Today’s news digest comes via my own Twitter account. Firstly Indian Hindi-language news channel NEWS18 Lokmat presents a video of police officer in the Maharashtra city of Pune beating a man with sticks while he is laying on the ground. It is not known under what circumstances the assault took place, but the incident occurred after the city was placed on lockdown following the COVID-19 outbreak in India. Indian police have become world-famous for their strict, and sometimes heavy-handed approach to people who broke the curfew, including striking them with lathis (police sticks/batons)
In Hong Kong, columnist Jason Ng @jasonyng tweeted an article by Chinese language site Apple Daily that reported the arrest of a police sergeant there on charges of obstructing justice. The officer stands accused of plotting a petrol bomb attack on his own workplace and then blaming pro-democracy protesters for it – 警長策劃近期葵涌警署外搜出汽油彈案 涉妨礙司法公正被捕 (Apple Daily)
Journalist Norbert Elekes @NorbertElekes tweeted a series of pictures taken of the funeral of an Islamic preacher in Bangladesh which was attended by more than 100,000 people, flouting the nationwide pandemic lockdown underway there. Photos showed the area around where the funeral took place thronged with mourners dressed in traditional clothing, with no social distancing policy evidently being followed.
In the UK, the National Health Service’s (NHS) University Hospitals of Derby and Burton Foundation Trust paid respects to a staff member, emergency medicine consultant Manjeet Singh Riyat, who died from coronavirus yesterday at the Royal Derby Hospital. He was a valued colleague, mentor and supervisor in his field, and first began working for the trust in 2003 – Tributes paid to Derby Emergency Consultant (University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust)
In the United States, the governor of California, Gavin Newsom, has resisted demands to relax the COVID-19 lockdown in his state from members of the public and city governments and announced that restrictions will stay in place until viral testing is improved and the outbreak has passed its peak. Some county administrations in California have claimed that their populations have already reached the peak infection rate and that the statewide closures are threatening local economies and business operations – Newsom resists pressure to ease California’s coronavirus stay-at-home order (Los Angeles Times)
Astronomers are studying the comet 2I/Borisov, a rare interstellar visitor to our solar system, to learn more about its origins. They have already discovered that the gas around the mystery comet contained more carbon monoxide than previous comets seen orbiting around the sun, reported Fox News this morning – Unusual chemical composition found inside ‘alien comet’ (Fox News)
Finally for today, former CEO of hydrocarbons giant BP, John Browne, told news agency Reuters that the recent large-scale reduction in world oil prices is to remain in place for a while as crude producers try to manage a sudden glut in the commodity. “The prices will be very low and I think they will remain low and very volatile for some considerable time,” Browne told the BBC. “There is still a lot of oil being produced that is going into storage and not being used.” – Remember the 1980s glut: Ex-BP boss Browne warns oil will stay low (Reuters)