Month: November 2020

WHO: Coronavirus Threatens to Reverse Gains Made in Malaria Control

On World Malaria Day, the World Health Organization is calling on countries to step up the fight against malaria, saying the coronavirus pandemic threatens to reverse important gains made in efforts to control this deadly disease. Since 2000, the U.N.’s World Health Organization reports 1.5 billion malaria cases and 7.6 million deaths have been averted globally. Some of the greatest achievements were made in sub-Saharan Africa, which bears the brunt of this deadly disease spread by mosquitos. Additionally, the director of the WHO’s Global Malaria Program, Pedro Alonso, said 21 countries have eliminated malaria over the last two decades. Of these, he says 10 have been officially certified as malaria-free by the WHO. “That means that more than half of all the world’s endemic countries are within reach of elimination,” Alonso said. “In the beginning of the century, three countries had less than 10 cases per year. Now, we have 24 countries, which are literally one step away from elimination.”  Despite remarkable progress, however, the World Health Organization reports global gains have leveled off in recent years. This is because of insufficient funding and a lack of access to proven malaria control tools, such as insecticide-treated mosquito nets and preventive medicines for children. The emergence of the coronavirus pandemic is now posing an additional challenge to the malaria response. WHO’s regional director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti, said the gains made in Africa over many years against poverty and disease risk being reversed by the virus responsible for the COVID-19 disease. “Already, malaria causes a 1.3 percent loss in Africa’s economic growth every year,” Moeti said. “And we know that the COVID-19 pandemic is projected to push sub-Saharan Africa into recession for the first time in 25 years. This incredibly challenging situation requires renewed commitment to sustained and accelerate the gains that have been made in the fight against malaria.” Moeti noted malaria continues to kill many more people than diseases like COVID-19 and Ebola. In 2019, the WHO reported the global tally of malaria cases was 229 million, including more than 400,000 deaths. It said 90 percent of these cases and deaths were in the African region. Most of the victims were children. The U.N. health agency reports global funding for malaria last year totaled $3 billion. This falls far short of the $5.6 billion needed to roll back malaria. 

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US Health Experts: Coronavirus Vaccines on the Way, but Precautions Still Paramount   

Two top U.S. coronavirus experts assured Americans Sunday that vaccines against the pandemic would soon become available but warned that not taking precautions against the spread of the virus before then could prove disastrous. “We should have enough vaccine by the end of the year to immunize 20 million Americans and we have to immunize for impact,” Admiral Brett Giroir, the White House virus testing chief, told CNN. “But the American people have to do the right things until we get that vaccine widely distributed.” FILE – Adm. Brett Giroir, director of the U.S. coronavirus diagnostic testing, testifies at a Senate committee hearing, on Capitol Hill, in Washington, June 30, 2020.Giroir described two prospective vaccines, which are now under review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, as “lifesaving,” saying, “This puts an end to the pandemic.” But until then, he said, “The American people have to do the right things until we get that vaccine widely distributed, wear a mask, avoid indoor crowded spaces, all the things you know.”   Giroir said he believes there will be a “smooth, professional transition” in handling the vaccine distribution from the administration of outgoing President Donald Trump to that of President-elect Joe Biden when he is set to be inaugurated on January 20. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease expert, speaking to ABC’s “This Week” show, said, “Help is on the way,” and that the initial supply of vaccines might be available by mid-December. Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, listens during a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Hearing on the federal government response to COVID-19, Capitol Hill, Sept. 23, 2020.Fauci said health experts are “empathetic about the fatigue” of Americans being careful about becoming exposed to the virus. But he said wearing face masks and people physically distancing themselves from others “do make a difference.” Millions of Americans curtailed their traditional family gatherings for last Thursday’s annual Thanksgiving holiday, yet millions of others ignored warnings from health care experts against traveling to visit far-flung relatives for fear of spreading the virus. “I don’t see how we’re not going to have the same thing” happen with people traveling — and potentially spreading the virus — for Christmas visits with their families, Fauci said. He said there is “a considerable risk” for people getting together. FILE – Travelers wait to check in for flights at LaGuardia Airport, Nov. 25, 2020, in Queens, New York.Fauci called on state and municipal officials to “close the bars, keep the schools open,” to keep “the community level of spread low.” “Let’s try to get the kids back, and let’s try to mitigate the things that maintain and just push the kind of community spread that we’re trying to avoid,” Fauci said. “And those are the things that you know well – the bars, the restaurants where you have capacity seating indoors without masks.” “Those are the things that drive the community spread — not the schools,” he said. Teresa Nguyen, a respiratory therapist, treats a patient inside a room for people with COVID-19 at a hospital in Hutchinson, Kan., Nov. 20, 2020.The assessments came as the United States topped 13 million confirmed cases on Friday, just six days after it reached 12 million cases. The highly contagious virus that causes the COVID-19 disease has killed more than 266,000 Americans, more than in any other country, according to the Johns Hopkins University. More than 91,000 infected individuals are currently hospitalized in the U.S., an all-time high, with more than 18,000 in intensive care units.   

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UN Agency: Physical Activity Can Save Up to 5 Million Lives a Year 

The World Health Organization is urging people to get moving and keep moving for better health.  The U.N. health agency says physical activity can avert the deaths of up to 5 million people annually.  WHO statistics show 1 in 4 adults and 80% of adolescents do not do enough physical activity, and women and girls generally do less than men and boys.  This, the agency says, hurts both human health and the health of world economies.     The agency reports physical activity can help prevent heart disease, type-2 diabetes, and cancer; as well reduce cognitive decline, including Alzheimer’s disease.  It says physical inactivity also can put societies into an economic hole.  The global cost of direct health care is estimated at $54 billion, with an additional cost of $14 billion in lost productivity.      WHO Director for Health Promotion Ruediger Krech says it is never too late to begin moving.  He says any type of physical activity, including walking, cycling, dancing, household tasks and gardening can counteract the harm from sitting too long.     “WHO urges everyone to continue to stay active through the COVID-19 pandemic.  If we do not remain active, we run the risk of creating another pandemic of ill health as a result of sedentary behavior,”  he said.New WHO guidelines recommend adults engage in at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic activity per week, and an average of 60 minutes a day for children and adolescents.   For the first time, WHO’s unit head for physical activity, Fiona Bull, says the guidelines delve into the impact of sedentary behavior on health. “The evidence shows that doing a lot of sedentary behavior, often considered, for example, sitting, is detrimental to your health.  It can increase your risk of noncommunicable disease, like cardiovascular disease … And the evidence shows that if we are more active, we can counteract the detrimental effects of too much sedentary,”  said Bull.  The WHO guidelines also highlight the valuable health benefits of physical activity for those with disabilities.  It advises people over age 65 to engage in muscle-strengthening, balance and coordination activities to help prevent falls and improve health.    

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Darth Vader Actor Dave Prowse Dead at 85, Agent Says

Dave Prowse, the British actor behind the menacing black mask of Star Wars villain Darth Vader, has died, his agent Thomas Bowington said Sunday.”It’s with great sadness that we have to announce that our client Dave Prowse… passed away yesterday morning at the age of 85,” Bowington wrote on Facebook.”May the force be with him, always!” the agent told the BBC.Bowington added that Prowse’s death was “a truly and deeply heart-wrenching loss for us and millions of fans all over the world.”A former bodybuilder turned actor, Prowse’s towering stature at almost two meters clinched him the role of the instantly recognizable antagonist in the original Star Wars trilogy.But while he donned the glossy black armor and cape, the Bristol native’s strong western English accent meant the filmmakers turned to James Earl Jones for the chilling voice that would emerge from behind the mask.Prowse nevertheless remained attached to the character, telling AFP in 2013 that he was “the greatest big-screen villain of all time.”Since the original Star Wars trilogy was released in the late 1970s and early 80s, Prowse had travelled the world meeting hardcore fans.

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Britain’s Johnson Asks Lawmakers to Back a Tougher Lockdown

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is asking lawmakers to support new, tiered restrictions to keep the nation’s hospitals from becoming overwhelmed before a vaccine for the coronavirus can be approved and distributed.The new measures would put 99% of the country under the two highest restriction levels when the current rules end Tuesday. The new restrictions would last about a month.An increasing number of members of Johnson’s own Conservative Party are opposed. And on Saturday, London police broke up anti-lockdown, anti-vaccine protests, arresting more than 150 people in the process.The government hopes that a vaccine, the first doses of which could be in British hospitals by December 7, and mass testing could end the need for restrictions. Britain has suffered the worst COVID-19 outbreak in Europe, with more than 57,000 virus-related deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. COVID-19 is the disease caused by the coronavirus.Parliament is to vote on Johnson’s new restrictions Tuesday.FILE – President-elect Joe Biden walks from his motorcade to speak to reporters in Wilmington, Del., Nov. 23, 2020.In the U.S., President-elect Joe Biden added three members to his COVID-19 advisory board.QualificationsBiden added Jane Hopkins, Jill Jim and David Michaels to “strengthen the board’s work and help ensure that our COVID-19 planning will address inequities in health outcomes and the workforce,” he said.Hopkins is a registered nurse specializing in mental health and also serves on Washington state’s COVID-19 task force.Jim is a member of the Navajo Nation and the executive director of its Department of Health. She has focused on preventing chronic diseases and addressing health care and health disparities among American Indians/Alaska Natives.Michaels is an epidemiologist and professor of environmental and occupational health at the Milken Institute School of Public Health, George Washington University.Beginning Monday, California’s Los Angeles County, the nation’s most populous, will be under a three-week, stay-at-home order.The county had said previously that it would issue the restrictive order when new COVID-19 cases reached an average of 4,500 per day over a five-day period.On Friday, the five-day average was 4,751.The order prohibits gatherings, public or private, of people who do not live in the same household.Stores deemed essential will be allowed to remain open, operating at 50% capacity.  Other retail stores will remain open but will be able to operate at just 20% capacity during the holiday shopping season.Erratic resultsU.S. health officials say the numbers of new COVID-19 cases may appear erratic in the coming days, a result of fewer tests being administered during the Thanksgiving holiday and the reduced schedules of tests sites.FILE – A medical worker hands a self-administered coronavirus test to a patient at a drive-through testing site in a parking lot in the Woodland Hills section of Los Angeles, May 6, 2020.Los Angeles County Department of Public Health officials reported 3,143 new cases Saturday — down because of limited testing Thursday and Friday.Although reports of new cases may seem lower than usual because of the holiday, the numbers, experts say, would not give an accurate account of where the U.S. is in fighting the virus. On Friday, the U.S. surpassed the 13 million mark in number of coronavirus cases, more than anyplace else in the world, according to Johns Hopkins.Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician and a George Washington University professor, told The Associated Press, “I just hope that people don’t misinterpret the numbers and think that there wasn’t a major surge as a result of Thanksgiving, and then end up making Christmas and Hanukkah and other travel plans.”Teresa Nguyen, a respiratory therapist, treats a patient inside a room for people with COVID-19 at a hospital in Hutchinson, Kan., Nov. 20, 2020.The number of COVID-19 patients being treated in hospitals across the United States reached 90,000 Friday after nearly doubling in the last month, according to the Reuters news agency. The hospitalizations followed weeks of rising infection rates in the United States and have increased worries that recent Thanksgiving gatherings would lead to even more infections and hospitalizations.Health care workers’ deathsThe British newspaper The Guardian said its partner, Kaiser Health News, had conducted a review of hundreds of U.S. health care workers’ deaths that went unreported to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), even though reports of such deaths are required. The deaths that could have been workplace COVID-related were not reported to authorities in the early days of the pandemic, the report said.“Work-safety advocates say OSHA investigations into staff deaths can help officials pinpoint problems before they endanger other employees as well as patients or residents,” the newspaper said.WHO also announced that it was sending a team of 10 scientists to Wuhan, China, to investigate how COVID-19 jumped from animals to humans.“We need to start where we found the first cases — and that is in Wuhan, in China — and then we need to follow the evidence after that wherever that leads,” said Dr. Mike Ryan, head of the WHO emergencies program.The team includes renowned virus hunters, public health specialists and experts in animal health from Britain, the United States, Australia, Denmark, the Netherlands, Japan, Qatar, Germany, Vietnam and Russia.

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Washington’s Kennedy Center Opens for Public Amid Pandemic

COVID cases are exploding across the US and it’s unclear how long the pandemic will last. But in Washington, the Kennedy Center is cautiously working on a comeback, as Karina Bafradzhian reports.
Camera: Andrey Degtyarev

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Vanderbilt Kicker Becomes First Woman to Play US College Football in Major Conference

Sarah Fuller was playing around with a teammate a couple months ago when she kicked a soccer ball through the uprights from 45 yards away. She joked about being able to kick a football with teammates during the Southeastern Conference soccer tournament.On Saturday, she made history.Fuller became the first woman to participate in a major conference football game when she kicked off for Vanderbilt to start the second half at Missouri, a moment that may take some time to soak in for her.”I just think it’s incredible that I am able to do this, and all I want to do is be a good influence to the young girls out there because there were times that I struggled in sports,” Fuller said. “But I am so thankful I stuck with it, and it’s given me so many opportunities. I’ve met so many amazing people through sports, and I just want to say like literally you can do anything you set your mind to.”Fuller kicked with a holder rather than using a tee in a designed squib kick, and the senior sent a low kick to the 35-yard line where it was pounced on by Missouri’s Mason Pack. Fuller didn’t get any other opportunities in Vanderbilt’s 41-0 loss to Missouri.Vanderbilt Commodores place kicker Sarah Fuller is pictured before a game against the Missouri Tigers, Nov. 28, 2020, in Columbia, Mo. (Denny Medley – USA Today/Reuters)Coach Derek Mason made clear that Fuller kicked for the Commodores because of need, not for history or publicity. COVID-19 protocols and restrictions left Mason with very few options, prompting him to reach out to the soccer team for help.Fuller, a 6-foot-2 goalkeeper, decided she was up for the challenge.”I’m not about making statements,” Mason said. “This was out of necessity. You look at our week. Our students had gone home. The ability to have access to students and tryouts was almost nil in terms of like what’s available. … That just happened to be the most viable option.”After Fuller’s kick, she went straight to the sideline, where she high-fived some of her new teammates and swapped some elbow bumps. Fuller’s parents watched and cheered from the stands along with her boyfriend and best friend.Fuller wore “Play Like A Girl” on the back of her helmet. The senior will get to keep the No. 32 jersey she wore Saturday, the same as her number when playing soccer.After her kickoff, reaction poured in on social media. Fuller was the No. 2 trending topic on Twitter, followed by Vandy. Her soccer team wrote on Twitter: “Glass. Everywhere.”As in glass ceiling.Pat McAfee, a former National Football League punter, reviewed Fuller’s squib kick, noting the ball didn’t go out of bounds and there was no chance of a return, setting up the defense.”Congrats to @SarahFuller_27 for being THE FIRST EVER WOMAN TO KICKOFF A POWER 5 GAME,” McAfee wrote. “Incredibly rare to be the ‘1st ever person to do something’ these days..this is really cool.”Fuller also made clear she’d be up for continuing to help the football team if needed. She believes she can refine her timing and technique with more practice.Vanderbilt (0-8) visits No. 13 Georgia next week.”If she wants to kick and she’s available, we’d love to have her,” Mason said.

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Los Angeles Issues Stay-at-Home Order to Curb COVID

A surge in new coronavirus cases has led California’s Los Angeles County to issue a new three-week, stay-at-home order which will go into effect Monday.The county had said previously that it would issue the restrictive order when new COVID-19 cases reached an average of 4,500 per day over a five-day period.On Friday, the five-day average was 4,751.The order prohibits gatherings, publicly or privately, of people who do not live in the same household.Stores deemed essential will be allowed to remain open, operating at 50% capacity. Other retail stores will remain open but will only be able to operate at 20% capacity during the holiday shopping season.U.S. health officials say the numbers of new COVID-19 cases may appear erratic in the coming days, a result of fewer tests being administered during the Thanksgiving holiday and the reduced schedules of tests sites.Reports of new cases may seem lower than usual because of the holiday, but the numbers, experts say, would not give an accurate account of where the U.S. is in fighting the virus. On Friday, the U.S. surpassed the 13 million mark in number of coronavirus cases, more than anyplace else in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University.Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician and a George Washington University professor, told the Associated Press, “I just hope that people don’t misinterpret the numbers and think that there wasn’t a major surge as a result of Thanksgiving, and then end up making Christmas and Hanukkah and other travel plans.”The number of COVID-19 patients being treated in hospitals across the United States reached 90,000 Friday after nearly doubling in the last month, according to the Reuters news agency. The hospitalizations follow weeks of rising infection rates in the United States and have increased worries that the recent Thanksgiving gatherings would lead to even more infections and hospitalizations.A couple wearing face masks as a precaution against the coronavirus passes by a statue with a face mask at a shopping street in Goyang, South Korea, Nov. 28, 2020.The British newspaper The Guardian said its partner, Kaiser Health News, has conducted a review of hundreds of U.S. health care workers’ deaths that went unreported to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, even though reports of such deaths are required. The deaths that could have been workplace COVID-related were not reported to authorities in the early days of the pandemic, the report said.“Work-safety advocates say OSHA investigations into staff deaths can help officials pinpoint problems before they endanger other employees as well as patients or residents,” the newspaper said.The World Health Organization’s top vaccine expert said the agency needs to evaluate coronavirus vaccines and their immune responses based on more than just a press release.Kate O’Brien, WHO’s director of immunization, vaccines and biologicals said at a press briefing in Geneva on Friday that it is still not clear if vaccines against COVID-19 are able to reduce people’s ability to spread the virus.”It’s really important that we actually start to get more information about what the vaccines do, not just for preventing disease, but for actually preventing the acquisition of the virus,” O’Brien said.British drugmaker AstraZeneca said Thursday it is cooperating with government regulators in investigating a manufacturing error of an experimental COVID-19 vaccine.The pharmaceutical company and Oxford University have admitted that a lower dosage of the vaccine performed better than a full dosage, according to a spokesman who spoke after AstraZeneca’s CEO said a further global trial was likely.The statement comes as the company prepared to provide a temporary supply of the drug ahead of its plans to distribute 4 million doses of the vaccine by the year’s end.The England-based pharmaceutical company said earlier this week its vaccine was 70% effective overall, but there were differences between two dosing regimens. One was 90% effective. The other was 62%.Drugmakers Pfizer and Moderna have also announced initial results from late-stage trials showing their vaccines were nearly 95% effective.WHO has also announced that it is sending a team of 10 scientists to Wuhan, China, to investigate how COVID-19 jumped from animals to humans.Dancers wearing face shields to prevent the spread of the coronavirus perform in Tangerang, Indonesia, Nov. 28, 2020,“We need to start where we found the first cases — and that is in Wuhan in China — and then we need to follow the evidence after that wherever that leads,” said Dr. Mike Ryan, head of the WHO emergencies program.The team includes renowned virus hunters, public health specialists and experts in animal health from Britain, the United States, Australia, Denmark, the Netherlands, Japan, Qatar, Germany, Vietnam and Russia.Denmark said Friday that hundreds of dead mink are reemerging from the trenches where millions of the animals were buried after being culled to stop the spread of a mutated form of the coronavirus that passed from humans to the animals and back to humans.The order to cull the 17 million mink was determined to be illegal and resulted in the resignation last week of Food and Agriculture Minister Morgens Jensen.“Zombie mink” is what the Danish media have dubbed the animals coming out of the trenches at a military area in western Denmark.Reuters reports that the animals are being “pushed out of the ground by what authorities say is gas from their decomposition.”In Ireland, the government said it would allow shops, restaurants and gyms to reopen next week after the latest round of shutdowns. Prime Minister Micheal Martin said travel would be permitted between counties in the week preceding Christmas.”We now have the opportunity to enjoy a different, but special Christmas,” he said in a televised address.Officials in France said the rate of new coronavirus infections slowed again Friday, as the country prepares to allow for the reopening Saturday of stores selling nonessential goods.Italy is also seeing a gradual decline in hospitalizations from coronavirus, leading the government to announce that it would ease restrictions in five regions from Sunday, including the populous Lombardy region.The number of coronavirus infections in Germany topped 1 million on Friday. The country’s disease control center, the Robert Koch Institute, reported 22,806 cases overnight, bringing the country’s total since the start of the outbreak to more than 1 million.Iran on Friday announced that its government offices would operate only with essential staff because of a surge in coronavirus cases. Officials reported a record number of new cases on Friday — 14,051 — bringing the country’s total to more than 922,000.In other developments, Australia’s second-largest state, Victoria, has recorded no new coronavirus infections or deaths in the past 28 days, health officials said Friday. The state did not have any active cases after the last COVID-19 patient was discharged from the hospital Monday.While Victoria has achieved the 28-day benchmark, widely accepted by health experts as eliminating the virus from the community, cases of the coronavirus infections have been detected in other parts of the country. 

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Hundreds of ‘Zombie Mink’ Resurfacing from Mass Graves

Denmark’s government said on Friday it wants to dig up mink that were culled to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, after hundreds resurfaced from mass graves.Denmark ordered all farmed mink to be culled early this month after finding that 12 people had been infected by a mutated strain of the virus that causes COVID-19, which passed from humans to mink and back to humans.The decision led to 17 million animals being destroyed and to the resignation last week of Food and Agriculture Minister Morgens Jensen, after it was determined that the order was illegal.Dead mink were tipped into trenches at a military area in western Denmark and covered with 2 meters of soil. But hundreds have begun resurfacing, pushed out of the ground by what authorities say is gas from their decomposition. Newspapers have referred to them as the “zombie mink.”Jensen’s replacement, Rasmus Prehn, said on Friday he supported the idea of digging up the animals and incinerating them. He said he had asked the environmental protection agency to investigate whether it could be done, and parliament would be briefed on the issue on Monday.The macabre burial sites, guarded 24 hours a day to keep people and animals away, have drawn complaints from area residents about possible health risks.Authorities say there is no risk of the graves spreading the coronavirus, but locals worry about the risk of contaminating drinking water and a bathing lake less than 200 meters away.

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Maradona’s Death May Trigger Family Inheritance Battle

Diego Maradona’s tormented private life, with its tangled relationships and paternity suits, suggests distributing his inheritance will be a complex task for lawyers bracing for claims from a slew of children — those he recognized and those he didn’t.”There’s going to be a big fight. He didn’t leave a will,” according to a source close to the family who declined to be named.Maradona made and wasted millions over his years at the pinnacle of his fame with Barcelona, Napoli and Argentina, and he also made some shrewd investments. Some reports circulating since his death estimate his estate at $90 million.Angered over a dispute with his daughter Giannina last year, he threatened to donate all his wealth, including properties, luxury cars and sponsorship contracts, to charity.’I’m going to give it all away'”I know that now, as you get older, people are more concerned about what you leave behind than what you are doing,” he was quoted as saying at the time.”And I tell them all that I’m not going to leave them anything, that I’m going to give it all away. Everything I’ve got in my life, I’m going to give away,” he said.Under Argentine law, however, people can give away only a fifth of their assets. At least two-thirds must be left to the spouse or offspring of the deceased.Giannina, 31, had sparked the row by accusing the former star’s entourage of not taking proper care of him, which seems to have been a recurring theme of their relationship.Father and daughter had reconciled by his 60th birthday in October, with Giannina lauding him in a series of affectionate messages posted on social media with her sister, Dalma.”He is my great example of all the things to do and all the things not to do. I have admired him, yesterday, today and always. He taught me to forgive, to forgive myself,” Gianinna wrote.A fan mourns in front of flowers and posters left in tribute to Diego Maradona at the entrance of the Boca Juniors stadium known as La Bombonera in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Nov. 27, 2020. Maradona died Nov. 25 at age 60.Complex tiesClaudia Villafane was Maradona’s childhood sweetheart since age 15. His only wife, they divorced in 2003.Their two daughters, Dalma, 33, and Giannina, were the only children he recognized for many years.But there were others, spawning the joke that Maradona had fathered his own soccer team. It threatens to make the task of distributing his inheritance a complicated one for his lawyer, Matias Morla.The football icon had been forced to acknowledge three other children over the years, including Diego Junior, born a few months before Dalma.Conceived with Italian singer Cristiana Sinagra, and born in 1986, months after he captained Argentina to World Cup glory in Mexico, it took Maradona 29 years to acknowledge his paternity. Ill with COVID-19, Diego Junior was unable to travel from Italy to his father’s funeral.In 2008, the football legend recognized Jana, born in 1996 to Valeria Sabalain, the former girlfriend Maradona was closest to during the last months of his life.Another son, Diego Ojeda, was born in 2013 from his relationship with ex-girlfriend Veronica Ojeda.Other claimsBut others have staked paternity claims against Maradona, including at least three in Cuba where Maradona spent years in a drug rehabilitation program, according to his lawyer.Spats between the ex-partners and Maradona’s children have been a recurring theme of his life and have been given a full airing on social media and Argentine television channels.His eldest daughters and their mother appeared to be the ones in control of the funeral arrangements Thursday.However, the World Cup winner was in a legal dispute with his ex-wife over ownership of hundreds of items of memorabilia from his career.

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