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Hong Kong to reopen bars, nightclubs from April 29 for vaccinated customers

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Hong Kong to reopen bars, nightclubs from April 29 for vaccinated customers

Hong Kong will reopen bars and nightclubs from April 29 for people who have been vaccinated and who use a government mobile phone application, the Asian financial hub’s health secretary said on Tuesday.

Sophia Chan told a press briefing the measures extended to bathhouses and karaoke lounges and would enable the venues to stay open until 2.00 am. All staff and customers must have received at least one vaccine dose for the venue to be operational and they must operate at half capacity, she said.

“We all hope life can return to normal but we need to allow some time for everyone to adapt to these new measures,” Chan said.

The former British colony has recorded over 11,700 total coronavirus cases, far lower than other developed cities.

Hong Kong has banned non-residents in the city since March 2020 but announced this week a long-delayed travel bubble with Singapore will begin on May 26, its first bilateral resumption of travel ties with another city.

Chan’s announcement comes as authorities try to incentivize residents to get vaccinated with only around 11 percent of the city’s 7.5 million population having received their first vaccine dose.

The take up of vaccines has been sluggish since the scheme began in the Chinese special administrative region in February due to a lack of confidence in China’s Sinovac vaccine and fears of adverse reactions.

Hong Kong began vaccinating residents with doses from Sinovac in February and started offering a vaccine developed by Germany’s BioNTech in March.

The BioNTech shot has shown far greater take up since its launch with two to three times more people booking it on a daily basis than for Sinovac, according to government figures.

Under the new rules, restaurants in the city will be allowed to increase the number of diners per table to six from four currently, provided staff and customers have also received their first vaccine dose. They will be able to dine until midnight, from 10.00 pm now.

Restaurants will set up different areas for customers who are not vaccinated and for those who choose to write their contact details down on paper rather than registering with the government app. This segment will only be allowed to dine up to four people to a table.

A tracing app pushed by the government has met with distrust.

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Body of missing KPMG executive Alan White found in Texas

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Body of missing KPMG executive Alan White found in Texas

The body of a Dallas businessman who has been missing since October was found in a wooded area of the Texas city.

A survey crew working for Paul Quinn College found human remains near the campus Thursday, police said.

The Dallas County Medical Examiner identified the remains as Alan White, an executive at accounting firm KPMG who was last seen gassing up his Porsche after a gym visit on Oct. 22.

The 55-year-old’s vehicle was found about a week later, and there were no signs of a struggle or accident.

“Your mind goes through all these scenarios of what could’ve happened,” White’s husband Rusty Jenkins said at the time. “But it’s all just kind of guesses until we get some facts or some leads. But your mind plays games all day of what did happen, what could’ve happened.”

There is a $10,000 reward for information related to the case.

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Disney World drops outdoor mask requirement

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Disney World drops outdoor mask requirement

The only people required to wear masks outside at Disney World will be the costumed characters.

The Orlando, Fla., park will only require customers to wear masks in indoor areas and on public transportation beginning Saturday, Blog Mickey reported.

The Friday announcement comes a day after Disney chief executive Bob Chapek touted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention decision to lift mask requirements as “very big news,” that will cause an attendance spike at theme parks.

A relaxed mask policy, Chapek added, will be a relief to Disney World customers, “particularly if anybody’s been in Florida in the middle of summer with a mask on. That could be quite daunting.”

 Disneyland in California is still subject to the state’s mask order. 

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Israeli airstrike reportedly kills at least seven Palestinians

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israeli-airstrike-634

At least seven Palestinians were reported killed in Gaza City by an Israeli airstrike early Saturday as the worst fighting between Israel and Hamas since 2014 ground on with no quick end in sight, despite efforts by the U.S. and Egypt to broker a ceasefire.

Palestinian media quoted by The Times of Israel reported that children were among the dead, while several other people were trapped in the rubble of a house.

If the death toll is confirmed, it would be the highest number of civilian casualties from a single airstrike in the current conflict, which began Monday.

The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) did not respond directly to the report of the deadly airstrike, but said in a statement reported by the Times of Israel that it had targeted several rocket launching sites and two Hamas “terror squads.”

“The attacks were carried out through a quick closing of the circle, lethal fire capability and accurate intelligence of the Gaza Division,” they said.

A nurse holds a baby who was pulled from a building wreckage following an Israeli air strike at Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City on May 15, 2021.

AFP via Getty Images

israeli-airstrike-635

Nurses care for a baby who lost seven family members after an Israeli air strike struck a refugee camp in Gaza City on May 15, 2021.

AFP via Getty Images

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Earlier in the evening, the IDF tweeted dramatic footage of a fireball caused by a rocket fired from Gaza hitting a fuel depot in the Mediterranean port of Ashdod.

“Barrages of rockets are being fired non-stop from Gaza into southern Israel,” the IDF wrote. “Tonight, a rocket hit the city of Ashdod—see the damage for yourself. This won’t go unanswered.”

An explosion from rockets from Gaza land on Ashdod in southern Israel.
An explosion from Gaza rockets land on Ashdod, Israel.
Israel Defense Forces / Twitter

No injuries were reported from the rocket strike in Ashdod, which was the third in the city across Friday night into Saturday morning. An earlier strike on the port and a direct hit on an apartment building also caused no reported injuries.

Nine Israelis have died during the latest conflict, including a 6-year-old boy and a soldier. Authorities in Gaza have reported that at least 126 people have been killed, including 31 children and 20 women. Israel claims that many of those civilian casualties have been caused by Hamas-launched rockets falling short of their targets.

Officials from Washington and Cairo are in the region trying to coax a halt to the fighting and the United Nations Security Council is expected to hold an emergency meeting Sunday morning. An Egyptian intelligence official told the Associated Press that Israel has already turned down an Egyptian proposal for a one-year cease-fire that Hamas had accepted.

Hamas has fired some 2,000 rockets toward Israel since Monday, according to the Israeli military.

With Post wires

Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system responds to rockets launched from the northern Gaza Strip on May 14, 2021.
Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system responds to rockets launched from the northern Gaza Strip on May 14, 2021.
Getty Images

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