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Five stories you may have missed because of the coronavirus pandemic

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Five stories you may have missed because of the coronavirus pandemic
Copyright  AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski
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As the world is flooded with news about the COVID-19 pandemic, not everything in the world has reeled to a stop.

Here are some stories you may have missed during the coronavirus mania:

1. Poland marks 10 years since president died in a plane crash

Polish President Lech Kaczynski died 10 years ago today in a plane crash considered the country's worst tragedy since World War II.

The Polish president had been flying to Smolensk, Russia to pay tribute to victims of executions carried out in 1940 by Soviet authorities.

There were 95 others killed in the crash including top government officials, army generals, and MPs travelling with the president.

AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski
The head of Poland's ruling conservative party, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, during an observance in memory of his twin brother, the late President Lech Kaczynski.AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski

The current head of the ruling conservative party, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who is also the twin brother of the president who died, paid tribute to the victims on Friday in Warsaw.

The tragic crash further strained relations between Poland and Russia, and the Polish ministry of foreign affairs said in a statement that they demanded Russia return the plane wreckage.

2. Bernie Sanders quits 2020 US presidential campaign, leaving Joe Biden as the Democratic candidate

AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File
FILE - In this March 10, 2020, file photo Sen. Bernie Sanders visits outside a polling location in Detroit.AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File

Bernie Sanders ended his presidential campaign in the US presidential primaries this past week.

His withdrawal from the contest paves the way for former Vice President Joe Biden to become the Democratic nominee to face US President Donald Trump in November.

Sanders, an independent Senator from Vermont, is a self-declared democratic socialist and had proposed a progressive platform including government health insurance and student loan forgiveness.

Despite early success in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada, Sanders struggled to win over African-American and hispanic voters as Joe Biden swept several Southern states.

3. Ukraine village is evacuated as forest fires burn near Chernobyl plant

AP Photo/Yaroslav Yemelianenko
A forest fire burning near the village of Volodymyrivka, in the exclusion zone around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, Ukraine, Sunday April 5, 2020.AP Photo/Yaroslav Yemelianenko

Wildfires broke out last weekend near the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, causing a hike in radiation levels.

The region is still mostly unpopulated after the 1986 nuclear disaster.

But some 200 people have remained living in the area and residents from one village in the territory were moved from their homes by police sent to evacuate the area.

Fire in the region has been a growing concern as radioactive elements can be present in smoke plumes, that then travel long distances.

4. Truck driver pleads guilty to manslaughter of 39 Vietnamese nationals

AP Photo/Alastair Grant, file

A truck driver has pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of 39 people who were found dead in a lorry in Essex in October last year.

Maurice Robinson, 25, from Northern Ireland, entered the plea at Central London Criminal Court on Wednesday appearing via video link.

The 39 victims, all Vietnamese nationals, were found by police in the back of a refrigerated truck in an industrial park in Essex.

The 31 men and eight women are believed to have paid people traffickers to smuggle them into England and died from a lack of oxygen and overheating, police said.

5. Migrants trapped at sea and in Libya face tragic situation

At least 280 migrants were intercepted and returned to Libya on Thursday, said the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in a statement, but were not allowed to disembark.

“The situation is tragic. Hundreds of people, drained after a perilous 72-hour journey, will spend the night on an overcrowded boat in tense circumstances,” said Federico Soda, the International Organisation of Migration's Libya chief of mission.

“The status quo cannot possibly continue. A comprehensive approach to the situation in the central Mediterranean is needed.”

Staff from the IOM said that women and children were among those who were intercepted and returned to Libya but not allowed to disembark due to shelling in Tripoli.

Meanwhile, a German NGO ship that rescued 150 migrants in the Mediterranean has been unable to disembark in Italy or Malta.

The Italian coast guard evacuated one person off the ship but has not provided fuel, medicine or food, the NGO Sea-Eye said in a statement.