english news

Driver found with corpse on wrong side of highway


A man who was stopped for driving on the wrong side of the road in Catalonia was found to have a dead body in the front passenger seat. Police made the grim discovery after the 66-year-old suddenly turned around at the checkpoint between Spain and France. Investigators believe the deceased, an 88-year-old man, had been dead for about three weeks. They say the driver may have been taking him home to Switzerland. The body, believed to be the driver’s partner, had started to decompose. It was covered with a blanket and was wearing a seatbelt, reports Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia. An autopsy will be carried out on Friday to determine how he died, although investigators say there is no evidence of criminality, the Mossos d’Esquadra (Catalan police) tweeted.(BBC)…[+]

‘Lost golden city’ found in Egypt reveals lives of ancient pharaohs


The discovery of a 3,000-year-old city that was lost to the sands of Egypt has been hailed as one of the most important archaeological finds since Tutankhamun’s tomb. Famed Egyptologist Zahi Hawass announced the discovery of the “lost golden city” near Luxor on Thursday. He said the find was the largest ancient city, known as Aten, ever uncovered in Egypt. It was unearthed within weeks of the excavation starting in September 2020. The city dates to the reign of Amenhotep III, one of Egypt’s most powerful pharaohs, who ruled from 1391 to 1353 BC. The city continued to be used by pharaohs Ay and Tutankhamun, whose nearly intact tomb was discovered in the Valley of the Kings by British archaeologist Howard Carter in 1922. “The discovery of this lost city is the second most important archaeological discovery since the tomb of Tutankhamun,” Betsy Brian, professor of Egyptology at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, US, said. She said the city would “give us a rare glimpse into the life of the ancient Egyptians” at the time when the empire was at its wealthiest.(BBC)…[+]

South Korea ruling party suffers crushing defeat in mayoral vote

south korea

South Korea’s governing Democratic Party has suffered a crushing defeat in mayoral elections in the country’s two biggest cities, Seoul and Busan. Candidates from the opposition People Power Party (PPP) won both cities by big margins. Both former mayors from President Moon’s Democratic Party were accused of sexual misconduct while in office. In Busan, the incumbent resigned. Seoul’s mayor was found dead in a suspected suicide.

The vote is seen as an important barometer of public opinion ahead of a presidential election next year. The popularity of President Moon Jae-in and his party has plummeted to record lows in recent months due to sex abuse scandals, rising house prices and deepening inequality.(BBC)…[+]

Caroline Jurie: Mrs World arrested over Sri Lanka pageant bust-up

sri lanka

Police in Sri Lanka have arrested the reigning Mrs World Caroline Jurie, after she allegedly injured a fellow beauty queen in an on-stage bust-up. Pushpika De Silva won the “Mrs Sri Lanka” title in a televised ceremony on Sunday, and former winner Mrs Jurie was meant to crown her. Instead, she pulled the crown off Mrs De Silva’s head, claiming she could not hold the title as she was divorced. The winner later said she is separated from her husband, not divorced. Mrs Sri Lanka is part of the Mrs World beauty pageant series for married women. The winners of each country’s title progress to the overall Mrs World competition. “There is a rule that prevents women who have already been married and are divorced, so I am taking steps to make the crown go to second place,” Mrs Jurie told the audience.(BBC)…[+]

Belfast: Rioting ‘was worst seen in Northern Ireland in years’


Rioting in west Belfast on Wednesday night was on scale not seen in Northern Ireland for years, police have said. During several hours of violence, police officers were attacked, petrol bombs were thrown and a bus was burnt. Police have said eight officers were injured at an interface between loyalist and nationalist areas. Northern Ireland’s power-sharing executive said it was “gravely concerned” by recent street violence and has called for calm to be restored. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has also condemned the disorder. It was likely that paramilitary organisations were involved and had planned the rioting, according to Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) Assistant Chief Constable Jonathan Roberts. He said several hundred people on each side of a barrier separating the loyalist Shankill Road and the nationalist Springfield Road were involved and petrol bombs were thrown in both directions. “Last night was at a scale we haven’t seen in Belfast or further afield in Northern Ireland for a number of years,” he said.(BBC)…[+]

Pharrell Williams calls for investigation after cousin shot dead by police


Pharrell Williams has called for a federal investigation after his cousin was shot dead by police in the US. The Grammy-winning artist went to Donovon Lynch’s funeral this week. Donovon, who was 25, was shot and killed in Virginia on 26 March by a police officer after three separate shootings in the area. Virginia Beach Police Department (VBPD) said he was “brandishing a handgun” before he was shot. The gun was recovered afterwards, officers said. A criminal investigation into what happened is ongoing, the force says. There will also be an independent investigation by a prosecutor and a review by VBPD’s internal affairs department. But Pharrell says there are “too many unanswered city and state questions” so is calling for an investigation at a higher federal level.(BBC)…[+]

India coronavirus: Can its vaccine producers meet demand?


The head of the Serum Institute of India (SII), one of the world’s largest manufacturers of coronavirus vaccines, has said its production capacity is “very stressed”. The SII had been supplying vaccines around the world, including to the Covax scheme for middle and low income countries. But India has put a temporarily halt on these exports. India has a major challenge inoculating its own population. “We are prioritising the needs of India”, said Adar Poonawalla, the head of SII said in an interview on Indian television, but added “we are still short of being able to supply to every Indian.” As of 7 April, around 85 million doses had been administered nationally, and the programme was recently extended to include all those aged 45 and above. The government says vaccination will not yet be extended to wider groups because of a “limited supply” until July.(BBC)…[+]

Georgia voting: Fact-checking claims about the new election law

fact checking

A controversial new election law in the US state of Georgia has led to heated disagreement between Democrats and Republicans over its impact on voting. Georgia voted for Joe Biden in the 2020 election, the first time the state had chosen a Democratic presidential candidate in more than 25 years. Democrats say the new law aims to restrict voting in future elections, but Republicans who control the state’s government say it expands access and increases election security. We’ve looked at some of the main claims. President Biden has said: “What I’m worried about is how un-American this whole initiative is. It’s sick. Deciding that you’re going to end voting at five o’clock when working people are just getting off work.” But it’s not the case that voting has to finish at 5pm.  The law allows counties to set voting hours anywhere between 7am and 7pm, as was the case previously. The new law does lay out the hours that are required as a minimum on election day, saying “voting shall be conducted beginning at 9:00 A.M. and ending at 5:00 P.M.”, as opposed to “during normal business hours” stated in the old law.(BBC)…[+]

Covid surge in South America as Brazil variant spreads

covid 19

Coronavirus figures released by health authorities across South America on Monday show a number of countries grappling with a spike in infections and deaths. Uruguay and Paraguay registered record numbers of daily deaths, while the total number of Covid cases surpassed the 13-million mark in Brazil. The surge has been attributed to the spread of the Brazil variant. The variant is thought to be more than twice as transmissible as the original. What is the Brazil variant? Brazilian public health institute Fiocruz says it has detected 92 variants of coronavirus in the country. Experts say that the development of new variants is not surprising: all viruses mutate as they make copies of themselves to spread.The P.1, or Brazil, variant has become a cause for concern is because it is thought to be much more contagious than the original strain. P.1 was first detected in travellers to Japan from the city of Manaus, in the Brazilian Amazon, and sequenced in early January.

It has mutations on the spike protein, that part of the virus which attaches to human cells, and it is these mutations which are thought to make it more transmissible. The variant is thought to have emerged in Amazonas state in November 2020, spreading quickly in the state capital Manaus, where it accounted for 73% of cases by January 2021, according to figures analysed by researchers in Brazil. Preliminary data suggested it could be up to twice as infectious as the original strain, while more recent research puts that figure even higher, at 2.5 times as transmissible.(BBC)…[+]

‘Mrs Sri Lanka’ beauty queen injured in on-stage bust-up


The winner of Sri Lanka’s biggest beauty prize has suffered head injuries after a brawl broke out on stage. Beauty queen Pushpika De Silva won the “Mrs Sri Lanka” title at a ceremony on national TV on Sunday.

Moments later, the 2019 winner seized Ms De Silva’s crown, claiming she could not be awarded the title because she was divorced. The prize has now been returned to Ms De Silva, after pageant organisers confirmed she is not a divorcee. Judges named Ms De Silva the 2021 winner at the Mrs Sri Lanka final in a theatre in Colombo on Sunday night. But the 2019 winner, Caroline Jurie, stripped Ms De Silva of her crown, citing a pageant rule that competitors must be married and not divorced. “There is a rule that prevents women who have already been married and are divorced, so I am taking steps to make the crown go to second place,” Ms Jurie told the audience. She placed the crown on the runner-up, prompting a tearful Ms De Silva to walk off stage, a video of the incident showed.(BBC)…[+]