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China jails Journalist for 04 years over Wuhan COVID-19 report

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Beijing, Dec 28: Citizen journalist Zhang Zhan, who was detained in May for her live stream reporting from Wuhan over COVID-19, has been sentenced to four years of imprisonment on Monday, Hong Kong Free Press (HKFP) reported.


She has been convicted of ‘picking quarrels and provoking trouble’ for her reporting in the chaotic initial stages of the outbreak.


Dozens of her supporters and diplomats gathered outside Shanghai Pudong New District People’s Court on Monday morning before the trial began, according to HKFP.


The police, however, pushed journalists and observers away from the entrance.


The New York Times reported that the 37-year-old former lawyer is on a hunger strike since June. According to her lawyers, she has been forced fed via a nasal tube as concerns grow about her health.’She said she refuses to participate in the trial. She says it’s an insult,’ Ren Quanniu, one of the lawyers said after visiting Zhang in mid-December in Shanghai, where she is being held.


Ren, who visited separately later, pleaded with Zhang to eat. But she refused, Ren said.


‘She’s much paler than in her videos and photos — deathly pale,’ Ren said, adding that Zhang appeared to have aged several decades. ‘It’s really hard to believe that she’s the same person as you saw online.’


China’s court system is notoriously opaque, with sensitive cases often heard behind closed doors.


The trial comes just weeks before an international team of World Health Organization experts are expected to arrive in China to investigate the origins of COVID-19.

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Afghanistan: 37 killed, over 70 injured as blast hits Shia mosque in Kandahar

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(Asian News Hub) – Suicide bombers assaulted a Shiite mosque in southern Afghanistan that was packed with worshippers attending weekly Friday prayers, killing at least 37 people and wounding more than 70, Associated Press reported quoting hospital official and an eyewitness.

The attack on the Imam Barga mosque came a week after a bombing claimed by a local Islamic State affiliate killed 46 people at a Shiite mosque in northern Afghanistan.

Also Read: Amit Shah warns Pakistan, refers to surgical strike

Murtaza, an eye-witness who like many Afghans goes by one name, said four suicide bombers attacked the mosque. Two detonated their explosives at a security gate, allowing the other two to run inside and strike the congregation of worshippers.

Speaking to The Associated Press by phone, he said Friday prayers are typically attended by around 500 people.

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At least 20 killed, over 300 injured in an earthquake in Pakistan

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(Asian News Hub) – At least 20 people were killed and over 300 others injured after a powerful 5.9 earthquake struck Pakistan’s Balochistan province early on Thursday, October 7, 2021, according to PTI quoting media reports.

Disaster management officials said the death toll may increase, Geo News reported.

According to the seismological centre, the epicentre was located near Harnai at a depth of 15 km.

The Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) said many of the dead were women and children.

The quake affected Quetta, Sibi, Harnai, Pishin, Qila Saifullah, Chaman, Ziarat and Zhob in Balochistan.

Images on social media showed people in the city of Quetta out on the streets in the aftermath of the quake, Dawn newspaper reported.

Aftershocks are still being felt in different areas. The earliest tremors were felt at 3:20 am after which panicked citizens rushed out of their houses reciting verses from the holy Quran. Relief and rescue activities are underway, with an emergency declared in all hospitals.

According to Deputy Commissioner of Harnai Sohail Anwar Hashmi, several people have been rushed to the hospital in critical condition.

He said that several buildings in Harnai have been damaged. Many people were left buried under the rubble.

The power supply to the area has been suspended, he said.

According to the rescue sources, more than 70 houses were reported damaged in Harnai.

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World surpasses 5M COVID-19 deaths

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(Asian News Hub) – The coronavirus death toll around the world surpassed 5 million on Friday, according to Reuters’s tally.

Around the world, an average of 8,000 deaths a day were reported, according to the outlet. However, it noted that the global death rate has slowed in recent weeks.

Reuters reported that it took over a year to accumulate 2.5 million deaths, but it took under eight months to accumulate the second 2.5 million deaths.

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