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Archaeologists Discover Lost Egyptian City Said to Rival Pompeii

A new discovery on the west bank of the Nile, near the iconic Valley of the Kings, has archaeologists buzzing about what may be the most important archaeological find since the location of Tutankhamun’s tomb. An entire lost city has been found, with workshops, palaces, a cemetery, and living quarters. The site is said to be in excellent condition.

“There’s no doubt about it; it really is a phenomenal find,” Salima Ikram, an archaeologist who leads the American University in Cairo’s Egyptology unit, told National Geographic. “It’s very much a snapshot in time—an Egyptian version of Pompeii.”

The archaeologists have found multiple artifacts stamped with the seal of Amenhotep III or dated to year 37 of his reign, when Amenhotep III and Amenhotep IV are believed to have ruled side-by-side. According to Egyptologist Zahi Hawass, the team that found the lost city was actually searching for the mortuary temple of Tutankhamun after locating the mortuary temples of both Horemheb and Ay in the same area.

“The city’s streets are flanked by houses… some of their walls are up to 3 meters high,” Hawass continued. “We can reveal that the city extends to the west, all the way to the famous Deir el-Medina.”

Deir el-Medina is the name of the town where generations of artisans and laborers worked to carve rock tombs out of the Valley of the Kings. Wikipedia notes that Deir el-Medina is “laid out in a small natural amphitheater, within easy walking distance of the Valley of the Kings to the north, funerary temples to the east and south-east, with the Valley of the Queens to the west. The village may have been built apart from the wider population in order to preserve secrecy in view of sensitive nature of the work carried out in the tombs.” If the new city stretches all the way to Deir el-Medina, it means the village of workers may have been less isolated than previously thought.

Some of the decorative objects found at The Rise of Aten. Image by Zahi Hawass

The find is being described as “The lost golden city of Luxor,” but that appellation risks confusion. Luxor is a modern Egyptian city and its present-day boundaries are already known to include the ruins of Thebes, the ancient Egyptian capital. This new lost city, known in ancient times as Rising of the Aten, is inside the borders of modern-day Luxor, on the west bank of the Nile, not far from the Valley of the Kings. While described as a city, it’s not a large location.

Zoomed out view, showing the location of The Rise of Aten within Luxor.

Hawass identifies the site as “sandwiched between Rameses III’s temple at Medinet Habu and Amenhotep III’s temple at Memnon.” Google Maps (above) shows that this specific area isn’t very large, but here’s a zoomed-in view showing the relationship between the new finds and existing structures.

A zoomed-in view, showing the lost city in relationship to other nearby locations and the Valley of the Kings.

Rising of the Aten was built on the west bank of the Nile and occupied during the reign of Amenhotep III, but it was apparently abandoned suddenly during the reign of his son, Amenhotep IV, also known as Akhenaten, father of Tutankhaten / Tutankahmun. The changing titles of both pharaohs hints at the cultural upheaval in Egypt during their reigns.

Ancient Egypt was mostly polytheistic, but not entirely. During the reign of Amenhotep IV/Akhenaten, the capital of Egypt moved from Thebes to a new city he founded 250 miles to the north, named Akhetaten, which means “Horizon of the Aten.” At the same time, the nature of Egyptian religion changed.

Prior to the reign of Amenhotep IV, the Aten was the disk of the sun and considered one aspect of the Egyptian sun god Ra. Under Amenhotep IV, Aten became the sole deity Egyptians worshipped and the pharaoh renamed himself as Akhenaten. This was controversial, to put it mildly.

Akhenaten’s son, Tutankhaten, appears to have changed his name to Tutankhamun after his father’s death, possibly to signal allegiance to the old religious orders and to affirm Amun-Ra as leader of the Egyptian pantheon. He took multiple actions to restore the religious orders his father had disfavored, including abandoning Akhetaten and returning the seat of Egyptian power to Thebes. After his death, he was succeeded by Ay, who was possibly his great-uncle.

The Amarna period is known for its artistic experimentation. But Akhenaten, Tutankhamun, and Ay were all associated with what ancient Egyptians viewed as religious heresy. The pharaoh who came after Ay, Horemheb, practiced damnatio memoriae against his predecessors. Damnatio memoriae is Latin for “condemnation of memory” and refers to systemic efforts to exclude mention or depiction of a person from history. The efforts the ancient Egyptians made to keep the later rulers of the 18th Dynasty out of the history books have complicated our efforts to understand their lives today, despite the fact that Tutankhamun’s burial treasure represents the most complete trove of royal ancient Egyptian artifacts ever discovered.

ExtremeTech reached out to professor Kara Cooney, professor of Egyptian Art and Architecture and Chair of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at UCLA, to better understand the implications of the find.  “This is one of the biggest things to happen to domestic architecture and settlement archaeology in some time,” Cooney said. “The town is beautifully preserved, even past one story, in mudbrick, which shouldn’t survive. What is astounding is all that comes with the town, tools, pottery, texts, as if the town was left suddenly, which is what archaeologists think happened.”

“Mudbrick isn’t preserved like this elsewhere,” Cooney continued. “They [archaeologists] are worried about preserving this site. Once rainstorm will do untold damage. This is a special and amazing find that must be carefully studied and preserved.”

The Rise of Aten could shed new light on a tumultuous period of time in Ancient Egypt when artistic and religious standards were changing. Reports indicate the city has been found “packed” with artifacts and everyday objects, many of which may help us understand the lives of the people that lived there. It is not clear if the site was used when Tutankhamun returned to Thebes. We may find clues to that decision as work on the site progresses.

One other thing we want to mention. There have been claims that the recent Rising of the Aten discovery reported by Zahi Hawass is an inadvertent duplication of French archaeological finds that date back to the 1930s. This appears to be unlikely. A follow-up investigation comparing the French expedition work to the Rising of the Aten site found that they occurred in two different locations, though both date to the reign of Amenhotep III. The two sites may or may not be related, but the claims of a previously-unknown Egyptian Pompeii are holding up thus far.

Every now and then, the discoveries we make in these long-lost places dramatically reshapes what we know of the past. Some of our knowledge of ancient writers and thinkers comes from just one place — a library in Herculaneum, buried by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD. Rising of the Aten may hold similar secrets, kept safe and untouched for thousands of years.

Feature image by Zahi Hawass

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Canadian Janine Beckie’s scoring not enough to help Man City get past Barcelona

Canadian Janine Beckie scored the opening goal in Manchester City’s 2-1 win against Barcelona in the second leg of the UEFA Women’s Champions League quarter-finals but it wasn’t enough as Barcelona advanced on aggregate, 4-2.

Beckie swept in a loose ball after a corner kick in 20th minute to give City hope of a comeback.

But just before the hour mark, Barca striker Asisat Oshoala tapped in from close range for a crucial away goal. She had earlier come close to scoring several times but had been denied by defender Lucy Bronze and goalkeeper Ellie Roebuck.

American international Sam Mewis converted a penalty in the 68th minute for City.

WATCH | Canada’s Beckie sweeps in opening goal as Man City ousted by Barcelona:

Canadian striker Janine Beckie scored the opening goal as Manchester City beat Barcelona 2-1, but fell 4-2 on aggregate scoring in the second leg of the UEFA Women’s Champions League quarter-finals. 0:43

Along with Barcelona, Chelsea also advanced to the semifinals of the Women’s Champions League on Wednesday.

Pernille Harder scored against her former team to lead Chelsea to a 3-0 win over Wolfsburg, and 5-1 on aggregate. 

Chelsea will face either Bayern Munich or Rosengård — who features Canadian national team goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé — in the semifinals. Bayern defeated the Swedish club 3-0 in the first leg, and they play again Thursday in Malmo.

Barcelona awaits either five-time defending champion Lyon or Paris Saint-Germain. The Lyon-PSG second leg was moved to April 18 after a coronavirus outbreak in the Lyon squad.

The battle of French rivals features Toronto’s Kadeisha Buchanan for Lyon and the pair of Jordyn Huitema of Chilliwack, B.C., and Ashley Lawrence of Toronto for PSG.

In Budapest, Harder converted a penalty in the 27th minute and Sam Kerr doubled the lead five minutes later. Both players had scored last week in the first leg. Fran Kirby added the third goal in the second half.

Chelsea and Wolfsburg played their quarter-final legs in Budapest because of travel restrictions. Chelsea was the “away” team on Wednesday.

Harder, who joined Chelsea from Wolfsburg in September, sent a long ball for Kerr, who was taken down by defender Sara Doorsoun. From the penalty spot, the Denmark captain then sent goalkeeper Katarzyna Kiedrzynek the wrong way, rolling the ball into the corner.

Kerr scored in the 32nd minute, collecting a chipped pass with her back to the goal. The Australia striker turned and fired a right-footed shot low just inside the post.

Kirby worked a give-and-go with Ji So-Yun and beat Kiedrzynek from close range in the 81st minute. Jessie Fleming, from London, Ont., subbed into the game for Chelsea with 10 minutes to go.

The final is scheduled for May 16 in Gothenburg, Sweden.

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Quebec City, Lévis, Gatineau head back into lockdown as COVID-19 variants spread

Quebec Premier François Legault says Quebec City, Lévis and Gatineau will be essentially shut down for 10 days starting Thursday at 8 p.m. ET to curb the “exponential” rise of COVID-19 cases in these three cities.

Schools will be closed, and students will move to full-time online learning in those three cities.

Gyms, theatres, hairdressers and other non-essential businesses are also shutting down in the three cities, Legault said on Wednesday. Religious gatherings will be limited to 25 people, and there will also be an 8 p.m.– 5 a.m. curfew until at least April 12.

“The situation is critical. It is deteriorating in these three cities,” Legault said. “People have to remain at home unless they absolutely have to go to work.”

With Easter weekend on the way, Legault stressed the importance of staying home and not gathering because COVID-19 variants are on the rise throughout Quebec.

More than half of the cases of COVID-19 recorded in the province will be linked to variants by the beginning of April, according to modelling by Quebec’s public health institute. Public health officials have confirmed that a third wave is underway, and those who are unvaccinated in the 40 to 60 age range are at particularly high risk.

The variant first detected in the United Kingdom is the most prevalent in Quebec. Of the more than 7,400 cases linked to variants in the province, Montreal has the highest concentration, with about 3,000 so far. Quebec City is nearing 1,000 variant infections, and Outaouais is nearing 500.

“The alarm is sounding,” Legault said. “We cannot make any exceptions.”

Hospitalizations have not spiked in these three areas, he added, but they may soon.

“We must act quickly,” Legault said. “Everywhere in Quebec, we have to be more careful.”

Though schools will be closed, daycare services will be made available to those who work in essential services. Parents are expected to keep kids home if they can, and only use these services if they are leaving home to work.

WATCH | Legault explains the new lockdown measures:

Quebec Premier François Legault announced a return to strict restrictions for several cities in the province including Gatineau, which will close non-essential businesses and schools and return to an 8 p.m. curfew. 1:14

Legault is also announcing that four regions are moving from orange to red, in accordance with the province’s colour-coded alert system.

The Outaouais, Chaudière-Appalaches, Lower Saint-Lawrence and the Quebec City region will return to red zones.

Legault said it is time to crack down now and adjust as needed as more data is gathered. Montreal is not affected by the increased restrictions, but that may change as the situation evolves, he said.

Cities see spike in cases

Quebec City, Lévis and Gatineau have been orange zones for more than two weeks, allowing restaurants to welcome diners and gyms to open. But bars remained closed, and indoor gatherings were still prohibited, with guests allowed only under specific circumstances.

With restrictions loosened, cases jumped. In the Quebec City area, 194 more cases were recorded on Wednesday, for a total of 990 active cases there.

“When we go from 50 to 200 cases per day, we are going to have an impact on hospitalizations,” Legault said.

Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé said there may be 250 cases reported Thursday and that’s why the government can no longer wait. If hospitals fill up with COVID-19 patients, other medical services will have to be delayed, he said.

Dr. Horacio Arruda, the province’s public health director, said the variants are spreading fast, and it is likely because people are ignoring public health rules.

“We have to intervene,” he said.

Travel to 3 cities only for essentials

Arruda said travel to Quebec City, Lévis and Gatineau will not be restricted, but it is “highly recommended” that people avoid these zones because there is such a high rate of transmission. People should only go there for essential reasons, he said.

Earlier in the day, Quebec City’s public health director, Dr. André Dontigny, voiced his concern about the rise in cases and said the current measures weren’t sufficient. A local gym linked to nearly 70 infections was shut down. 

The gym’s management sent out a notice to patrons late last week encouraging anybody who attended the facility since March 14 to get tested as they may have contracted what is suspected to be a COVID-19 variant.

Dubé said the rate at which the disease spread at the gym shows just how extremely contagious COVID-19 variants are when people gather indoors. He said this outbreak should serve as a reminder to those thinking about ignoring public health restrictions and gathering over the holiday weekend or in the weeks to come.

In the Ottawa-Gatineau region, the number of active cases surpassed 2,000 over the weekend as the situation in Ontario worsened.

Legault scaled back public health restrictions in all but the Montreal region on March 8.

Since then, the curfew has been eased — from 8 to 9:30 p.m. — in the Montreal area, gyms were allowed to open and a few other rules were relaxed in the metropolitan area.

Specialist says restrictions should be tightened

Dr. Fatima Kakkar, a pediatric infectious diseases specialist in Montreal, said tightening the restrictions in some of the harder-hit areas in Quebec is going to send an important message to the residents there — showing them that they need to avoid gathering indoors and close contact with others so as to prevent transmission.

“One of the things that has to be clear is that we are not out of the woods, and we are back in dangerous territory,” Kakkar said.

She suspects a false sense of security is spreading through the population as spring approaches, but, she said, people are forgetting that the pandemic is still very real.


Students enter the Pierre Laporte Secondary School in Montreal Monday as all high school grades return to classes full time. Montreal is unaffected by the new lockdown, but in Quebec City, Lévis and Gatineau schools will move to full-time remote learning. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

Kakkar supports sending high school students back to school full time and says it is crucial because kids need social interaction for their mental health. 

“As pediatricians, we weigh the risk of infection versus not being in school, and that risk of not being in school has just been so detrimental to so many teens that I think it’s still worthwhile trying to keep kids in school,” Kakkar said.

However, she said, facilities and businesses associated with elective activities, such as gyms and restaurants, should remain closed mainly because of the variants of the disease, which are proving to be more contagious and dangerous.

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Jews in Russian city scarred by WWII massacre watch Canada’s decision on Nazi interpreter

As the evening light falls over the gentle slope of the ravine, Natalia Yefimushkina, her head tightly bound in a red scarf, stares into the heart of one of Russia’s largest mass graves.

In the summer on 1942, the Nazi death squads first came to Rostov-on-Don, a city about 1,000 kilometres south of Moscow. Over the next year and half, they would kill 27,000 people here, most of them Jews like Yefimushkina’s grandparents. They were ordered to strip and line up along the ravine before soldiers opened fire and executed them in what has been called a “Holocaust of bullets.”

Yefimushkina is so traumatized by the stories of what happened here that she is haunted by visions of her family members.

“Up there on the top, they were standing. They were speaking in German, there were dogs, and [people were] crying — and I’m standing over there. It’s as if I’m there, too, with them,” Yefimushkina said, crying herself. 

“I’m standing here as if my grandparents see me. I can feel them … do you understand?” Yefimushkina said. “I can feel them.”

Zmiyovskaya Balka, which translates to “the ravine of snakes,” is now the site of a towering memorial to those who died here. It consists of a cluster of stone figures with outstretched arms and terror, despair and sorrow etched in their faces.


One of the figures in the memorial to the tens of thousands of people killed in Zmievskaya Balka. (Corinne Seminoff/CBC)

 

These feelings are reflected in the faces of the living. Inna Rizhevskaya lost family here, too. The remains of her pregnant aunt and cousin lie somewhere in the ravine.

“I did not know them at all,” she said. “Of course, this is sad. It’s sad that for no reason, for nothing, they were killed.”

Given the sheer horror of what happened, many people in Rostov-on-Don were shocked to learn that a man who translated for the Nazis responsible for this ended up building a life in Canada. 

And that more than half a century later, the Canadian government still hasn’t been able to remove him.


Inna Rizhevskaya stands in front of the memorial. Her aunt and cousin were among those who died in the ravine. (Corinne Seminoff/CBC)

“He’s living a quiet life there? He isn’t having nightmares?” said Yefimushkina.

“They should send him to this place, then for sure he will feel his guilt. Let him come here. There’s no way he won’t feel something. The children, the young people, pregnant women, the old people — there were thousands in this pit.”

Settled in Ontario

Helmut Oberlander was just 17 when he started interpreting Russian for the German-speaking Einsatzkommando 10a, one of the Third Reich’s most brutal mobile killing units.

The kommando squads, a subgroup of the Einsatzgruppen, would move into newly German-controlled territory and kill people considered “unacceptable” or a threat. The 1946 Nuremberg tribunal estimated the units were responsible for the execution of more than two million Jews between 1941 and 1944.  

In the summer of 1942, Oberlander’s unit moved through Rostov-on-Don.

After the war, in 1954, he moved to Canada and settled in Waterloo, Ont., where he became a successful developer and community leader. But his past was eventually revealed.

According to declassified government documents, it began in 1963, when the RCMP quietly started a file on him after receiving diplomatic information from New York alerting them to Oberlander’s presence in Canada and alleging he may have taken part in war crimes.

He would face questions about what happened in Rostov when German investigators looking into war crimes deposed him in Toronto. At that time, Oberlander said he did not know the name of the unit to which he was assigned.


Helmut Oberlander has said he was forcibly conscripted by the Nazis when he was 17 years old. The 97-year-old now lives in Kitchener, Ont., and is facing deportation from Canada. (CIJA)

“I do not know anything about any executions of Jews in Rostov,” he said.

Oberlander told the authorities he only remembered working alone as a sentry in a boat anchored nearby. “I had to guard the grain so that the population could not loot it.”

But one of Oberlander’s fellow unit members, Leo Marr, repeatedly told German investigators in the ’60s that Oberlander was more involved in the operation there. He described an operation in which Jews were processed in a house: men were directed to one room, women to another. They were ordered to strip and remove their jewellery and any valuables before being transported to the ravine.

“Oberlander, the interpreter that I knew, came into our room with a girl of 19 or 20 years of age who still had her clothes on,” Marr said. “The girl was crying profusely and swore she was not a Jew, but Russian.” Marr testified that Oberlander translated for her and told her she was free to go home.

Oberlander told the authorities he has no recollection of this incident.

Case became public in ’90s

In 1985, Canada created the Commission of Inquiry on War Criminals, which started an exhaustive review of potential war criminals living in the country. Once-secret documents reveal Oberlander was among 29 cases flagged for special investigation. 

The next year, according to the documents, Quebec Superior Court Judge Jules Deschênes recommended “no prosecution should be started against Helmut Oberlander” because German investigators failed to prove Oberlander took part in any crimes.

Instead, it recommended he be stripped of his Canadian citizenship because he did not divulge his membership in the SS and the Einsatzgruppen to immigration officials.

Ten years later, the news of Oberlander’s past became public when Canada started proceedings to remove him. His Canadian citizenship would be revoked four times after 2000. Three times it was overturned by the Federal Court of Appeal, but his final appeal was quashed in 2019.

Now 97, Oberlander is awaiting an immigration hearing, which has been delayed because of complications around COVID-19 and a hearing disability that prevented him from fully communicating with his lawyer.

On Thursday, Oberlander’s lawyer, Ronald Poulton, filed a motion to permanently stay the proceedings against his client, alleging he had new evidence the government withheld important evidence.

In a statement, Canada Border Services, which handles deportation matters, said it cannot comment on matters before the courts, but added that it places the highest priority on removal cases involving national security, organized crime and crimes against humanity.

It’s now up to a judge to consider the motion. If the stay is not granted, immigration hearings will proceed.

If he were to be deported, Oberlander would likely be returned to Germany, even though he lost his citizenship there in 1960 when he became a Canadian.

Canadian rabbi rebuilds

Rostov-on-Don’s chief rabbi, Chaim Danziger, has struggled to explain to the community how Canada has handled the case.

WATCH | Rostov-on-Don’s rabbi talks about the community’s feelings:

Chaim Danzinger, a rabbi in Rostov-on-Don, says it’s been hard for the city’s Jewish community to learn about Oberlander. 0:43

“They came to me to explain it, like, what’s going on? How could this be? How could there be someone who was involved? What is Canada doing?” said Danzinger, who is originally from Toronto. “How do you answer such a thing?”

Danzinger came to Rostov-on-Don 12 years ago, attracted by the challenge of helping rebuild its Jewish community, which was almost completely wiped out during the Second World War. As a part of that effort, he’s worked with surviving families to put a name to every person lost in the Ravine of Snakes.

“People are still hurting with what happened. We can’t say that it happened so long ago and just let’s move on, let’s turn the page. No, the tragedy that happened in 1942 here in Rostov is felt today. The families are grieving.” he said.

Danzinger says it is unlikely an interpreter working for a Nazi death squad would not know what the unit was doing in Rostov.

“A translator was used to tell the Jews where to put their keys, where to put their jewellery, where to get undressed and where they must march,” said Danziger. “That’s what a translator was doing here.”

Rostov-on-Don reacts

Oberlander’s past denials about knowing anything about the execution of Jews haven’t gone down well in Rostov-on-Don.

“Oh, he didn’t see how they shot people?” said Maya Rozina, whose grandparents and mother’s 13-year-old sister were killed in the ravine.

“How about when he had to translate ‘get naked?'” she asked. “He was blind, I guess? Well, I think for this, too, he should be punished. But not deportation. This is not a real punishment.”

Rozina said even if authorities put him in jail for a month or two, “that will truly be a punishment for a person of 97 years. He will have no freedom. He will be sitting behind bars.”

WATCH | A relative of Jews who were killed in Rostov reacts: 

Maya Rozina’s grandparents and aunt were killed in the Ravine of Snakes. She says deportation wouldn’t be a ‘real punishment’ for Oberlander. 0:43

In the city’s only synagogue, Inna Rizhevskaya shares photos of the family she lost. She, too, is incredulous at Oberlander’s long-standing claim he didn’t know about the execution of Jews in Rostov.

“This is all nonsense. He’s making this all up. At 17, he was a translator, but the fact that they were killing people, he did not know this?” she said. 

“It seems Canada will take anyone in — the good and the bad. A very strange country,” she said.

For his part, Rabbi Danzinger is philosophical about what could happen next.

“What’s justice mean? It’s not about an eye for an eye. It’s not about punishment. Justice just means that someone has to be held accountable for something he did,” Danzinger said.

As the community watches Canada to see what it decides to do with Oberlander, Rostov’s focus is also drawn inward on healing and rebuilding its once-robust Jewish culture, with help from their Toronto rabbi.

Danzinger leads marches of remembrance, and runs an active social media profile that focuses on outreach and education. His efforts are paying off in a city that once had 13 synagogues. 

Danzinger has seen a shift as people who were once afraid to identify as Jews are openly embracing it. He said many families felt “we’re Jewish, but let’s not discuss it. Let’s not practise. Let’s not participate [in the community].” 

But now, he said, “Jews are coming out. They’re coming to participate.”

WATCH | Former Nazi interpreter living in Canada tries to stop deportation proceedings:

Jewish residents of Rostov-on-Don in southern Russia are outraged that the former Nazi interpreter whose unit almost wiped out their community is ‘living a quiet life’ in Canada. WARNING: Some of the images in this story may be disturbing to some viewers. 6:17

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Myanmar military imposes martial law over country’s largest city after dozens killed

Myanmar’s ruling junta has declared martial law in a wide area of the country’s largest city, as security forces killed dozens of protesters over the weekend in an increasingly lethal crackdown on resistance to last month’s military coup.

The United Nations said at least 138 peaceful protesters have been killed in Myanmar since the Feb. 1 military coup, including at least 56 killed over the weekend.

The developments were the latest setback to hopes of resolving a crisis that started with the military’s seizure of power that ousted the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi. A grassroots movement has sprung up across the country to challenge the takeover with almost daily protests that the army has tried to crush with increasingly deadly violence.

State broadcaster MRTV said on Monday that the Yangon townships of North Dagon, South Dagon, Dagon Seikkan and North Okkalapa have been put under martial law. That was in addition to two others — Hlaing Thar Yar and neighbouring Shwepyitha — announced late Sunday.

More violence was reported around the country on Monday, with at least eight protesters killed in four cities or towns, according to the independent broadcaster and news service Democratic Voice of Burma.

Photos and videos posted on social media showed long convoys of trucks entering Yangon.


The body of Saw Pyae Naing is placed in a hearse in Mandalay on Sunday. Saw Pyae Naing, a 21-year old anti-coup protester, was shot and killed by Myanmar security forces during a demonstration on Saturday, according to his family. (The Associated Press)

At least 38 people were killed Sunday, the majority in the Hlaing Thar Yar area of Yangon, and 18 were killed on Saturday, UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said. The total includes women and children, according to the figures from the UN human rights office.

UN condemns ‘continuing bloodshed’

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres “strongly condemns this ongoing violence against peaceful protesters and the continuing violation of the fundamental human rights of the people of Myanmar,” Dujarric said.

The UN chief renewed his call on the international community, including regional countries, “to come together in solidarity with the people of Myanmar and their democratic aspirations,” the spokesperson said.

Earlier Monday, UN Special Envoy on Myanmar Christine Schraner Burgener condemned the “continuing bloodshed,” which has frustrated calls from the Security Council and other parties for restraint and dialogue.

“The ongoing brutality, including against medical personnel and destruction of public infrastructure, severely undermines any prospects for peace and stability,” she said.

WATCH | Myanmar’s military tightens its grip on power, targeting politicians and journalists:

Myanmar’s military has tightened its grip on power, further cracking down on protesters and targeting politicians and journalists. 2:07

Complicating efforts to organize new protests — as well as report on the crisis — cellphone internet service has been cut, although access is still available through fixed broadband connections.

Mobile data service had been used to stream live video coverage of protests, often showing security forces attacking demonstrators. It previously had been turned off only from 1 a.m. to 9 a.m. local time for several weeks, with no official explanation.

The blockage of internet service forced postponement of a court hearing in the capital, Natpyitaw, for Myanmar’s detained leader Suu Kyi, who was supposed to take part via a video conference, said her lawyer Khin Maung Zaw. Suu Kyi and President Win Myint were detained during the coup, and have been charged with several criminal offences that their supporters say are politically motivated to keep them locked up.

Chinese-owned factories torched

Since the takeover, Myanmar has been under a nationwide state of emergency, with military leaders in charge of all government. But Sunday’s announcement was the first use of martial law since the coup and suggested more direct handling of security by the military instead of police.

Sunday’s announcement said the junta, formally called the State Administrative Council, acted to enhance security and restore law and order, and that the Yangon regional commander has been entrusted with administrative, judicial and military powers in the area under his command. The orders cover six of Yangon’s 33 townships, all of which suffered major violence in recent days.


Members of a volunteer rescue team carry an injured man on a stretcher in Mandalay on Sunday. (The Associated Press)

Thirty-four of Sunday’s deaths were in Yangon. At least 22 occurred in Hlaing Thar Yar township, an industrial area with many factories that supply the garment industry, a major export earner for Myanmar. Several of the factories, many of which are Chinese-owned, were set aflame Sunday by unknown perpetrators.

The torching earned protesters a rebuke from the Chinese Embassy, which in turn received an outpouring of scorn on social media for expressing concern about factories but not mentioning the dozens of people killed by Myanmar’s security forces.

Four other deaths were reported in the cities of Bago, Mandalay, and Hpakant, according to the AAPP and local media.

Increased violence

In response to increased police violence, protesters in the past week have begun taking a more aggressive approach to self-defence, burning tires at barricades and pushing back when they can against attacks.

A statement issued Sunday by the Committee Representing Pyihtaungsu Hluttaw, the elected members of Parliament who were not allowed to take their seats, announced that the general public has the legal right to self-defence against the junta’s security forces.


Anti-coup protesters flash the three-fingered salute during a candlelight night rally in Yangon on Sunday. (The Associated Press)

The group, which operates underground inside the country and with representatives abroad, has established itself as a shadow government that claims to be the sole legitimate representative body of Myanmar’s citizens. It has been declared treasonous by the junta.

A small respite from the latest violence came before dawn Monday, when several dozen anti-coup protesters in southern Myanmar held candlelight vigils with calls for the end of the military government and a return to democracy.

In Kyae Nupyin village in Launglone township, villagers read Buddhist texts and prayed for the safety and security of all those risking their lives in the face of the increasingly lethal response of the security forces.

The area around the small city of Dawei has become a hot spot for resistance to the military takeover. On nearby country roads, a long convoy of motorcyclists carried the protest message through villages.

In Dawei itself, demonstrators built barricades out of rocks to hinder police on the main roads. There were marches, both in the morning and the afternoon, to try to keep up the momentum of weeks of resistance to the takeover.

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Tom Brady wins 7th Super Bowl title as Buccaneers defeat Kansas City

Tom Brady made his seventh Super Bowl title look familiar — despite moving south to a new team and conference during a pandemic.

Brady threw two touchdown passes to old friend Rob Gronkowski and one to good pal Antonio Brown, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat Patrick Mahomes and Kansas City 31-9 on their home field in Super Bowl LV on Sunday.

The GOAT, as Brady is known, earned his fifth Super Bowl MVP award and extended his Super Bowl titles’ record in his 10th appearance, his first without Patriots coach Bill Belichick. The 43-year-old Brady broke his own mark for oldest player to win a Super Bowl and joins Hall of Famer Peyton Manning as the only quarterbacks to win one with multiple franchises.

“I’m not making any comparisons,” Brady said. “Experiencing it with this group of guys is amazing.”

The Buccaneers (15-5) won their second NFL title and first in 18 years while becoming the first team to play the big game at home, capping an unusual and challenging season played through the novel coronavirus. They won three road games as a wild-card team to reach the Super Bowl, and joined the NHL’s Lightning as a 2020 season champion. The Rays also went to the World Series but lost to the Dodgers.

“I’m so proud of all these guys,” Brady said. “We had a rough November but we came together at the right time. We knew this was gonna happen. We played our best game of the year.”

NFL completes 269-game season on time

Tampa’s victory prevented Mahomes and Kansas City (16-3) from becoming the first repeat champions since Brady’s Patriots did it in 2003-04.

The NFL completed its 269-game season on time without any cancellations, a remarkable accomplishment that required nearly 1 million COVID-19 tests for players and team personnel.

Due to the virus, only 25,000 mask-wearing fans were allowed in, including approximately 7,500 vaccinated health-care workers who were given free tickets by the NFL. About 30,000 cardboard cutouts made the stadium look full.

A streaker wearing a hot-pink onesie eluded security and slid into the end zone with 5:03 left in the game. Mahomes and Kansas City’s high-powered offence never got that far against Tampa’s ferocious defence.

Bruce Arians became the oldest coach at age 68 to win the Super Bowl. His mom, 95-year-old Kay Arians, witnessed it in person. Brady, Gronk and defensive co-ordinator Todd Bowles helped Arians get that Vince Lombardi Trophy.

Bowles devised a masterful plan to frustrate Mahomes and shut down the Chiefs, the complete opposite of Kansas City’s 27-24 win in Tampa in Week 12, when the Chiefs jumped to a 17-0 lead in the first quarter. Tyreek Hill had 269 yards receiving and three TDs in that one. He was held to 73 yards on seven catches.

After Kansas City took a 3-0 early lead, it was all Brady and the Bucs.

Gronkowski catches 13th and 14 post-season TDs from Brady

Brady accomplished a career-first when he tossed an 8-yard TD pass to Gronkowksi to give the Buccaneers a 7-3 lead with 37 seconds left in the first quarter. Brady’s nine Super Bowl teams in New England produced just three points total in the first quarter. Gronkowski, who came out of retirement to play with his buddy, caught his 13th and 14th post-season TDs from Brady. That broke the record they shared with Jerry Rice and Joe Montana, who combined for 12.

Despite playing at home, the Buccaneers weren’t allowed to fire the cannons from their famed pirate ship after touchdowns and big plays. They did it soon after the clock expired as red, white and black confetti fell onto the field.


Rob Gronkowski #87 and Tom Brady #12 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers celebrate after defeating Kansas City in Super Bowl LV on Sunday. (Mike Ehrmann.Getty Images)

Fans still enjoyed the thud of Gronk’s thunderous spike after his first score.

Tampa missed an opportunity to extend the lead when Brady’s 2-yard pass to offensive lineman Joe Haeg was knocked out of his hands by Anthony Hitchens in the end zone. Ronald Jones was stopped short on consecutive carries as Arians stuck to his “No risk it, no biscuit” philosophy and went on fourth down.

But Kansas City didn’t gain any momentum off the stop. Instead, they made one costly mistake after another.

First, All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce dropped a pass that would’ve been a big gain on third down. Then punter Tommy Townsend shanked a 29-yarder after a penalty forced him to kick again. The Bucs started at Kansas City’s 38 instead of their 27.

A holding call on Kansas City cornerback Charvarius Ward negated an interception by All-Pro safety Tyrann Mathieu. Kansas City’s defence held but an offside penalty during Ryan Succop’s successful field goal gave the Buccaneers a first down. Sarah Thomas, the first woman official in a Super Bowl, threw that flag.

Brady needed one play, firing a strike to Gronkowski for a 17-yard TD and a 14-3 lead. Gronk hesitated before spiking the ball, waiting to make sure the flag on the play was again against Kansas City

Mahomes drove the offence for a 34-yard field goal by Harrison Butker that cut it to 14-6, but Kansas City’s defence fell apart in the final minute of the first half — allowing 42 yards on two pass interference penalties. One against Mathieu in the end zone set up Brady’s TD pass to Brown for a 21-6 halftime lead.

It was Brady who convinced his new team to give Brown a chance after the troubled former All-Pro came off suspension. His TD toss to Brown was his 50th of the season, including 10 in the post-season.

Mathieu took an unsportsmanlike penalty after the TD pass for getting into it with Brady as he ran to the sideline.

Leonard Fournette, like Brown an in-season addition, ran 27 yards untouched for a touchdown in the third quarter, extending Tampa’s lead to 28-9. Arians pumped his fist after that score and pointed toward offensive co-ordinator Byron Leftwich, who made the call.

Succop’s 52-yard field goal increased the lead to 31-9.

Buccaneers hadn’t reached the playoffs since 2007

Last year, Mahomes rallied Kansas City from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter against San Francisco and earned MVP honours in leading Kansas City to its first NFL championship in a half-century. But Tampa’s pass rush gave him no chance in this one.

Shaq Barrett had one of three sacks on Mahomes, who spent most of the game trying to escape Jason Pierre-Paul, William Gholston and a relentless group.

Brady was 6-3 in Super Bowls during 20 seasons in New England before he signed a $ 50 million US, two-year contract with Tampa in March. The Buccaneers hadn’t reached the playoffs since 2007 and hadn’t won a post-season game since Jon Gruden led Tampa over Oakland in Super Bowl 37.

Despite the home-field advantage, it wasn’t until Brady hooked up with Gronkowski for a 21-6 lead that fans chanted: “Let’s Go Bucs!” They were roaring in the fourth quarter.

There were plenty of red-clad Kansas City fans doing the tomahawk chop for part of the first half until the Bucs made it a rout.

Brady avenged his loss against Kansas City defensive co-ordinator Steve Spagnuolo, who held the same position for the Giants when New York stifled the Patriots in the 2008 Super Bowl, preventing New England from a perfect season.

Brady’s New England teams won their titles by a combined 30 points, an average margin of five per victory. A 13-3 win over the Los Angeles Rams two years ago had been the most lopsided score until this one.

The warmer climate suited Brady perfectly. He passed Michael Jordan for more championships and it doesn’t seem he’s ready to slow down. He already said he might play past age 45,

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Kansas City reaches 2nd consecutive Super Bowl after dispatching Bills

It took Kansas City five frustrating decades to make their second Super Bowl appearance.

Now, the defending champs are headed there for the second straight year.

Showing no lingering effects from a concussion, Patrick Mahomes sliced up Buffalo’s secondary with ruthless efficiency as Kansas City rolled to a 38-24 victory over Josh Allen and the Bills in the AFC championship game Sunday night. Mahomes threw for 325 yards and three touchdowns, with most of it to favourite targets Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill,

Kansas City will face a familiar foe — Tom Brady — and the NFC champ Buccaneers in two weeks in Tampa, Florida.

Kelce finished with 13 catches for 118 yards and two touchdowns, and Hill added nine catches for 172 yards, becoming the first duo in NFL history with consecutive games of at least 100 yards receiving each in a single post-season.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Darrel Williams added short TD runs for Kansas City, who will try to become the eighth franchise and first team since the Brady-led New England Patriots in 2003 and ’04 to defend the Lombardi Trophy.

Allen, who had his worst game of the season in a Week 6 loss to Kansas City, again struggled against the blitzing Kansas City defence. He finished with 287 yards passing with two touchdowns and an interception, but a big chunk of his numbers came as the Bills tried to rally from a 38-15 deficit in the final minutes.

Their frustration boiled over with 3:19 to go, when Allen was getting sacked by Tanoh Kpassagnon. Alex Okafor finished off the tackle, and Allen pitched the ball in his face in resentment. Offensive linemen Jon Feliciano and Dion Dawkins rushed in and levelled Okafor, resulting in a flood of offsetting personal foul penalties.

Bills can’t capitalize on early start

It capped a bitter loss for the Bills, who had reached their first AFC title game since beating Kansas City at home on Jan. 1, 1994. They had won 11 of 12 since their loss to Kansas City earlier this season — in fact, they hadn’t trailed in the second half since Week 8 — and were riding a wave of confidence that this might finally be their championship year.

Instead, after finally conquering the Patriots in the AFC East, the Bills have a new roadblock to the Super Bowl.

Kansas City actually spotted the Bills a 9-0 lead, thanks in large part to Mecole Hardman’s muffed punt inside their 5 that gifted Buffalo a touchdown. But the reigning champs were hardly rattled; Kansas City, after all, rallied from double-digits in each of their post-season wins last season, including their Super Bowl triumph over San Francisco.

Mahomes and Kelce soon found their groove. And the rest of the Kansas City offence followed suit.

They surgically took apart Buffalo’s defence on a 14-play, 80-yard drive that ended with a short TD throw to Hardman — no hard feelings over that fumble. Then, Kansas City cruised 82 yards in just five plays, the big one Hardman’s 50-yard end-around that set up Williams’ touchdown tumble. Finally, they made it three TDs in three possessions when Edwards-Helaire — in his first game back from an ankle injury — capped a 77-yard drive with a short plunge.

The only answer from Buffalo was Tyler Bass’s chip-shot field goal that made it 21-12 at the break.

You don’t beat Kansas City by kicking field goals from the 3-yard line, though. Or from the 9, where the Bills settled for another one to close within 24-15 late in the third quarter.

That became painfully clear on the ensuing drive. Mahomes hit Hill in stride and the All-Pro wide receiver promptly made the Bills secondary look downright foolish. Weaving in and out of woebegone defenders, Hill was finally caught inside the 5-yard line after a 71-yard gain, ultimately setting up Kelce’s short TD catch a few plays later.

Any hopes the Bills had of a comeback were dashed when Rashad Fenton picked off a tipped pass deep in Kansas City territory. Kansas City breezily marched the other direction, and Mahomes and Kelce kicked off the celebration of another trip to the Super Bowl when they connected for their second score of the game.

Brady leads Buccaneers past Packers

Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ road magic have them heading home to the Super Bowl, the first team to play in one on their home field.

Brady owns six Super Bowl rings with New England and now heads to his 10th NFL championship game with his new team. With help from a stifling pass rush and a curious late call on fourth-and-goal by the Packers, Brady and the Bucs beat top-seeded Green Bay 31-26 for the NFC title Sunday.

“It’s great to get another road win, and now we got a home game,” said Brady, who went 20 of 36 for 280 yards with three touchdowns. “Who’d ever thought a home Super Bowl for us? But we did it.”

The Bucs (14-5) earned their franchise-record eighth consecutive road victory to reach the Super Bowl for the first time since their 2002 championship season.

They were helped by a strange decision by Packers coach Matt LaFleur with just over two minutes remaining and down by eight points. On fourth-and-goal, he elected to kick a field goal to get within five. Tampa Bay then ran out the clock on the Packers (14-4).

The Bucs will face Kansas City at Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium on Feb. 7.

‘We’re coming home to win’

“We’re coming home,” Bucs coach Bruce Arians said. “We’re coming home to win.”

Green Bay trailed 31-23 and had first-and-goal from the 8 in the last few minutes. But after Aaron Rodgers threw three straight incompletions, the Packers settled for Mason Crosby’s 26-yard field goal with 2:05 left.

The Packers had all three timeouts left and were hoping their defence could force a punt. The Bucs foiled that plan, draining the rest of the clock, helped by a pass interference penalty on Kevin King.

Led by Shaquil Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul combining for five sacks, Tampa Bay snapped Green Bay’s seven-game winning streak. The Packers lost in the NFC championship game for the fourth time in the last seven seasons. Green Bay hasn’t reached the Super Bowl since its 2010 championship season.

Rodgers went 33 of 48 for 346 yards with three touchdowns and one interception, but fell to 1-4 in conference championship games as a starting quarterback.

Tampa Bay took command in the middle portion of the game.

Green Bay trailed 14-10 and had the ball just before halftime until Sean Murphy-Bunting picked off Rodgers at the Tampa Bay 49-yard line with 28 seconds remaining. After converting a fourth-and-4, Tampa Bay was at Green Bay’s 39 with 8 seconds remaining. The Bucs passed up a long field-goal attempt, and Brady found Scotty Miller down the left sideline for a 39-yard touchdown catch with just 1 second remaining.

“We didn’t come here to not take chances to win the game,” Arians said. “Love the play we had. Got a great matchup and got a TD. That was huge.”

The Bucs built a 28-10 lead early in the third quarter thanks to Brady’s three touchdown passes. Brady went 20 of 36 for 280 yards.

The Packers got the ball to start the second half, and Aaron Jones caught a short third-down pass. He took a huge hit from Jordan Whitehead that knocked the ball loose. Devin White recovered and ran 21 yards to the Green Bay 8.

One play later, Brady found a wide-open Cameron Brate to extend Tampa Bay’s lead to 28-10.

The Packers rallied as Brady threw interceptions on three straight drives for just the second time in his career. Green Bay cut the lead to 28-23 late in the third quarter on Rodgers’ touchdown passes to Robert Tonyan and Davante Adams.

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4 members of Manchester City women’s team test positive for COVID-19

Manchester City, home to Canadian international Janine Beckie, says four members of its women’s team have tested positive for COVID-19.

The FA Women’s Super League club did not identify the affected players but said they were self-isolating in accordance with Football Association and U.K. government protocol.

“Everyone at the club wishes our colleagues a speedy recovery ahead of their return to work, training and competition,” the club said in a statement.

City, which currently stands fourth in the table at 5-1-3, is scheduled to host the West Ham women behind closed doors on Saturday.

The Manchester City men have also been hit by COVID, with six players missing from Sunday’s 3-1 win at at Chelsea.

This past November, Beckie scored in an FA Cup final for Manchester City as the defending champions beat Everton 3-1 after extra time.

The 26-year-old forward, a dual citizen raised in Colorado by her Canadian parents, signed a two-year extension with Man City back in April.

WATCH | Janine Beckie goal seals victory for Man City:

Canadian Janine Beckie scored the insurance marker as Manchester City beat Everton 3-1 in the Women’s FA Cup final. 0:30

It was City’s third Women’s FA Cup triumph in four seasons — a winning streak that began with another American, Carli Lloyd, netting in the 2017 victory over Birmingham.

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Multiple people injured as car drives into protesters in New York City

Several people were injured when a car drove into a street protest in midtown Manhattan on Friday, the New York City Police Department said.

The protest march was passing through the intersection of 39th Street and Third Avenue at around 4 p.m. when the car went through, said Tom Ella, who was there documenting the demonstration.

“It just starts high-speed, just plowing through people,” he said.

The New York Fire Department said six people were taken by ambulance to local hospitals. Police and fire officials said the injuries didn’t appear to be life-threatening.

Police said the driver, a woman, was stopped near the area. She was taken into custody and was being questioned. It wasn’t clear if she would face charges.

WATCH | Woman detained by NYC police:

New York City police said a driver plowed a vehicle into a crowd of protesters Friday afternoon in Manhattan, causing multiple injuries. 0:28

In a video from Ella showing the car’s movements, a small group of protesters could be seen gathered around the car on 39th Street as it slowly approached the intersection with Third Avenue, with one person seemingly leaning over the front of the vehicle.

The car suddenly accelerated, knocking aside both the people who were blocking it and people who were in the intersection.

“Suddenly you hear the engine roar, you see them accelerate,” Ella said. “Just watching them actually hit people, it’s traumatizing, it’s horrifying.”

A participant in the protest, Sofia Vickerman of Denver, Colo., said that when the car hit the crowd it tossed people and a bicycle in the air.

“I hear people screaming in the front, I look behind me, the woman is plowing through,” she said. “I see bodies flying.”

She said the march started in Times Square and the aim was to draw attention to an ongoing hunger strike by immigration detainees at a jail in New Jersey.

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