Story by Yashowanto Ghosh, Staff Writer
Photo courtesy of Youtube
RUSSIA – Imprisoned Ukrainian fighter pilot Nadiya Savchenko, in response to an appeal from Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko, partially broke her hunger strike by accepting water on Thursday, March 10, but continues to refuse food, reports www.zeit.de.
Savchenko, who is also a current sitting member of both Ukraine’s parliament and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, was captured in the summer of 2014 by pro-Russian rebels, who handed her over to Russia, where she was charged with disclosing the location of two Russian journalists to the Ukrainian military. She has been in Russian custody since then, awaiting judicial verdict and facing a possible 23 years in prison. She went on hunger strike late in 2014, but ended it early in March 2015; her current hunger strike is to protest court delays. As of now, the verdict is scheduled for March 21–22.
Poroshenko has said that Ukraine is prepared to exchange two Russian prisoners for Savchenko, but there has been no offer from Russia yet.
GREECE – Over 35,000 refugees are stranded in Greece, 13,000 of them in camps along the Macedonian border alone, reports www.spiegel.de. Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, and Macedonia are not letting anyone pass without a passport and a visa since Wednesday, March 9, thus sealing the Balkan route northward.
Greece has had to send back groups of refugees to Turkey on two occasions in the last few days, when refugees refused to apply for asylum in Greece, wishing to travel northward instead, according to Kölnische Rundschau.
In a separate story, www.spiegel.de adds that the economic conditions within Greece have steadily worsened in its six years of financial crisis, with one third of its citizens now having less than half of what they had in 2005.
BRAZIL – New data about the outbreak of the Zika virus were released on Wednesday, March 9: In the preceding week, another 104 infants were born with confirmed microcephaly, bringing the total number of confirmed cases since October 2015 to 745, reports The Wall Street Journal.
The total, if suspected cases are also counted, rose to 4,976, according to www.foxnews.com. In the same time span, 157 infant deaths are suspected to have been related with microcephaly, 37 of which are confirmed.
The virus is borne by mosquitoes and is suspected to be transmitted among humans by both sexual intercourse and from mother to child. An expert from Brazil, where the virus has reached the level of a pandemic, said on Wednesday that developing a vaccine against it might take three years as an optimistic estimate, reports www.business-standard.com.
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