Peng’s death comes just days after Liu Zhiming, the director of Wuchang hospital in Wuhan, died of the disease on Tuesday.

Earlier this month, Li Wenliang, a 34-year-old doctor in Wuhan who was sanctioned for attempting to bring the coronavirus to light, had died.

Xi warns coronavirus yet to peak amidst its spread to Chinese prisons; death toll over 2,200

The deadly coronavirus, which has brought the world’s second largest economy to a standstill, has not yet peaked, Chinese President Xi Jinping warned the ruling Communist party officials on Friday amidst its spread to prisons across the country as the death toll climbed to over 2,200.

The death toll has gone up to 2,236 while the overall confirmed infection cases have climbed to 75,567, the country’s health officials said amidst mounting concern over its spread to prisons in different provinces.

The coronavirus epidemic had not reached its peak despite a drop in the daily number of infections, state broadcaster CCTV quoted Xi as saying at a meeting of the Communist party’s Politburo on Friday.

He said that the situation in Hubei, the worst-hit province, was still serious.

“The battles to defend Hubei province and Wuhan should be well fought, and measures should be taken to contain the spread of the outbreak,” Xi said, Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported.

The peaking of the virus is keenly awaited in China as it also means that the disease will then begin to abate.

A noted Chinese health expert, Zhong Nanshan, said early this month that the virus may reach its peak in the next 10 to 14 days, contrary to earlier estimates of climaxing sooner.

This means that the cases would drastically increase in the later part of February.

Much to the horror of health officials, the disease now has spread to five Chinese prisons where 447 cases of the virus have been reported.

The virus has speared to prisons in the provinces of Hubei, Shandong and Zhejiang, He Ping, an official in-charge of the Bureau of Prison Administration of the Ministry of Justice, told media here.

This led to a sacking spree of officials in nearly a dozen prisons and the justice department, state-run Global Times reported.

The infections in prisons, experts say, revealed the blind zones in the national campaign against the epidemic.

He pledged all-out efforts to quarantine suspected cases and their close contacts and timely treatment for all of those confirmed of the virus.

Prisons across the country were also ordered to step-up monitoring track records of all prison guards and officers to prevent the spread of the virus into prison premises, He added.

After the prison cases, Hubei province, the centre of the novel coronavirus outbreak, revised its figures reporting 631 new confirmed cases and 115 new deaths.

The local health commission revised up the number of confirmed cases by 220.

After the revision, the total confirmed cases in Hubei has reached 62,662. Wuhan, the provincial capital, recorded a total of 45,346 confirmed cases.

Meanwhile, China has postponed the Boao Forum for Asia, its most prestigious annul meeting held in the picturesque Hainan province where it would invite top world leaders to discuss economy, trade and related issues.

The forum was expected to take place from March 24-27.

China hinted at postponing the annual parliament session to be held in the first week of March.

Plans are also afoot to postpone the National People’s Congress — the country’s parliament — and Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) — China’s top political advisory body, official media reported. China is the world’s second largest economy after the US.

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Merkel slams ‘poison’ of racism after nine killed in Germany shootings https://www.easternmirrornagaland.com/merkel-slams-poison-of-racism-after-nine-killed-in-germany-shootings/ https://www.easternmirrornagaland.com/merkel-slams-poison-of-racism-after-nine-killed-in-germany-shootings/#respond Thu, 20 Feb 2020 16:25:25 +0000 https://www.easternmirrornagaland.com/?p=294108 Hanau (Germany), Feb. 20 (PTI/AFP): Chancellor Angela Merkel condemned the “poison” of racism Thursday after a shooter with suspected far-right beliefs killed nine people at a shisha bar and a cafe in the German city of Hanau. The suspect, identified as 43-year-old German Tobias R., was found dead at his home following an hours-long manhunt. The body of his 72-year-old mother was also found at the flat in what appeared to be a murder-suicide. Federal counter-terror prosecutors investigating the case said they saw “a xenophobic motive” behind the shootings, the latest deadly attack blamed on the far-right in Germany. “Racism is a poison, hatred is a poison and this poison exists in our society and it is already to blame for far too many crimes,” Merkel said in Berlin. The suspect left behind online a “manifesto” and video material that suggested a terror attack motivated by “a hostile attitude to foreigners”, said Peter Beuth, the interior minister of the state of Hesse. Among the dead were “several victims of Kurdish origin”, the Kon-Med association of Kurds in Germany said in a statement, adding that it was “furious” that authorities weren’t doing more to combat rising extremism. The rampage started at...

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Hanau (Germany), Feb. 20 (PTI/AFP): Chancellor Angela Merkel condemned the “poison” of racism Thursday after a shooter with suspected far-right beliefs killed nine people at a shisha bar and a cafe in the German city of Hanau.

The suspect, identified as 43-year-old German Tobias R., was found dead at his home following an hours-long manhunt.

The body of his 72-year-old mother was also found at the flat in what appeared to be a murder-suicide.

Federal counter-terror prosecutors investigating the case said they saw “a xenophobic motive” behind the shootings, the latest deadly attack blamed on the far-right in Germany.

“Racism is a poison, hatred is a poison and this poison exists in our society and it is already to blame for far too many crimes,” Merkel said in Berlin.

The suspect left behind online a “manifesto” and video material that suggested a terror attack motivated by “a hostile attitude to foreigners”, said Peter Beuth, the interior minister of the state of Hesse.

Among the dead were “several victims of Kurdish origin”, the Kon-Med association of Kurds in Germany said in a statement, adding that it was “furious” that authorities weren’t doing more to combat rising extremism.

The rampage started at around 10:00 pm (2100 GMT) on Wednesday at a shisha bar in the Heumarkt area of central Hanau, a city some 20 kilometres (12 miles) east of Frankfurt.

The gunman reportedly rang the doorbell and shot at people in the smoking section, mass-market daily Bild said.

He then fled the scene by car before opening fire at the “Arena Bar & Cafe”, with witnesses reporting hearing a dozen shots.

A total of nine people were killed, police said. Several others were injured, including one who is in serious condition.

The bloodshed plunged Germany into mourning, and rallies are scheduled in Berlin, Hanau and other cities on Thursday to honour the victims.

Police hurried to cover up the address of the perpetrator’s website with a blue plastic sheet after it was spray-painted on the wall of a nearby building.

The bar shootings sparked a massive manhunt, with armed officers fanning out across the city and police helicopters roaming the night sky.

Hesse interior minister Beuth said witness reports helped track the suspect’s vehicle back to his home.

Special forces then stormed the suspect’s apartment where they found him and his mother dead, killed by gunshot.

In a rambling 24-page document seen by AFP, the alleged gunman wrote that people from over two dozen countries should be “destroyed”.

He also said he had never been with a woman, which he blamed on being “watched” by unspecified secret services.

King’s College London counter-terrorism expert Peter Neumann tweeted of the text that it contained “various, but mostly extreme right views, with a do-it-yourself ideology, cobbled together out of parts found on the internet”.

Neumann described the suspect as “an incel”, short for someone who is “involuntarily celibate”.

Several “incels” have been linked to violent attacks, including a man in Toronto who stands accused of killing 10 people by ploughing a van into pedestrians in 2018.

Leaders were quick to condemn the killings.

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier echoed Merkel in denouncing the “terrorist violence” in Hanau.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, a former German government minister, said she was “deeply shocked by the tragedy”.

French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted that he supported Merkel “in the fight for our values and the protection of our democracies”.

Merkel pledged to fight back against “all those who try to divide Germany”.

She cited the murders carried out by the neo-Nazi “NSU” cell between 2000-2007 as well as last June’s killing of pro-migrant politician Walter Luebcke, and the deadly anti-Semitic attack in Halle in October as examples of the threat posed by the far right.

German police have identified around 50 extreme right adherents as “dangerous” individuals capable of carrying out a violent attack.

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Coronavirus toll in China rises to 2,118 https://www.easternmirrornagaland.com/coronavirus-toll-in-china-rises-to-2118/ https://www.easternmirrornagaland.com/coronavirus-toll-in-china-rises-to-2118/#respond Thu, 20 Feb 2020 16:23:32 +0000 https://www.easternmirrornagaland.com/?p=294103 Beijing, Feb. 20 (IANS): The overall death toll in China due to the deadly coronavirus has increased to 2,118, with a total of 74,576 confirmed cases, health authorities said on Thursday. The National Health Commission said that it had received reports of 394 new confirmed cases and 114 deaths on Wednesday from 31 provincial-level regions and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, reports Xinhua news agency. Among the deaths, 108 were in Hubei province and one each in Hebei, Shanghai, Fujian, Shandong, Yunnan and Shaanxi. Another 1,277 new suspected cases were reported on Wednesday, said the Commission. Also on Wednesday, 1,779 people were discharged from hospital after recovery, while the number of severe cases decreased by 113 to 11,864. The Commission added that 4,922 people were still suspected of being infected with the virus. A total of 16,155 people had been discharged from hospital after recovery so far. As of Thursday morning, the number of reported cases outside of China were Japan (705), Singapore (84), South Korea (82), Hong Kong (65), Thailand (35), Taiwan (24), Malaysia (22), Germany (16), Vietnam (16), Australia (15), the US (15), France (12), Macau (10), the UK (nine), the UAE (nine), Canada (eight), India (three),...

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Beijing, Feb. 20 (IANS): The overall death toll in China due to the deadly coronavirus has increased to 2,118, with a total of 74,576 confirmed cases, health authorities said on Thursday.

The National Health Commission said that it had received reports of 394 new confirmed cases and 114 deaths on Wednesday from 31 provincial-level regions and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, reports Xinhua news agency.

Among the deaths, 108 were in Hubei province and one each in Hebei, Shanghai, Fujian, Shandong, Yunnan and Shaanxi.

Another 1,277 new suspected cases were reported on Wednesday, said the Commission.

Also on Wednesday, 1,779 people were discharged from hospital after recovery, while the number of severe cases decreased by 113 to 11,864.

The Commission added that 4,922 people were still suspected of being infected with the virus.

A total of 16,155 people had been discharged from hospital after recovery so far.

As of Thursday morning, the number of reported cases outside of China were Japan (705), Singapore (84), South Korea (82), Hong Kong (65), Thailand (35), Taiwan (24), Malaysia (22), Germany (16), Vietnam (16), Australia (15), the US (15), France (12), Macau (10), the UK (nine), the UAE (nine), Canada (eight), India (three), the Philippines (three), Italy (three), Russia (two), Iran (two), Egypt (one), Spain (two), Cambodia (one), Finland (one), Nepal (one), Sri Lanka (one), Sweden (one) and Belgium (one), according to figures published by the South China Morning Post. Hong Kong (two), the Philippines (one), Japan (one) and France (one) have reported deaths.

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Pompeo meets Saudi king in talks focused on Iranian threats https://www.easternmirrornagaland.com/pompeo-meets-saudi-king-in-talks-focused-on-iranian-threats/ https://www.easternmirrornagaland.com/pompeo-meets-saudi-king-in-talks-focused-on-iranian-threats/#respond Thu, 20 Feb 2020 16:21:51 +0000 https://www.easternmirrornagaland.com/?p=294100 Riyadh, Feb. 20 (PTI/AP): US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman on Thursday in a visit focused primarily on discussing shared security concerns about regional rival Iran. Ahead of his arrival in the capital Riyadh, Pompeo said he’d also raise with the Saudi leadership concerns about human rights and the cases of dual Saudi-American citizens who are either imprisoned in the kingdom or barred from travelling abroad. Following his meeting at the royal palace with the king, Pompeo headed to a Saudi airbase where some 2,500 US troops are stationed in response to threats from Iran. The US military presence in the kingdom at the Prince Sultan Air Base includes a squadron of US Air Force F-15E fighters that fly daily missions over Iraq and Syria and two American Patriot missile batteries prepared to knock down any Iranian attack against the Saudi kingdom. American troops were sent to Saudi Arabia last summer as part of the Trump administration’s efforts to beef up the United States’ military presence in the Middle East in response to escalating tensions between Washington and Tehran following President Donald Trump’s decision to pull the US out of Iran’s nuclear agreement with...

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Riyadh, Feb. 20 (PTI/AP): US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman on Thursday in a visit focused primarily on discussing shared security concerns about regional rival Iran.

Ahead of his arrival in the capital Riyadh, Pompeo said he’d also raise with the Saudi leadership concerns about human rights and the cases of dual Saudi-American citizens who are either imprisoned in the kingdom or barred from travelling abroad.

Following his meeting at the royal palace with the king, Pompeo headed to a Saudi airbase where some 2,500 US troops are stationed in response to threats from Iran.

The US military presence in the kingdom at the Prince Sultan Air Base includes a squadron of US Air Force F-15E fighters that fly daily missions over Iraq and Syria and two American Patriot missile batteries prepared to knock down any Iranian attack against the Saudi kingdom.

American troops were sent to Saudi Arabia last summer as part of the Trump administration’s efforts to beef up the United States’ military presence in the Middle East in response to escalating tensions between Washington and Tehran following President Donald Trump’s decision to pull the US out of Iran’s nuclear agreement with world powers and impose sanctions on the country.

Saudi Arabia and the US have blamed Iran for an attack last summer against Saudi oil facilities that temporarily halved the kingdom’s daily crude production. Iran denies involvement and its allied Yemeni rebel Houthi group says they were behind the attack.

Saudi Arabia is a decades-long US ally, but that relationship was rocked by the 2018 killing of Saudi dissident and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Congress has also harshly criticized Saudi Arabia for its war in Yemen, which has led to the world’s worst humanitarian disaster.

The kingdom, however, remains the biggest buyer of US military arms and its young Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has cultivated a relationship with Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser on Mideast policy, Jared Kushner.

Pompeo has said the US is prepared to come to the table to talk with Iran but is not rushing to do so.

The pressure campaign continues. It’s not just an economic pressure campaign, it’s diplomatic pressures, isolation through diplomacy, as well, he told reporters before arriving in Saudi Arabia from Ethiopia on Wednesday.

During his time in Riyadh, Pompeo also met Thursday with a group of Saudi women business leaders at the residence of Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the US, Princess Reema bint Bandar Al Saud. Pompeo departs Friday for Oman, a close U.S. ally that has ties with both Saudi Arabia and Iran.

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Xi calls for greater protection of medical staff as coronavirus death toll crosses 2,000 https://www.easternmirrornagaland.com/xi-calls-for-greater-protection-of-medical-staff-as-coronavirus-death-toll-crosses-2000/ https://www.easternmirrornagaland.com/xi-calls-for-greater-protection-of-medical-staff-as-coronavirus-death-toll-crosses-2000/#respond Wed, 19 Feb 2020 16:54:40 +0000 https://www.easternmirrornagaland.com/?p=293915 Beijing, Feb. 19 (PTI): Chinese President Xi Jinping called for greater protection of medical workers fighting the coronavirus after causalities among them showed an upward trend as the death toll from the epidemic crossed the 2,000-mark on Wednesday, authorities said. China’s National Health Commission (NHC) in its daily report said that 136 people died on Tuesday taking the total death toll to 2,004 so far due to the virus also called COVID-19. Of the new deaths, 132 were reported from the worst-hit Hubei province for which Wuhan is the provincial capital and one each from Heilongjiang, Shandong, Guangdong and Guizhou. Over 74,100 people have now been infected by the deadly virus in China, with more than 1,000 other cases detected in at least 25 countries. Another 1,185 new suspected cases have been reported on Tuesday in China, while 236 patients became seriously ill and 11,977 patients remained in severe condition, the commission said, indicating that the condition of the large number of people who contracted the virus remained critical. On Wednesday, Hong Kong reported its second death from the virus. The deceased was a 70-year-old male who was diagnosed on February 14. Meanwhile, Wuhan witnessed yet another major tragedy on...

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Beijing, Feb. 19 (PTI): Chinese President Xi Jinping called for greater protection of medical workers fighting the coronavirus after causalities among them showed an upward trend as the death toll from the epidemic crossed the 2,000-mark on Wednesday, authorities said.

China’s National Health Commission (NHC) in its daily report said that 136 people died on Tuesday taking the total death toll to 2,004 so far due to the virus also called COVID-19.

Of the new deaths, 132 were reported from the worst-hit Hubei province for which Wuhan is the provincial capital and one each from Heilongjiang, Shandong, Guangdong and Guizhou.

Over 74,100 people have now been infected by the deadly virus in China, with more than 1,000 other cases detected in at least 25 countries.

Another 1,185 new suspected cases have been reported on Tuesday in China, while 236 patients became seriously ill and 11,977 patients remained in severe condition, the commission said, indicating that the condition of the large number of people who contracted the virus remained critical.

On Wednesday, Hong Kong reported its second death from the virus. The deceased was a 70-year-old male who was diagnosed on February 14.

Meanwhile, Wuhan witnessed yet another major tragedy on Tuesday as Liu Fan, 59, a deputy chief nurse of Wuchang Hospital, her parents and brother died due to the virus, raising concerns over increasing casualties of the medical staff.

State-run Global Times reported on Wednesday that Liu had been on duty in the injection room of the hospital until February 2. She was confirmed to have been infected with the virus on February 7 after she felt physical discomfort and had a fever following which she was admitted to the hospital. Her condition worsened quickly and she died on February 14.

Tragically before Liu’s death, her parents and brother had also died of the virus after being infected. Her husband and daughter are under quarantine but have not been found to be infected.

On the same day, Dr. Liu Zhiming, 51, president of the same hospital, died of the coronavirus, highlighting how China’s medical staff are paying a very high price while fighting the virus.

Last Friday, the NHC said that a total of 1,716 medical workers had been confirmed with the infection as of February 11 and six others died.

As the medical workers’ casualties increased, President Xi called for great attention to their protection to make sure they are healthy and stay focused on winning the battle against the coronavirus.

Xi said medical workers are the backbone force in defeating the epidemic and stressed on providing comprehensive support for them to ensure their strength, morale and energy.

He said China must “strengthen efforts to relieve the stress of medical workers, provide them with daily necessities, arrange time for their rest and give them encouragement”, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

More than 30,000 medical workers, including military medics, have been sent from across the country to worst-hit Hubei province to fight the epidemic.

The World Health Organisation Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, condoled the death of Dr. Liu saying that he touched and saved a number of lives.

An eulogy issued by the local health commission said Liu had made important contributions to the city’s epidemic prevention and control while leading all medical personnel of Wuchang Hospital on the frontline to fight against the epidemic.

Official media reports said that the casualties among the medical staff rose sharply as they were not aware about the human-to-human transmission potential of the virus as a result many of them attended patients without proper medical gear.

Also on Wednesday, NHC spokesperson Mi Feng claimed that the COVID-19 in Hubei has been gradually brought under control.

The daily count of newly cured and discharged cases in Hubei, excluding the capital city Wuhan, has exceeded the number of newly confirmed cases for four consecutive days as of Wednesday, Mi told the media here.

He also said that the number of newly confirmed cases has decreased significantly since February 13 in areas besides Wuhan, and the increase in the cumulative number of confirmed cases has remained flat. Two more hospitals with a planned capacity of 1,560 beds under the control of military medics have started functioning in Wuhan.

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Muted reaction to Afghan poll result despite warlord’s rallying cry https://www.easternmirrornagaland.com/muted-reaction-to-afghan-poll-result-despite-warlords-rallying-cry/ https://www.easternmirrornagaland.com/muted-reaction-to-afghan-poll-result-despite-warlords-rallying-cry/#respond Wed, 19 Feb 2020 16:52:22 +0000 https://www.easternmirrornagaland.com/?p=293910 Kabul, Feb. 19 (PTI/AFP): Afghanistan vice president Abdul Rashid Dostum, a powerful warlord who has long held undue sway over the country’s politics, called on his supporters on Wednesday to take to the streets to protest against the re-election of President Ashraf Ghani. Ghani on Tuesday was declared winner of the presidential election — five months after it was held — prompting a muted response from the international community as well as ordinary Afghans weary of the dragged-out process. The result was immediately rejected by Ghani’s main rival, former chief executive Abdullah Abdullah, as well as his running mate Dostum. Dostum served as Ghani’s running mate in 2014, but the burly 65-year-old Uzbek warlord has switched allegiances many times since joining the Afghan army in the 1970s — fighting for the Soviets against the mujahideen and then with the alliance that helped overthrow the Taliban. He has been vice president mostly in name alone, having spent much of the past four years in exile after being accused of rape and kidnapping. On Wednesday, Dostum said the announcement by the election commission amounted to a “coup”, and called on supporters to “hit the streets” to celebrate Abdullah’s victory. “I, as your...

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Kabul, Feb. 19 (PTI/AFP): Afghanistan vice president Abdul Rashid Dostum, a powerful warlord who has long held undue sway over the country’s politics, called on his supporters on Wednesday to take to the streets to protest against the re-election of President Ashraf Ghani.

Ghani on Tuesday was declared winner of the presidential election — five months after it was held — prompting a muted response from the international community as well as ordinary Afghans weary of the dragged-out process.

The result was immediately rejected by Ghani’s main rival, former chief executive Abdullah Abdullah, as well as his running mate Dostum.

Dostum served as Ghani’s running mate in 2014, but the burly 65-year-old Uzbek warlord has switched allegiances many times since joining the Afghan army in the 1970s — fighting for the Soviets against the mujahideen and then with the alliance that helped overthrow the Taliban.

He has been vice president mostly in name alone, having spent much of the past four years in exile after being accused of rape and kidnapping.

On Wednesday, Dostum said the announcement by the election commission amounted to a “coup”, and called on supporters to “hit the streets” to celebrate Abdullah’s victory.

“I, as your leader… ask you to support Dr Abdullah with all your life and power,” he said.

Despite the rallying cry, there was little sign of major protests — or celebrations — across the country.

Ordinary Afghans have shown little passion for Abdullah, Ghani, or the election process in general, with most of them abstaining from voting in last year’s lacklustre election that saw a tired lineup of candidates pitch few new ideas.

The international community has also remained unusually silent in the wake of the results, with little in the way of public congratulations to Ghani or comments on Abdullah’s announcement that he would form his own parallel government.

“While it is up to Afghans to decide the election outcome, our priority — and what we believe to be the priority of most Afghans — remains peace and the peace process,” Molly Phee, deputy to US peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, told a gathering at the US Institute of Peace in Washington late Tuesday.

The final results come just as Washington seeks a deal with the Taliban which would allow it to withdraw troops in return for various security guarantees, and a promise that the militants would hold peace talks with the Afghan government.

An Afghan official said the two foes could sign the deal on February 29 in Doha, depending on how well a confidence-building “reduction in violence” period plays out.

Abdullah’s intent to try to form a separate government brought back memories of the angrily contested 2014 election, which also saw Ghani declared the winner.

That time, Abdullah’s supporters held violent demonstrations before the US finally intervened to broker an awkward deal between the two rivals, with Ghani as the president and Abdullah as the Chief Executive.

More than five years on, the apathy of Afghans and reluctance of the international community to intervene meant it was not clear how much support Abdullah would get.

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Death toll in coronavirus in China climbs to over 1860 https://www.easternmirrornagaland.com/death-toll-in-coronavirus-in-china-climbs-to-over-1860/ https://www.easternmirrornagaland.com/death-toll-in-coronavirus-in-china-climbs-to-over-1860/#respond Tue, 18 Feb 2020 15:24:02 +0000 https://www.easternmirrornagaland.com/?p=293734 Beijing, Feb. 18 (PTI): The death toll from China’s coronavirus epidemic climbed to 1,868 on Tuesday as 98 more people died while the total number of confirmed cases jumped to 72,436, officials said. Of the new deaths, 93 were reported from Hubei Province, the epicentre of the virus, three from Henan, and one each from Hebei and Hunan, said the National Health Commission. Hubei reported 1,807 new confirmed cases, taking the total number of such cases to 59,989 in the province. Another 1,432 new suspected cases were reported from the rest of China. On Monday, 1,097 patients became seriously ill and 11,741 patients remained in severe condition, the commission said. Of the 41,957 patients hospitalised in Hubei, 9,117 were still in severe condition and another 1,853 in critical condition, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported. The province also saw 1,223 patients discharged from hospital after recovery on Monday, bringing the total number of discharged patients in the province to 7,862. A total of 12,552 people had been discharged from hospital after recovery across China so far, it said. In view of human-to-human transmission of the disease, over 1.41 lakh people who have come in contact with the people who contracted...

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Beijing, Feb. 18 (PTI): The death toll from China’s coronavirus epidemic climbed to 1,868 on Tuesday as 98 more people died while the total number of confirmed cases jumped to 72,436, officials said.

Of the new deaths, 93 were reported from Hubei Province, the epicentre of the virus, three from Henan, and one each from Hebei and Hunan, said the National Health Commission.

Hubei reported 1,807 new confirmed cases, taking the total number of such cases to 59,989 in the province. Another 1,432 new suspected cases were reported from the rest of China.

On Monday, 1,097 patients became seriously ill and 11,741 patients remained in severe condition, the commission said.

Of the 41,957 patients hospitalised in Hubei, 9,117 were still in severe condition and another 1,853 in critical condition, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

The province also saw 1,223 patients discharged from hospital after recovery on Monday, bringing the total number of discharged patients in the province to 7,862. A total of 12,552 people had been discharged from hospital after recovery across China so far, it said.

In view of human-to-human transmission of the disease, over 1.41 lakh people who have come in contact with the people who contracted the virus are still under medical observation, it said.

By Monday, 60 confirmed cases including one death had been reported in Hong Kong 10 confirmed cases in Macao and 22 in Taiwan including one death.

Top World Health Organisation experts, including from the US, have joined the fight against the the virus, called COVID-19, in China.

China confirmed that the 12-member WHO team includes Americans, as sought by the US.

“The foreign experts on board the China-WHO Joint Mission have arrived in Beijing. They have started relevant activities. We have experts from the US in the mission,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told media.

NHC said China has stepped up efforts to shore up weak spots as the epidemic prevention and control have entered the most crucial stage.

“Wuhan, capital of Hubei Province, remains the main battlefield,” Wang Hesheng, deputy head of NHC, said. “Improving admission and survival rates and reducing infection and fatality rates are still the most urgent tasks.”

Nine temporary hospitals with more than 6,960 beds have opened in Hubei.

As of February 14, a total of 217 medical teams with 25,633 medical workers had been sent to Hubei, the Xinhua report said.

Old people, patients with existing conditions most prone to die – Study (Subheadline)

People infected with the novel coronavirus who are more than 80 years old have the highest chances of dying from infection of all age groups, according to the largest study since the highly contagious outbreak began in China, with details of nearly 44,000 cases.

The study, published on Monday in the Chinese Journal of Epidemiology, revealed that a total of 1,023 deaths have occurred among 44,672 confirmed cases as of February 11, for an overall case fatality rate of 2.3 per cent.

The novel Chinese coronavirus, or COVID-19, has so far killed over 1,800 individuals and infected more than 72,000 people, Chinese health officials said on Tuesday.

According to the clinicians from the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, majority of the patients were aged 30 69 years (77.8 per cent), male (51.4 per cent), farmers or labourers (22 per cent), and diagnosed in Hubei Province (74.7 per cent).

The study noted that people with ages 80 and above had the highest case fatality rate of all age groups at about 15 per cent.

It said the death rate from the disease for males was 2.8 per cent and that for females was about 1.7 per cent.

In terms of occupation, patients who reported being retirees had the highest case fatality rate at about 5 per cent, and those in Hubei Province had a fatality rate that was more than seven-fold higher at nearly 3 per cent compared to patients in other regions of China, the study noted.

The researchers reported that patients with comorbid conditions had much higher fatality rates — 10.5 per cent for those with cardiovascular disease, 7.3 per cent for diabetes, and 6.3 per cent for chronic respiratory disease, 6.0 per cent for hypertension, and 5.6 per cent for cancer.

The fatality rate was about 50 per cent for cases categorised as critical, the study noted.

Assessing the cases as they emerged over the weeks, the scientists found that in December 2019 only 0.22 cases/day began to experience symptoms with the peak onset of symptoms for all cases overall occurring on February 1, 2020.

Since then, the researchers reported that the onset of illness has declined. The researchers noted that the virus is highly contagious.

“It has spread extremely rapidly from a single city to the entire country within only about 30 days,” the researchers reported in the study.

“Moreover, it has achieved such far-reaching effects even in the face of extreme response measures including the complete shutdown and isolation of whole cities, cancellation of Chinese New Year celebrations, prohibition of attendance at school and work, massive mobilisation of health and public health personnel as well as military medical units, and rapid construction of entire hospitals,” they said.

Overall, the scientists said the viral infection has been mild for nearly four-fifths of the patients, and has a very low case fatality rate.

Among the 1,023 deaths, they noted that a majority have been of age 60 years or older and/or have had pre-existing, comorbid conditions like hypertension, heart disease, and diabetes.

“Moreover, the case fatality rate is unsurprisingly highest among critical cases at 49 per cent, and no deaths have occurred among those with mild or even severe symptoms,” the clinicians wrote in the study.

The scientists also suspect that the virus may have jumped from animals at Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan to humans at several times in the past.

This, they believe, may have allowed the novel coronavirus to be transmitted from a still-unknown animal into humans and, due to its high mutation and recombination rates, they speculate it adapted to become increasingly efficient at human-to-human transmission.

The study also noted that some strategies used to curtail the spread of the outbreak may have worked.

“The downward trend in the overall epidemic curve suggests that perhaps isolation of whole cities, broadcast of critical information (e.g., promoting hand washing, mask wearing, and care seeking) with high frequency through multiple channels, and mobilisation of a multi-sector rapid response teams is helping to curb the epidemic,” the researchers wrote in the study.

One limitation pointed out by the authors of the study is that a large proportion of the 72,314 cases reported in the study were not confirmed by the sensitive nucleic acid testing as this process is slow, labour intensive, and requires specialised equipment.

However, all the cases were diagnosed clinically and investigated by trained epidemiologists, they said.

According to the authors, while the actions taken by the Chinese government has slowed down the epidemic in China, and curbed its spread to the rest of the world, there may be more challenges ahead.

“Huge numbers of people will soon be returning to work and school after the extended New Year holiday. We need to prepare for a possible rebound of the COVID-19 epidemic in the coming weeks and months,” the researchers warned.

China to waive tariffs on US medical imports amid virus outbreak

China will waive trade-war tariffs on imports of selected US medical equipment from March 2, the government said Tuesday, as the country battles to contain the new coronavirus epidemic.

More than 72,000 people have been infected by the outbreak of the new COVID-19 strain in China, which has claimed the lives of over 1,800 people.

Products that will qualify for the exemptions include patient monitors, blood transfusion equipment and instruments to measure blood pressure, according to a list released by the Tariff Commission of the State Council.

The commission said the move was “to better meet the growing needs of Chinese consumers” and that it would accept applications from firms in China.

The tariff exemptions will apply for a designated period, supporting firms that want to import from the US based on “business considerations”, said authorities.

The list of eligible products also includes a wide range of food items such as frozen pork, beef and seafood.

There has been a spike in pork prices in China over the past year due to African Swine Fever, which ravaged pig herds across the country.

The latest move follows other exemptions or cuts that China has announced — either related to its virus fight or a trade deal it signed with the US in January.

At the start of the month, China said US imports that can be used in its fight against the deadly virus will be exempted from retaliatory tariffs imposed in the trade war. More than a week ago, Beijing also announced it would halve tariffs on USD 75 billion worth of US imports as part of its trade truce with the US.

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Guterres closely following talks between US, Taliban — UN spokesman https://www.easternmirrornagaland.com/guterres-closely-following-talks-between-us-taliban-un-spokesman/ https://www.easternmirrornagaland.com/guterres-closely-following-talks-between-us-taliban-un-spokesman/#respond Tue, 18 Feb 2020 15:21:47 +0000 https://www.easternmirrornagaland.com/?p=293731 United Nations, Feb. 18 (PTI): UN chief Antonio Guterres has been closely following talks between the US and the Taliban about a “significant reduction” of violence in Afghanistan aimed at opening the way for intra-Afghan peace negotiations, his spokesman said. According to a statement on Monday attributable to the spokesman for the UN Secretary-General, during his visit to Islamabad, Guterres expressed his sincere wishes that such talks are successful and lead to an Afghan-led peace process. The Secretary-General has been following closely the talks between the US and the Taliban about a significant reduction of violence in Afghanistan aimed at opening the way for intra-Afghan peace negotiations, the statement said. In November last year, US President Donald Trump announced resumption of peace talks with the Taliban. After nine rounds of negotiations with the Taliban, Trump abruptly cancelled peace talks in September after a US soldier was killed in a suicide attack in Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul. Guterres reiterated the UN’s readiness to provide any assistance that the parties may require. The UN chief, during an international conference on Afghan refugees on Monday in Islamabad, called the global community to step up efforts to help bring peace in war-torn Afghanistan, saying the...

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United Nations, Feb. 18 (PTI): UN chief Antonio Guterres has been closely following talks between the US and the Taliban about a “significant reduction” of violence in Afghanistan aimed at opening the way for intra-Afghan peace negotiations, his spokesman said.

According to a statement on Monday attributable to the spokesman for the UN Secretary-General, during his visit to Islamabad, Guterres expressed his sincere wishes that such talks are successful and lead to an Afghan-led peace process.

The Secretary-General has been following closely the talks between the US and the Taliban about a significant reduction of violence in Afghanistan aimed at opening the way for intra-Afghan peace negotiations, the statement said.

In November last year, US President Donald Trump announced resumption of peace talks with the Taliban.

After nine rounds of negotiations with the Taliban, Trump abruptly cancelled peace talks in September after a US soldier was killed in a suicide attack in Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul.

Guterres reiterated the UN’s readiness to provide any assistance that the parties may require.

The UN chief, during an international conference on Afghan refugees on Monday in Islamabad, called the global community to step up efforts to help bring peace in war-torn Afghanistan, saying the Afghan people need and deserve peace, prosperity and full respect of their human rights.

Noting that the Afghan refugee crisis is the world’s largest protracted refugee situation in recorded history, Guterres said there is deep impact on the Afghani people due to the protracted nature of conflict, poverty and forced displacement.

Last week, Trump’s national security adviser Robert O’Brien said he was cautiously optimistic that there could be a US agreement with the Taliban over the next days or weeks, but a withdrawal of American forces was not imminent.

I think that we’re making significant progress, O’Brien said at an event hosted by the Atlantic Council in Washington.

It’s something we’re keeping the president appraised of on a very regular basis. You hate to make predictions when it comes to Afghanistan … but I’ll say that we’re cautiously optimistic that some good news could be forthcoming on that front, he said.

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Pakistan no longer a ‘safe haven’ for terror groups, says Imran Khan https://www.easternmirrornagaland.com/pakistan-no-longer-a-safe-haven-for-terror-groups-says-imran-khan/ https://www.easternmirrornagaland.com/pakistan-no-longer-a-safe-haven-for-terror-groups-says-imran-khan/#respond Mon, 17 Feb 2020 17:05:02 +0000 https://www.easternmirrornagaland.com/?p=293634 Islamabad, Feb. 17 (PTI): There are no “safe havens” for terror groups in Pakistan “right now”, Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Monday while admitting publicly that it was possibly not the case under previous regimes. Addressing an international conference marking 40 years of hosting Afghan refugees in the country, he said Pakistan seeks peace in Afghanistan and instability in the war-torn neighbouring country was not in its interest. Khan’s assertion on terror safe havens came as the Financial Action Task Force, the global anti-money laundering watchdog, began a crucial meeting in Paris where Pakistan is trying to wriggle out of being blacklisted for not doing enough to combat terror financing. The United States, India and Afghanistan have long accused Pakistan of providing safe havens to terror groups like the Taliban, the Haqqani network, the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed. “I can tell you that there are no safe havens here,” Khan said at a conference here, also attended by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. “Whatever the situation might have been in the past, right now, I can tell you… there is one thing we want: peace in Afghanistan.” Khan said. He admitted that it was possible that such safe heavens...

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Islamabad, Feb. 17 (PTI): There are no “safe havens” for terror groups in Pakistan “right now”, Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Monday while admitting publicly that it was possibly not the case under previous regimes.

Addressing an international conference marking 40 years of hosting Afghan refugees in the country, he said Pakistan seeks peace in Afghanistan and instability in the war-torn neighbouring country was not in its interest.

Khan’s assertion on terror safe havens came as the Financial Action Task Force, the global anti-money laundering watchdog, began a crucial meeting in Paris where Pakistan is trying to wriggle out of being blacklisted for not doing enough to combat terror financing.

The United States, India and Afghanistan have long accused Pakistan of providing safe havens to terror groups like the Taliban, the Haqqani network, the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed.

“I can tell you that there are no safe havens here,” Khan said at a conference here, also attended by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

“Whatever the situation might have been in the past, right now, I can tell you… there is one thing we want: peace in Afghanistan.” Khan said.

He admitted that it was possible that such safe heavens were operating in the country after 9/11 in the Afghan refugee camps, The News reported.

“How is the government capable of checking how militants operate from the camps,” Khan said, adding that it was not possible because the Afghan refugee camps in Pakistan have had a population of over 100,000.

Meanwhile, Guterres also termed the improved security situation in Pakistan as “absolutely remarkable”, Dawn News reported.

He said that Pakistan which looked like a “fortress” a few years back had now become a family station for the world body’s staff.

Guterres was responding to a question regarding “Pakistan’s journey from terrorism to tourism” after a seminar at Islamabad’s National University of Sciences and Technology, the report said.

“We are witnessing the state becoming present, both from the point of view of security [… and] basic service, development in an absolutely remarkable transformation,” he said.

Prime Minister Khan’s assertion on the non-existence of terror safe havens came after Afghanistan’s second vice president, Sarwar Danish accused Pakistan of allowing the Taliban to recruit new fighters from Afghan refugee camps in Pakistan to launch attacks in his country.

While Pakistan cannot fully guarantee that no Taliban militants are hiding among the huge number of Afghans living in Pakistan, Khan said his government had done all it can to prevent attacks in Afghanistan, including by building a border fence.

The whole country is on the same page on Afghanistan, he said, adding that previously it was said that the government and the country’s security forces were not on the same page. However, this was not the case now, he said.

He highlighted that Pakistan was not seeking peace in Afghanistan because it has been hosting 1.4 million Afghan refugees, but because the people of Afghanistan deserve peace.

Earlier, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres in his address said that the people of Pakistan for 40 years have responded with generosity in hosting the Afghan refugees.

“Even though major conflict has erupted in some other part of the world; Pakistan is still the second largest refugee host. I am struck by the extraordinary solidarity and compassion,” he said.

At the same time, he urged the international community to step up support for Pakistan in tackling the problem of Afghan refugees.

“The global community must step up,” Guterres said.

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