Global community eases into normality amid coronavirus pandemic

Above, shoppers inside the Dubai Mall wear masks for protection against the coronavirus on April 28, 2020 after the shopping center was reopened as part of moves to ease lockdown restrictions. (AFP)
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Updated 22 May 2020

Global community eases into normality amid coronavirus pandemic

DUBAI: The global community is easing back into normality despite the coronavirus pandemic still taking a toll on human lives and the world economy. With no vaccine against the virus on the horizon countries are betting against a second wave of the infection as they slowly reinvigorate their economies hit hard by the virus, which has affected nearly 5 million people and killed almost 330,000.

May 21, 2020, Thursday (All times in GMT)

17:10 - US airlines announce new safety measures for flights. Watch below...



16:50 - France's coronavirus death toll in hospitals and nursing homes rises to 28,215 from 28,132 on Wednesday.

16:00 - The UK's daily coronavirus briefing from Downing Street, with a vaccine and whether it should be mandatory or not if discovered among the talking points.

14:30 - The International Monetary Fund has approved emergency coronavirus funding for 59 countries, with a 29 further requests to be considered.

13:30 - The UK's death toll from the COVID-19 virus rises by 338 to 36,042 on Thursday.

12:30 - Scientists in Argentina might have a cheap answer to the COVID-19 crisis...



09:30 - Iran’s health authority says 10,000 medical workers were infected with coronavirus.

08:00 - Sudan confirms 401 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total number of infected people to 3,138.

07:44 –British health care workers will on Thursday begin taking part in a University of Oxford-led international trial of two anti-malarial drugs to see if they can prevent COVID-19, including one US President Donald Trump says he has been taking.

06:38 – Lebanon is at risk of a major food crisis and many Lebanese may soon find it hard to afford bread because of an acute financial crunch and the fall-out of COVID-19, the prime minister warned.

06:06 – 2022 FIFA World Cup organizers are apprehensive football fans will not travel to Doha to watch games if the coronavirus pandemic continues to hold the global economy in dire straits.

04:16President Donald Trump threatened to hold up federal funds for two election battleground states that are trying to make it easier and safer to vote during the coronavirus pandemic.

03:42 – The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 745 to 176,752, data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed.

03:37 – Australian state and territory leaders bickered over whether to reopen internal borders, a major step to rejuvenating the country’s $50 billion domestic tourism industry, as part of measures to ease coronavirus restrictions.

02:41Japan will lift its state of emergency in Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo as the number of new coronavirus infections drops, economy minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said.

02:26 – After nearly two months sidelined in Guam with a coronavirus outbreak, the USS Theodore Roosevelt has gone out to sea for training, in preparation to return to duty in the Pacific.

Iranian chess referee seeking asylum reveals second reason she can’t go home

Updated 38 min 54 sec ago

Iranian chess referee seeking asylum reveals second reason she can’t go home

  • Women are required to wear the hijab in public in Iran, and those who refuse can face prison
  • Bayat was declared a public enemy by Iranian hard-liners after photos of her emerged from a match with her headscarf around her neck

LONDON: The Iranian chess referee forced to seek asylum in the UK after letting her hijab slip during a match in Shanghai this year has revealed another reason she may never be able to return to her country — her secret Jewish heritage.
Shohreh Bayat told The Daily Telegraph that she had to conceal her family background in her native Iran.
“If they knew I had Jewish background, I would never be general secretary of the Iranian chess federation,” Bayat told the British newspaper.
The leading referee said she had heard anti-Jewish remarks made by chess officials in Iran.
Bayat was declared a public enemy by Iranian hard-liners and received death threats after photos of her emerged from the Women’s World Chess Championship in January with her red headscarf around her neck rather than covering her head.
“All my life was about showing a fake image of myself to society because they wanted me to be an image of a religious Muslim woman, which I wasn’t,” Bayat said, speaking about the Iranian regime.
The 33-year-old said she is not a fan of the hijab, but felt she had to comply — even if that meant covering only a tiny amount of hair.
Women are required to wear the hijab in public in Iran, and those who refuse can face prison.
After being photographed at the world championship match with her hijab around her neck, Bayat said she was warned by family and friends not to return home.
“My mobile was full of messages saying: ‘Please, don’t come back, they will arrest you’,” she told the newspaper.
“I woke up the following day and saw that the (Iranian) federation removed my picture — it was like I didn’t exist,” she said.
Despite death threats, Bayat continued refereeing the second leg of the tournament in Vladivostok, ignoring calls from Iranian officials for a public apology.
At the end of January, she changed her return ticket and traveled to the UK —  the only Western country where she held a valid visa — and applied for asylum. She is waiting for her application to be processed.

Bayat's paternal grandmother was Jewish and moved to Iran from Azeraijan’s capital Baku during the Second World War. 
Last week, Bayat celebrated the Jewish New Year for the first time in her life.
“It was amazing. It was a thing I never had a chance to do,” she said.