Woman removes underwear, puts it on her face after post office denies service

Woman removes underwear, puts it on her face after post office denies service

As the coronavirus pandemic took over globally, the demand for face masks increased in a bid to keep the infectious virus at bay. While some adhered to the norm, others invented their own protective gear. From wear the helmet of a Toy Story character, to a Marauders map mask inspired by Harry Potter that unravels when breathed upon, there have been some interesting picks.

A woman from Kiev, Ukraine was told she would not be served at the post office for not wearing a mask. However, she found an innovative way to get by the rules, by removing her underwear in front of queuing customers, and putting it on her face.

According to a report by Metro, CCTV footage shows the woman approaching the post office counter without wearing a mask, which was a compulsion to go about in a 'public place' given the viral outbreak.

The video was shared by the company's employee, who is also facing punishment for sharing it without consent.


As of Tuesday, the overall number of global coronavirus cases on Tuesday surpassed the 5.5 million mark, while the deaths have increased to more than 346,000, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

Currently, the total number of cases stood at 5,508,904, while the death toll increased to 346,508, the University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed in its latest update.

The US was also reaching a grim milestone of 100,000 COVID-19 deaths.

Currently, the country has 1,662,768 confirmed cases and 98,223 deaths, both tallies account for the highest in the world, according to the CSSE.

In terms of cases, Brazil comes in the second place with 374,898 infections.

This was followed by Russia (362,342), the UK (262,547), Spain (235,400), Italy (230,158), France (183,067), Germany (180,802), Turkey (157,814), India (145,456), Iran (137,724), and Peru (123,979), the CSSE figures showed.

Meanwhile, the UK ranked second after the US with 36,996 COVID-19 deaths, the highest fatalities in Europe.

The other countries with over 10,000 deaths are Italy (32,877), France (28,460), Spain (26,834), and Brazil (23,473).


Xi Jinping orders Chinese military to scale up battle preparedness

Xi Jinping orders Chinese military to scale up battle preparedness

Beijing: Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday ordered the military to scale up battle preparedness, keeping in mind the worst-case scenarios and asked them to resolutely defend the country's sovereignty.

Xi, 66, who is also the General Secretary of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) and head of the two-million-strong military with prospects of lifelong tenure in power, made the remarks while attending a plenary meeting of the delegation of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) and the People's Armed Police Force during the current parliament session being held here.

Xi ordered the military to think about worst-case scenarios, scale up training and battle preparedness, promptly and effectively deal with all sorts of complex situations and resolutely safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests, state-run Xinhua news agency reported, without mentioning any specific issues that posed a threat to the country.

His comments came in the backdrop of the continuing standoff between the militaries of India and China at the Line of Actual Control (LAC).


Several areas along the LAC in Ladakh and North Sikkim have witnessed major military build-up by both the Indian and Chinese armies recently, in a clear signal of escalating tension and hardening of respective positions by the two sides even two weeks after they were engaged in two separate face-offs.

The nearly 3,500-km-long LAC is the de-facto border between the two countries.

The US-China military frictions were also on the rise with the US navy stepping its patrols in the disputed South China Sea as well as the Taiwan Straits. Washington and Beijing are also engaged in a war of words over the origin of the coronavirus pandemic.

On Sunday, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi criticised the attempts of some US politicians to blame China for the pandemic. The US, he said, was pushing ties with China to "the brink of a new Cold War".

On May 22, China, the second-largest military spender after the US, hiked its defence budget by 6.6 per cent to USD 179 billion, nearly three times that of India, the lowest increment in recent years amidst the massive disruption caused to the communist giant's economy by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In his meeting with a PLA delegation on Tuesday, he stressed on achieving the targets and missions of strengthening the national defence and armed forces for 2020, while maintaining effective epidemic control on a regular basis.

He listened to speeches by the military deputies on fulfilling epidemic control tasks, strengthening training amid the epidemic, and accelerating capacity building on biosecurity defence, among others.

Commending their role in battling the COVID-19, Xi said the people's armed forces have once again proven themselves to be heroic forces that can be fully trusted by the Communist Party and the people.

Xi said the epidemic has brought a profound impact on the global landscape and on China's security and development as well.

Xi demanded reform and innovation to address new situations and problems exposed in the epidemic and ordered accelerating the research and development on COVID-19 drugs and vaccines by tapping the advantages of military medical research.

Noting that this year marks the end of the 13th five-year plan for military development, Xi said extraordinary measures must be taken to overcome the impact of the epidemic to ensure major tasks on the military building are achieved.

On defence expenditure, Xi said "every penny must be well spent to produce maximum results".

Xi has been stressing on the troops battle preparedness ever since he came to power in 2012 insisting on real time exercises to win wars.

He has also revamped defence forces, cutting the PLA's strength by three lakh troops and enhanced its naval and air power as Beijing expanded its influence abroad.

Meanwhile, a Chinese expert commented that unlike the previous standoffs between the Chinese and Indian armies, the latest border friction was not caused by accident, but was a planned move of New Delhi.

"India has been crossing the boundary line into the Galwan Valley region and entering Chinese territory. Indian soldiers have also deliberately instigated conflicts with their Chinese counterparts. If India failed to stop such provocations as soon as possible, it will impact on Beijing-New Delhi ties - and may even exceed the sort of intensity of the Doklam standoff, an article in the state-run Global Times written by Long Xingchun, president of Chengdu Institute of World Affairs, said.

India has said the Chinese military was hindering normal patrolling by its troops along the LAC in Ladakh and Sikkim and strongly refuted Beijing's contention that the escalating tension between the two armies was triggered by trespassing of Indian forces across the Chinese side.

The Ministry of External Affairs said all Indian activities were carried out on its side of the border, asserting that India has always taken a very responsible approach towards border management. At the same time, it said, India was deeply committed to protect its sovereignty and security.

"Any suggestion that Indian troops had undertaken activity across the LAC in the Western sector or the Sikkim sector is not accurate. Indian troops are fully familiar with the alignment of the Line of Actual Control in the India-China border areas and abide by it scrupulously," MEA Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said at an online media briefing last week.


Chicago sees deadliest Memorial day in years

Chicago sees deadliest Memorial day in years

Ten people were shot dead and 32 others injured in Chicago during the city's deadliest Memorial Day weekend since 2015, when 12 persons were killed.

Despite the Illinois' stay-at-home order, the weekend's death toll has already surpassed last year's holiday weekend, when seven people were killed and 34 were injured, the Chicago Sun Times said in a report on Monday.

In 2018, seven people died and 30 others were wounded. In 2017, six people were killed and 44 others were wounded. In 2016, six people were killed and 56 wounded.

The most fatal shooting took place on Monday evening in Garfield Park on the West Side.

Two men, 45 and 52, were standing on a sidewalk at about 8.30 p.m. when someone in a white sedan fired shots, Chicago police said.

The 45-year-old, who was shot in the head and torso, was pronounced dead at Stroger Hospital, police said.

The older man was shot in the leg and was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital in good condition, police said. On Sunday afternoon, a person was fatally shot in Rosemoor on the South Side.


Asia Bibi's brother-in-law killed in prison in Pakistan's Sheikhupura

Asia Bibi's brother-in-law killed in prison in Pakistan's Sheikhupura

Asia Bibi's brother-in-law killed in prison in Pakistan's Sheikhupura. Asia Bibi's brother-in-law was falsely accused of blasphemy against Islam and spend about 10 years in death row in prison.

His dead body was brought to DHQ Hospital in Sheikhupura on Monday. In 2010, Asia Bibi, was convicted of blasphemy by a Pakistani court and was sentenced to death by hanging. But, in October 2018, the Supreme Court of Pakistan acquitted her based on insufficient evidence, though she was not allowed to leave Pakistan until the verdict was reviewed.

Recounting the hellish conditions of eight years spent on death row on blasphemy charges but also the pain of exile, Asia Bibi broke her silence to give her first personal insight into an ordeal that caused international outrage. She now lives in Canada at an undisclosed location.

French journalist Anne-Isabelle Tollet, who has co-written a book about her, was once based in the country where she led a support campaign for her."You already know my story through the media," she said in the book.

"But you are far from understanding my daily life in prison or my new life," she said. "I became a prisoner of fanaticism," she said. In prison, "tears were the only companions in the cell". She described the horrendous conditions in squalid jails in Pakistan where she was kept chained and jeered at by other detainees.

Hachiko 2.0: Dog patiently waits at hospital for 3 months after owner dies from coronavirus

Hachiko 2.0: Dog patiently waits at hospital for 3 months after owner dies from coronavirus

The coronavirus outbreak has been tough for animals as well. Be it pet owners abandoning their furry friends with the fear of contracting the virus, or the exotic ones who crossed boundaries in search of food, the pandemic has been equally painful for the fauna.

History has witnessed several tales of dogs who have gone a step ahead to be with their owners and vice versa. Known as humankind’s best friend, these angelic animals have also been helping many cope through these trying times. With that being said, a dog in China has made headlines for waiting at a hospital for three months after its owner died from the coronavirus.

The owner of Xiao Bao, a 7-year-old mongrel, was admitted to the Wuhan Taikang Hospital in central China's Hubei Province, in February this year but died 5 days later from the virus. Xiao Bao, a loyal one, waited patiently at the hospital’s lobby for 3 months hoping to reunite with his owner. According to reports, the staff also tried to move the dog away from the vicinity but Xiao Bao found its way back.

Three months later, the hospital received several complaints about Xiao Bao causing a disturbance in the lobby, after which the staff called the Small Animal Protection Association that took it with them.

The story reminds us of Hachikō, a Japanese Akita dog, who loyally waited for his owner, Hidesaburō Ueno, for over 9 years following Ueno's death.

Meanwhile, no new confirmed COVID-19 cases were reported in central China's Hubei Province. The province reported 38 new asymptomatic cases on Sunday, Xinhua reported.

By Sunday, Hubei had six existing confirmed COVID-19 cases, including one in severe condition and one in critical condition. The total number of asymptomatic cases under medical observation was 326 by Sunday, according to the commission.

The provincial capital Wuhan started a campaign on May 14 to expand nucleic acid testing in order to better know the number of asymptomatic cases or people who show no clear symptoms despite carrying the virus.

According to the latest figures released by the Wuhan municipal health commission, the city conducted more than 6 million nucleic acid tests between May 14 and 23. On Saturday alone, the city performed nearly 1.15 million tests.

Hubei has so far reported 68,135 confirmed COVID-19 cases in total, including 50,340 in Wuhan.


US President Donald Trump bans travel from Brazil due to coronavirus

US President Donald Trump bans travel from Brazil due to coronavirus

'Tested very positively': Trump's epic comment sums up America's incoherent response to COVID-19

'Tested very positively': Trump's epic comment sums up America's incoherent response to COVID-19

US President Donald Trump has been regularly testing for the novel coronavirus after one of his personal valets at the White House was infected about two weeks ago. The White House in a statement said that his "all negative to date". However, in a statement given to the press after his latest test, the president left many baffled for his use of words, enough to cause a quick scare.

"I tested very positively, in another sense, this morning. I tested positively toward negative, right? No, I tested perfectly this morning -- meaning I tested negative. But that's a way of saying it: positively toward the negative”, said Trump.

The clip of his statement soon hit the viral note. A Twitter user commented on the video stating, "I’d be nervous if this lunatic was my waiter at Denny’s but apparently it’s perfectly reasonable to give him access to 4,000 nuclear weapons."

In a memo on Monday, White House physician Sean Conley said that Trump "is in very good health and has remained symptom-free", reports Xinhua news agency.

The memo was released hours after Trump told reporters that he has taken hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria drug frequently touted by him as a potential cure against the coronavirus.

"A couple of weeks ago, I started taking it," said Trump, adding that he's taking it on a daily basis.

"All I can tell you is, so far I seem to be OK."

"You'd be surprised at how many people are taking it, especially the frontline workers before you catch it, the frontline workers, many, many are taking it," he told reporters.

Asked what his evidence of hydroxychloroquine’s positive benefits was, Trump said: "Here's my evidence: I get a lot of positive calls about it."

"I've heard a lot of good stories (about hydroxychloroquine) and if it's not good, I'll tell you right I'm not going to get hurt by it."

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned as recently as late April against the use of hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine for COVID-19 "outside of the hospital setting or a clinical trial due to risk of heart rhythm problems".

"Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine have not been shown to be safe and effective for treating or preventing COVID-19," the FDA said.

"They are being studied in clinical trials for COVID-19."

Conley, however, said that he and Trump "concluded the potential benefit from treatment outweighed the relative risks" after their "numerous" discussions regarding the evidence for and against the use of hydroxychloroquine.

"In consultation with our inter-agency partners and subject matter experts around the country, I continued to monitor the myriad studies investigating potential COVID-19 therapies, and I anticipate employing the same shared medical decision making based on the evidence at hand in the future," Conley added.

According to doctors, the drug has the potential to cause symptoms including heart failure, suicidal thoughts and signs of liver disease, said a BBC report.

Two recent studies, each involving around 1,400 COVID-19 patients in New York, did not find any benefits from hydroxychloroquine.

Another study by French researchers involved 84 hospital patients taking the drug and 97 others who received standard care.

It concluded hydroxychloroquine had no impact for better or worse.

Last month, the American Medical Association, American Pharmacists Association and American Society of Health-System Pharmacists issued a joint statement opposing the use of hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 prevention.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in a CNN interview on Monday night, urged Trump to be more cautious about taking the drug.

"He's our President and I would rather he not be taking something that has not been approved by the scientists," said the California Democrat.

Former White House butler Wilson Jerman, who worked for 11 presidents, dies of coronavirus

Former White House butler Wilson Jerman, who worked for 11 presidents, dies of coronavirus

A former White House butler, who worked for 11 presidents, died at the age of 91 after contracting the coronavirus.

Wilson Roosevelt Jerman was one of the White House’s longest-serving employees. According to reports, he was promoted to butler under former President John F. Kennedy, a move that was orchestrated by former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, granddaughter Jamila Garrett told a media outlet.


As per a report BBC, in his last position, he served as a maître d' in the Obama White House. Jerman initially retired from the White House in 1997 but went back in 2003. He left his position in 2012, and President Obama honoured him with a series of plaques, one that represented each of the presidents he had served, Jerman's granddaughter Shanta Taylor Gay told CNN. His granddaughter, Shanta Taylor Gay said that Jerman died on May 16.

Former first lady Hillary Clinton tweeted that she and former President Bill Clinton are saddened by his death. "Jerman served as a White House butler across 11 presidencies and made generations of first families feel at home, including ours," Clinton wrote on Thursday. "Our warmest condolences to his loved ones."


Philippines a global hot spot for online child abuse: Study

Philippines a global hot spot for online child abuse: Study

Manila: The Philippines has emerged as a global hot spot for online child sexual exploitation, and coronavirus lockdowns that restrict millions to their homes may be worsening the abuses, a U.S. official said Thursday.

A new study released by the Washington-based International Justice Mission on Thursday said Philippine cases of online child sexual exploitation have increased sharply in recent years with parents conniving to have their own children victimized for the money. The nongovernmental group has helped track down and prosecute offenders in the Philippines.

"The global shutdown with the COVID-19 pandemic seems to only be increasing these phenomena," U.S. State Department official John Richmond, who oversees U.S. efforts to combat human trafficking, said in an online launch of the study.

In most cases "the traffickers are actually parents or close family members of the kids they are exploiting," Richmond said. "And so lockdown orders mean that children are being locked down with their traffickers." The webcam scheme has involved pedophiles in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Australia who pay facilitators to sexually abuse children, even babies, in the privacy of Philippine homes. They watch and help direct the abuses through online livestreaming services.

The wide use of English, availability of internet connections and widespread international cash transfer systems have combined with long-entrenched poverty and wide access to vulnerable kids to allow many abuses to happen in the Philippines.

Citing online tips on abuses, the study said the estimated number of Internet Protocol addresses used for online child sexual exploitation in the Philippines rose sharply from about 23,333 in 2014 to 81,723 in 2017 - a 250% increase. An IP address identifies a computer connected to the internet.

The study showed 64% of online sexual child abuse cases in the Philippines were initiated by foreign authorities largely because of a lack of capability to detect the livestreamed abuse, which is often uncovered only when foreign law enforcers accost an offender abroad.

"The tech industry should prioritize detection of all child sexual exploitation materials because of the gravity of harm that repeated sexual exploitation causes victims," International Justice Mission Philippine Director Samson Inocencio Jr. said. "There are children who need rescue now, but rescue starts with timely detection and robust reporting." In 90 cases involving 381 victims from 2011 to 2017, 43 victims were abused from two months to four years. The period of abuse for the others was not known, according to the study.

It said victims have an average age of 11 years, with the youngest less than 1 year old. Another unsettling finding was that nearly half of the abuses was arranged by the parents or other relatives of the victims.

"We need to act as a global community - ending impunity in both source countries like the Philippines and demand countries," Philippine Justice Undersecretary Emmeline Aglipay-Villar said.


Rocket hits near US embassy in Baghdad's Green Zone

Rocket hits near US embassy in Baghdad's Green Zone

Baghdad [Iraq]: A rocket hit near the US embassy in Baghdad on early Tuesday morning and caused a large explosion, according to the military's statement cited by CGTN, China's state news agency.

The rocket was fired from an eastern district of Baghdad and hit an empty building inside the heavily fortified green zone in Baghdad, the statement said.

The green zone also houses other diplomatic compounds in Iraq. There was no immediate claim of responsibility and no casualties were reported.

Though the sprawling Green Zone complex and the surrounding area have been a frequent target for rocket strikes over the years - at least 27 so far in 2020 alone - such incidents have decreased in recent weeks, with the last one coming on May 6 near the Baghdad International Airport, located some 25 kilometers west of the Green Zone. If confirmed, Tuesday's strike would also come as the first since the appointment of Iraq's new Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, a former intelligence chief.