Climate Activists From African Nations Make Urgent Appeal

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Ugandan climate activist Vanessa Nakate and peers from other African nations on Friday made an urgent appeal for the world to pay more attention to the continent that stands to suffer the most from global warming despite contributing to it the least.The Fridays For Future movement and activist Greta Thunberg held a news conference with the activists to spotlight the marginalization of African voices a week after The Associated Press cropped Nakate out of a photo at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.Nakate, Makenna Muigai of Kenya, Ayakha Melithafa of South Africa and climate scientist Ndoni Mcunu of South Africa pointed out the various challenges both in combating climate change on the booming continent of some 1.2 billion people and in inspiring the world’s response.“African activists are doing so much,” Nakate said. “It gets so frustrating when no one really cares about them.”The AP has apologized and acknowledged mistakes in sending out the cropped photo on Jan. 24 and in how the news organization initially reacted. The AP has said that it will expand diversity training worldwide as a result.Nakate said Friday she was very sad the photo incident occurred but added that “I’m actually very optimistic about this” as it has drawn global attention to climate activists in Africa and the various crises there.Muigai pointed to a recent locust outbreak that parts of East Africa have seen in 70 years, which threatens food security for millions of people in countries including Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia and is moving toward South Sudan and Uganda.Challenges include everything from deforestation to bad energy policies, Muigai said. They also include changes in storm intensity that brought two devastating cyclones to Mozambique a year ago, Mcunu said. And they include the recent drought crisis in South Africa’s Cape Town region, Melithafa said.“The narrative we have is Africans can adapt to this. That is actually not true,” Mcunu said.The warnings have been stark for Africa. No continent will be struck more severely by climate change, the U.N. Environment Program has said.Africa has 15% of the world’s population, yet is likely to “shoulder nearly 50% of the estimated global climate change adaptation costs,” the African Development Bank has said, noting that seven of the 10 countries considered most vulnerable to climate change are in Africa: Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Chad, Central African Republic, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Eritrea.And yet “to date, energy-related CO₂ emissions in Africa represented around 2% of cumulative global emissions,” the International Energy Agency said last year.In some cases it is difficult to persuade people to care more about climate change because there are so many other pressing everyday issues such as poverty, unemployment and gender-based violence, Melithafa said. “That’s hard for the global north to understand.”Instead people should work to hold more developed countries accountable for producing the bulk of emissions that contribute to global warming, the activists said.“Every individual is needed in the fight against the climate crisis,” Nakate said. “Because climate change is not specific about the kinds of people it affects.”For her part, Thunberg firmly returned the spotlight to the activists from African countries.“I’m not the reason why we’re here,” she said, later adding: “We are fighting for the exact same cause.” And she noted that while whatever she says gets turned into a headline, that is not the case for many others.“The African perspective is always so under-reported,” Thunberg said.Nakate urged the audience to make 2020 the year of action on climate change after young activists in 2019 put the issue squarely at the center of global discussions.It won’t be easy, she noted: “It is the uncomfortable things that will help to save our planet.”

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Pakistan Stops Flights To, From China Amid Coronavirus Concerns

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Pakistan Friday temporarily halted all flights to and from China, effective immediately, a day after it decided to delay the opening of a key border crossing with the neighboring country following the coronavirus outbreak there.A spokesman for the Pakistan  Civil Aviation Authority said all flights “to and from China will remain suspended until February 2.” Abdul Sattar Khokar cited no reasons, saying the decision would effect 22 weekly flights.Chinese health officials reported Friday the respiratory virus that originated in the city of Wuhan has killed about 200 people, and the number of cases topped 9,000. The virus has spread to  18 countries outside China, including  South Korea, Japan, Australia, Canada  and the U.S.Pakistani officials say screening of travelers landing at national airports has already been tightened and emergency quarantine measures are in place but so far no confirmed coronavirus case has been reported from any part of the country.  Health officials in Islamabad, however, have confirmed four of the estimated 500 Pakistani students in Wuhan have been diagnosed with the disease and are undergoing treatment there. There are nearly 30,000 Pakistanis in China, mostly students.China has recently invested billions of dollars in infrastructure development projects in Pakistan under Beijing’s global Belt and Road Initiative. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a flagship element of the initiative, includes projects that have been completed or are under construction, including highways, power plants, a key Arabian Sea port and special economic zones in Pakistan, leading to  a spike in the number of travelers between the two countries, including thousands of Chinese workers and engineers.  Khunjerab border postThe coronavirus outbreak in China has also prompted Islamabad to delay the annual opening of the only border crossing between the two countries, the Khunjerab Pass in northern Gilgit-Baltistan region.”As for Khunjerab border the government of Gilgit Baltistan has rescheduled its opening. Now it will be opened in April” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Aisha Farooqui said on Thursday.Under a longstanding bilateral understanding, Khunjerab – at more than 15,000 feet, the highest paved International border crossing in the world – is closed in November due to heavy snowfall and reopens around end of April.  However, this year Pakistani authorities had asked counterparts in China to open the border starting February 2 to allow the entry of scores of commercial containers that have been stranded on the Chinese side by the November closing.   

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China Reports Nearly 10,000 Coronavirus Cases

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China says it has nearly 10,000 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus. The virus has caused 213 deaths in China where it emerged late last year.The World Health Organization says the  worldwide spread of the virus is  a global health emergency, as well as an “extraordinary event” requiring a coordinated international response.The Trump administration is warning Americans not to travel to China.The State Department issued what it calls a Britain reported its first confirmed cases Friday.  “We can confirm that two patients in England, who are members of the same family, have tested positive for coronavirus,” said Chris Whitty, chief medical officer for England.   He said the two are receiving “specialist” care from the country’s National Health Service.   India and Philippines have also confirmed their first cases, joining a growing list that includes Australia, Canada, Finland, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Nepal, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, The United Arab Emirates and Vietnam.According to a BBC report, the infection is difficult to spot and stop because only an estimated one in five cases will result in “severe symptoms” which means people can spread the infection without having any symptoms or without knowing they have the infection.Dr. Nancy Messonnier of the Centers for Disease Control said they symptoms of a cold or the flu and the coronavirus are the same, but the risk factors are having visited China’s Hubei province or having close contact with those who have been there.The virus emerged in Wuhan in Hubei province.  Wuhan is the epicenter of the outbreak and it has been shuttered.  People have been instructed to stay home and public transportation has been shut down.Mi Feng, China’s National Health commission spokesperson said Friday, “The Chinese government has attached great importance to the epidemic control and we have already adopted the most stringent control measures . . . We hope to cooperate with other countries to safeguard regional and global health and public safety.”

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Belgian Court Acquits 3 Doctors in Landmark Euthanasia Case

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A Belgian court on Friday acquitted three doctors of charges of manslaughter by poisoning in a case that has been seen as a key test of Belgium’s euthanasia laws.The three doctors were involved in the euthanasia of a 38-year-old patient, Tine Nys, who suffered with mental problems and died in 2010.Her family took the case to court, arguing that the euthanasia should never have happened, claiming her mental state was not hopeless and treatment was still possible. Nys had struggled with psychiatric problems for years and had attempted suicide several times.“This is such a relief. This has been with us for 10 years,” psychiatrist Lieve Thienpont, one of the acquitted doctors, told VRT network. The 12 jurors took eight hours to weigh the question of guilt and when they came to their verdict early Friday, over 100 remaining attendees in the court room broke out in wild applause.Belgium is among a few countries that allow doctors to kill patients at their request, and one of two that allow it for people with a mental illness.Out of about 2,000 euthanasia cases a year in Belgium, very few are permitted for psychological issues. The criminal complaint by the family was only granted on appeal after it was first rejected by a lower court.It was something that riled the defense lawyers, some of whom thought there were conservative political forces at work to bring the case to the court where a citizens’ jury would rule on the case.“This is relief for all doctors who have to carry out such tough tasks,” said defense lawyer Walter Van Steenbrugge. If this would have gone the other way, so many doctors would have been in real deep trouble, he said, implying few would want to risk assisting in euthanasia if it meant that they could face manslaughter charges.Even if the two-week court case laid bare sloppy procedures by some doctors and imperfections in the law, it did in the end protect the principles of the practice.“People will continue to hold on to the right of a dignified death when death is inescapable,” Thienpont said.

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Brain Injuries in Iraq Put Attention on Invisible War Wounds

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The spotlight on brain injuries suffered by American troops in Iraq this month is an example of America’s episodic attention to this invisible war wound, which has affected hundreds of thousands over the past two decades but is not yet fully understood.Unlike physical wounds, such as burns or the loss of limbs, traumatic brain injuries aren’t obvious and can take time to diagnose. The full impact — physically and psychologically — may not be evident for some time, as studies have shown links between TBI and mental health problems. They cannot be dismissed as mere “headaches” — the word used by President Donald Trump as he said the injuries suffered by the troops in Iraq were not necessarily serious.Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and a veteran of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, told reporters Thursday that the number of service members diagnosed with TBI from the Jan. 8 Iranian missile attack in Iraq has now grown beyond the 50 reported earlier this week, although he provided no specific number. Milley said all are categorized as “mild” injuries, but in some cases the troops will be monitored “for the rest of their lives.”Speaking alongside Milley, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the Pentagon is vigorously studying ways to prevent brain injuries on the battlefield and to improve diagnosis and treatment. Milley said it’s possible, in some cases, that symptoms of TBI from the Iranian missile attack on an air base in Iraq on Jan. 8 will not become apparent for a year or two.“We’re early in the stage of diagnosis, we’re early in the stage of therapy for these troops,” Milley said.William Schmitz, national commander for the Veterans of Foreign Wars, last week cautioned the Trump administration against taking the TBI issue lightly.“TBI is known to cause depression, memory loss, severe headaches, dizziness and fatigue,” sometimes with long-term effects,” he said, while calling on Trump to apologize for his “misguided remarks.”Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr., a New Jersey Democrat and founder of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force, faulted Trump for displaying “a clear lack of understanding of the devastating impacts of brain injury.”When it announced earlier this week that the number of TBI cases in Iraq had grown to 50, the Pentagon said more could come to light later. No one was killed in the missile attack, which was an Iranian effort to avenge the killing of Qassem Soleimani, its most powerful general and leader of its paramilitary Quds Force, in an American drone strike in Baghdad.Details of the U.S. injuries have not been made public, although the Pentagon said Tuesday that 31 of the 50 who were diagnosed with traumatic brain injury have recovered enough to return to duty. The severity of the other cases has not been disclosed.The Pentagon did not announce the first confirmed cases until more than a week after the Iranian attack; at that point it said there were 11 cases. The question of American casualties took on added importance at the time of the Iranian strike because the degree of damage was seen as influencing a U.S. decision on whether to counterattack and risk a broader war with Iran. Trump chose not to retaliate, and the Iranians then indicated their strike was sufficient for the time being.The arc of attention to TBI began in earnest, for the U.S. military, in the early years after it invaded Iraq in 2003 to topple President Saddam Hussein. His demise gave rise to an insurgency that confounded the Americans with crude but devastatingly effective roadside bombs. Survivors often suffered not just grievous physical wounds but also concussions that, along with psychological trauma, became known as the invisible wounds of war.“For generations, battlefield traumatic brain injuries were not understood and often dismissed,” said Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, a New Hampshire Democrat.The injuries have often been dismissed in part because the problem is not fully understood, although the Pentagon began focusing on the problem in the early 1990s when it established a head injury program that grew into today’s Defense and Veteran’s Brain Injury Center. Among its work, the center provides published reviews of research related to TBI, including links between severe TBI and behavioral issues such as alcohol abuse and suicide.A study published this month by University of Massachusetts Amherst health services researchers concluded that military members who suffered a moderate or severe TBI are more likely than those with other serious injuries to experience mental health disorders.Concern about TBI has recently given rise to questions about whether military members may suffer long-term health damage even from low-level blasts away from the battlefield, such as during training with artillery guns and shoulder-fired rockets.“We’re finding that even a mild blast can cause long-term, life-changing health issues,” said Riyi Shi, a professor of neuroscience and biomedical engineering at Purdue University.A 2018 study by the federally funded RAND Corp. found a dearth of research and understanding of potential damage to the nervous system from repeated exposure to these lower-level blasts. That same year, the Center for a New American Security, a Washington think tank, released a study urging the Pentagon to conduct a blast surveillance program to monitor, record, and maintain data on blast pressure exposure for “any soldier, in training or combat, who is likely to be in a position where he or she may be exposed to blasts.” It said this should include brain imaging of soldiers who have been exposed to blasts as part of the study to better understand how blasts affect the brain. 

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WHO: World Needs to Be on Alert for Dangers Posed by Coronavirus

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For the third time in one week, a World Health Organization Emergency Committee will meet to decide whether the new coronavirus poses a global health threat.  The latest number of confirmed cases has risen to 7,700, including 170 deaths. The two previous emergency meetings ended inconclusively.  WHO experts were split on whether the spread of the coronavirus was large enough to constitute a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.  But this quickly evolving disease may change some of the doubters’ minds.FILE – Tedros Adhanom, WHO director-general meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping before a meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Jan. 28, 2020.WHO Director General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus praises the strong response taken by the Chinese government to try to stop the epidemic.  This includes the lockdown of Wuhan city, the epicenter of the disease and other cities in the country where the virus has been identified.But he acknowledges that events on the ground in China and abroad are moving too quickly to be ignored.  He says the emergence of any new pathogen with the potential to cause severe illness and death is of grave concern and must be taken with utmost seriousness.”The continued increase in cases and the evidence of human-to-human transmission outside China, are, of course, both deeply concerning.  Although the numbers outside China are still relatively small, they hold the potential for a much larger outbreak,” he said. So far, at least 70 cases of coronavirus have been found in more than a dozen countries, including the United States.  All of these cases are being imported by travelers from China.  An increasing number of countries are screening arriving passengers for infections and isolating them for the two-week incubation period.FILE – Chinese family wearing face masks walk in a pedestrian crossing in Bangkok, Thailand, Jan. 29, 2020.Executive director of WHO health emergencies program, Michael Ryan, says the situation is very fluid and changing by the hour.  He says the whole world needs to be on the alert now and take whatever action is needed to stop transmission of this deadly virus.”We are at an important juncture in this event,” he said.  “We, as WHO believe that these chains of transmission can still be interrupted.  This disease is spreading from person-to-person through personal contact between individuals.”  Ryan says the epidemic can be stemmed through proper hygiene, proper identification of cases, isolation and social distancing.  He says the Emergency Committee will consider the merits of declaring a global public health emergency.He says the WHO experts are likely to recommend a series of temporary actions for countries to undertake in a coordinated, measured fashion.  He says efforts to end an epidemic are always more effective when countries work together.     

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China Counts 170 Virus Deaths, New Countries Find Infections

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China counted 170 deaths from a new virus Thursday and more countries reported infections, including some spread locally, as foreign evacuees from China’s worst-hit region returned home to medical observation and even isolation.
    
India and the Philippines reported their first cases, in a traveler and a student who had both been in Wuhan, the central Chinese city where the new type of coronavirus first surfaced in December. South Korea confirmed a case that was locally spread, in a man who had contact with a patient diagnosed earlier.
    
Locally spread cases outside China have been a worrying concern among global health officials, as potential signs of the virus spreading more easily and the difficulty of containing it. The World Health Organization is reconvening experts on Thursday to assess whether the outbreak should be declared a global emergency.
    
The new virus has now infected more people in China than were sickened there during the 2002-2003 outbreak of SARS, another type of coronavirus.
    
Thursday’s figures for mainland China cover the previous 24 hours and represent an increase of 38 deaths and 1,737 cases for a total of 7,711. Of the new deaths, 37 were in Hubei province, of which Wuhan is the capital, and one was in the southwestern province of Sichuan.
    
Three of Japan’s confirmed cases were among a group of evacuees who returned on a government-chartered flight from Wuhan on Wednesday. Japan’s foreign ministry said a second flight carrying 210 Japanese evacuees landed Thursday at Tokyo’s Haneda airport. Reports said nine of those aboard the flight showed signs of cough and fever.
    
India’s health ministry said a student in Kerala state who had been studying in Wuhan was confirmed to have the virus after returning home during the Lunar New Year break. Philippine health officials say a woman who traveled to the country from Wuhan via Hong Kong had tested positive.
    Passengers wear masks to prevent an outbreak of a new coronavirus in a subway station, in Hong Kong, Jan. 22, 2020.A flight arranged between the European Union and China departed Portugal en route to China to bring back 350 Europeans from the affected area. The U.S. said additional flights were being planned for around Monday, after it evacuated 195 Americans from Wuhan on Wednesday. They are being tested and monitored at a Southern California military base.
    
New Zealand, Australia, India, Singapore and other countries are also trying to get out their citizens. Taiwan, the self-governing republic China considers its own territory, has also asked to be able to repatriate its passport holders from Wuhan, but it and the United Kingdom said they were awaiting approval from Beijing.
    Airlines reduce service
Israel’s El Al , Spain’s Iberia and Korean Air joined the growing list of airlines suspending or reducing service to China.
    
In South Korea, residents in two cities where quarantine facilities are being prepared threw eggs and water bottles at government officials to protest plans to isolate in their neighborhoods 700 South Koreans the government plans to evacuate from China.
    
Amid reports of shortages in food and daily necessities in hot-spot areas, Chinese authorities are “stepping up efforts to ensure continuous supply and stable prices,” the official Xinhua News Agency reported.
    
It cited Ministry of Commerce data showing current reserves in Wuhan can ensure a secure supply of rice and cooking oil for more than 15 days, pork and eggs for more than 10 days and vegetables for about five days.
    
China’s highly developed online shopping and home delivery businesses were important in ensuring those confined to home by choice or by order could get food and other essentials.
    
“I’d just like to ask that folks don’t order anything other than the daily necessities,” Hou Yanbo, deputy director of market supervision from the National Post Administration, told reporters at a daily briefing.
    
China extended its Lunar New Year holiday to Sunday to try to contain the virus, but the wave of returning travelers could potentially cause the virus to spread further.
    
Transport ministry spokesman Wu Chungeng outlined a series of rigorous temperature checks and other “severe measures” to detect possibly infectious passengers. Transport restrictions such as those isolating Wuhan and suspending inter-provincial bus services would remain in place, Wu said.
    
“It’s definitely very challenging, but we’re confident we can exert effective control,`”Wu told reporters at the briefing.
    
School closings in Hong Kong, Beijing and other regions have been extended by at least two weeks.
    
The WHO emergencies chief, Michael Ryan, spoke in Geneva after returning from Beijing. He said China was taking “extraordinary measures in the face of an extraordinary challenge’ posed by the outbreak.A man wearing a surgical mask makes a child wear one outside the government general hospital where a student who had been in Wuhan is kept in isolation in Thrissur, Kerala state, India, Jan. 30, 2020.Most cases in China To date, about 99% of the cases are in China. Ryan estimated the death rate of the new virus at 2%, but said the figure was very preliminary. With fluctuating numbers of cases and deaths, scientists are only able to produce a rough estimate of the fatality rate and it’s likely many milder cases of the virus are being missed.
    
In comparison, the SARS virus killed about 10% of people who caught it. The new virus is from the coronavirus family, which includes those that can cause the common cold as well as more serious illnesses such as SARS and MERS.
    
Scientists say there are many questions to be answered about the new virus, including just how easily it spreads and how severe it is.
    
Chinese authorities have demanded anyone who traveled from or through Wuhan report to health authorities and self-quarantine themselves for 14 days, the maximum incubation period during which patients can be infectious even if they don’t show symptoms.
    
China has been largely praised for a swift and effective response to the outbreak, although questions have been raised about the police suppression of what were early on considered mere rumors, a reflection of the one-party Communist state’s determination to maintain a monopoly on information in spite of smart phones and social media.
    
That stands in stark contrast to the initial response to SARS, when medical reports were hidden as state secrets. The delayed response was blamed for allowing the disease to spread worldwide, killing around 800 people.
    
This time, in addition to working with WHO, China’s health minister Ma Xiaowei has been in touch with foreign colleagues, including U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar.

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Australia Announces Coronavirus Island Quarantine Plan

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Australia is awaiting permission from China to airlift its citizens out of the coronavirus-hit province of Hubei and put them into quarantine on a remote island in the Indian Ocean.  Health authorities say seven cases of the potentially deadly disease have been diagnosed in Australia. More than 600 Australians are waiting to be repatriated from the epicenter of the coronavirus in the Chinese city of Wuhan. American and Japanese nationals have already been flown out by their governments, and authorities in Canberra hope to do the same.However, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the rescue mission must have Chinese approval.”I want to stress we cannot give a guarantee that this operation is able to succeed, and I also want to stress very clearly that we may not be in a position if we are able to do this on one occasion to do it on another occasion,” he said.FILE – A woman and her children, wearing face masks, arrive in Sydney, Jan. 23, 2020, from a flight from Wuhan, China.Officials in Canberra have confirmed two Australian citizens in China have been infected with the coronavirus.If other stranded Australians are allowed to leave, they’d be taken into isolation on Christmas Island, which has been used to detain asylum seekers.  There are concerns, however, that health facilities on the remote Indian Ocean territory might not be able to cope.
Professor Dominic Dwyer, an infectious diseases expert, says there’s no need to repatriate foreigners from China.”My personal opinion is that if people are — even if they are in Wuhan, if they are essentially self-quarantined at home, which when you look at pictures of cars on the street certainly seems to be the case then they are probably actually OK,” said Dwyer. “But I think the sort of rushing in of planes to pull people out I do not think helps allay the general anxiety of the population.”  Scientists in Melbourne say they have recreated the coronavirus in a laboratory.  It’s the first time this has been done outside China, and could help determine if any future vaccines are effective.  It could also allow researchers to develop a test to identify patients who might be infected, even before they show any symptoms.Australia is beefing up its biosecurity measures.  All members of the Chinese women’s national football team are currently in isolation in  Brisbane ahead of a major tournament.The World Health Organization estimates the death rate of the coronavirus is around 2%  and most infected people appear only to experience mild illness. In comparison, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS, killed about 10% of people who caught it in 2003.  

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US Universities Watching for Coronavirus

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At Arizona State University, which hosts more than 13,300 international students, people are wearing face masks and petitioning the school to cancel classes after the coronavirus was diagnosed in someone at the university who had recently returned from China.“From stores selling out of surgical masks to students calling for class cancellations, the 2019 novel coronavirus has taken ASU by storm since Sunday’s announcement that a member of the community was infected with the viral illness,” wrote the student newspaper, The State Press.While a planeload of Americans flown from China to the U.S. is being held at a California airbase for three days before they will be allowed to proceed into the country — and advised to stay for 14 to ensure they are not carrying the virus — international students have been flocking back to U.S. universities for the past two weeks with no barrier to entry.WATCH: As Coronavirus Outbreak Expands, Airlines Suspend Flights to ChinaSorry, but your player cannot support embedded video of this type, you can
download this video to view it offline. Embed” />CopyStudents on campuses where the virus is rumored or suspected to be present have donned surgical masks and asked officials to cancel classes, including Arizona State University. Many U.S. universities are holding their breath, monitoring students who have returned after the winter break.At Miami University in Ohio, health officials await the results of two possible cases of the coronavirus involving students returning from China, according to the Butler County Department of Health and the university. At Texas A&M, a student who presented with flulike symptoms tested negative for coronavirus.Meanwhile, some schools, such as ASU, have banned travel to China, where universities have robust exchange programs and satellite campuses.At New York University, the university with the largest population of international students — nearly 20,000 — in the largest city in the country, spokesman John Beckman said staff are vigilant.NYU’s statement was similar to those of other universities with large international student populations contacted by VOA. Many universities are issuing advisories for students to seek help at the campus health center when they experience symptoms, according to email and phone calls VOA made to 10 universities for their response to the coronavirus outbreak.“We have communicated directly with students who were from regions where travel restrictions are in effect to let us know if they are unable to return to school. We are reaching out to faculty who, our records reflect, have students in their classes who may be affected by the travel restrictions, and giving them guidance and options about how they can enable the students who may be stuck in China to participate in the class,” NYU spokesman John Beckman said.“Our health center staff has been in frequent direct contact with state and local health departments, and has been in touch with other universities’ health operations, as well as following guidance from the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) CDC and the (World Health Organization) WHO. In line with that guidance, we have directly communicated with all the students from affected areas, advising them about the symptoms of the illness, and instructing them to go to the Health Center if they are demonstrating the symptoms,” he said. “This is a time of year in which a lot of students present with respiratory illnesses, which the staff is trained and prepared to handle, so medical staff in our health center will have a heightened sensitivity to travel histories. The head of our health center also sent out a universitywide email about the virus last week, and we’ve established a page with information about the virus.”No federal guidelinesThe U.S. has no official policy or guidance for U.S. universities on how to handle international students who may be returning from points around the globe, including China, to schools in the U.S., according to a CDC spokesperson. There are more than 1 million international students in the country, including nearly 370,000 Chinese students, according to the Institute of International Education.The CDC “is closely monitoring an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China,” according to its website.The WHO is expected to meet Thursday to decide if the coronavirus outbreak is a global health emergency.And the University of Southampton in the U.K. convened an emergency study of the coronavirus outbreak, determining, “The spread of the new coronavirus is a fast-moving situation and we are closely monitoring the epidemic in order to provide further up-to-date analysis on the likely spread, including the effectiveness of the transport lockdown in Chinese cities and transmission by people returning from the Lunar New Year holiday, which has been extended to 2 February.” Two Bangladesh students who are in lockdown in Wuhan interviewed by VOA said while they were very scared, they did not want to leave in case they were infected with the coronavirus.“It’s better for me to stay in Wuhan,” said Jannatun Nahar, who is studying at Huazhong University of Science and Technology. “All the good doctors are here, military doctors are here.“If I go back, these [viruses] can be in your body and can stay in an incubation period for 14 days. In 14 days, I will already be contaminated. I think it’s a very big risk for me to go home now. Better for me to stay here,” Nahar said.VOA Bangla Service contributed to this report.

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Apple, Broadcom Told to Pay California University $1.1B Over Patents

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A federal jury Wednesday decided that Apple Inc. and Broadcom Inc. must pay $1.1 billion to the California Institute of Technology for infringing on patents.Apple was on the hook for nearly $838 million of the damages awarded in a lawsuit that said Broadcom used its patented Wi-Fi data transmission technology in computer chips that went into iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches and other Apple devices.Caltech, the superstar tech school based in Pasadena, said it was pleased by the verdict of the Los Angeles jury.“As a nonprofit institution of higher education, Caltech is committed to protecting its intellectual property in furtherance of its mission to expand human knowledge and benefit society through research integrated with education,” a school statement said.Emails seeking comment from Cupertino-based Apple and Broadcom weren’t immediately returned Wednesday night but they are expected to appeal.Last week, San Jose-based Broadcom announced it had reached agreements to supply components to Apple devices released for the next three years.It wasn’t immediately clear what impact the lawsuit award would have on those deals, which Broadcom said could generate $15 billion in revenues.
 

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