Northern Europe detects high levels of radioactivity and suspected Russian plant

The Nordic authorities announced on Saturday that this month they had detected slightly increased levels of radioactivity in northern Europe, with the Netherlands having advanced power due to the malfunctioning of a Russian nuclear power plant.

The possibility was, however, rejected by a spokesman for Russian nuclear energy operator Rosenergoatom, who assured, in statements to the Tass news agency, that no problems were reported.

The Leningrad plant, near St. Petersburg, and Kola, near the northern city of Murmansk, “are operating normally, with radiation levels within the norms,” ​​he added.

Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish nuclear security watchers said this week they had detected small amounts of radioactive isotopes that are harmless to humans and the environment in parts of Finland, southern Scandinavia and the Arctic.

The Swedish Radiological Safety Authority said on Tuesday that it was not possible for now to “confirm the source of the increased levels” or the origin of a cloud containing radioactive isotopes that would be over the skies in northern Europe.

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Asia doesn’t want European tourists

The European Union was to agree, Monday, June 29, on a list of fifteen countries that their level of contamination with Covid-19 would make consider as “safe”, allowing their residents to come to Europe from the month of July.

→ READ. Coronavirus: Europe Reopens to Fourteen Countries

This still provisional list, but made public on Saturday June 27 (1), seems to exclude the United States where the epidemic is out of control, like Russia, but China could be included. Non-essential trips to the EU, which have been banned since mid-March, should be phased out from 1is July.

For some Asian countries, on the other hand, there is no question of opening the borders to Europeans who they consider unsafe in terms of health.

Europe demands reciprocity from China

Thus this list of fifteen countries presents certain anomalies. The epidemiological criteria (a rate of new cases of Covid-19 close to or below 16 per 100,000 inhabitants, EU average, over the past 14 days) does not seem to be questioned, except perhaps for the China. Several Member States have judged “ problematic »The reliability of Chinese epidemiological data.

China could still be on this list, but in this case, the European Union “demands” reciprocity. In other words, European nationals can also freely travel to China. What is not the case for the moment, with the exception of some diplomats or businessmen, for whom a quarantine of two weeks is compulsory in Shanghai, in a hotel chosen by the Chinese government.

No European citizen can go to Japan

Another ambiguity of this list, the green light granted to Japanese and South Korean nationals, without “requirement” but accompanied by a simple “request” for “reciprocity”. For the South Korean authorities there is no travel ban in South Korea. “Anyone can enter the country, says a resident of Seoul, but there are some requirements: visa application at the consulate and test on arrival. If the test is positive, it is direct at the hospital, if it is negative it is about two weeks in a hotel chosen by the government, at 100 € per day at the expense of the traveler. “ In other words, a crippling constraint for a tourist. “The South Koreans are afraid of the Europeans whom they consider as” contaminants “”, said this witness again in Seoul.

Foreign residents in Japan cannot return to Japan

The situation is much more ambiguous for Japan. To date, no European national has the right to go there. No exceptions. Even European residents living and paying their taxes in Japan, stranded abroad, are not allowed to return to “their” country of residence.

→ READ. Deconfinement: Orly Airport takes off again

The European “demand” for reciprocity could make a difference, but the Japanese bureaucracy has still not received an order to resolve this situation which affects thousands of people. “Part of my family is in Tokyo and I cannot join them,” testifies a Frenchwoman stranded in Paris.

Hong Kong and Taiwan, exemplary in the management of the virus, are not on the list

Finally, no reference to Hong Kong or Taiwan on this European list, while the prevalence rate in these countries is among the lowest in the world. “If he does not live in Hong Kong, no European can enter it, explains a European expatriate, you can’t even get on the plane. “ In Taiwan, which has managed the coronavirus epidemic in an exemplary manner, “No European tourist returns, it’s closed”, explains a European consultant living on the spot for years.

Taiwanese and foreign residents were able to return, but had to be quarantined for 14 days. “If a Taiwanese man goes to Europe, he should quarantine himself on his return. “ The rules have been softened since June 22 for diplomats, businessmen or teachers, with tests three days before leaving and a quarantine modulated according to the countries of origin: five days for New Zealand but 15 days for Europe … still considered “dangerous”.

(1) Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay.

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Fossil find the last predator dinosaur in Argentina

Fossil find the last predator dinosaur in Argentina

Wednesday – 27 Ramadan 1441 AH – May 20, 2020 AD No. No. [
15149]

Meat-eating dinosaur

London: «Middle East»

The remains of a predatory dinosaur (Megaraptor) have been found, becoming one of the last meat-eating dinosaurs that inhabited the planet, according to fossil scientists from the Argentine Museum of Natural Sciences.
The southern province of Santa Cruz witnessed the discovery in mid-March. After the experts studied the fossil remains of ten meters, they realized that they were studying the remains of a predator dinosaur from the end of the “age of the dinosaurs.”
“This is the moment that took place 65 million years ago when the dinosaurs became extinct, and this megapator that we must now study will be one of the newest representatives of this group,” the paleontologist in charge of the project, Fernando Nobath, told Reuters. This type of dinosaur is thinner than the Tyrannosaurus rex and it was fast and had a long tail allowing it to maintain its balance. Nobath said that they had a muscular structure and legs stretched out to make strides. “The specific feature of this megapetor was in two long arms and his thumb ended with a claw about 40 cm long,” allowing him to pounce on his prey, Noboth added.

Argentina

Argentina

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A long way to go between Argentina and creditors

A long way to go between Argentina and creditors

Buenos Aires shows {flexibility} in debt restructuring negotiations totaling $ 65 billion

Thursday – 12 Shawwal 1441 AH – 04 June 2020 AD No. No. [
15164]

The Argentine economy minister expects the road to negotiations with creditors to be long (Reuters)

Buenos Aires: «The Middle East»

Argentine Economy Minister Martin Guzman said Argentina is “flexible” in debt restructuring talks with its creditors, but there is still a “long way” before a “sustainable” agreement is reached.
“Argentina is flexible regarding the set of factors that should form the basis of any offer” for a debt restructuring of $ 65 billion, Guzman said in an interview with German news agency DPA. However, he said, “We cannot make promises that we cannot fulfill … The agreement makes sense only if it is an agreement that takes care of Argentina entirely.”
Buenos Aires stresses that the debt installments cannot be so large that the state threatens to go bankrupt and leaves no room for the shrinking economy to start growing again.
Creditors rejected Argentina’s offer of a three-year moratorium, reducing interest payments by 62 percent, and reducing major payments by 5.4 percent.
Guzmán said that the government had not yet submitted a new proposal, and that negotiations with creditors were currently dealing with “conditions … including the issue of the supply structure”. The minister noted that Argentina is also in talks with the International Monetary Fund to assess its ability to pay. “From the moment Argentina adjusts its offer, there must be an additional 10-day period until the date on which the offer ends,” the minister stressed.
The minister refused to specify the possible length of negotiations. “It depends on the willingness of the parties to understand the restrictions facing the country, as well as on the ability of creditors to settle their differences,” he said. He noted that “creditors are very different, and they have different preferences on how to solve this.” He stressed that the most important of the duration of the talks is that «this needs a good solution. Argentina will only make a commitment if it can respect it. ”
At the same time, Guzmán said, Buenos Aires is discussing a possible new economic program with the International Monetary Fund, through which it is developing a “fruitful” relationship. The fund had previously given Argentina a $ 57 billion bailout package, the largest IMF credit line ever … but the International Monetary Fund is not very popular in Argentina, as critics blame it for austerity policies.
“The previous program was created very quickly, and it was a governmental decision, and the community was not involved,” Guzman said. He promised that this time there would be a “very important social discussion” on relations with the IMF.
Guzmán said that when President Alberto Fernandez’s left-wing government took office last December, it found that the country was “in a total economic crisis and deep debt, and that public finances were in poor shape.”
Argentina has already entered the state of default 8 times, the last of which was in 2001. Guzmán stated that the country now needs to “rebuild confidence” through “monetary and fiscal policies and exchange rate policies that are compatible with each other.” He pointed out that the other main element in creating confidence is “rescheduling debt and bringing it to levels that the country can deal with”.
The Corona pandemic crisis exacerbated Argentina’s economic problems. Guzmán said the country had made health its priority and imposed a “very strict sanitary quarantine.”
On the other hand, the International Monetary Fund said, on Monday, that Argentina’s latest offer to restructure its debt will restore its debt sustainability, and that there is little opportunity for another increase in its payments to private creditors, according to “Bloomberg” agency.
The fund said in a statement: “There is only a limited scope for increasing payments to private creditors, and it still has to pay the debts and service those debts.” In its statement, the Fund added: “The Argentine authorities’ revised proposal for debt restructuring will be consistent with the recovery of debt sustainability with a high probability.”
This is the first comment from the International Monetary Fund since it issued an 18-page “technical note” on March 20, in which it analyzed the Argentine government’s ability to pay debts.

Argentina

Argentina

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The discovery of a fossil frog dating back two million years in Argentina

The discovery of a fossil frog dating back two million years in Argentina

Wednesday – 18 Shawwal 1441 AH – 10 June 2020 AD No. No. [
15170]

Prehistoric frogs

London: «Middle East»

At a depth of 44 meters during the drilling of a water well in San Pedro, 180 kilometers north of Buenos Aires, Argentine scientists have discovered fossil remains of a type of frog that lived in the center of this South American country about two million years ago, according to Agence France-Presse.
“We don’t know much about prehistoric frogs,” said Federico Aniolan, a researcher with the Argentine Institute of Natural Sciences, at the Science Publishing Agency at the National University of Matanza.
He added: “Frogs and hells are affected greatly by climatic and environmental changes, so they are an important source of information to understand past climates.” And the find happened. The researcher stressed that the paleontologists found “the bone of the humerus is a very small amphibious organism different from the hulls and frogs of trees.”
He emphasized that the petite fossil was identified despite its size because the petroats; It is a group of amphibians, including frogs and toads, with a special structure at the tip of the humerus in the elbow joint. This special structure provides it with great ductility to make quick movements and stability. “The discovery is a great contribution to paleontology in Argentina,” said Federico Aniolan.

Argentina

Effects

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Four elements to understand the different spread of the virus – Hanna Beech

May 05, 2020 5:47 pm

In Iran, the covid-19 killed so many people that the government was forced to bury them in mass graves. In neighboring Iraq, however, the victims are less than a hundred. The Dominican Republic has recorded nearly 7,600 cases of contagion, but just beyond the border, in Haiti, the toll has stopped at 85. In Indonesia, thousands of people are believed to have died from the epidemic, while in neighboring Malaysia a series of Extremely rigid measures has kept deaths around a hundred.

The covid-19 has hit almost every country in the world, but its impact appears extremely erratic. Where global metropolises such as New York, Paris and London have been devastated, megacities such as Bangkok, Baghdad, New Delhi and Lagos have been substantially spared. At least so far.

The fact that the virus has swept some areas of the planet leaving others almost unscathed is a puzzle that has fueled a series of theories and conjectures, without however producing any definitive answer. Understanding this phenomenon could have profound consequences on how countries deal with the epidemic, making it possible to determine who is taking the greatest risks and when it will be possible to resume a semblance of normal life.

Theses and denials
At the moment, hundreds of researches are underway in the four corners of the planet on the possible effects of demographic conditions, previous diseases and genetic characteristics.

In Saudi Arabia, doctors are evaluating the possibility that genetic differences affect the severity of covid-19 symptoms, while Brazilian scientists are analyzing the relationship between genes and complications of the disease. In several countries, researchers are testing a theory that hypertension medications could worsen the severity of covid-19, while a specific tuberculosis drug could have the opposite effect.

The fact that many developing countries with warm climates and a young population have been spared the more catastrophic consequences of the virus suggests that temperature and demography are determining factors, but this thesis is denied by the high number of cases in countries tropical like Peru, Indonesia and Brazil.

There is still not enough data to compose a complete epidemiological picture

In general, timely measures to impose social distancing and blocking of activities have been effective. Yet two countries such as Cambodia and Burma, where strict isolation measures have not been taken, have experienced a limited number of infections.

In this regard, there is a theory that has not been proven, but it is impossible to refute: perhaps the virus has not yet affected these countries. Russia and Turkey initially seemed unscathed, but then the situation suddenly precipitated.

There is always the possibility that time will eliminate these differences. The Spanish fever that hit the United States in 1918 seemed to have disappeared during the summer, but returned with much more vehemence in the following autumn and then again in a third wave the following year. Eventually the virus reached remote locations such as the islands of Alaska and the South Pacific, infecting a third of the world’s population.

“We are still at an early stage of the epidemic,” confirms Dr. Ashish Jha, director of Harvard University’s Institute for Global Health Research. “If it were a baseball game we would be in the second inning. We do not know if at the ninth inning the countries that currently seem spared will have the same conditions as the others. ”

Doctors studying infectious diseases around the world point out that they don’t have enough data to compose a complete epidemiological picture. In many countries, the lack of information makes any conclusion dangerous. Often the analysis of the samples proceeds slowly, and this creates a strong underestimation of the number of infections. The deaths from covid-19 are almost certainly much more numerous than those recorded.

Yet general trends seem quite clear. A country may have enormous administrative difficulties and an inefficient health system, but it is still difficult to hide mass graves or hospitals that refuse thousands of patients. So it is undeniable that several countries are not experiencing a dramatic situation. At the moment.

According to the statements of about twenty infectious disease experts, health officials, epidemiologists and academics from around the world, there are four factors that could help explain where the virus thrives and where it encounters difficulties: demography, culture, environment and the speed of response from the authorities.

However, every possible explanation is accompanied by abundant reservations and evidence that seems to contradict it. If an older population is automatically more vulnerable, for example, Japan should be at the top of the list of infections. But that’s not the case at all. In any case, these are the factors that experts believe are most convincing.

The power of youth
Many countries spared from a mass epidemic have relatively young populations. According to Robert Bollinger, an infectious disease professor at Johns Hopkins University medical school, young people are more likely to be asymptomatic or exhibit mild symptoms, and transmit the virus less frequently. Furthermore, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) young people have a minor tendency to develop a series of problems that can increase the mortality of covid-19, the disease caused by the Sars-cov-2 virus.

Africa, where 45 thousand confirmed cases represent an infinitesimal portion of the 1.3 billion inhabitants, is the youngest continent in the world. 60 percent of the African population is under 25 years old. In Thailand and the Iraqi city of Najaf, local health authorities have verified that the age group between 20 and 29 years has the highest rate of contagion, but often does not develop particular symptoms.

By contrast, the average age of Italy, one of the most affected countries, is over 45 years old, while the average age of the victims is around 80 years old.

Japan’s population is the oldest in the world, but the country has experienced fewer than 520 deaths

Younger people tend to have a firmer immune system that can reduce the symptoms of the disease, says Josip Car, global health expert at Singapore’s Nanyang Technical University.

In Saudi Arabia and Singapore, for example, most of the infection affects migrant workers, many of whom live in crowded dormitories. However, these are often young and healthy people who have not needed hospitalization.

According to some US researchers, a good state of health, together with young age, can lessen the impact of the virus, while some pre-existing diseases – hypertension, diabetes and obesity – can worsen its effects.

However, there are significant exceptions to demographic theory. Japan’s population is the oldest in the world, but the country has recorded fewer than 520 deaths, although the number of cases has increased with the intensification of sample analyzes.

The Ecuadorian region of Guayas, the epicenter of an outbreak that could have caused the death of seven thousand people, has one of the youngest populations in the country: people over the age of 60 represent just 11 percent of the population.

Dr Jha points out that some asymptomatic young people are still extremely contagious, for reasons that are not yet clear at the moment.

Cultural distancing
According to epidemiologists, cultural factors such as the natural tendency of some societies to keep their distance may have protected some states more.

In Thailand and India, where the numbers of the virus are relatively low, people greet each other without contact, reaching the palms of their hands as they do in prayers. In Japan and South Korea people greet each other with a bow, and even before the advent of the covid-19 they often wore masks in case of malaise.

A Red Cross volunteer measures a man’s body temperature at the entrance to the market in Kampala, Uganda, April 1, 2020.

(Sumy Sadurni, Afp)

In most developing countries, the habit of caring for the elderly in the family has reduced the number of rest homes, structures that in the West have been fertile ground for the epidemic.

But even in this case there are important exceptions. In many Middle Eastern countries, such as Iraq and the Persian Gulf states, men have a habit of hugging and shaking hands. Yet contagions are rare.

Another advantage could derive from the so-called “national distancing”: relatively isolated countries have experienced positive health effects.

Remote states such as those in the South Pacific or sub-Saharan Africa, for example, have not been invaded by foreigners who brought the virus with them. According to African health experts, the reduced number of international journeys is the main reason for the low rate of infection on the continent.

The least accessible countries for political reasons (such as Venezuela) or because of armed conflicts (Syria and Libya) have been protected from the relative absence of travelers. The same goes for countries like Lebanon and Iraq, marked by violent protests in recent months. Furthermore, the lack of public transport in developing countries could be another factor that has limited the spread of the virus.

Heat and light
The geography of the contagion – which spread rapidly during the winter in temperate countries such as Italy and the United States while it was virtually absent in warm countries such as Chad or Guyana – seems to suggest that the virus does not like the heat. Other coronaviruses, such as those that cause the common cold, are less contagious in hot, humid climates.

However, according to the researchers, the idea that hot weather is enough to repel the virus is an illusion. In fact, some of the worst outbreaks in developing countries have exploded in areas such as the Brazilian Amazon, where the climate is tropical. “The most convincing hypothesis is that the summer climate contributes but is not sufficient to slow down the increase in cases or to cause a reduction”, explains Marc Lipsitch, director of the Center for communicable disease dynamics of Harvard University.

No scientist has ever claimed that projecting light rays inside an infected person can be an effective cure

According to Dr. Raul Rabadan, a computational biologist at Columbia University, the virus that causes covid-19 appears to be so contagious as to mitigate any beneficial effect of heat and humidity. However, other aspects related to hot climates, such as the tendency to spend more time outdoors, could have positive effects. “Living indoors can encourage virus recirculation, increasing the chance of contracting the disease,” says Dr. Car.

According to a study conducted by some ecological model specialists of the University of Connecticut, ultraviolet rays from direct sunlight inhibit Sars-cov-2. This means that surfaces are more difficult to contaminate in sunny places. But the fact remains that transmission usually occurs through contact with an infected person, not with a surface.

Unlike Donald Trump, no scientist has ever argued that projecting light rays inside an infected person can be an effective cure. In addition, the tropical climate may have created a false sense of security in some people. “Here people said ‘there isn’t, we can’t take it’,” says Ecuadorian researcher Doménica Cevallos. “Some went out to sunbathe, convinced that this would protect them from infection.”

Timely and rigid blocking
Countries that promptly introduced isolation measures, such as Vietnam and Greece, have avoided an out-of-control contagion. This data demonstrates the effectiveness of social and physical distancing and quarantine in containing the virus.

In Africa, countries that have accumulated some experience with deadly diseases such as AIDS, drug-resistant tuberculosis and Ebola were better prepared and reacted promptly.

In countries such as Uganda and Sierra Leone, airport staff began to wear masks, track contacts and measure the temperature (a measure that has in the meantime proved less effective than expected) much earlier than the United States and European countries.

Senegal and Rwanda closed their borders and announced a curfew when there were still few cases of contagion. In both countries, the ministry of health promptly initiated the procedures for tracing contacts.

All of this happened in a region where funds, personnel and health care equipment depend on the generosity of foreign countries, many of which are currently focused on the health emergency within their borders, emphasizes African executive director Catherine Kyobutungi population and health research center.

“Governments wake up one day and understand that the burden of the whole country is now all on their shoulders, and therefore they have to do it alone,” explains Kyobutungi. “In the end they proved to be up to the situation. I have to admit that some of the responses have been exciting. ”

In countries without adequate social assistance and where the informal economy is widespread, it will be difficult to keep activities and domestic isolation closed

Sierra Leone has adapted the protocols for the detection of diseases developed during the 2014 ebola epidemic, which claimed the lives of nearly four thousand people. The government has set up emergency operations centers in each district and has hired 14,000 health workers, including 1,500 trained to track contacts, despite the fact that Sierra Leone has recorded just 155 cases.

However, it is still unclear who will pay the wages and equipment such as motorcycles and raincoats, essential during the rainy season that is just around the corner.

Uganda, another country affected by the ebola epidemic, promptly quarantined travelers from Dubai after confirming that the first case of infection had come from the emirate. The authorities tracked down 800 other travelers arriving from Dubai in the previous weeks. Health workers in the country are testing over a thousand truck drivers per day. However, most of the infected people come from Tanzania and Kenya, two countries that are not performing equally intense monitoring. This feeds the fear that the infection could spread across the country’s borders, far from solid.

According to the WHO, the isolation measures, with the ban imposed on religious and sporting events, are evidently effective. More than a month after the closure of national borders, schools and most commercial activities, countries such as Thailand and Jordan have experienced a collapse in new cases of contagion.

A mosque in Jakarta, Indonesia on April 27 2020.

(Willy Kurniawan, Reuters / Contrasto)

In the Middle East, the closure of mosques, temples and churches has been fairly timely and has probably helped stem the epidemic.

A notable exception is represented by Iran, which waited on March 18 before closing its most important places of worship, or a month after the confirmation of the first case in the sacred city of Qom. Since then, the epidemic has spread rapidly, killing thousands of people and spreading the virus across borders, through pilgrims returning home.

However effective blocking measures are, in countries where adequate social assistance is lacking and where most people depend on the informal economy, it will be difficult to maintain business closure and domestic isolation. When people are forced to choose between social distancing and the possibility of feeding their families, they usually don’t have many doubts.

Strangely, some countries where the authorities reacted late and in fits and starts seem to have been spared the virus. In a context marked by scarce measures of social distancing, Cambodia and Laos have been hit by short waves of contagion, but they have not recorded new cases for three weeks now.

Lebanon, from which many Muslim and Christian pilgrims leave for countries overwhelmed by the virus such as Iran and Italy, should present widespread contagion, but this is not the case. “We are not collecting the data we had expected,” says Dr. Roy Nasnas, a consultant specializing in infectious diseases at the Geitaoui University Hospital in Beirut. “We can’t explain it.”

The case
Most experts agree that there may not be a single reason why one country is hit hard while another is spared. The cause of the phenomenon is probably a combination of the factors discussed, together with one last element often cited by researchers: pure chance.

Countries with similar culture and climate can present radically different situations: it is sufficient for a single infected person to participate in a particularly crowded social event, triggering what researchers call a “super-diffusing” event.

This is exactly what happened when a passenger infected 634 people on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship, off the coast of Japan; or when an infected man attended a funeral in Albany, Georgia; or even when a 61-year-old woman entered a church in Daegu, South Korea, transmitting the virus to hundreds of people who in turn infected thousands of Koreans.

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Since an infected person may not show symptoms for a week or even longer (not to mention asymptomatic), the virus spreads without anyone detecting it, exponentially and following an apparently random path. If on that Sunday in February the Daegu woman had stayed at home, it is possible that the numbers of the epidemic in South Korea would have halved today.

Yet some countries that were supposed to be swept away by the virus right now are not, and researchers can’t find a reason.

In mid-January, Thailand registered the first case of contagion outside China. It was a traveler from Wuhan, the city where the pandemic is thought to have originated. In those crucial weeks Thailand has continued to welcome visitors from China, but for some reason tourists have not triggered an exponential outbreak.

Some countries seem to have made every possible mistake, yet they have not been overwhelmed by the virus as would be expected. For many it remains a mystery.

“In Indonesia we have a health minister who is convinced that we can recover from covid-19 by praying, and we practically do not swab,” said Dr. Pandu Riono, infectious disease specialist at the University of Indonesia. “But we are fortunate to have many islands and this limits travel and perhaps even infections. Apart from islands, however, we are doing everything wrong. ”

(Translation by Andrea Sparacino)

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Coronavirus crisis. Oil prices relapse in Asia

Oil prices fell again in Asia on Monday when the market opened after their recovery last week, fears of overproduction and lack of storage capacity resurfacing.

In the first exchanges Monday morning, a barrel of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) American lost about 8% to 18.19 dollars per barrel. As for the barrel of Brent from the North Sea, it fell by 3% to 25.56 dollars.

Oil prices had ended in dispersed order last week as an agreement came into effect that is supposed to drastically lower production of black gold around the world and restore some equilibrium to a crumbling market, and as several large global economies plan to deconfigure and restart.

Chilliness

However, the reluctance took hold of the market again on Monday, according to operators, who however believe that prices should start rising again soon.

“With this deeply distressed demand, any sign of rebalancing, whether through economic recovery or forced or agreed production cuts, should keep oil prices at their current levels”, said Stephen Innes, strategist at AxiCorp.

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the bishops of Asia also call for a world truce

The whole planet is in crisis. The consequences of the pandemic are catastrophic for public health and for social and economic life. This is how the message sent on Monday, April 27, to Fides, the agency of the Pontifical Missionary Works, begins, by Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, Archbishop of Yangon (Myanmar, Burma) and president of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences. (FABC), to ask ” the end of hostilities worldwide

→ LIVE. Coronavirus: the deconfinement plan presented by Édouard Philippe at 3 p.m.

If the fighting does not stop everywhere, says the text of the FABC, ” the suffering of many will be prolonged worldwide and the healing of Covid-19 delayed indefinitely

The message notably echoes the words of Pope Francis during his visit to Myanmar in December 2017, when he recalled that ” conflicts are not resolved through war and antagonism but must be overcome through dialogue and a constructive search for peace

Referring to his country, the Archbishop of Yangon said that ” Myanmar national leaders and different ethnic groups can choose to seek trust and cooperation for the good of all and the unity of the nation

→ INFOGRAPHY. The different Burmese minorities

If we truly want Myanmar to emerge as a united, peaceful and prosperous people, this is an opportunity to make a quick decision for wise, consistent and forward-looking action., insists Cardinal Bo. Now is the time to end these wars that devastate our country. “

Refugee camps

But, he notes, ” continuous military operations contradict all initiatives ” to fight the pandemic. “Civilians are in danger, including during the bombing targeting military targets. ” As for the refugee camps, “Any peak in contamination would seriously threaten them

→ READ. Hope for a “truce of God” to fight the pandemic

The fury of the virus illustrates the madness of war “Continues the Burmese cardinal, quoting António Guterres, secretary general of the UN, who called, at the end of March, to” the end of armed conflict to focus on a real struggle for our lives

The FABC message praised the nations that responded positively to this call from the UN, such as Cameroon, the Philippines, Yemen and Syria. And he urges all armed groups around the world to lay down their arms to undertake ” the most difficult journey of overcoming differences face to face with truth, courage and intelligence

→ READ. “Religions for Peace” wants to rely more on women

The text concludes by referring to the meetings of the International Organization of Religions for Peace, in which Cardinal Bo, who ” have demonstrated that a coordinated dialogue between all parties is possible and fruitful

Finally, the FABC says it is available to ” play the role of mediator in a new dialogue between the different parties struggling worldwide

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Scientists have found that affects the rate of aging of the body

Congenital mutations have a stronger effect on the aging rate of the human body than the accumulation of mutations throughout life. This conclusion was made by scientists from Russia and the USA, who published the results of the study in the scientific journal eLife.

For their study, scientists analyzed the data of more than 40 thousand volunteers from the UK: the results of medical examinations, answers to questionnaires about lifestyle and bad habits, as well as their genomes. The calculation results showed that the mutations that were present in the DNA of the subjects from birth shortened life and accelerated aging to a much greater extent than other damage to genes.

There were an average of six such congenital mutations in the genomes of study participants. According to the authors of the study, the role of these rare and unique for each person damaging mutations was underestimated, but as a result of the current study it is obvious that they have an unexpectedly large effect on life expectancy.

Scientists believe that this study changes the generally accepted ideas about the role in the aging process and their influence on the likelihood of developing cancer, chronic lung diseases, cardiac problems and other diseases.

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Why India’s workers are protesting the government

Bangkok They are not supposed to leave their homes, but the women in the Indian metropolis of Amritsar have an important message: Given the curfew in their country that has been going on for a month, they are running out of food. As a sign of protest, they put empty plates and pots in the air.

Most of the women belong to migrant worker families who are unable to earn money during the lockdown. To make ends meet, they rely primarily on the support of private benefactors.

Resistance to the situation is growing nationwide in India. It mainly comes from people who have difficulty earning enough money to eat and stay at normal times – and are now particularly suffering from strict anti-corona policies. They feel let down by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and go on the barricades.

Leftist union leader Tapan Sen called for a nationwide protest against Modi’s policy last Tuesday. “We have heard enough from you,” he said to the Prime Minister. “Now listen to us!” He asked Modi.

Photos of the action, organized by Tapan’s Center of Indian Trade Unions, showed people in several cities stepping outside their homes with protest posters. “The government is idle and numb when it comes to workers’ suffering,” the union said in a statement.

Protests against the Indian government

Leftist union leader Tapan Sen called for a nationwide protest against Modi’s policy last Tuesday.

(Photo: AFP)

Since March 25, public life in India has been almost completely paralyzed. The country’s almost 1.4 billion inhabitants are only allowed to go out if they have a legitimate reason to do so – for example, buying food and medicine is allowed, and some businesses have recently been allowed to reopen. For the time being, Modi does not want to allow any more to slow the spread of the coronavirus. As of Friday, the country counted almost 25,000 cases.

Massive economic problems in the informal sector

It was clear from the start that the restrictions for the hundreds of millions of Indians working in the informal sector would lead to massive economic problems. The International Labor Organization (ILO) warned that 400 million workers in India could fall deeper into poverty due to the lack of earning opportunities.

With many reports of the low-income plight, Modi made a public apology for understanding the strict measures. But when he extended the curfew, which was originally scheduled to run for three weeks and was due to expire in mid-April, to early May, many people lost patience.

There were chaotic scenes at a train station in the financial metropolis of Mumbai: Thousands of workers, originally from other parts of the country, gathered and called for opportunities to return to their homeland. So far, these have not been granted – travel between the states is currently not permitted.

The government promises not to leave the workers alone. “We don’t want anyone to go hungry,” said Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman when she launched a $ 23 billion aid package to help low-income earners.

But many people in need have so far been left empty-handed. In a survey by Indian media among thousands of migrant workers, more than 90 percent said they had received no food rations – and two thirds of them had less than the equivalent of 2.50 euros.

Observers warn of the social explosives in the situation: “There are many complaints,” commented economics professor Indira Hirway, who teaches in Modi’s homeland Gujarat. She believes: “If the government doesn’t change its policies, it could lead to unrest and tremendous misery.”

More: Poverty reduction in India is facing a severe setback. Read more here.

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