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As case numbers rise, Iraqi pilgrims defy virus protocols. an increase

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As case numbers rise, Iraqi pilgrims defy virus protocols. an increase

As case numbers rise, Iraqi pilgrims defy virus protocols. an increase

 

Thousands of black-clad pilgrims walked the streets of Baghdad on Wednesday as part of a weeklong procession to a revered shrine, eluding security forces’ barbed wire and increasing fears of a new wave of coronavirus following the papal visit.

During the annual pilgrimage, which is expected to hit its peak number of worshippers on Wednesday to commemorate the death of Imam al-Kadhim, a revered figure in Shiite Islam, crowds of men and women defied the tight security measures put in place by Iraqi authorities to contain the spread of the virus.

Separately, a grenade was thrown near Baghdad’s Imam Bridge on Monday, killing one woman and injuring 11 pilgrims. No one took responsibility right away. The Tigris River bridge links the predominantly Sunni Adhamiya area with Kadhimiya, which is predominantly Shiite.

Iraq is experiencing a second wave of the coronavirus, sparked primarily by a more infectious strain discovered in the United Kingdom. For the remainder of the week, the nation has placed a complete lockout from Friday to Sunday, as well as a partial curfew starting at 8 p.m. and ending at 5 a.m. According to the law, non-essential enterprises, as well as schools and mosques, should be closed during this period.

Despite these restrictions, pilgrims proceed on their way to the shrine. Every year, millions of pilgrims from all over the world flock to Baghdad to visit the gold-domed shrine that houses the imam’s final resting place.

Iraqis continue to violate safety precautions in other parts of the country, with authorities increasingly unable to implement them. Facemasks are rarely worn in central Baghdad’s outdoor tea shops, which are crowded with men smoking shisha.

Meanwhile, the number of cases is increasing, with new infections surpassing a six-month high.

According to Health Ministry statistics, at least 22 people died in Iraq on Tuesday, with 6,410 new infections reported in a 24-hour span, breaking the previous daily record of 5,055 set on September 23.

Pope Francis’ visit to Iraq, which ended on Monday, sparked controversy, with infectious disease experts questioning the wisdom of such a trip given Iraq’s rising case numbers. Crowds gathered to catch a glimpse of the pontiff across five provinces, including Baghdad, Ninevah and Irbil where a 10,000 people attended an open-air mass.

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66-year-old who disappeared before trial for sex crimes found dead

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66-year-old who disappeared before trial for sex crimes found dead

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – A 66-year-old local man who was reported missing on the morning he was due in court to stand trial for numerous sex crimes has been found dead.

Michael Taber had been staying at an apartment in the 1900 block of Lemay Ferry Road. He went missing around 2 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 29. According to the St Louis County Police Department, Taber left his cellphone and a suicide note behind, as well as an ankle monitor.

Court records indicate Taber was ordered to wear an ankle monitor while awaiting trial in St. Louis City for one count of second-degree statutory rape, two counts of second-degree child molestation, one count of second-degree rape, two counts of second-degree aggravated sexual abuse, one count of second-degree statutory sodomy, and one count of unlawful use of a weapon.

St. Louis County Police sent out a tweet Monday afternoon saying Taber had been located. A department spokesperson said Taber was found dead due to a probable self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Police did not say where Taber’s body was discovered.

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Parade of planets visible in the night sky this week

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Parade of planets visible in the night sky this week

ST. LOUIS – There will be a parade of planets this month. December 6-10 you will be able to see three planets and then on December 12 you will be able to see 5. There will be a crescent moon earlier in the month which will provide less moonlight, making it easier to see the planets.

The Missouri Department of Conservation shared this timeline for planet viewing:

  • On December 6th, the crescent moon will appear near Venus within 3 degrees in the early evening sky. Venus is the brightest planet.
  • On December 7th, the crescent moon and Saturn are about 5 degrees apart. Saturn is a fainter planet with a gold color. If conditions are right, you can see its rings with a telescope during twilight, and may even see its largest moon, Titan,
  • On December 8th, the moon approaches close to Jupiter, our largest planet. With clear conditions and a telescope, you may be able to see its four largest moons.
  • On December 10th, look for the moon, Jupiter, and Saturn forming a nice row in the sky.
Courtesy: MDC

The St. Louis Astronomy Facebook page says the best time to observe 5 planets together will be after sunset on December 12. Venus, Saturn, Jupiter, and the moon will be visible to the naked eye. You will need a pair of binoculars or a small telescope to see Neptune, Uranus, Ceres (a dwarf planet), and Pallas (a large asteroid).

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Miner’s Candle fire burning near Idaho Springs is 100% contained

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Miner’s Candle wildfire forces evacuations near Idaho Springs

The Miner’s Candle fire burning near Idaho Springs is 100% contained, fire officials said Tuesday.

The wildfire started Sunday as a structure fire and it forced residents of about two dozen homes to evacuate. The fire, which destroyed two homes, a cabin and a small number of outbuildings, burned about 15 acres, according to the Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Office.

Strong winds on Sunday and extremely dry weather fueled the fire. There were no reports of injuries or fatalities.

 

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