Coronavirus update: Apple employee tests virus positive at US office

Coronavirus update: Apple employee tests virus positive at US office

San Francisco: An Apple employee in Los Angeles has been found to be coronavirus positive. The employee worked at Apple's Culver City offices, reports Variety.

"A team member in our Culver City office has informed us they tested positive for COVID-19. The individual had no symptoms when they were last in the office, and remains in self-isolation at home," an Apple spokesperson said in a statement.

"We recognize this is a challenging time for our global community and our thoughts remain with those around the world personally affected by COVID-19 and the heroic medical professionals and researchers fighting it," the spokesperson added.


Apple employees at the office campus have been alerted to take extra precautions.

"The news comes a day after the news broke that Universal Music Chairman and CEO Lucian Grainge has been hospitalized after testing positive for coronavirus," said the report.

Grainge's 60th birthday celebration on February 29 in Palm Springs was reportedly attended by Apple CEO Tim Cook, veteran music manager Irving Azoff, and Apple senior vice president Eddy Cue.

Cook last week announced to temporarily close all retail stores outside of Greater China till March 27, along with committing $15 million to help with global recovery.

Cook said at all of the offices, "we are moving to flexible work arrangements worldwide outside of Greater China".

"That means team members should work remotely if their job allows, and those whose work requires them to be on site should follow guidance to maximize interpersonal space. Extensive, deep cleaning will continue at all sites. In all our offices, we are rolling out new health screenings and temperature checks," the Apple CEO said.

"We're also announcing that we are matching our employee donations two-to-one to support COVID-19 response efforts locally, nationally, and internationally," he added.

Coronavirus update: Nearly 14,000 new virus cases reported globally in 24 hours, tally exceeds 167,500; WHO

Coronavirus update: Nearly 14,000 new virus cases reported globally in 24 hours, tally exceeds 167,500; WHO

Geneva: Nearly 14,000 people were infected with the novel coronavirus globally over the past day, bringing the total number of confirmed cases above 167,500, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in its report on Tuesday.

A total of 167,511 cases have been confirmed worldwide, with 13,903 new ones over the past 24 hours. At the same time, the global death toll rose by 862 to 6,606.

Cases of the virus, which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan, has been reported in over 130 countries, including India, where over 110 people have been infected.


Coronavirus update: Pakistan virus cases increases to 183

Coronavirus update: Pakistan virus cases increases to 183

Islamabad: The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Pakistan has increased to 183, after Sindh and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) confirmed 115 and 15 new infections, respectively.

This is the single largest increase in coronavirus cases in the country so far, The Express Tribune reported on Tuesday.

"This exponential increase is largely due to the recent inflow of pilgrims brought in from Taftan border after a purported quarantine," Adviser to Sindh Chief Minister on Information Murtaza Wahab tweeted.

On Monday, Sindh Health Minister Azra Fazal Pechuho said there are 76 confirmed cases in Sukkur (all patients arrive from the Pakistan-Iran Taftan border), 26 in Karachi and one in Hyderabad.

Wahab, earlier in the day, had said another 11 people who have reached the province from Taftan have tested positive.

Meanwhile, KP reported 15 cases of the novel coronavirus on Monday.

"Just received news that 15 out of 19 individuals received in KP from Taftan have tested positive for coronavirus. These are the first positive cases in KP," provincial health minister Taimur Khan Jhagra said in a tweet.

"They are being well looked after in quarantine in an isolated facility in DI (Dera Ismail) Khan..."

The other confirmed cases were reported in Balochistan, Gilgit-Baltistan, Islamabad and Punjab.


Dinosaur footprints reveal clues about ecosystem

Dinosaur footprints reveal clues about ecosystem

Scientists have discovered new fossil footprints of dinosaurs along the shores of Scotland’s Isle of Skye, unearthing clues about the strolls taken by the giant reptiles, and the region's ecosystem between 174 and 164 million years ago.

According to their study, the Isle of Skye was home to a thriving community of dinosaurs that stomped across the ancient coastline during the Middle Jurassic Period. The researchers said this period was a time of major evolutionary diversification in many dinosaur groups.


However, they said dinosaur fossils from this time period are generally rare, with the exception of the Isle of Skye. This region, the scientists said, yielded body and trace fossils of diverse Middle Jurassic ecosystems, serving as a valuable location for paleontological science as well as tourism.


The study, described two recently discovered fossil sites preserving around 50 dinosaur footprints on ancient coastal wetlands.

The scientists reported the first record on the Isle of Skye of a track type called Deltapodus, which they said was most likely created by a stegosaurian (plate-backed) dinosaur.

The findings, according to the researchers, reflect the importance of footprints as a source of information supplemental to body fossils.


Netanyahu submits request to postpone corruption trial

Netanyahu submits request to postpone corruption trial

Jerusalem: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday submitted a request to delay his corruption trial scheduled on March 17.
Amit Hadad, one of Netanyahu’s lawyers, submitted the request to the State Attorney’s Office, citing technical reasons for the proposed delay, Xinhua reported.
Request to delay court session
According to the defence team, certain evidentiary material has not been delivered to them yet. Hadad asked the opening court session to be delayed for 45 days.
The Hebrew-language Ha’aretz newspaper reported that the State Attorney’s Office has prepared hard copies of the entire evidentiary material but Netanyahu’s defence team sked the office to scan the materials and make digital copies.

The request came as the long-time Israeli leader struggles for his political survival after failing gain to enough votes to form a coalition in Israel’s parliamentary elections on March 2.

Netanyahu, 70, has been charged with bribery, fraud and breach of trust in three separate criminal cases. He has denied any wrongdoing, claiming that the judicial process against him is “tainted and politically motivated.”


'Overwhelming injustice' across the globe, 21st century 'must be for women equality': Antonio Guterres

'Overwhelming injustice' across the globe, 21st century 'must be for women equality': Antonio Guterres

New York: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres denounced gender inequality as an "overwhelming injustice" across the globe and said that the 21st century "must be the century for womens equality".

"Everywhere, women are worse off than men, simply because they are women," Efe news quoted Guterres as saying while speaking at The New School, a university in New York, on Thursday.

"Just as slavery and colonialism were a stain on previous centuries, women's inequality should shame us all in the 21st. Because it is not only unacceptable, it is stupid.

"Gender equality is the prerequisite for a better world," added Guterres, who has made the issue one of his top priorities since taking office.


"Legal protections against rape and domestic violence are being diluted or rolled back in some places. Rape within marriage continues to be legal in 34 countries. Women's sexual and reproductive rights are under threat from different sides," he said.

That discrimination, he insisted, affects all women, including the leaders and public figures who face "harassment, threats and abuse online and offline" and who are excluded from the highest levels in politics, business or art.

According to Guterres, "patriarchy" continues to affect all areas of life with men and women, boys and girls, suffering the consequences.

"Interstate conflict makes headlines, but in some of the most violent parts in the world, levels of femicide ... are comparable to a war zone," he said.

Guterres said that 137 women are killed around the world every day by a member of their own family.

In other words, we have men waging war on women, but no one is calling for a ceasefire or imposing sanctions," he denounced.

The digital divide and technology bias against women, and political representation complete the areas in which Guterres identified gender equality as a priority.


Google Doodle pays ode to famous illustrator Sir John Tenniel on his 200th birth anniversary

Google Doodle pays ode to famous illustrator Sir John Tenniel on his 200th birth anniversary

Today, Google Doodle is paying a tribute to illustrator and satirical artist, Sir John Tenniel, on his 200th birth anniversary.

Born in Bayswater, London, the graphic humorist was knighted in 1893 for his artistic achievements. He is best known for his illustrations for Carroll's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass. Tenniel is particularly remembered as the principal cartoonist for the Punch magazine.


At 20, he lost sight in his right eye, owing to a major eye injury. He studied at the Royal Academy school and in 1836 he sent his first picture to the exhibition of the Society of British Arts, in 1836. He made his first illustration for Samuel Carter Hall's 'The Book of Ballads' in 1842. Eight years later, he joined a weekly magazine 'Punch' as a political cartoonist. It was in 1864, that Lewis Carroll came across his works of art and approached him to illustrate the book, 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland'.

It is said that he was an introvert and did not enjoy being in the limelight. His biographer wrote that this extremely talented artist's "life and career was that of the supreme gentlemanly outside, living on the edge of respectability."

He contributed to approximately 2,300 cartoons, in addition to minor drawings and double-page drawings.

Sir John Tenniel passed away on February 25th, 1914.

For innumerable decades, this artist's pieces of art have fueled the imaginations of young minds. Even today, people continue to appreciate his illustrations, creativity and unconventional style.


Saudi Arabia halts Haj travel amid coronavirus outbreak

Saudi Arabia halts Haj travel amid coronavirus outbreak

Dubai: Saudi Arabia on Thursday halted travel to the holiest sites in Islam over fears about a new viral epidemic just months ahead of the annual hajj pilgrimage. The extraordinary decision bars foreigners from travelling to the holy city of Mecca and Medina.

The decision shows the nagging worry about the outbreak potentially spreading into Saudi Arabia, whose oil-rich monarchy stakes its legitimacy on protecting Islam's holy sites.

The nation hardest-hit by the coronavirus is Iran, where 19 people have died. Experts are concerned Iran may be underreporting cases and deaths. In Bahrain, which confirmed 33 cases on Thursday, the authorities have halted all flights to Iraq and Lebanon.


It has separately extended a 48-hour ban over flights from Dubai and Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates, through which infected travellers reached the island kingdom off the coast of Saudi Arabia.

DECISIVE POINT: Meanwhile, the World Health Organization has declared that the new coronavirus epidemic was at a "decisive point."

IRANIAN VP DOWN: Iranian Vice President Masoumeh Ebtekar has tested positive for novel coronavirus, state media reported on Thursday evening. Schools, universities, and other education centres have been temporarily shut down to prevent the spread of the virus.

119 INDIANS RETURN: Meanwhile, a special flight carrying 119 Indians and five foreigners, who were on board the coronavirus-hit quarantined cruise ship Diamond Princess, landed in New Delhi.

The MEA said that all the evacuees will undergo a 14-day quarantine at the special facility set up by the Indian Army in Manesar.


China coronavirus: Death toll climbs to over 2,700 with more than 78,064 infected

China coronavirus: Death toll climbs to over 2,700 with more than 78,064 infected

Beijing: The death toll in China's novel coronavirus epidemic on Wednesday climbed to 2,715 with 52 new fatalities while the confirmed cases rose to 78,064, amidst strong signs of COVID-19 slowing down even at its epicentre Hubei province.

The country's National Health Commission (NHC) in its daily update said it received reports of 52 deaths, all from Hubei, and 406 new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus infection from all over the country.

The death toll has gone up to 2,715 and overall confirmed cases reached 78,064, it said.

Another 439 new suspected cases were reported on Tuesday while the number of severe cases decreased by 374 to 8,752, it said.

Overall 2,491 people were still suspected of being infected with the virus. A total of 29,745 people had been discharged from hospital after recovery.


The commission said 6.47 lakh close contacts had been traced, and over 79,000 are still under medical observation.

By the end of Tuesday, 85 confirmed cases including two deaths had been reported from Hong Kong, 10 confirmed cases in Macao and 31 in Taiwan including one death.

Wuhan, the capital city of the hardest-hit province of Hubei, remains the main battlefield for prevention and control of the coronavirus epidemic in the country, the NHC said.

Resolute efforts should be made to curb the rise in confirmed cases in the periphery of Hubei and other key provincial-level regions, He Qinghua, an official of the NHC told the media.

A joint prevention and control mechanism should be initiated between Hubei and its neighbouring provinces to help prevent the spread of the epidemic to neighbouring areas and provide materials, personnel and transportation support needed in Hubei, He said.

Hubei and Wuhan together with over 50 million population continue to be under lockdown since January 23 with all public and private transportation remained suspended.

Other key areas including Beijing, Zhejiang and Guangdong should enhance coordination with Hubei in prevention work, such as information sharing, to contain further spread of the epidemic, He said.

For lower-risk regions across the country, preventive measures should be adopted at the county level to avoid relapse of the epidemic situation while advancing resumption of work and production as soon as possible, He said, stressing efforts to step up disinfection and ventilation as well as passengers' temperature and health monitoring to reduce the risk of virus transmission amidst people's return trips.


Coronavirus outbreak: Hong Kong schools will remain shut beyond Easter

Coronavirus outbreak: Hong Kong schools will remain shut beyond Easter

Hong Kong: Owing to the coronavirus outbreak, schools in Hong Kong which had remained shut for over three weeks are set to not open after Easter holidays even as the university entrance exams will go ahead as scheduled, Hong Kong education officials said on Tuesday.

"Classes at all kindergartens, primary and secondary schools would be suspended until April 20 at the earliest," said Secretary for Education Kevin Yeung Yun-hung, as quoted by the South China Morning Post.


"The World Health Organisation and virologists have already predicted that the epidemic will last for a longer period of time, so further extending the suspension of classes is the safest option," he added.

This comes at the backdrop of the rising number of coronavirus cases in the country with a tally of the infected reaching 85 till Tuesday.

"For classes, we are talking about 900,000 pupils from kindergartens, primary and secondary schools. Usually, during class, they have a lot of interaction, they talk to and play with each other," he said.

Although the schools have been closed till April 20 yet the country's university will be held as per schedule.

"It is completely different from the DSE exam when there are just over 50,000 candidates, sitting down without any communication," he added.

Following the coronavirus outbreak, schools were first suspended after the Lunar New Year holiday, which ended on February 3. Previously, the officials had already extended the suspension for two more weeks until March 16.

The virus which first surfaced in China's Hubei province in December last year has since infected more than 80,410 people worldwide and killed over 2700 people.