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Hong Kong protesters hit with teargas as world figures condemn China’s plans for security law | World News

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Police have fired teargas at protesters in Hong Kong after nearly 200 political figures from around the world condemned China’s plans for new security laws.

Hundreds of demonstraters clashed with security officials in Hong Kong’s Wanchai district on Sunday over Beijing’s proposals to set up government intelligence bases in the territory.

Protesters were seen cowering behind umbrellas as officers with shields fired the gas to try to disperse crowds of activists and journalists carrying “Free Hong Kong” signs.

China says it wants to prevent a repeat of last year’s riots, which were triggered by a bill that would have allowed islanders to be extradited to the mainland.

tear gas
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Protesters in masks were forced to flee when police fired teargas at them in Wanchai, Hong Kong on Sunday
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One activist is seen running away from crowds
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Police with riot shields try to disperse crowds in Wanchai

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The government says the laws are necessary to “prevent, stop and punish” such protests in the future, after the last demonstrations crippled the territory for months.

Leading democracy activist Joshua Wong defended the decision to protest in violation of Hong Kong’s ban on gatherings of more than eight people amid the coronavirus outbreak.

He described the security proposals as the “beginning of the end” and said “time is really running out” for the pro-democracy movement.

International tension over the security legislation is rising fast, with 17 members of US congress joining those criticising the move across the world.

Pro-democracy activists during a rally in response to a proposal to enact new Hong Kong security legislation
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Activists in masks carry “Free Hong Kong” signs

Protesters march on a road during a pro-democracy rally against a proposed new security law in Hong Kong on May 24, 2020. - The proposed legislation is expected to ban treason, subversion and sedition, and follows repeated warnings from Beijing that it will no longer tolerate dissent in Hong Kong, which was shaken by months of massive, sometimes violent anti-government protests last year. (Photo by Anthony WALLACE / AFP) (Photo by ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP via Getty Images)
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Protesters wear masks amid coronavirus restrictions in Hong Kong

In a joint statement organised by former Hong Kong Governor Chris Patten and former British foreign secretary Malcolm Rifkind, 186 law and policy leaders said the proposed laws are a “comprehensive assault on the city’s autonomy and rule of law”.

They say the laws threaten “fundamental freedoms” and are a “flagrant breach” of the Sino-British Joint Declaration that returned Hong Kong to China in 1997.

“If the international community cannot trust Beijing to keep its word when it comes to Hong Kong, people will be reluctant to take its word on other matters,” they wrote.

The legislation comes as the relationship between Washington and Beijing is at a low ebb after Donald Trump blamed China for the COVID-19 pandemic.

US officials have said the Chinese legislation would be bad for the economies of both Hong Kong and China and could jeopardise the territory’s special status in US law.

China has dismissed other countries’ complaints as meddling.

Democracy activist Joshua Wong (pictured in November) defended today's protests
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Democracy activist Joshua Wong (pictured in November) defended today’s protests


Carrie Lam presser







Hong Kong to adopt China’s controversial security law

Some of the US president’s fellow Republicans – Senator Marco Rubio, acting chairman of the Intelligence Committee, and Senator Ted Cruz – signed the statement.

Democratic signatories included Senator Bob Menendez, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Representatives Eliot Engel, head of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Adam Schiff, chairman of the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee.

In London, 44 MPs and eight members of the House of Lords also signed the statement, alongside figures from across Europe, Asia, Australia and North America.

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Kelly Preston: John Travolta’s wife dies from breast cancer aged 57 | Ents & Arts News

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John Travolta says his wife Kelly Preston has died from breast cancer.

The actor wrote on Instagram: “It is with a very heavy heart that I inform you that my beautiful wife Kelly has lost her two-year battle with breast cancer.

“She fought a courageous fight with the love and support of so many.”

The actress had chosen to keep her diagnosis private.

A family representative told US publication People that she died on Sunday morning and “had been undergoing medical treatment for some time, supported by her closest family and friends”.

Preston appeared alongside Tom Cruise and Arnold Schwarzenegger in hit films Jerry Maguire and Twins.

She also starred several times with her husband, most recently in mob flick Gotti in 2018.

The couple were married for 28 years and have two children, a 20-year-old daughter and a nine-year-old son.

Their first child Jett died in 2009, aged 16, after suffering a seizure on holiday in The Bahamas.

Preston’s last post on Instagram was in June, when she shared a Father’s Day picture of her family alongside the caption: “Happy Father’s Day to the best one I know, we love you.”

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Coronavirus: South Africa bans alcohol sales to free hospital beds for COVID-19 patients | World News

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South Africa’s president has announced a ban on alcohol sales to reduce the number of people admitted to hospital.

It is hoped that a fall in the number of alcohol-related hospital admissions would mean more beds available to treat COVID-19 patients.

A night curfew will also be reinstated to reduce traffic accidents, again freeing up hospital beds.

Wearing face masks has also become compulsory in public.



Coronavirus in South Africa, Jonathan Sparks







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It comes after South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said health officials had warned that the number of hospital beds would soon not be enough, as coronavirus cases climb.

He said the country was expected to reach the peak of cases between the end of July and September.

South Africa has confirmed 276,242 cases of the virus, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, and 4,079 deaths.









March: South Africa battles to implement social distancing

The country has reported daily increases of more than 10,000 confirmed cases for several days, with the latest daily figure adding nearly 13,500 to the total.

In March, South Africa began a strict lockdown in an effort to fight the virus but it has since eased many of those restrictions due to fears that continuing the lockdown would ruin the struggling economy.

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Coronavirus warning from Italy: Effects of COVID-19 could be worse than first thought | World News

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The long-term effects of COVID-19, even on people who suffered a mild infection, could be far worse than was originally anticipated, according to researchers and doctors in northern Italy.

Psychosis, insomnia, kidney disease, spinal infections, strokes, chronic tiredness and mobility issues are being identified in former coronavirus patients in Lombardy, the worst-affected region in the country.

The doctors warn that some victims may never recover from the illness and that all age groups are vulnerable.



Intensive care ward in hospital in Lombardy, Italy







‘It’s a war, it’s a disaster’ – Lombardy hospital struggles to cope

The virus is a systemic infection that affects all the organs of the body, not, as was previously thought, just a respiratory disease, they say.

Some people may find that their ability to properly work, to concentrate, and even to take part in physical activities will be severely impaired.



Italy: The journey of a coronavirus nation







Italy: The journey of a coronavirus nation

The physicians warn that people who do not consider themselves in a vulnerable group and aren’t concerned at contracting the disease could be putting themselves in danger of life-changing illnesses if they ignore the rules to keep safe.

They stress that the need for social distancing, hand washing, and masks is as important now as it ever was.

The warnings come amid growing concerns in northern Italy that a second wave of the virus could be imminent. Doctors in two of the main hospitals in the region have reported a handful of new cases of severely ill people with respiratory problems.

Dr Roberto Cosentini, head of emergencies at Papa Giovanni XXIII Hospital in Bergamo
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Dr Roberto Cosentini is head of emergencies at Papa Giovanni XXIII Hospital in Bergamo

Dr Roberto Cosentini, head of emergencies at Papa Giovanni XXIII Hospital in Bergamo, oversaw the response to the virus that swept through this alpine province claiming the lives of at least 6,000 people.

He gave Sky News unprecedented access to the hospital’s emergency rooms in March when the first shocking effects of the virus were broadcast around the world, changing perceptions of the scale of the problem.

Now he is leading efforts to again send a warning across the globe that COVID-19 is a lethal killer that affects the whole body, and is not going away.



A grandfather and daughter reunite







Italians rejoice as lockdown is lifted

“At first, initially, we thought it was a bad flu, then we thought it was a bad flu with a very bad pneumonia, it was the phase when you came here, but subsequently we discovered that it is a systemic illness with vessel damage in the whole body with renal involvement, cerebral involvement,” he told me in the now silent COVID-19 emergency room that was overwhelmed a few months ago.

“So we are seeing other acute manifestations of renal failure that requested dialysis or stroke, and then acute myocardial infarction, so a lot of complications or other manifestations of the virus.

“And also now we see a significant proportion of the population with chronic damage from the virus,” he said.

One of the few positives emerging from the pandemic that caused havoc to the health service here was the creation of a unique environment where doctors and experts in different fields found themselves working together for months, effectively learning new skills. That cooperation is helping the understanding of the virus.

Dr Emanuela Catenacci is a neurosurgeon at Cremona Hospital
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Dr Emanuela Catenacci is a neurosurgeon at Cremona Hospital

Dr Emanuela Catenacci is a neurosurgeon at Cremona Hospital and when we first met her in March she had been co-opted to work on the intensive care wards during the worst of the outbreak.

She is back on neurology, but crucially, whereas in the past she would have treated patients completely independent of other departments, now she can see the link. That link is COVID-19, and it’s a multi-organ killer.

“In our hospital now we have a practice with immunologists, who are checking these patients, especially the most severe, those with the most severe illnesses, and they are checking not only lungs, but all the systemic manifestations of COVID pathology,” she told me.

“The virus is a systemic infection, some of our apparatus organs have the biggest manifestation, such as lungs as we know, but also brain, skin, and sometimes we have vasculitis, so it’s not [just] high respiratory or low respiratory infection, it’s not finished [at] that,” she said.



Naples is deserted as coronvirus lockdown continues







Drone footage shows four locations in Italy where outside activity is not happening.

The Italian doctors’ findings in their patients mirror a recent study carried out at University College London.

Researchers identified serious neurological complications arising from COVID-19 including delirium, brain inflammation, stroke and nerve damage in 43 people aged 16 to 85.

Some of the patients had experienced no severe breathing problems at all, with the neurological disorder being the first and only sign that they had coronavirus.

An intensive testing and follow up analysis of all survivors has been launched in Bergamo. Teams of doctors examine those who have recovered on a constant basis, trying to track the changing properties of the virus.

Filippo Alcaini and his wife Caterina Belotti
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Filippo Alcaini, pictured with his wife Caterina Belotti, is one of the survivors

Filippo Alcaini, 65, is one of the survivors being tested.

He was intubated in February after becoming severely ill, but recovered. He has been COVID-19 free for four months but he still has problems breathing and has periods of severe exhaustion. He accepts his ongoing condition, but sends a clear warning to people to take care not to catch the virus under any circumstances.

“To those who don’t respect the rules, I wish they could have a week of what I felt, a week of feeling as bad as I have been,” he told me.

“Perhaps then they understand that they cannot underestimate the many warnings and mandatory rules we have been given.”

The doctors carrying out the follow-up and testing programme say they simply do not know enough about the virus to predict what is going to happen next.

Dr Gianluca Imeri
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Dr Gianluca Imeri warns that COVID-19 changes a patient’s body

“It’s something very different, that changes the body of the patient,” Dr Gianluca Imeri explained to me.

“We’ve also seen forms of asthma develop after coronavirus infections. We for sure know the damage of coronavirus is caused by inflammation, and asthma and other respiratory diseases are inflammatory diseases, and there are also some inflammatory diseases in our body that can be developed and triggered by coronavirus.

“Simple coronavirus pneumonia is something that patients will recover completely from, from a radiological point of view, but probably the biggest change is inflammation – I mean we have seen inflammation in all of their bodies, vascular systems, and respiratory systems, so we think we have to tackle inflammation in these patients even when they recover from the acute phase of the disease,” he said.

Cremona Hospital in Italy
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Cremona Hospital in Italy is quieter since the worst of the pandemic

So little is known of the virus that any long-term planning is guess work.

Doctors believe that even the youngest and mildest infected are at risk of their lives being changed forever, and it could take years to become apparent. Whole work forces could become less productive as a consequence.

The advice from Italy is simple: Don’t get infected.

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