Brazil COVID 19

Trump Considers Travel Ban For Brazil

While White House officials have announced travel restrictions between the US and Europe will continue, President Donald Trump’s administration are also considering whether they should be restricting travel from Brazil following the news that coronavirus cases have increased, with the new cases potentially making it the new pandemic hot spot of the world.

However while such steps are being discussed Trump continues to call Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro a ‘good friend’, even while many other countries are blaming Bolsonaro as the reason for the dramatic increase.

Bolsonaro has continued to describe coronavirus as a ‘little flu’ and even encouraged his citizens to continue heading to their places of employment. When his Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta continued to disagree with the president, in particular with his need to reopen the economy too soon, he found himself out of a job.

At the time of writing Brazil has seen over 87,000 confirmed cases of covid-19 with more than 6,000 deaths, surpassing the number of cases China has seen. Officials believe that these figures are much lower than the actual numbers due to the lack of official testing. With a population of around 211 million citizens many experts are predicting that more than 1 million people may have already been affected.

When asked about the increasing numbers of fatalities, Bolsonaro merely shrugged before responding, “So what? I’m sorry. What do you want me to do?” Referring to his middle name he continued, “My name’s Messiah, but I can’t work miracles.”

Aerial images have emerged of what appears to be mass graves, sparking anger against the government for what seems to be a lack of leadership, with many even calling for Bolsonaro to be impeached.

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While the majority of governors have already put stay-at-home orders in place, Bolsonaro has been actively rebelling against their attempts to contain the spread of the disease including leading a protest rally close to the army headquarters in Brasilia.

While it appears the majority of the country is against his lacklustre efforts there are also those who are supporting his stance, especially those who have lost work and income due to the restrictions.

Executive director at Doctors Without Borders Brazil, Ana de Lemos, commented:

“At times like this, it is crucial to have a clear orientation, but unfortunately, we have witnessed the diffusion of contradictory guidelines that hinder compliance with the necessary measures.”

Already Rio de Janeiro plus several other major cities are seeing their healthcare systems struggling to cope with the influx of extra patients and officials believe the structure could collapse. Currently Rio de Janeiro has already seen over 9,000 confirmed cases with around 800 deaths, while São Paulo has so far had more than 26,000 confirmed cases with around 2,200 deaths.

Due to the number of civilians living in areas such as Rio and São Paulo, social distancing is virtually impossible, particularly for those living in slums known as favelas. With people living in such close proximity it is easy to see how covid-19 can spread so rapidly.

States closer to the Venezuelan border were already seeing their health systems struggle in response to the hundreds of thousands of migrants that have headed to Brazil to escape the economic and political crisis that has erupted under President Nicolás Maduro.

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Yet even while Bolsonaro has received criticism from around the world for his country’s crisis Trump has appeared to support him saying, “Brazil went a different way than other countries in South America. If you look at the chart, you’ll see what happened, unfortunately, to Brazil.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently spoke to his Brazilian counterpart Ernesto Araújo and ‘discussed the importance of a coordinated response to combat the covid-19 pandemic’. They also looked at “ways to intensify the economic and security partnerships between our two countries’.

When questioned about the way Bolsonaro has chosen to handle his country’s response to the pandemic at a recent briefing, a senior State Department official chose not to answer. However Deputy Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs Jon Piechowski said that America has been ‘in touch’ with leaders in Brazil ‘on a daily basis’. He also confirmed that America has not provided any aide or medical supplies.

Yet Trump has made it known that he is considering enforcing some sort of travel restrictions for those wishing to enter the US from Brazil, which would be similar to those currently in place for China and the European Union as well as the United Kingdom and Ireland, confirming that the move is something they are considering ‘very closely’.

If a travel ban does not transpire the Trump administration has been considering other means to reduce the risk of covid-19 entering the country from Brazil, including taking the temperatures of passengers attempting to fly to America, or making them do a coronavirus test before allowing them to board any aircraft.

Venezuelan Coronavirus

Venezuelan Elite Test Positive to Covid-19 After Drug-Fuelled Party

While millions around the world are self-isolating or living in lockdown due to the rapid spread of the coronavirus, Venezuela’s ‘rich kids’ are seemingly ignoring all advice, causing fury throughout the rest of the poverty stricken country.

The recent acknowledgement of a drug-fuelled party has sparked outrage, especially after Socialist president Nicolas Maduro confirmed that ‘practically everyone at the party is testing positive’ following reports that Covid-19 has spread throughout the Los Roques archipelago throughout the last month.

Reports of a group of artists arriving at Los Roques to film music videos attracted scores of young people who flooded the area in an attempt to be in the videos.

However the artists have denied the partygoers were not guests, even though they were seen in the area.

It is feared that Venezuela’s poor health system could be at risk if a major outbreak occurs in the country, as the majority of hospitals are already struggling for electricity, medical supplies and even water.

The party was hosted in the middle of March and was attended by some of Venezuela’s elite ‘Bolichicos’. The children of the ruling elite, the advantaged generation have been able to pay to travel to the island and party, while the majority of the country is struggling with a food crisis.

While it is still not clear how many people have caught the virus the increase in the amounts of infections has caused members of the government concern.

On state television in March, Maduro confirmed “there was a party, on an island, and practically everyone at the party is testing positive”. However only a few days later he appeared to backtrack saying, “Who is going to criticize a party? They didn’t know they were sick”, leading many to wonder if he had been contacted by the parents of those involved.

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Despite Maduro’s comments, many citizens – especially in the Caracas slum of Petare – are angry with one resident commenting:

“We’re struggling to eat, but they’re running free, drinking, chasing girls without a second thought about the rest of us. Here, we are fighting just to get by.”

Seen as an oasis for those with money, Los Roques attracts the relatives and aides of many of the country’s top officials, many of which travel to the islands via private planes.

And following the travel restrictions placed not only by the White House but also by governments across the world, areas such as Madrid, Miami and New York are off limits to those wanting to continue partying.

It was reported that the recent activities in Los Roques had been arranged by businessmen who are connected to the government including Jesus Amoroso, whose father is the leading anti-corruption official for Maduro. Both Maduro and Amoroso have had problems with the U.S. recently with the former being indicted only last month on narcotics charges while Amoroso has been sanctioned by America following allegations of him undermining Venezuela’s democracy.

It has also been alleged that prostitutes from London and Madrid were flown in specifically for the party shortly before all air travel to Spain was cancelled.

Although Puerto Rican reggaeton artists Justin Quiles and Zion were spotted on the island, their spokeswoman confirmed they were at the island filming a music video and stayed away from any social events. Both artists have since tested negative for Covid-19.

Fellow artist NakaryNK had also shared photos however she has also confirmed she was only there in a working capacity and did not attend any parties.

It is common knowledge that these sorts of parties have drugs flowing freely, in particular psychedelic 2C-B drugs. Also known as ‘pink cocaine’ due to the powdery substance and the high costs, as well as being pink.

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There were further reports that several larger groups also headed to a local hot spot – known locally as Corrupt Cay – although they have denied they were aware the virus was spreading.

One partygoer has since been unofficially reported as saying that ‘one of the girls had the virus and nobody knew,’ in an audio message that had been leaked across social media.

He also told how both his girlfriend and himself had to leave the party due to them both having high fevers. He also confirmed he knew of six more people who had tested positive for coronavirus.

When the party finally finished everyone got themselves tested and it seems many have since shut down their social media accounts – many believing this is due to their embarrassment of the way they partied during a pandemic.

Yet there are some partygoers who have defended the situation. Jesus Amoroso posted a photograph of himself in front of a luxury SUV, with his middle fingers up, saying “suck it gossipers’. An action that has clearly further angered residents.

Since the outbreak amongst the elite’s children, police have made several arrests of those who were partying in Los Roques. These include a suspected madam who provided the prostitutes for the party.

A raid at a party in Caracas found ecstasy pills, a handgun and eight women who allegedly belong to a prostitution ring.

Sweden COVID-19

Sweden’s Alternative Approach to Covid-19

While the majority of the world has ‘shut up shop’ in an attempt to stop the spread of coronavirus Sweden has taken a different approach.

News reports have shown scenes of popular tourist areas – including Times Square in New York, Piccadilly Circus in London, the Eiffel Tower in Paris and Seoul in South Korea – completely deserted. The lack of tourists has also seen the canals of Venice become clear again.

Yet in Stockholm, Sweden this is not the case. Although the streets are quieter than normal they are still bustling with activity.

The Swedish authorities have recommended their citizens practice social distancing, work from home where they can and have encouraged residents older than 70 to self-isolate, however they are not imposing the rules as heavily as elsewhere.

The warmer weather has seen outdoor cafes continue to serve the many customers who want coffees, teenagers are not in trouble for hanging out and many more are continuing to greet each other with a hug, completely ignoring social distancing recommendations that are rife throughout the rest of the world.

Bars have seen a ban on drinking at the counter however customers can still be served at tables in restaurants rather than ordering ‘to go’. And while universities and high schools have been forced to close, many primary and pre-schools are continuing to remain open.

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Johan Giesecke, Sweden’s former chief epidemiologist advises the government body the Swedish Health Agency, and admits, “Sweden is an outlier on the European scene, at least. And I think that’s good.” He also believes that other European nations “have taken political, unconsidered actions” rather than making decisions that have been dictated by science.

Prime Minister Stefan Lofven has confirmed that the country will be dealing with “many tough weeks and months ahead.” In an announcement Lofven confirmed that gatherings would be reduced to only 50 people rather than 500, with many funerals, weddings and even Easter celebrations being affected.

However the Swedish government continues to believe that their citizens will continue to take responsible actions to keep the virus at bay and any who show covid-19 symptoms will stay at home.

The actions of the country may seem to be working at the moment however scientists have slammed the approach, claiming the tactics are irresponsible. Around 2,000 academics have written an open letter to the government asking for more transparency on the situation as well as an explanation for the way they are attempting to reduce the pandemic in their country.

Karolinska Institute professor Sten Linnarsson says the concerns are due to “the assessments and the course that the Swedish government has taken through this epidemic, and especially because there is really a lack of scientific evidence being put forward for these policies.”

In an attempt to show how bad he believes Sweden is dealing with the virus, Linnarsson compares the procedures to letting a house fire continue to burn with the plan of putting the flames out later. “That doesn’t make any sense. And the danger, of course, is that it burns the whole house down.”

However Anders Tegnell, Sweden’s current chief epidemiologist, disagrees, believing that their policies – which could be seen as unresponsive – are designed to protect the health of their citizens in a more sustainable way, rather than the ‘drastic’ moves other countries have introduced, including closing schools for months.

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At the time of writing, Sweden has seen nearly 6,000 confirmed cases and over 100 deaths out of a nation of around 10 million. Yet these figures are thought to be vastly lower than the actual number due to the limited testing available in the country.

Tegnell confirms, “The goal is to slow down the amount of new people getting infected so that health care gets a reasonable chance to take care of them. And that’s what we all do in every country in Europe. We just choose different methods to do it.”

And while there are many around the world that think Sweden’s behavior is ‘reckless’ many within the country believe they are continuing to work in the right way. Retired teacher Susanna Moberg, 63, not only trusts her country’s government but she also believes that the way they are dealing with the pandemic will help keep the situation lower than those in other countries, such as Italy which has one of the highest number of deaths related to the virus in the world.

“I’m not so worried. I’m not 70 years yet. And my children are not sick so we will go to a restaurant on Sunday. We said ‘everybody is well and the restaurant is open’. So we will go there to celebrate. We can’t stay at home the whole day, all week’.

Yet this is exactly what many other citizens around the world are doing in an attempt to stem the spread.

UK vs Virus

First Death From Coronavirus Occured in the U.K. Much Earlier Than Thought

New data suggest that coronavirus may have been more prevalent in the U.K. much earlier than experts first thought.

According to figures from NHS England, the first coronavirus-related death is thought to have occured on 28th February which is almost a full week before what was previously acknowledged. The first official death was reported on the 5th March.

The revelations come as there is growing pressure to understand the exact pattern of the virus, given that there are some inconsistencies with the data being reported. This has been put down to the sheer logistics of reporting the daily deaths and infection rates, along with the cut off points on certain dates for obtaining the necessary data. If certain figures are late, it can cause the daily figure to appear skewed, painting a less severe picture of daily deaths followed by a second spike day as the numbers catch up. There has also been concerns that deaths in non-hospital settings, such as care homes, are not included in the daily figures, so they can only be taken as an indicator at best of the current position.

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Whilst it is accepted that the figures are not totally accurate, they do help to show the pattern of deaths with regards to age groups. It shows that over half of the patients who have died so far were over 80 years of age, with a further 40% falling between 60-79 years, 7% occurring between 40 and 59 years and less than 1% being under 40 years. The youngest reported death in the U.K. was of a 13 year old boy in London. There is growing acceptance from medical experts and the general public that although the recovery rate remains very good for the vast majority, some people will suffer adversely and subsequently die, and that from time to time this does include people who are seemingly ‘low risk’. Some experts have indicated that this is in fact also the case with traditional flu, but this risk is rarely discussed publicly to any significant degree. Thousands of people die from seasonal flu each year, so there is some risk associated with this, although there is a vaccine for both Influenza A and B strains and more understanding of how to treat it. The trouble with COVID-19 is that there is still only a few months of research into this new virus and its effects on the body are still not fully understood. There is no vaccine and no treatment, so all that can be done is to manage the symptoms and make the patient as comfortable as possible whilst it tries to fight the virus.

Another sticking point in the evaluation of deaths caused by coronavirus is the issue of testing. The U.K. is far behind many other countries when it comes to testing patients, with priority being given to critically ill patients first. Now that there is surplus demand within this category, the test is now being made available to frontline NHS workers to help determine which of those displaying symptoms and self-isolating do in fact have the virus. Testing negative would enable these workers to return to work even if their symptoms have not completely disappeared, as it could be concluded that the cause of them is not coronavirus. But there are currently no tests for those outside of these groups, including those who have died at home or in other care facilities. There could therefore be much higher numbers of coronavirus related deaths occurring that we simply don’t know about.

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Whilst the WHO has emphasized that testing is the only way to fully understand the virus, the U.K. government is keeping an open mind with regards to how it progresses with mass testing. There are currently several different types of test being considered in addition to the current test which looks for evidence of the virus within the body right now. The other type of test being explored is an antibody test which would help to show whether someone had previously had the virus and was now essentially immune. This immunity may however be temporary as it is not yet known how long a person will remain immune to the virus. Until this is known in more detail, the U.K. is reluctant to proceed with any kind of immunity ‘certification’, which would enable those who had contracted and recovered from the virus to return to work safely in the knowledge that they would not be able to pass the virus onto anyone else.

Many experts are in agreement that the full scope and impact of the virus will only be fully realised at the end of the epidemic, when historic data can be analysed in detail and the entire progression mapped out. At present, we are right in the midst of the outbreak and the future is completely out of sight for the moment. All that we can do at this stage is follow the scientific advice and take all the steps we can to flatten the curve as much as possible, so that fewer people contract the virus and even fewer end up needing critical care support in hospitals.

Face ID

How Clearview AI Is Using Facial Recognition

Clearview AI built a massive database of faces that it’s making available to law enforcement, and nobody’s stopping it.

Your Instagram pictures could be part of a facial recognition database that’s been made available to law enforcement agencies. That’s thanks to Clearview AI, a mysterious startup that has scraped billions of images from across the web, including from social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter.

Law enforcement has been using facial recognition for a while. But Clearview’s technology represents a scary step further than anything we’ve seen before, according to reporting from the New York Times. The secretive company says it’s created a database of over 3 billion images that have been scraped from all corners of the internet, including social networks like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. From just a snapshot or video still, Clearview claims its app lets a police officer identify a face and match it with publicly available information about the person, within just a few seconds.

Faced with these concerns, the world’s biggest tech companies are stepping up, sending cease-and-desist letters to Clearview that order the company to stop scraping their sites for our data. But it’s not clear how much power those companies have, or how invested they actually are in protecting our personal information. While some lawsuits against Clearview are also popping up, it’s not yet apparent how Clearview could be stopped. That has privacy advocates pointing to the need for a federal law regulating, or even outright banning, facial recognition in the United States.

So here’s how Clearview’s tool works. Say you have an image of a person, but you don’t know their name. You could input that photo into Clearview’s app, and it will turn up any image of the person that it had scraped from the internet, as well as links to websites from which those images came. That could be a good amount of information.

Again, Clearview’s database reportedly includes more than 3 billion images taken from around the web. That’s much more than what law enforcement agencies typically have access to. The Times reports that the technology will work with images of faces from many different angles, while older facial recognition tools used by police departments might require the subject to be looking straight ahead, like in a mug shot.

That means images from social media posts on platforms like Instagram could pop up — even images that are no longer, but once were, publicly available. And keep in mind: The tool doesn’t just surface pictures that you’ve taken and posted online. It will also turn up any photos posted of you, even those posted without your consent or knowledge.

“Clearview is a search engine for publicly available images,” Clearview CEO Hoan Ton-That told Recode in an email. “We do not and cannot index any images that are private or protected, such as those in a private Instagram account. A previously public image may or may not be searchable with Clearview depending on the time it was public and that would depend on the individual case.”

More than 600 law enforcement agencies have used Clearview AI in the past year, as have federal agencies like the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), according to the Times. The FBI would not confirm to Recode that it had used Clearview’s tool, instead pointing to its testimony last year about its use of facial recognition more broadly from June 2019. The DHS did not respond to Recode’s request for comment by the time of publication.

The tool has also been provided to some companies for security, though Ton-That wouldn’t tell Recode which ones. The Times has reported that “at least a handful of companies” have obtained licenses for Clearview’s technology “for security purposes.” Meanwhile, Ton-That told Recode: “We decline to comment due to confidentiality and other reasons.”

It’s also unclear who else, including foreign governments, Clearview is willing to do business with. Ton-That told the Times, “If it’s a country where it’s just governed terribly, or whatever, I don’t know if we’d feel comfortable, you know, selling to certain countries.” Nevertheless, BuzzFeed News recently reported that Clearview has plans to sell the tool to at least 22 countries, including some with concerning human rights records. Clearview told Recode that it did not currently have contracts outside the US and Canada. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the national police service in Canada, told Recode that it does not comment on specific investigative tools but that it researches emerging technologies.

The use of this tool by law enforcement alone raises questions, however. Imagine, for instance, the ethical problems at play with a police officer using Clearview to identify a protester. Or, say the facial recognition doesn’t work as it should and a false “match” ultimately leads to arresting someone for a crime they didn’t commit.

But there’s also fear that Clearview’s technology could one day be made available to anyone, and such a development could destroy our expectation of being anonymous in public. It’s not difficult to imagine terrifying uses of this. Imagine if a nude picture of you was, at some point in time, posted online. With the snap of a phone camera, it’s possible that anyone with Clearview could instantaneously find that image. Or imagine you’re walking down the street, and someone decides they want to know where you live and whether you had kids. All they might need is the Clearview app.


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Young Girls in School

Third of World’s Poorest Girls Denied Access to School

A third of the world’s poorest girls, aged between 10 and 18, have never been to school, says the United Nations.

A report from Unicef, the UN’s children’s agency, warned that poverty and discrimination were denying an education to millions of young people.

It criticised a “crippling learning crisis” for impoverished families, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.

The findings were published as education ministers from 120 countries gathered for a conference in London.

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N.S.A. Takes Step Toward Protecting World’s Computers, Not Just Hacking Them

The intelligence agency alerted Microsoft to a vulnerability in Windows. Typically, it would keep quiet and exploit the flaw.

WASHINGTON — The National Security Agency has taken a significant step toward protecting the world’s computer systems, alerting Microsoft to a vulnerability in its Windows operating system rather than keeping quiet and exploiting the flaw to develop cyberweapons as the agency typically would, people familiar with the matter said Tuesday.

The warning allowed Microsoft to develop a patch for the problem, and it appears to be a shift in strategy for the intelligence agency. In years past, the N.S.A. has collected and hoarded all manner of computer vulnerabilities, using them to gain access to computer networks to collect intelligence and develop cyberweapons to use against American adversaries.

But that policy came under criticism when the N.S.A. lost control of some of those tools, which fell into the hands of cybercriminals and other malicious actors in recent years, including North Korean and Russian hackers.

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Indonesia Hit By Extreme Flooding

Extreme weather conditions have been rocking the world recently and Indonesia has been one of the latest regions to be hit. Last week torrential rains hit Jakarta and its surrounding areas which in turn caused landslides and floods that have taken the lives of 29 individuals. At one point over 62,000 citizens had to be evacuated from Jakarta, although Agus Wibowo – a spokesman for the disaster mitigation agency – confirmed that the numbers of those evacuated had dropped to 35,000 people.

The city of Bekasi was also hit, although the waters are starting to recede, leaving muddy roads covered in garbage, as well as damaged cars littering the area. With so much damage locals were forced to use tire inner tubes or rubber lifeboats just to get around the city.

Many buildings showed signs that the water had reached the second floors after a local river broke its banks with local Deddy Supriadi saying he “saw the water coming and it just kept getting higher and higher. It swept away 40 or 50 cars that were parked right here.”

Many residents across the region became trapped in their own homes as rescuers were seen helping seniors and children evacuate via inflatable boats. The National Search and Rescue agency confirmed that they had been called to make many rescues, including an incident where rescuers had to wade through water that was ‘chin-deep’ so they could rescue a baby who was carried to safety in a small bucket.

The agency’s spokesman Yusuf Latif confirmed “we’ve been rescuing new-borns, mothers who just gave birth and babies trapped in houses without food.”

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“In some places, the rescue operation was quite challenging and difficult. The water was deep with a strong current. Some alleyways were so narrow that it was hard for our inflatable boats to pass through.”

However, children in the area were spotted swimming in the waters while others took to the streets with their fishing rods. Agung Rosiadi, 28, saw people fishing so he joined them, however he commented that “there were lots of fish before but I don’t know why they’ve all gone now.”

Sadly at least 26 people have lost their lives in greater Jakarta with a further three dying during flash floods in the nearby Lebak regency. Police have confirmed they are still looking for eight missing people with Social Affairs Minister Juliari Peter Batubara admitting “we hope the toll won’t keep going up.”

While most deaths were caused through hypothermia or drowning, there were also other instances including a 16-year-old boy who was electrocuted by a power line and an eight-year-old boy who died during a landslide.

One resident saw many families flee the floods in the western edges of Jakarta, telling reporters “the floods hit without warning. The water came very fast and it rose quickly. We couldn’t manage to get our stuff out, including my car.”

Other residents were evacuated from their homes in East Jakarta including Umar Dani who was rescued with his family on a rubber boat after the flood waters rose to neck height. “It has not flooded for so long here. We didn’t have the chance to bring anything. I have to live on the streets now.”

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Following several electrocutions, officials decided to turn the power off in many areas in Jakarta to prevent further incidents, thus resulting in several train lines being closed down, as well as a local airports, however the majority of services were back to normal within 24 hours.

Joko Widodo – Indonesia’s President – spoke to reporters and confirmed that both safety and evacuation procedures would be prioritized and demanded more planning between the central government and local administrations.

Speaking via his Twitter feed Widodo blamed flood control infrastructure projects being delayed for the flooding, with some being delayed for nearly three years as a result of land acquisition problems.

During a visit to areas in East Jakarta the governor of Jakarta, Anies Baswedan, announced that the authorities had been deploying hundreds of pumps in an attempt to remove the majority of the rainwater from several residential settings throughout the capital, meaning many residents could return back to what was left of their homes.

“They want to return home immediately and start cleaning up their houses as soon as they are able to enter their houses as water recedes.”

Reports confirmed that water levels have dropped dramatically in some of the affected areas with images showing many streets needing clearing of mud and rubbish.

However if locals thought the danger has passed authorities have warned them that the “extreme weather” is due to continue for another week – with heavy rainfall predicted until the middle of February – and urged people to “remain vigilant.”

People at fair

CES 2020: The Weirdest Gadgets from the World’s Biggest Tech Show

While the headliners at the world’s largest technology expo tend to be mobile phones, smart home gadgetry and improbably huge televisions it wouldn’t be CES without the bewildering parade of weird and wonderful gadgets.

2020 is already off to a strong start for the bizarre, with wacky robots, spinning tellies and even more things unnecessarily connected to the internet.

Many of these may never see the public light of day, but here are our picks of the weirdest gadgets at CES 2020.

Say hello to the meowing, moody BellaBot, a food-delivery robot able to carry up to 10kg of food to hungry restaurant diners.

Give it a scratch behind the ears upon receiving your order and it will purr with pleasure. But not for too long, with developers PuduTech saying that it “gets mad to remind you not to interrupt its job” in a mood swing worthy of a real moggy.

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New Year’s Eve Countdowns Around the World

(CNN) People around the world are beginning to wave goodbye to 2019 and welcome 2020.

The Pacific Island nations of Tonga, Samoa and Kiribati were the first to see in the new year — when it was still 5 a.m. on December 31 on the East Coast of the United States and 11 a.m. UTC (Coordinated Universal Time, the global standard). New Zealand was next, an hour later.

American Samoa, just 101 miles from Samoa but in an entirely different timezone, must wait a full day before seeing in 2020.

There are 39 different local times in use — including two which are more than 12 hours ahead of UTC — which means it takes 26 hours for the entire world to enter the New Year.

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