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Indian social media star Siya Kakkar, 16, kills herself in New Delh

Indian social media star Siya Kakkar, 16, kills herself in New Delhi ‘after receiving threats’

  • Siya Kakkar, 16, attracted over 1m followers on TikTok with her dance routines
  • She was found dead yesterday in her New Delhi home after an apparent suicide 
  • 16-year-old shared a video of her dancing on a Delhi rooftop just hours before her body was found 

A 16-year-old Indian TikTok star killed herself yesterday in New Delhi after receiving ‘threats’. 

Siya Kakkar, who attracted over one million followers on TikTok with her dance routines, was found dead in her home in East Delhi last night. 

Kakkar posted a video of herself on top of a building in New Delhi hours before she killed herself. She is smiling in the clip.  

According to family sources, the teenager had been receiving ‘threats’ on the internet, but police said they were unable to confirm the motive at the current stage of the investigation. 

Siya Kakkar, 16, posted a video of herself on top of a building in New Delhi hours before she killed herself. She is smiling in the clip (pictured)

Kakkar’s manager, Arjun Sarin, said that he had spoken to the social media star on the day of her death. He said she appeared to be doing well.   

He said: ‘This must be due to something personal…work wise she was doing well.

‘I had a word with her last night for a new project and she sounded normal.

‘Me and my company Fame Experts manage lots of artists and Siya was a bright talent. I am heading to her home in Preet Vihar.’

While most popular for her dance videos on TikTok, the 16-year-old also had over 100k followers on Instagram. 

According to family sources, Kakkar (pictured) had been receiving ‘threats’ on the internet, but police said they were unable to confirm the motive at the current stage of the investigation

On social media, friends and people who worked with Kakkar expressed their sorrow over her untimely death. 

Photographer Viral Bhayani wrote in an Instagram post, ‘Sad news 16-year-old sweet tik-toker @siya_kakkar died by suicide. 

‘Before publishing this I spoke to her Talent management agency head Arjun Sarin who just spoke to her last night for a song collaboration and he says she was in a good mood and perfectly alright.

‘Even he has no clue what went wrong that she had to go this way. You go through her videos and you can she was so good in her content, it’s really sad that she chose this path. If you are feeling depressed please dont do this (sic).’ 

Earlier this month, Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput was found dead in his Mumbai apartment from suspected suicide. 

The 34-year-old was one of Bollywood’s most high-profile personalities and was best known for playing India cricket legend MS Dhoni in a biopic of his life.  

Anyone in the UK seeking help for mental health concerns can call Samaritans free on 116 123 or visit Samaritans.org 

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Kent police raise 'Gipsy and Roma Traveller' flag 'to show support'

Kent police raise ‘Gipsy and Roma Traveller’ flag ‘to show their continued support for diverse communities’

  • Officer and staff flew flag to recognise Gipsy contribution to police force
  • But picture post backfired badly with over a thousand complaints online
  • Some branded it a joke while one questioned when it was ‘crime-fighting day’ 
  • Gipsy Roma Traveller Police Association hit back and said flag was an honour

A police force has raised the Gipsy Roma Travelling flag – sparking hundreds of complaints from the public

Kent Police announced it was marking Gipsy Roma Traveller History Month and put out a picture of three members of staff with the colourful banner.

But the social media post prompted over a thousand responses, with most of them negative.

Kent has had to deal with a large number of illegal traveller sites in the past. 

Kent Police posted the flag on social media but received a hostile response from hundreds of users

One web user accused the force of being ‘out of touch’, while others declared they should leave ‘left wing woke politics’ behind.

Kent Police have not yet commented on the furore, but the Gipsy Roma Traveller Police Association – who represent those from the travelling community – said they had hundreds of officers and the flag recognised their contribution.

The original posting from the police force was made on Wednesday just after 2.30pm and featured DCC Tony Blaker and PC Kate West Diversity and Inclusion Co-ordinator Suki Randhawa.

The original message prompted a storm of criticism with the police force being accused of ‘virtue signalling’ and being asked if it was a joke

Call the social media police!

In October a top police officer was criticised for posting a ‘ridiculous’ video on Twitter highlighting ‘International Pronouns Day’.

Julie Cooke, the deputy chief constable of Cheshire police, told her 2,231 followers that the day was important to anyone who identifies as transgender or ‘gender non-conforming’. 

In July police in London showed off an extravagant £130,000 hybrid car online, which would never be used for catching criminals.

The eco-friendly BMW i8, was patrolled along the roads near the Met’s headquarters just to prove it was obeying the city’s new Ultra Low Emission Zone.

 In October 17 at least 18 officers from Humberside Police rode bumber cars at Hull Fair for photo opportunities.

Chief Superintendent Darren Downs, posted a picture on Twitter and described having a “fantastic afternoon at the fair”. 

It said: ‘We’re marking Gypsy Roma Traveller History month by raising the ‘GRT’ flag’, helping to show our continued support for diverse communities. Kent’s history has a rich Gypsy & Roma heritage & we’ll continue to work with all communities to ensure this is a welcoming county for all.’

But by Thursday afternoon over 1,300 had responded, most in disbelief.

Bea Johanssen simply asked ‘When’s Crime-fighting Day?’ while another questioned ‘Is this a joke? We do not pay the police force to support certain groups. They should police without fear nor favour.’

Twitter user Blue Geordie said: ‘Virtue signalling that means nothing to no one but will undoubtedly p*** off a lot of people who just want the police to turn up when they call them and lock up the bad guys when they find them. Simple stuff.’

Simon Lord added: ‘Dear Kent Police, as this week is Armed Forces Week, could you tell us how you intend marking this event?

‘As Kent was full of famous RAF Stations such as Biggin Hill, whose brave pilots played a huge part in saving us from the Nazi’s, will you be raising a flag for them?’

Another said: ‘Dear God, give me strength. When are the police going to stop virtue signaling and doing what they’d paid to do and Police?’ 

Kent has had problems with travellers in recent years, with communities sitting up illegal sites.

In 2019 the army turned up to turf out families who had rolled up on land in Folkstone, Kent is owned by the MoD. 

Kent Police have been contacted for comment about the Gipsy flag tweet, but the GRTPA responded to some of the online outrage.

It said: ‘Nationally we have hundreds of Gypsy Roma and Traveller Officers.

‘This flag is for us and the contribution we make every day to serving the public.’

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Sir Elton John's ex-wife launches legal action 32 years after divorce

SIR Elton John's ex-wife has launched legal action against the singer 32 years after they divorced.

Renate Blauel, who was married to the star for four years, is reportedly seeking an injunction against her ex-husband.

The reason for the legal action is unclear but injunctions usually relate to privacy matters or to block information being made public, The Guardian reports.

Sir Elton is named on the court papers, with Blauel's lawyer saying she is “hoping to resolve it amicably”.

The Rocketman singer wed sound engineer Blauel a year after they met while on tour in Australia in 1983.

But they were divorced just four years later, with Sir Elton later announcing he was gay.

He married partner David Furnish in a civil partnership in 2005 after a 12-year relationship and the pair have two sons together.

German-born Blauel has remained fiercely private since the split but was played by Celinde Schoenmaker in last year's blockbuster Rocketman based on the star's life.

In his autobiography, Sir Elton spoke about his divorce and his struggle with his sexuality.

He also revealed he has limited contact with his ex-wife, who turned down an offer to meet his children.

He wrote: "I’d broken the heart of someone I loved and who loved me unconditionally, someone I couldn’t fault in any way.

“Despite all the pain, there was no acrimony involved at all. For years afterwards, whenever something happened to me, the press would turn up on her doorstep, looking for her to dish the dirt, and she never, ever has: she told them to leave her alone.”


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FBI Director calls China ‘our biggest threat’ and says communist party is ‘rampantly spying on top companies’ – The Sun

THE FBI Director has called China "our biggest threat" and said that the communist party is "rampantly spying on top companies."

Christopher Wray made the comments during an interview with Fox News on Wednesday afternoon.

"There's no country that presents a broader or more comprehensive threat to America’s innovation, to our economic security and to our democratic ideas than China does," he said.

The Director revealed that his agency has more than 2,000 active investigations which trace back to the government of China – resulting in a 1,300 percent increase in economic espionage investigations in the past decade.

"This is not about the Chinese people or Chinese Americans, this is about the Chinese government and the Chinese communist party," he explained.

Wray then went on to explain that China is "pursuing a campaign" that uses people such as business men, high-level scientists and academics to "steal American innovation and confidential information."

He said that the country is targeting big and small businesses, as well as research centers.

Despite being worried about what he called "spy vs spy thing," Wray admitted that "we're much more focused on the economic espionage which targets American businesses and hurts American jobs and American consumers."

He reiterated that this will affect "everything from Fortune 100 companies to startups. It's agriculture, it's high tech, it's aviation, it's healthcare."

China has recently been under fire by the United States over it's handling of the coronavirus.

Last month, President Donald Trump has claimed China allowed the "plague" coronavirus into the US while stopping the bug in its own country.

The president hit out at the communist regime at the end of May and said: "Once the plague, as I call it, came in, I said: how did they let that happen?

"How come it didn’t go into other sections of China?

"Why did they block it from leaving Wuhan, but they didn’t block it from going to the rest of the world including the United States? Why is that?

"Beijing doesn’t have it, other places don’t have it."

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Mum and her two kids crushed to death by collapsing building in Italy as son, 9, watched in horror

A MUM and her two young children have died after part of wall collapsed on them in Italy.

The horrific incident was watched by Fouzia Taoufiq’s nine-year-old eldest son, who escaped because he was on the other side of the road.


The 38-year-old was pushing a stroller at around 5pm on Wednesday with her 18-month-old daughter Yaoucut, while her son Soulaymane, aged 5,was riding his bike.

Fouzia and Soulaymane were killed instantly a when the 100ft section of cornice of a converted shed, that housed a laundry and a pizzeria, collapsed on them in Albizzate, near Milan.

Rescuers were able to pull Yaoucut from the rubble – which covered about half the road – but she died in hospital later.

Fire department inspector Francesco Bruno said it appears the cornice detached from the main building very quickly and almost in one piece.

A witness who working in a nearby supermarket told La Republica he heard a noise “like an explosion” then ran outside to see building had collapsed and Fouzia's crying.

“Across the street was the eldest son of the dead woman. He was in tears, he asked about his mother.

“I took him to the supermarket until his dad, who was at work, arrived.” 

Her husband Noureddine Hannach, arrived at the scene as rescuers were still working and described it as being like a “slaughterhouse”.


The mechanic said he and his wife – who were both born in Morocco – had been married since 2007 and he has lived in Italy for 20 years.

He said his wife had been living in the country since 2009 and all their children were born there.

“Losing a wife and two children was a blow, it will be difficult,” he said. 

“I did not sleep. My eldest son is at a friend's house.  He says he is doing well. He saw everything.”

A 42-year-old woman was injured in the incident and was taken to hospital in Milan for treatment.

Prosecutors have begun in a murder investigation while the police are continuing their inquiries.

Town mayor Mirko Zorzo’s office is in the building and narrowly avoided being crushed himself.

Mr Zorzo said he was leaving the building when it came down and was just 20cm from where the rubble landed.

“I am upset, at the moment I do not feel like commenting much. I am talking with emergency services to reconstruct what happened,” he said.


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Europe sees ‘significant resurgence’ of coronavirus after lockdowns lifted

Europe has now recorded more than 2.5 million coronavirus cases following a “significant resurgence” after many lockdowns were lifted, the World Health Organization said Thursday.

“Last week, Europe saw an increase in weekly cases for the first time in months,” the WHO’s regional director for Europe, Hans Kluge, said of alarming data following many nations lifting lockdowns.

“Thirty countries have seen increases in new cumulative cases over the past two weeks,” he said, without detailing specific examples.

“In 11 of these countries, accelerated transmission has led to very significant resurgence that if left unchecked will push health systems to the brink once again in Europe,” he warned.

While the continent had earlier appeared to be over the worst of the pandemic, there are still “close to 20,000 new cases and over 700 new deaths daily,” Kluge said.

“For weeks I have spoken about the risk of resurgence as countries adjust measures,” he said of the easing of earlier lockdowns and strict social distancing measures.

Praising new technology for helping tracing efforts, Kluge warned that it had also “exposed us to a tsunami of information” and “raised many issues around data protection and privacy.”

“Fundamental human and gender rights must be preserved in digital environments and must not be forgone in times of a pandemic,” he said.

“It is the responsibility of governments to address data ownership, use, consent and protection.”

A health worker collecting samples from a suspected covid 19Against new corona wave: Luxembourg testsCoronavirus - Outbreak at Tönnies

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Senators demand the Pentagon's files on UFO sightings

Senators demand the Pentagon’s UFO files: Intelligence panel wants a public report on progress of mysterious Navy program and what it observes

  • Senate Intelligence Committee wants report on Pentagon’s secret UFO program
  • Lawmakers say they ‘support the efforts’ of the ‘Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon Task Force’, appearing to confirm that such a program still exists 
  • In 2017 Pentagon admitted funding a UFO program but said it ended in 2012 

US senators are demanding to see the Pentagon’s UFO files as they push for influence over a secretive Navy program. 

The Senate Intelligence Committee wants defense chiefs to release a public report on the Pentagon’s UFO program and any phenomena it observes.

The committee says it ‘supports the efforts of the Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon Task Force’ – appearing to confirm that such a program still exists.  

In 2017 the Pentagon acknowledged funding a secret multi-million dollar program to investigate UFO sightings, although defense chiefs claimed it had ended in 2012. 

Senators now want to regulate the program – saying the public should be better informed of its activities.   

In April 2020 the Pentagon released footage from three sightings of unidentified objects. One of the videos was captured off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida, in 2015 (pictured)

The Senate’s focus on the program stems less out of a concern over extraterrestrials, and more from the threat posed by real-world US adversaries such as China.

The Pentagon admitted earlier this month that a nuclear detonation in space by Russia or China was among the possible threats to US interests. 

The US is particularly worried about China’s espionage capabilities, including use of drones and other aerial technology. 

The UFO program, managed by the Office of Naval Intelligence, is responsible for ‘collection and reporting on unidentified aerial phenomenon, any links they have to adversarial foreign governments, and the threat they pose to US military assets and installations.’

But senators said that information sharing had been ‘inconsistent’ and called for a detailed report on the program’s progress and any phenomena it observes.  

The provision is part of the 2021 intelligence authorization bill, which has yet to make its way to the full Senate. 

If it passes, the Pentagon will have 180 days to submit a report to Congress.

The Pentagon said in 2017 that an earlier operation called the Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Programme had ended in 2012.   

‘It was determined that there were other, higher priority issues that merited funding and it was in the best interest of the DoD to make a change,’ a spokeswoman said at the time.

But the Pentagon was less clear about whether the UFO program continues to hover somewhere in the vast universe of the US defense establishment.

‘The DoD takes seriously all threats and potential threats to our people, our assets, and our mission and takes action whenever credible information is developed,’ the spokeswoman said. 

Another video shows the notorious 2004 ‘Tic Tac’ incident (pictured) that was recorded over the Pacific Ocean

In April this year, the Pentagon released three videos taken by US Navy pilots showing mid-air encounters with unexplained objects.

The grainy black and white footage had previously been leaked and the Navy had acknowledged they were genuine videos. 

One of the videos was shot in November 2004 and the other two in January 2015.

In one, a weapons sensor operator appears to lose lock on a rapidly moving object which seconds later suddenly accelerates away to the left and out of view.

In another video which is tracking an object above the clouds, one pilot wonders if it is a drone.  

The Department of Defense said it was ‘releasing the videos in order to clear up any misconceptions by the public on whether or not the footage that has been circulating was real, or whether or not there is more to the videos.’

‘The aerial phenomena observed in the videos remain characterized as ‘unidentified,” the Pentagon statement said. 

Retired US Navy pilot David Fravor, who saw one of the ‘UFOs’ in 2004, said the object he saw had been moving erratically.

‘As I got close to it … it rapidly accelerated to the south, and disappeared in less than two seconds,’ Fravor told CNN in 2017.

‘This was extremely abrupt, like a ping pong ball, bouncing off a wall. It would hit and go the other way.’

Former Nevada senator Harry Reid, whose state hosts the top secret Area 51 Air Force facility, welcomed release of the videos.

‘I’m glad the Pentagon is finally releasing this footage, but it only scratches the surface of research and materials available,’ he tweeted.

‘The U.S. needs to take a serious, scientific look at this and any potential national security implications. The American people deserve to be informed.’ 

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Footage shows trainers treating elephants cruelly in Thailand

Heartbreaking footage shows young elephants in chains as their spirits are ‘crushed’ so they can be trained to perform for tourists in Thailand

  • WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
  • Disturbing footage shows the inhumane treatment elephants in Thailand
  • The never-before-seen videos were obtained by World Animal Protection
  • It showed eight young elephants being forcibly taken from their mothers 
  • Elephants were chained between trees while wailing in pain and collapsing
  • Three emaciated chained elephants were made to dance in front of a crowd
  • A baby elephant was chained to a pole being forced to spin a hoop on its trunk
  • A trainer was seen using a metal bull-hook to jab sensitive areas of the animal 

Disturbing footage has emerged of the inhumane treatment elephants in Thailand endure at the hands of trainers to make them ‘perform’ for tourists and break their spirits.

The harrowing videos have been shared by World Animal Protection to show the cruel training process known as ‘the crush’ used to make elephants submissive enough to bathe, dance on command and take tourists on rides.

The video showed common practices such as the use of a bull-hook, which is a metal tool used to jab sensitive areas, chains to restrain them, and frequent exposure to stressful situations.

Eight young elephants were seen being forcibly taken from their mothers, tied to wooden structures while beaten repeatedly, and walking tied up – sometimes along busy highways.

In heartbreaking footage, three emaciated elephants were forced to dance on their back legs in front of a crowd of tourists

A young elephant sways in pain after its feet and neck were shackled to poles by cruel trainers 

The elephants experience both physical and psychological trauma as they take violent blows, leaving them vulnerable and therefore terrified without the comfort of their mothers

Another video showed a trainer riding an elephant who was forced to walk with its two front legs shackled together

The young elephants experience both physical and psychological trauma as they take violent blows, leaving them vulnerable and terrified without the comfort of their mothers.

The distressing vision also shows young elephants being chained between trees while wailing in pain and eventually collapsing.

One elephant was seen being forced to stand up on his two hind legs, while his two front ankles are shackled together.

In an even more heartbreaking video, three emaciated elephants were forced to dance on their back legs in front of a crowd of tourists. 

The footage also showed an elephant lifting up a tourist with his trunk while visibly in agony.

A scared baby elephant was chained to a wooden pole while being forced to spin a hoola hoop on his trunk.

Another video showed a trainer riding an elephant who was forced to walk with its two front legs shackled together.   

The footage showed an elephant lifting up a tourist with his trunk while visibly in pain

The distressing vision also shows young elephants being chained between trees while crying out in pain and collapsing

A shackled elephant keeled over in pain after its two front legs were shackled together 

Elephants are unable to move after being roped and chained to large fences, as they wail in pain 

The global animal welfare organisation is calling for all Australian tourists to avoid captive elephant venues that offer direct interactions when tourism resumes post-coronavirus in popular travel destinations, like Thailand and Bali.  

‘We are calling on the travel industry to revise their wildlife policies and stop offering exploitative experiences to their customers,’ Ben Pearson, Head of Campaigns at World Animal Protection, Australia said. 

‘Elephant riding and other interactions, like shows and bathing, support acute animal cruelty.

‘We want to expose the true suffering elephants endure for a lifetime just so travellers can have their “once in a lifetime” holiday experience.

Mr Pearson said that once travel to Bali – one of the most popular overseas destinations for Australian travellers – opens up again, tourists should avoid such practices.

‘Tourism has come to a halt, but it will re-build, and this is the ideal opportunity to create a responsible and resilient future for wild animals,’ he said. 

Tourists drive the demand for interactive elephant experiences, and in Thailand alone, there are approximately 2,800 captive elephants that have undergone this cruel training.

Trainers cruelly dressed elephants up in costumes to perform and dance on command for crowds of heartless tourists 

A baby elephant tries to fit its head through a cage inside an inhumane enclosure 

The video showed the common practices such as the use of a bull-hook (carried by the trainer), which is a metal tool used to jab sensitive areas 

A 2018 report by World Animal Protection documented numerous venues in Bali that offered elephant riding and interactions, all of which had poor welfare practices.

As a sustainable, long-term solution, World Animal Protection is advocating for a captive breeding ban on elephants to ensure future generations are spared this trauma.

Holidaymakers hold considerable power to turn their backs on unethical practices and can opt instead to see elephants in their natural habitat or support elephant-friendly venues.

Elephant-friendly venues work on an observation-only model, not allowing direct interaction between elephants and tourists, but still providing jobs and a valuable income to local people such as elephant keepers, also known as mahouts.

Holidaymakers hold considerable power to turn their backs on unethical practices and can opt instead to see elephants in their natural habitat or support elephant-friendly venues

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Ebola outbreak in Congo is over after two years and 2,277 deaths

Ebola outbreak in DR Congo – the second deadliest ever in the world – is finally over after two years and 2,277 deaths, the country announces

  • DRC Health Minister said outbreak was the deadliest in country’s 60-year history
  • For an outbreak to be over, there needs to be no new reported cases in 42 days 
  • On June 1, as the epidemic in the east waned, a new outbreak – the DRC’s 11th since Ebola was identified in 1976 – was announced in the country’s northwest

The Democratic Republic of the Congo today officially declared an end to an Ebola epidemic that broke out in the east of the troubled country two years ago and went on to claim over 2,000 lives.

The outbreak was ‘the longest, most complex and deadliest’ in the 60-year history of the DRC, Health Minister Eteni Longondo said.

It has only been surpassed by the 2013-16 Ebola epidemic in West Africa that killed 11,300 people.

On June 1, as the epidemic in the east waned, a new outbreak – the DRC’s 11th since Ebola was identified in 1976 – was announced in the country’s northwest.

For an outbreak to be officially over, there have to be no new cases reported for 42 days, which is double the incubation period of the deadly haemorrhagic microbe. 

A healthcare worker sprays a room during a funeral of Kavugho Cindi Dorcas who is suspected of dying of Ebola in Beni, North Kivu Province of Democratic Republic of Congo, December 9, 2018. DRC Health Minister said the most recent outbreak was the deadliest and most complex in the existence of the country

A file photo of nurses caring for a suspected Ebola patient inside the Biosecure Emergency Care Unit (CUBE) at the Ebola treatment centre in Katwa, near Butembo, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, October 3, 2019

A new Ebola epidemic has been declared in the Democratic Republic of Congo on June 1, more than 620 miles away from the outbreak in the country’s east. However, the outbreak in the East, which claimed over 2,000 lives, is now officially over 

The eastern outbreak was just three days from reaching the finishing line in April when a new case was reported. Further cases meant that the clock was restarted on May 14.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reacted with joy to Thursday’s announcement from the biggest country in sub-Saharan Africa.

‘#Ebola outbreak in #DRC is OVER! WHO congratulates all those involved in this tough and often dangerous work to end the almost 2-year long outbreak,’ it said on Twitter.

The DRC is also struggling with the new coronavirus, with 6,411 cases including 142 fatalities, and measles, which has killed more than 6,000 people since early 2019 . 

The epidemic in the east broke out in August 2018 and killed a total of 2,227 people.

It was declared by the WHO in July 2019 to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern – a move that steps up international support – given the epicentre’s close proximity to neighbouring Rwanda and Uganda.

The worst-hit area was North Kivu, a province battered by militia killings and ethnic violence.

‘Chronic insecurity’ helped make the epidemic ‘highly complex,’ Longondo said.

Eleven workers and patients were killed, including a Cameroonian doctor, the UN said.

Two experimental vaccines were brought in to help roll back the disease.

More than 320,000 people received the jab, and the success means that ‘people are demanding to have the vaccine. It makes the campaign easier,’ said Professor Jean-Jacques Muyembe, in charge of the anti-Ebola fight.

A mother of a child, suspected of dying from Ebola, cries near her child’s coffin in Beni, North Kivu Province of Democratic Republic of Congo, December 17, 2018. For an outbreak to be officially over, there have to be no new cases reported for 42 days, which is double the incubation period of the deadly haemorrhagic microbe

The Ebola virus is passed on by contact with the blood, body fluids, secretions or organs of an infected or recently deceased person.

It has a natural reservoir in nature, which is believed to be a species of bat.

The death rate is typically high, ranging up to 90 per cent in some outbreaks, according to the WHO.

The northwest’s outbreak, about 600 miles away from the one in the east, is focused on Mbandaka, a transport hub on the Congo River in the province of Equateur.

It has claimed 13 lives out of 24 cases, according to the WHO.

Equateur was previously hit by Ebola between May and July 2018. Thirty-three people died. 

Ebola experts said the experience of the eastern outbreak would be vital for informing further action against Ebola.

One problem was an influx of wealth among health workers and their escorts in the armed forces – guards were given per-diem expenses of £240-320 per month in a country where per-income capita is around £400 a year.

The river of money created envy that militia groups readily exploited, they said.

‘Questionable practices in the Ebola response in the Democratic Republic of Congo, including payments to security forces, renting vehicles at inflated prices, and job kickback schemes, may have jeopardised humanitarian operations and put lives at risk,’ a specialised news site, The New Humanitarian, said in an investigation published on June 18.

An AFP reporter found that a lucrative business had developed in job appointments, with middle men creaming off commission, and some women said they had been pressed to provide sexual services in exchange for work.

WHAT IS EBOLA AND HOW DEADLY IS IT?

Ebola, a haemorrhagic fever, killed at least 11,000 across the world after it decimated West Africa and spread rapidly over the space of two years.

That epidemic was officially declared over back in January 2016, when Liberia was announced to be Ebola-free by the WHO.

The country, rocked by back-to-back civil wars that ended in 2003, was hit the hardest by the fever, with 40 per cent of the deaths having occurred there.

Sierra Leone reported the highest number of Ebola cases, with nearly of all those infected having been residents of the nation.

WHERE DID IT BEGIN? 

An analysis, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found the outbreak began in Guinea – which neighbours Liberia and Sierra Leone.

A team of international researchers were able to trace the epidemic back to a two-year-old boy in Meliandou – about 400 miles (650km) from the capital, Conakry.

Emile Ouamouno, known more commonly as Patient Zero, may have contracted the deadly virus by playing with bats in a hollow tree, a study suggested.

HOW MANY PEOPLE WERE STRUCK DOWN? 

Figures show nearly 29,000 people were infected from Ebola – meaning the virus killed around 40 per cent of those it struck.

Cases and deaths were also reported in Nigeria, Mali and the US – but on a much smaller scale, with 15 fatalities between the three nations.

Health officials in Guinea reported a mysterious bug in the south-eastern regions of the country before the WHO confirmed it was Ebola. 

Ebola was first identified by scientists in 1976, but the most recent outbreak dwarfed all other ones recorded in history, figures show.

HOW DID HUMANS CONTRACT THE VIRUS? 

Scientists believe Ebola is most often passed to humans by fruit bats, but antelope, porcupines, gorillas and chimpanzees could also be to blame.

It can be transmitted between humans through blood, secretions and other bodily fluids of people – and surfaces – that have been infected.

IS THERE A TREATMENT? 

The WHO warns that there is ‘no proven treatment’ for Ebola – but dozens of drugs and jabs are being tested in case of a similarly devastating outbreak.

Hope exists though, after an experimental vaccine, called rVSV-ZEBOV, protected nearly 6,000 people. The results were published in The Lancet journal. 

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UK weather forecast – New hottest day of the year as mercury hits 33.3C…before thunderstorms and HAIL later

TODAY is officially the hottest day of the year – and it's going to get even warmer.

The temperature at in London around 3pm on Thursday hit 33.3C, breaking the record set the day before, the Met Office said.












"Heathrow has matched yesterday's 32.6C and is likely to rise further this afternoon," the Met Office tweeted at 2pm.

The temperature then climbed to 33.3C an hour later.

The scorching sunshine is expected to give way to sweeping thunderstorms from this evening, bringing heavy rain, lightning and hail.

The storms will form in the South West and South East of England, Wales, western Scotland and Northern Ireland.

A yellow weather warning for thunderstorms is in place for much of the country from Thursday to Saturday, warning of disruption due to flooding, lightning strikes, hail and wind.

Today, West London is forecast to see temperatures peak between 32C (89.6F) and 33C (91.4F).















Parts of Wales could see the mercury rise to 34C (93.2F) – making it the hottest June on record in the country, surpassing the previous peak of 33.7C (92.7F) on June 18, 2000.

Beachgoers flocked to the water in huge numbers again on Thursday.

Camber Sands beach was so popular that police were forced to close the road leading to the shore at 10.30am due to heavy traffic.

The Met Office has raised its heat alert level to three and as health authorities have urged sun seekers to protect themselves amid the "exceptionally hot weather forecast this week".




Forecasters have also warned people can get sunburnt in just 15 minutes.

Public Health England said older people, those with underlying health conditions, and very young children were all more at risk from the higher temperatures.

People have been advised to keep cool and stay hydrated where possible.

The UK faces its highest-ever UV levels today due to the lack of pollution from planes.

Ultra-violet rays are expected to reach level nine across parts of Devon and Cornwall.

Met Office meteorologist Alex Burkill said that UV levels will be "reaching eight across many places and will be reaching nine across parts of Devon and Cornwall" today.

He said: "That's about as high as it gets really in the UK. The sun is as strong as it gets at the moment because we're so close to the solstice.

"We've got peak sun strength, clear skies, plenty of sunshine – they're the perfect ingredients for high UV."







Dr Michaela Hegglin, associate professor in atmospheric chemistry at the University of Reading's Department of Meteorology, said Thursday could see some of the "highest UV levels ever recorded" in Britain.

She said: "This is because of a combination of factors. We are at the summer solstice, when the sun is almost directly overhead at one o'clock.

"UV levels this high are rare in the UK, so people with light skin should be very careful to avoid getting burnt.

"While UV is important for getting vitamin D and keeping us healthy, too much of it can cause skin cancer or eye cataracts."

Emer O'Connell, consultant in public health at PHE, said it was important that people kept checking on the vulnerable, as many continued to spend more time at home due to coronavirus.

"You will need to do things differently this year, for example keeping in touch by phone," she said.

"If you need to provide direct care to someone at risk from hot weather, follow Government guidance on how to do this safely."





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