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  • King Tut’s golden coffin to be restored for the first time
    by KT on July 17, 2019 at 8:50 pm

    Egyptian Ministry Of Antiquities Handout(CAIRO) — Egypt has started a project to restore the wooden coffin of Tutankhamun for the first time since the boy king’s tomb was discovered in 1922, the country’s antiquities ministry said.The process started after the coffin was transferred from Tutankhamun’s tomb near Luxor to the under-construction Egyptian Grand Museum on the outskirts of Cairo a few days ago, ministry officials said in a statement Wednesday.It was the only coffin left in the tomb after the two other coffins of Tutankhamun were moved to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo’s Tahrir square in 1922.”The coffin was moved amid security measures and under the supervision of the conservators and archaeologists in cooperation with the Tourism and Antiquities Police,” the statement read.Eltayeb Abbas, Director General of Archaeological Affairs at the Grand Egyptian Museum, said that the coffin will be displayed in the museum exhibition of King Tutankhamun’s collection.The myriad damage to the coffin includes “fractures to its gesso [plaster] layers,” said Eissa Zidane, who is overseeing the conservation efforts.The restoration process of the sarcophagus, which is made of wood and covered with gold, will take about eight months, he added.In January, officials concluded a decade-long restoration of Tutankhamun’s tomb.To mark the centennial of the tomb’s discovery by British Egyptologist Howard Carter, Egypt also embarked earlier this year on a world tour of 150 King Tut artifacts, including 60 pieces that have never left the country.The exhibition kicked off in Paris in March and will move on to locations around the world including London, California and Sydney. The exhibit will run until 2021.The Grand Egyptian Museum, which will house those artifacts and many others, is scheduled to open next year near the Giza Pyramids.Tutankhamun, a pharaoh of the 18th Egyptian dynasty, ruled Egypt from 1332 to 1323 B.C. Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved. […]

  • WHO declares Congo Ebola outbreak a public health emergency of international concern
    by KT on July 17, 2019 at 7:52 pm

    Motortion/iStock(NEW YORK) — The World Health Organization has declared the Ebola outbreak in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo an international emergency.An emergency committee of experts convened by the WHO, the global health arm of the United Nations, recommended the decision after meeting in Geneva on Wednesday to reassess whether the current epidemic constitutes a public health emergency of international concern.”It is time for the world to take notice and redouble our efforts. We need to work together in solidarity with the DRC to end this outbreak and build a better health system,” WHO director-general Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a press conference.This is only the fifth time in history such a designation has been used.The committee had thrice declined to make such a proclamation, which often mobilizes more resources and commands global attention.The move comes on the heels of the Ebola virus spreading to the Congolese city of Goma, a major transportation hub along the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s eastern border with Rwanda that’s home to more than two million people.A confirmed Ebola case in Goma was announced late Sunday by the country’s health ministry. The patient, a 47-year-old pastor, was transferred to an Ebola treatment center but died. Officials identified and vaccinated 40 confirmed contacts of the pastor in Goma as well as 37 “high risk” contacts, the ministry said.A total of 2,512 people have reported symptoms of hemorrhagic fever — which can be caused by Ebola — in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s northeastern provinces of North Kivu and Ituri since ‪Aug. 1, 2018. Among those cases, 2,418 tested positive for Ebola virus disease, according to the latest bulletin from the country’s health ministry.The current outbreak has a case fatality rate of about 67%. There have been 1,676 deaths so far, including 1,582 from confirmed cases of Ebola and the rest from probable cases, according to the health ministry.Two people, including a 5-year-old boy who tested positive for Ebola after traveling home to neighboring Uganda, also died, according to the Ugandan health ministry. The boy was the first cross-border case in the ongoing outbreak.The Ebola virus is transmitted through contact with blood or secretions from an infected person, either directly or through contaminated surfaces, needles or medical equipment. A patient is not contagious until they start showing signs of the disease. The virus is not airborne, which means a person cannot get the disease simply by breathing the same air as an infected patient.Since Aug. 8, 2018, more than 163,500 people have been vaccinated against Ebola in the outbreak zone in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, using an experimental vaccine developed by American pharmaceutical company Merck.This outbreak is infecting more children than previous ones– 31% of total cases as of July 7, compared to 20% in previous outbreaks, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund.”Young children — those below five years old, are especially hard hit,” UNICEF spokesperson Marixie Mercado said at a press briefing Tuesday in Geneva. “They, in turn, are infecting women. Among adults, women comprise 57% of cases.”This is the 10th outbreak of Ebola virus disease in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the most severe in the Central African nation since 1976, when scientists first identified the virus near the eponymous Ebola River.It’s second only to the 2014-2016 epidemic in multiple West African countries that infected 28,652 people and killed 11,325, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.It’s also the first Ebola outbreak in history to occur in an active war zone. The WHO has recorded at least 198 attacks on health facilities and health workers in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo since January. Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved. […]

  • South Korea and Japan trade dispute could lead to ‘dire consequences,’ official warns
    by CJC on July 17, 2019 at 5:59 pm

    Oleksii Liskonih/iStock(SEOUL, South Korea) — A thorny trade dispute between South Korea and Japan could end up with “dire consequences” and “adversely affect companies like Apple, Amazon, Dell, Sony, and billions of consumers all over the world,” a senior South Korean government official told foreign reporters in Seoul on Wednesday.The official slammed the Japanese government for undermining principles of free trade and warned that if the latest export curbs against South Korea continues, “the global value chain will crumble.”Japan, in a surprise move, announced July 1 that it will implement tighter export curbs on essential chemical materials exported to South Korea. The materials – fluorinated polyamides, photoresists and hydrogen fluoride – are mostly imported by Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix to produce memory chips, displays and next-generation semiconductors. Semiconductors take up some 25% of Korea’s exports.Seoul hopes Washington would mediateSouth Korea, the world’s leading semiconductor manufacturer, was caught off guard by the move and hopes that the U.S. would mediate the dispute as the three allies face other political challenges in the region against China and North Korea, according to reports.David Stilwell, new U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, told reporters the U.S. “sufficiently understood the seriousness of the issue” and recognized that the two allies of the United States must work together.”The truth is, no significant issue in this region can be resolved without cooperation between our two allies,” said Stilwell after a series of meetings with top government officials in Seoul Wednesday. Domino effect on global industriesUnlike trade of finished goods, high-tech industry goods that are sourced globally are interdependent. Countries that rely on South Korea’s semiconductors such as United States, China and even Japan will all be adversely affected, analysts say, causing a domino effect on the global supply chain in computer and smartphone industries.”In the worst case scenario, if an export of chemical materials such as etching gas (hydrogen fluoride) is restricted, Samsung factories cannot operate normally. That will subsequently affect the export of manufactured semiconductors from South Korea to China as well as to Japan. It will also be difficult for Chinese end-products to be delivered to the United States and Japan,” Kim Hyun-Chul, an expert on Japanese enterprise at Seoul National University, told ABC News.”U.S. electronics firms, many of which have large production hubs in both the U.S. and China, are vulnerable to supply shortages of South Korean memory chips, given the importance of South Korea as a supplier of chips to both China and the U.S.,” Rajiv Biswas, Asia-Pacific chief economist at IHS Markit, told ABC News.It’s not only hardware such as mobile phones and electronic products but also data processing programs that would face supply shortage or delay.”Memory semiconductor is an integral part of data processing center operated by global IT companies like Google and Amazon,” Kim Yang Paeng, research fellow at the Korea Institute for Industrial Economics and Trade, told ABC News.History shadows politicsJapan’s sudden exports curb on chemical products going to South Korea stemmed from a decades-long dispute between the two countries over Japan’s atrocities during the occupation years from 1910 to 1945, namely controversial issues of “comfort women” and wartime forced labor.South Korea’s Supreme Court ruled last October and November that Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries must compensate Korean victims of wartime forced labor.But Japan disputes the ruling, saying all reparations had already been settled in a 1965 treaty that normalized relations between the two countries.”We cannot help but say the relationship of trust has been severely damaged,” Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga told reporters in early July.Three days later, another Tokyo official, Koichi Hagiuda, a senior member of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party, threw a second punch at flabbergasted Seoul by claiming the restrictions were prompted by concerns that one of the three restricted chemical materials, etching gas, might be flowing into North Korea and could be used to produce chemical weapons. Hagiuda said there was “inadequate management” of sensitive items and a lack of information sharing on export controls.Japan then took back the accusations last Friday, stating that its decision to impose restrictions on the export of high-tech materials to South Korea has nothing to do with North Korea.South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who has put work into North Korea affairs since taking office, fired back loud and clear in a speech saying the accusations pose a “grave challenge” and Seoul has undoubtedly been “complying with UN Security Council resolutions and working within the sanctions framework.”Seoul hopes for diplomatic solution”We should remember that science and technology is not a tool for war, which will only lead to tragic consequences,” said the senior level South Korean government official. The two countries should resolve the “historical matters” in a constructive manner by dialogue and diplomatic negotiations and Seoul “will try to exercise flexibility,” he said.South Korea is contemplating the idea of resolving the issue through the Geneva-based World Trade Organization, but in reality, even the senior official admits that process will take years, after which it would be too late for Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix with only a few months worth of stockpiles left for production.The topic is now formally included as the final agenda item at a two-day meeting of the WTO Council for Trade in Goods next week, Yonhap News reported. Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved. […]

  • “Mona Lisa” relocated within Louvre for first time since 2005
    by JTP on July 17, 2019 at 11:10 am

    Pawel Libera/LightRocket via Getty Images(PARIS) — Many paintings are moved around at the Louvre in Paris, but rarely is it one of the world’s most iconic works. For the first time in 14 years, Leonardo da Vinci’s The Mona Lisa will be relocated so that its well-trafficked home, Room 711 in the Salle des États, can be renovated. The painting is particularly fragile and can’t be moved outside the museum. Painted in the 16th century on a thin panel of poplar, The Mona Lisa is kept at a constant temperature of 68 degrees Fahrenheit and a hydrometry of 50%.The masterwork was moved between 1992 and 1995 and again from 2001 to 2005 during another round of renovations.This most recent move is part of a larger renovation of the Louvre, which has seen attendance reach unprecedented levels, more than doubling over three decades. The museum was forced to close on May 27 because understaffed security employees were concerned about overcrowding.Since 2014, tens of thousands of square meters worth of renovations have been undertaken.Patrons wishing to view The Mona Lisa — about 15,000 to 20,000 of whom seek out the painting daily — can see it in the Medici gallery near works by Ruben in the meantime.The Mona Lisa is scheduled to return to its permanent home in mid-October.Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved. […]

  • ‘They don’t make it easy’: Duchess Meghan speaks about life in public eye
    by JTP on July 17, 2019 at 10:58 am

    Samir Hussein/WireImage(LONDON) — Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, has remained publicly silent amid criticisms and name-calling in the press since her wedding to Prince Harry last year.But the duchess gave a sign that she is aware of the negativity in a conversation she and Harry had with singer Pharrell Williams at the London premiere of The Lion King Sunday night.Williams was heard on camera praising Harry and Meghan for their relationship, saying to them, “[I am] so happy for your union. Love is amazing. It’s wonderful. Don’t ever take that for granted, but what it means in today’s climate, I just wanted to tell you, it’s so significant for so many of us. Seriously … We’re cheering you guys on.”Meghan reached out and touched Williams’ arm as she thanked him and said, “They don’t make it easy.”Harry then whispered a reply in Williams’ ear that made both him and Meghan laugh.Williams finished the conversation by saying, “So you understand the significance. It’s beautiful.”Meghan’s remark that “they don’t make it easy” came just a few days after she faced backlash for an appearance at Wimbledon to support her friend Serena Williams. She was accused of having extra tight security that left rows of empty seats around her and her friends and saw security guards appearing to chastise people who had cameras near her.In February, five of Meghan’s close friends spoke anonymously in a rare interview with People magazine to stand up to what they called “global bullying” of the duchess.”Meg has silently sat back and endured the lies and untruths,” one of the friends, described as a former costar of Meghan’s, told the magazine.”We worry about what this is doing to her and the baby,” the costar said of Meghan, who was pregnant at the time with her first child, a son she and Harry named Archie. “It’s wrong to put anyone under this level of emotional trauma, let alone when they’re pregnant.”Meghan has been dubbed “Duchess Difficult” by the British tabloids and faced rumors of a feud with her sister-in-law Kate, who is married to Prince William.She was also criticized for her and Harry’s decisions to keep details of Archie’s life private, like his christening and his birth.”When you see her at walkabouts, when she crouches down to talk to the kids and genuinely has real conversations with people, that’s Meg,” Meghan’s former costar told People. “That’s how she crouches down with our kids at home. That’s how she plays with them. That’s how she engages with people and how she always has.”Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved. […]