Tag Archives: Amid

Philippine defense chief flies to disputed island amid feud

Philippine defense chief flies to disputed island amid feudThe Philippine defense chief and top military officials flew to a disputed island in the South China Sea on Tuesday to inaugurate a beach ramp built to allow the “full-blast” development of the territory in a move likely to infuriate China. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana brought journalists to witness the ribbon-cutting ceremony on the island, internationally called Thitu, in what he said was a milestone in efforts to make the island, long occupied by Filipino forces and fishermen, more livable without militarizing it. Lorenzana said the Philippines has the right to develop its nine occupied islands as other claimants have done.



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Amid US tension, Iran builds fake aircraft carrier to attack

Amid US tension, Iran builds fake aircraft carrier to attackAs tensions remain high between Iran and the U.S., the Islamic Republic appears to have constructed a new mock-up of an aircraft carrier off its southern coast for potential live-fire drills. The faux foe, seen in satellite photographs obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press, resembles the Nimitz-class carriers that the U.S. Navy routinely sails into the Persian Gulf from the Strait of Hormuz, its narrow mouth where 20% of all the world’s oil passes through. While not yet acknowledged by Iranian officials, the replica’s appearance in the port city of Bandar Abbas suggests Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard is preparing an encore of a similar mock-sinking it conducted in 2015.



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Australia rejects Chinese 'economic coercion' threat amid planned coronavirus probe

Australia rejects Chinese 'economic coercion' threat amid planned coronavirus probeAustralian Foreign Minister Marise Payne has cautioned China against attempts at “economic coercion” as Australia pushes for an investigation into the coronavirus pandemic that China opposes. Chinese ambassador to Australia, Cheng Jingye, said in a newspaper interview on Monday the “Chinese public” could avoid Australian products and universities. Australia last week called for all members of the World Health Organization (WHO) to support an independent review into the origins and spread of the coronavirus, and is lobbying world leaders.



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'There are two pandemics': Chicago's gun violence persists amid lockdown

'There are two pandemics': Chicago's gun violence persists amid lockdownShootings and murders have remained fairly consistent during shelter-in-place, with the city registering more shootings in March than the previous year * Coronavirus – live US updates * Live global updates * See all our coronavirus coverageThe coronavirus pandemic has forced Chicago into lockdown, closing restaurants, bars, stores and even its celebrated lakefront. But the crisis hasn’t slowed the city’s devastating gun violence epidemic.While crime overall has ticked down slightly amid shelter-in-place orders from local leaders, shootings and murders have remained fairly consistent so far, with the city registering more shootings in March this year than the previous year.During the first weekend of April, two were killed and 18 were wounded, mostly on the city’s predominantly black and brown South and West Sides. On Tuesday, as unseasonably warm temperatures in Chicago rose into the 80sF (27C), the city endured its most violent day of 2020, with at least 21 shot – including a five-year-old girl – and six killed.“Violence of any kind is never acceptable,” the mayor, Lori Lightfoot, said at a news conference this week decrying the violence. “But the fact that this is especially urgent right now as our ability to treat all Chicagoans is being stretched to the breaking point, we cannot allow this to happen and we will not allow this to happen.”The ongoing violence in America’s third-largest city puts additional strain to a healthcare system struggling to combat the novel coronavirus – and could be exacerbated by the pandemic that has dramatically altered life in the city for the foreseeable future.default “Anger, frustration and depression doesn’t get put on hold while there’s a pandemic going on,” said Pastor Michael Pfleger of St Sabina, on the city’s South Side. “It’s still there, and it’s heightened right now. All it does is heighten the reality of the neglect.”The coronavirus has brought to the fore the existing racial disparities in Chicago, with black residents representing a majority of Covid-19 deaths in the city and Cook county. Experts fear that the health and economic impacts of the pandemic may worsen the structural conditions that feed the violence issues, compounding the city’s already pronounced race and class inequalities.“I think there’s going to be a lasting impact on this, even beyond the direct public health impact of Covid,” said Max Kapustin, senior researcher at the University of Chicago Crime Lab.The continued violence comes as hospitals in Chicago, like New York and other communities across the US that have been hit hard so far by the outbreak, grapple with a pandemic that has stretched their limited resources.Illinois’s governor, JB Pritzker, has warned that intensive care unit beds are filling up quickly and that the state needs more ventilators, as the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases here rises above 15,000 and its death toll nears 500.“Every one of those beds, every one of those ER beds, taken up by a gunshot victim could be somebody’s grandmother, somebody with pre-existing conditions, somebody that is in danger of losing their lives because of the pandemic,” Charlie Beck, the city’s interim police chief, said in a news conference with Lightfoot.“There are two pandemics in Chicago,” Beck said, “and only one is virus-induced.”> Anger, frustration and depression doesn’t get put on hold while there’s a pandemic going on> > Pastor Michael PflegerAt Mount Sinai hospital in Douglas Park on Chicago’s West Side, one of the busiest trauma centers in the country, the dueling crises of Covid-19 and gun violence have stretched staff and resources.Even for longtime medical professionals at the facility on the frontline of the city’s violence epidemic, the coronavirus pandemic has been shocking.“I’m amazed by it,” said Michele Mazurek, chief nurse officer and vice-president of patient care services. “We’re used to trauma patients here. Covid is almost like its own trauma itself.”The continued gun violence has forced the hospital to put into place its surge plan, with educators, nurse practitioners and Mazurek herself providing patient care at the hospital.“The influx sometimes is incredible,” Mazurek said. “It is stressing on our emergency room.”Mount Sinai officials said it has been able to maintain a high level of care despite the obstacles, thanks to the efforts of staff. But, they said, the situation has already taken a toll on healthcare workers.“I’ve been a nurse since 1993,” Mazurek said. “This has been the hardest experience I’ve ever lived through.”As of Wednesday, Chicago had seen a reported 550 shootings in 2020 – up 64 from last year. That number will probably continue to grow, particularly as the weather warms into the summer months, when violence in the city tends to spike.“Unfortunately, the epidemic of gun violence continues to plague us every day, every hour of the day,” Lightfoot said on Wednesday. “This level of violence is never acceptable. Never, ever.”



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Coronavirus: CDC advises health workers to use homemade masks or bandanas amid shortages as ‘last resort’

Coronavirus: CDC advises health workers to use homemade masks or bandanas amid shortages as ‘last resort’As healthcare workers and hospitals face shortages across the United States amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has released new guidelines for using face masks.Shortages in surgical and respirator masks started after citizens panic bought boxes in stores and online so they could wear when out. But this decision has since left hospitals short of the necessary facial guard.



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Iran furloughs imprisoned US Navy vet amid virus concerns

Iran furloughs imprisoned US Navy vet amid virus concernsIran has granted a medical furlough to a U.S. Navy veteran who has been imprisoned in Iran for more than a year, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Thursday. Michael White of Imperial Beach, California, is now in the custody of the Swiss Embassy and must remain in Iran as a condition of his furlough, which was granted as Iran works to curb the spread of coronavirus. The U.S. government will seek his full release, Pompeo said, and he called on Iran to free other Americans who remain jailed there.



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