’Please take my daughter’: Mother of girl with cancer pleads at coronavirus blockade

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Hospital staff in protective garments pick up a leukaemia patient who arrived from the Hubei province exclusion zone at a checkpoint at the Jiujiang Yangtze River Bridge in Jiujiang, Jiangxi province, China, as the country is hit by an outbreak of a new coronavirus, February 1, 2020. (REUTERS)
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A leukaemia patient and her mother coming from Hubei province cross a checkpoint at the Jiujiang Yangtze River Bridge in Jiujiang, Jiangxi province, China, as the country is hit by an outbreak of a new coronavirus, February 1, 2020. (REUTERS)
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A man arriving from Hubei province approaches a checkpoint at the Jiujiang Yangtze River Bridge in Jiujiang, Jiangxi province, China, as the country is hit by an outbreak of a new coronavirus, January 31, 2020. (REUTERS)
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Updated 02 February 2020

’Please take my daughter’: Mother of girl with cancer pleads at coronavirus blockade

  • The bridge has been largely closed off in an attempt to halt the spread of the new disease, which has infected 14,380 people, the vast majority of them in China, and killed more than 300

JIUJIANG, China: Hours ticked by on Saturday as 50-year-old Lu Yuejin struggled to get past the police checkpoint on the bridge over the Yangtze river and out of Hubei province, which is on virtual lockdown as China scrambles to control a coronavirus outbreak.
Lu, a farmer from a village on the Hubei province side of the bridge, was trying to gain passage for her daughter, 26-year-old Hu Ping, who has leukaemia. She has been unable to receive a second round of chemotherapy treatment in the overwhelmed hospitals of provincial capital Wuhan, the epicenter of the virus outbreak.
“My daughter needs to go to hospital in Jiujiang,” she said at the checkpoint. “She needs to have her treatment. But they won’t let us through.”
Her daughter sat on the ground wrapped in a blanket while Lu tearfully pleaded with police.
“Please, take my daughter. I don’t need to go past ... please, just let my daughter go past,” she asked.
Her pleas were almost drowned out by a loudspeaker playing a pre-recorded message that residents would not be allowed into Jiujiang, the Jiangxi province city on the southern side of the Yangtze.
The bridge has been largely closed off in an attempt to halt the spread of the new disease, which has infected 14,380 people, the vast majority of them in China, and killed more than 300.
Dozens of people have attempted to cross the police checkpoint in recent days. Some had succeeded by holding the right train or plane ticket departing from Jiujiang and bought before January 24, but many had failed.
For much of Saturday morning, that was the case for Lu as she pleaded her daughter’s case with authorities.
“All I want to do is save her life,” she said.
About an hour after she spoke to Reuters at the checkpoint, police began to move. Phone calls were made, an ambulance was called and Lu and Hu were both eventually allowed through.
Hu appeared to be limping as she walked through temperature checks at the checkpoint and toward the waiting ambulance. 


Skeptic of world being round dies in California rocket crash

Updated 24 February 2020

Skeptic of world being round dies in California rocket crash

  • “Mad” Mike Hughes said he wanted to fly to the edge of outer space to see if the world is round
  • His home-built rocket blasted off into the desert sky and plunged back to earth in California

BARSTOW, California: A California man who said he wanted to fly to the edge of outer space to see if the world is round has died after his home-built rocket blasted off into the desert sky and plunged back to earth.
“Mad” Mike Hughes was killed on Saturday afternoon after his rocket crashed on private property near Barstow, California.
Waldo Stakes, a colleague who was at the rocket launch, said Hughes, 64, was killed.

"Mad" Mike Hughes. (Science Channel/via REUTERS/File photo)
 


The Science Channel said on Twitter it had been chronicling Hughes’ journey and that “thoughts & prayers go out to his family & friends during this difficult time.”
“It was always his dream to do this launch,” the Twitter message said.
Hughes also was a limousine driver, who held the Guinness world record for “longest limousine ramp jump,” for jumping 103 feet (31 meters) in a Lincoln Town Car stretch limousine, at a speedway in 2002.
A video on TMZ.com showed the rocket taking off, with what appears to be a parachute tearing off during the launch. The steam-powered rocket streaks upward, then takes around 10 seconds to fall straight back to earth. Shrieks can be heard as the rocket plows into the desert.

Freelance journalist Justin Chapman, who was at the scene, said the rocket appeared to rub against the launch apparatus, which might have caused the mishap with the parachute.
In March 2018, Hughes propelled himself about 1,875 feet (570 meters) into the air. He deployed one parachute and then a second one but still had a hard landing in the Mojave Desert in California, and injured his back.
“This thing wants to kill you 10 different ways,” Hughes said after that launch. “This thing will kill you in a heartbeat.”
He said in a video that his goal was to eventually fly to the edge of outer space to determine for himself whether the world is round.
“I don’t want to take anyone else’s word for it,” he said in the video, posted on the BBC News website. “I don’t know if the world is flat or round.”
In another video posted on his YouTube site, Hughes said he also wanted “to convince people they can do things that are extraordinary with their lives.”
“My story really is incredible,” Hughes once told The Associated Press. “It’s got a bunch of story lines — the garage-built thing. I’m an older guy. It’s out in the middle of nowhere, plus the Flat Earth. The problem is it brings out all the nuts also.”