Azima Hussain's husband Khalid was first person in UK to die of new Sars-like disease• Coronavirus: is this the next pandemic?The widow of the first person to die of a deadly new Sars-like virus in the UK has told the Guardian of the tragic circumstances of his death.Azima Hussain, 33, giving her first interview, spoke of the devastation inflicted on her family by the coronavirus that killed her husband, Khalid, last month.She said her father-in-law, Abid – who was the unwitting bearer of the disease – is still unconscious in hospital and unaware of the death of his son. He fell ill from the virus after a trip to Mecca in Saudi Arabia to pray for the health of Khalid, who had brain cancer.Azima described the severe impact of the 38-year-old's death on their twin boys, Danyal and Zain, who will be three years old on Sunday."They keep asking, 'Where's Daddy?, 'When is Dad coming home?' … but they're too young to know what's going on," she said. "Khalid was a lovely man, he had many friends – and he loved his kids."Meanwhile, as the Hussain family contend with the tragedy, it can be revealed that scientists are screening hundreds of drugs for compounds that might help contain the new pathogen, which is a coronavirus – the same family of viruses as those that cause common colds and Sars.It has infected at least 15 people since it emerged in the Middle East last year – more than half of whom have died of pneumonia and multiple organ failure, symptoms that were common in Sars patients.The precautionary search for treatments marks a clear decision within Europe to "prepare for the worst" and have drugs ready for GPs and hospital workers in case the infection spreads around the world.The aim is to boost resources to avoid a disaster like the Sars outbreak, which saw 8,000 people in 37 countries fall ill with a respiratory illness that killed one in 10 patients in 2003.The first patients infected with the coronavirus fell ill in Jordan, Qatar and Saudi Arabia last year, but the source of the infection remains unknown, despite missions by the World Health Organisation and other international groups. As with Sars, the virus has most likely jumped from bats into other animals, in this case perhaps goats or other livestock, which have gone on to infect humans.Abid Hussain, in his early 60s, had gone to Mecca to pray for his son's recovery. But on his return he fell ill, Khalid caught the virus and, because of his chemotherapy treatment, did not have the immune system to fight it off. Abid has not regained consciousness and does not know about Khalid's death on 17 February.Khalid, a travel agent living in Rotherham, was diagnosed with a brain tumour in November. Doctors gave him a 20% chance of survival, and he had moved to Birmingham in order to be closer to Queen Elizabeth hospital, where he began chemotherapy in January."The cancer was complicated, it was right behind the eyes and nose," Azima said. "So doctors said he needed chemotherapy, to make the tumour smaller, before they could operate."His father went back to Pakistan to tell the family about Khalid's cancer, and decided to come back via Mecca, to pray for his recovery. It was weird, no one could have expected what happened."Abid developed flu-like symptoms and a cough immediately on his return to the UK, and was admitted to Queen Elizabeth hospital on 7 February – where Khalid was having a course of chemotherapy that day – and was later transferred to Manchester for specialist care.By Sunday 10 February, Khalid was displaying the same symptoms and 10 days later he was dead. His official cause of death is recorded as coronavirus.Doctors believe Abid transmitted the disease to his son in the first few days after arriving back from Mecca. Abid's sister Zaida was also confirmed to have the virus, but because she had a healthy immune system, she quickly recovered.The coronavirus was first identified by a doctor in Saudi Arabia, who alerted the international authorities and was subsequently forced to leave the country after being sacked, the Guardian can reveal.Prof Ali Mohamed Zaki isolated the virus from a patient who died in hospital last June. He angered the Saudi health ministry when he sent the virus out of the country for identification and alerted international researchers to the threat. "They sent a team to the hospital to investigate me, to blame me and threaten me. They forced the hospital to terminate my contract," Zaki said. "I was obliged to leave my work because of this, but it was my duty. This is a serious virus."Azima said she was shocked to hear about how Zaki was treated. "If what he did could have helped identify the virus quicker, then I don't think the Saudis should have done that. I don't want anyone else to have to go through what my family has."Infectious diseasesMedical researchSarsHealthMicrobiologyIan SampleMark Smithguardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds
Dozens reported dead in clashes across the country after Islamist politician sentenced for 1971 war crimesMore than 40 people have died, many shot by police, and hundreds have been injured amid violence in Bangladesh over the sentencing to death of an Islamist politician by a court investigating the atrocities of the war of independence from Pakistan.The Bangladesh court sentenced 73-year-old Delwar Hossain Sayedee, vice-president of the Islamist party Jamaat-e-Islami, to death on Thursday, finding him guilty of eight charges connected with the 1971 war, including murder, arson, rape and religious persecution, lawyers said.The verdict first set off wild scenes of jubilation in Shahbag square, in the capital, Dhaka, where hundreds of thousands of people have been agitating for weeks in favour of executing Islamist politicians on trial for war crimes.But clashes erupted when backers of Jamaat-e-Islami protested at the verdict. At least 14 demonstrators were said to have been shot dead by security forces across the country in the afternoon. Two policemen and a ruling party activist were also killed. By Friday the death toll was being put at more than 40, according to the Associated Press.The police defended their actions, saying they acted to maintain law and order.Protesters also set fire to a Hindu temple and houses in Noakhali district, south of Dhaka, news agencies said. In the town of Cox's Bazar, a police camp was attacked.In the capital extra police and a rapid response force were deployed, and paramilitaries put on standby, a home ministry official said.Haider Ali, a prosecutor at the tribunal, said the court decision had meant justice being done.The tribunal was set up in 2010 by Sheikh Hasina's government to secure justice for victims of the 1971 conflict and heal the rifts of the civil war era but has proved hugely divisive.Haider Ali said after the verdict: "The nation is rid of stigma after 40 years. It's a victory for the people."But Abdur Razzaque, the lead defence lawyer, said Sayedee, a well-known Islamic preacher, was the victim of mistaken identity. "Justice has not been served today. The man the prosecution has described as committing atrocities is not the same man as the [Jamaat] leader Delwar Hossain Sayedee." The defence would appeal.Lawyers in court during the verdict said Sayedee told the tribunal the judges had bowed to pressure from pro-government protesters and "atheists" in Shahbag.At Shahbag square activists who had held a vigil demanding capital punishment for all the men tried at the tribunal, celebrated as the verdict filtered out, waving flags and hugging each other."This is the outcome we wanted," said Shahab Uddin, a college student, who said he had been participating in the rallies at Shahbag since 5 February. "This is what the people are here for."Analysts say the rival demonstrations and spiralling violence indicate the gulf between those who think the Shahbag rallies are righting a historical wrong and those who see them as a diversion cracking down on Islamist parties.Some observers have likened the protests to those in Egypt two years ago. Both involved large numbers of young people and were in part dependent on social media for mobilisation.However the demonstrations in Bangladesh have been pro-government, pointed out Farzana Sheikh, an analyst at London's Chatham House.Michael Kugelman, south Asia expert at the Woodrow Wilson International Centre, Washington, also warned against comparisons with the Arab spring. "In Eypt and elsewhere it was all about movements to bring democratic change. Bangladesh already has democracy, however flawed," he said. A general election is likely later this year.Kugelman added however that "there are a lot of young people really looking at this occasion to stress the necessity of liberalism, secularism, in Bangladesh and who see this as a springboard".Bangladesh declared independence from Pakistan in 1971. The Pakistani army fought and lost a brutal nine-month war with Bengali fighters and Indian forces that intervened. Hundreds of thousands of civilians died, many of them at the hands of Islamist militia groups who wanted the country to remain part of Pakistan.Sheikh Hasina, the prime minister, and daughter of the wartime leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, set up the war crimes tribunal to investigate atrocities committed during the 1971 conflict – a move she said would bring closure for victims and families and heal the rifts.The leader of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist party, Khaleda Zia, the widow of the independence war's best-known military commander, has accused Hasina of politicising the tribunal, using it to hound political enemies.All of the 10 indicted for war crimes by the tribunal are opposition politicians, eight from Jamaat-e-Islami, the party that is an ally of the BNP."These are deep unhealed wounds, going back for decades and there is a very strong popular desire to resolve many unanswered questions [about the 1971 conflict] and deep frustration with successive governments' failure to do that," Sheikh said. "But its not entirely accidental that the momentum for this resolution has come from the Awami League not the BNP."Kugelman also stressed that the demonstrations in Bangladesh remained relatively localised and had yet to attract significant support in rural areas.Observers have noticed how, despite criticism from human rights groups about politicisation and procedural flaws, the war crimes tribunal has remained broadly popular.Last month the tribunal sentenced a former member of Jamaat-e-Islami to death for his role in the 1971 war. On 5 February Abdul Quader Molla, a leader of Jamaat-e-Islami received a verdict of life imprisonment.Sam Zarifi, the Asia director for the International Commission of Jurists, a Geneva-based legal advocacy group, said a fair trial process was necessary to heal the wounds of the war."It is very important that victims of 1971 get justice," he said. "But justice must be ensured through a fair and transparent trial process. Unfortunately, if judges are intimidated by mass protests into handing out death sentences, that's not justice and may unleash yet another cycle of violence."The trial has been dogged by controversy. Earlier, the tribunal's chairman resigned after transcripts emerged of Skype conversations between him and a Belgium-based Bangladeshi lawyer not officially connected to the case.Human rights groups said the resignation left a panel where none of the three judges had heard the entire evidence. Appeals for a retrial were dismissed by the tribunal.Jamaat-e-Islami has called a three-day general strike beginning on Saturday.BangladeshProtestSyed Zain Al-MahmoodJason Burkeguardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds
Bharti Airtel has officially become the world’s fourth largest telecom operator owing to more than 250 Million connections confirms analyst firm Wireless Intelligence. The telecom major’s customer acquisition spree seems to have paid off. Besides it acquired Zain Group’s mobile operations two years ago. This offered it a direct & lucrative market in 15 African nations. [...]Looking For A Social Media Agency?? - Contact WATConsult - India's Leading Social Media Agency
По сведениям из осведомленного источника, крупнейший в Европе оператор сотовой связи Vodafone Group близок к заключению соглашения с кувейтской компанией Mobile Telecommunications (Zain), целью которого является расширение доступа к сетям на Ближнем Востоке. Как сообщает источник, соглашение покрывает такие страны региона, как Саудовская Аравия, Ирак и Бахрейн, и позволит Vodafone понизить расходы на роуминг и ряд других затрат. Официальное заявление компаний может появиться уже на следующей неделе.