World News

‘Dumb,’ ‘stupid’ and ‘lazy’ replay in mind of ex-NHLer with dyslexia

Former Stanley Cup champion and dyslexia advocate Brent Sopel, 43, says three words still replay in his head daily — dumb, stupid and lazy.

Now retired from professional hockey, Sopel lives in Chicago and dedicates his time to advocacy on behalf of dyslexic children and their families.

He also created the Brent Sopel Foundation to provide financial and educational assistance to help students with dyslexia fulfill their potential through early detection and intervention.

“First-and-foremost, it’s educating the world that it’s a learning difference, not a learning disorder. We just learn a little bit differently,” Sopel said.

“I never want another person to feel the way I do every single day… there’s a lot of smart kids that learn differently and have the ability to change the world but won’t get the opportunity because they’re not getting taught the right way.”

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Coronavirus: Health minister Nadine Dorries confirms her mum, 84, also has covid-19

We have had my 84yo Mums results through. She tested positive

Nadine Dorries

Ms Dorries, 62, Tory MP for Mid-Bedfordshire, announced on Tuesday she was self-isolating, adding at the time her mother, who was staying with her, was also displaying symptoms. She subsequently tweeted last night: “We have had my 84yo Mums results through. She tested positive. “She’s a pre-war baby, doing ok. Made of strong stuff.

Her post was retweeted more than 1,300 times by 10am today, with plenty posted supportive messages.

Minister for the Pacific and member of the House of Lords Zac Goldsmith said: “Sending you and your mum lots of love Nadine x”

Former Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson added: “All best wishes to you both for a swift recovery.”

Ex-Brexit Party MEP Dr David Bull posted: “Thank goodness for that. Oldsters are made not to be messed with ;)”

Former Labour MP Paula Sheriff said: “Really hope your Mum is OK, Nadine. Glad you’re on the mend!”

Elizabeth Jackson said: “We pre-war babies have strong immune systems as we had all the childhood infections – measles, mumps, chicken-pox, whooping cough – which have been wiped out by vaccinations and lived in less hygiene-conscious times!”

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“I work in a children’s nursery and a member of staff has all the characteristics of the virus but has been refused a test!!”

TJ Grundy added: “Hope you and her recover quickly… it is somewhat distasteful that those who genuinely need it can’t get tested but relatives of the health minister can… it’s something to muse upon during your isolation isn’t it!?”

Ms Dorries was involved in a Twitter spat with Nevena Brigden, wife of Tory MP Andrew Brigden, earlier this week after the Serbian Opera singer accused her of “jeopardising” the health of her child and mother by sitting next to her husband in the House of Commons.

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However, others were curious as to how Ms Dorries’ mother had been tested so rapidly.

Twitter user Sue Smithaman asked: “How did she get tested?

“No one is being tested if they are not in hospital (which begs the question how do we have any figures now?)

Mr Brigden himself went into self-isolation after Ms Dorries’ diagnosis was confirmed.

His wife posted: “@NadineDorries why you did not tell them that you set next to My husband Andrew Bridgen on Thursday in a tea room and that he can’t get the test now! I have the baby and a 75 years old mother http://jeopardised.You were treated but no one is coming to help us!”

Ms Dorries responded: “Because, I did not sit next to your husband. He was in tea room when I walked in, on another table not close to me.

“He text me and told me he had sat next to me, I was too ill to discuss but not sick enough not to know, that wasn’t true. I told him if he was worried, to call 111.”

Undeterred, Mrs Brigden responded: “I’m sorry that you’re sick, I wish you to get well but let me tell you. You absolutely did sit next to my husband @ABridgen in the tearoom.

“Did you tell @DominicRaab or Sec of State & ministers to call 111 too? Or is this just a recommendation for backbenchers & ordinary people?”

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World News

Canada’s prisons preparing for coronavirus outbreak, want to limit visits

Canadian prison officials say they are adopting an existing flu-outbreak plan in preparation for the novel coronavirus outbreak that is sweeping across the country.

Correctional Service Canada says it wants the prisoners’ family and friends to avoid its institutions should they be sick and to consider other ways of communicating with loved ones, such as a video visitation or by telephone.

“CSC has considerable experience managing influenza outbreaks and the requirements for managing COVID-19 are similar,” spokeswoman Martine Rondeau said in an email to The Canadian Press.

Rondeau said there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in CSC institutions, but noted the service will comply “with requirements set by public health authorities, which could include an institution being quarantined.”

In Ontario, the provincial government announced late Friday it was barring personal visits to inmates in its adult provincial jails, allowing only professional visits, such as from prisoners’ lawyers. Offenders serving their sentences on weekends will also see their restrictions loosened.

Experts and prisoner advocates have expressed concerns for the health of the highly vulnerable prisoner population.

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World News

Police investigating another suspicious fire on Halifax’s Clyde Street

Police are investigating a second suspicious fire on Clyde Street in downtown Halifax.

Halifax Regional Police say emergency crews were called to 5545 Clyde Street at around 3:45 a.m. Sunday.

Police say businesses at the location were closed at the time and there were no injuries.

Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency were able to quickly extinguish the fire. Police say the scene is being held until it is fully processed.

There was another suspicious fire at the same address early Thursday morning

Anyone with information is asked to contact Halifax Regional Police or Crime Stoppers.



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World News

Revealed: The reason why Melania Trump needs a ‘thicker skin’ than ever before

Author of ‘FIRST WOMEN: The Grace and Power of America’s Modern First Ladies’, Kate Andersen Brower explained in an exclusive interview with why First Ladies need a thicker skin thanks to social media. Melania took over the FLOTUS Twitter and Instagram accounts when her husband US President Donald Trump was inaugurated in 2017. 

A spokeswoman for Melania at the time told Vanity Fair that once Trump is sworn in, Melania will tweet from the official FLOTUS account.

Before Melania took over, former First Lady Michelle Obama tweeted from the account. 

The American author and journalist described how the modern First Lady is exposed on social media in a negative way. 

She said: “I think social media has made everything more vitriolic and negative. 

“And that has affected the way politicians and their spouses are perceived. 

“People can say terrible things on social media and hide behind their phones and computer screens. 

“First Ladies need to have thicker skins now than ever before.”

However, she also said that she did not think that Melania has received as much criticism as Michelle Obama. 

She said: “Michelle Obama was a lightning rod for conservatives and people who didn’t agree with, or simply didn’t like, her husband. 

“I think she incited far more negativity and she weathered the storms well.”

Ms Brower also explained how Melania could learn from Michelle and other former First Ladies like Laura Bush, wife of former US President George W Bush.

The author explained how the modern First Lady can use their public platform to harness power and influence if done in the right way. 

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She said: “I think it would be helpful for her to talk to Laura Bush and Michelle Obama about how they harnessed their power and influence to make real change. 

“I think Melania’s Be Best campaign is too broad to really be effective and the women who came before her could help her narrow down a topic to really focus in on. 

“First Ladies have incredible power and influence because of their public platforms and I think every First Lady should aspire to make a real difference.”

Ms Brower has described Melania as being “the most private First Lady in modern times” who is less concerned about what people think of her. 

She has described the modern role of the First Lady as something that can only be defined by the women in that position at the time. 

Melania is currently being criticised for not mentioning the coronavirus until yesterday when she did so in a tweet from the FLOTUS Twitter account. 

She said: “Our great country is fighting hard against the #Coronavirus. This nation is strong & ready & we will overcome. 

“Please take action to prevent further spread. Visit for updated health info & updates.”

Ms Brower is a New York Times bestseller who lives just outside of Washington DC.

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Apple to close retail stores outside Greater China until March 27

(Reuters) – Apple Inc said late on Friday it will close all its retail stores outside Greater China until March 27, to minimize risk of coronavirus transmission.

“We will be closing all of our retail stores outside of Greater China until March 27,” Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote in a letter posted on the company’s website.

“In all of our offices, we are moving to flexible work arrangements worldwide outside of Greater China,” he added. “That means team members should work remotely if their job allows.”

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World News

World War 3: How CIA exposed secret biological facility for ‘weaponising diseases’

The USSR’s interest in biological weapons stretches back as far as the Twenties, but first came to light in World War 2 when it was claimed Joseph Stalin used tularaemia against German troops near Stalingrad. But, by the Sixties – the height of the Cold War – biological warfare facilities were hidden throughout the former Soviet Union. These programmes became immense and were conducted at 52 clandestine sites employing over 50,000 people.

In their 2018 mini-series, “Secret Soviet Death Island,” YouTube channel Second Thought laid bare the shocking details of just one of these facilities.

The series detailed: “In the aftermath of World War 1, the Red Army had formulated a plan to develop a secret military base.

“This was not intended as just another staging area for troops, instead it had a much more nefarious purpose, the goal was to find an island isolated enough to safely conduct tests and produce weapons that could kill huge numbers of people quickly and cheaply.

“Their weapon of choice – disease.

Weapons that could kill huge numbers of people quickly and cheaply.

Second Thought

“After the end of World War 2, the Soviets struggled to find an appropriate location and after several failed attempts to build their facility near the border with other nations, they decided that the only course of action was to select a spot well within their borders, but far from population centres and ideally isolated by water.

“By 1948, the Soviets had found the perfect location –Vozrozhdeniya – or Rebirth Island, located in the middle of what used to be the Aral Sea.”

The series went on to discuss the activities that occurred on this top-secret facility.

It added: “When the first personnel arrived on the island, they described it as a paradise – they could sunbathe or go for a swim in the crystal-clear waters.

“But the work these scientists were doing was in stark contrast to the idyllic island scenery.

“Their job was pretty straightforward, weaponise diseases to make them even more deadly and contagious – anthrax, smallpox, plague, brucellosis, tularemia and other diseases were studied and, in some cases, genetically modified to resist existing cures.

“Every summer, the bioweapons facility employed the use of two to three hundred monkeys as their test subjects and the experiments were conducted in the summer because the elevated temperatures made it less-likely for diseases to spread.”

According to the series, research was carried out to understand the potential for weaponising.

It added: “The monkeys were taken to an open-air test range about 15km from the facility, where they were placed in cages near devices that measured the concentration of germs in the air.

“Once the monkeys had been sufficiently exposed, they were taken back to the lab for study, until they died a few weeks after.

“The scientists would then perform autopsies to learn more about how the diseases worked.

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“At its peak Rebirth Island was home to 1,500 researchers, their family and security personnel.”

But, the US caught wind of the plans and things soon went south.

The series explained: “But in the Sixties, things started to unravel, the CIA discovered the secret base thanks to aerial photographs.

“Then, in 1971, the first of a series of deadly accidents occurred, 15 kilometres off the coast of the island.

“A scientists aboard a research vessel strayed into a brownish haze on the water and was diagnosed with smallpox a few days later.

“After returning home, she infected 10 other people, three of whom died from the disease.

“A year later in 1972, the BBC reported the death of two missing fishermen in their boats and it was determined they had died of the plague.

“Finally, in 1988, 50,000 Saiga antelopes all died over the course of a single hour.”

The series explained how the secrets of the Soviet Union were spilt after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

It continued: “After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the island facility was abandoned, its inhabitants evacuated and the buildings left largely untouched – a reminder of what could have been the driving force behind the deadliest biological warfare.

“Luckily, the notion of mass destruction largely lost its appeal among the world’s superpowers after the Cold War and the use of biological weapons remains a horrible crime.

“In 2001, the United States decided to send a team to visit the island and clean it up.

“They destroyed some of the facilities, but the extent of their work was never fully revealed.”

Although the USSR signed the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), research was found to continue through to the Eighties.

Over the course of its history, the Soviet programme is known to have weaponised and stockpiled 11 bioagents.

In the Nineties, former Russian President Boris Yeltsin admitted to an offensive bioweapons program as well as to the true nature of the Sverdlovsk biological weapons accident of 1979, which had resulted in the deaths of at least 64 people.

An agreement was signed with the US and UK promising to end bio-weapons programs and convert BW facilities to benevolent purposes, but compliance with the agreement is still mostly undocumented.

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World News

Coronavirus vaccine developed by British scientists ‘ready for testing in June’

A team of British scientists have said a vaccine for the Covid-19 strain of coronavirus is on the verge of being developed.

The researchers said they have successfully trialled the vaccine in mice and are hopeful that it could be ready for human trials by June.

Senior researcher Dr Paul McKay of Imperial College London told the Express: "I've got results from a month after I injected (the mice) and the vaccine works really, really well."

The team, led by Mucosal Infection and Immunity head Dr Robin Shattock, are currently working with scientists in Paris to determine the vaccine's effectiveness in monkeys.

Dr McKay said they have applied for further funding from the Medical Research Council in order to conduct human clinical trials.

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"If we get the funding for the human clinical trials, we will put it into people by June," he said.

"If British scientists here develop a vaccine it would be great if the Government supported it."

Should the human trials be successful, the team says they are hopeful the vaccine will be available for patients in a year.

The news comes days after Frontier IP, a UK-based specialist in commercialising university intellectual property, has revealed one its businesses has started working on a Covid-19 vaccine for animals.

The Vaccine Group, which was spun out from the University of Plymouth, said it is working in partnership with the Shanghai Veterinary Research Institute and Kansas State University.

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Scientists said they are developing a vaccine designed to prevent Covid-19 in animals in an effort to stop future outbreaks and the re-emergence of the disease.

TVG founder and chief scientific officer, Associate Professor Dr Michael Jarvis, said: "As Covid-19 has shown, the spillover of disease from animals to humans can have a very high social, economic and commercial cost globally."

He added: "Naturally there has been a swift move into funding the development of human vaccines and therapeutics, but to date we are not aware of any approaches to eliminate Covid-19 in the animal population to prevent future outbreaks or re-emergence of the disease.

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"The animal species involved in emergence of Covid-19 remain unclear.

"We believe that such a vaccine tool may be vital for control of Covid-19 as well as other emerging coronaviruses."

The business and its international partners are backed by more than £9 million in grants from Chinese, UK and US governments.

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World News

U.S. should 'think twice' before returning 1MDB funds to Malaysia, says ex-PM Mahathir

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – The United States should “think twice” before giving Malaysia back the money recovered from an anti-kleptocracy probe into state fund 1MDB, former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Friday, as the party accused of graft at 1MDB was back in power.

Mahathir, 94, abruptly resigned last month before being replaced by Muhyiddin Yassin, whose coalition includes the former ruling party United Malays National Organisation despite voters rejecting UMNO in the 2018 general election amid a backlash over the multi-billion dollar scandal at 1MDB.

The U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) says over $4.5 billion was looted from 1MDB under UMNO prime minister Najib Razak, who is now on trial for allegedly receiving some of the stolen money.

The DoJ, in its biggest ever anti-kleptocracy case, has recouped about $1 billion from the seizure and sale of assets allegedly bought with 1MDB funds.

The DoJ returned nearly $200 million to Malaysia in May, but a second transfer of about $240 million was delayed last month amid uncertainty following Mahathir’s resignation, sources have said.

Mahathir told Reuters the DoJ should re-consider its decision to send the money to Malaysia after the return of Najib’s party to the government.

“When we took over, the DoJ was willing to give it to us because we overthrew the people who stole the money,” he said in an interview.

“Now, the people who stole the money is going to get back the money they stole. I think the DoJ will have to think twice.”

At least six countries are investigating alleged graft and money laundering at 1MDB, founded by then-premier Najib in 2009.

After an unexpected election victory in 2018, Mahathir reopened probes into 1MDB and Najib’s involvement at the fund.

Najib is facing five trials, the first of which – involving seven charges linked to $10 million misappropriated from a 1MDB unit – is expected to reach a verdict within months.

He has pleaded not guilty and says he was misled by Malaysian financier Jho Low and other 1MDB officials. Low, who has been charged in Malaysia and the United States, has consistently denied any wrongdoing.

Najib told Reuters last week that he expected an atmosphere more conducive to a fair hearing now that Mahathir was out of power.

The case has also led to scrutiny of Goldman Sachs, which Malaysia has accused of misleading investors over bond sales totaling $6.5 billion that the bank helped raise for 1MDB. Three units of the bank have pleaded not guilty.

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World News

Trump hails Americans as ‘strongest’ after declaring national emergency over coronavirus

Currently, the virus has spread to 46 states, infecting at least 1,920 people and causing 41 deaths. But the US President sought to rally morale in a tweet in which he boasted that Americans were the “most resilient” people on earth to deal with the virus. He tweeted: “Americans are the strongest and most resilient people on earth…We will remove or eliminate every obstacle necessary to deliver our people the care that they need, and that they are entitled to. No resource will be spared.”

Earlier on Friday, Mr Trump said that he may add Britain to his European travel ban in the coming days, as the number of COVID-19 cases in the UK soared on Friday.

On Thursday, the US President declared that he was placing a 30 day travel ban on mainland Europe, effective from midnight Friday.

In a move that was seen as controversial, Mr Trump exempted the UK from his new travel restrictions.

However, on Friday the UK reported a significant spike in the number of new infections.

The past 24 hours have seen over 200 more cases confirmed, bringing the total number to 798, with 11 deaths.

Explaining his change of mind, the US President told a press conference at the White House: “We are looking at it based on the new numbers that are coming out.

“And we may have to include them in the list of countries that we will, you could say ban or whatever it is, during this period of time.”

Also on Friday, the President declared a state of emergency, as he ramped up his administration’s response to the coronavirus crisis in the US.

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Mr Trump has been accused of underplaying the seriousness of the situation.

In particular, his administration has been roundly criticised over a nationwide shortage of testing kits.

The US President said that the state of emergency would unleash US50 billion in extra funds too help fight the virus.

He urged states to set up emergency operation centres and hospitals to initiate emergency plans.


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Mr Trump also announced that the White House would work with private companies to help make up for the shortfall in testing kits.

The new measures will include “drive-through” testing centres in car parks at CVS, Target, Walmart and Walgreens stores.

The President explained his team expected “half a million additional tests will be available early next week which will bring probably 1.4m tests next week and 5m in a month.

“Our overriding goal is to stop the spread of the virus.”

He refused to accept responsibility for the lack of testing facilities, choosing instead to blame the previous administration.

He said: “I don’t take responsibility at all, because we were given a set of circumstances and we were given rules, regulations and specifications from a different time.”

He then added: “What we’ve done is redesign it very quickly with the help of the people around me … We’ll have the ability to do millions over a quick period of time.”

Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation stepped up its calls for intensified action to fight the coronavirus pandemic, imploring countries “not to let this fire burn”.

It comes as Spain announced that it would declare a 15-day state of emergency from Saturday.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO director general, said Europe had become the centre of the epidemic, with more reported cases and deaths than the rest of the world combined apart from China.

COVID-19 is present in all 27 European countries and has infected at least 25,000 people.

Dr Tedros implored countries to take coordinated and comprehensiv. action, saying: “Not testing alone. Not quarantine alone. Not social distancing alone. Do it all. Find, isolate, test and treat every case, to break the chains of transmission … Do not just let this fire burn.”

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