Turkmenistan bans ‘coronavirus’; Thai king ‘isolates’ with 20 women; Belarus president: vodka & saunas will cure coronavirus

April 01, 2020

 


 

Parishioners, many of them elderly, crowd into Kazan Cathedral in St Petersburg to receive communion. The church has been criticized for not doing more to stop the spread of coronavirus.


 

Workers who have returned to work at the Honda factory in Wuhan, eating lunch at a safe distance.

 

CONTENTS

1. Turkmenistan bans use of the word ‘Coronavirus’; covers up victims
2. North Korea too
3. Thai king ‘isolates’ from coronavirus with 20 women
4. Spanish princess becomes first royal to die from coronavirus
5. Belarus president says vodka and saunas will cure coronavirus
6. Belarus soccer league keeps playing, becomes world’s most watched
7. Two senior military officers die in Egypt amid coronavirus cover-up
8. Islamic State jihadis murder 25 in attack on Sikh temple in Afghanistan
9. Turkish-occupied Syria cuts off water to 400,000 during pandemic
10. Anger in Lebanon as Hizbullah continues to import coronavirus from Iran
11. New York stabbing victim, in coma since antisemitic attack, dies
12. Van Gogh painting stolen from Dutch museum closed by coronavirus

 

[Notes below by Tom Gross]

Just to remind readers that I posted several of these items as they happened in recent days on my Facebook page, and you can see them earlier if you check that page regularly.


Extra video:

Israeli TV reports on a Jordanian man, tested positive for coronavirus, saying goodbye for two weeks to his family before going into isolation, in completely the wrong way.

Video here.

 

TURKMENISTAN BANS USE OF THE WORD ‘CORONAVIRUS’; COVERS UP VICTIMS

The central Asian country of Turkmenistan, which claims it has no coronavirus cases, is threatening to arrest anyone who uses the word “coronavirus” in public, according to independent media outlets in Turkmenistan, cited by Paris-based Reporters Without Borders.

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty correspondents in the Turkmen capital Ashgabat report that plainclothes police are also arresting people who wear face masks or discuss the pandemic in public.

Turkmenistan has been ruled since 2007 by Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, a former dentist turned dictator. He has ruled with an iron fist for three years longer than Mahmoud Abbas has ruled the Palestinian Authority, and like Abbas he has cracked down on liberal opponents and regularly tortures those who criticize his rule on Facebook or elsewhere.

Turkmenistan’s southern neighbor is Iran, one of the countries worst hit by coronavirus. It is believed there may be thousands of coronavirus cases in Turkmenistan.

 

NORTH KOREA TOO

North Korea (which borders South Korea and China) also denies that there are any coronavirus cases in their country, but there are credible reports that the communist regime has been shooting dead those with the virus in an attempt to stop it spreading.

There are also reports that the number of cases in Iran and China are much higher than the official statistics provided by those governments, and there are satellite images of mass graves with victims in Iran.

 

THAI KING ‘ISOLATES’ FROM CORONAVIRUS WITH 20 WOMEN

Thailand’s playboy king Maha Vajiralongkorn, who has taken over a luxury German hotel to isolate from coronavirus, has brought a harem of 20 women with him into the hotel.

The king, who is aged 67, reportedly booked the entire Grand Hotel Sonnenbichl with “special permission” to override the lockdown in the Alpine resort of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, according to reports in German and British media .

A large team of servants is also with him, the British paper the Independent reported.

His fourth wife, Suthida Tidjai, a former flight attendant, is not believed to be with him.

There is anger in Germany that the local district council gave permission to the king while other hotels in the region have been forced to close to stem the spread of coronavirus.

There is also outrage in Thailand, with the hashtag “Why do we need a king?” being used over 1.2 million times on Twitter within 24 hours of news of his German isolation first breaking.

Vajiralongkorn became king after his father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, died in October 2016 after 70 years on the throne.

The Times of London reports that the Thai foreign ministry said “no comment” when asked to comment further on the King’s takeover of the German hotel.

 

SPANISH PRINCESS BECOMES FIRST ROYAL TO DIE FROM CORONAVIRUS

Spain’s Princess Maria Teresa of Bourbon-Parma has become the first member of any royal family to die from coronavirus, according to her brother, Prince Sixto Enrique.

The princess, who is a distant cousin of King Felipe VI, was 86. She died in Paris on Thursday, and her funeral was held in Madrid on Friday.

France and Spain have been particularly hard hit by coronavirus.

Meanwhile, Prince Charles, who is first in line to the British throne and who tested positive for coronavirus on March 25, has now recovered. Charles is 71.

 

BELARUS PRESIDENT SAYS VODKA AND SAUNAS WILL CURE CORONAVIRUS

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko says other countries are in the midst of a “psychotic reaction” to coronavirus and there is no need to shut down.

The president made the remarks after attending a packed ice hockey match on Saturday.

“It’s better to die standing than to live on your knees,” Lukashenko said, quoting the Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata, and calling sport “the best anti-virus remedy.”

“There are no viruses here,” he said of the ice stadium after the game.

“People should not only wash their hands with vodka but also poison the virus with it,” he advised his people, reports the Times of London.

“You should drink the equivalent of 40-50 milliliters of rectified spirit daily. But not at work,” he said. And you should go to the sauna “two or three times a week,” he added.

Lukashenko has ruled Belarus since 1994. The east European country has a population of 9.5 million.

Belarus has confirmed over 100 cases of the virus with no deaths but many believe the government is covering up the true number.

 

BELARUS SOCCER LEAGUE KEEPS PLAYING, BECOMES WORLD’S MOST WATCHED

Belarus is the only country in Europe where top-level football is continuing to be played. Eight fixtures are scheduled in the Belarusian Premier League this weekend.

“It is frankly not comprehendible how this could be going on,” Fifpro, an international football organization, said in a statement.

The league has seen a huge increase in popularity with the Belarus Football Federation securing broadcasting deals with sports networks in 10 countries in recent days, including Russia, Israel and India.

 

TWO SENIOR MILITARY OFFICERS DIE IN EGYPT AMID CORONAVIRUS COVER-UP

The deaths of two senior military leaders followed by the leak of a military document suggesting that coronavirus is more widespread than previously disclosed, have led to alarm in Egypt.

Middle East Eye reports that “When Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi finally emerged from a long public absence on Sunday, he stressed that his government was dealing with the crisis with full transparency and encouraged Egyptians to stay at home for two weeks.”

“We will defeat coronavirus just as China did,” a government controlled TV station declared with a short film showing iconic Egyptian sites with triumphant music interspersed with footage from the fight against the virus in China.

Last week, The Guardian’s Cairo correspondent Ruth Michaelson was expelled from Egypt after she wrote an article citing University of Toronto research which suggested that while the Egyptian government was officially reporting three cases of the virus, the true number was many thousands.

Major General Khaled Shaltout, head of water projects in the Armed Forces Engineering Authority, died on 22 March. A day later, Major General Shafea Abdel Halim Dawoud, head of mega projects in the same authority, also died. Reports from Egypt said both were infected with coronavirus.

A one-page document, marked “top secret” was leaked suggesting a growing crisis inside the military. The document explained that the army had decided to follow the British policy of herd immunity before changing its mind (as did Britain).

 

ISLAMIC STATE JIHADIS MURDER 25 IN ATTACK ON SIKH TEMPLE IN AFGHANISTAN

Not widely reported in the western media, Islamic jihadists have claimed responsibility for the mass murder of Sikhs in Afghanistan last Wednesday, reports the Hindustan Times of India.

The attack on the Sikh place of worship took place in the heart of Kabul’s old city. Those killed included a child.

India condemned the attack as “diabolical.” Muslim militants have been slowly purging Kabul of its historic Hindu and Sikh population but several thousands remain.

 

TURKISH-OCCUPIED SYRIA CUTS OFF WATER TO 400,000 DURING PANDEMIC

Turkish-government controlled far-right Sunni Muslim militants have cut off the water to 400,000 Syrians, including tens of thousands of children, during the coronavirus pandemic, according to reports from the UN and others in eastern Syria.

The Jerusalem Post adds that “It comes at the worst possible time for people in Syria, including Kurdish and Christian minorities, who are in lockdowns due to the pandemic and now have no water. The area is already threatened by the virus because the international community has cut off aid and does not provide testing for the virus.”

Turkey invaded part of eastern Syria in October 2019 after the US withdrew, and hundreds of thousands of Syrian Kurds and others are now in desperate need of help.

The refugees in the area are being threatened from all sides, both by Turkey, a NATO ally, and also by pro-Assad Iranian-controlled Hizbullah and other forces.

 

ANGER IN LEBANON AS HIZBULLAH CONTINUES TO IMPORT CORONAVIRUS FROM IRAN

Threatened by the Iranian-controlled Lebanese Hizbullah militia, the Lebanese government in March continued to allow flights from coronavirus-stricken Iran while suspending them from other locations.

Even after Beirut airport was officially closed, Lebanese media report that Hizbullah managed to keep flying in people and arms from Iran (which they are using to attack Sunnis in Syria on behalf of the Assad regime).

Hizbullah claims it has deployed some of its gunmen to help stem the spread of coronavirus in Lebanon.

 

NEW YORK STABBING VICTIM, IN COMA SINCE ANTISEMITIC ATTACK, DIES

Josef Neumann, 72, died on Sunday afternoon of injuries sustained in the antisemitic attack on a Hannukah celebration in a rabbi’s house in the New York suburb of Monsey on December 28. Although Neumann remained in a coma since the time of the attack, he had begun to open his eyes in February, leading to hopes that he would recover.

The assailant’s knife penetrated Neumann’s skull and cut into his brain. The alleged perpetrator, Grafton Thomas, 37, has pleaded not guilty to 10 federal hate crimes charges and six counts of attempted murder.

Neumann leaves behind several children and grandchildren. The attack was part of a wave of attacks on Jews in the New York area late last year.

 

VAN GOGH PAINTING STOLEN FROM DUTCH MUSEUM CLOSED BY CORONAVIRUS

A painting by Dutch master Vincent van Gogh was stolen in an overnight raid on a museum that was closed to prevent the spread of coronavirus..

The Singer Laren museum, located east of Amsterdam said “The Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring 1884” was stolen in the early hours of Monday.

The painting was part of a collection donated by an American couple, William and Anna Singer.

Police said that the thief or thieves smashed a glass door to get into the museum. That set off an alarm that sent officers rushing to the museum but by the time they got there the painting was gone.

 

* You can also find other items that are not in these dispatches if you “like” this page on Facebook www.facebook.com/TomGrossMedia

All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.