Demonstrators besiege Pakistan newspaper second time in a week

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People look a pile of burning copies of a newspaper 'Dawn' setting on fire by angry protester during a demonstration outside newspaper's office in Islamabad, Pakistan on Friday. (AP)
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Angry protesters hold a demonstration against an independent newspaper 'Dawn' outside newspaper's office in Islamabad, Pakistan on Friday. (AP)
Updated 06 December 2019

Demonstrators besiege Pakistan newspaper second time in a week

  • The protesters on Tuesday had also surrounded the newspaper’s building and criticized an earlier anti-newspaper protest
  • Abbas said police were alerted and he was seeking protection for the staff and building

ISLAMABAD: Dozens of protesters briefly besieged the office of a well-known independent newspaper in Islamabad, chanting slogans against the editor and staff and setting fire to copies of the paper before fleeing.
Friday’s protest was the second incident this week at the offices of the English-language Dawn newspaper. It comes a day after journalists and rights activists rallied in support of the paper and criticized an earlier anti-newspaper protest.
The protesters Tuesday had also besieged the newspaper’s building, demanding that editor Zaffar Abbas and publisher Hameed Haroon be hanged for reporting that the London Bridge attacker was of “Pakistani origin.”
Abbas went on Twitter to condemn what he says was yet another orchestrated demonstration against the paper. He said police were alerted and he was seeking protection for the staff and building.
It was unclear exactly who was behind the protests and authorities have made no arrests in connection with the increasing threats to the newspaper. Dawn has a history of bitter relations with the country’s powerful military.


Japan to let off last healthy cruise travelers, isolate rest

Updated 21 February 2020

Japan to let off last healthy cruise travelers, isolate rest

  • The ship docked at a Yokohama port has the most COVID-19 cases outside of China, with 634 confirmed by late Thursday
  • Six government quarantine workers contracted the virus, raising questions about the protective measures used

TOKYO: Japan’s health minister said the last cruise ship passengers who tested negative for a new virus will leave the Diamond Princess on Friday after a much-criticized quarantine of the vessel ended.

The ship docked at a Yokohama port has the most COVID-19 cases outside of China, with 634 confirmed by late Thursday. Two former passengers have died.

Health Minister Katsunobu Kato told a news conference the mass disembarkation into Japan of passengers from the ship is set to end Friday, while dozens of foreign passengers are flying back to their home countries on flights chartered by their governments.

Most crew members and other passengers who have not completed their 14-day quarantines because they had more recent contact with infected people are staying on the ship for now, but they will be transported to a government facility to be quarantined in isolation.

Japan is discussing with the ship operator and home countries of foreign crew members over their future movements, he said.

Japan’s government has been questioned over its decision to keep people quarantined on the ship, given the tight quarters and the difficulty of isolating sick people from the healthy.

Six government quarantine workers contracted the virus, raising questions about the protective measures used.

The two fatalities, a man and woman who were both Japanese and in their 80s, were believed to have been infected before health checks and a Feb. 5 quarantine began on the ship, Health Ministry official Masami Sakoi said. It was not immediately known if they had any roommates on the ship.

The new coronavirus that causes COVID-19 has sickened tens of thousands of people, mostly in central China’s Hubei province.

The US and other countries have put former Diamond Princess passengers in second quarantines.

Australia said two passengers tested positive after they returned home. Kato said Australia, like the US, brought home a mixture of passengers who tested negative and others who were not tested and had an unknown status, therefore it was difficult to know when or how they had contracted the virus.

Kato said passengers who returned home on the US and Australian flights did so before completing the Japanese quarantine process, and that Japan’s ongoing disembarkation of passengers is still adequate.