Crush kills at least 151 at Halloween festivities in Seoul
A mass of mostly young people among tens of thousands who gathered to celebrate Halloween in Seoul became trapped and crushed as the crowd surged into a narrow alley, killing at least 151 people and injuring 82 others in South Korea’s worst disaster in years.
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‘Anything could happen any moment’: Former UN ambassador weighs in on tense situation in Europe
It is one of the worst security crises in Europe in decades. The US and its allies are stepping up sanctions to pressure Russia to keep troops from deploying further into Ukraine. Efforts are underway to keep this crisis from escalating into an all-out conflict.
Congressman with Jacksonville ties concerned as tensions rise along Russia-Ukraine border
The Pentagon says Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has ordered about 8,500 U.S. troops on heightened alert, preparing for possible deployment to Europe, if needed, to reassure NATO allies in the face of Russian aggression on the border of Ukraine.
Royals join cast of new Bond film for glitzy London premiere
Britain’s royals have joined Daniel Craig, Lea Seydoux and the cast of No Time to Die” on the red carpet for the new Bond film’s world premiere, a glittering event that marked the movie’s release after multiple delays caused by the pandemic.
Coastal Georgia nursing student desperate to get family in Afghanistan to safety
As thousands risk their own safety to flee Afghanistan amid the Taliban takeover, images of smiling families successfully arriving in the U.S. underscore the ongoing anxiety for many still desperately working to get their loved ones to safety.
Sword-wielding man arrested after Halloween deaths in Quebec
QUEBEC CITY, QUE – A man dressed in medieval clothing and armed with a Japanese sword was arrested Sunday on suspicion of killing two people and wounding five others on Halloween near the historic Château Frontenac hotel in Quebec City. Quebec's prosecutor’s office said Carl Girouard, 24, faces two counts of first-degree murder and five counts of attempted murder. “Last night we were thrust into a night of horror when a 24-year-old man who does not live in Quebec City came here with the clear intention of taking as many victims as possible,” Pigeon said. “Quebec is waking up after a night of horror. I offer my condolences to the families of the victims,” Quebec Premier Francois Legault tweeted.
Over 3 million cases of coronavirus reported in Mideast
DUBAI – The number of reported coronavirus cases has gone over 3 million in the Middle East, an Associated Press count showed Friday, with the true number likely even higher. Across the Mideast, there have been over 75,000 deaths attributed to the virus by health authorities, the AP count relying on reported figures by individual countries shows. There have been 2.5 million recoveries from the virus causing the COVID-19 illness. In the Mideast, the hardest-hit nation remains Iran, which served as the initial epicenter of the virus in the region. In Iran alone, authorities say there have been over 600,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, with some 477,000 recoveries and 34,000 deaths.
In hard-hit Peru, worry mounts over both COVID-19 and dengue
As Peru grapples with one of the world's worst COVID-19 outbreaks, another epidemic is starting to raise alarm: Dengue. The rise comes amid an overall dip in the number of new daily coronavirus infections, though authorities worry a second wave could strike as dengue cases rise. Two physicians said dengue symptoms like fever and muscle aches tend to dominate, though the combination with COVID-19 can prove deadly. Nonetheless, in the Peruvian Amazon a mounting number of dengue patients are filling hospital beds that months before were overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients. She stayed nearly two weeks in a ward with eight female dengue patients, riddled with anxiety over her condition.
Bar or restaurant? The big issue in pandemic-struck Brussels
Since bars in Brussels were forced to close Thursday for at least a month to deal with a massive surge in virus cases but restaurants were allowed to remain open, the big question on the streets is: when is a bar a bar and when is a bar a restaurant? Aurore Phanariotis of Le Paon d’Or, which advertises itself as a “Bar Lounge," was working on it as soon as the Brussels ban took effect. So, without such a paper, a bar should remain a bar, however much food they serve. Illustrating how pressing the issue is, Brussels Minister President Rudi Vervoort, who imposed the bar ban on Wednesday, tested positive on Thursday. And, despite all the investments and efforts to contain the virus by bar owners, “we are pointed at like the bad boys,” he added.
‘Catastrophically short of doctors’: Virus wallops Ukraine
Dr. Oleh Hornostayev speaks to a coronavirus patient at a hospital intensive care unit in Stryi, Ukraine, on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020. Coronavirus infections in Ukraine began surging in late summer, and the ripples are hitting towns in the western part of the country. We are catastrophically short of doctors,” says Stetsik, the chief doctor at the only hospital in the town of 20,000 people. The World Health Organization warns that the number of infections in Ukraine could continue to grow and reach 7,000-9,000 a day. “We may increase the hospital capacity and improve oxygen supply, but we could just be simply short of doctors,” he said.
Unemployment marches higher in Europe as pandemic grinds on
(AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)FRANKFURT – Unemployment rose for a fifth straight month in Europe in August and is expected to grow further amid concern that extensive government support programs won't be able keep many businesses hit by coronavirus restrictions afloat forever. While Europe's unemployment rate is still modest compared with the spike seen in many other countries, economists predict it could hit double digits in coming months as wage support programs expire. In the region's largest economy, Germany, some 3.7 million people are still on furlough support programs. With no clear end to the pandemic in sight, the government has extended that through the end of 2021. Some economists expect the unemployment rate to double to 8% by year end.
Madrid resists government pressure to extend soft lockdown
Throughout Madrid and its surrounding region, gatherings are already limited to a maximum of 6 people. In a hastily organized press conference, national Health Minister Salvador Illa said that the Spanish government was recommending tougher measures, including a partial lockdown, for the whole of Madrid and its 3.3 million residents. The Spanish Health Ministry said Friday that the Madrid region had reported 1,001 confirmed infections in 24 hours, about one-fourth of the daily nationwide total for new cases. The community of Aragon in northeastern Spain had the next highest number after Madrid. The truce lasted less than a week, with Friday’s competing press conferences conveying a message of disagreement and political blame-exchange.
China aims to make 1 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses a year
A Chinese health official said Friday that the country's annual production capacity for COVID-19 vaccines will top 1-billion next year, following an aggressive government support program for new factories. “Next year, our annual capacity will reach more than 1 billion doses,” he said at a news conference. American pharmaceutical giants Pfizer and Moderna aim to produce a billion doses each in 2021 as well. More than 150 countries are setting up the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access Facility, or COVAX, under the World Health Organization. Their target is to make 2 billion doses to inoculate 20% of the world’s population.
Canceled flights strand 25 Easter Islanders for 6 months
But the situation for a group of 25 residents from remote Easter Island stands out. Home to about 8,000 people, Easter Island is a tiny speck in the vast Pacific Ocean, located midway between Polynesia, in the South Pacific, and South America. Until the virus struck, LATAM airlines ran a regular return route from Santiago, Chile, to Easter Island and on to Tahiti. She has pleaded with the authorities to help, and has even written to leaders in mainland Chile and on Easter Island, but without any success. She said some of them fear speaking up in case they face repercussions back on Easter Island, but she isn’t afraid.
German virus app transmitted 1.2M test results in 100 days
BERLIN – Germany's coronavirus tracing app has been used to transmit 1.2 million test results from labs to users during its first 100 days, officials said Wednesday. He noted that most app users can now get their COVID-19 test result sent directly to their smartphones, without having to wait for their doctor to inform them. “The faster transmission of test results makes a huge difference,” Spahn said, adding that the tracing of possible contacts is all the more effective the sooner it begins. Almost 5,000 people with positive test results have so far used the app to warn others they were in close contact with, he said. Tim Hoettges, the chief executive of Deutsche Telekom, which developed the app with software giant SAP, said more than 90% of labs in Germany are now able to transmit results directly to users.
Sierra Leone doctor in dedicated mission against COVID-19
At the time, Baldeh, 32, was the only physician treating COVID-19 patients at Sierra Leone’s main public hospital. Now there have been hundreds of cases and the staff at the hospital’s COVID-19 unit has swelled to four doctors and 20 nurses. In July doctors went on strike to demand hazard pay for working in the COVID-19 unit. Even before the coronavirus, doctors in Sierra Leone often would go on strike for better pay and essential supplies. Many of the healthcare workers who have died didn’t necessarily get it from working in the COVID-19 unit, Baldeh said.
South Africa’s rhino poaching drops during virus lockdown
FILE - In this Sunday, Dec. 20, 2015 file photo, rhinos walk in the Hluhluwe Game Reserve in South Africa. South Africas anti-COVID-19 lockdown is credited with helping to achieve a dramatic drop in rhino killings, but as the country opens up experts warn there is a risk of a resurgence of poaching of one of Earths most endangered mammals. (AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam, File)JOHANNESBURG – South Africa's anti-COVID-19 lockdown is credited with helping to achieve a dramatic drop in rhino killings, but as the country opens up experts warn of a possible resurgence of poaching of one of Earth's most endangered mammals. Redoubled efforts are critical to protect the country's rhinoceros population, South African officials and wildlife activists say, as World Rhino Day is marked Tuesday. South Africa's nationwide shutdown to combat the spread of the coronavirus was imposed at the end of March and stopped all international and domestic travel.
3 more COVID cases linked to American’s bar crawl in Bavaria
The latest cases take the total number of recent infections there to 59, including 25 staff at a hotel resort that caters to U.S. military personnel and at which the woman worked. Soeder said Monday that "such recklessness must have consequences” and suggested the woman, who hasn't been named, could receive a stiff fine. “The investigation is ongoing,” she told The Associated Press. The Edelweiss Lodge and Resort, which is reserved for members of the American military, their families and veterans, has also shut down completely for two weeks. The Edelweiss resort has vacation cabins and 258 rooms and suites, but Tomassi said he did not have details on how many people had been staying there over the past two weeks.
Antarctica is still free of COVID-19. Can it stay that way?
That world is Antarctica, the only continent without COVID-19. “I’m sure there’s a lot they can tell us that will help us adapt to the new way of things,” Taylor said. As a frightened world was locking down in March, the Antarctic programs agreed the pandemic could become a major disaster. To limit contact between Antarctic workers and flight crew, the plane contains a separate toilet facility mounted on a pallet. As colleagues arrive, Heard will leave Antarctica.
Pope uses mask, sanitizer as he appeals for public health
Pope Francis has his hands sanitized by his personal assistant during his weekly general audience general audience in San Damaso courtyard at the Vatican, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)VATICAN CITY Pope Francis wore a face mask and used hand sanitizer Wednesday as he appealed for the faithful to look out for the health of others as well as themselves during the coronavirus pandemic. It was the first time the pope has been seen in public wearing a mask and using hand sanitizer. The coronavirus is showing us that each persons true good is a common good and, vice versa, the common good is a true good for the person," he said. Health, in addition to being an individual good, is also a public good.
'Our hands are tied': Local aid workers exposed in pandemic
Now local aid workers are exposed on the pandemic's front lines with painfully few means to help the vulnerable communities they know so well. She described foreign aid workers being evacuated early in the pandemic or working from home as many feared infection. The world's most precarious regions are long accustomed to the sight of international aid organizations, often managed by expats. Most goes to U.N. agencies, while local aid groups are often seen as subcontractors of those agencies and international organizations. Groups like hers are at a disadvantage because international aid groups have the backing of richer home countries, she said.
Virus resistant: World's Longest Yard Sale still lines roads
A crowd looks through items at the World's Longest Yard Sale, which stretches from Alabama to Michigan, at its southernmost point in Gadsden, Ala., on Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020. And though the coronavirus pandemic has canceled events around the globe, the six-state yard sale is happening this weekend for the 34th straight year. "Its a big problem.The yard sale began in 1987 as a way to lure visitors off interstate highways to a small town in Tennessee. Also known as the 127 Yard Sale, the event follows U.S. 127 from near Addison, Michigan, to Chattanooga, Tennessee, through Ohio and Kentucky. But realistically, she said, the yard sale is just too big to cancel.
Solar eclipse wows stargazers in Africa, Asia, Middle East
A crow sits on roof of a house as the sun forms crescent during solar eclipse in New Delhi, India, Sunday, June 21, 2020. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)DUBAI Stargazers in Africa, Asia and parts of the Middle East looked to the skies this weekend to witness a partial social eclipse. It usually happens two times in a year, but it differs from location to location so its not fixed in one location. So its kind of something a bit rare to observe.The observatory also sold solar eclipse glasses to the public to observe the eclipse safely. An overcast sky didnt deter enthusiasts in India with the partial eclipse also visible in the New Delhi sky.
World's best boutique hotels for 2019
Bali's Awarta Nusa Dua Luxury Villas & Spa was named the best boutique hotel in the world for the second year running(CNN) - Its name literally means treasure, so it seems fitting that Bali's Awarta Nusa Dua Luxury Villas & Spa has been recognized as a gem of a boutique hotel. Awarta was named the best boutique hotel in the world for the second year running at a ceremony in London earlier this week. Meanwhile Emaho Sekawa, based high up on a hill on Vanua Levu, Fiji's second largest island, was named the World's Best Beach or Coastal Hotel. New Zealand's Te Koi Lodge, which was taken over by Ian and Ali Metcalfe in 2017 and turned into a luxury retreat, was named the World's Best New Hotel of 2019. Costa Rican offerings Rancho Pacifico, situated on top of the rainforest of Uvita de Osa and Drake Bay Resort, an eco lodge on the Osa Peninsula, were named World's Most Romantic Retreat and World's Best Honeymoon Hideaway respectively.