The first patients arrived at a 1,000-bed hospital built in 10 days as part of China’s sweeping efforts to fight a new virus that is causing global alarm. Huoshenshan Hospital and a second 1,500-bed facility due to open this week were built by construction crews who are working around the clock in Wuhan, the central city where the outbreak was first detected in December. Some 50 million people are barred from leaving Wuhan and surrounding cities. Authorities have cut most road, rail and air access as part of efforts to contain the viral outbreak that has sickened more than 17,000 people and killed more than 360.
The new coronavirus has now reached more than 20 countries from China, where the epidemic or disease outbreak began over a month ago. Officials are preparing for the possibility that this could be the next pandemic that the world will have to face. A pandemic is an infectious disease threatening lots of people simultaneously all across the world, like swine flu in 2009-10.
Malawi's constitutional court annulled last year's controversial election, which saw President Peter Mutharika narrowly re-elected. The judges found there had been widespread irregularities in the May 21, 2019 vote. This is the first election to be legally challenged since Malawi's independence in 1964. A new vote will take place within 151 days. There have been regular anti-government protests since the election.
The court ruled that Mr Mutharika will stay in power until a re-election is held. President Peter Mutharika won a second term in May with 38.6% of the vote. But opposition candidates Lazarus Chakwera, who came second, and Saulos Chilima, who finished third, went to court to argue that the election was not fair. They said the way the election was conducted was full of irregularities. The judges, who arrived in court in the capital Lilongwe under military escort, upheld the complaint.
The British government said it will introduce emergency legislation to stop people convicted of terror crimes being released after serving half their sentences, following a second attack in London by recently freed offenders. The announcement came the day after an Islamic extremist who had recently been released from prison wounded two people in south London, despite being under police surveillance. Sudesh Amman, 20, strapped on a fake bomb and stabbed two people on a busy street before being shot dead by police.
“Yesterday’s appalling incident makes the case plainly for immediate action,” Justice Secretary Robert Buckland told lawmakers. “We will therefore introduce emergency legislation to put an end to terrorist offenders getting released automatically having served half of their sentence with no check or review.” He said terror convicts would have to serve at least two-thirds of their sentences, and wouldn’t be freed before the end of their full terms unless the Parole Board agreed.
US President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial was headed toward a historic conclusion (after Dhaka Courier went to press for the week), with senators all-but-certain to acquit him on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress after narrowly rejecting Democratic demands to summon witnesses. The vote in the Senate is expected to cap a months-long investigation spurred by a whistleblower complaint that Trump improperly withheld U.S. military aid from Ukraine in a bid to pressure it to launch investigations into 2020 Democratic rival Joe Biden.
In the Senate, Republicans hold a 53-47 advantage and there’s nowhere near the two-thirds needed for conviction and removal. Republicans blocked consideration of new witnesses and documents, setting up the speedy acquittal vote. With Trump’s acquittal all but assured, one of the biggest questions may be whether any Democrats join with Republicans to clear him of charges.