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Charlie Hebdo: Terror investigation after attacks near magazine’s former offices in Paris | World News

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French terrorism authorities are investigating an attack that wounded two journalists near the former offices of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris.

Emergency services were called to the scene in Rue Nicolas Appert, in the 11th arrondissement, near the Richard Lenoir Metro station, at around 11.40am local time.

French firefighters load one of the several people injured into a waiting ambulance near the former offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo following an alleged attack by a man wielding a knife in the capital Paris on September 25, 2020. - The threats coincide with the trial of 14 suspected accomplices of the perpetrators of the massacres at Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket that left a total of 17 dead. (Photo by Alain JOCARD / AFP) (Photo by ALAIN JOCARD/AFP via Getty Image
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French firefighters load one of the several people injured into a waiting ambulance

Prime Minister Jean Castex, who went to the scene, said two people who work for documentary film company Premieres Lignes were seemingly attacked at random while they were having a cigarette break.

One witness told Europe 1 radio: “I was in my office. I heard screams in the road. I looked out of the window and saw a woman who was lying on the floor and had taken a whack in the face from what was possibly a machete.”

Kader Alfa, another witness, told Associated Press: “I saw a guy that was in his 30s or 40s with an axe in his hand who was walking behind a victim covered in blood…I can’t tell you how many victims there was, I just saw one.”

Paul Moreira, who is the founder of Premieres Lignes, confirmed two of his colleagues were injured.

He said: “It’s somebody who was in the road with a meat cleaver who attacked them in front of our offices. It was chilling.”

Mr Castex said the main attacker had been arrested, a second person was in custody and that the victims’ injuries were not believed to be life-threatening.

Emergency services flocked to the scene in the 11th arrondissement
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Emergency services flocked to the scene in the 11th arrondissement

“This attack happened in a symbolic place at the same time as the trial of the terrible attacks on Charlie Hebdo,” he added.

He promised the government’s “unfailing attachment to freedom of the press, and its determination to fight terrorism”.

A blade found at the scene was described by police sources as a machete or a meat cleaver.

Armed officers were seen patrolling the road after the attack on Friday
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Armed officers were seen patrolling the road after the attack on Friday

Europe 1 Radio quoted police officials as saying the main suspect was 18 and was known to security services.

The incident comes three weeks after 14 people, who have suspected links to homegrown Islamist militants, went on trial following the Charlie Hebdo attack in the same street.

A total of 12 people died and 11 people were injured after two brothers, Saïd and Chérif Kouachi, stormed the offices of the satirical weekly newspaper with guns and began shooting in January 2015.

The brothers escaped and were later shot dead by police after a stand-off.

The motive for the latest stabbing is unclear, and it is not known whether it is linked to Charlie Hebdo, which has now moved out of the area.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex (centre) speaks to journalists with the French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin (right) and Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo (left)
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French Prime Minister Jean Castex (centre) speaks to journalists with the French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin (right) and Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo (left)

On the opening day of the trial, the magazine re-ran a series of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed, which Muslims consider blasphemous.

The trial, which will see the attackers’ widows testify, was still set to go ahead this afternoon.

The writers of Charlie Hebdo showed their solidarity with the victims of the attack on Friday.

They posted on Twitter: “Charlie’s entire team provides support and solidarity to his former neighbours and colleagues @PLTVfilms and to those affected by this heinous attack.”

Since the Charlie Hebdo mass shooting, France has faced several other terrorist attacks.

In November 2015, there were a series of bombings in Paris and a mass shooting at the Bataclan music venue during an Eagles of Death Metal concert. A total of 130 people died and more than 400 were said to be injured.

Eight months later, in July 2016, an Islamist militant drove a truck through a crowd celebrating Bastille Day in Nice, which killed 86 people and injured more than 450.



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Sharm el Sheikh: 12-year-old boy and tour guide lose limbs after shark attack in Egypt | World News

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A tourist has lost an arm and a tour guide has lost their leg after a shark attack off the coast of Sharm el Sheikh.

The incident happened over the weekend when two tourists – a Ukrainian mother and son – were snorkelling with the tour guide in Ras Mohammed national park.

The injured were taken to a local hospital and an initial investigation indicated that a 2m (6ft) long Oceanic Whitetip shark was involved.

Investigations found an Oceanic Whitetip shark attacked the child and his tour guide
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Investigations found an Oceanic Whitetip shark attacked the child and his tour guide

Ukrainian officials say the 12-year-old boy is now in critical care – and despite surgery, his arm could not be saved.

The Egyptian guide has lost a leg and the mother suffered minor injuries, according to an anonymous local health official.

The area where the attack took place has been closed off.

Shark attacks are rare in the Red Sea area of Egypt – especially in the past few years.

In 2010 however, there were a number of shark attacks that killed one European tourist and seriously injured several others off Sharm el Sheikh.

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Coronavirus: South Africa’s COVID lockdown may have created ‘herd immunity’ | World News

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Leading scientists in South Africa believe the country has established a form of collective or herd immunity to COVID-19 after the number of infections unexpectedly plummeted following a major outbreak in June and July of this year.

Commenting on a series of studies revealing the existence of high infection rates in the provinces of Western Cape and Gauteng, the country’s leading vaccinologist, Professor Shabir Mahdi, told Sky News that he believed the coronavirus had stimulated a level of immunity in approximately 12 to 15 million people.

“What has happened in SA today, the only way to explain it, the only plausible way to explain it is that some sort of herd immunity has been reached when combined with the use of non-pharmaceutical interventions… like the wearing of masks, physical distancing, ensuring ventilation when indoors and so on.”

At the height of the pandemic, South Africa was ranked as the world’s fifth most-effected country, behind the United States, India, Brazil and Russia – all of which have much larger populations.

It was at this point that researchers based in Cape Town began testing for traces of the virus in blood samples provided at local clinics by pregnant woman and HIV patients.

Virologists like Dr Marvin Hsiao were surprised to find that on average 40% of respondents had developed coronavirus antibodies with the majority being unaware that they had been infected.

Preliminary indications from a similar study in Gauteng, which contains the country’s largest city, Johannesburg, reveal that approximately one third of those tested had been infected.

“Inexplicably, the numbers (of those infected with COVID-19) started dropping off at the end of July, and at the time I couldn’t explain why,” said Dr Hsiao.

“But when we analysed the data it become clear, this immunity within the population level (linked to) the big surge infections is probably the main reason why we’ve seen the decrease of numbers of infected.”

During lockdown residents were forced to queue together for essentials
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During lockdown residents were forced to queue together for essentials

The understanding that South African scientists have reached on the attainment of a level of collective immunity in their country seems to contradict a study by researchers at Imperial College, London, who found that the number of people with COVID-19 antibodies in the UK declined from 6% of the population in June to 4.4% in September.

Their ‘React-2’ study suggests that immunity to COVID-19 may be short-lived, but Professor Mahdi challenges the importance of antibody analysis, pointing out that it only evaluates one part of the human body’s immune system.

“This waning of antibodies does not really inform what to expect without adequate interrogation of other components of the immune system. Experience with common cold and SARS coronavirus is that T-cell immunity likely lasts for 2-3 years.”

South African researchers believe that South Africa’s strict level five lockdown – which was imposed back in March – worked inadvertently to kickstart a massive wave of infection.

In the densely packed townships that surround the major cities, residents were forced to cue for essentials like food and social security payments, creating what Dr Hsiao described as “new networks for the spread of the disease”. Social distancing was practically impossible on plots where 20 or more to people are often forced to live at close quarters.

Dr Mahdi says the lockdown’s failure to suppress COVID-19 provided the country with the unintended benefit of temporary – or longer-lasting immunization – for many South Africans.

“This inadequacy in terms of adherence of the lockdown, where inadvertently we’ve had transmission taking place, has resulted in a high percentage in densely populated areas becoming immune.

“There might be a question in terms of the duration of immunity… based on our experience with other coronaviruses, a mild infection is probably going to (generate immunity) for two to three years but that places us in a really good position.”

Professor Shabir Mahdi says that in South Africa lockdown may have accelerated the spread of the disease
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Professor Shabir Mahdi says that in South Africa lockdown may have accelerated the spread of the disease

For the scientists – and the policy makers – there is a great deal of work to be done and additional studies will be commissioned over the next few weeks with the aim of better understanding the numbers of those infected and how the virus has spread.

But the vaccinology professor clearly believes that the development of some immunity in the population to COVID-19 was not only inevitable – but a necessary development in the South African context.

“It is not denying that COVID is the most important cause of death this year, superseding HIV, TB and everything else but the response needs to be much more nuanced than simply believing that a highly restrictive lockdown is going to get rid of the virus.

“Under no circumstances is a lockdown on its own going to achieve elimination of the virus.”

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High intake of vitamins A, E and D linked to fewer respiratory illnesses, says study | Science & Tech News

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High intakes of vitamins A, E and D are linked to fewer respiratory illnesses, according to a study, with experts calling for more research into their effect on COVID-19.

It comes soon after a separate study found 82% of 216 coronavirus patients in a Spanish hospital had a vitamin D deficiency.

UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock has ordered a review into vitamin D’s effect on the disease, after previously saying it appeared to have no effect.

The latest study involved 6,115 adults, with people self-reporting their vitamin intake and any respiratory problems.

Illnesses included chesty coughs, as well as long-term conditions such as asthma and pulmonary disease.

Overall, there were 33 cases of respiratory complaints, and researchers found vitamin A and E from both diet and supplements was associated with a lower likelihood of them being reported.

Vitamin A can be fund in food such as whole milk, cheese, carrots and dark leafy veg.

Vitamin E is found in nuts, seeds and vegetable oils.

Meanwhile, vitamin D intake from supplements was also associated with fewer respiratory complaints, the study found.

Most people’s bodies make enough of the vitamin from sunlight, but in the winter the NHS advises supplements for some groups.

It is also present in some foods such as salmon, mackerel, herring and sardines, red meat and eggs.

Sunshine provides enough vitamin D in the summer but some groups are advised to take a supplement in the winter
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Sunshine provides enough vitamin D in the summer but some groups are advised to take a supplement in the winter

Vitamin D deficiency is more common in older people, overweight people, and in black and Asian people – all groups at increased risk of becoming seriously ill with coronavirus.

The researchers in the latest study, including from Imperial College London, said their work supported the hypothesis that supplementation is “critical” for some, and that diet alone is often not enough.

They recommended further work “to assess the implications of the current study in the context of the current coronavirus disease” pandemic.

Shane McAuliffe, from the NNEdPro Nutrition and Covid-19 Taskforce, which includes University of Cambridge experts, said: “While acknowledging the limitations of this data, it does add further to a growing body of interest and evidence for the role of vitamin D in respiratory health.

He said the low cost and low risk of adverse effects made it “sensible” to provide supplementation to people most likely to be deficient.

Experts from Queen Mary University of London are also studying whether correcting people’s vitamin D can reduce the risk and/or severity of COVID-19 and other infections.

Lead researcher Professor Adrian Martineau said: “There is mounting evidence that vitamin D might reduce the risk of respiratory infections, with some recent studies suggesting that people with lower vitamin D levels may be more susceptible to coronavirus.”

A study in Boston last month also found that people with sufficient vitamin D were less likely to experience complications and die from COVID-19.

However, in June, five studies on coronavirus and vitamin D were reviewed by the UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, which concluded there was currently no evidence to support supplementation reducing the risk or severity of the virus.

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