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Boris Johnson admits he is concerned by Leicester outbreak as lockdown looks set to remain in the city

There has been more than one million cases of Covid-19 in the 22 countries of the World Health Organization’s Eastern Mediterranean region, the WHO confirmed on Sunday.

As of 11:00 on Sunday, 1,025,478 cases and 23,461 deaths have been recorded from the region, which spans from Morocco to Pakistan.

While cases in Europe have been largely declining, several countries in the region have been seeing increases in the number of cases and deaths. Countries recently reporting increases in cases include Iran, Iraq, Libya, Morocco, occupied Palestinian territory and Oman.

The WHO said it is especially concerned about the spread of the virus in war-torn countries such as Syria, Yemen and Libya due to poor infrastructure and fragile health systems vastly weakened by conflict. In all countries, it said, there is still a clear need for expansion of testing and more accurate reporting of cases and deaths to inform targeted responses.

Dr Ahmed Al-Mandhari, the WHO’s regional director for the region, said: “This is a very concerning milestone. As shops, restaurants, mosques, businesses, airports and other public places begin to open up, we need to be more vigilant and cautious than ever before. One million people have been infected, tens of thousands have died, and many more are still at risk in our region.

“We cannot relax our efforts. In fact, many countries lifting restrictions are seeing marked increases in cases, which signifies the need to accelerate public health response measures. Communities must remain vigilant and play a key role in keeping themselves and their countries safe.”

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BBC QT: Matt Hancock sheepishly admits statutory sick pay is NOT ENOUGH to live on | UK | News

In an impassioned plea on the panel TUC Chief, Frances O’Grady urged the government to consider not just to focus on bailing out CEO’s, but all workers. Ms O’Grady then brought up the fact that the current statuary sick pay amount is disproportional to the costs of living when a person is unable to work through ill-health.

She said: “We don’t just bail out the boardrooms, we’ve got to bail out workers.

“Statutory sick pay, £94 pounds a week, Matt, I think you would be the first one to say, that you couldn’t live on that, I don’t think any of us could.”

This statement appeared to catch Matt Hancock off guard, as he blurted out: “No.”

Fiona Bruce hit back: “But you expect others to live on it?”

Mr Hancock replied: “No, I think we’ve got to support everybody, I think we’ve got to support businesses to help support their staff, we want businesses to support their staff, the best thing is if people stay in employment.”

“This is a once in a century event,” he added

The QT host retorted: “We know that, but the prime minister said today, businesses keep your employees on, support them, as we’re going to support you.

READ MORE: Coronavirus UK: Boris Johnson makes URGENT plea to former NHS workers

“ We all need to come together to support each other as a country.

“The only organisation that is big enough to do that in the magnitude of this calamity is the government, so absolutely we’re going to come to the aid of businesses as fast as we can. so that businesses can keep their staff on.”

Fiona interjected the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care by pointing out that chef Angela Hartnett on the panel had already had to let go of her staff.

She said: “Angela’s already let hers go.”

Mr Hancock: “No, she’s actually kept them on, although unpaid for now, so we need to come to Angela’s aid, because when this is over.

“I want Angela able to open her restaurants again. “

“We’ve got to look after people, we’ve got to look after businesses, as well as fight the disease.”

“We’ve got to use the whole resources of the state to do this.” He confirmed.

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‘Disastrous mistake’: Iran admits it shot down Ukrainian plane | News

Iran has announced that its military “unintentionally” shot down a Ukrainian jetliner, killing all 176 on board.

The statement on Saturday morning blames “human error” for the incident, adding that the military mistook Flight 752 for a “hostile target”.

Press TV also quoted Iran’s General Staff of the Armed Forces as saying that the plane had flown close to a “sensitive military site”.


The military said it was at its “highest level of readiness” amid the heightened tensions with the United States.

“In such a condition, because of human error and in a unintentional way, the flight was hit,” the military said. It apologised and said it would upgrade its systems to prevent future tragedies.

In a statement posted on social media, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani wrote that the country “deeply regrets this disastrous mistake.”

“My thoughts and prayers go to all the mourning families. I offer my sincerest condolences,” he said, adding that “investigations continue to identify and prosecute this great tragedy and unforgivable mistake.”

Iran had denied for several days that a missile downed the aircraft. But then the US and Canada, citing intelligence, said they believe Iran shot down the aircraft.

On Friday, Ali Abedzadeh, head of Iran’s civil aviation department, said it was impossible due to close coordination between Iran’s air defence and civil aviation department.

“What is obvious for us, and what we can say with certainty, is that no missile hit the plane,” Abedzadeh told reporters in Tehran.

Video appears to show Ukraine plane being hit

The jetliner, a Boeing 737 operated by Ukrainian International Airlines, went down on the outskirts of Tehran during takeoff just hours after Iran launched a barrage of missiles at US forces in Iraq.

Al Jazeera’s Assed Baig, reporting from Tehran, said questions are now being raised as to why Iranian authorities kept the country’s air space open during a military operation.

“There’s a lot of explaining to do by Iranian authorities. People want to know why and how it happened.”

In a social media post, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said that “human error at time of crisis caused by US adventurism led to the disaster.”

“Our profound regrets, apologies and condolences to our people, to the families of all victims, and to other affected nations.”

The plane, en route to the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, was carrying 167 passengers and nine crew members from several countries, including 82 Iranians, 57 Canadians and 11 Ukrainians, when it was shot down.

“This is the right step for the Iranian government to admit responsibility, and it gives people a step toward closure with this admission,” said Payman Parseyan, a prominent Iranian-Canadian in western Canada who lost a number of friends in the crash.

“I think the investigation would have disclosed it whether they admitted it or not. This will give them an opportunity to save face,” he told AP news agency.

Al Jazeera and news agencies

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B.C. seafood wholesaler admits to illegally importing fish into U.S.

The Heras family’s 7 Seas Seafood was inducted into the BCFB Hall of Fame last month. Flanked by sons Nick and George, John Heras founded the Vancouver Fish Company in 1967.

Fred Lee / PNG

The owner of a Richmond-based seafood has been sentenced to probation and fined US$2,000 after pleading guilty to importing previously refused food to the U.S.

The company agreed to pay a fine of $150,000 and was ordered Friday to do so within six months. Seven Seas will also be on probation for the next three years, with increased scrutiny and surveillance of its imports into the U.S.

The Seven Seas Fish Company and owner John Heras, 78, admitted in October in U.S. District Court in Seattle that between October 2014 and August 2015 they imported more than 4,000 kilograms of potentially adulterated fish into the country.

“This activity leads consumers to be concerned about food safety,” said Magistrate Judge Mary Alice Theiler at a sentencing hearing on Friday.

The fish had previously been refused entry after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found that samples of frozen corvina, purchased from a seafood company in Mexico, were “too decomposed and putrid” to sell to consumers, according to a U.S. Department of Justice news release.

Corvina is a white fish similar to sea bass, often served in ceviche.

Prosecutors say Seven Seas arranged for the fish to enter the country anyhow, claiming it would not be sold there, but rather continue on to the company’s plant in Richmond for distribution in Canada.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington, Seven Seas then broke this arrangement. Once the fish arrived in B.C., prosecutors said, “Heras cooked and ate some of the fish and claimed he found nothing wrong with it.”

He then encouraged others within his company to sell the fish in Washington state after all.

The FDA has not found any illness linked to those who consumed the fish.

The company claims he no longer has a leadership role at Seven Seas.

Seven Seas, which also goes by 7 Seas, was founded in 1967 by Heras, and is described on the company’s website as a “family owned and operated Canadian business committed to providing high quality, sustainable seafood.”


In 2008, nearly Cdn$100,000 worth of Seven Seas’ Canadian salmon was seized after it was determined that the fish had been caught by illegal gill netting. In 2009, Seven Seas was fined $50,000 for selling salmon without notifying regulators after the fish had been detained because it was found unfit for human consumption. The fish was sold for mink feed.

“On two prior occasions, this company put its financial success over the food import regulations and the safety of consumers,” said U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran. “Now, with a third strike, it is appropriate that the company and its part-owner face a federal criminal conviction and its consequences.”

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Manchester Victoria station stabbings: Man admits attempted murder

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Media captionManchester stabbing: Police restrain suspect

A man who launched a frenzied knife attack at a railway station has admitted trying to kill three people, including a police officer.

Mahdi Mohamud, 26, stabbed and slashed at a couple and then attacked Sgt Lee Valentine at Manchester Victoria railway station on New Year’s Eve.

The couple’s injuries included a punctured lung and a skull fracture.

Mohamud pleaded guilty at Manchester Crown Court to three counts of attempted murder and a terror offence.

He admitted possession of a document or record likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism and will be sentenced on Wednesday.

The court heard Mohamud, of Cheetham Hill in Manchester, walked up behind a man and a woman in their 50s shouting “Allahu Akbar” and “Long live the caliphate” as they headed for a tram platform shortly before 21:00 GMT on 31 December.

He stabbed the man repeatedly in the back, shoulders and head and then slashed the woman across the face after the couple randomly crossed his path.

The man suffered 13 injuries including a skull fracture while the woman’s right lung was punctured and she suffered a slash to her forehead that cut down to the bone.

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PA Media

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Four officers, including Sgt Valentine (second left) and two tram staff, received commendations following the attack

British Transport Police officers and tram staff confronted Mohamud, who witnesses said was “like an animal” and was “fixated” on stabbing and slashing.

Sgt Valentine, 31, shot Mohamud with his Taser but the barbs got stuck in the knifeman’s coat and failed to paralyse him.

The sergeant was stabbed in the shoulder before the suspect was wrestled to the ground and arrested.

Sgt Valentine said Mohamud was “dancing around, waving this knife around” before he started to run at the officers.

“He probably closed a seven foot gap in half a second,” he added.

“It was just like a dive, he flew, he probably jumped three or four foot off the ground and just sort of lunged, probably lunged at my head with his knife.”

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Image caption

A woman and a man in their 50s and a police sergeant were stabbed

A second kitchen knife was found in Mohamud’s waistband.

Greater Manchester Police said officers recovered a large amount of “counter-terrorism mindset material”, including images and a document about how to carry out knife attacks.

The defendant, a Dutch national from a Somali family, had arrived in the UK aged nine and became radicalised online, the force said.

Mohamud was sectioned under the Mental Health Act following the attack and taken to a secure mental health facility where he is currently detained.

Prosecutor Alison Morgan QC said: “The prosecution’s case is that the attack at Victoria Station was not simply a product of that mental illness.

“It was intended to be a lethal attack, carefully planned over a number of months, reflecting the defendant’s extremist ideology and his desire to perform violent jihad.

“The defendant’s actions may have been disinhibited by his mental illness, but they were driven by an entrenched desire to undertake jihad against the West.”

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