Don’t let virus stop your marathon

Don’t let virus stop your marathon

When the coronavirus outbreak forced organisers to cancel marathons in the Japanese city of Nagoya, they turned to tech to ease the disappointment, offering runners the chance to race alone.

The Nagoya Women's Marathon and Nagoya City marathon were scheduled for March 8 and expected to attract some 20,000 runners -- a potential health hazard during a global pandemic.

So instead of having racers run together, organisers have offered up two apps to allow participants to complete the marathons alone, tracked online.

"It's the first time the annual marathon events were cancelled, and it's the first time we launched apps to replace the real ones," one of the organisers of the Nagoya city marathon told AFP.

Instead of running the original route, registered participants can run wherever they like -- keeping an appropriate social distance -- and the apps measure and verify their performance.

There are two apps -- one for those who want to finish the marathon in one go and another for those who want to complete it by running over several days.

Runners can complete the marathons between March 8 and May 31, the official race website says.

The organisers said on their website that they wanted to respond to the spirit shown by those who trained for the now-cancelled races.


British Airways pilot becomes delivery driver

British Airways pilot becomes delivery driver

Better days will return: Queen Elizabeth II address UK

Better days will return: Queen Elizabeth II address UK

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, in a rare televised address to the nation, invoked a war-time spirit of self-discipline and resolve to fight the coronavirus pandemic which has killed nearly 5,000 in the country and about 70,000 people globally, assuring Britons that "better days will return".

The 93-year-old British monarch and Head of the 54-member Commonwealth of nations which includes India, acknowledged the grief, pain and financial difficulties being faced the world over during this "time of disruption" and expressed the hope that the whole world was uniting in a "common endeavour".

"I hope in the years to come everyone will be able to take pride in how they responded to this challenge," she said on Sunday, in a four-minute speech.


Venezuelan naval ship sinks after 'ramming' into Portuguese cruise liner that had docked in international waters

Venezuelan naval ship sinks after 'ramming' into Portuguese cruise liner that had docked in international waters

In a bizarre case, a Venezuelan Naval vessel sank after it aggressively bumped into a cruise ship in international waters, the BBC reported.

According to the report the naval vessel Naiguata also fired shots on the Portuguese vessel RCGS Resolute in ‘an act of aggression in international waters’.

Twitter user Canocola has an entire thread explaining the turn of events. According to him, the cruise-liner that ‘specialises in penguin bothering, stopped to repair her engines in international waters.’

According to Canocola, the naval ship was also better equipped with arms

 · Apr 4, 2020
Replying to @Canocola
At this point it's worth reviewing both ships armaments.

Seen here posing moodily in the manner of a teenager that has just discovered My Chemical Romance, Naiguatá had a 76mm main gun, a air/missile defence gun, two smaller machine guns and presumably also some small arms.

View image on Twitter

Resolute, on the other hand, is armed with nothing more deadly than a well-stocked library, Finnish sauna, and "a superb international wine list". 

Some of its passengers are believed to have had binoculars.

View image on Twitter
2:09 AM - Apr 4, 2020
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He added that the cruise-liner unlike The Titanic, had been built to withstand an iceberg collision, which meant that the naval ship had no chance. The cruise liner only suffered minor damages.

However, Venezuelan journalist Anya Parampil has shared a video, claiming that the cruise liner was the aggressor and after the collision, its staff left the naval staff to drown.

Anya Parampil

 · Apr 4, 2020
Venezuela’s Armed Forces has released audio of the exchange between its Navy and a Portuguese ship which sailed into its waters w/o authorization & failed to comply with orders before ramming into the Venezuelan ship & capsizing it 
Courtesy: @ArmadaFANB

Embedded video

Anya Parampil

Video of moment a Portuguese ship rams into a Venezuelan naval boat after sailing into Venezuelan waters & ignoring orders 

The Portuguese ship left the Venezuelans soldiers to drown after capsizing their boat. The sailors were later rescued by compatriots @ArmadaFANB

Embedded video
2:00 PM - Apr 4, 2020
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Venezuela has accused the cruise ship of aggression and piracy, and has added that it did not rule that the ship ‘was transporting mercenaries to attack military bases in Venezuela.

Coronavirus enters second Greek migrant camp

Coronavirus enters second Greek migrant camp

Officials in Greece on Sunday placed a second migrant camp near Athens under lockdown after an Afghan resident tested positive for the coronavirus, the migration ministry said.

Officials said the camp in Malakasa, some 38 kilometres (24 miles) northeast of Athens, had been placed under "full sanitary lockdown" for 14 days, with no one allowed to enter or leave.

The ministry said the 53-year-old Afghan man, who has a prior ailment, had personally sought help with virus symptoms at the in-camp medical facility.

He was subsequently taken to an Athens hospital where he tested positive, and his family was quarantined.

A full screening of the camp is in process, the ministry said.

Among Greek migrant camps, where tens of thousands of asylum-seekers live in dire conditions, there is already an outbreak at a facility in Ritsona near Athens where 23 people have so far tested positive.


Coronavirus Update: Spain’s deaths fall for 3rd day

Coronavirus Update: Spain’s deaths fall for 3rd day

Spain saw its third consecutive daily decline in the number of people dying from the coronavirus pandemic as the country recorded another 674 fatalities on Sunday.

The health ministry said total deaths were now 12,418, the highest in the world after Italy, since the pandemic emerged in China in December.

The 674 fatalities, which were sharply down on the record 950 recorded on April 2, represented an increase of 5.7 percent over the last 24 hours, compared to a 30 percent leap in one recent day.

The number of infections rose 4.8 percent to 130,759, indicating a slowdown in the spread from 8.2 percent on April 1 and 14 percent 10 days ago.

The number of people declared to have recovered has increased by 11 percent, rising above 38,080.

The authorities say they believe they have stabilised the spread of the virus but have decided to extend until midnight April 25 a strict lockdown imposed on Spain's 46.6 million people since March 14.


Grumpy Russian kills 5 for ‘talking loudly’

Grumpy Russian kills 5 for ‘talking loudly’

A man in central Russia shot and killed five people for talking noisily at night under his windows, investigators said Sunday. The shootings took place in the Ryazan region during stay-at-home orders aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus. A 32-year-old man from the small town of Yelatma opened fire on a group of four young men and a woman who "were talking loudly in the street under his windows" at around 10 pm on Saturday, investigators said.

Yelatma is located near the city of Ryazan, which is situated some 200 kilometers (120 miles) southeast of the capital Moscow. The man went to his balcony to complain to the group and a dispute erupted before he reached for his single-barrel hunting rifle, the Investigative Committee said. "They all died of their injuries on the spot," it said in a statement.

The suspect whose name was not released has been arrested. His apartment has been searched and the weapon seized. Deputy Ryazan region governor Igor Grekov travelled to the scene of the shootings on Sunday.


China's control measures prevent tens of thousands of infections: spokesperson

China's control measures prevent tens of thousands of infections: spokesperson

BEIJING-- China's prevention and control measures have altered the dangerous course of COVID-19's quick spread and prevented tens of thousands of infections nationwide, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Wednesday.

Hua Chunying made the remarks when asked to comment on a paper recently published by the journal Science, which believes the control measures worked by successfully breaking the chain of transmission and preventing contact between infectious and susceptible people and bought other cities valuable time.

One of the paper's authors, an Oxford fellow, said that without the Wuhan travel ban and the national emergency response by the Chinese government, there would have been more than 700,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases outside of Wuhan by February 19.

"The paper's findings are consistent with WHO's view and the consensus of many countries' leaders and experts," Hua told a regular press briefing.

The Chinese government took the most comprehensive, thorough and rigorous prevention and control measures at the earliest time possible, which have been proven to be highly effective at the current stage, she said.

"Our efforts bought precious time for the world to prepare for the pandemic," said Hua. "Just as WHO puts it, China has taken the most courageous, most flexible and most active prevention and control measures, which altered the dangerous course of the virus' quick spread and prevented tens of thousands of infections nationwide."

China stands ready to further international cooperation in fighting the pandemic and share experience with other countries to defeat the virus as soon as possible and safeguard regional and global public health security, she added.


Global economy could shrink by 1 pct in 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic: UN

Global economy could shrink by 1 pct in 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic: UN

UNITED NATIONS-- The global economy could shrink by up to 1 percent in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and may contract even further if restrictions on economic activities are extended without adequate fiscal responses, according to analysis released Wednesday by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN-DESA).

The UN-DESA briefing finds that millions of workers are at risk of losing their jobs as nearly 100 countries close their national borders. That could translate to a global economic contraction of 0.9 percent by the end of 2020, or even higher if governments fail to provide income support and help boost consumer spending.

According to the forecast, lockdowns in Europe and North America are hitting the service sector hard, particularly industries that involve physical interactions such as retail trade, leisure and hospitality, recreation and transportation services. Collectively, such industries account for more than a quarter of all jobs in these economies.


As businesses lose revenue, unemployment is likely to increase sharply, transforming a supply-side shock to a wider demand-side shock for the economy. The severity of the impact will largely depend on the duration of restrictions on the movement of people and economic activities and on the scale and efficacy of responses by national treasuries.

Against that backdrop, the UN-DESA is joining a chorus of voices across the UN system calling for well-designed fiscal stimulus packages which prioritize health spending and support households most affected by the pandemic.

"Urgent and bold policy measures are needed, not only to contain the pandemic and save lives, but also to protect the most vulnerable in our societies from economic ruin and to sustain economic growth and financial stability," said Liu Zhenmin, UN undersecretary-general for economic and social affairs.


The analysis also warns that the adverse effects of prolonged economic restrictions in developed economies will soon spill over to developing countries via trade and investment channels. A sharp decline in consumer spending in the European Union and the United States will reduce imports of consumer goods from developing countries.

Developing countries, particularly those dependent on tourism and commodity exports, face heightened economic risks. Global manufacturing production could contract significantly, and the plummeting number of travellers is likely to hurt the tourism sector in small island developing states, which employs millions of low-skilled workers.

The UN civil aviation body, the International Civil Aviation Organization, welcomed the commitment by leaders of the G20 major economies late last week indicating that bold fiscal support was needed to safeguard the global travel industry, in order to aid the global recovery in the coming months.

Meanwhile, the decline in commodity-related revenues and a reversal of capital flows are increasing the likelihood of debt distress for many nations. Governments may be forced to curtail public expenditure at a time when they need to ramp up spending to contain the pandemic and support consumption and investment.

Elliot Harris, UN chief economist and assistant secretary-general for economic development, said the collective goal must be a resilient recovery which puts the planet back on a sustainable track. "We must not lose sight how it is affecting the most vulnerable population and what that means for sustainable development," he noted.


Greek PM thanks donors for contribution to battle against COVID-19

Greek PM thanks donors for contribution to battle against COVID-19

ATHENS -- Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis expressed his gratitude on Tuesday to all those who have helped in Greece's battle against the novel coronavirus epidemic.

He made the remark at a ceremony at the Athens international airport where 8.3 million surgical masks arrived from China.

They were the second batch of a total of 13.5 million masks purchased and donated by the Onassis Foundation in Greece to the Greek state to be delivered to hospitals nationwide, according to an e-mailed press statement issued by the Prime Minister's office.

The first batch arrived on Monday, while earlier this month the Chinese government and enterprises had made the first significant donation of over a million masks and other medical supplies to Greece.

"On behalf of the National Health System and all the Greek people, I would like to thank you for this extremely generous offer, to strengthen the National Health System in a time of crisis, with a very significant donation of 13 million masks that will be used exclusively to be able to shield those who are at the forefront of dealing with this very big crisis: doctors, nurses," Mitsotakis told Antonis Papadimitriou, president of the Onassis Foundation, according to Greek national broadcaster ERT.

The Greek leader expressed gratitude to all contributors, including big foundations, businesses and ship owners, as well as ordinary people like an Albanian immigrant dressmaker living in northern Greece with her family who made and donated to the local hospital 600 fabric masks.

As Greece was in a 14-day lockdown since March 23 as part of efforts to contain the virus' further spread, Mitsotakis noted that people should keep social distancing also during the upcoming Easter holiday, which for Greek Orthodox Christians falls on April 19 this spring.

This is the best contribution each citizen can make during the ongoing crisis, the prime minister and other state officials have repeatedly said in recent weeks.

"This year we will have a different Easter than we are used to. We will not go to our villages, we will not roast lambs in our yards, we will pray from our home, but it will be the exception to the rule so that we will be able to protect ourselves and our loved ones," he said.

On his part, Papadimitriou noted that the total cost of the latest deliveries from China was 7.7 million euros (8.5 million U.S. dollars).

"We believe that this is a minimal sample of honor and reciprocation for the doctors, nurses and administrative staff in hospitals who are currently fighting for all of us, for our health," he said.

Shortly after, the Health Ministry announced 82 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Greece in the last 24 hours and 7 new deaths. This brings the country's total to 1,314 confirmed infections and 49 deaths.

Among the new confirmed infections, according to the ministry's press briefing, were 20 crew members who were among a total of 383 people on board a ship.

The Greek owned vessel "Eleftherios Venizelos" has docked off Piraeus port and Greek National Public Health Organization experts are conducting tests, Greek national news agency AMNA reported.

Among the new cases was also a refugee woman living in a camp near the city of Halkida, an hour's drive north of Athens, Health Ministry officials said.

All measures to trace her contacts and protect other camp residents have been taken, the Secretary General of Reception for Asylum Applicants at the Ministry of Migration and Asylum, Manos Logothetis, told AMNA.

It was still unclear whether the woman was infected at the camp or at an Athens hospital where she gave birth two days ago.

The result of a blood test on the newborn infant was still pending, while the baby's father is not infected, it was added. (1 euro= 1.1 U. S dollars)