Connect with us

Image copyright
Anadolu Agency/Getty

Image caption

A tribute to the victims was held at Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana beach

Brazil has recorded more 100,000 deaths linked to Covid-19, the world’s second-highest figure, as the outbreak in the country shows no sign of easing.

The virus killed 50,000 people in three months, but that number doubled in just 50 days. There have been more than three million confirmed cases so far.

The pandemic is yet to peak but shops and restaurants have already reopened.

President Jair Bolsonaro has downplayed the impact of the virus and opposed measures that could hit the economy.

The far-right leader, who caught the disease himself and recovered, fought restrictions imposed by state governors to curb Covid-19, and has frequently joined crowds of supporters, at times without a face mask.

Experts have complained of a lack of a co-ordinated plan by the Bolsonaro government as local authorities now focus on restarting the economy, which is likely to boost the spread of the virus.

The federal government’s response is being led by an army general who has no experience in public health. Two earlier health ministers, both physicians, left the job after disagreeing with the president over social distancing measures and the use of hydroxychloroquine as a treatment, though studies say it is not effective.

President Bolsonaro – who has called Covid-19 a “little flu” and has been criticised at home and abroad – said he recovered from his own infection thanks to the anti-malarial drug.

1596962510 379 Coronavirus Brazil passes 100000 deaths as outbreak shows no sign

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionBrazil’s former health minister speaks out

Brazil has had 100,477 virus-related deaths and 3,012,412 cases, according to the health ministry, though the numbers are believed to be much higher because of insufficient testing. Only the United States has higher figures.

“We should be living in despair, because this is a tragedy like a world war. But Brazil is under collective anaesthesia,” Dr José Davi Urbaez, a senior member of the Infectious Diseases Society, told Reuters news agency.

“The government’s message today is: ‘Catch your coronavirus and if it’s serious, there is intensive care.’ That sums up our policy today.”

Image copyright
EPA

Image caption

President Bolsonaro greeted supporters in his first trip after recovering from Covid-19 last month

There are fears the disease is spreading faster in deprived neighbourhoods and remote areas, such as indigenous communities, where access to adequate health care is difficult.

In a tribute to victims on Saturday, the non-governmental group Rio de Paz placed crosses on the sand on Rio de Janeiro’s famed Copacabana beach and released 1,000 red balloons into the sky.

Senate Speaker Davi Alcolumbre announced four days of mourning in Congress but President Bolsonaro has not yet commented. Earlier this week he said he was sorry for all the deaths but suggested “we should carry on with [our] lives”.

Brazil accounts for nearly half of all coronavirus-related deaths recorded in Latin America and the Caribbean, where more than five million cases have been confirmed, according to Johns Hopkins University, which is tracking the disease globally.

Some of the other hard-hit countries include Mexico – which has the world’s third-highest number of deaths with 52,000 and nearly 476,000 cases – Peru, Colombia and Chile.

Experts say a combination of overcrowded cities, poverty and ill-equipped health systems is contributing to the outbreak in the region.

Source link

0
Continue Reading

Politics

Kim Jong-un ‘apologises for killing of South Korean official’

114597211 mediaitem114597210

Image copyright
Reuters

Image caption

Mr Kim said the incident should never have happened

North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un has issued a rare personal apology for the killing of a South Korean official, Seoul says.

Mr Kim reportedly told his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in that the “disgraceful affair” should not have happened.

South Korea has said the 47-year-old man was found by troops floating in the North’s waters.

He was then shot dead and his body was set alight, according to Seoul.

The killing – the first of a South Korean citizen by North Korean forces for a decade – has caused outrage in the South.

The border between the Koreas is tightly policed, and the North is thought to have a “shoot-to-kill” policy in place to prevent coronavirus from entering the country.

What did Kim say in his apology?

The apology came in the form of a letter sent to President Moon which acknowledged that the incident should not have happened, according to South Korea’s Blue House.

Mr Kim called it a “disgraceful affair” and said he felt “very sorry” for “disappointing” Mr Moon and the South Korean people, the Blue House said. It is the North’s first official comment on the incident.

The North also gave the South the results of its investigation – it said more than 10 shots were fired at the man, who had entered North Korean waters and then failed to reveal his identity and tried to flee, South Korea’s director of national security Suh Hoon said.

However the North insisted that it had not burned the man’s body but rather the “floating material” that was carrying him.

“The troops could not locate the unidentified trespasser during a search after firing the shots, and burned the device under national emergency disease prevention measures,” Mr Suh told a briefing, referring to the letter.

What happened to the man?

The father-of-two, who worked for the fisheries department, was on his patrol boat about 10km (6 miles) from the border with the North, near the island of Yeonpyeong, when he disappeared on Monday, the South Korean defence ministry said.

Image copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

The South Korean island of Yeonpyeong sits near the border with the North

He had left his shoes behind on the boat. South Korean media said he had recently divorced and had financial problems.

A North Korean patrol boat found the man, who was wearing a life jacket, at sea at around 15:30 local time on Tuesday.

They put gas masks on and questioned him from a distance before “orders from [a] superior authority” came in that the man be killed. He was shot dead in the water.

South Korea says North Korean troops then burned the corpse at sea.

What has the reaction been in the South?

President Moon Jae-in called the killing a “shocking” incident that could not be tolerated. He urged the North to take “responsible” measures over the attack.

The country’s National Security Council said the North could “not justify shooting and burning the corpse of our unarmed citizen who showed no sign of resistance”.

Officials said they had done a “thorough analysis of diverse intelligence”, but it was not clear how exactly they had gathered the information.

The military hotline between North and South was cut in June, and the inter-Korean liaison office, which was built to help both sides communicate, was destroyed by North Korea. But South Korean military is known to intercept the North’s radio communications, AFP news agency reports.

What is the background?

Mr Kim’s apology comes at a time when relations between the North and South are at a low point and there is a stand-off between Pyongyang and Washington over the North’s nuclear programme.

South Korea has in the past demanded apologies from the North but these have rarely been forthcoming. The North has refused to apologise for the sinking of a South Korean warship in 2010, in which 46 sailors died, and denies responsibility. It also refused to apologise for shelling a South Korean island the same year, killing two soldiers and two construction workers.

North Korea may be taking extra-tough measures to prevent the coronavirus from entering the country because it is thought to be preparing for a huge military parade on 10 October to mark the 75th anniversary of the foundation of the ruling Workers’ Party.

Pyongyang closed its border with China in January to try to prevent the spread Covid-19. In July, North Korean state media said the country had raised its state of emergency to the maximum level.

Last month, the commander of the US military’s forces in South Korea, Robert Abrams, said the North had introduced a new “buffer zone” of one to two kilometres on the Chinese border, and that the country had special operation forces in place with orders to “shoot-to-kill” anyone coming across the border.

In the past, North Korea has also returned people who have wandered into their territory. In 2017, state news agency KCNA said officials would repatriate a South Korean fishing boat which “illegally” crossed the border, in what was seen as a rare humanitarian move.

Source link

0
Continue Reading

Politics

Mongolia’s most eligible eagle hunter

200916155541 01 mongolia eagle hunter jenisbek tserik restricted super tease

(CNN) — “Look over there. See that man coming this way?” asks Timur. “He’s so good looking.”

Galloping towards us on a stout Mongolian steed is the nomad’s version of Brad Pitt returning home in “Legends of the Fall.” Bundled inside a pinto jacket above richly embroidered trousers, he certainly catches the eye. A fox fur hat warms his head, and perched calmly on his right forearm is a golden eagle that’s not merely a prop for a cheesy cologne advertisement.

“Look at his eyebrows and his cheekbones,” continues our Intrepid Travel guide. “And look at how big and strong he is. The girls go crazy over him.”

“It’s true,” says Timur’s wife, Bata, blushing slightly. “If I was to compare him with Timur just on looks, of course I would choose him.”

Upon closer inspection, the intruder’s weathered face betrays a life lived outdoors. But his jaw is certainly chiseled and his natural squint reminds me of a youthful Clint Eastwood as he gazes off into the distance.

Jenisbek Tserik, whose name means “steel warrior,” is a semi-nomadic Kazakh.

Mark Daffey

Arguably more impressive though is his stature, which I only begin to appreciate once he stands beside four other berkutchi, or eagle hunters, who have assembled in front of us for a scheduled photo shoot and interview session. He’s close to a head taller, with broad, square shoulders and muscular limbs that are further exaggerated by his bulky attire.

His name is Jenisbek Tserik, an appellation that means “steel warrior” — an apt description given his achievements. A master horseman, he’s also a serial winner of tug-of-war competitions pitting two combatants wrestling a goat carcass.

So adept is Jenisbek that he has been flown to Dubai to compete in exhibition events. For a semi-nomadic Kazakh living in Mongolia’s remote, westernmost province of Bayan-Ölgii, any trip abroad would be like visiting another planet. Glitzy Dubai would be a whole different universe.

Aged 26, Jenisbek tells us he’s not married, then jokes that he has five girlfriends, including one in Dubai and another in Kazakhstan, from where 90% of Bayan-Ölgii’s resident population originates. I’m unsure if he’s serious, but from what Timur and Bata have told me about him, it’s not beyond the realms of possibility.

As well as the tug-of-war, Jenisbek is a champion archer, and he’s won numerous awards for eagle hunting in Bayan-Ölgii, where the centuries-old pastime is more widespread than anywhere else on the planet.

A proud history

Aged 26, Jenisbek says he's not married -- but has five girlfriends.

Aged 26, Jenisbek says he’s not married — but has five girlfriends.

Tuul & Bruno Morandi/The Image Bank RF/Getty Images

Eagle hunting can be traced back to a forgotten kingdom in Central Asia, where direct descendants of Genghis Khan settled by the Aral Sea until encroaching Russian Empire forces compelled them to flee to the lawless region of the Altai Mountains in Mongolia.

Then, when the Soviet Union and China established borders either side of them early in the 20th century, the Kazakhs became cut off from their homeland and were unable to return.

They continued to live as semi-nomadic herders in Western Mongolia, where traditional pastimes such as hunting with golden eagles continued, passing from one generation to the next. Since such practices were suppressed in Kazakhstan during Soviet rule, Bayan-Ölgii became the sport’s nucleus.

“For a Mongol, it’s pride thing to train racehorses. For Kazakhs, their pride is in training eagles to hunt,” explains Bata.

You can see it in the way they walk and how they behave. The five berkutchi know they’re being watched and they play up to it, puffing their chests out and stiffening their backs whenever a camera lens points their way. Brows furrow and lips purse like they’ve been modeling all their lives.

It’s a far cry from how life must have been in this part of the world before tourism impinged following the first Golden Eagle Festival, which was staged outside the provincial capital of Ölgii in 1999. But even now, foreigners are hardly stampeding to get here. When I quiz our local facilitator about numbers visiting the region this season, he replies that there are “many.”

“How many?” I ask.

“About 800.”

From October to March, eagle hunters head off into the mountains in pairs -- one to flush out their prey, the other to release the eagle from high along a ridgeline.

From October to March, eagle hunters head off into the mountains in pairs — one to flush out their prey, the other to release the eagle from high along a ridgeline.

Mark Daffey

Numbers peak around the timing of the festival in early October, and during the smaller scale Altai Kazakh Eagle Festival, held here in Sagsai two weeks earlier. In each, as many as 100 berkutchi test their skills in events where eagles are expected to catch fox skins being dragged behind horses or in races to scoop up a coin off the ground on horseback.

One flirtatious contest involves a whip-cracking woman chasing after a man who doesn’t always try overly hard to escape. I could imagine Jenisbek receiving a disproportionate share of lashings these past few years.

But it’s only once the tourists have gone that the eagle hunting season begins. From October to March, hunters head off into the mountains in pairs — one to flush out their prey, the other to release the eagle from high along a ridgeline.

Prize catches includes foxes and hares, whose luxuriant coats make the warmest hats, just like those crowning Jenisbek and his companions.

Hunts can last for days at a time, and training requires patience as the eagles become accustomed to their handlers and develop the required skills.

Has it caused couples to divorce, I ask Timur, when husbands spend more time with their birds than they do with their wife? He shrugs his shoulders.

When every unmarried woman in the valley is lining up for you, like they are for Jenisbek, who needs a wife?

Getting there: Though Mongolia is currently closed to tourism due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a number of tour companies are now accepting bookings for for the 2021 Golden Eagle Festival in Bayan-Ulgii, which takes place in early October.

Source link

0
Continue Reading

Politics

Pelosi urges voting to counter Trump on peaceful election transition

image

Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that President Donald Trump’s refusal to guarantee a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the election could be cured at the ballot box.

“That the president of the United States would place in doubt the idea of the peaceful transfer of power, well it’s not a surprise,” Pelosi said. But a clear result from voters, she said, would be the “antidote” to any doubts raised by Trump in his comments. “I have confidence in the American people,” she said.

Pelosi’s remarks came as congressional Republicans declined to directly confront Trump’s comments but emphatically rejected the notion that the country would see anything but a peaceful transition of power should Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden win the election. Trump, though, has spent months criticizing the integrity of the election rooted in baseless claims about foreign meddling with mail-in ballots and rampant voter fraud in Democrat-led states.

Source link

0
Continue Reading

Trending