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China’s Mystery Corona Viruses Now Infecting Other Countries

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Since last month, several patients in a Chinese city have been showing symptoms similar to pneumonia from an unknown mystery virus. Health officials are worried as this could lead to a potential outbreak similar to SARS. New cases have been popping out in Japan and Thailand and as the evidence suggests, this unknown virus could be spread by human to human transmission.

On Thursday, Japan’s health ministry confirms that a thirty-year-old man had been tested positive for coronavirus strain after he was back from his visit from the Chinese city of Wuhan which is the epicenter of this virus outbreak. But, Japanese health officials said that a Chinese national was discharged from the hospital and no other cases were reported. The second case has been confirmed on Monday in Thailand were Thai authorities quarantined a 61-year-old woman who returned from Wuhan infected with the virus.

Experts have not been able to figure out how the virus spreads as no new patient visited the seafood market in Wuhan which has been identified as the outbreak’s original source. This has raised concerns as to the virus could have spread through the human transmission. Though the health officials could not verify this, there remains a huge possibility which means it could lead to a massive outbreak.

The World Health Organization on Thursday mentioned that though there seem to be cases with no link with the Huanan seafood market means that human to human transmission remains a high possibility. They even said that it is not surprising to hear new cases outside China and there could be more cases popping out in other countries in the future.

Last month this mystery virus appeared in Wuhan where one person died while 40 other infected people are hospitalized as their condition was critical with symptoms that included high fevers, invasive lung lesions, and breathing difficulties. Last week, few Chinese researchers identified the microbe behind the outbreak is a new strain of coronavirus and published the draft genome.

Coronaviruses are a huge virus family that causes several illnesses starting from the common cold to more harmful diseases like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome(SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome(MERS). All this has brought back memories from the 2003 SARS outbreak in South China which killed 774 people.

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Hong Kong Protest Movement Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

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Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement gets nominated for Nobel Peace prize 2020 by US Senator Marco Rubio and Representative James McGovern. China’s co-chair and chair of Congressional-Executive Commission sent the Nobel Peace Prize Committee a nomination letter for Hong Kong as the city was able to organize impressive and coherent protest movement without any leader yet being flexible. According to the letter, this prize would honour millions of people in the city who has bravely inspired the world with immense determination.

This pro-democracy movement began last June over a now axed extradition bill. The protest demonstrators still continue to demand an independent probe into the conduct of police as well as pardon for those who were arrested along with to stop characterizing protests as riots.

This nomination was also signed by Representatives like Chris Smith, Thomas Suozzi and Tom Malinowski, as well as Senators like Jeffrey Merkley, Steve Daines and Todd Young. The letter mentioned that Hongkongers were able to demonstrate civility in courage with extraordinary leadership and strong commitment to free Hong Kong and make it democratic state that would uphold law and order and fundamental human rights and freedom.

There were many like Liu Xiaobo who also made sacrifices to speak up for human rights and got sentenced for the same. His charges were that he was inciting subversion of state power. he was sentenced to 11 years of imprisonment where he passed away in 2017. In 2010, he was even awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his long and non-violent protest for fundamental human rights in China. As he was absent, the prize was presented to an empty chair at the ceremony. Since his death, his widow Liu Xia was under house arrest for several years.

The letter even mentioned that the US and the UK have suspended the sale of police and crowd control equipment to Hong Kong which the government has been accused to use against peaceful protestors excessively and unnecessarily. Last year, Guri Melby who is a Norwegian lawmaker also nominated Hongkongers for the prize as a way to further encourage the movement.

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Sri Lankan Government Finally Admits That 20,000 Missing Tamilians Are Dead

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The new Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa finally admits that the 20,000 missing Tamilians who disappeared during the nation’s civil war are dead. At that time during the civil war, Mr Rajapaksa worked as the defence secretary and he led the government victory over Tamil soldiers but he and his forces were accused of carrying out mass executions and disappearances.

This is the first time that the government has publicly admitted the fact even though it is a complicated affair and the conflict ended in 2009. According to local media reports, this move is revealed as he is about to introduce legislation that would grant immunity to people who carried out abuses.

Mr Rajapaksa announced this during a meeting with the United Nations representative in Colombo saying that official death certificates would be issued. In his announcement, he said that this admission would bring closure to families hoping that Tamil politicians would not use this as a way to cause unrest. According to local media reports today, Mr Rajapaksa is all set to introduce laws that would grant immunity to members of the government who have been accused of human rights violations during the war.

Sri Lanka’s civil war began in 1983 and went on for 26 years till 2009 which is said to have claimed around 100,000 lives. The war was fought along ethnic and religious lines where the Buddhist Sinhalese majority government won over the Hindu Tamil minority which tried to fight for independence.

While atrocities were committed by both sides the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has reports of government troops carrying out unlawful killings, enforced disappearance and gender-based violence on the Tamil population. These abuses in the final year of the conflict have been considered a few of the worst human rights abuses in history.

There were footages captured in mobile phones showing government soldiers executing blindfolded civilians. There was even heavy artillery launched in the so-called no-fire zone killing around 70,000 civilians most of which were Tamilians. Human Rights Watch even documented disappearances of Tamil activists and journalists.

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Thailand claims to cure corona virus with anti-Hiv drug cocktail

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On Sunday, the health ministry in Thailand said that a Chinese woman who was infected with the infamous new coronavirus has shown drastic improvements after she was treated with a cocktail of anti-viral drugs that are used to treat both flu and HIV.

During the health ministries daily press briefing, Dr Kriengsak Attipornwanich said that the 71-year-old patient tested negative for the novel coronavirus 48 hours after the Thai doctors gave her the combination. He even said that along with her positive test turning negative in 48 hours, the patient was extremely exhausted but was able to sit straight 12 hours after the drugs cocktail was given.

This drug cocktail had a combination of the anti-flu drug oseltamivir along with anti-virals like lopinavir and ritonavir which are used to treat HIV. The health ministry is still awaiting proper research results to prove the findings.

This good news comes in as soon as coronavirus claims the first life outside China of a 44-year-old Chinese man in the Philippines while the number of deaths has crossed 330. As per now, Thailand had detected 19 confirmed cases of the virus which has said to have broken out from Wuhan city in China which now is under lockdown. The country seems to have the second-highest number of cases outside China after Japan with 20 people suffering from the novel coronavirus.

Till now only eight patients were able to recover and go back home while the remaining 11 still are in the hospital. According to the video released on Sunday, Anutin Charnvirakul who is the health minister of Thailand visited this patient from Wuhan who has recovered from the coronavirus. He chatted with her in Mandarin and she thanked him and the medical staff.

Thailand’s government is now battling public criticism that the country is lagging behind to evacuate several Thai citizens from the Hubei province which is the centre of the outbreak. According to Anutin Charnvirakul, the evacuation would take place on Tuesday and the people would be kept in quarantine for 14 days.

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Coronavirus Kills First Patient Outside China

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On Saturday, the Philippines confirmed that one of the men who tested positive for the novel coronavirus has died. This 44-year-old man was the second confirmed coronavirus case in the Philippines. According to the officials of the Department of Health in the Philippines, he was the companion of a 38-year-old woman who was the first confirmed case. They were among the 24 other patients who were tested for the virus but only they turned out to be positive.

Both of them were from Wuhan in China which is the epicentre of this outbreak. On Sunday, Chinese officials said that the virus has caused deaths of 304 people and infected around 14,380. Dr Rabi Abeyasinghe who is a World Health Organization representative in the Philippines said on twitter that this is first reported death outside China but however it is necessary to know that this person came from Wuhan China.

On January 25th the man was admitted to the San Lazaro Hospital in Manila after he showed symptoms of fever, cough and sore throat. According to the officials, this man had severe pneumonia because of viral and bacterial infections before stabilizing in his last few days. Yet, his condition kept deteriorating drastically in the last 24 hours leading to his death.

Francisco T. Duque III who is the Health Secretary said in his statement that we would like to let people know that this was an imported case and there is no evidence of local transmission as of now. They are currently working with the Chinese Embassy to ensure that his remains are managed respectfully according to national and international standards to contain the disease.

Coronavirus is a large family of viruses that mostly infect animals. But some can evolve and spread to human beings as well. Symptoms in humans include fever, coughing and shortness of breath which can extend to pneumonia.

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US Air Force Plane Crashes In Afghanistan, Taliban Claims Responsibility

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On Monday, a small US Air Force plane crashes in Afghanistan’s Taliban-held area in the Ghazni province which lies south of Kabul. The number of people on board is yet to be disclosed but according to an Afghan official two pilots were found dead in the wreckage.

Zabihullah Mujahid, who is a spokesperson for the Taliban said that they shot down “an American invader jet” killing many officers. He further claims that the plane had high-ranked CIA officers on board. But none of the above claims was verifiable.

Arif Noori who is the provincial government spokesperson said that the aircraft seemed to be flying around 321 kilometres between Kandahar in the south to Kabul in the north. Noori further added that bodies of two pilots were found amid the crash debris and said that the plane is completely destroyed but he mentions no other casualties.

Though it has been reported that only two bodies were found, locals claim to have seen around five bodies in total. On the other hand, the Afghan government initially claimed that a passenger jet crashed that had more than 80 people on board but they later retracted.

There are several unverified images of the crash circulating through social media which includes a tail end of a crashed aircraft that had the US Air Force insignia. The US Air Force uses the E11A, which is made by Bombardier. It has a twin-engine made for flying command as well as a communications hub.

It is not surprising if the Taliban claims to shoot down this plane as it has been reported from time to time that the Taliban possesses anti-aircraft weapons which are claimed to have been supplied by CIA to fight 1980s Russian occupation. In 2007, a British Chinook helicopter was suspected to have been shot down by the Taliban using a shoulder-mounted surface to air missile.

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