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South Korea sees biggest spike in coronavirus cases since March | South Korea News

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South Korea has reported its highest daily rise in coronavirus cases since early March as clusters of cases from churches around the capital Seoul have prompted new restrictions amid concerns of a nationwide wave of infections.

The 297 new infections reported on Wednesday mark the sixth straight day of triple-digit increase in a country that has managed to blunt several previous outbreaks.

The national tally rose to 16,058 infections with 306 deaths, according to data from the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We’re in a desperately dangerous crisis where infections are spreading in the Seoul metropolitan area and threatening to lead to a massive nationwide transmission,” Vice Minister of Health Kim Gang-lip told a briefing.

“The government cannot contain the current spread only with tracing and isolation … please stay home unless you need to go out.”

Officials have also enforced stronger physical distancing restrictions for Seoul, Incheon and nearby Gyeonggi province that prohibit gatherings of more than 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors.

Nightclubs, karaoke rooms, buffet restaurants, computer gaming cafes and other “high-risk” facilities will be shut, while churches will be required to conduct all their worship services online.

Al Jazeera’s Rob McBride, reporting from Seoul, said the capital and surrounding areas were “back at phase-two restrictions on a three-scale level”.

At least 140 of the new infections are linked to the Sarang Jeil Church in northern Seoul, taking the total number of cases from there to nearly 600.

It is run by a controversial conservative preacher, Reverand Jun Kwang-hun, who also tested positive for COVID-19.

Authorities are trying to trace another 600 members of the church’s congregation who should be in isolation and would like to test all 4,000 of its members. More than 8,500 police officers have been mobilised to track down church members.

“There has been a real concern over the lack of cooperation from this particular church,” Al Jazeera’s McBride said.

“There have been allegations that some of the lists the church has been providing of members have been partially bogus, that people aren’t presenting themselves to be tested and that some people who even do go to the hospitals to get tested are absconding,” he added.

Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said the government would take legal action against the church for any attempt to disrupt tracing and testing efforts by failing to provide accurate membership lists.

At least three other smaller clusters have been linked to churches in Seoul and one to a church in the city of Yongin. Dozens of cases were linked to a coffee outlet in the city of Paju.

More than 22 million people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 around the world, some 14 million people have recovered, and more than 779,000 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University.

SOURCE:
Al Jazeera and news agencies



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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‘Kuwait is unsafe for women’: Outrage over brutal murder of woman | Women’s Rights News

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The Murder of a woman in Kuwait sparks calls for stricter punishment for perpetrators after she was killed by a man released on bail.

The horrific murder of a woman in Kuwait this week has sparked outrage on social media with calls for stricter punishment for perpetrators of violent crime against women in the country.

On Tuesday, Farah Hamza Akbar was killed by a man against whom she had previously filed two cases for harassment which followed her family’s alleged refusal to his marriage proposal.

The perpetrator, arrested and later released on bail, kidnapped the woman and stabbed her to death. Her body was left outside a hospital south of Kuwait City, according to the interior ministry.

Within hours of the murder, to which the man later confessed, the police arrested him, the ministry said in a statement.

A video circulating on social media showed the victim’s sister crying and screaming that she had notified authorities of the threat he posed, but said her pleas were ignored.

“That is what we got, exactly what we said, that he is going to kill her, and he killed my sister. Where is the government? We told the judge. I told you many times he would kill her, and now she’s dead,” she said in the footage.

Outrage

Within hours, the victim’s name was trending on Twitter in Kuwait as hundreds expressed outrage over the crime.

Kuwaiti fashion blogger Ascia al-Faraj shared the video of the distraught sister, saying that Kuwait was “not safe for women”.

Several social media users held authorities responsible, saying that they should not have released the perpetrator after he had threatened to kill the woman multiple times.

The murder comes two months after Kuwaiti activists launched a nationwide campaign to end sexual harassment and violence against women.

The campaign brought forward dozens of testimonies from women in Kuwait about being stalked, harassed or assaulted, mainly from the Instagram account “Lan Asket”, Arabic for “I will not be silent”.

Al-Faraj, the blogger, released an explosive video at the time of the campaign, saying there was a “problem” in the country.

“Every time I go out, there is someone who harasses me or harasses another woman in the street,” she said in a video after a vehicle sped up to “scare” her while she was walking to her car.

“We have a problem of harassment in this country, and I have had enough.”





Source – www.aljazeera.com

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Gov’t Promises to Mend Relationship with NGOs

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The Minister for Internal Affairs General Jeje Odongo has dismissed claims that Government is currently not at the best of terms with Non-Governmental Organizations and embarked on policies aimed at suppressing them.

Speaking at the launch of a book titled ‘Uganda’s Civil Society’ in Kampala, Odongo noted that while some things might not have moved on well between Government and some NGOs, the former is willing to address these issues so that the two parties can continue operating hand in hand.

“I would like to assure you that Government in the process of regulating this field through the NGO bureau. Government doesn’t have any sinister motives but is focused on improving the sector.”

As the line minister, Odongo vowed to ensure that the relationship between Government and these Organizations is improved to the extent that where there is a need, government will be ready to come in and support them.

The new book, which contains crucial information about these bodies, Odongo said, will be of great importance to various stake holders.

Stephen Okello the head of the NGO Bureau applauded the author and financer of this publication, saying it had come at a time when the country lacks a one stop center as far as operations of NGOs in the country is concerned.

“This book is very important because it’s going to spark off discussions on issues affecting CSOs; therefore, I ask everyone to spare time and read it.”

Joel Senyonyi the spokesperson for National Unity Platform (NUP) asked Government to stop referring to its critiques as enemies of the state or Agents of Europeans because they do all this as a result of love for their nation.

Sarah Bireete the Executive Director for Center for Constitutional Governance (CCG) noted that the Government is more comfortable with them sensitizing people on Sanitation matters than issue of Governance issues.

The post Gov’t Promises to Mend Relationship with NGOs first appeared on ChimpReports.



Source – chimpreports.com

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Taking a knee, lifting fist to be punished at Tokyo 2020 Olympics | Black Lives Matter News

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Against the backdrop of the BLM movement protesting racial injustice, calls increased for change to IOC rule.

Taking a knee during the Tokyo Olympics or lifting a fist in support of racial equality will be punished as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) maintained its ban on athletes’ protests inside stadiums, at ceremonies and on podiums.

The IOC’s Rule 50 forbids any kind of “demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda” in venues and any other Olympic area and the Games body concluded the rule should be maintained following an athlete consultation.

Against the backdrop of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement against racial injustice, calls have increased in recent months for a change to that rule that would allow athletes to protest.

Some international federation chiefs, including World Athletics’ President Sebastian Coe, have said athletes should have the right to make gestures of political protest during the Games.

The IOC’s Athletes’ Commission chief Kirsty Coventry, who led a review of the rule, said 70 percent of the athletes consulted were against any protests within the fields of play or the podiums.

“I would not want something to distract from my competition and take away from that. That is how I still feel today,” Coventry, a former Olympic swimming champion for Zimbabwe, said in an online presentation of the Rule 50 consultation results.

Coventry said there were a series of recommendations approved by the IOC’s Executive Board on Wednesday, including providing clarity on sanctions, more information about Rule 50, a change of wording of the Olympic Oath with messages on inclusion, and producing athlete apparel with inclusive messaging.

The IOC’s recommendations are the result of a consultation process that started in June 2020 and involved more than 3,500 athletes.

The Tokyo Olympics, delayed by a year due to the coronavirus pandemic, kicks off on July 23.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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