Omicron variant of covid poses ‘very high’ global risk; countries must prepare: WHO

News Network
November 29, 2021

The Omicron variant is likely to spread internationally, posing a "very high" global risk where Covid-19 surges could have "severe consequences" in some areas, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Monday.

The UN agency, in technical advice to its 194 member states, urged them to accelerate vaccination of high-priority groups and to "ensure mitigation plans are in place" to maintain essential health services.

"Omicron has an unprecedented number of spike mutations, some of which are concerning for their potential impact on the trajectory of the pandemic," the WHO said. "The overall global risk related to the new variant of concern Omicron is assessed as very high."

Further research is needed to better understand Omicron's potential to escape protection against immunity induced by vaccines and previous infections, it said, adding that more data was expected in coming weeks.

"Covid -19 cases and infections are expected in vaccinated persons, albeit in a small and predictable proportion", it added. 

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News Network
January 11,2022

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Bengaluru, Jan 11: Leader of Opposition in the Karnataka assembly, Siddaramaiah on Tuesday charged the ruling BJP with not implementing the Mekedatu project to expand its political base in Tamil Nadu.

Joining the padayatra organised by the Congress party demanding speedy implementation of the project on its third day, Siddaramaiah said: "To make its roots stronger in neighbouring Tamil Nadu, the ruling BJP is not implementing the project in the state. They are betraying the people of Karnataka for political gains. The padayatra is being organised not to give BJP any opportunity in this regard. There is only the state's interest in conducting the padayatra."

Reacting to state Home Minister Araga Jnanedra's warning that the Congress will have to take responsibility if there is a spurt in cases and a lockdown has to be announced, Siddaramaiah dubbed it as an irresponsible statement.

"Previous lockdowns have pushed the life of the common public to the brink. If at all the government wants to announce a lockdown, let them release compensation to organised and unorganised sector workers," he said.

The party workers from 11 assembly constituencies have arrived in Kanakapur city to participate in the padayatra. Party workers from Hassan, Mandya, Tumakuru, Chikkaballapur and Kolar will join the padayatra in the coming days. People are coming forward to join the rally voluntarily. This shows their interest in the Mekedatu project, he explained.

The BJP in Karnataka didn't show any interest in implementing the project between 2008 and 2013 when it was in power. "We came to power in May 2013. With the intention to implement it by September, we prepared a DPR and presented it before the Cauvery Water Tribunal. When we were in power, the BJP government at the Centre didn't allow us to take up the project. Now, the BJP is at the Centre as well as ruling in the state. People have elected 25 MPs from the state so why has it not been implemented," questioned Siddaramaiah.

"We are not scared of FIRs. The BJP cannot threaten us by lodging cases. Why are there no cases against Union Ministers of State Shobha Karandlaje, Bhagavanth Khooba who took part in public functions and rallies?" he said.

One lakh masks have been distributed in the padayatra.

Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai is not able to sleep with the response that the Congress is getting and he is trying to stop this at any cost, he said.

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News Network
January 9,2022

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Delhi Police today arrested a Madhya Pradesh man who is the alleged creator of the application 'Sulli Deals'. This is the first arrest made in the "Sulli Deals" app case.

The app, which was launched last year, had listed Muslim women for 'auction' with photographs sourced without permission and doctored.

'Sulli Deals' and the recently created 'Bulli Bai' applications allegedly uploaded photos of Muslim women without their consent and inappropriate remarks were passed against them. Both the apps used the hosting platform 'GitHub' to auction the stolen photos.

The accused, Aumkareshwar Thakur, was apprehended by the Intelligence Fusion and Strategic Operations (IFSO) of Delhi Police in Madhya Pradesh's Indore.

"Om Thakur has been arrested from Indore. He is the main mastermind behind the Sulli deal app case," said KPS Malhotra, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Intelligence Fusion and Strategic Operations Unit, Delhi Police Special Cell.

Thakur, 26, did his BCA from IPS Academy in Indore and is a resident of Newyork City Township, they said.

Police said that Thakur developed the code for the 'Sulli Deals' on GitHub and shared the app on Twitter.

In January 2020, Thakur had joined a group called 'Trade Mahasabha' using the Twitter handle 'gangescion'. The group members would often discuss how to troll Muslim women, police said.

After the application 'Sulli Deals' was created, the members from this Twitter group allegedly uploaded photos of several Muslim women, including prominent personalities. 

Thakur had deleted all his social media accounts after the app hit the headlines recently. Police are questioning him and scanning through the gadgets they found on him.

Police identified and arrested Thakur on the basis of the inputs they received during the questioning of 'Bulli Bai' app creator Niraj Bishnoi. Other than Bishnoi, three other accused have also been arrested in the Bulli Bai app case.

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News Network
January 11,2022

Bengaluru, Jan 11: Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, who tested positive for Covid-19, was shifted to a private hospital on Tuesday. The doctors have stated that the CM was showing mild symptoms and there was no problem as such.

CM Bommai was shifted to hospital on the suggestion of doctors and a few tests will be conducted on him. He turned positive for Covid on Monday and was kept in home isolation.

Bommai has called for a high-level virtual meeting of senior officers and technical committee members on Tuesday to analyse the Covid-19 situation in the state.

Bommai's son and daughter-in-law also tested positive for the virus on Tuesday. However, CM Bommai's wife and daughter have tested negative. Bharath Bommai, the son of CM took to social media said, "I have tested positive for Covid with very mild symptoms. I have isolated myself at home. I would like the people who have come in contact with me to kindly get themselves tested."

His family members were tested following the development. CM Bommai was working from his R T Nagar residence, Race Course Road Government Office and Home Office Krishna. All the staff of these offcies have been tested and their reports are awaited.

Health Minister K Sudhakar stated that he is voluntarily undergoing self-isolation for the next two days since he happened to be a primary contact of CM Bommai. "The Abbott ID Now' test done and it is negative. I will undergo RT-PCR test again after two days," he said.

"Although I am completely asymptomatic and doing absolutely fine, as a responsible citizen, I will undergo self-isolation for two days considering the health and safety of others. All my official programmes stand cancelled and I will continue to work through virtual platforms," he maintained.

"I will undergo RT-PCR test after two days and if the report comes negative I will resume work from Wednesday," Sudhakar said.

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