12 March 2020

Asian Stocks Plunge on Corona Virus Pandemic Declaration

Hong Kong blue chips have plunged by more than 900 points after the WHO declared a global pandemic from the coronavirus that surfaced in China in December.


The benchmark Hang Seng Index has sunk now by 924.75 points, or 3.67 percent at 24,306.86.
China's Meituan Dianping  (3690) shed more than 6 percent at HK$89.90.
In Tokyo, stocks extended their losses. The benchmark Nikkei is down by 5.27 percent, or 1,022 points at 18,393.34.

In Australia, the benchmark  ASX 200 index also slumped and is now down by 6.21 percent, or 355.50 points at 5,370.40.

In Seoul, stocks are sinking. The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price (KOSPI) Index fell 19.70 points, or 1.03 percent, to 1,888.57 in the first 15 minutes of trading.

On Wednesday, the KOSPI plunged by nearly 3 percent to 1,908.27 points, the lowest level since February 17, 2016.

How Riots are Affecting Circumcision in India

Medical procedure strikes fear in mother


By Joyjit Ghosh in Calcutta

Protesters carry a national flag during a rally against the citizenship act in Calcutta on Thursday. (AP)

February 2020, New Delhi: A journalist with a Hindi news portal was assaulted in riot-hit Maujpur in northeast Delhi and forced to drop his pants to check if he was circumcised. Rioters in Maujpur had also threatened to take the pants off a photojournalist to confirm his religion before he was let off.

Last Sunday, the unspeakable depravity that unfolded on the streets of Ahmedabad and Delhi gate-crashed a doctor’s cabin in Calcutta and preyed on a mother’s worst fears.

The paediatric surgeon, Subhasis Saha, had conducted a procedure called circumcision on the woman’s child for medical, not religious, reasons.

The surgeon had explained to the family, who does not belong to any religion that mandates circumcision, that surgeries for phimosis are performed through either of the two procedures — circumcision or preputioplasty.

“Preputioplasty helps retain the foreskin which is lost in the case of circumcision. But preputioplasty is far more challenging than getting rid of the foreskin. It involves curing the foreskin, saving it and ensuring that the situation does not recur warranting another procedure later,” the surgeon explained.
That Sunday, the surgeon had to perform two surgeries for phimosis in the Calcutta hospital. “Both the patients were from a community that doesn’t mandate the procedure. For one child, I could undertake preputioplasty. However, for absolute medical reasons, circumcision was the only way out for the other kid,” Saha recounted.

“When I told the child’s mother that I had to opt for circumcision, her face fell,” the surgeon said.
“The woman’s brother told me that his sister was worried about the operation ever since she read reports about the two journalists who were caught in the recent riots and the way they were made to prove their religious identity,” Saha said.

He added: “A socio-political crisis has come to influence a medical intervention.”

“It has not been many days since the northeast Delhi riots, but it has already left an indelible scar on the minds of parents of kids who have been advised surgery for phimosis. The parents are worried because their religion do not require them to undergo the process, but it has to be done for pure medical reasons. They have already worked the Internet and are suggesting that I undertake preputioplasty,” the surgeon added.

For medical reasons, more than 2,000 circumcisions, including on adults, are performed by general surgeons, urologists, paediatric and plastic surgeons every month in Calcutta and its surroundings alone, doctors said, adding that it was a conservative figure.

The Sunday incident does not appear to be an isolated one.

Another doctor who also performs surgeries for phimosis but didn’t want to be named said: “In the past few weeks, a couple of parents have approached me with requests to retain the skin. In our WhatsApp group, doctors are debating this trend with concern.”

Uday Shankar Chatterjee, who pioneered preputioplasty in the city a little over two decades ago, said: “When I had started the procedure, it was about saving the prepuce or foreskin for medical reasons. In the context of the Delhi riots, it gives a new dimension to the procedure.”

A Calcuttan whose son had to undergo the procedure a few years ago recalled: “It was after the Gujarat riots but it did not even occur to me then that what some thugs did there will have any bearing on my child here in Calcutta. My son’s health was my sole concern.”

“When the doctor recommended circumcision for my son, I readily agreed. Now, I think what has happened to our country of late is making us fear that such horrors need not be confined to distant places. They can happen anywhere now,” he added.

Sociologist Surajit C. Mukhopadhyay said: “This shows how innocent people are getting drawn into the vortex of fear and that they are trying to build a defence mechanism in a possible riot situation.”
He pointed out: “The parents are aware that scientific explanation will not wash with the bloodthirsty mob. So, they are trying to keep their children safe.”

Mukhopadhyay added: “People who are not honed into the majority and minority binary are trying to publicly show their allegiance to the majority out of fear. This is almost a reflection of what thousands of Germans did when they displayed their support for the Nazis. Fear has overtaken democracy, and civil edifices are being systematically destroyed. We are being pushed back to an era we had supposedly left long ago.”

Psychologist Mohor Mala Chatterjee echoed Mukhopadhyay. “Such actions of parents show how deep the threat runs. Whether children or adults, the anxiety over the medical process will definitely weigh negatively on their mind.”
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Tom Hanks & Wife Rita Wilson Diagnosed With Coronavirus


FILE - In this Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016, file photo, Actor Tom Hanks, left, flanked by his wife Rita Wilson, arrives to receive a lifetime achievement at the Rome Film Festival, in Rome. Ever since her husband, Hanks, appeared on “Saturday Night Live” as the strange man in the pumpkin …
AP Photo/Andrew Medichini, File

Hollywood stars Tom Hanks and Rita wife Wilson have been diagnosed with the deadly coronavirus while in Australia for the pre-production of an untitled Elvis Presley movie.
The development was first reported by Deadline.

Hanks confirmed the news in a statement:
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A New Streaming Platform for Short Attention Spans

Punk'd and Singled Out revivals on Quibi

Quibi is a company that is trying to capitalize on the ever deteriorating attention span of the consumer.

The service aims to compete with TikTok and YouTube by creating professional content people can watch on their phones that's cut down to 7 minute segments - far shorter than traditional 22 minute TV shows.

The platform is also taking advantage of consumers' incessant need for the ridiculous. Some of the ideas it is launching its service with include "a cooking contest where competitors are slammed in the face with meals fired out of a cannon, a show about customized dog houses called 'Barkitecture', and a home-renovation program that 'removes the stains' from houses where murders were committed," according to Bloomberg.
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Cristiano Ronaldo Team Mate Tests Positive For Coronavirus

Cristiano Ronaldo, en un partido con la Juventus.
Juventus, a football club based in Turin, a city in Piedmont situated just outside Italy's initial exclusion zone, just confirmed that center-back Daniele Rugani has tested positive for the coronavirus, though it's not yet clear who.
This is the first time a Serie A football club has confirmed that one of its top players has been infected.
And suddenly, it seems clear that Italian soccer's plan to ban fans at league contests is truly inadequate.
Immediately, most fans thoughts probably turned to Cristiano Ronaldo, the club's star player.
11 March 2020

"Taiwan" to "Taipei" Johns Hopkins coronavirus map changed

A heat map showing number of coronavirus cases in China, and in "Taipei and environs."
Screenshot: JHU Coronavirus Resource Center
The Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center, which maintains an interactive map tracking the number of coronavirus cases worldwide, has changed how it refers to Taiwan, Axios has learned. Instead of "Taiwan," the map now uses "Taipei and environs."

Why it matters: The change tracks closely with how the Chinese government prefers to refer to Taiwan, which it views as part of Chinese territory.
  • Screenshots from early February show that the JHU coronavirus map still used "Taiwan" as a category under a section called "Confirmed cases by country/region."
  • But now the map uses "Taipei and environs," referring to Taiwan's capital city and surrounding areas.
What they're saying: When contacted Lauren Gardner, an associate professor of civil and systems engineering at JHU who directs the map project, said that they had just caught the change and would be changing it back to "Taiwan" immediately.

The big picture: Over the past several years, the Chinese government has increasingly sought to control how international organizations and companies refer to Taiwan, insisting that they change wording to align more closely with the Chinese Communist Party's "one-China policy."
  • In 2018, the Chinese government threatened airlines around the world with retaliation if they did not change wording on websites and on-place reading materials.
  • Those airlines now list the capital of Taiwan as simply "Taipei" or as "Taipei, China."


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Manipur closes international gates at Moreh: Coronavirus


A couple wearing masks. File

An order says that all district authorities and security forces have been instructed to close down all entry points.

The legalised border trade with Myanmar came to a grinding halt from Tuesday as the Manipur government closed both the international gates I and II at Moreh, Manipur’s border town.


An order issued by H. Gyan Prakash, the special secretary (Home), Manipur, says that the preventive measure was taken to check possible outbreak and transmission of Coronavirus in Manipur. Crossing the international gates by all sections of people through these gates is prohibited. The order says that all district authorities and security forces have been instructed to close down all entry points.


On Monday, the troops of 43 Assam Rifles deployed along the border had banned crossing of the border. Only a few people are going to Myanmar and entering Manipur through these gates manned by officials of Manipur and Myanmar. Majority of the traders bring their goods to Manipur through other parts of the border. An official source says that the sealing of the international border will be extended to Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh which have a common border with Myanmar.
There have been local media reports saying that just one or two officials check the people coming from Myanmar. As there is no crowd control system near the international gates, the possibility of contracting the disease is high. Besides, reports say that those wanting to enter Manipur are stranded for hours as the doctors are yet to arrive from Imphal.

Health officials said that the tests conducted on 12 suspect persons were found to be negative. One Indian coming to Imphal was lodged in the isolation ward of the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences, Imphal. Medical Superintendent C. Arunkumar said the patient was improving and said that he may be discharged soon.

There are two isolation wards in the two medical colleges, RIMS and JNIMS, in Imphal.

Chief Minister N. Biren had already given approval for the construction of a full-fledged isolation ward on the RIMS complex to meet any eventuality. He also appealed to the people to shorten the Holi festival which is a five-day carnival in Manipur.

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Asianet News has an interpreter translating every word into Sign Language

Asianet News has an interpreter translating every word into Sign Language...

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