Monday 06 April 2020
News ID: 77169
Publish Date: 16 March 2020 - 22:18
MOSCOW (Dispatches) -- Russia’s Constitutional Court on Monday ruled that President Vladimir Putin’s proposed changes to the constitution that could allow him to remain in power until 2036 were in line with Russian law. Last week Putin, who is in his fourth presidential term and has been president or prime minister of Russia for two decades, appeared in the State Duma to back a new amendment that would allow him to run again in four years’ time.  The previous rules forbade him from running for a third consecutive mandate, but that changes the provisions of the amendments, meaning he can seek a fifth overall presidential term in 2024, and conceivably a sixth in 2030. The constitutional changes are due to be put to a nationwide vote in April.

ATHENS (Reuters) -- A young child died in a fire in an overcrowded migrant camp on the Greek island of Lesbos on Monday, fire brigade officials said. The fire burned through two containers used as living quarters by people in the Moria camp, as well as some tents, a spokesman said. "During the operation a dead little girl was found,” the fire brigade spokesman told Reuters. The child was aged between six and seven. The cause of the fire was not immediately clear. Moria, built to accommodate less than 3,000 people, has about 19,400 people in the camp and its environs living in crowded and filthy conditions. Lesbos was on the front line of a massive movement of refugees and migrants to Europe in 2015 and 2016. There was an upsurge in arrivals after Turkey announced on Feb. 28 it could no longer contain the large numbers of migrants it hosts because of an anticipated surge of displaced persons from Syria.

BARCELONA (Reuters) — The regional leader of Spain’s Catalonia, Quim Torra, said on Monday that he had tested positive for the coronavirus and that he was going into self-isolation in a government building. Catalan deputy head of government, Pere Aragones, announced on Sunday that he had also tested positive. The regional government of Spain’s Catalonia asked Spanish central authorities to help it block access by air, rail and water to guarantee the confinement of the whole region due to the coronavirus epidemic, regional leader Quim Torra said. "We believe all Catalonia needs to be confined,” he said in a televised news conference on Friday, adding that it was for preventive reasons to avoid a larger health crisis.

TOKYO (AP) — A Japanese court on Monday sentenced a former care home employee to hang for knifing to death 19 disabled people and injuring two dozen others in the deadliest mass attack in post World War II Japan. The Yokohama District Court convicted Satoshi Uematsu of the killings and of injuring 24 other residents and two caregivers at the Yamayuri-en residential center in July 2016. During the investigation and trial, Uematsu repeatedly said he had no regrets and was trying to help the world by killing people he thought were burdens. Advocacy groups said the suspect’s views reflected a persistent prejudice in Japan against people with disabilities. The trial focused on his mental state at the time of the crime. Chief Judge Kiyoshi Aonuma dismissed defense requests to acquit him because he was mentally incompetent due to a marijuana overdose. "The attacks were premeditated, and the defendant was acting consistently to achieve his goal,” Aonuma said, according to NHK public television.

ISLAMABAD/KABUL (Dispatches) -- Health authorities across South Asia reported rising tallies of coronavirus cases on Monday, raising the prospect of rapidly spreading outbreaks overwhelming poor medical facilities in a region that is home to a quarter of the world’s people. South Asia has been relatively lightly hit by the virus compared with neighbors to the east, like China and South Korea, and to the west like Iran and parts of Europe. But measures that have reined in epidemics in China, where the coronavirus emerged late last year, and South Korea are unlikely to work in poor, crowded parts of South Asia, health officials say. Pakistan recorded a sharp rise in coronavirus cases on Monday, up 40 to 94, according to a Reuters tally of statistics from central and provincial governments. Afghanistan saw its tally rise to 21.

KIEV (Reuters) -- Ukrainian cities announced shutdowns on Monday to contain the spread of the coronavirus and the government said it had cracked down on attempts to smuggle face masks abroad after 50,000 of them alone were seized from a car on the Polish border. The capital Kiev announced the closure of bars, restaurants, cafes and shopping malls and said people’s movement to other towns should be restricted as much as possible. Other towns and cities including Lviv and Odessa passed similar measures. Offices in Kiev remained open but the government has encouraged companies to allow their employees to work from home and said it might soon ban gatherings of more than 10 people.

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