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Barbara Bush won’t seek more medical treatment after hospitalizations

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“It will not surprise those who know here that Barbara Bush has been a rock in the face of her failing health, worrying not for herself — thanks to her abiding faith — but for others,” the statement said.

“She is surrounded by a family she adores and appreciates the many kind messages and especially the prayers she is receiving.”

Bush was briefly hospitalized last year for bronchitis. George H.W. Bush, who has a form of Parkinson’s disease and has suffered from respiratory difficulties, spent two weeks at Houston Methodist Hospital last year during a bout with pneumonia.

The Bushes celebrated their 73rd wedding anniversary earlier this year. They are the longest married couple in presidential history.

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120,000-year-old human footprints found in Saudi Arabia | World News

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Sets of 120,000-year-old footprints belonging to humans have been discovered in Saudi Arabia.

The set of seven human footprints, found around an ancient dry lake in the northern region of Tabuk, are the earliest evidence of humans in the Arabian peninsula.

Experts believe they are the footprints of at least two people, and say they could help understand the routes taken by humans out of Africa.

Pic: AFP /Paul Breeze
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Researchers believe inland routes alongside lakes and rivers may have played an important role in human migration. Pic: AFP/Paul Breeze

The new research suggests “inland routes, following lakes and rivers, may have been particularly important to humans” leaving the continent, according to Mathew Stewart from the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology

He added: “Footprints are a unique form of fossil evidence in that they provide snapshots in time, typically representing a few hours or days, a resolution we tend not to get from other records.”

The researchers think the footprints belong to modern humans, on the basis of stature and mass inferred from them, rather than Neanderthals, who aren’t known to have been in the region at the time.

Mr Stewart said: “We know that humans were visiting this lake at the same time these animals were, and, unusually for the area, there’s no stone tools.

“It appears that these people were visiting the lake for water resources and just to forage at the same time as the animals.”

Footprints of elephants and other animals were also identified alongside 233 fossils.

Today, the Arabian peninsula consists of vast deserts which would have been uninhabitable for early humans and the animals that they hunted.

However, over the last decade, researchers have found that the area experienced much greener and humid conditions due to natural variation in the climate.

Richard Clark-Wilson, from Royal Holloway, University of London, said: “At certain times in the past, the deserts that dominate the interior of the peninsula transformed into expansive grasslands with permanent freshwater lakes and rivers.”

“The presence of large animals such as elephants and hippos, together with open grasslands and large water resources, may have made northern Arabia a particularly attractive place to humans moving between Africa and Eurasia,” added Michael Petraglia, from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.

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Coronavirus: Yemen in denial about COVID-19 – and worse still, there’s a fog of mystery over how many are dying | World News

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There’s no coronavirus pandemic in Yemen if you ask anybody in the Old City of Sana’a.

The world heritage site is crowded with bustling shoppers – and literally no one is wearing a mask when we visit.

As we weave our way through the narrow alleyways and ancient cobbled streets, the Sky crew are the only ones using protection against one of the world’s deadliest ever pandemics.

“There’s no corona in Yemen,” one man tells us as others gather around, nodding in agreement. “There’s no corona at all… People are lying. They’re liars.”

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No one wears a face mask in the bustling city

In the Old City’s quat sector, where they sell the addictive leaves which 90% of Yemen’s population chew daily, we find a people in utter denial about the potentially deadly virus.

And there’s a firm belief here that quat – which gives the user an amphetamine “high” – can help ward off the crippling disease.

“Whenever you get a temperature and tiredness, you chew some quat and you get better,” one man tells us.

When we ask another if he’s ever thought of wearing a mask for protection, he scoffs at us. “Why? Why do we need masks if there’s no corona?”

It is a common belief. Yemen had its first reported COVID-19 case on 10 April.

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People are in denial about the potentially deadly virus
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The Old City of Sana’a in Yemen

Since then, it is difficult to believe that the country – which is suffering the world’s largest humanitarian disaster – has managed to bring it under control. Most of the population is classified as dependent on aid.

There’s a widespread lack of clean water to maintain simple hygiene standards, considered essential to stop the spread of the virus.

There’s a crumbling and busted medical infrastructure unable to cope with the multiple existing problems and common killers such as malnutrition and diarrhoea.

There’s a fresh outbreak of cholera. Millions suffer from pre-existing conditions. All of these factors make the Yemenis uniquely vulnerable to the deadly coronavirus – a virus which has floored some of the richest countries on the planet.

But COVID-19 testing and tracing is virtually non-existent in Yemen, which contributes to the fog of mystery over how fast the virus is spreading and how many are infected or dying.

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Young people are attending hospital with coronavirus in Yemen

In the Houthi-controlled north, which contains the over-populated city of Sana’a, the official number of coronavirus fatalities is just four.

The official total number of nationwide cases is under 2,000, with fewer than 500 deaths. These are figures which only the Yemenis seem comfortable believing.

Auke Lootsma, from the United Nations Development Programme, said: “On top of everything that Yemen is experiencing, it can now also add the highest unofficial death rate to COVID-19 in the world.”

Yemen has been struggling through six years of war which has divided the country into territory controlled by the internationally recognised government (supported by a Saudi-led coalition backed by the US and the UK) which rules over the south including the port city of Aden – and the Houthi rebels in the north (supported by Iran) who have the capital, Sana’a.

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There’s a belief that quat – which gives the user an amphetamine ‘high’ – wards off COVID-19

It’s left the population of 30 million suffering unimaginable hardship. The UN estimates those Yemenis who catch coronavirus die in record numbers. The average fatality rate globally is about 7% – but in Yemen, that figure is estimated by the UN to be around the 30% mark.

And with the lack of official data on both sides of the conflict, it’s been left to local medical groups to try to collate figures of the dead. One medical charity estimated a shockingly high number of health workers have died – possibly as many as 100.

One young doctor working at the Al-Kuwait hospital in Sana’a told Sky News she was still traumatised by the number of medical colleagues who’ve been admitted with coronavirus symptoms and haven’t survived.

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Doctors are worried about the number of health workers who have died from coronavirus

“I don’t want to think in the future because it will be like a nightmare, Dr Rania Jashan said. “I try to avoid thinking what will be next… because we don’t have the doctors.”

On top of this, there’s a deep suspicion amongst many Yemenis about the virus itself – where it is coming from and how it has spread.

Virtually every patient we spoke to in the hospital spoke about the fear of being given the “lethal injection”. Dr Jashan said there was a firmly held belief that the doctors were either spreading the virus or injecting the sufferers and killing them.

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Mansour Abdul Wasih Sharabe has spent several days intubated and on a ventilator

Mansour Abdul Wasih Sharabe has spent the past four days intubated and on a ventilator.

He’s remarkably alert and lucid about how frightened he was about coming into the hospital. He tells us he believed he’d almost been taken hostage. He was terrified.

“What did I do wrong?,” he said, “Why am I tied to the bed like this? I can’t breathe… I have to get out. What did I do?”

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Mr Sharabe was frightened about coming into hospital

In Sana’a’s Old City, those who do believe the virus exists are also convinced it’s a biological weapon used by those who’ve been waging war against them in this region for the past few years.

Ali Abu Ali Al-Salame, 56, told us: “If they are already hitting us with prohibited weapons and missiles and illegal bombs, why wouldn’t they hit us with this virus?”

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He blamed Saudi Arabia, the US and Israel for all the misery the Yemenis are feeling.

And in a country where half of the medical facilities are not functioning, the global pandemic has also led to a cut in international donations. There’re also worries that both sides in this conflict are restricting access to the millions donated in aid.

The doctors in the Al-Kuwait hospital tell us they’ve dealt with “thousands” of COVID cases, but their foreign sponsors are cutting their donations because the official tally suggests the virus is “over” here. They are frantic with worry about the future and what it holds.

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Dr Ahmed Al Junaid said the coronavirus situation is an emergency in Yemen

“We are in emergency situation already,” Dr Ahmed Al Junaid said.

“We have the war and conflict and morbidity and illiteracy… and now we have COVID.

“We hope another organisation will help us… we hope to send a message to the world to stop the war, stop the conflict and help the Yemeni to negotiation and peace.”

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Forrest Gump author Winston Groom dies aged 77 | US News

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Tributes have been paid to Forrest Gump author Winston Groom, who has died aged 77.

Groom’s novel about a slow-witted but kind-hearted man from Alabama was adapted into a Hollywood film in 1994.

Tom Hanks won an Academy Award for his portrayal of Gump, and the film itself won six other Oscars – including best picture – after grossing more than $683m (£527m) at the global box office.

It became a cultural sensation and in 2011 was selected for preservation in the US National Film Registry.

Winston Groom. Pic: Alex Berliner/BEI/Shutterstock
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Winston Groom, pictured in 1995. Pic: Alex Berliner/BEI/Shutterstock


Groom’s death was confirmed by Alabama governor Kay Ivey.

She said: “Saddened to learn that Alabama has lost one of our most gifted writers.”

“While he will be remembered for creating Forrest Gump, Winston Groom was a talented journalist and noted author of American history.

“Our hearts & prayers are extended to his family.”

Groom graduated from the University of Alabama in 1965 before a spell in the US army, which included a tour of duty in the Vietnam War.

In its tribute, the university called him “one of our legends”.

Actor Tom Hanks sips a glass of water at the Governor's Ball March 27 as he holds the Oscar he won as best actor for his role in "Forrest Gump" at the 67th Academy Awards in Los Angeles
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Tom Hanks received an Oscar for his role in the film

Following the success of Forrest Gump, Groom wrote a follow-up, 1995’s Gump and Co.

Groom, a former journalist, also wrote non-fiction on a range of subjects, including the American Civil War.

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