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Atmosphere of tension and violence prevailing in country: says CM Gehlot at event attended by PM

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AGENCIES

During an online event attended by PM Narendra Modi, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said that an atmosphere of tension and violence is prevailing in the country adding that the nation must stress the need to work for peace and harmony.

He said India’s traditions have been rich and glorious, propagating the idea of “Vasudhaiva kutumbakam”, which means all world is one family.

The Rajasthan chief minister also countered the claims that the country did not progress for over seven decades after Independence, a narrative used by political parties to target the Congress, which ruled a majority of the period.

Gehlot was speaking at the national launch ceremony of the “Azadi Ke Amrit Mahotsav se Swarnim Bharat Ke Ore”, organised virtually by the Brahma Kumaris, a spiritual movement.

The prime minister flagged off yearlong initiatives during the programme. “There is a need to strengthen peace, harmony and brotherhood in the country because it is being seen that there is an atmosphere of tension and violence, and it is the desire of all to get rid of it,” Gehlot said.

He said PM Modi visits other countries and gets respect because the country had progressed in 75 years in science, technology and other areas, which is being valued by other nations.

“We have a glorious history. As we are celebrating Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, we should remember Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Patel, B R Ambedkar, Lokmanya Tilak and others who struggled to get us freedom and because of them we have reached here in the past 75 years after Independence,” said the CM.

“Our country’s identity is not new and from the ancient time, we have believed in Vasudhaiva kutumbakam, which means the world is one family,” said the CM.

“I believe that the country and society can progress only by walking on the path of truth and non-violence. The development will happen where there is peace and this is what we believe in,” he added.

Rajasthan BJP Chief Satish Poonia, however, said: “It seems that in the guise of hitting out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot criticizes the country. All Congress leaders from Rahul Gandhi to Ashok Gehlot speak in the same language, which is anti-national in nature.

Meanwhile, the opposition BJP in Rajasthan shared on Twitter a part of the CM’s speech, in which he is speaking about the violence in the country.

The BJP compared it with the PM’s speech, which the party said reflects “positive thinking”.

“On one hand, there is hateful thinking of the Congress and on the other is the positive thinking of Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” the BJP tweeted sharing the video clip.

US: JOE BIDEN ONE YEAR AS PRESIDENT A MIXED BAG

AMN / WEB DESK

On January 20, 2022 Joe Biden completed one year as President of the United States, and it has been a year filled with many ups and downs.

The President has had some legislative victories, signing a $1.9 trillion economic relief plan in March and a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill in November, but he and Democratic leaders are finding it hard to enact some of the bigger reforms on their agenda.

Outside of Congress, Biden has faced other setbacks. Afghanistan fell back into the hands of the Taliban after the United States withdrew its troops from the country. At home, America is dealing with its worst inflation in nearly 40 years.

The Covid-19 pandemic has been a constant throughout. From the start of his term, Biden has been pushing to get more Americans vaccinated. He met his goal of administering 100 million doses within his first 100 days in office, but despite his urging, nearly 40% of the population still isn’t fully vaccinated.

A Year in, Biden’s Legislative Agenda Is a Mixed Bag

During his first press conference of the year, U.S. President Joe Biden spoke candidly at the White House about the possibility of a Russian invasion in Ukraine.

On the eve of his first anniversary in office, Biden took questions for almost two hours, mostly on domestic concerns, including inflation that is dragging economic recovery, and confusion on the latest health protocols to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. It was his first news conference of 2022 and the ninth since he came into office.

Biden was defiant in the face of journalists grilling him on whether he overpromised on his campaign pledge to control the pandemic and rebuild the American economy.

“I didn’t overpromise. But I have probably outperformed what anybody thought would happen,” Biden said. “You’d have to acknowledge we’ve made enormous progress.”

Before the press conference, Mitch McConnell, the top Republican in the Senate, released a statement lambasting Biden’s record.

“Since President Biden was sworn in a year ago, he’s presided over the worst inflation in four decades and record-breaking increases in crime, failed to shut down COVID or handle the crisis at the southern border, and ordered a calamitous and shameful withdrawal from Afghanistan,” the statement said.
Biden pledged to continue to take steps to get the pandemic under control and acknowledged the frustration many Americans say they are feeling.

“Should we have done more testing earlier? Yes. But we’re doing more now,” he said, outlining his administration’s efforts to make free COVID-19 tests more widely available.

Biden acknowledged that he might not be able to pass Build Back Better, his $1.9 trillion signature social safety net and climate change plan that is stuck in the Senate, in its current form.
“I think we can break the package up, get as much as we can now, come back and fight for the rest later,” he said.

Biden pointed to obstructionism from the Republican Party on why progress has been limited.
“I did not anticipate that there’d be such a stalwart effort to make sure that the most important thing was that President Biden didn’t get anything done,” he said.

US Consumer Prices Jump 7%, Most in 40 Years
In his remarks before taking questions, Biden urged the U.S. Federal Reserve to take action to address inflation. Consumer prices jumped 7% in December compared with a year earlier, the highest inflation rate in 40 years. It has dampened economic recovery in a year that the administration says has shown the biggest job growth in American history.

Less than half of Americans approve of Biden, according to the latest Reuters/Ipsos poll. The national poll, conducted January 12-13, found that 45% of U.S. adults approved of Biden’s performance in office. Biden’s approval numbers have hovered below 50% since August.

“Generally speaking, the mood in the country is tough,” Mallory Newall, vice president of public affairs at Ipsos, told VOA, pointing to recent polls that suggest Americans’ behavior of bunkering at home is translating into dissatisfaction into other areas.

“The collective mood is one of questioning and frustration,” Newall said. “And I think that does spill over into issues related to the economy, getting back to work, curbing inflation, dealing with other domestic policies.” This is particularly the case when getting a grip on the pandemic was the number one issue that Biden campaigned on, she added.

“My guess is he will move in — he has to do something,” Biden said of Russian President Vladimir Putin. He warned that such an invasion would be met with the harshest measures. “He has never seen sanctions like the ones I promise will be imposed if he moves,” Biden said.

Covid-19 pandemic will end in 2022 if …….

WEB DESK

The World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said that ‘as enter the third year of the Covid-19 pandemic, I’m confident that this will be the year we end it – but only if we do it together’

Who chief said he was optimistic that the Covid-19 pandemic will end in 2022 only if inequity ends. In a statement he said “as enter the third year of the Covid-19 pandemic, I’m confident that this will be the year we end it – but only if we do it together”.

He added, “while no country is out of the woods from the pandemic, we have many new tools to prevent and treat Covid-19. The longer inequity continues, the higher the risks of this virus evolving in ways we can’t prevent or predict. If we end inequity, we end the pandemic”.

The WHO chief said millions of people have missed out on routine vaccination, services for family planning, treatment for communicable and non-communicable diseases.

He further emphasized to prepare the world for future epidemics and pandemics, “We established the new WHO BioHub System for countries to share novel biological materials,” the WHO head added.

He reiterated that “we need all countries to work together to reach the global target of vaccinating 70% of people in all countries by the middle of 2022.”

The world has recently witnessed a new variant of Covid-19, which has been detected in South Africa, as ‘Omicron’. The WHO has classified Omicron as a ‘variant of concern’.

Even if enough people build natural immunity to Covid-19 by catching the highly contagious Omicron variant, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci said it is too soon to say if this will spell an end to the pandemic.
However, Dr. Fauci, President Biden’s top medical adviser for Covid, was asked at the online World Economic Forum if this may be the year that the virus becomes endemic, meaning it is still circulating but does not disrupt society.

While Omicron seems to cause less severe disease than other variants, Dr. Fauci said the sheer volume of cases could have a meaningful effect on collective immunity, but added, “it is an open question as to whether or not Omicron is going to be the live virus vaccination that everyone is hoping for, because you have such a great deal of variability with new variants emerging.”

“I would hope that that’s the case,” he said, “but that would only be the case if we don’t get another variant that eludes the immune response.”

Dr. Fauci said the evolution of the pandemic is still an open question. “The answer is: We do not know,” he said.

While cases seem to be leveling off in New York and other parts of the Northeast, they remain extremely high across the United States, averaging nearly 802,000 per day, an increase of 98 percent over the past two weeks. An average of nearly 156,000 people with the virus are hospitalized nationwide, a record. Deaths now exceed 1,900 per day, up 57 percent over two weeks.
Dr. Fauci also said that the world is still in the first of what he considered to be the five phases of the pandemic. The first is the “truly pandemic” phase, “where the whole world is really very negatively impacted,” followed by deceleration, control, elimination and eradication. “That’s not going to happen with this virus,” he said.

However, once countries reach the “control” phase, when the virus becomes a “non-disruptive presence,” then the virus will be considered endemic, he said. The rhinovirus and some upper respiratory infections are examples of endemic diseases.

Govt releases fresh guideline to manage COVID among children

AMN / WEB DESK

The Union Health Ministry on Thursday released revised guidelines for the management of Covid in children under 18 years of age. According to new guidelines, there will be more emphasis on post-Covid care.

According to new guidelines, if steroids are used, they should be tapered over 10-14 days, subject to clinical improvement. The centre has also placed more emphasis on post-Covid care.

Masks are not recommended for children aged five years and below. Those aged 6-11 years may wear it depending on the ability of the child to use a mask safely and appropriately under the direct supervision of their parents. Those aged 12 and above should wear a mask under the same conditions as adults.

In asymptomatic and mild cases, antimicrobials are not recommended for therapy or prophylaxis, the ministry said. In moderate and severe cases, antimicrobials should not be prescribed unless there is clinical suspicion of a superadded infection.

The use of antivirals or monoclonal antibodies, however, is not recommended for children less than 18 years of age, irrespective of the severity of infection.

NEW GUIDELINES
Triple layer mask to be worn by the patient as per guidance.
Asymptomatic and mild cases: antimicrobials are not recommended for therapy or prophylaxis.
Moderate and severe cases: antimicrobials should not be prescribed unless there is clinical suspicion. of a superadded infection.


Steroids are not indicated and are harmful in asymptomatic and mild cases of COVID-19.
Steroids should be used at the right time, in right dose and for the right duration.
Corticosteroids may be used in rapidly progressive moderate and all severe cases.
They can be continued for five to seven days and tapered up to 10-14 days, depending on clinical assessment on daily basis.


Steroids should be avoided in the first three to five days since onset of symptoms as it prolongs viral shedding.
Post-Covid care: Children with asymptomatic infection or mild disease should receive routine childcare, appropriate vaccination (if eligible), nutrition counselling.


Parents or caregivers of children, who suffered moderate to severe Covid, during discharge from hospital should be counselled regarding monitoring for persistence or worsening respiratory difficulty and explained the indications for bringing the child back to the facility.

Bangladesh: Propaganda is being spread against the RAB, says Home Minister Kamal

AMN

Bangladesh Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal has said that propaganda is being spread against the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB). The Home Minister said that RAB has been working to control militancy and terrorism in the coountry and it was an injustice that the elite forces was facing criticism, reports the official news agency BSS.

Responding to a query, the minister said that those who had created the RAB during their regime now dislike the anti-crime elite force despite its positive role against drug smuggling, food adulteration, piracy and extremism. He said that the police would not remain silent if someone fires upon them. Counter firing from police will take place as part of their safety, said the minister.
The elite law enforcement agency of Bangladesh has recently come into controversy after the US state department imposed sanctions against 7 of its current and former senior officials on December 10.

Meanwhile, 12 human rights bodies have called upon the UN to ban Bangladesh’s Rapid Action Battallion from peacekeeping operations for their alleged involvement in torture, enforced disappearances, and other human rights violations. The letter addressed to the UN under-secretary-general Jean-Pierre Lacroix stated that the UN should send a clear signal that organisations violating human rights will not be part of UN peacekeeping operations.

SEBI launches Saa₹thi mobile app on investor education

Will be helpful in accessing recent market developments


AMN

Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has launched Saa₹thi, a mobile app on investor education. The new app aims to empower investors with accurate knowledge about the securities market.

Addressing the launch event in Mumbai, SEBI Chairman Ajai Tyagi said, the app will cater largely to individual investors, who have recently entered the markets and carry out trading via their mobile phones. Hoping that the app will be popular among young investors in the times to come, Mr. Tyagi said, the app will be helpful in easily accessing all the relevant information like the basic concepts of Securities Market, KYC Process, trading and settlement, mutual funds, recent market developments, investor grievances redressal mechanism, etc. It is currently available in Hindi and English. The Android and iOS versions of the App can be downloaded from Play Store and App Store respectively.

Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Delhi and UP are States of Concern in view of COVID surge

Staff Reporter

Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan has said that Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh are States of Concern in view of COVID surge. He said, Centre is in continuous contact with these states and reviewing the situation. Mr Bhushan said, central teams have been sent to these states and have provided necessary guidance to these states.

Mr Bhushan said, India has around 19 lakh active Covid-19 cases at present. He said, over the last week, an average of two lakh 71 thousand daily cases and a positivity of 15.91 per cent has been reported. He said, 11 states have more than 50 thousand active cases, 13 states have ten to 50 thousand active cases and 12 states have less than ten thousand active cases. The health secretary said, around 99 per cent Covid patients have common symptoms of fever, cough, irritation in throat and it usually settles down after 5th day.

Mr Bhushan said, in the last four days the number of test being conducted per day have increased day on day. He said, in the last 24 hours around 19 lakh test have been conducted in the country.

Health secretary said, in the last surge of Covid-19, on 30th April last year, there were three lakh 86 thousand new cases and around three thousand deaths. He said, currently on 20th January this year, there are three lakh 17 thousand new cases and 380 deaths reported.

On vaccination status in the country, the health Secretary said that that 94 per cent of total adult population has received the first dose while 72 per cent has received the 2nd dose. He said, so far 52 per cent of the population aged between 16 to 18 years have been vaccianted with first dose.

Speaking on the occasion, Director General of ICMR, Dr Balram Bhargava said, Vaccines have remained beneficial in India.

He said, deaths have been considerably reduced due to vaccinations. In this third surge of COVID19, we are currently not witnessing severe illness and deaths due to high vaccination uptake.

UP Elections: Akhilesh Yadav to contest from Karhal in Mainpuri

AMN \ LUCKNOW

Samajwadi Party today announced that party chief Akhilesh Yadav will contest the Uttar Pradesh Assembly election from Karhal constituency in Mainpuri district. Voting in Karhal is scheduled for February 20.

At present, Akhilesh Yadav is the Lok Sabha MP from Azamgarh constituency. He has never contested a state election. When he became the Uttar Pradesh chief minister in 2012, he took the Legislative Council route.

Earlier, speculation was rife that the Samajwadi Party leader may contest from Mainpuri Sadar, Chhibramau in Kannauj, Gopalpur in Azamgarh or Gunnaur in Sambhal. However, he will be fighting from Karhal constituency.

At present, Sobaran Singh Yadav of the Samajwadi Party is the Karhal MLA. The Samajwadi Party has won this seat seven times since 1993. In the 2002 election, the BJP had bagged Karhal.

Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath of the BJP will be contesting the election from Gorakhpur Urban. Chandra Shekhar Aazad of the Azad Samaj Party will also be contesting from the same seat.

Pakistan: 3 killed, 20 injured in blast at Lahore’s Anarkali Bazaar

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photo twitter

AGENCIES / LAHORE

At least three people including a child were killed and 28 injured 28 in a blast near Lahore’s Anarkali Bazaar area on Thursday.

Police officials said that an improvised explosive device (IED) was used in the blast. Windows of nearby shops and buildings were left shattered by the explosion, while motorcycles parked near the site of the blast were damaged.

Speaking to the media, Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid said that at least two people lost their lives in the blast, including a child.

She said that a total of 28 people were brought to the hospital, out of which one was already dead, while a child lost his life in the hospital during treatment.

The injured included three women, who are now in stable condition, she said.

The minister further informed the media that four patients are currently being operated on and are in critical condition.

US: More flights curtailed after air travel disruption caused by rollout of 5G services

WEB DESK

Airlines across the world are adjusting their schedules and aircraft deployments for flights to the U.S. over fears that a 5G rollout near American airports could interfere with key safety systems.

Air India Ltd. warned yesterday flights to the U.S. will be curtailed or revised Dubai’s Emirates Airline said it will suspend flights to several U.S. cities, including Chicago, Newark, and San Francisco, while Japan Airlines Co. and ANA Holdings Inc. said they will drop some routes and won’t fly their 777 jets to and from the U.S. mainland after a warning from Boeing Co.Korean Air Lines Co. said its 777 and 747-8 aircraft are affected by the 5G service, and is rearranging its fleet.

The concerns stem from potential interference with sensitive navigation equipment used during landings in poor weather, which a trade association representing major U.S. airlines said could lead to “catastrophic disruptions.”

AT&T and Verizon, assigned to roll out 5G system, agreed to delay switching on hundreds of 5G cell towers near U.S. airports following last-minute talks with government officials over safety concerns.