Doctors on Wednesday hailed as a “miracle” the survival of a newborn girl found several days after being buried alive, as police hunted for her parents who have been charged with attempted murder.
The nearly eight-day-old baby was found in a clay pot by a father Thursday when he was digging a grave for his own newborn daughter, who had died the day before, in a village in northern Uttar Pradesh state.
The premature infant weighing just 1.1 kilogrammes (2.4 pounds) was taken to a government hospital in a critical condition with severe dehydration and blood infections before being transferred to a private hospital.
“It’s a miracle that she survived being buried for so long,” her doctor Ravi Khanna said.
“The baby must’ve remained buried for 2.5 to three days because she was very emaciated from her cheeks to her neck, her stomach and legs.”
The girl, who is in an incubator, was now “out of danger” and responding to antibiotic treatment, he said.
“We are feeding her milk via a tube and also slowly increasing the quantity of milk being fed to her,” Khanna added.
“The baby’s weight has improved from before and is currently 1.2 kilos and the baby’s condition has improved a little as well.”
Doctors and police said the baby could have been buried for more than two days in the pot, which had some holes in it.
Lead investigating officer Pradeep Singh said his team was searching villages near where she was found and asking about recent pregnancies.
“We have filed an attempt-to-murder case and one for endangering the life of the child against unnamed parents,” Singh told AFP.
He added that she would be sent to a government-run adoption home after she is discharged from hospital.
But a local politician from the national government’s ruling party, Rajesh Kumar Mishra, who is paying for her treatment in the private facility, said he would adopt the girl he called a “miracle”.
“Can you imagine a newborn surviving such a situation for so many days? She is God-sent and I have decided to adopt her,” Mishra told AFP.
The lawmaker made national headlines in July when his daughter, then aged 23, accused him of sending his henchmen to kill her and her husband over their inter-caste marriage.
The couple publicly severed their relationship with him and remain in hiding.
The Lagos State Police Command said it has arrested two suspects involved in the sale of babies in the state.
A statement by the command’s spokesman on Sunday, Mr Bala Elkana, disclosed that the duo were saved from being killed by an angry mob in the Ejigbo area of Lagos.
Elkana said, “On 26th August 2019, at about 3.30pm, a police officer attached to the Motor Traffic Division of Ejigbo Police Division while controlling traffic at Jakande Gate, Ejigbo noticed a sort of commotion close to her traffic point.
“She intervened and discovered that the brouhaha was about a lady named Gift Michael 24 years old, found with a suspected new-born baby. In her company is her ‘madam’, one Florence Nkem Douglas aged 50 years – both of Ijegun area of Isheri.”
“They were about to be mobbed due to the alarm raised by those who had been trailing the duo from their residence in Ijegun as the whole community had been suspecting them for long for being in the business of buying and selling of babies in their maternity clinic, but for the timely intervention of the traffic policewoman,” he added.
The command’s spokesman said the two women along with the baby were rescued to Ejigbo Divisional Police Headquarters where in-depth investigation was conducted.
Investigation revealed that Douglas, a native of Igueben in Edo State, was not a registered nurse but operating two maternity clinic – Flofidel Clinic and Maternity Homes – with branches along Ijegun Road and Okunola Ijagemo areas.
“On interrogation, the said Florence admitted having been in the business of sales of babies for a while.
“She revealed that a baby girl is referred to as ‘pink’ while a baby boy is called ‘blue’, and are both referred to as ‘market’,” Elkana noted.
He stated that the suspect confessed that the male baby found in their custody was brought to her from Gombe State, en route to Akure and was to be sold for N500,000.00.
The command’s spokesman said the rescued baby who appeared sick with symptoms suspected to be jaundice was promptly taken to hospital for medical attention.
He also revealed that pictures of about 50 different babies, suspected to have already been sold off, were found on the phone of the suspect.
According to Elkana, babies are usually sold between N500,000.00 and N1million depending on their gender.
He added that the Commissioner of Police in the state, Zubairu Muazu, has ordered the State Criminal Investigation Department, Panti Yaba to take over the investigation and ensure that other members of the syndicate were apprehended.
New Zealand Speaker Trevor Mallard babysat a baby during Parliamentary Debate on the chamber floor on Wednesday.
The picture of Mallard feeding the one-month-old baby as he presides over a debate ha since gone viral.
“Normally the speaker’s chair is only used by presiding officers but today a VIP took the chair with me,” Mallard tweeted as he shared pictures of him bottle-feeding the baby.
He excitedly shared the pictures on his verified Twitter handle @SpeakerTrevor and congratulated father of the baby who is also a lawmaker, Tāmati Coffey.
Normally the Speaker’s chair is only used by Presiding Officers but today a VIP took the chair with me. Congratulations @tamaticoffey and Tim on the newest member of your family. pic.twitter.com/47ViKHsKkA
Britain’s Prince Harry, his wife Meghan and their infant son Archie will visit South Africa later this year in their first official tour as a family, Buckingham Palace said Thursday.
“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will undertake an official visit to South Africa this autumn at the request of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office,” the palace said in a statement.
Harry, 34, will also visit Angola and Malawi at the request of Britain’s Foreign Office and conduct a working trip to Botswana while in the region.
Harry and Meghan said on their Instagram account that it would be their “first official tour as a family”, with Archie born on May 6 set to join them in South Africa.
Their first official trip as a married couple was a 16-day tour of Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand in October 2018.
Meghan, 37, recently made her first public appearance since giving birth to Archie, joining a host of British royals to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s official birthday in London on June 8.
The couple said they were “excited” by the trip on their Instagram account.
“The Duke and duchess are really looking forward to meeting so many of you on the ground and continuing to raise awareness of the high impact work local communities are doing across the Commonwealth and beyond,” said the post.
Thai police arrested a Jordanian man who confessed to murdering his one-year-old son by strapping the child into a stroller and pushing him into the Gulf of Thailand, the country’s immigration head said Tuesday.
The alleged infanticide occurred in the seaside town of Pattaya, where 52-year-old Wael Nabil Salman Zureikat was holidaying with his wife and one-year-old son.
His arrest follows the discovery of the toddler’s body on Monday by fishermen off Pattaya’s main pier.
“Last night, he confessed that he tied his son to the stroller and pushed it into the sea,” immigration head Lieutenant General Surachate Hakparn said at a press conference Tuesday.
The couple had checked into a guest house on March 6, and the boy was taken two days later by the father — who told his wife he was under the care of others.
His wife filed a complaint to the authorities, which led to the man’s arrest.
“The father said he could not raise the boy and did not want to have children,” Surachate said. “It is a heartbreaking story.”
The Jordanian will be charged under Section 289 of Thailand’s penal code for “intentional killing” of a child.
If found guilty, the maximum punishment is the death penalty.
Russian rescuers on Tuesday pulled a baby girl alive from the ruins of an apartment block that collapsed in a gas explosion more than a day earlier, amid freezing temperatures.
“The rescuers heard crying. The baby was saved by being in a cradle and warmly wrapped up,” Chelyabinsk regional governor Boris Dubrovsky wrote on his Telegram channel.
The baby girl aged 11 months was taken to the hospital and is now being checked for fractures, a medic at the hospital where she is being treated told TASS news agency.
“The little girl is conscious. The prognosis is positive.”
Part of the 10-storey apartment building collapsed following a gas explosion on Monday morning in the industrial city of Magnitogorsk, nearly 1,700 kilometers (1,050 miles) east of Moscow in the Ural mountains.
The baby was found after rescuers were forced to temporarily halt the search for dozens of missing people in the rubble for fear the rest of the block could come down.
The child survived temperatures that fell overnight to around minus 27 degrees Celsius (minus 16 degrees Fahrenheit), TASS reported.
So far the incident has claimed at least seven lives and only six survivors have been found, including a 13-year-old boy.
The Soviet-era apartment block was home to around 1,100 people. The blast completely destroyed 35 flats while 10 more were damaged. Residents left homeless were evacuated to a nearby school.
Battling the freezing temperatures, rescuers had worked through the night combing through debris and trying to stabilise the remaining walls.
But on Tuesday morning, the head of Russia’s emergencies ministry, Yevgeny Zinichev, said the operations had to be temporarily halted.
There is a “real threat of part of the building collapsing”, Zinichev said.
“It’s impossible to continue working in such conditions.”
He added that efforts to stabilise the walls could take up to 24 hours, with emergency workers dismantling the building from the outside while hanging from cranes.
After an all-night search, officials said Tuesday morning they had found seven bodies, all of them adults, while another 37 people remained unaccounted for.
Day of Mourning
The regional governor Boris Dubrovsky announced a day of mourning on January 2, with flags lowered and entertainment events cancelled, as the disaster toll set a somber mood in Russia where New Year’s Eve celebrations are the biggest annual festivities.
President Vladimir Putin on Monday rushed to the scene, where the blast left hundreds of residents homeless in freezing temperatures.
“It is in the character of our people, despite New Year’s festivities, to remember to think of the dead and wounded at this moment,” a grim-looking Putin said.
National television showed rescue workers searching through mangled heaps of concrete and metal.
“I went out to have a cigarette at quarter-to-six,” a local man told Russian television. “There was a blast and a wave of fire… then people started running out.”
Other witnesses said the explosion was strong enough to shatter the windows of nearby buildings.
“I woke up and felt myself falling. The walls were gone. My mother was screaming and my son had been buried,” said another witness.
Located in the mineral-rich southern Urals region, Magnitogorsk, with a population of more than 400,000 people, is home to one of the country’s largest steel producers.
Investigators have opened a criminal probe into the accident, with the FSB security service confirming the blast was the result of a gas explosion.
Such deadly gas explosions are relatively common in Russia where much of the infrastructure dates back to the Soviet era and safety requirements are often ignored.
Relatives of a woman who hid her baby in the maggot-infested trunk of a car insisted Wednesday that they had no idea of her secret, at a trial that has drawn horror in France.
Rosa Maria da Cruz, 50, faces up to 20 years in prison for keeping her daughter hidden away until she was nearly two, leaving her with serious mental disabilities.
Discovered in 2013 in the filthy trunk of a Peugeot 307, the baby Serena had also been kept in an unused room at the family home in the Correze region of central France.
It was a mechanic who found the baby in the trunk after da Cruz, who is originally from Portugal, took the car to be repaired.
Hearing a noise, he opened the trunk to discover the baby in a car seat, naked, filthy and dehydrated. She was surrounded by maggots and excrement.
The trial, which opened on Monday, has heard remarkable testimony from relatives of how da Cruz was to all appearances a model mother to her three other children.
Her partner Domingos Sampaio Alves insists he had no idea she had given birth to another child and kept it a secret.
By way of explanation, he said he went only once a month on average to the small ground-floor room, under renovation, where da Cruz kept the baby much of the time.
He also did not visit the car often, as he does not have a driving licence.
“I don’t know why she did this,” he told the court in Portuguese through a translator.
The unemployed bricklayer was originally charged, but investigators concluded there was no reason to doubt his account.
– Other children ‘perfectly raised’ – Da Cruz was released pending trial, and the couple have stayed together.
“I continue to live with her because she is a good mother to the children,” Alves told the court.
They have kept their three older children — aged nine, 14 and 15 — but authorities have refused to let them have contact with Serena, who is now aged seven and living with foster parents.
In her opening testimony Monday, da Cruz fought back tears and told the court: “It’s very hard to be confronted with reality, with the damage I have done.”
Serena now suffers from severe mental impairments including irreversible autism which medical experts have linked to sensory deprivation during her early months.
A paediatrician who examined Serena and her siblings after the discovery said her team had been “stupefied” by “the gulf between Serena’s situation and those of her brothers and sisters”, who appeared to have been “perfectly raised”.
“You could see she had been a good mother, and we could not understand why Serena had not received the same quality of care at home,” the doctor said.
Judge Gilles Fonrouge said that while the child was now in good physical health, she was “closed off to interactions around her”.
Marie-Pierre Peis-Hitier, a lawyer for social services, said the child could only say a handful of words, adding that it had taken a full afternoon to win the child’s trust.
In emotional testimony, da Cruz’s sister and nieces also said they had no idea of Serena’s existence, adding that she was a “loving” mother to the other children.
“Inside I think she is suffering. She knows what she has done,” her niece Elodie told the court.
The trial heard that da Cruz had initially hidden the pregnancies of two of her other children from her partner, not wanting to face reality.
France has launched a nationwide probe into incidents of babies being born with either missing or malformed arms after abnormal rates of deformations were detected in several regions of the country, a top public health official said on Wednesday.
Francois Bourdillon, head of the Public Health France agency, told RTL radio that the probe was “underway” and the results would be known “in about three months.”
A relatively small number of cases have been detected so far — about 25 over the past 15 years in the regions of Brittany, Loire-Atlantique and Ain — but the defects have caused public alarm and have been widely reported by the French media.
On Monday evening, health authorities reported an additional 11 cases in the Ain area near the Swiss border between 2000 and 2014 which had not previously been made public.
Officials had already said the number of cases in Brittany and the Loire-Atlantique areas, on France’s west coast, was statistically “excessive” and Health Minister Agnes Buzyn had vowed to investigate further.
So far, no explanation has been found for the deformations despite tests on the mothers to see if they were exposed to common substances.
Some environmentalists have claimed pesticides could be to blame, but there is no scientific evidence at this point to back up the claims.
The defects could also be genetic.
“We cannot content ourselves with saying we didn’t find the cause, that’s unacceptable,” Buyzn said earlier this month.
In the 1950s and 1960s, thousands of babies around the world were born with missing or stunted limbs linked to the use of the drug thalidomide, which was used to treat nausea in pregnant women. It was banned in the 1960s.
Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, are expecting a baby in the spring of 2019, they announced on Monday as they began a Pacific tour.
“The Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are very pleased to announce that the Duchess of Sussex is expecting a baby in the spring of 2019,” their Kensington Palace residence said in a statement.
“Their Royal Highnesses have appreciated all of the support they have received from people around the world since their wedding in May and are delighted to be able to share this happy news with the public,” it said.
Harry and Meghan, a former US actress, wed in a fairytale setting at Windsor Castle on May 19.
The two royals touched down in Sydney on Monday, kicking off a bumper Pacific tour that is their first major outing abroad as a couple.
Their official visit, lasting more than a fortnight, will take in multiple stops in Australia, Fiji, Tonga, and New Zealand — all members of the Commonwealth of predominantly former British colonies.
Meghan, 37, made her name in acting as savvy para-legal Rachel Zane in the US television legal drama “Suits”.
In her first solo charity project since the wedding, she launched a cookbook in September in support of families affected by the Grenfell Tower fire disaster in London.
The Duchess wrote the foreword to the recipe collection entitled “Together: Our Community Cookbook”, produced by women who suffered from the fatal blaze.
The June 2017 fire in a 24-story residential block killed 71 people and left many more living in temporary accommodation.
Meghan’s every smile, step, and the wave have been scrutinized by royalty watchers curious to see how the mixed-race American actress will perform in her new role.
She is adored by the public and shadowed at every appearance by the press.
British media last month commented on her closing her own car door at her first solo engagement — the opening of an exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts in London.
The gesture was interpreted as a sign that Meghan remained a down-to-earth woman without pretenses, despite being married to the grandson of Queen Elizabeth II.