Russian state media is reporting that Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov has tested positive for the coronavirus and is in the hospital. Peskov has confirmed he is receiving treatment. Peskov’s wife, Tatiana Navka, has also been diagnosed with the virus. (in Russian, Russian Service, Current Time TV)
Russia now ranks second in the world for coronavirus cases, overtaking the UK and Spain as authorities documented 10,899 new infections during the 24-hour period ending the morning of May 12. The total number of infected people in the country has reached 232,243. Nevertheless, the country continues to report low numbers of fatalities, leading to speculation that virus-related deaths may be vastly under-reported, even by as much as 70 percent, according to the Financial Times. (in Russian, Current Time)
Each spring, 36-year-old Ukrainian kindergarten teacher Galina Birkovskaya leaves for three months of work in Finland’s strawberry fields. But this year, with coronavirus restrictions canceling most flights to the European Union, she, like tens of thousands of other temporary workers from Ukraine, has had to postpone her plans. Ukraine’s stated intent to keep more of its labor force at home is an additional challenge.
Central Asia's largest bazaar has been closed for a month now, causing hunger and poverty for some 50,000 people in Bishkek who worked there before COVID-19 struck. Some of these people live on-site in shipping containers, while others live at an informal shantytown on a nearby garbage dump. (video)
Putin Ends Russia's 'Nonworking Period'; Kazakhstan Eases Restrictions...
Czech media have identified the man they say is the undercover Russian diplomat who entered the country nearly two months ago with a suitcase containing ricin as part of an alleged plot to poison as many as three Prague officials who had taken actions that angered the Kremlin.
A new draft bill would extend current legislation authorizing fines for mass media outlets that publish insults to apply to “information and telecommunication networks” -- potentially just about anything online. Fines would be set at approximately $65 - $136 for regular citizens, $682 - $1,365 for officials, and $2,730 - $9,556 for legal entities. (in Russian, Current Time TV)
Serbian pro-government and right-wing opposition figures have vowed to stage rival hunger strikes until their competing demands are met. The political drama on May 11 came as President Aleksandar Vucic is facing a possible opposition boycott of parliamentary and local elections that could foreshadow an even deeper political crisis. (video)
Remains found inside a cave in central Bulgaria suggest that modern humans had an extensive contact phase with Neanderthals in Europe and could provide more clues to why the Neanderthals went extinct.
The grandson of late Uzbek President Islam Karimov has posted a statement on social networks claiming that assets confiscated from his mother, Gulnara Karimova, for transfer to the state have been appropriated by relatives and close friends of Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev. The assets include Uzbekistan’s postal service, Perfectum Mobile, a Coca-Cola plant, 98 luxury Tashkent apartments, private medical clinics, duty free shops, restaurants, sports clubs, and many other properties. (Russian Service)
Polish authorities have detained four Tajik nationals on charges of attempting to recruit Muslim converts to carry out militant attacks. Stanislaw Zaryn, the spokesman for the minister coordinating special forces, said on May 11 that the suspects were inspired by the Islamic State (IS) terrorist organization but are not members of the group.
Abdulloh Ghurbati, a 23-year-old journalist for the Asia-Plus news agency, says he was attacked and beaten by unknown assailants on May 11 as he was making his way home from a shop.