Welcome to Thursday, where Joe Biden calls for a deeper investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, France recognizes its responsibility in the Rwandan genocide and six famous friends are reunited after 17 years. Persian-language magazine Kayhan-London also reports on how the pandemic, combined with dire economic conditions and government repression, has had a profound impact on Iranian's mental health.
• Biden orders investigation into coronavirus origin: U.S. President Joe Biden has ordered intelligence officials to "redouble" efforts to determine the origins of COVID-19, including the theory that it came from a Chinese laboratory. China has already rejected this theory, accusing the U.S. government of politicizing the pandemic.
• Macron recognizes French "responsibility" in Rwanda genocide: On a symbolic visit to Rwanda on Thursday, French President Emmanuel Macron recognized France's "political" responsibility in the 1994 genocide, though adding that France was not complicit in the genocide.
• Azerbaijan captures six Armenian troops: Azeri troops have captured six Armenian soldiers near the border, the latest incident in continuing tensions since war reignited last year in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh.
• Eight killed in San Jose mass shooting: At least eight people were killed when a gunman opened fire at a California rail yard before taking his own life, the latest mass shooting as Congress debates legislation to curb gun violence.
• Dozens missing after Nigeria boat sinks: Dozens of people are missing in northwest Nigeria after an overloaded boat carrying around 160 passengers sank in the Niger River.
• Manhunt in Belgium for suspect who threatened to kill COVID expert: A manhunt for career soldier Jürgen Conings, 46, has entered its second week in Belgium, after the suspect allegedly stole an arsenal of deadly weapons from a military barracks and threatened to kill one of the country's most famous virologists.
• Hello, old Friends: The long-awaited Friends reunion special will be aired today, 17 years after the final episode and featuring such acquaintances as Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga.
South African daily The Citizen features ex-leader Jacob Zuma who pleaded not guilty to all 18 counts of corruption, fraud, tax evasion and money laundering at the start of his trial.
In Iran, the pandemic has prompted an increase in suicides
The pandemic has made things feel even bleaker for a population already struggling with serious economic woes and government repression reports Persian-language magazine Kayhan-London.
The coronavirus pandemic has killed a staggering number of people worldwide. But it's also had a profound impact on people's mental health, including in Iran, where dire economic conditions and strict curbs in individual liberties caused significant psychological hardship even before the current health crisis. Now, with the COVID-19 outbreak continuing to spread, officials says that there's an even greater incidence of mental disorders, suicides and physical fighting, Kayhan London reports, citing sources within Iran.
The news outlet notes that even before the pandemic, roughly a quarter of the population suffered some type of mental disorder, and that in the year prior to March 2020, an estimated 5,000 Iranians took their own lives. But with the arrival of the virus, people are feeling more desperate still, as evidenced by a 4% rise in suicides in the period between March and November 2020, according to a source at the state coroner's office.
Kayhan London also cites an official from the State Welfare Organization, Behzad Vahidnia, to suggest that there's been a 16% increase in stress and depression since the pandemic began in early 2020. With regards to people getting into fights, there are no official figures available. But anecdotal evidence drawn from social platform postings suggests that physical violence has increased as well, especially in Iran's northern and north-western provinces.
That is the stake in Exxon Mobil owned by Engine No. 1, a tiny hedge fund, that unseated two Exxon board members in a bid to force the company's leadership to do more to combat climate change.
French Hospital Accidentally Shows Porn To Emergency Room Patients
You've heard of NSFW (Not Safe for Work), but what about NSFH (Not Safe for Hospitals)?
When entering an emergency room waiting area, you might expect the smell of ammonia, old magazines and maybe even a television set to the local news station or weather channel. But in a hospital in France's Basque country, the staff wanted to offer patients and accompanying family members some surprise programming on the waiting room TV ...
The France Bleu broadcaster reported that staff had set the TV to a paid channel in order to broadcast a soccer match, but once it ended, the next paid feature was an X-rated film. No one changed the channel, and the pornographic film played for a full 20 minutes.
One patient posted a video of the scene to Twitter with the caption "This is how patients are treated in Basque Country. Welcome to Bayonne's emergency room at night."
The director of the hospital issued a statement apologizing to the patients and staff, blaming the incident on the private television company that manages the hospital's TV channels and recently changed its programming filters.
➡️ Keep up with all the planet's police reports and plot twists on Worldcrunch.com
I'm just not going to subject myself to people that doubt me.
— Japanese tennis player and four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka justified her decision to boycott news conferences at this year's French Open. The world No. 2 player added that expecting players to answer questions after a defeat amounted to "kicking a person while they're down." Osaka said she was ready to face the considerable fines, and hoped the money would "go towards a mental health charity."
✍️ Newsletter by Emma Flacard, Bertrand Hauger & Anne-Sophie Goninet