Mortar shelling in Syria;s Aleppo kills 12

Agencies
June 17, 2019

Aleppo, Jun 17: At least 12 people were killed after terror groups attacked a village in the Syrian province of Aleppo, through mortar shelling.

"The armed groups deployed in the Rashid area on the outskirts of the city of Aleppo fired several projectiles at the southern suburb of Aleppo, which fell in the village of al-Wadihi," Sputnik quoted the local police as saying.

This comes a day after seven people were killed in air strikes by the Syrian government on the northwest province of Idlib.

Syria is marred by civil war since 2011. More than 370,000 people were killed and millions were displaced in Syria and abroad since the beginning of the Syrian war in March 2011.

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Agencies
January 17,2021

Indian & World Live Breaking News Coverage And Updates

Jerusalem, Jan 17: At least 13 people in Israel have suffered mild facial paralysis as a side-effect post Coronavirus vaccination, WION reported. The Health Ministry said that the actual number of people suffering such side effects could be higher than reported. Also Read - Coronavirus Found on Ice Cream in Chinese City, Thousands of Boxes Seized

Experts are now apprehensive of giving the second dose of the shot to these people, even though the health ministry has insisted on giving the jab once the paralysis heals. Also Read - AIIMS Worker Suffers Allergic Reaction After Receiving Coronavirus Vaccine, Admitted to ICU

“For at least 28 hours I walked around with it (facial paralysis),” one person told Ynet. “I can’t say it was completely gone afterwards, but other than that I had no other pains, except a minor pain where the injection was but there was nothing beyond that.” Also Read - Vaccination Against COVID-19 Begins in India, Bailey Bridge on Jammu-Srinagar Highway Opens After 1 Week: Top Headlines at This Hour

Israel began its Covid-19 vaccination drive on December 20, 2020. About 72 per cent of those aged 60 and over have already been vaccinated.

In an similar incident which was reported last month, four volunteers who were given Pfizer vaccine shots during the trial stage had developed Bell’s Palsy in the UK. Notably, Bell’s palsy is a medical condition that causes one half of the face to droop. This led to Britain’s medicines regulator issuing a warning for people with “significant” history of allergic reactions to medicines, food or vaccines to not have the Pfizer/BioNTech jabs.

Recently, 23 elderly people died in Norway, shortly after receiving the Pfizer’s mRNA-based coronavirus vaccine. The country launched a mass vaccination campaign at the end of December 2019, with the very oldest citizens and residents of nursing homes being offered vaccination first, including those over the age of 85.

The Norwegian Medicines Agency on its website said that 13 of the 23 people who died had shown common side effects of mRNA vaccines such as diarrhea, nausea and fever.

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Arab News
January 11,2021

Jeddah, Jan 11: The Saudi Health Ministry has said that its vaccination campaign is key to achieving herd immunity after it revealed that more than 178,000 of the Kingdom’s residents have received a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) jab.

“We aim to provide the vaccine to all and build herd immunity in Saudi Arabia,” said Health Ministry spokesman Dr. Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aly. “We believe that this is the most powerful way to achieve herd immunity, which in return will provide optimum protection from the virus.”

As a testament to the success of precautionary measures, the number of confirmed cases in the Kingdom has steadily declined since peaking in mid-June last year.

In a press conference on Sunday, the ministry spokesman said that indicators have shown a 97.6 percent decrease in cases since the peak. “This reflects the level of control Saudi Arabia has on the spread of COVID-19,” he said.

The ministry reported 117 new COVID-19 cases, raising the total number of infections since the start of the pandemic in March last year to 363,809.

The number of active cases has dropped below the 2,000 case mark, with 1,970 active cases, 309 of which are in critical care units — an 86.6 percent decrease since a peak during last summer.

Only three of the Kingdom’s 13 regions recorded case numbers in the double digits. Riyadh led with 47, while Makkah and the Eastern Province both recorded 22 cases each. Najran and Al-Jouf reported one case each.

The number of COVID-19-related deaths in the Kingdom has also fallen. With Sunday’s five fatalities, Dr. Al-Abd Al-Aly said that there has been a 91.4 percent decline since the peak mortality rate seen last summer.

There were 166 new recoveries reported, raising the total number of recoveries to 355,548. The Kingdom’s recovery rate remains steady at 97.7 percent.

The spokesman said that the recovery rate rose dramatically following the Kingdom’s battle to detect the disease early and provide patients with top healthcare.

More than 11.3 million polymerase chain reaction tests have been conducted in the Kingdom since the beginning of the pandemic, including 28,324 completed over the past 24 hours.

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News Network
January 11,2021

yemenwomen.jpg

The United States will designate Yemen’s Houthi rebels as a terrorist group, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, a late-term move that aid groups fear will worsen the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

With just 10 days left before President-elect Joe Biden takes office, the announcement on Sunday could complicate the new US administration’s efforts to restart diplomacy with Iran, which has ties to the Houthis and to reassess the US relationship with Saudi Arabia, which has led a brutal offensive in Yemen.

“The designations are intended to hold Ansar Allah accountable for its terrorist acts, including cross-border attacks threatening civilian populations, infrastructure and commercial shipping,” Pompeo said in a statement, using the official name of the Houthi movement.

It has led a campaign that has “killed many people, continues to destabilise the region and denies Yemenis a peaceful solution to the conflict in their country”, he added.

Pompeo pointed to a December 30 attack on an airport in Yemen’s second city Aden, which killed 26 people and was blamed by the Saudi-backed government on the Houthis.

The rebel group controls much of Yemen and is already under US sanctions.

But a designation as a terrorist group is expected to scare away outside actors from carrying out many transactions with Houthi authorities, including bank transfers and buying food and fuel.

The Trump administration has been piling on sanctions related to Iran in recent weeks, prompting some Biden allies and outside analysts to conclude that Trump aides are seeking to make it harder for the incoming administration to re-engage with Iran and rejoin an international nuclear agreement.

“I also intend to designate three of Ansar Allah’s leaders, Abdul Malik al-Houthi, Abd al-Khaliq Badr al-Din al-Houthi, and Abdullah Yahya al-Hakim, as Specially Designated Global Terrorists”, Pompeo added.

‘Significant move’

The Houthi group is the de facto authority in northern Yemen and aid agencies have to work with it to deliver crucial assistance. Aid workers and supplies also come in through Houthi-controlled Sanaa airport and Hodeidah port.

“This serves no interest at all,” Ryan Crocker, a retired US ambassador who served in the Middle East, said of the designation.

“Are there elements among the Houthis who have been involved in terrorist acts? Sure. Just as with other groups in the Middle East. The Houthis are an integral part of Yemeni society. They always have been. This is making a strategic enemy out of a local force that has been part of Yemen for generations. They are not Iranian pawns.”

The United Nations is trying to restart political talks to end the war between the Houthis and a Saudi-Emirati-led military coalition, and the US designation could create legal impediments for negotiations with the Houthis, who control the capital Sanaa and most urban centres.

“It is significant move because it will undermine any future peace efforts, because if you designate someone as a terrorist organisation you won’t be able to negotiate with it anymore,” Marwan Kabalan, director of policy analysis at the Arab Centre for Research and Policy Studies, told Al Jazeera.

“Nobody recognises the Houthis as a legitimate government of Yemen but they are a very important party to the conflict in the country, so if there are no talks with the Houthis peace will be very difficult to achieve in the country.”

Aid groups as well as members of Biden’s Democratic Party have warned the move will severely impede efforts to address what the UN calls the world’s largest humanitarian crisis.

Pompeo insisted the designations – which will come into effect a day before Biden takes office on January 19 – will not affect relief work.

“We are planning to put in place measures to reduce their impact on certain humanitarian activity and imports into Yemen,” Pompeo said.

“We have expressed our readiness to work with relevant officials at the United Nations, with international and non-governmental organisations and other international donors to address these implications.”

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