Coronavirus spreads on French aircraft carrier, hundreds infected

In this file photograph taken on April 12, 2020, French navy soldiers wearing facemasks stand onboard the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, as it arrives in the southern French port of Toulon, with sailors onboard infected with COVID-19 (novel coronavirus). (AFP)
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Updated 15 April 2020

Coronavirus spreads on French aircraft carrier, hundreds infected

  • Results showed at least 668 to be infected with the new coronavirus
  • The carrier arrived home in Toulon 2 weeks earlier than expected after about 40 crew members showed signs of the virus symptoms

PARIS: Nearly 700 sailors assigned to the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle’s naval group have tested positive for the coronavirus, the armed forces ministry said on Wednesday.
The ministry said 1,767 mariners, nearly all from the Charles de Gaulle itself, had been tested and results showed at least 668 to be infected with the new coronavirus. Results are still not in from a third of the tests.
“Thirty one personnel are today in hospital,” it said in a statement. “More tests are being carried out.”
The carrier, which had most recently been taking part in exercises with northern European navies in the Baltic Sea, arrived home in Toulon two weeks earlier than expected after about 40 crew members showed signs of COVID-19 symptoms.
Sick crew members had been placed under strict medical observation on board the nuclear-powered carrier and a team equipped to carry out the first tests airlifted to the vessel.
Crew from the Charles de Gaulle and the frigate Chevalier Paul were now in confinement within their naval base, while the pilots of the carrier’s warplanes and helicopters were also in quarantine.
The navy chief had ordered an investigation, the ministry said.
The Charles de Gaulle set sail for the eastern Mediterranean on Jan. 21 to support French military operations against Islamist militants in Iraq and Syria, before deploying to the Atlantic and then the Baltic.


Ethiopia says suspects confessed to killing popular singer

Updated 10 July 2020

Ethiopia says suspects confessed to killing popular singer

  • Hachala Hundessa became a symbol of the Oromo struggle during years of anti-government protests that swept Abiy to power in 2018
  • Though Abiy is Ethiopia’s first Oromo head of state, Oromo nationalists accuse him of insufficiently championing their interests since taking office

ADDIS ABABA: Ethiopia’s attorney general said Friday that two men had confessed to killing a popular singer from the Oromo ethnic group as part of a plot to topple Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government.
Hachala Hundessa became a symbol of the Oromo struggle during years of anti-government protests that swept Abiy to power in 2018.
His shooting death last week sparked days of protests and ethnic violence that killed 239 people, according to police figures.
“The assassination was intended to be a cover to take power from the incumbent by force,” attorney general Abebech Abbebe said in a statement Friday aired on state television, without providing details.
Though Abiy is Ethiopia’s first Oromo head of state, Oromo nationalists accuse him of insufficiently championing their interests since taking office, a complaint echoed by many protesters last week.
Abebech said that along with the two men who have allegedly confessed to the crime, the government has identified a third suspect who remains on the run.
One of the men in custody identified the masterminds of the alleged plot as members of a rebel group the government believes is affiliated with the opposition Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) political party, Abebech said.
The OLF, a former rebel movement, returned to Ethiopia from exile after Abiy took office and has repeatedly disavowed any links to armed insurgents.
The Internet remained shut off Friday for an 11th consecutive day, though Addis Ababa remains calm and Abiy’s office issued a statement saying the surrounding Oromia region had “returned to calm and citizens have resumed normal activities.”
In her statement, however, Abebech said unnamed agitators were calling for additional protests and road blockages in the coming days.
“There are those that have hidden themselves in nice places but are calling on Ethiopian youth to fight each other, close roads and to cease working as part of a rebellion call,” Abebech said.
“Above all we call on our people to disobey this rebellion call and to thwart it.”