Connect with us

World News

Erdogan defends testing Russian S-400, shrugs off US criticism | Middle East



Washington has threatened sanctions, arguing Ankara’s purchase of the Russian weapons system compromises NATO defences.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday confirmed Turkey’s first test of a controversial Russian missile defence system, as he dismissed criticism by the United States.

“It is true about the tests, they have been done and will continue,” he told reporters in Istanbul on Friday, a week after reports emerged of the Turkish army conducting a test firing of the S-400 system. “We’re not going to ask America for permission.”

The US State Department and Pentagon had responded furiously to reports of the test.

State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said last Friday that, if confirmed, Washington would consider them “incompatible with Turkey’s responsibilities as a NATO ally and strategic partner of the United States”.

Washington says Ankara’s purchase of Russian S-400 systems compromises NATO defences and has threatened sanctions.

Turkey faces sanctions under a 2017 law known as CAATSA, which mandates sanctions for any “significant” purchases of weapons from Russia.

Last year, the US suspended Turkey from its F-35 jet programme.

During a visit to Turkey earlier this month, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg reiterated that the system could not be integrated into the alliance’s air and missile defence system.

However, Ankara accuses Washington of failing to sell the US’s competing Patriot missile systems and has pointed to its security needs while justifying buying the Russian system.

Turkey signed the S-400 deal with Russia in 2017. Deliveries of the first four missile batteries, worth $2.5bn, began in July 2019.

Turkey initially said the S-400 would be operational in April but it has since delayed activating the system.

The S-400 tests come at a particularly tense time in Turkey’s relationships with NATO allies – the US, France and Germany – after Ankara resumed gas exploration this month in waters disputed by another alliance member, Greece.

Source link

Continue Reading

World News

Chinese cities using anal swabs to screen COVID infections | Coronavirus pandemic News



Study shows virus traces in faecal samples could remain detectable for a longer time and provide more accurate test results.

Some Chinese cities are using samples taken from the anus to detect potential COVID-19 infections as China steps up screening to make sure no potential carrier of the new coronavirus is missed ahead of next month’s the Lunar New Year holidays when tens of millions of people usually travel home to their families.

China has been battling new pockets of the disease that have appeared in the north and northeast with strict lockdowns and mass testing in a bid to stamp out the outbreaks.

Justifying the decision to take anal swabs, a city official in Weinan in northern Shaanxi province said a 52-year-old man with symptoms including coughing initially tested negative for COVID-19. He was then tested via an anal swab.

The man, who was confined to a centralised facility for medical observation as a close contact of another COVID-19 patient earlier this month, was then confirmed to have the virus, the official told a news conference.

Anal swabs require inserting a cotton swab three to five centimetres (1.2 to two inches) into the anus and gently rotating it.

In a video posted online by state-backed newspaper Global Times, Zhang Wenhong of Huashan Hospital in Shanghai, said that such swabs could be useful in helping minimise the risk of a relapse after recovery.

“There may be traces of the coronavirus detected in the abdominal cavity faeces and intestine,” Zhang was quoted as saying in the report.

Last week, a Beijing city official said that anal swabs were taken from more than 1,000 teachers, staffers and students at a primary school in the city after an infection had been found there. Nose and throat swabs and serum samples were also collected for testing.

Additional tests using anal swabs can pick up infections that other tests miss, as virus traces in faecal samples or anal swabs could remain detectable for a longer time than in samples taken from upper respiratory tract, Dr Li Tongzeng, a respiratory and infectious disease specialist in Beijing city, told state TV last week.

Li added that such samples were only necessarily for key groups such as those under quarantine.

‘Low harm, extreme humiliation’

Stool tests may be more effective than respiratory tests in identifying COVID-19 infections in children and infants since they carry a higher viral load in their stool than adults, researchers at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) found in a paper published last year.

Users of China’s Weibo, its Twitter-like social media platform, reacted to the method with a mix of mirth and horror.

“So lucky I returned to China earlier,” one user wrote.

“Low harm, but extreme humiliation,” another said, using a laughing emoticon.

Others who had undergone the procedure chimed in with dark humour.

“I’ve done two anal swabs, every time I did one I had to do a throat swab afterwards – I was so scared the nurse would forget to use a new swab,” one Weibo user joked.

Source link

Continue Reading

Top Stories