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Coronavirus ‘cure’ sparks anger as China promotes torturing bears to inject bile as remedy

The revelation comes after the Chinese government has outlined steps to permanently ban the trade and consumption of live wild animals for food within the world’s most populous country. The traditional remedy of using bear bile to treat COVID-19 appeared on a list of Chinese Medicine solutions for the most severe symptoms of coronavirus. The remedy is called Tan Re Qing.

The list was published on March 4 by China’s National Health Commission, the government body responsible for national health policy.

Traditional medicines containing threatened wildlife parts such as pangolin scales, leopard bones, saiga horn and the bile of captive-bred bears are still legal in China.

According to charity Animals Asia, the cages were the bears are incarcerated in China are sometimes so small that they are unable to turn around or stand on all fours.

Some are put into cages as cubs and never leave them.

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They may grow too large to fit through the cage door or remain stunted.

Animals Asia state: “Bears may be kept caged like this for up to 30 years.

“This has a terrible effect on the physical and mental wellbeing.”

The bear’s bile is harvested through invasive surgery, which causes “severe suffering, pain and infection.”

Aron White, Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) Wildlife Campaigner and China Specialist, said: “Restricting the eating of wildlife while promoting medicines containing wildlife parts exemplifies the mixed messages being sent by Chinese authorities on wildlife trade.

“Aside from the irony of promoting a wildlife product for treatment of a disease which the scientific community has overwhelmingly concluded originated in wildlife, the continued promotion of the use of threatened wildlife in medicine is hugely irresponsible in an era of unprecedented biodiversity loss, including illegal and unsustainable trade.”

According to Mr White, his organisation learned first about the Chinese government’s recommendations to treat COVID-19 via social media posts from illegal traders.

He said: “We were witnessing how this government recommendation was being coopted by the traffickers to advertise their illegal products as a treatment.”

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Illegal bile from wild bears is produced in China, he says, and is also imported from wild and captive bears in Laos, Vietnam, and North Korea.

The illegal trade persists even though Asiatic black bears, one of the species most commonly farmed for their bile, are protected from international commercial trade under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, which regulates cross-border trade of wildlife and wildlife products.

The bile is painfully tapped from the gallbladder of caged bears, who must undergow a slow painful death during the process to extract all of the bile.

The bile is secreted by the liver and stored in the gallbladder, bile from various species of bears, including Asiatic black bears and brown bears, has been used in traditional Chinese medicine since at least the eighth century.

It contains high levels of ursodeoxycholic acid, also known as ursodiol, which is clinically proven to help dissolve gallstones and treat liver disease.

But, ursodeoxycholic acid has been available as a synthetic drug worldwide for decades.

Traditional Chinese medicine practitioners typically use the Tan Re Qing remedy to treat bronchitis.

Clifford Steer, a professor at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, who has studied the subject, told National Geographic that there is no evidence that bear bile is an effective treatment for coronavirus.

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New York chief warns ‘any scenario’ will ‘overwhelm’ health system as US battles COVID-19

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said during a press conference on Thursday that his administration is scouting sites with the aim of increasing hospital capacity. He stated that any scenario is likely to overwhelm the healthcare system in New York.

Governor Cuomo said: “Any scenario that is realistic will overwhelm the current healthcare system.

“So, keep the curve down as low as you can.

“But you cannot get the curve down low enough that you don’t overwhelm hospital capacity.

“So, any of these scenarios, we have to increase the hospital capacity.

“That is why we are literally adding to the hospital capacity every way we can.

“We are also scouting new sites all across primarily the downstate area of this state.

“Our goal is to have a 1,000 plus overflow facility in each of the boroughs downstate.”

New York is in lockdown to try to halt the spread of the deadly virus.

Eerie pictures have emerged of popular tourist destinations standing empty – as people stay away to try to halt the spread of COVID-19.

At the time of writing the US has the third-highest amount of COVID-19 cases in the world. America has more than 75,000 cases of coronavirus.

The nation’s death toll is over 1,000. Just over 1,800 people have recovered from the virus in the US.

At the time of writing, Britain has the ninth highest amount of coronavirus cases in the world.

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The death toll in Britain is currently 477.  A total of 135 people have recovered from the coronavirus within the United Kingdom.

Earlier this week, the UK was placed into an effective lockdown to try to halt the spread of the deadly virus.

There have been over 510,000 cases of COVID-19 worldwide. The death toll has surpassed 23,000 people.

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New York borders to CLOSE: Donald Trump considers state ‘quarantine’ as cases surpass 52k

As the coronavirus crisis in New York worsens, Donald Trump has suggested that the entire state may have to be quarantined soon. The state has the highest number of cases of COVID-19 in the USA. As of Friday, Governor Andrew Cuomo said that over 500 people from the area had died from the disease.

President Trump told the press: “I just spoke with Andrew Cuomo, I just spoke with Rhonda Sanchez, we’re thinking about certain things.

“Some people would like to see New York quarantined because it’s a hotspot.

“New York, New Jersey, maybe one or two other places, certain parts of Connecticut.

“I’m thinking about that right now.”

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He continued: “We might not have to do it but there’s a possibility that some time today we’ll do a quarantine short-term two weeks.

“On New York, probably New Jersey and certain parts of Connecticut.

“We’ll restrict travel because they’re having problems down in Florida.

“A lot of New Yorkers are going there and we don’t want that.”

The American leader added: “We’re having a really good dialogue with Governor Cuomo.

“We’ve supplied him with a lot of things, we’re giving him an extra four medical centres, tents.

“That’s beyond what we’ve already given him.”

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Coronavirus WAR: Canada urges Trump to keep troops away from border

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Thursday that stationing troops on the border between the US and Canada should not happen.

It comes after coronavirus has caused havoc on the US and Canada.

Prime Minister Trudeau spoke on the border concerns from Rideau Cottage.

The leader is staying there while he is self-isolating after his wife tested positive for the virus.

He said: “Canada and the United States have the longest unmilitarized border in the world, 

“It is very much in both of our interests for it to remain that way,”

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The White House is currently considering deploying 1,000 troops on the border.

The forces would be stationed 25km away, and would look for irregular migrants from the two neighbouring countries.

The proposal is not guaranteed to happen, and is in place due to the higher risk of transmission of coronavirus.

People have been moving between the two countries to escape the virus.

Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland told a press conference that Canada is strongly opposed to the US idea of sending troops to intercept illegal migrants.

Freeland said: “Canada is strongly opposed to this U.S. proposal and we’ve made that opposition very, very clear to our American counterparts,” 

“We understand the concerns about the coronavirus. We share those concerns, very much,

“We’ve said we really don’t think this is the right way to treat a trusted friend and military ally.”

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The news comes after both countries implemented mutual bans on non-essential travel between the two.

They have both allowed trade and essential workers to continue travelling unimpeded.

Trudeau closed Canada’s borders outside of the US on the 16th of March.

Additionally, air operators are “formally mandated’ to prevent symptomatic travellers from boarding flights to Canada.

Both Canada and the US have been hit hard by the virus.

Canada currently has 4,043 cases of coronavirus as of Thursday.

The US now has the highest amount of coronavirus cases in the world, with 82,474 infected.

Canada has seen 39 total deaths, while the US has had 1,177.

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French IGNORE coronavirus lockdown – curfews, £3600 fines and jail time now tabled

On March 17, President Emmanuel Macron announced a 14-day nationwide lockdown to try and contain the outbreak of COVID-19. With the virus continuing to spread, the Government introduced measures forcing the public to stay close to their homes while open-air markets were also closed on Tuesday. Despite the enforcement of the lockdown, France’s director-general for civil security and crisis management, Alain Thirion revealed there had been 91,824 breaches of the containment measures since Tuesday.

On Sunday, there were also 22,574 warnings issued despite the enforcement of measures to stop non-essential movement.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister, Edouard Philippe said the lockdown could be extended by several weeks in order to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Mr Philippe also warned a national curfew could be imposed if the violations continue going forward.

He said: “A lot of citizens want normalcy to return, but it’s not happening soon.

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“We feel the lockdown measures we have taken, and which we will toughen yet again, could last several weeks.

“We do not want to put a national curfew in place.

“And we will not hesitate, where necessary, to take tougher measures, meaning curfew measures.”

Under the measures, anyone who refuses to follow the movement restrictions will now face a €3,960 fine (£3,625), an increase from €135 (£123).

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There will also be the threat of a six-month prison term if there are repeated breaches under the country’s emergency health bill.

At the time of writing, there have been 25,233 cases of COVID-19 in the country.

There have been 1,331 deaths in France and such is the crisis, leader of National Rally, Marine Le Pen, insisted a nationwide curfew must be initiated.

She told French news channel, LCI: “The government must impose a national 8pm curfew.

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“The confinement will only work if everyone follows the rules.”

Although the lockdown was initially intended to last for 14 days, there are fears within the country it could be extended to six weeks.

The country’s scientific council said an extension of the containment measures could be carried out as the number of cases continues to rise each day.

French Health Minister, Olivier Veran said: “The members of the scientific council aren’t able to say with precision if the confinement should be for such a set duration.

“They said, maybe we need to prepare for the confinement to last longer.

“Beyond 15 days we know, but perhaps it could extend past that – another five or six weeks.

“It will only end when the epidemic curve allows it, this is the basic principle. Confinement has a purpose, to protect the French people.

“It will last as long as it has to last.”

Additional reporting by Maria Ortega.

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UK weather forecast: Britons to bask in glorious heat today before bitter snow RETURNS

Toward the end of the week, temperatures will begin to drop, as sleet, hail and even snow will arrive from the Arctic, according to forecaster Net Weather. While the weekend will consist of cold air that will move across the country outwards.

Temperatures will plummet to single digits, as snow begins to fall, it the southern part of the UK, it will drop to -4C.

The Weather Outlook forecaster Brian Gaze said: “Cold Arctic air is expected to sweep southwards by the weekend, with a risk of snow in the North even at low levels, and further south over high ground, and widespread frosts.”

The Met Office has predicted that today will consist of dry spells and warm weather over England and Wales.

Toward the coastline, there will be some soggier conditions with rain and clouds predicted.

But on Saturday showers will arrive in the north, before hitting the eastern part of the UK.

The sudden change in weather will be a dampener to those who have enjoyed sitting in their garden during their coronavirus lockdown, and exercising for their one hour a day.

However, today Britons still have the chance to make the most of warm weather as the UK is set to be hotter than Melbourne today

The sizzling temperatures will make it 8C above average spring climates.

Before the weekend will see the more normal spring temperatures of 9C and -2C nights.

Met Office forecaster Marco Petagna said: “It’s mild south-westerly winds the many – but a cold northerly wind to end the week.”

Another forecaster added: “Maximum temperatures are peaking well above average.

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“But after warm days, it will turn [and] colder air will return with much colder air from the north.

“Saturday has sun and wintry showers, with settled conditions through the end of March bringing plenty of sunny spells across the UK.”

Looking ahead to next week, the Met Office said: “Towards the end of March it will be largely dry.

“However, eastern areas will likely see showers of hail and snow at times, which will accumulate on higher ground and could give some snow and ice to lower levels during the night.

“A northeasterly wind will keep it cold.

“High-pressure conditions should dominate through the beginning of April, bringing plenty of dry, fine weather with bright or sunny spells across the UK, particularly in the west.

“Winds will be predominantly light, with any breezier weather bringing a significant wind chill.

“Indeed it looks likely to remain colder than average with a further chance of snow.

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BBC Weather: Freak heatwave to end as temperatures plunge and thunderstorms thrash Europe

BBC meteorologist Chris Fawkes told viewers that an area of low pressure is bringing some wet and windy weather across most areas of Italy. He noted that the low pressure had been forming as it comes across from north Africa. The weather presenter forecast that is would bring some heavy rain and also some snow.

Mr Fawkes said: “We’ve even seen some snow down across the western side of Calabria.

“It’s down to quite low levels just for a time.

“The snowline will be rising though but there could be some further fairly heavy snow for a time at least in the Pennines during Thursday.

“At the same time, the rain is going to, by Thursday, push into parts of Greece.”

He continued: “There’ll be some thunderstorms breaking out here and the weather turning much cooler.

“It’s still very windy in Italy on Thursday, still with extensive rain around.

“We’ve got some showers across the Balearic Islands, but across much of mainland Spain and Portugal, it’s dry with some sunshine.

“It’s rather cloudy for the southeast of France, otherwise brighter with sunshine.”

The BBC presenter added: “Most of northern Europe is actually fine, settled and sunny with not a great deal of cloud around.

“The area of low pressure is weakening by this stage and pushing eastwards.

“So we’ll start to get some rain across the Balkans.”

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Mr Fawkes also told viewers: “Heavier rain will push across Greece and into western areas of Turkey as we end the week.

“Over the next few days, Madrid is looking dry with some sunshine.

“It’s quite mild for a time this weekend but it does turn more unsettled next week.

“There’ll be cloud and rain around with temperatures certainly falling quiet a bit.

“In Kyiv, it is mild over the next few days with some sunshine but turning generally a bit cloudier this weekend.”

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Sweden refuses to implement full coronavirus lockdown as Stockholm experts advise new plan

While the UK has been placed under virtual lockdown, Swedes are enjoying life with the fewest restrictive measures so they can go where they want and do what they want without the threat of police action. Schools for children up to 16 remain open and commuter trains continue to be jam-packed with workers on a daily basis. Stockholm argues life must go on despite the worrying increases in the death toll as the global pandemic continues to spread.

Johan Carlson, head of Sweden’s public health agency, last week said the country “cannot take draconian measures that have a limited impact on the epidemic but knock out the functions of society”.

Sweden is hoping a slow spread of the disease will ensure that its health system does not become overwhelmed in the coming months.

Mr Carlson said the 90,000 people who die annually in Sweden in Sweden would “increase significantly” if the healthcare system does eventually fail.

According to the latest figures, Sweden currently has 2,300 confirmed cases of coronavirus with just 40 deaths related to the disease.

It comes as a stark contrast to Italy, which has recorded some 69,000 cases and 6,820 deaths, despite operating a strict lockdown policy.

Anders Tengel, Sweden’s state epidemiologist, said: “The future still looks manageable.”

He said schools should remain open to provide childcare for healthcare workers, and claimed young people are less susceptible to becoming infected.

Until last week, thousands of people flocked to the country’s ski resorts while nightlife spots remains open.

But now the authorities have banned public gatherings of more than 500 people, closed universities and advised workers to stay home if possible.

Officials have allowed restaurants and bars to remain open but they can only service customers at tables rather than the bar.

However, healthcare experts have criticised Stockholm for taking a risk with public health while little is known about coronavirus.

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Joacim Rocklov, an epidemiologist at Umea University, told the Financial Times: “I do not see why Sweden would be so different from other countries. It is a huge experiment.

“We have no idea – it could work out. But it could also go crazily in the wrong direction.”

Prime minister Stefan Lofven has called on people to do their utmost to stop the spread of the virus.

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In a televised address on Sunday, he said: “There are few crucial moments in life when you have to make sacrifices, not only for your own sake but also in order to take responsibility for people around you.

“That moment is now. That day is here. And that duty belongs to everyone.”

But even with its new measures, Sweden looks far more relaxed than its Nordic neighbours.

Denmark, Finland and Finland have closed schools, sealed their borders as part of wide-ranging restrictions.

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BBC Weather: Carol Kirkwood warns bitter sub-zero front to send mercury plummeting to -1C

BBC Weather’s Carol Kirkwood warned cloud and patchy rain will hit England by the weekend as a slow-moving weather front in Scotland gradually dawns on the blue skies. Bringing high pressure with it, morning frost is expected as temperatures will drop to -1C in some areas. The Met Office has placed yellow weather warnings across the North-West of Scotland.

Ms Kirkwood said: “Increasingly patchy rain in Scotland and in the Highlands, clear skies once again.

“But where we’ve got the cloud across the rest of Scotland and parts of northern England, the temperatures will hold up.

“We’re looking at some frost while looking at some patchy mist and fog that will lift quite readily tomorrow.

“For the bulk of England and Wales again it’s going to be dry and sunny turning hazy through the day.

“For Scotland and Northern Ireland, we do still have this weather front and it is still going to produce a little bit of rain but not much.

“To the north of that again some dry conditions and sunshine.

“Friday – spot the difference. Our band of cloud will very slowly move southwards although at times we could see a bit of cloud coming in from the breeze.

“By the weekend our weather front eventually makes it to the near continent with high-pressure building in.

“It could produce some rain for Scotland during the course of Sunday.

“But the trend is it’s going to turn colder.”

The Met Office has issued a three-day weather warning for the UK advising of heavy persistent rain which may lead to flooding.

The weather forecaster has warned homes and businesses may be affected with some interruption to power supplies and other services possible causing mayhem for areas where people are likely working from home due to the coronavirus outbreak.

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The Met Office weather warning is in effect from 6pm on Monday until 12pm on Wednesday.

The warning reads: “Flooding of a few homes and businesses is likely.

“Bus services probably affected with journey times taking longer.

“Spray and flooding on roads probably making journey times longer.

“Some interruption to power supplies and other services is possible.”

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Politics

MP fights back tears as he makes emotional speech about ‘dystopian’ coronavirus society

Mr Baker praised Prime Minister and stated he hoped Boris Johnson had a clear conscience for the drastic measures he has been forced to take following the global pandemic. However, the Conservative MP was visibly emotional as he addressed the House of Commons. Mr Baker admitted that passing the new law was worth doing but emphasised the importance of scrapping the powers granted the moment they are no longer necessary.

Mr Baker said: “We are implementing tonight in this bill at least a dystopian society.

“Some will call it totalitarian.

“I don’t think that is quite fair, but it is at least dystopian.

“It is implementing a command of society under the imperative of saving hundreds of thousands of lives and millions of jobs.

“It is worth doing.

“I do hope the Prime Minister has a clear conscience tonight and sleeps with a good heart because he deserves to do so.

“Because Libertarian may I be, this is the right thing to do.

“But my goodness we ought not to allow this situation to endure one moment longer than is absolutely necessary to save lives and preserve jobs.”

At the time of writing Britain has the 10th highest amount of COVID-19 cases in the world. 

The UK has over 8,000 cases in total.

The death toll in Britain is currently 422. 

A total of 135 people have recovered from the coronavirus within the United Kingdom.

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There are currently more than 7,500 active COVID-19 cases within Britain. 

Worldwide there have been more than 415,000 COVID-19 cases. 

The death toll has reached more than 18,000 at the time of writing. 

More than 108,000 people have recovered from the virus across the globe.

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