13 - 19 Apr Weekly News

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With South Africa in lockdown, the lions are taking it very easy

Whether it's goats in Wales or wild pig in Italy, animals around the world seem adapting well to life without humans during the coronavirus outbreak. Even lions are enjoying the peace and quiet. The images from South Africa’s Kruger National Park show lions resting on a road. Apparently, they are not disturbed by the presence of the photographer, Richard Sowry. "These lions are usually resident on Kempiana Contractual Park, an area Kruger tourists do not see," tweeted Kruger. "This afternoon they were lying on the tar road just outside of Orpen Rest Camp."

On a normal day, the area would be busy with tourists, but Kruger has been closed since March 25 as part of South Africa's nationwide lockdown to fight coronavirus. "Lying on the road during the daytime is surprising because under normal situations there would be traffic and that pushes them into the bush," park spokesman Isaac Phaahla told. "People should remember that KNP is still a large wild area and in the absence of humans, wildlife is more active."


Spain's coronavirus loss of life increases to over 20,000

The Spanish Ministry of Health confirmed Saturday that more than 20,000 people have died from coronavirus in the country. Only the US and Italy have reported more deaths from COVID-19 than Spain. The nation's official deaths currently reach at 20,043, a rise of 565 from the number recorded Friday.

The percentage rise of 2.9% is in line with the daily results of the past week. However, Spanish authorities have said they are bringing in a new system for reporting cases. They are also increasing testing, which may mean that the data fluctuates. The region of Catalonia recently declared that its number of cases and deaths was higher than previously thought, after using a new formula to evaluate the effect of COVID-19.

According to John Hopkins University, there have been more than 2.25 million cases of COVID-19 globally and at least 154,000 deaths all over the world.


Coronavirus pandemic is 'final wake-up call' for Formula One, says McLaren boss

The coronavirus is a "final wake-up call" for Formula One, McLaren team head Andreas Seidl has warned. The crisis has caused the start of the season -- initially set to begin in March -- to be delayed. "There's a big risk that we could lose teams through this crisis. The sport which was unhealthy before and not sustainable has now reached a point. We need big changes, radical changes." "I don't see any signs that Formula One will not exist in the next year," he added. "The biggest risk that I see is that we will lose teams if we don't take certain actions now." 

Formula One has also given temporarily leave to half of its employees. It was announced on April 7, and its directors and executives have taken a voluntary 20% pay cut. The cancellations and delays have already hit teams hard, with most of their earnings coming from broadcasting deals, race hosting payments and sponsorship, reports Reuters. "It's important to make now big decisions, to make another big step in terms of the level of the budget cap of the future," said Seidl.


Wildfires near Chernobyl under control, Ukrainian authorities say

Wildfires near the Chernobyl power station are now under control, Ukrainian authorities said Tuesday. There is no more "open fire" but some grass and bush is still burning, said the State Emergency Service of Ukraine. Three aircraft, three helicopters, and more than 400 firefighters were used to control the fire. Forest fires are not uncommon in the abandoned 1,000-square-mile isolation region. It was abandoned following the destructive 1986 eruption at the nuclear power station. The eruption exposed millions to dangerous levels of radiation.

Firefighters managed to control the fire, authorities said Tuesday. Fears raised that the fires could invade the nuclear power station and cause a radioactive waste storage facility. Emergency services said Tuesday radiation levels in Kyiv and the surrounding region are "within normal limits." Any smoke in the exclusion region that remains will be extinguished in "a few more days" according to a statement from the office of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.


Hundreds of Rohingya refugees rescued after two months at sea

Nearly 400 Rohingya refugees who left Bangladesh by boat were rescued at sea nearly two months ago, the Bangladesh Coast Guard has said. The group of women and children set out on a large fishing boat in mid-February, Bangladesh Coast Guard Hamidul Islam told. They tried to reach Malaysia but they were made to turn back. The rescue took place on Wednesday or Thursday. At least 32 people died and their bodies were thrown into the sea, Islam said, citing statements from the rescued refugees. "Some died due to lack of food while some due to various illnesses," he said.

As the boat reached the Malaysian coast, it was turned back by the country's authorities, Islam said. The overcrowded boat then traveled to Myanmar and tried to enter twice. But it was denied entry by the Myanmar navy. Bangladesh authorities found the trawler in the country's territorial waters late Wednesday after spending 58 days afloat at sea. Human Rights Watch forced Malaysia to allow Rohingya refugees ashore while putting in place systems to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.


Learning to code during lockdown

Could the current health crisis have few positive effects? Could it make a generation of young people acquire new digital skills? We hear how parents are using the lockdown to get children interested in coding. Let`s take Ruth Moore and her sons Reuben and Jonah, aged eight and five. They remained stuck at home in Oxford. And Ruth started to look to change the boys' schoolwork. Ruth thought about introducing coding to the boys. "Probably behind this idea, the thought is that these are languages that it makes so much sense to know," she says.

Ruth looked online for help and found plenty of inspiration. "It's just amazing to see the number of places that are keen to help kids get a sense of what coding means and what they can do with it, and engage with it playfully." Sites of code learning involve games and collecting visual blocks of code. It is very different from and more challenging than text-based experience. Ruth says her sons are finding their way through the exercises themselves. The experience has even aroused her interest in coding.


The oldest string

Archaeologists have discovered the oldest piece of string ever found. The archaeologists are very happy about their find. The first reason they are happy is that the string they found is around 50,000 years old. The second reason is that the string shows that Neanderthals were more intelligent than we previously thought they were. Neanderthals were an early species of humans that became extinct about 35,000 years ago.

The string shows that Neanderthals had a good understanding of plants and textiles. The archaeologists say Neanderthals may have used the string to make clothes, bags, rope, mats and other things. The piece of string that the archaeologists found was tiny but it reveals a lot about how people lived 50,000 years ago. Dr Marie-Helene Moncel, director of research at the National Museum of Natural History in Paris, said: "We were able to uncover details about the fibres and we observed that they're different, twisted fibres. It is not possible to find these kinds of fibres in nature."


Recovered coronavirus patients are testing positive again. Can you get reinfected?

Sixteen more people who had recovered from coronavirus and were released from quarantine have tested positive again for the infection, South Korea's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) reported. This means that 179 people in total have retested positive after they were released from quarantine, out of 8,042 patients who've recovered from COVID-19 so far.

It is currently unclear why patients could be retesting positive. Most experts think it's unlikely that somebody will be reinfected right after recovering. It's possible that testing could explain why people test positive after testing negative (varying amounts of viral RNA in the body), experts say. An in-depth epidemiological investigation is underway to figure out the cause, Jung said. Among all of the cases who have retested positive, patients in their 20s made up the highest number, with 41 cases (22.9%), followed by patients in their 50s, with 32 cases (17.9%), according to the KCDC.


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