While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Aug 8

Coronavirus: Air India Express repatriation flight crash lands at Kerala airport

At least 17 people were killed and more than 100 injured when an Air India Express passenger plane repatriating Indians stranded by the Covid-19 pandemic overshot the runway in heavy rain near the southern city of Kozhikode on Friday, officials said.

The Boeing-737 flight from Dubai to Calicut International Airport was carrying 190 passengers and crew, the civil aviation ministry said in a statement. Among them were 10 infants.

Television footage showed rescue workers moving around the wreckage in pouring rain. The aircraft lay split into at least two chunks after the plane’s fuselage sheared apart as it fell into a valley 10m below, authorities said.

“Because of the weather conditions, he could not land the first time, so he did a turnaround and tried to approach it from a different direction,” Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri told national broadcaster DD News, adding that only an investigation would reveal the cause of the crash.


China wants ‘unpredictable’ Trump to lose election, says US intelligence

China has boosted its efforts to influence the US presidential election in November and wants President Donald Trump to lose because it sees him as “unpredictable,” a top US intelligence official said on Friday.

“We assess that China prefers that President Trump – whom Beijing sees as unpredictable – does not win reelection,” said William Evanina, director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center.

“China has been expanding its influence efforts ahead of November 2020 to shape the policy environment in the United States, pressure political figures it views as opposed to China’s interests, and deflect and counter criticism of China,” Evanina said in a statement.


Amazon fires rage in early August as fears of mass blazes mount

Fires in the Brazilian Amazon have surged so far in August, government data on Friday showed, outstripping the same period of 2019 and renewing concerns about the destruction of the world’s largest rainforest, which is a critical bulwark against climate change.

Brazilian space research agency INPE recorded 5,860 fires in the Amazon in the first six days of August, a 7 per cent increase from the same period of last year. The data set is small and daily variation can be considerable, but the trend suggests this month may be on par with a year ago – the worst August in nine years.

Reuters witnesses driving on Thursday night along the BR-319 highway from Porto Velho, Rondonia, towards Humaita, in the state of Amazonas, spotted small fires crackling along the side of the road, with smoke hanging heavy over the asphalt.


Scientists probe whether a person’s past colds hold key to coronavirus immunity

Could the ghosts of your previous colds help protect you from Covid-19, even if you have never been infected by the new coronavirus spreading across the planet?

Scientists are investigating a poorly-understood immune mechanism in the body that they hope could help efforts to curb the pandemic – T lymphocytes, also known as T cells, a type of white blood cell.

With little yet known about how they operate against Covid-19, scientists are racing to fill in the gaps in our knowledge.


Football: Man City beat Real to qualify for Champions League quarter-finals

Manchester City took advantage of two shocking mistakes by Raphael Varane to beat Real Madrid 2-1 in their Champions League last 16 second leg on Friday and advance to the quarter-finals as Pep Guardiola came out on top in his duel with Zinedine Zidane.

The Frenchman had never been knocked out of Europe’s elite club competition as Real coach, leading them to three consecutive victories between 2016 and 2018 in his first spell before returning to the job last year.

But Madrid had been left with a mountain to climb in this tie after throwing away the lead to lose 2-1 in the first leg in Spain in February, before the coronavirus forced the competition into hibernation.


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