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A subway rider in a watermelon mask was taken away by police
A drunk man on the Beijing subway was reportedly arrested for wearing a watermelon on his head.
A Beijing man was arrested this week for riding the subway while wearing a watermelon on his head like a helmet.
According to Shanghaiist, the man now known as “Watermelon Brother” was spotted riding the subway in Beijing wearing a hollowed-out watermelon over his head. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he was also carrying alcohol.
"It was so scary last night when I was on the metro. This guy was just hanging around on the train wearing a watermelon mask, with a beer bottle and a baijiu bottle in his two hands!! Apparently he was totally drunk,” one witness said.
The man’s reasons for wearing a hollowed-out watermelon as a mask on the Beijing subway are still unclear. He might have been trying to be funny, or he might have been trying to scare the other passengers. Other passengers reported that the bruised, wrinkling watermelon shell was definitely more creepy than whimsical, but the starry-eyed watermelon rind might not have looked quite so scary when Watermelon Brother first put it on his head.
Police eventually arrived to question the man and eventually took him into custody, according to the South China Morning Post.
Maybe a watermelon mask isn’t the best disguise for committing robbery
Last summer I was listening to podcast about Russian spies, and on one very special episode there was an anonymous guest who had worked for the CIA since the end of the Cold War. Along with the tips he shared on how to remain visually anonymous (dress plainly and don’t be too physically attractive) and conversationally anonymous (all spies say they’re in IT, because no one ever wants to ask follow-up questions), he also provided an insightful tip on how to get away with a robbery: wear a startling accessory, like a gaudy pair of eyeglasses or a gold tooth, because when someone has a gun in their face, the only thing they’ll be able to remember when questioned by police is that garish—and disposable—detail. It was a factoid I thought was utterly ingenious, and tucked into my mental back pocket in case one day I wanted to rob a liquor store or steal the Declaration of Independence. But now, I’m beginning to doubt that strategy, or at least considering not using it anywhere in the proximity of Louisa, Virginia, as its local police department was able to apprehend a man less than two weeks after he allegedly stuck his head into a watermelon in order to rob a convenience store.
According to CNN , the suspect and an accomplice drove to a Sheetz on May 5 in a stolen pickup truck, where they held up the cashier while wearing hollowed-out watermelons with holes cut out for their eyes. On Friday, May 15, the 20-year-old suspect was arrested and charged with wearing a mask in public while committing larceny, petit larceny of alcohol, and underage drinking. The second suspect is still at large, so if you’re out and about, keep your eyes, shall we say, peeled.
“This is definitely not something you see very often in Louisa,” the police chief told CNN. “We’re a really nice, quiet town, with a lot of hardworking people and something like this is pretty unusual.”
This Indiana city does not tolerate watermelon in their parks
On a beautiful sunny day, there's nothing quite like having a relaxing picnic in the park with a big juicy slice of watermelon. Unfortunately for the park goers in Beech Grove, Indiana, eating watermelon is not an option for their picnic baskets. Watermelon has been banned from the parks thanks to their sharp rinds puncturing trash bags. Supposedly after creating a mess, an ordinance was put into motion to prevent this type of situation from occurring again.
Don't worry watermelon lovers, there is an upside to this ridiculous fruit ban. Despite the ordinance, they haven't actually had any problem with watermelon eaters. In fact, according to one local detective, the ordinance has never even been enforced. So go on, munch away on all the watermelon you want. Just do the park garbage collectors a favor and dispose of your rinds elsewhere. Or at least slice up the watermelon and ditch the rinds before visiting the park.
Train Fight Between Chinese and Foreign Passenger over Mask-Wearing Goes Viral on Douyin
A video that shows a foreign man yelling at a Chinese woman on the high-speed train has gone viral on Chinese social media.
“S he is not the owner of the train! Shut up!” A short video of a quarrel on a train between a foreign man and a Chinese woman has gone viral on Chinese social media.
In the video, a Chinese woman can be heard yelling to a foreign man, saying: “Why can he go without a face mask?! Does he have special privilege? What is he doing in China if he doesn’t follow the rules?” The man then says: “She needs to shut up, she is harassing me!” A train attendant standing in between the passenger seats tries to calm down both passengers.
The incident reportedly took place on the G7530 high-speed train from Ninghai to Shanghai on May 5, where a dispute started over the man allegedly refusing to wear a face mask. The man does wear a face mask in the video.
The video went viral on Douyin, the Chinese TikTok, and also made its rounds on Kuaishou and Weibo (#阿姨怒怼不戴口罩外籍乘客#, #外籍男子未戴口罩还狂怼邻座阿姨#, #官方回应老外乘高铁拒戴口罩#).
The video sparked some anti-foreign sentiments on Weibo, where some commenters called the man a “foreign devil” or “foreign trash,” with others condemning his aggressive behavior and telling him to get out of China.
Shanghai Railways addressed the incident on its social media channel, confirming that the train conductor on the G7530 train indeed came across two passengers arguing because the foreign man was not wearing his mask correctly. In the post, the railways reminded all passengers to properly wear their masks while on the train.
Among the hundreds of people commenting on the statement, there are many who feel the train staff have been too lenient with the passenger.
This is not the first incident where foreigners make it to the (local) news in China for not wearing a mask. In April of 2020, a foreign man was detained in Beijing after he attempted to walk into a neighborhood community without a mask and then became aggressive with local security guards who wanted him to wear a face mask.
In December of 2020, another foreign man was filmed and triggered online anger as he walked around Wenzhou station not wearing a face mask, without anyone reminding him to wear one.
Over the past two days, a video showing an argument between a Chinese woman and a foreigner who allegedly did not wear a face mask on the high-speed train to Shanghai went viral on social media. (link: https://t.co/yPDutuzNCX ) pic.twitter.com/LvAySlSgPR
&mdash Manya Koetse (@manyapan) May 8, 2021
When it comes to train fights, the most famous ones are that of the ‘high speed train tyrant’ and the ‘train tyrant women.’ Both passengers went viral in 2018 for refusing to give up their seats although they were assigned to other passengers. At the time, both passengers were fined for their unruly behavior.
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Man Thought to Be China’s Jack the Ripper Is Arrested
HONG KONG — Gao Chengyong led a quiet life in a small city in western China. A onetime migrant laborer, he raised two boys who went to college. He enjoyed ballroom dancing with his wife.
But the police say Mr. Gao also had a gruesome secret that he kept from his family, as China’s state news media have reported in recent days. He is suspected of raping and killing 11 women and girls over a 14-year streak starting in 1988, sometimes cutting off body parts such as breasts, hands and ears, or slitting their throats. The youngest victim was 8.
On Chinese social media, the suspect has been labeled China’s Jack the Ripper, after the serial killer, never caught, said to have murdered women in Victorian London.
On Friday, the police arrested Mr. Gao, 52, after matching his DNA and fingerprints to evidence found at the scenes of the killings, nine in the small city of Baiyin in Gansu Province and two in Baotou, a city in Inner Mongolia. Mr. Gao, who was taken into custody in the grocery shop he operated, confessed to the killings, Beijing News reported on Monday.
The police had been hunting for the killer for a generation. The first victim, 23, was found in her home on Aug. 25, 1988, with 26 stab wounds, Beijing News reported. Mr. Gao’s first son was born that same year, the newspaper reported.
In 2004, the police offered a reward of 200,000 renminbi, now worth about $30,000, for information leading to the killer’s capture, the state-run news agency Xinhua reported at the time.
The killings, the last in 2002, had several characteristics in common. The killer tended to single out women who were wearing red. He is said to have followed them home, usually attacking them during the daytime. Sometimes he raped them before stabbing them to death, and sometimes he did so after they had died, Xinhua reported.
Despite the forensic evidence, Mr. Gao eluded the police for so long partly because, as the resident of a small village, he managed to avoid the requirement that all Chinese must now submit fingerprints when applying for their national identity cards. But this year, his uncle was arrested on a minor offense and a sample of his DNA was taken. The police then determined that he was related to the killer, China Daily reported, citing Yin Guoxing, a DNA expert.
China’s huge population of migrant workers affords some of the country’s most notorious mass killers the cover they need to elude capture for years. Such was the case with Yang Shubin and his three accomplices.
Mr. Yang posed as a rich businessman, luring young women to his apartment. There, they tied the women and tortured them, demanding their bank account passcodes, the English-language website Danwei reported. Their bodies were then dismembered, boiled and run through a meat grinder, according to the report. The gang’s killing rampage occurred over six years, from 1998 to 2004, extending across the country, from the southern province of Guangdong to Jilin in the northeast. They were finally arrested in Baotou in 2011, where they had settled in a new life under new identities, Danwei reported.
China, with its population of nearly 1.4 billion people has had its share of some of the world’s most vicious murderers. In 2004, Yang Xinhai, known as the “monster killer,” was convicted and executed for the deaths of 67 men, women and children in a killing spree across four provinces, the official China Daily reported.
News of Mr. Gao’s arrest and confession appears to have caught his family by surprise. One son, interviewed by the news website Everyday Portfolio, which did not disclose his name, said he was “appalled,” adding, “I didn’t know what to say, or how to deal with it.” The suspect’s wife, surnamed Zhang, who worked with Mr. Gao at the small shop, was said to have wailed when she heard of his arrest, Beijing News reported.
A person answering the telephone at the Baiyin police station Monday afternoon would not comment on the case, and no one could be reached at the Gansu provincial public security bureau.
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But the stereotype that African Americans are excessively fond of watermelon emerged for a specific historical reason and served a specific political purpose. The trope came in full force when slaves won their emancipation during the Civil War. Free black people grew, ate, and sold watermelons, and in doing so made the fruit a symbol of their freedom. Southern whites, threatened by blacks’ newfound freedom, responded by making the fruit a symbol of black people’s perceived uncleanliness, laziness, childishness, and unwanted public presence. This racist trope then exploded in American popular culture, becoming so pervasive that its historical origin became obscure. Few Americans in 1900 would’ve guessed the stereotype was less than half a century old.
Not that the raw material for the racist watermelon trope didn’t exist before emancipation. In the early modern European imagination, the typical watermelon-eater was an Italian or Arab peasant. The watermelon, noted a British officer stationed in Egypt in 1801, was “a poor Arab’s feast,” a meager substitute for a proper meal. In the port city of Rosetta he saw the locals eating watermelons “ravenously … as if afraid the passer-by was going to snatch them away,” and watermelon rinds littered the streets. There, the fruit symbolized many of the same qualities as it would in post-emancipation America: uncleanliness, because eating watermelon is so messy. Laziness, because growing watermelons is so easy, and because it’s hard to eat watermelon and keep working—it’s a fruit you have to sit down and eat. Childishness, because watermelons are sweet, colorful, and devoid of much nutritional value. And unwanted public presence, because it’s hard to eat a watermelon by yourself. These tropes made their way to America, but the watermelon did not yet have a racial meaning. Americans were just as likely to associate the watermelon with white Kentucky hillbillies or New Hampshire yokels as with black South Carolina slaves.
Soon after winning their emancipation, many African Americans sold watermelons in order to make a living outside the plantation system. (Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper)
This may be surprising, given how prominent watermelons were in enslaved African Americans’ lives. Many slave owners let their slaves grow and sell their own watermelons, or even let them take a day off during the summer to eat the first watermelon harvest. The slave Israel Campbell would slip a watermelon into the bottom of his cotton basket when he fell short of his daily quota, and then retrieve the melon at the end of the day and eat it. Campbell taught the trick to another slave who was often whipped for not reaching his quota, and soon it was widespread. When the year’s cotton fell a few bales short of what the master had figured, it simply remained “a mystery.”
But southern whites saw their slaves’ enjoyment of watermelon as a sign of their own supposed benevolence. Slaves were usually careful to enjoy watermelon according to the code of behavior established by whites. When an Alabama overseer cut open watermelons for the slaves under his watch, he expected the children to run to get their slice. One boy, Henry Barnes, refused to run, and once he did get his piece he would run off to the slave quarters to eat out of the white people’s sight. His mother would then whip him, he remembered, “fo’ being so stubborn.” The whites wanted Barnes to play the part of the watermelon-craving, juice-dribbling pickaninny. His refusal undermined the tenuous relationship between master and slave.
Emancipation, of course, destroyed that relationship. Black people grew, ate, and sold watermelons during slavery, but now when they did so it was a threat to the racial order. To whites, it seemed now as if blacks were flaunting their newfound freedom, living off their own land, selling watermelons in the market, and—worst of all—enjoying watermelon together in the public square. One white family in Houston was devastated when their nanny Clara left their household shortly after her emancipation in 1865. Henry Evans, a young white boy to whom Clara had likely been a second mother, cried for days after she left. But when he bumped into her on the street one day, he rejected her attempt to make peace. When Clara offered him some watermelon, Henry told her that “he would not eat what free negroes ate.”
Newspapers amplified this association between the watermelon and the free black person. In 1869, Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper published perhaps the first caricature of blacks reveling in eating watermelon. The adjoining article explained, “The Southern negro in no particular more palpably exhibits his epicurean tastes than in his excessive fondness for watermelons. The juvenile freedman is especially intense in his partiality for that refreshing fruit.”
Perhaps the first printed illustration of the racist watermelon trope, c. 1869 (Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper)
Two years later, a Georgia newspaper reported that a black man had been arrested for poisoning a watermelon with the intent of killing a neighbor. The story was headlined “Negro Kuklux” and equated black-on-black violence with the Ku Klux Klan, asking facetiously whether the Radical Republican congressional subcommittee investigating the Klan would investigate this freedman’s actions. The article began with a scornful depiction of the man on his way to the courthouse: “On Sabbath afternoon we encountered a strapping 15th Amendment bearing an enormous watermelon in his arms en route for the Court-house.” It was as if the freedman’s worst crime was not attempted murder but walking around in public with that ridiculous fruit.
The primary message of the watermelon stereotype was that black people were not ready for freedom. During the 1880 election season, Democrats accused the South Carolina state legislature, which had been majority-black during Reconstruction, of having wasted taxpayers’ money on watermelons for their own refreshment this fiction even found its way into history textbooks. D. W. Griffith’s white-supremacist epic film The Birth of a Nation, released in 1915, included a watermelon feast in its depiction of emancipation, as corrupt northern whites encouraged the former slaves to stop working and enjoy some watermelon instead. In these racist fictions, blacks were no more deserving of freedom than were children.
As mass-produced pianos and sheet music became popular in the late 19th century, so did “coon songs,” popular tunes that mocked African Americans for their lazy, shiftless, childish ways. (Courtesy Brown University Library)
By the early 20th century, the watermelon stereotype was everywhere—potholders, paperweights, sheet music, salt-and-pepper shakers. A popular postcard portrayed an elderly black man carrying a watermelon in each arm, only to happen upon a stray chicken. The man laments, “Dis am de wust perdickermunt ob mah life.” As a black man, the postcard implied, he had few responsibilities and little interest in anything beyond his own stomach. Edwin S. Porter, famous for directing The Great Train Robbery in 1903, co-directed The Watermelon Patch two years later, which featured “darkies” sneaking into a watermelon patch men dressed as skeletons chasing away the watermelon thieves (à la the Ku Klux Klan, who dressed as ghosts to frighten blacks) a watermelon-eating contest and a band of white vigilantes ultimately smoking the watermelon thieves out of a cabin. The long history of white violence to maintain the racial order was played for laughs.
It may seem silly to attribute so much meaning to a fruit. And the truth is that there is nothing inherently racist about watermelons. But cultural symbols have the power to shape how we see our world and the people in it, such as when the police officer Darren Wilson saw Michael Brown as a superhuman “demon.” These symbols have roots in real historical struggles—specifically, in the case of the watermelon, white people’s fear of the emancipated black body. Whites used the stereotype to denigrate black people—to take something they were using to further their own freedom and make it an object of ridicule. It ultimately does not matter if someone means to offend when they tap into the racist watermelon stereotype, because the stereotype has a life of its own.
Finland and the UAE yesterday became the latest countries to confirm cases of the SARS-like infection, which has now been spotted in twenty nations and territories.
Australia today announced an eighth case, with a Chinese woman in her 40s being treated in isolation in a hospital in Melbourne.
World health chiefs will meet later today to discuss whether the outbreak constitutes a global health emergency, after ruling against it last week.
The epidemic appears to be ramping up in its severity, with the number of cases more than tripling since the weekend.
A woman wears a protective mask and ski goggles as she lines up to check in to a flight at Beijing Capital Airport on Thursday
A man wears a protective mask and goggles as he lines up to check in to a flight at Beijing Capital Airport on January 30, 2020 in Beijing, China
Parents walking through Beijing airport with their child today, the mother and father both wear face masks while their daughter is covered in a larger plastic bag
World Health Organization figures showed just 2,014 patients had been struck down with the SARS-like infection by Sunday, January 26.
That number rose dramatically to 7,100 by the Wednesday, with cases in the US, Australia and Canada.
Figures also show there were just 445 cases by Wednesday last week - meaning the outbreak that is continuing to escalate has increased in size by almost 14-fold in the space of seven days.
It means the outbreak in mainland China is now bigger than the 2003 SARS epidemic, when 5,327 cases of the killer virus were confirmed.
However, it is still slightly behind the total toll of the outbreak, which infected 8,000 people - but it is expected to soar past that by this coming weekend.
It comes after a renowned scientist at China's National Health Commission warned the spread of the infection is only going to get worse. Dr Zhong Nanshan admitted he fears the crisis will peak 'in the next 10 days'.
Fears the coronavirus outbreak had reached Africa were raised yesterday after Sudan and Equatorial Guinea reported suspected cases
One Beijing-based online seller, Zhou Tianxiao, says he is now selling 10 times the number of special dog masks every day than before. He sells the devices for £5.40 for a pack of three
Chinese pet owners are flocking to buy face masks to protect their dogs from the deadly novel coronavirus, which has killed at least 170 people in the country and infected over 8,200 worldwide
A man surrounded by stacks of luggage at Beijing airport today wears goggles over a pair of glasses with a face mask on today
Other photographs at Vancouver airport show a woman with a plastic water container over her head
Two citizens of Sudan - believed to be a man and woman - are being monitored after displaying symptoms of the virus following a visit to Wuhan, local reports say.
And officials in Equatorial Guinea have quarantined four travellers who arrived from Beijing amid fears they may have the killer SARS-like infection.
World Health Organization chiefs said they were 'concerned' about any cases in Africa because the impoverished continents' health services do not 'have the capacity' to handle the virus.
Leading scientists also fear the virus could be difficult to contain in Africa, warning that medical facilities are 'extremely limited'.
Dr Michael Head, a global health scientist at the University of Southampton, today told MailOnline: 'All countries are on high risk.
'Whatever Sudan have in terms of facilities, will be extremely limited. If there are more than a few cases it may be difficult to contain it.'
Photographs have surfaced on social media which appear to show the desperate lengths people are going to to avoid catching the deadly disease which has killed at least 170 people already
'There is quite a few migrant Chinese workers that go to and from Africa a lot to do work such as mining and construction.'
He added a few cases would therefore be expected, but any more than a handful in any African nation would be 'concerning'.
Meanwhile major airlines have suspended flights to China in a desperate bid to stop the global spread of coronavirus.
British Airways cancelled all direct flights from London to Beijing and Shanghai until March.
United Airlines, the biggest US carrier to China, has also announced it will be cutting 24 flights in the near-term to China and the White House is said to be considering stopping all US-China flights completely to stop the virus spreading.
American Airlines, Air Canada, Cathay Pacific, Lufthansa, Air KBZ (Myanmar), Urals Airlines, and Finnair are among carriers that have cancelled some or all China flights as countries expand travel warnings and demand plummets due to the coronavirus outbreak.
And Air India and South Korean budget carrier Seoul Air are also halting all flights to the country, and Indonesia's Lion Air plans to do the same.
Virgin Atlantic will continue to operate its flights between Heathrow and Shanghai, the company said, but passengers who no longer want to travel will be able to rebook or obtain a refund free of charge.
Yesterday Google became the latest global franchise to shut down offices in China to prevent the virus from spreading.
Chinese people around the world have started wearing plastic containers and bags over their heads to protect themselves from the coronavirus
One picture shows a family, including a mother carrying her baby in a harness, wearing plastic bags in an airport
Most of the cases in China have been in Hubei province, specifically in Wuhan - a city of 11million people
The coronavirus is spread by particles from coughs and sneezes and takes anywhere from one to 14 days to incubate
The tech giant confirmed Wednesday that it is temporarily closing all of its offices in the country - including the mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Google is also restricting employees from traveling to the countries and urged any employees currently in China and Hong Kong to return home and spend two weeks working from home before returning to the office.
Its offices are already closed for the Lunar New Year holiday, which the Chinese government announced on Monday it was extending to February 2 in the hope that this will encourage people to stay in their homes, reducing the spread of the disease. The holidays had been due to end on January 30.
Google's decision to close down its offices indefinitely comes as several other tech firms have also taken steps to protect their workers in the region.
Electronics firm LG issued a blanket ban on employees traveling to China and instructed all employees currently in China to return home Wednesday.
This followed Apple CEO Tim Cook's announcement on Tuesday live on an earnings call with investors that it was suspending travel to China, is measuring employees' temperatures regularly, and that at least one Apple store in China had been closed.
The killer coronavirus rapidly sweeping the world has now infected every region of China and 20 other countries. The death toll is 170 in China, while cases have soared to over 8,200 worldwide
As well as a dramatic increase in cases of the never-before-seen virus, figures also show the number of deaths have spiralled. Since yesterday, deaths rose by 38, marking the biggest 24-hour jump since the outbreak began last month
World Health Organization figures show just 2,014 patients had been struck down with the SARS-like infection by Sunday, January 26. This has now risen dramatically to 8,200, with cases in the US, Australia and Canada
Chinese health officials warned people not to re-use their protective masks after videos emerged of people boiling their surgical masks and hanging them up to dry. Medical experts warned that this greatly reduces the effectiveness of the masks, a spokeswoman for the Gansu province Health Commission added that they should be discarded after just four hours of use.
Almost all of the big players have offices in China, given the country's rapid growth in the tech industry over the last two decades and its large manufacturing hub.
According to Google, it has four offices in China based in Guangzhou, Beijing and Shanghai, and one office in Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Bosses at Disney have shut Disney Land resorts in Shanghai and Hong Kong amid the epidemic, during what is their busiest time of year.
McDonald's has shut all stored in Hubei province - home to 60million people - while Starbucks shut more than half of its stores in China. KFC and Pizza Hut have closed stores in the outbreak's epicentre Wuhan.
All 30 of IKEA's shops across China have been temporarily closed, as have 45 H&M stores. The fashion retailer has suspended business travel to and within China. Staff arriving from China are advised to stay home for 14 days.
WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT THE CORONAVIRUS?
A coronavirus is a type of virus which can cause illness in animals and people. Viruses break into cells inside their host and use them to reproduce itself and disrupt the body's normal functions. Coronaviruses are named after the Latin word 'corona', which means crown, because they are encased by a spiked shell which resembles a royal crown.
The coronavirus from Wuhan is one which has never been seen before this outbreak. It has been named SARS-CoV-2 by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses. The name stands for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2.
Experts say the bug, which has killed around one in 50 patients since the outbreak began in December, is a 'sister' of the SARS illness which hit China in 2002, so has been named after it.
The disease that the virus causes has been named COVID-19, which stands for coronavirus disease 2019.
Dr Helena Maier, from the Pirbright Institute, said: 'Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that infect a wide range of different species including humans, cattle, pigs, chickens, dogs, cats and wild animals.
'Until this new coronavirus was identified, there were only six different coronaviruses known to infect humans. Four of these cause a mild common cold-type illness, but since 2002 there has been the emergence of two new coronaviruses that can infect humans and result in more severe disease (Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) coronaviruses).
'Coronaviruses are known to be able to occasionally jump from one species to another and that is what happened in the case of SARS, MERS and the new coronavirus. The animal origin of the new coronavirus is not yet known.'
The first human cases were publicly reported from the Chinese city of Wuhan, where approximately 11million people live, after medics first started publicly reporting infections on December 31.
By January 8, 59 suspected cases had been reported and seven people were in critical condition. Tests were developed for the new virus and recorded cases started to surge.
The first person died that week and, by January 16, two were dead and 41 cases were confirmed. The next day, scientists predicted that 1,700 people had become infected, possibly up to 7,000.
Where does the virus come from?
According to scientists, the virus almost certainly came from bats. Coronaviruses in general tend to originate in animals – the similar SARS and MERS viruses are believed to have originated in civet cats and camels, respectively.
The first cases of COVID-19 came from people visiting or working in a live animal market in Wuhan, which has since been closed down for investigation.
Although the market is officially a seafood market, other dead and living animals were being sold there, including wolf cubs, salamanders, snakes, peacocks, porcupines and camel meat.
A study by the Wuhan Institute of Virology, published in February 2020 in the scientific journal Nature, found that the genetic make-up virus samples found in patients in China is 96 per cent identical to a coronavirus they found in bats.
However, there were not many bats at the market so scientists say it was likely there was an animal which acted as a middle-man, contracting it from a bat before then transmitting it to a human. It has not yet been confirmed what type of animal this was.
Dr Michael Skinner, a virologist at Imperial College London, was not involved with the research but said: 'The discovery definitely places the origin of nCoV in bats in China.
'We still do not know whether another species served as an intermediate host to amplify the virus, and possibly even to bring it to the market, nor what species that host might have been.'
So far the fatalities are quite low. Why are health experts so worried about it?
Experts say the international community is concerned about the virus because so little is known about it and it appears to be spreading quickly.
It is similar to SARS, which infected 8,000 people and killed nearly 800 in an outbreak in Asia in 2003, in that it is a type of coronavirus which infects humans' lungs. It is less deadly than SARS, however, which killed around one in 10 people, compared to approximately one in 50 for COVID-19.
Another reason for concern is that nobody has any immunity to the virus because they've never encountered it before. This means it may be able to cause more damage than viruses we come across often, like the flu or common cold.
Speaking at a briefing in January, Oxford University professor, Dr Peter Horby, said: 'Novel viruses can spread much faster through the population than viruses which circulate all the time because we have no immunity to them.
'Most seasonal flu viruses have a case fatality rate of less than one in 1,000 people. Here we're talking about a virus where we don't understand fully the severity spectrum but it's possible the case fatality rate could be as high as two per cent.'
If the death rate is truly two per cent, that means two out of every 100 patients who get it will die.
'My feeling is it's lower,' Dr Horby added. 'We're probably missing this iceberg of milder cases. But that's the current circumstance we're in.
'Two per cent case fatality rate is comparable to the Spanish Flu pandemic in 1918 so it is a significant concern globally.'
How does the virus spread?
The illness can spread between people just through coughs and sneezes, making it an extremely contagious infection. And it may also spread even before someone has symptoms.
It is believed to travel in the saliva and even through water in the eyes, therefore close contact, kissing, and sharing cutlery or utensils are all risky. It can also live on surfaces, such as plastic and steel, for up to 72 hours, meaning people can catch it by touching contaminated surfaces.
Originally, people were thought to be catching it from a live animal market in Wuhan city. But cases soon began to emerge in people who had never been there, which forced medics to realise it was spreading from person to person.
What does the virus do to you? What are the symptoms?
Once someone has caught the COVID-19 virus it may take between two and 14 days, or even longer, for them to show any symptoms – but they may still be contagious during this time.
If and when they do become ill, typical signs include a runny nose, a cough, sore throat and a fever (high temperature). The vast majority of patients will recover from these without any issues, and many will need no medical help at all.
In a small group of patients, who seem mainly to be the elderly or those with long-term illnesses, it can lead to pneumonia. Pneumonia is an infection in which the insides of the lungs swell up and fill with fluid. It makes it increasingly difficult to breathe and, if left untreated, can be fatal and suffocate people.
Figures are showing that young children do not seem to be particularly badly affected by the virus, which they say is peculiar considering their susceptibility to flu, but it is not clear why.
What have genetic tests revealed about the virus?
Scientists in China have recorded the genetic sequences of around 19 strains of the virus and released them to experts working around the world.
This allows others to study them, develop tests and potentially look into treating the illness they cause.
Examinations have revealed the coronavirus did not change much – changing is known as mutating – much during the early stages of its spread.
However, the director-general of China's Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Gao Fu, said the virus was mutating and adapting as it spread through people.
This means efforts to study the virus and to potentially control it may be made extra difficult because the virus might look different every time scientists analyse it.
More study may be able to reveal whether the virus first infected a small number of people then change and spread from them, or whether there were various versions of the virus coming from animals which have developed separately.
How dangerous is the virus?
The virus has a death rate of around two per cent. This is a similar death rate to the Spanish Flu outbreak which, in 1918, went on to kill around 50million people.
Experts have been conflicted since the beginning of the outbreak about whether the true number of people who are infected is significantly higher than the official numbers of recorded cases. Some people are expected to have such mild symptoms that they never even realise they are ill unless they're tested, so only the more serious cases get discovered, making the death toll seem higher than it really is.
However, an investigation into government surveillance in China said it had found no reason to believe this was true.
Dr Bruce Aylward, a World Health Organization official who went on a mission to China, said there was no evidence that figures were only showing the tip of the iceberg, and said recording appeared to be accurate, Stat News reported.
The COVID-19 virus cannot be cured and it is proving difficult to contain.
Antibiotics do not work against viruses, so they are out of the question. Antiviral drugs can work, but the process of understanding a virus then developing and producing drugs to treat it would take years and huge amounts of money.
No vaccine exists for the coronavirus yet and it's not likely one will be developed in time to be of any use in this outbreak, for similar reasons to the above.
The National Institutes of Health in the US, and Baylor University in Waco, Texas, say they are working on a vaccine based on what they know about coronaviruses in general, using information from the SARS outbreak. But this may take a year or more to develop, according to Pharmaceutical Technology.
Currently, governments and health authorities are working to contain the virus and to care for patients who are sick and stop them infecting other people.
People who catch the illness are being quarantined in hospitals, where their symptoms can be treated and they will be away from the uninfected public.
And airports around the world are putting in place screening measures such as having doctors on-site, taking people's temperatures to check for fevers and using thermal screening to spot those who might be ill (infection causes a raised temperature).
However, it can take weeks for symptoms to appear, so there is only a small likelihood that patients will be spotted up in an airport.
Is this outbreak an epidemic or a pandemic?
The outbreak was declared a pandemic on March 11. A pandemic is defined by the World Health Organization as the 'worldwide spread of a new disease'.
Previously, the UN agency said most cases outside of Hubei had been 'spillover' from the epicentre, so the disease wasn't actually spreading actively around the world.
Uncle Ben's Rice
Owned by the Mars Company, this racially-charged pitch man and his self-titled line of rice and side dishes were first introduced in 1946. The man who inspired the Uncle Ben character was a black Texan rice farmer, but the image was an old African-American restaurant maître de.
Uncle Ben is depicted as a bow tie-wearing servant. And no, the company's founders were not his nephews or nieces. The "Uncle" in his name was a common 19th century pajorative term used to describe an elderly, submissive black male slave, e.g. the phrase, "Uncle Tom."
In a 2007 branding makeover, Mars dropped the "Uncle" and just called him "Ben." They also gave the fictional character a "promotion" to CEO of his own company. His image is used far less these days, but Ben is still alive and kicking.
80+ Easy and Delicious Popsicle Recipes That'll Cool You Down This Summer
As kids, no summer was complete without a Bomb Pop or Fudgesicle on a hot afternoon. But frozen treats aren't just for the young. These inventive desserts on a stick are perfect for your next dinner party, date night picnic, or backyard cookout.
These handheld frozen treats are summer's MVPs.
Blue Jays pound Indians 11-2, game shortened by bad weather
Hyun Jin Ryu regained his control after a rough first inning battling strong winds and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Joe Panik drove in three runs apiece, leading the Toronto Blue Jays over the Cleveland Indians 11-2 Friday night in a game called in the bottom of the seventh. Panik connected for a two-run homer in the third to make it 6-2 against Eli Morgan (0-1), who may remember his major league debut more for the lousy weather than anything else. Panik had four hits and Santiago Espinal also had three RBIs for the Blue Jays.
U.S. government seeks to dismiss suit against Trump, Washington Post says
The U.S. Justice Department on Friday asked a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed against former President Donald Trump, former Attorney General William Barr and other officials over the forceful pushing back of peaceful protesters at a White House demonstration last year, the Washington Post reported. Trump and other U.S. officials should be considered immune from civil lawsuits over police actions taken to protect a president and to secure his movements, the Justice Department lawyers said, according to the Post. The lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups over the treatment of protesters at a demonstration against racism and police brutality on June 1, 2020, in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, in Minneapolis after a white police officer knelt on his neck for more than nine minutes.
AdPlace A Bag On Your Car Mirror When Traveling
Brilliant Car Cleaning Hacks Local Dealers Wish You Didn’t Know
Marjorie Taylor Greene blasts Democrats for comparing Republicans to Nazis, then compares Democrats to Nazis
‘That’s a mean, nasty, dirty word,’ Republican says, before adding, ‘You know, Nazis were the National Socialist Party, just like the Democrats are now a national socialist party’
Doral police deny giving ‘heavily intoxicated’ Schools Police sergeant favorable treatment
social pitch: “BLM motherfu--er” quote
Amid worries about China's growing navy, the US Navy is only asking for 4 new combat ships next year
The latest budget request asks for just eight ships, only four of which are warships, as China continues to grow its naval fleet.
Man convicted of murdering Iowa college student Mollie Tibbetts
The convicted killer, Cristhian Bahena Rivera, abducted the victim while she was out on a jog in Brooklyn, Iowa, in 2018.
Police officer who mocked LeBron James fired for violating city and state policies
Police officer with words for LeBron James sacked for posting them on TikTok
Child dies after stray bullet hit her while she was bouncing on trampoline
Business leaders offer $30,000 reward after three children shot in city in past month
How to tell if you have a faulty appetite gene
Imagine there was a trigger for weight which caused you to pile on the pounds – on average two and a half stone heavier than you otherwise would be. Sometimes much more. Now imagine that such a trigger exists, but it is not greed, or fecklessness. Instead it is a gene, a strip of chemical coding in our DNA, which revolutionises some people’s very perception of food while leaving others untouched. Would that cause you to look at obesity differently? Or reconsider, even, what is within individual human control, and what lies beyond? These are the fundamental questions raised by research published this week. A team from the University of Cambridge has discovered that mutations in a single gene called MC4R are capable of scrambling the brain’s perception of food and fullness. MC4R stands for melanocortin 4 receptor melanocortin is a vital part of the critical system that the body uses to sense and determine fat stores. “MC4R’s job is to tell you to stop eating after a meal,” says Sadaf Farooqi, Professor of Metabolism and Medicine at Addenbrooke’s Hospital. “If it’s not working you don’t get that signal.” The impact on fat mass and weight of a malfunctioning MC4R are, the paper notes, detectable as early as five years old. By the time carriers of the same broken gene hit 18, they are 18kg heavier than those with a working MC4R. “MC4R is the volume dial,” says Farooqi. “If it’s not working even partially people gain weight if it’s not working completely people gain a lot of weight.” Some of its impact, says Farooqi, is on how efficiently the body burns calories. But the vast majority of its effect is on perception. “Predominantly it’s about how much you want to eat.” That, says Dr Giles Yeo, also an author of the paper, is like a pilot having a malfunctioning altimeter. The pilot thinks and responds as if they are cruising normally at 30,000ft, when in fact they are dangerously close to the ground. So the person with the disrupted MC4R thinks they need to eat more, and feels hungry, when in fact their body requires no more food. “We all have those moments when you feel hungry and wander downstairs to stare into the fridge,” he says. “It’s that level of hunger.” Except all the time.
Bill Cosby refuses sex offender program, so is denied parole
Actor Bill Cosby won't be paroled this year after refusing to participate in sex offender programs during his nearly three years in state prison in Pennsylvania. The 83-year-old Cosby has long said he would resist the treatment programs and refuse to acknowledge wrongdoing even if it means serving the full 10-year sentence. Cosby spokesperson Andrew Wyatt called the decision “appalling” and said Cosby “vehemently proclaims his innocence.”
Texas cop arrested after shooting woman ‘multiple times’ in off-duty driving dispute
An off-duty Texas officer was charged with shooting a woman “multiple times” in a road dispute.
Patient dies after being ɽropped' off operating table
A patient has died after she was “dropped” off an operating table. Jeannette Shields, 70, had been receiving treatment in Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle for gall stones. Her husband, John, told the BBC that his wife broke her hip after leaving her bed to go to the lavatory by herself, after getting no response to her buzzer. Two days later she underwent surgery to repair it, after which he was called by the hospital to say that surgery had been successful, but they had “dropped her off the operating [table] after the surgery”, he said. “She had a great big bump on the back of her head and she just deteriorated and then she just passed away,” he added. “I’m really shocked.”
Thai officials issue arrest warrant for Turkish man in connection to Bangkok bombing
Thai police issued an arrest warrant on Sept. 2 for a Turkish suspect, identified as Emrah Davutoglu, who is wanted in connection with last month’s bombing in Bangkok.
Police investigating last month’s Bangkok bombing said Wednesday that the fingerprints of a foreign man arrested at the Thai-Cambodia border match those found on a bottle of bomb-making material, and that they were seeking to arrest a Turkish man linked to the blast.
The new suspect, identified as Emrah Davutoglu, is the husband of a Thai woman for whom an arrest warrant has already been issued because she had rented an apartment where bomb-making materials were found this past weekend. The woman professes innocence and says she is in Turkey. Of the eight people for whom arrest warrants have now been issued, at least two others are also believed to be Turkish.
National police spokesman Prawut Thavornsiri said authorities were still conducting DNA tests but could determine that the man arrested at the Cambodian border “is important and is related or conspired with people who committed” the Aug. 17 bombing at the Erawan Shrine in central Bangkok. The blast left 20 people dead, more than half of them foreigners, and over 120 injured.
Thailand’s national deputy police chief, Chakthip Chaijinda, told reporters that he thinks the suspect arrested at the border speaks Turkish, which requires an interpreter. He did not say whether an interpreter has been brought in or if the Turkish Embassy has been approached.
The Turkish connection has fueled speculation the suspects may be part of a group seeking to avenge Thailand’s forced repatriation of ethnic Uighurs to China in July.
Uighurs (pronounced WEE-gurs) are related to Turks, and Turkey is home to a large Uighur community. The Erawan Shrine is especially popular with Chinese tourists, feeding the idea that it could be a target for people who believe the Uighurs are oppressed by China’s government. Beijing says some Uighurs are Islamist terrorists, and that among them is a group that has been smuggled out of China to join Islamic State fighters in Syria.
In a later announcement, Prawut said Davutoglu faces charges of conspiracy to possess unauthorized war materials. Prawut said he is believed to have been “part of a network that provided accommodation” to those connected with the bombing.
Earlier this week, police issued an arrest warrant for his wife, Thai national Wanna Suansan, whose name was on the lease of an apartment that police raided over the weekend where bomb-making materials were found. Wanna had told police that she had nothing to do with the bombing and wants to clear her name. Prawut said that Wanna had agreed to come back to Thailand to be questioned by police but then said “she has to think about it.”
The investigation into the attack picked up after police raids this past weekend on two apartments on the outskirts of Bangkok that contained bomb-making materials.
In the first apartment, raided Saturday in the Bangkok neighborhood of Nong Chok, police arrested a suspect they described as a foreign man and seized bomb-making equipment that included detonators, ball bearings and a metal pipe believed to be a bomb casing. The suspect arrested Saturday had a Turkish passport, though Thai authorities say it was fake. At his apartment, they seized more than 200 passports, an unknown number of which appeared to be Turkish and possibly fake.
They also took fingerprints from the apartment, which turned out to match those of the suspect arrested Tuesday at the border with Cambodia, Prawut said.
“We can confirm that the man’s fingerprints match with those found on a bottle that contains a bombing substance,” Prawut said, and then added, “He could be the one who brought the bomb out of this apartment or he could have brought the bomb to the crime scene.”
Prawut said that further testing, including DNA tests, were being conducted to bolster that theory.
Both suspects who have been arrested are being interrogated by the military and have not yet been formally charged.
When authorities announced the arrest Tuesday of the suspect at the border, they described him as bearing resemblance to a man spotted in surveillance video at the shrine who is believed to have planted the bomb. The suspect seen in the video, wearing a yellow T-shirt, is carrying a backpack that he places on a bench before leaving. Prime Minister Prayuth told reporters that the arrested man was a foreigner who appeared to be trying to escape across the border.
The prime minister said officials knew from their investigation that people involved in the bombing were about to flee the country and had traced one of the suspects to Aranyaprathet district in Sa Kaeo province, a crossing point to Cambodia. He described the arrested man as a piece in a jigsaw puzzle that would connect various parts of the case, which included a bomb that exploded harmlessly in a river next to a busy pier in Bangkok the day after the shrine blast.
The blast at the Erawan Shrine was unprecedented in the Thai capital, where smaller bombs have been employed in domestic political violence over the past decade, but not in an effort to cause large-scale casualties.
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