Happy Scribe

This is the global news podcast from the BBC World Service. I'm Jackie Leonard, and in the early hours of Sunday, the 4th of October, these are our main stories. There are contradictory accounts of President Trump's health after his coronavirus infection. Doctors say he's doing very well, but a senior White House adviser said there was cause for concern. Armenia says it faces a decisive moment as its forces face a continuing onslaught from Azerbaijan in the breakaway region of Nagorno Karabakh.


And Guatemala has sent back to Honduras a caravan of 2000 migrants who had been trying to make their way to the United States.


Also in this podcast, the artifacts left untouched for 26 centuries and the mummies inside them are intact.


Egyptian archaeologists have discovered dozens of sarcophagi at an ancient site south of the capital, Cairo.


Contradictory messages have been emerging about President Trump's state of health a day after he was admitted to a military hospital near Washington for coronavirus treatment. Doctors treating him said he was responding well. Dr. Sean Dooley is part of the medical team looking after the president.


We are monitoring him very closely for any evidence of complications from either the coronavirus illness or the therapies that we are prescribing to make him better. We monitor his cardiac function, his kidney function, his liver function. All of those are normal. And the president this morning is not on oxygen, not having difficulty breathing or walking around the White House medical unit upstairs. He's an exceptionally good spirits. And in fact, as we are completing our multidisciplinary rounds this morning, he left us with was I feel like I could walk out of here today.


And that was a very encouraging comment from the president.


But it's emerged that Mr. Trump did need extra oxygen to help his breathing before leaving the White House. The White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, told reporters that Mr. Trump was not on a clear path to a full recovery and his vital signs have been very concerning since Friday. But he later told the Reuters news agency that the president was doing very well and was up and about. Meanwhile, covid and mosques were very much on the mind of Mr. Trump's opponent, Joe Biden, as he addressed union members in Wilmington, Delaware.


It's a patriotic duty to wear a mask. You do it not just to protect yourself, but to protect one another. It's essential you should be worried about the person next to you in front of you, your heart, your husband, wife, mother, father, friend, neighbor. It's essential. And it could save, as the experts have told us, up to 100000 lives just between now and the end of the year, where it's estimated by the university, the University of Washington, as many as 200000 more people will die from kov unless we do something.


I spoke to our news correspondent, Peter Bowes, and asked him, what do we know about the true picture of President Trump's health and the timeline?


A couple of things have been clarified. What is the timeline? And the confusion started when Donald Trump's doctor at that news conference referred to 72 hours since he was infected or since he was diagnosed with covid-19. Now, he then threw the White House, issued a statement saying that, in fact, what he meant by 72 hours was three days that were in the third day since the president was diagnosed. Now, he was diagnosed, we know, on Thursday evening, president himself tweeted in the early hours of Friday, and it is only here in the United States still a Saturday.


So the timeline is much shorter than the doctor seemed to be talking about. But he clarified that and said that he had misspoken. The other area of confusion was over the president receiving oxygen, whether he'd received oxygen at any point during his fight against covid-19 over the last few days. And he was talking in the present tense saying that the president hadn't been given oxygen in the hospital today or yesterday. But again, we now have some clarification on that.


We understand that the president was given oxygen at the White House just before he was taken to hospital. We don't know much about the circumstances surrounding that. We don't know whether he was having trouble breathing or whether this was just more of a routine thing that someone being taken into hospital with a coronavirus would be given some oxygen.


And a number of senior figures have now tested positive for coronavirus, haven't they? What do we know about that so far?


Yeah, well, the latest confirmed by the former governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, who, of course, is a very close friend and adviser to the president. He was heavily involved in preparing the president for the debate earlier in the week. And Chris Christie has just tweeted that in consultation with his doctors, he's checked himself into Morrisson Town Medical Center. And he says, while I'm feeling good, it was confirmed earlier that he has tested positive.


He says, while I'm feeling good and only have mild symptoms due to my history of asthma, we decided this is an important precautionary measure. So then we have another senior figure in the Republican Party. We know over the past 24 hours that a number of senators have tested positive and other close advisers to the president.


That was Peter Bowes was a 74 year old man who's classed as obese. Mr. Trump is in a higher risk category as well as the antiviral drug Ramdas Evere. His doctors have also given him an artificial antibody therapy. Here's our health and science correspondent James Gallagher.


Donald Trump has been given two therapies that try to slow the virus's assault on the body. The combination of antibodies designed by Regeneron mimic our own immune response. The. Antibodies physically stick to the coronavirus so they can't get inside the body's cells and they make the virus more visible to the rest of the immune system. The approach makes scientific sense and there is huge hope it will be effective. However, the evidence in patients is still limited. So this is considered an experimental drug ramdas of their works.


After the virus has infected one of the body's cells, the drug disrupts the virus's ability to make thousands of copies of itself. And studies suggest this can shorten the course of an infection. But it's unclear if either of these drugs are life saving.


That was James Gallagher here in Britain, a man who spent nearly six months in hospital being treated for covid-19 has finally been discharged until Patel, who's 63, spent 149 days as a patient in two hospitals in southern England. It's thought to be one of the UK's longest hospital stays with someone with the virus. Helena Wilkinson reports.


Nearly six months ago, Arnelle Patel collapsed at his home in east London. He spent four months in intensive care, two of them under sedation after 149 days. He has finally been discharged. Mr Patel, a building manager, praised the doctors, nurses and cleaners who he says have become part of his family. They helped him celebrate his 60 third birthday in hospital in August. Mr Patel is now continuing his recovery at a residential rehab center, but says he hopes to get back home to celebrate his two daughters birthdays next month.


He's urged everyone to wear a mask and to take precautions so they don't end up going through the ordeal he has been through over the last few months.


That was Helena Wilkinson, the prime minister of Armenia. Nicole Parkinson has said that the country faces a decisive moment as the offensive by Azerbaijan and Nagorno Karabakh continued for a seventh day on Saturday. There were fierce clashes throughout the day. Baku says it's taken more Armenian held military positions and forced some troops to surrender. Armenian civilians are fleeing the main cities, Tappahannock, yet to escape shelling. The Azeris have rejected calls for a ceasefire and blamed Armenia for the conflict.


They said fighting would stop only if Armenian troops withdrew from the region, which declared independence from Azerbaijan, which entirely surrounds it following the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The BBC's Jonah Fisher is in Nagorno Karabakh largest towns, teppanyaki quiet, which Azeris call Corindi.


So the sirens going off. We just heard a pretty big explosion not very far away. I'm going to have to go down in the basement. This is a daily reality, Stefanic. It's being shelled every few hours. They are you talking about so some pretty large explosions going on outside now I'm just going to get along with everyone else is staying in this hotel to stay in the basement. It sounds like it's artillery, but there have been drone strikes to.


Coming to Rita's apartment block was hit by those shells and the following morning, the 78 year old English teacher shows us the ruins of her house.


Look. It was destroyed. We can't go in and live there. So what are you going to do now? I want to go to Yerevan to meet my relatives.


And what do you think of the people who shelled you? We had many friends, Azerbaijan here, but now we are enemies and created with both Armenia and Azerbaijan regarding Nagorno Karabakh, which is about three times the size of greater London as theirs.


Look on the map. And it's inside Azerbaijan. But its population is dominated by ethnic Armenians. And since a war in the early 1990s, it's effectively been controlled by Armenia. Attacked by Gloryland is an official in the local government. What do you think Azerbaijan is trying to do?


Very obvious that they are trying to invade and they do everything to invade, to terrorize the people, civilians here and to make panic the people to leave the country.


And you think that's why they're using drones and aerial strikes in this way?


It's called terrorism, psychological terrorism by international law. There are already tens of thousands IDPs and refugees because of targeting civilian objects.


A few streets away, we watch as people wait to board buses to flee the war. It's mostly the elderly, women and children and who she's surrounded by her bags and kids that I needed.


Katamon, I'm seen this person.


The guys are all at the front line, she says. My husband, my brother in law, we are strong.


We will win. Then as they wait to get on the bus, a soldier starts calling up his Yagami. Now you're going off.


A drone has been spotted overhead. He's telling people to stand under trees.


There's an explosion not far away. The bus is panic and speed away and those people left behind and inside to hide in the basement of a hotel. This conflict is now a week old and it's growing in intensity with every passing day.


I was Jonah Fisher reporting for an Israeli response. Julian Marshall spoke to Hikmet Alif. He's the head of the Foreign Policy Affairs Department for the Presidential Administration of Azerbaijan. So why are their forces shelling Stepanek yet?


First, as it is his name, is he sort of an Aboriginal name is one candidate. And secondly, the same situation is taking place in the cities of greater Armenia. Extensive the shelling. Azerbaijan cities are city out about the golden boy and some other cities. We sent the message to Armenian side about stop shelling civilian people in an indiscriminate manner and also in a targeted manner, I think effused. Imagine that within a short period of time, 2000 artillery pieces just landed.


It was a butcher. It was one of the purposes of this, not because of the Armenians shelling. This becomes Stalingrad supposedly as regards in Hunt. And we are as much as we can trying to target military facilities and legitimate military targets.


So could not Armenia advance the same argument that what is happening in Azerbaijani towns and cities is simply collateral damage, that they also are trying to attack military targets?


I'm sure be explained to them, there are no military targets in the city of Azerbaijan that are not military targets. And in of the city of Aleppo, if the intention is to kill Azerbaijani civilians and also destroy the city infrastructure as a result of such attacks, now we have twenty one civilians have been killed.


What is Azerbaijan's strategy now and Nagorno Karabakh?


The regional strategy is not going to Karabakh to end Armenia's military occupation. Armenia, by use of force occupied in Aqaba and seven adjacent regions of the region, also to see what Azerbaijan, the refugees and IDPs are returning back to their permanent residences.


Hekmat Aliyev, head of the Foreign Policy Affairs Department of the Presidential Administration of Azerbaijan. On Saturday, Germany marked the 30th anniversary of reunification. A scaled back ceremony took place in the city of Potsdam, as our Berlin correspondent Damien McGuinness reports.


It was in Potsdam in 1945 that Winston Churchill signed the agreement with the US and the Soviet Union that eventually led to Germany's division between communist east and capitalist West, the country has been reunified exactly 30 years. The celebrations have been scaled back because of the pandemic, but that also suits the more reflective mood of this anniversary. There's a lively discussion here about the remaining disparities between East and West. Wages and pensions are lower in the east. Most leadership positions, whether it be in business, media or politics or held by people from western Germany.


And in one survey, 40 percent of Eastern Germans said they felt like second class citizens. Overall reunification has been a success, but in some ways it's also a process that is not yet entirely finished.


Damien McGuinness in Germany. Still to come, oh, why?


They build an opera filmed entirely on a mobile phone examining the emotions of isolation under coronavirus. The authorities in Guatemala say they have deported more than 2000 migrants who entered the country illegally in the past few days as part of a caravan heading north towards the US border. The group departed from Honduras on Wednesday. Leonardo Rosser reports.


The caravan of migrants forced their way into Guatemala on Friday after clashes with security forces deployed at border crossings. They were planning to cross into Mexico and eventually apply for asylum in the US. Local media reported that hundreds had agreed to return voluntarily, while others were put on military trucks and sent back to Honduras. The Guatemalan government said the migrants violated restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus and put the lives of thousands at risk.


That was Leonardo Rosia. Following long negotiations. A peace deal has been signed between the government of Sudan and an alliance of rebel groups aimed at ending years of conflict. Several heads of state attended the ceremony, which took place in Juba, the capital of neighboring South Sudan. The treaty is being hailed as a major step. Our Africa regional editor, Will Ross, began by telling us about the signatories there.


Their representatives, 13 representatives from a number of armed groups, two of which are in the Darfur region. Now, that's a place that had conflict since 2003, and there are still hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people who were displaced by the conflict there. So there were two major rebel groups from Darfur signed and also rebel groups from areas in the south of Sudan. That's Blue Nile and South Kordofan. And they've been in conflict since around 2011, around the time when the South Sudan was breaking away from Sudan itself.


So what they've agreed, and it's taken a long time, well over a year of negotiations, they've agreed that the rebels will be integrated into the national army, thousands of them. So that's a quite an operation, which obviously some people think may come with quite a risk. The areas where the conflicts happen, those areas are supposed to be developed. Rebel leaders are going to join the transitional government. Hundreds of posts have been created at different levels.


And in theory, all of the people who are displaced can go back home. There are some other other things that have been agreed as well. But one of the key problems is this is going to cost a huge amount of money. And at the moment, Sudan is in an economic crisis.


And what can you tell us about the two groups that didn't sign and what that might mean?


Well, there is a danger. There's one group called SBL North, and that's in South Kordofan and Nuba Mountains. They've been pushing sort of for self-determination. So going a bit further than this agreement. So they haven't agreed yet, but they're still talking with the government and another rebel group in Darfur called the Sudan Liberation Movement. Some people expect them to to sign in time. It's just that they're holding out for more concessions. But certainly there are concerns because there have been lots of attempts at finding peace to end these these conflicts that have affected so many so many hundreds of thousands of civilians and forced them to flee their homes.


But those have broken down due to spoilers and due to mistrust. But what's changed, really, as you mentioned in your introduction after the former president Omar al-Bashir, was kicked out of office, there's a different sort of degree of trust between the rebel groups and especially the civilians that make up part of the transitional government. So there is more trust and that that brings some degree of hope that these conflicts can be brought to an end. But there's a an awful lot of work to be done, especially for the people living in those affected areas to notice any difference.


Well, Ross, the British government and the European Union have acknowledged that significant gaps remain in their attempts to forge a post Brexit trade deal.


In a joint statement after talking by telephone on Saturday afternoon, the British prime minister, Boris Johnson, and the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said they had agreed to work intensively to resolve their differences. Time is running out if a deal is going to be ready in time for the end of the transition period at the turn of the year. Here's our political correspondent Ian Watson.


Both sides have agreed to keep talking. Formal negotiations concluded without a draft trade deal, though the government said the outlines of an agreement were visible now. Boris Johnson has live underline have instructed the chief negotiators to intensify informal talks. The aim is to try to bridge significant gaps ahead of an EU summit in less than two weeks time. A lack of agreement on fishing rights under the new rules governing state subsidies to businesses has been well publicized. But a Downing Street statement today made it clear that the remaining differences will be.


On these issues, if a trade deal isn't struck with Brexit transition period concludes on December the 31st, imports and exports would be subject to tariffs, which in turn is likely to increase the cost of goods. Speaking at the conservative conference, the foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, signalled that the UK would not accept a deal at any price. He declared that the days have been held over a barrel by Brussels were gone and that there was no question that it would be the government that controlled the UK's fisheries.


That was Ian Watson. An urgent investigation has been ordered in Russia's Far East after Dead Sea creatures washed up near a beauty spot on the Kamchatka Peninsula. Tests have shown high levels of pollutants in the water. Our correspondent in Moscow, Steve Rosenberg, told us more.


It was surfers actually who raised the alarm a few weeks ago. There's one beach in Petropavlovsk, Kamchatka, on the Kamchatka Peninsula, which is very popular with surfers. And for the last few weeks, people have been surfing there, going into the Pacific Ocean, have been reporting health issues after their contact with the water, vomiting, fever and rashes, problems with their eyesight, including burns to the eyes, chemical burns. So that was the first thing.


And the second thing was suddenly all the sea life was being washed up onto the beach dead. I mean, this is an amazing area of stunning natural beauty, so much marine life. And suddenly, if you walk along this beach now, it is littered with dead sea animals. So we're talking about seals and starfish and sea urchins and crabs. I've been there to this particular beach and it is stunning that the black volcanic sands, the Pacific Ocean, people in kayaks, it's an incredibly popular spot, but it has been turned into one local resident who filmed this described as a graveyard.


This is why Greenpeace is calling it an ecological disaster.


And do they know what has caused this problem, what the chemical what the pollutant was, where it came from?


The cause isn't clear yet. President Putin's point man in the Russian Far East has ordered an urgent investigation, and that's been an initial analysis done of the the water in that part of the Pacific Ocean. And that is detected a higher than normal levels of oil products and phenol, which can cause chemical burns, which seems to fit in with the kind of complaints that people have been talking about in recent weeks. Now, one possibility being talked about is perhaps there was a spill from a commercial tanker that was passing through the bay.


Also, the local environment ministry in Kamchatka has even suggested that a cargo vessel that sunk a decade ago may be responsible for some kind of leak. But also questions are being asked to about the Russian military. There is a military training ground just up the coast, but already the the Russian Pacific fleet has denied that it had anything to do with any leak or any contamination.


That was Steve Rosenberg. Egypt has announced the discovery of 59 sarcophagi and dozens of mummies in the ancient Sekara Necropolis south of the capital, Cairo. Yasser Taha has more details.


The Egyptian minister of tourism and antiquities, Khalid Anani, opened a sarcophagus before the watchful eyes of dozens of foreign ambassadors and dignitaries attending an international press conference. He told them that Egypt is still full of surprises and the archaeologists only found 27 coffins the night before. The collection of 59 is in excellent condition, and the artifacts lay untouched for 26 centuries, and the mummies inside them are intact. The sarcophagi appear to be heavily decorated with intricate, colorful designs.


The minister said that they would be put on display at the new Grand Egyptian Museum near the pyramids of Giza.


That was Yosef Taha. Now, with many regions around the world returning to lock down restrictions, the isolation brought by these measures is something that more of us might have to bear again. The feelings surrounding isolation have prompted an opera filmed entirely on an iPhone. Eight composers from around the globe were involved in the project. Beth Timmons has been finding out more. That's the sound of an opera written for a socially dist. world. Eight songs from Isolation is being billed as the first opera ever created for performers who are unable to meet in person.


Shot on an iPhone. It features text on isolation from a letter received during lock down from composer Ahmed Assiut to the poem by Carol Ann Duffy.


Some days oh, and this arrangement of how by Philip Block Oh, why they build hospital for.


Some other composers set their own tax, such as Dujon, who used a series of reports that young man, a Chinese journalist for the Southern Weekly, wrote from Wuhan during lockdown. Conductor Oliver Zachman, who created the project, told me about the challenges of working together remotely. Back in March, when all music all over the world stopped, obviously everything I had was cancelled. So I finally of something to do that would be interesting and creative, but also find it feasible because it's a context that nobody can meet.


So I decided to commission these composers from all over the world, each other's set of text that speak to their own feelings of experiences during isolation. And some are much more cynical out in the sun. A much more hopeful that works is not right.


The singers filmed in or near their homes, one in their London flat, another with her baby in her bedroom and one in an empty church. The social distance orchestra was conducted at London's Academy of St. Martin in the fields. The opera is now available online in the hope it will resonate with and unify isolated audiences across the world. That was Beth Timmins reporting.


And that's it from us for now. But there will be an updated version of the Global News podcast later. If you would like to comment on this one or the topics we've covered in it, do please send us an email. You know the address by now, its global podcast at BBK Dot Dot UK. I'm Jackie Leonard. The producer was Liam McAffrey. The studio engineer was ABIM Rochinski and the editor is Karen Martin. Until next time.