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Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong quits pro-democracy group as China passes security law – National



Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong said on Tuesday he is stepping down as leader of his democracy group Demosisto, just hours after local media reported that Beijing had passed national security legislation for the Chinese-ruled city.

Read more:
Chinese lawmakers pass controversial security law for Hong Kong: reports

Wong has said he will be a “prime target” of Beijing’s national security law, which critics fear will crush freedoms in the former British colony.

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“If my voice will not be heard soon, I hope that the international community will continue to speak up for Hong Kong and step up concrete efforts to defend out last bit of freedom,” Wong wrote in a tweet.

-With a file from Global News








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Brazil passes 1 million coronavirus cases: Live updates | Coronavirus pandemic News


  • World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned of a “new and dangerous phase” in the accelerating coronavirus pandemic after 150,000 new cases were reported worldwide on Thursday – the highest in a single day. 

  • The United Kingdom’s chief medical officers have agreed to lower the country’s coronavirus alert level from four to three.

  • German biopharmaceutical company CureVac has started a clinical trial for a vaccine against the novel coronavirus.

  • More than 458,000 people have died as a result of the new coronavirus, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. At least 8.6 million people have been confirmed to have the coronavirus around the world and more than 4.2 million have recovered.

Here are the latest updates:

Saturday, June 20

02:19 GMT – Pandemic could worsen Haiti’s ‘already alarming humanitarian situation’

Helen La Lime, the United Nations Special Representative for Haiti, said the coronavirus pandemic is worsening the country’s “already alarming humanitarian situation”, something that could see an increasing number of citizens flee the island to seek a better life abroad. 

And unless more help was offered to tackle Haiti’s economic recession, ”a primarily domestic problem could transform into a regional issue,” she warned during a virtual meeting of the UN Security Council on Friday. 

She added: “A vicious circle of mistrust, recrimination, and ultimately violence, is once again starting to define the dynamics of Haitian politics at a time when the entire society should be unified in its response to the pandemic”.

Haiti has a population of 11 million people and has so far recorded 4,900 coronavirus cases and 84 deaths.

01:57 GMT – Mexico City delays reopening as cases continue to surge

Authorities in Mexico City delayed a planned reopening of the economy as new confirmed cases and deaths reported nationwide continued at near-record levels.

Claudia Sheinbaum, mayor of the 11 million strong city, said hospital occupancy and case numbers had not decreased to the point where reopening malls and street markets would be possible. The city has about 70 percent of its hospital beds occupied.

Mexico’s Health Department reported 5,030 new confirmed coronavirus cases and 647 more deaths, both numbers down just slightly from Thursday. Total cases now stand at 170,485, with 20,394 fatalities.

Outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Ecatepec de Morelos

A musician plays his instrument during the burial of two people, who died of COVID-19 at the San Isidro Municipal cemetery on the outskirts of Mexico City, Mexico, on June 19, 2020 [Henry Romero/ Reuters]

Virus Outbreak Mexico

Musicians play their instruments during a protest demanding financial support in Mexico City on June 19, 2020 [Eduardo Verdugo/ AP]

01:35 GMT – US court rejects bid for mandatory masks at Trump rally

Oklahoma’s Supreme Court rejected an effort to require everyone attending US President Donald Trump’s rally in Tulsa this weekend to wear a face mask and maintain social distancing to guard against spreading the coronavirus.

In a concurring opinion, two justices said the local residents asking for precautions at Trump’s rally – the US’s largest indoor gathering in months – could not establish their legal right to the relief they sought.

The petition was filed by two people described as having compromised immune systems and at particular risk from COVID-19.

The ruling came as Oklahoma reported its second-biggest increase in new infections on Friday, logging 359 cases of COVID-19 and one death. That brings the state’s total case load to 9,706 and number of deaths to 367. 

01:10 GMT – Costa Rica halts reopening

Costa Rica is halting the reopening of its economy after registering on Friday a record 119 new coronavirus infections – a figure that brings the country’s total number of confirmed cases to 2,508.

“These are not numbers to think that nothing is wrong and that we can continue with the reopening,” Health Minister Daniel Salas told reporters.

“Stores and shopping malls, beaches, churches and other activities will have to wait until we have a sustained decrease in cases,” he said, adding that the country’s national soccer league is also suspended “until further notice”.

At least 12 people have died from COVID-19 in Costa Rica.

Outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in San Jose, Costa Rica

A woman is given chayotes at a distribution point for fruits and vegetables donated by domestic producers unable to export due to the coronavirus disease, in San Jose, Costa Rica on April 13, 2020 [File: Juan Carlos Ulate/ Reuters]

00:23 GMT – Brazil surpasses one million coronavirus cases

Brazil passed one million coronavirus cases and approached 50,000 deaths, a new nadir for the world’s second-worst-hit country as it struggles with a tense political climate and worsening economic outlook.

The country’s health ministry reported 1,032,913 confirmed cases on Friday, with 1,206 new deaths that took the total official fatalities to 48,954.

Friday also saw a new record daily number of cases, with 54,771 infections, a jump the health ministry said was largely due to “instability” in its reporting system, which meant some states were reporting figures from multiple days.

Brazil is likely to surpass 50,000 deaths on Saturday, although weekend reporting can be lower.

Read more here.

00:16 GMT – Zimbabwe health minister arrested over coronavirus supplies scandal

Zimbabwe’s health minister Obadiah Moyo was arrested on Friday for alleged corruption related to the supply of medical materials to combat the coronavirus pandemic, the country’s anti-graft agency said.

He was being held at a Harare police station and is likely to appear in court on Saturday.

“I can confirm that the minister of health and child welfare has been arrested and is being detained at Rhodesville police station,” John Makamure, spokesman for the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission, told the AFP news agency.

“It’s to do with the procurement of COVID-19 materials,” he added.

The government did not immediately comment on the arrest, which came a day after the country’s main opposition condemned alleged corruption following suspicions about a two-million-dollar payment to a medical company contracted to provide anti-coronavirus equipment.  

Harare has come under fire for granting two-month-old company Drax Consult SAGL a contract to supply $20m worth of drugs, personal protective equipment and COVID-19 test kits.

The deal was allegedly signed without the consent of Zimbabwe’s procurement registration authority.


Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Zaheena Rasheed in Male, Maldives. 

You can find all the key developments from yesterday, June 19, here. 



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North West mayors urge caution and hit out at Westminster as regional R number passes 1 | UK | News


Andy Burnham and Steve Rotheram – mayors of Manchester and Liverpool respectively – have urged the government to allow regional councils to decide when it is right to open schools to a wider number of pupils, going forward. The two mayors also called on the Prime Minister to provide confirmation that retail outlets should still be allowed to widely reopen on June 15 as part of the government’s plan to ease lockdown measures.

It comes after researchers from Public Health England and Cambridge University last week warned that the R number in the North West has crept above 1.

The R number is what the government is keeping a close watch on around the country. It represents the number of people that will be infected by each person that is confirmed positive for the virus.

Thus, an R number above 1 means that more and more people will be infected over time.

The North West is currently at 1.01 – higher than anywhere else in England and an increase of 0.73 a few weeks ago, according to the Manchester Evening News (MEN).

The two mayors said in a joint statement: “We ask everyone to make a renewed commitment to follow the official guidance and to stay home as much as possible,” I News reports.

“In fact, we would go further and advise people to err on the side of caution and to use the new freedoms carefully and safely.”

The rise has fuelled concerns among officials that planning for the Covid-19 response in England is too centralised, and that local councils are not getting enough information from Westminster.

This morning, Manchester mayor Andy Burnham held a press conference to address the concerns raised by the R number in the North West.

READ MORE: Americans are drinking BLEACH to prevent COVID-19 in shock new data

I News reports that the number of reported hospital admissions for Covid-19 in Greater Manchester is currently higher than it’s been since late April.

On Sunday, both Mr Burnham and Mr Rotheram wrote to the Prime Minister calling for “extra reassurance” for the North West given the rise in transmission rate.

The two mayors wrote: “Last month, you said that reports of the R going up again in countries where relaxations have been introduced was: ‘a very clear warning to us not to proceed too fast or too recklessly.’

“We agree with that but are disappointed that there has so far been no prior consultation or notice of the relaxations to lockdown that have so far been announced.”

The two mayors also said that they are making a commitment to provide more information locally on a weekly basis – the idea of a local “heat map” has been suggested – and called for Public Health England to support this.

They also called on the government to change its guidance so that “express permission” is granted to councils “to decide when it is right to re-open schools to a wider number of students, particularly with regard to more localised information”.

They added: “We would also ask the Government to seek confirmation for SAGE that it is safe to proceed with the much wider reopening of retail outlets on the 15th of June in the North West.





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Nasa says FOUR asteroids moving up to 50,000mph will make close passes of Earth today


FOUR asteroids are heading past Earth today at up to 50,000 miles per hour.

Nasa has put them all on its ‘close approach’ list.

The asteroids aren't expected to impact Earth

1

The asteroids aren’t expected to impact EarthCredit: Getty – Contributor

The space rocks are called 2020 KK7, 2020 KD4, 2020 KF and 2020 KJ1.

Asteroid 2020 KK7 should have just zoomed past us.

Experts predicted it to be up to 108 foot wide.

Nasa estimated that it could come as close as 310,445 miles from our planet.

In the grand scheme of space this isn’t a large distance at all.

Any fast moving space object that comes within around 4.65 million miles is considered to be “potentially hazardous” by cautious space organisations.

The next space rock heading past Earth today will be Asteroid 2020 KD4, which could be as wide as 114 foot.

This asteroid is expected to pass at the much further distance of 2.5million miles away.

Asteroid 2020 KD4 should pass Earth at around 13:47 GMT.

Around three hours later 2020 KD4, Asteroid 2020 KF should shoot past from even further away.

This space rock could be the largest of the group at up to 144 foot wide.

Lastly, Asteroid 2020 KJ1 should shoot past Earth from 1.3million miles away.

This space rock could be up to 104 foot wide.

A different 98 foot asteroid also skimmed past Earth today but in the very early hours of the morning.

Nasa keeps an eye on objects that will be coming close to Earth but stresses that “a “close” passage astronomically can be very far away in human terms.”

What’s the difference between an asteroid, meteor and comet?

Here’s what you need to know, according to Nasa…

  • Asteroid: An asteroid is a small rocky body that orbits the Sun. Most are found in the asteroid belt (between Mars and Jupiter) but they can be found anywhere (including in a path that can impact Earth)
  • Meteoroid: When two asteroids hit each other, the small chunks that break off are called meteoroids
  • Meteor: If a meteoroid enters the Earth’s atmosphere, it begins to vapourise and then becomes a meteor. On Earth, it’ll look like a streak of light in the sky, because the rock is burning up
  • Meteorite: If a meteoroid doesn’t vapourise completely and survives the trip through Earth’s atmosphere, it can land on the Earth. At that point, it becomes a meteorite
  • Comet: Like asteroids, a comet orbits the Sun. However rather than being made mostly of rock, a comet contains lots of ice and gas, which can result in amazing tails forming behind them (thanks to the ice and dust vapourising)

 

Jupiter is flinging asteroids at Earth ‘like a sniper’, top scientist warns

In other space news, the biggest solar flare since 2017 and new sunspots suggests our star could be ‘waking up’, according to Nasa.

A SpaceX rocket launched two US astronauts into orbit over the weekend.

And, Flat-Earth conspiracy theorists were ridiculed on social media after footage from the launch captured the curvature of our planet.

What do you make of Nasa’s ‘close approach’ definition? Let us know in the comments…

We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online Tech & Science team? Email us at [email protected]





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