By Andrew Wasike
NAIROBI, Kenya (AA) – The Kenyan government and the Ol Pejeta Conservancy announced Wednesday that they successfully produced three pure northern white rhino embryos ready for implantation into southern white rhino as surrogate mothers in coming months.
Kenya Wildlife Service, a state organization, said in a statement that just a few days over Christmas they were able to create a new embryo of the northern white rhino species by artificially inseminating eggs from the two remaining females using frozen sperm from deceased males.
Kenya’s Tourism and Wildlife Minister Najib Balala said: “This is a big win for Kenya and its partners, as the northern white rhinos are faced with the threat of imminent extinction.”
He added that the Kenyan government is “glad that the northern white rhino in-vitro fertilization project by a consortium of scientists and conservationists from Kenya, Czechia, Germany and Italy collaborative partnership has been able to successfully produce three pure northern white rhino embryos ready for implantation into southern white rhino as surrogate mothers in coming months.”
Currently, the whole world has just two remaining female northern white rhinos named Najin and Fatu, both suffer from various health problems caused by age and are infertile.
According to the scientists, the next plan is “to select a group of southern white rhinos at Ol Pejeta Conservancy from which a female could serve as a surrogate mother for the northern white rhino embryo,” thus producing pure breed northern white rhinos.
Balala said that the next step in saving the rhinos will happen in the next few months.
Richard Vigne, managing director of Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya said: “We have taken yet another small step along the road of saving the northern white rhino from extinction. We have a long way to go and success is far from assured, but Kenya continues to play her part.”
Turkey marks 567th anniversary of Istanbul’s conquest
By Handan Kazanci
ANKARA (AA) - Anadolu Agency is here with a rundown of the latest developments on the coronavirus pandemic and other news in Turkey and around the world.
- Coronavirus in Turkey
Turkey on Thursday confirmed 926 additional recoveries as the country began easing measures against the novel coronavirus, according to the country’s health minister.
The total number of recoveries from the disease hit 131,778 as 926 more patients were discharged from hospitals over the past day, Fahrettin Koca said on Twitter, citing Health Ministry data.
The country's death toll from the outbreak rose to 4,630 as Turkey reported 21 new fatalities over the last 24 hours.
Turkey conducted over 54,000 COVID-19 tests in the past 24 hours, bringing the total tally to more than 2.2 million, said Koca.
Meanwhile, Turkey plans to resume international flights to 40 countries gradually as of June 10, Transport and Infrastructure Minister Adil Karaismailoglu said Thursday.
International flights from Turkey will carry passengers first to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Bahrain, Bulgaria, Qatar and Greece, Karaismailoglu said in a statement.
Turkey suspended all international flights on March 28 amid COVID-19-related travel restrictions worldwide.
- Global coronavirus developments
A low death toll was once again recorded Thursday as France recovers from the coronavirus pandemic which plagued the country over the last three months, according to the latest statistics reported by the Health Ministry.
The country registered a total of 46 deaths in hospitals Thursday, a drop of 39 cases over those reported Wednesday.
Italy on Thursday reported 88 more fatalities from the pandemic, bringing the death toll to 33,689 as authorities unveiled new guidelines to prevent crowded summer spots like beach resorts from becoming new virus hotbeds.
The slowing trend in the number of deaths registered in May continued in early June, confirming that the peak of the crisis has been passed.
Face masks on English public transport will be mandatory from June 15, the British government announced Thursday, as a further 176 people died from the coronavirus over the past 24 hours.
British authorities announced that the UK-wide death toll from COVID-19 is now 39,904.
As Spain prepares for its state of emergency over COVID-19 to last until June 21, the Health Ministry reported Thursday that 195 more people were infected with the coronavirus and five more had died.
The number of infections diagnosed Wednesday was down slightly from the 219 people who tested positive Tuesday but up from Monday and Sunday. In total, 240,660 infections have been confirmed in the country.
Health officials in the Palestinian enclave of Gaza announced Thursday the arrival of medical supplies sent by Turkey to help fight the novel coronavirus outbreak.
In a statement, Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra confirmed that two polymerase chain reaction (PCR) machines had been delivered for detecting the virus.
- George Floyd Memorial service
Hundreds of mourners on Thursday attended the first of several memorials for George Floyd – an unarmed black man who was killed in police custody on May 25.
The service at North Central University in Minneapolis, Minnesota was attended by Floyd's family and Ben Crump, the civil rights attorney representing the family, as well as celebrity guests.
Meanwhile, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Thursday urged demonstrators joining protests over the death of George Floyd to get tested for the novel coronavirus.
Speaking at his daily press briefing, Cuomo said around 30,000 people have taken part in the statewide protests demanding justice for the killing of the unarmed black man in police custody.
Of them, 20,000 were involved in rallies in New York City.
In Europe, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has urged citizens not to overlook the racism problem in Germany while intensely discussing racism and police brutality in the US after the death of George Floyd.
"This murder of George Floyd is very, very terrible. Racism is something terrible,” Merkel said Thursday evening in an exclusive interview with public broadcaster ZDF.
“Racism has always been present, but sadly we also have this [problem]. We should first sweep in front of our own door,” she stressed.
- Other developments
Turkey and Libya plan to advance cooperation in the Eastern Mediterranean, including exploration and drilling activities, to further benefit from natural resources, Turkey’s president said in a meeting with Libya’s prime minister Thursday.
The meeting between Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Fayez al-Sarraj took place at the presidential palace in the Turkish capital Ankara.
Erdogan said Turkey and Libya have reached a consensus on expanding their cooperation areas on the territory of Libya.