To access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week. Would you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletters
Though trying to coordinate their efforts on Syria, Russia backs Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, while Turkey backs rebel forces opposing Assad.Responding to Thursday’s killings, a senior Turkish official said on Friday that Ankara would no longer stop Syrian refugees from reaching Europe. Turkey blamed an air strike by Syrian government forces for the deaths.Russia’s Defence Ministry was cited by the RIA news agency on Friday however as saying that the Turkish troops had been hit by artillery fire from Syrian government forces who were trying to repel an offensive by rebel forces.It was quoted as saying that Ankara had failed to notify Moscow of the presence of Turkish troops in the area hit by shelling despite being in regular communication with the Russian military. The Turkish troops had been deployed directly alongside anti-government rebels, the ministry was cited as saying. But according to information provided by Turkey there were no Turkish troops in the area and Russia said that Turkish forces “shouldn’t have been there.”Russian war planes did not carry out any air strikes in the area at the time of the incident and Moscow did everything it could to help once it learnt of the Turkish troop presence, the ministry was cited as saying.That included ensuring Syrian forces stopped shelling to allow Turkey to evacuate its dead and wounded.Separately, and as tensions between Ankara and Damascus rose, Russia’s Black Sea Fleet was cited by the Interfax news agency on Friday as saying it was sending two warships equipped with Kalibr cruise missiles to waters off the Syrian coast.Topics : Russia on Friday said it was sending two warships armed with cruise missiles to waters off the Syrian coast and blamed Ankara for the killing of 33 Turkish soldiers in Syria’s Idlib region the previous day.The killing of the Turkish soldiers on Thursday and the wounding of 32 others, announced by the governor in Turkey’s Hatay province bordering Syria, raised the Turkish military death toll in the region to 54 this month.Turkey has sent thousands of troops and heavy military hardware into Syria and Erdogan has warned that Turkey will launch a full-scale offensive to repel Syrian forces unless they pull back from Turkish observation posts in the region.
Family members and relatives of Kerobokan inmates can now only contact their loved ones through video calls provided by prison authorities.Infrared body temperature scanners and hand sanitizers are provided in the jail, particularly for the prison guards to prevent them from bringing the virus to the penitentiary from outside. Authorities regularly spray disinfectant in the facility and have temporarily suspended empowerment programs for inmates involving religious communities and non-governmental organizations.A man sprays disinfectant at Kerobokan prison in Bali on Thursday. (Courtesy of /Kerobokan prison)In Tanjung Gusta penitentiary in Medan, North Sumatra, a two-week lockdown is in effect. It began on Monday.Tanjung Gusta warden Frans Elias Nico said that only lawyers were allowed to visit their clients during the period. The prison also offers a video calling facility for family members to contact inmates.Lily, a Medan resident whose husband is serving a prison term in Tanjung Gusta, expressed her disappointment about not being able to visit her husband on his birthday later this week.But she agreed that the lockdown was necessary given the COVID-19 pandemic.“It’s sad that I cannot visit my husband in the penitentiary because of the lockdown. But it’s all right since I can video call,” Lily said.Read also: Forget ‘mudik’ this year, govt tells people as Idul Fitri moves closerThere have been no confirmed COVID-19 cases inside prisons so far. But legal and human rights activists have been quick to warn the government that failing to act could expose the prison population to the coronavirus, particularly given the massive levels of overcrowding in Indonesian jails.The country’s correctional facilities are notorious for holding inmates above their capacities. Indonesia has 524 penitentiaries and detention centers that, as of March 23, hold a total of 268,967 inmates, more than double the total capacity of 131,931 inmates, according data from the Law and Human Rights Ministry. Understaffing has also been a longstanding issue plaguing correctional facilities across the country, with Jakarta having only 806 guards to monitor more than 18,000 inmates. Bali and North Sumatra have 300 and 1,257 guards respectively, far lower than the number of inmates held in the two provinces.Law and Human Rights Ministry acting corrections director general Nugraha has instructed correctional facilities across Indonesia to adopt precautionary measures that he said were essential to prevent local transmission from occurring inside prisons: temperature checks for visitors and guards and the regular disinfection of jails.“No inmates have been detected as [COVID-19] ODP [people under surveillance] or PDP [patients under treatment],” Corrections Directorate General spokesperson Rika Aprianti said on Monday.ODP is the government’s official term for people who have traveled recently in infected regions or have come in contact with confirmed COVID-19 cases but have not shown any symptoms. The PDP status is given to those already showing symptoms consistent with COVID-19 and already under medical care but whose statuses need confirmation with testing.As of Monday, Indonesia had recorded 579 confirmed cases and 49 deaths. About 61 percent of positive cases were found in Jakarta, making the capital the epicenter of the pandemic in Indonesia.Read also: Readiness of Greater Jakarta hospitals key in mitigating spread of COVID-19Yet Rika said the inmates’ risk of contracting the disease remained low as their contact with the outside world had been limited even before the pandemic, brushing off concerns that social distancing was hard to implement in the overcrowded facilities.According to Rika, Law and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly has ordered the Corrections Directorate General to prepare at least one jail cell as a coronavirus isolation ward in each province to prepare for possible infections inside correctional facilities.Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (ICJR) researcher Genoveva Alicia urged the government to consider releasing select inmates, particularly those in line for parole or at the end of their prison terms.“There should be an assessment [to explore possibilities for the release of inmates], but such a measure should be done quickly. [Those] in line for parole should be accelerated,” Genoveva said.She also cautioned the wardens to enact the visitor restriction policy carefully, saying that such a measure could lead to prison riots as inmates often relied on their family members to obtain basic necessities.The outbreak, which has infected at least 367,000 people worldwide and has claimed at least 16,000 lives, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, has prompted authorities worldwide to take drastic measures in prisons. The Iranian government temporarily freed 85,000 prisoners in a bid to stem the spread of COVID-19 among its prison population, while United States President Donald Trump said he was considering issuing an executive order to release some prisoners, according to Reuters.Topics : Read also: COVID-19: Nearly 2,000 foreigners seek to stay in Bali as home countries close borders“Unfortunately, it’s impossible for us to implement social distancing inside the prison as we don’t have the facilities to do so. That’s why we are focusing on preventing infection from outside and sterilizing the prison and all prisoners,” Kerobokan prison warden Yulius Sahruzah told The Jakarta Post on Monday.“We have 1,670 people inside. That is too many. It is too risky even if a single inmate is ever infected.”As of Monday, Bali had recorded six COVID-19 cases and two deaths, a British woman and a French man. President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s call to practice social distancing to slow down the spread of COVID-19 is practically impossible to implement in the country’s overcrowded correctional facilities, making them particularly vulnerable to the illness.As the number of inmates has outstripped the capacity of penitentiaries in almost all of Indonesia’s provinces, correctional authorities are scrambling to lower the risk of infection inside prisons, mostly by limiting prison visits.Kerobokan men’s penitentiary in Bali, for example, has decided to ban all visitors until March 31 to protect inmates and staff as the novel coronavirus spreads outside. It holds 1,670 inmates, including 76 foreigners from 29 countries, far above its capacity of 352 prisoners.
Doctors withdrew their plan to light candles in homes and hospitals across India, after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government promised to ensure their safety against rising violence over fears medical staff are spreading the deadly coronavirus.The Indian Medical Association had planned the silent protest for 9 p.m. on Wednesday, a stark parallel to Modi’s own exercise a few days earlier, when he urged Indians to light lamps to honor and support doctors. Home Minister Amit Shah, Modi’s confidante, appealed to the IMA not to hold even a symbolic protest and assured them of safety and support.“He has assured that government of India will take all necessary steps and come out shortly with relevant legislations to address the safety and dignity of doctors and healthcare givers,” the IMA said in a statement Wednesday. It said it is withdrawing the protest “to maintain the unity and integrity of our country.” While a backlash against doctors has been seen from Australia to the Philippines, it’s proving more widespread and intense in India, where trust in the healthcare system was already low, misinformation is rampant on social media, and tensions are mounting as the country’s strictly enforced 40-day lockdown drags on.Indian doctors over recent weeks have endured campaigns from their neighbors to force them out of apartment buildings, been attacked by a mob while tracing contacts of a coronavirus case through the slums, and have also been stopped by police and beaten with batons on the way back home from an emergency shift.The final straw was an attack on a convoy carrying the body of a doctor who died of Covid-19. Local media published reports on how his family and friends were attacked by mobs wielding sticks and stones as they tried to bury him, and his colleagues broke down on TV as they narrated the ordeal.“IMA has maintained utmost restraint and patience inspite of extreme provocation,” the IMA had previously said, while calling for the protest. “If dignity is denied even in death, our patience and restraint lose their value.”Topics :
Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error “I’ll wait until I’m ready to go,” Bryant said. “Our goal is to win a championship. That’s our expectation. But if we’re struggling and I can’t go because I’m physically not ready, I’m not going to jump out.”Nonetheless, Bryant seemed aggressive with his recovery.He had surgery on his Achilles the day after his injury. The Lakers’ training staff traveled with Bryant on trips to China, Italy and Brazil. Bryant also routinely visited the team’s facility for treatment.Still, Bryant’s 40-foot high dive that was later posted on Vine made the Lakers cringe.“I got out and jumped again; I just didn’t Vine that,” Bryant said with a grin. “I felt great. I just wanted to go out and have fun.”Bryant displayed that personality until someone brought up Dwight Howard’s departure to the Houston Rockets.“I really don’t give a ..,” Bryant said. “If he came back, it would’ve been great. If he didn’t, then it’s not.”Instead, Bryant raved about the team’s athleticism, the versatility Chris Kaman and Gasol have in the post and having a full training camp under D’Antoni. Bryant still shared the need for Nick Young and Wesley Johnson to improve defensively and to play at a methodical pace. Despite all the uncertainty surrounding his injury and the team’s dynamics, the 35-year-old Bryant enters the final year of his contract with high hopes.“Another championship,” Bryant said, grinning. “That’s an easy one.” Kobe Bryant walked gingerly across the Lakers’ practice floor, a sign he’s both progressing surrounding his surgically repaired left Achilles tendon and eager for the 2013-14 season to start.It’s also a sign that, despite a skeptical general public, Bryant remains optimistic about the Lakers’ championship prospects.“Our expectations are always the same with every single season,” Bryant said. “That’s to improve every single day with the mindset to win a championship.”Of course, that goal hinges on Bryant. But whether he will play in the Lakers’ season opener Oct. 29 against the Clippers or practice in training camp remains anybody’s guess. Bryant has recently run at 80 percent of his body weight on a weight-bearing treadmill and completed ladder exercises to improve his footwork without sprinting. He then will advance to defensive and conditioning drills before fully practicing. “I need to get in shape, but it doesn’t really take me long to do that,” Bryant said. “I work hard at it. When I get back on the court, I’ll be good to go. I don’t think I’ve ever played a season where I was 100 percent. So, like 78 percent, is fine.”The Lakers have other health concerns.Lakers guard Steve Nash has fully progressed from his right hamstring, back and broken left leg that sidelined him for a combined 32 games last season. But Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni plans to limit Nash both in training camp and in games. Lakers forward Pau Gasol reported progress with his knees after having a procedure this offseason to decrease the tendon pain in his knees. But Gasol admits he’s not fully healed and hasn’t completed many basketball drills yet.“Health is always a concern,” Bryant said. “That can really cripple a team as it did for us last year.”Bryant suffered the injury April 12, shattering any optimism on the Lakers’ already slim playoff hopes. Their success will ride once again on when Bryant returns and if he can mirror last season’s output when he averaged 27.3 points on 46.3 percent shooting, six assists and 5.6 rebounds.
The crash came only hours after the 41-year-old former Los Angeles Lakers star was passed by current Lakers star LeBron James for third on the all-time NBA scoring list in a Saturday game at Philadelphia.Bryant was a five-time NBA champion in a career that began in 1996 and lasted until his retirement in 2016.He also was a two-time Olympic gold medalist, helping spark the US squad of NBA stars to titles in 2008 at Beijing and 2012 at London. Share on: WhatsApp Los Angeles, United States | AFP | BA legend Kobe Bryant died Sunday in a helicopter crash in suburban Los Angeles, celebrity website TMZ reported, in an accident confirmed by police that saw five people killed.Los Angeles County Sheriff’s officials said there were no survivors from the morning crash on a hillside in Calabasas, west of Los Angeles.The helicopter was described as a Sikorsky S-76, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Allen Kenitzer said.TMZ was the first US outlet to report that Bryant was among the fatalities. The NBA icon’s death was later confirmed by ESPN and Variety citing unidentified sources.