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Citizen journalist detained over Wuhan reporting ‘restrained and fed by tube’

A citizen journalist detained for more than six months after reporting on the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak has had a feeding tube forcibly inserted and her arms restrained to stop her pulling it out, her lawyer has claimed.

Zhang Zhan, a 37-year-old former lawyer, has been on a hunger strike at a detention facility near Shanghai. Zhang was arrested in May and accused of “picking quarrels and stirring up trouble”, an accusation frequently used against critics and activists inside China, after reporting on social media and streaming accounts. Last month she was formally indicted on charges of spreading false information.

In a blog post on Wednesday, Zhang’s lawyer, Zhang Keke, said he visited his client on Tuesday afternoon, and found her unwell and exhausted.

“She was wearing thick pyjamas with a girdle around the waist, her left hand pinned in front and right hand pinned behind,” he wrote. “She said she had a stomach tube inserted recently and because she wanted to pull it out, she was restrained.”

Zhang Keke said she was in “constant torment” from 24 hours a day of restraints, and needed assistance to go to the bathroom:










Air pollution in many towns and cities across the UK now exceeds pre-pandemic levels, exacerbating the risk of Covid-19 and putting the health of millions of people at risk.

A study published on Thursday says that although air quality improved dramatically in the first half of the year as the country went into lockdown, pollution now exceeds pre-Covid levels in 80% of the 49 cities and large towns that were analysed.

There is growing evidence that exposure to toxic air increases the risks from Covid-19 and the authors of the study say their findings underscore the need for local councils to do more to reduce car use and improve air quality by prioritising walking and cycling:




























Japan reports record new cases

Japan has reported a record daily number of coronavirus cases, prompting health experts to urge people not to travel in the run-up to the New Year holidays.

The country reported 2,811 new infections on Wednesday, as well as a record 555 people with serious Covid symptoms, the Kyodo news agency said.

Record daily case numbers were seen in six of the country’s 47 prefectures, including the popular tourist destinations of Kyoto and Kagoshima, a city in the far south-west:










And now for a break from coronavirus news:

In a groundbreaking “armpit advertising” campaign revealed on Thursday, Cricket Australia announced a commercial partnership with the Australian deodorant and antiperspirant brand Rexona.

Part of the deal requires umpires in the domestic Twenty20 competition to sport the product’s branding under their arms, which will be fully revealed to the watching world upon the signalling of a six (both arms raised, two logos revealed) or a bye (just one):

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In the Pacific, 33 Tokelauns who have been stranded overseas since the start of the pandemic will finally reach home – just in time for Christmas – having spent weeks in quarantine in Samoa.

Radio New Zealand reports the group has set sail on board the MV Mataliki for Tokelau from Apia, where they had to spend 21 days in quarantine (an extra week on the usual mandated figure), after two passengers on their flight from New Zealand tested positive for Covid-19.

Tokelau, a New Zealand dependency in the South Pacific, remains free of Covid-19.




A socially distanced classroom at the Taimoana Primary school in Papeete, on the French Polynesian island of Tahiti. French Polynesia has been one of the worst hit Pacific countries with the Covid-19 virus.

A socially distanced classroom at the Taimoana Primary school in Papeete, on the French Polynesian island of Tahiti. French Polynesia has been one of the worst hit Pacific countries with the Covid-19 virus. Photograph: Suliane Favennec/AFP via Getty Images

In French Polynesia, seven more Covid-19 deaths have been recorded, bringing the total number of pandemic fatalities in the territory to 86.

The French territory has recorded 15,332 confirmed cases: but more than 5000 in the past month.

All but 62 of French Polynesia’s cases have come after borders were re-opened in July and mandatory quarantine abolished in an effort to boost tourism and restart a faltering economy.

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