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Taiwan swears in first female President Tsai Ing-wen

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TAIPEI, TAIWAN — Taiwan swore in Tsai Ing-wen as its first female president Friday as relations with rival China rapidly cool.

Beijing-sceptic Tsai took the oath of office at the presidential palace in Taipei after winning a landslide victory in January signalling the end of an eight-year rapprochement with China.

Public support for outgoing president Ma Ying-jeou plunged as voters felt he moved too close to Beijing, which still sees the island as part of its territory.

Tsai raised her right arm as she read the oath in front of Taiwan’s national flag while celebrating crowds watched the ceremony on big screens outside.

She then received the seal of the Republic of China — Taiwan’s official name — and the presidential seal.

Tsai accompanied Ma out of the presidential office as the outgoing leader shook hands with smiling staff and a brass marching band paraded.

AFP

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Deadly Nipah virus claims 12 in Indian state of Kerala

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NEW DELHI — At least 12 people in India have died from a rare deadly and contagious virus known as Nipah virus, according to news reports.

Four deaths were reported on Monday, including of a nurse who treated the three initial infections at the EMS Cooperative Hospital in Perambra. The death of the nurse triggered panic among hospital staff who have had their leaves cancelled to treat the sick, Hindustan Times reported

Two deaths were reported from Kozhikode and four from Malappuram district. At least six persons are in critical condition and another 20 are under observation, state health officials said.

It was recorded in Siliguri district in West Bengal in 2001 and is being suspected in Kerala now, according to media reports

Humans get infected by consuming fruit or date-palm sap contaminated by infected bats but while human-to-human transmission through body fluids is rare.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Nipah virus infection is an emerging disease that was first identified in 1999 during an outbreak among pig farmers in Malaysia and Singapore.

The virus is thought to naturally infect fruit bats (of the genus Pteropus), but it can also infect pigs and other domesticated animals, as well as humans, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The virus can also spread from person to person.

CDC says Nipah virus can cause an inflammation of the brain known as encephalitis. Symptoms can include fever and headache, followed by drowsiness, disorientation and confusion. People who are infected with the virus may fall into a coma within 48 hours of showing symptoms, the CDC says.

The virus can be highly lethal, with an average fatality rate of around 75 percent, according to the WHO.

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