News Headlines - 17 May 2020

Belgium's Prime Minister gets a chilly reception from hospital staff

Prime minister Sophie Wilmès received a cold reception from staff at the Saint Peter hospital in Brussels yesterday on an official visit, when staff formed a reception committee and turned their backs on her ministerial car on arrival... Wilmès was yesterday on a planned visit to the Saint Peter hospital in the Marolles area of Brussels, as well as the Delta hospital in Auderghem – the first time she has made a hospital visit since the start of the crisis... As her car entered the Saint Peter hospital grounds and made its way to the entrance, a double row of health care workers lining the route ostentatiously turned their backs on her arrival, in what some observers described as a “guard of dishonour”.
Representatives later explained that front-line workers were disappointed in the government’s handling of the crisis, and its approach to health care in general, including issues such as budget cuts, low salaries and staff shortages. They are also unhappy about the government’s attempts to recruit unqualified staff to provide support to nursing personnel, rather than pay for trained professionals.

Jeremy Corbyn’s brother arrested at anti-lockdown protest in London

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s older brother was one of several people arrested during a protest against the coronavirus lockdown.
Around 50 demonstrators defied social distancing to gather at Speakers’ Corner in Hyde Park, west London, holding placards with slogans like “anti-vax deserves a voice” and “freedom over fear”.
Dozens of police officers, including some on horseback, patrolled the protest, issuing several fines and arresting at least six people, including 73-year-old Piers Corbyn.

Robot 'dog' roams Singapore park to encourage social distancing - Cities Today

Singapore is piloting the use of a four-legged, dog-like robot called Spot to promote safe distancing in parks, gardens and nature reserves.
The National Parks Board (NParks) and the Smart Nation and Digital Government Group (SNDGG) are trialling Spot over a three-kilometre stretch in the River Plains section of Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park for two weeks during off-peak hours.
Spot was originally developed by US company Boston Dynamics and is fitted with safety sensors to detect objects and people in its path. Unlike wheeled robots, it works well across different terrains and can navigate obstacles, making it suitable for a park setting. The robot has been enhanced by GovTech Singapore, the lead agency for Singapore’s Smart Nation initiative, with additional functionalities such as remote control, 3D mapping, semi-autonomous operations and a people-counting video algorithm.

Brazil passes France in coronavirus cases to become 6th worst-hit country - Reuters

Brazil registered a record number of new cases of the novel coronavirus on Wednesday, surpassing France’s tally to become the sixth-worst hit country, as the disease sends the economy toward its worst year since at least 1900.
The government confirmed 11,385 new cases in the last 24 hours, bringing its total count to 188,974 cases of the coronavirus since the outbreak began. Early on Wednesday, France revised its total number of confirmed and suspected cases down 0.3% to 177,700.

U.S. blames brutal attack on Afghan maternity hospital on IS | The Japan Times

A U.S. official said Friday that an Islamic State affiliate in Afghanistan carried out this week’s horrific attack on a maternity hospital in a majority Shiite Muslim neighborhood in Kabul, killing 24 people including newborns and mothers.
Peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad said the U.S. government believes the Islamic State affiliate carried out Tuesday’s attack on the hospital and an assault earlier the same day in a different province targeting the funeral of a pro-government warlord, killing 34 people.







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