While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Dec 31

US state examining possible second case of Covid-19 variant

Colorado public-health authorities have identified a second possible person with the British variant of Covid-19 in the state, one day after reporting the first known case of the faster-moving form of the pathogen in the US.

Both patients were members of a National Guard unit sent on Dec 23 to Good Samaritan Society Nursing Home in Simla, Colorado, as the facility struggled with staff shortages caused by a coronavirus outbreak.

Routine testing conducted the day after they arrived showed telltale signs of the recently emerged variant that has been spreading widely in Britain.

The first case, found in a man in his 20s, was confirmed on Tuesday.


Hindu temple torched by mob in Pakistan

Hundreds of Muslims attacked and set fire to a Hindu temple in north-west Pakistan on Wednesday (Dec 30), police and witnesses said.

Videos circulating on social media showed men using hammers to damage the temple walls as thick grey smoke rose up from the site.

“A charged mob of some 1,000 to 1,200 people were incited by the local Muslim clerics to destroy the Hindu temple,” district police chief Irfanullah Khan told AFP.


Trump’s Blackwater pardon violates international law: UN

US President Donald Trump’s pardon of four American men convicted of killing Iraqi civilians while working as contractors in 2007 violated US obligations under international law, UN human rights experts said on Wednesday.

Nicholas Slatten was convicted of first-degree murder, while Paul Slough, Evan Liberty and Dustin Heard were convicted of voluntary and attempted manslaughter, over the incident in which US contractors opened fire in busy traffic in a Baghdad square and killed 14 unarmed Iraqi civilians.

The four contractors, who worked for the private security firm Blackwater owned by the brother of Trump’s education secretary, were included in a wave of pre-Christmas pardons announced by the White House.


Football: Fulham’s game at Spurs latest to be postponed over Covid-19

Fulham’s Premier League match at Tottenham Hotspur that was scheduled to kick off at 1800 GMT on Wednesday has been postponed due to a Covid-19 outbreak at the West London club, the league said.

The match is the third in the English top flight to be postponed due to Covid-19 cases after Newcastle United’s trip to Aston Villa earlier this month was called off, as was Monday’s match between Everton and Manchester City.

“Fulham lodged a request with the Premier League Board to rearrange the fixture following a significant rise in positive Covid-19 cases, as well as a number of players showing symptoms today,” the league said in a statement.


Actress Dawn Wells, of Gilligan’s Island fame, dies from Covid-19

Dawn Wells, who parlayed her girl-next-door charm and wholesome beauty into enduring TV fame as the sweet-natured desert island castaway Mary Ann on the classic 1960s sitcom Gilligan’s Island, died on Wednesday at age 82, her publicist said.

Wells, who won the title of Miss Nevada in 1959 and competed in the Miss America contest, died from complications of Covid-19, publicist Harlan Boll said in a statement.

Born in the gambling city of Reno, Wells played Kansas farm girl Mary Ann Summers, one of seven castaways stranded after their boat, the SS Minnow, became battered in a storm during what was supposed to be a three-hour tour from Hawaii. Wells beat out actresses including Raquel Welch for her role.


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