Philippines COVID-19 tally exceeds 100,000 with fourth consecutive record breaking rise

Agencies
August 3, 2020

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Manila, Aug 2: The number of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines has exceeded the 100,000 marks with a record 5,032 new infections registered on Sunday, the Health Ministry's data showed.

With the total cases now reaching 103,185, the spread of COVID-19 in the Southeast Asian nation is steeply rising. The daily growth rate just this Thursday set a record at over 3,800 cases, the next day there were nearly 4,000 new infections detected and on Saturday, over 4,800 cases were detected.

More than 65,000 people have recovered from the ailment, while 2,059 people have died.

The Philippines' epidemiological dynamic mirrors that of many Southeast Asian nations, where COVID-19 infections have only recently begun to climb. 

Most other nations in Europe and the Americas experienced an initial spread of the virus which later tailed off only to begin climbing again after easing of restrictions.

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News Network
September 16,2020

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Moscow, Sept 16: Russia's sovereign wealth fund has agreed to supply 100 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine, Sputnik-V, to Indian drug company Dr Reddy's Laboratories, the fund said on Wednesday, as Moscow speeds up plans to distribute its shot abroad.

The deal comes after the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) reached agreements with Indian manufacturers to produce 300 million doses of the vaccine in India, which is a major consumer of Russian oil and arms.

Dr Reddy's, one of India's top pharmaceutical companies, will carry out Phase III clinical trials of the vaccine in India, pending regulatory approval, RDIF said in a statement.

Deliveries to India could begin in late 2020, it said, adding this was subject to the completion of trials and the vaccine's registration by regulatory authorities in India.

Russia was the first country to license a novel coronavirus vaccine before large-scale Phase III trials were complete, stirring concern among scientists and doctors about the safety and efficacy of the shot.

The Phase I and II results had shown promise, G V Prasad, co-chairman of Dr Reddy's, was cited in the RDIF statement as saying.

"Sputnik V vaccine could provide a credible option in our fight against COVID-19 in India," he said.

There was no detail about the price of the vaccine but RDIF has said previously it was not aiming at making a profit, just covering costs.

The agreement comes as India's coronavirus cases surged past 5 million on Wednesday, piling pressure on hospitals grappling with unreliable supplies of oxygen that they need to treat tens of thousands of critical patients.

India is only the second country in the world to cross the grim milestone and said this week it is considering granting an emergency authorisation for a vaccine, particularly for the elderly and people in high-risk workplaces.

The RDIF has already reached vaccine supply deals with Kazakhstan, Brazil and Mexico. It has also signed a memorandum with the Saudi Chemical company.

Russia has billed Sputnik-V as the first vaccine against the coronavirus to be registered in the world. Phase III trials, involving at least 40,000 people, were launched in Russia on Aug. 26 but have yet to be completed.

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Agencies
September 13,2020

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United Nations, Sept 13: Upon the conclusion of their annual meeting, the Group of Seven (G7) Speakers and heads of Parliament have agreed to focus on the need for strong international action to combat the disparities in health and financial security that have been highlighted by the climate crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic.

They observed that atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations this year were among the highest averages ever recorded.

"We, Speakers/Presidents of Parliament of the member states of the G7, affirm that the COVID-19 pandemic and climate crisis require a robust and coordinated international response," said a joint declaration after the virtual G7 Speakers' meeting concluded on Saturday.

The meeting included participation from all G7 nations and the European Union.

"By passing legislation, by approving national budgets and by holding governments to account, Parliaments are a key element in the commitment of states to the well-being of our citizens and the environment.

"As leaders in the international community, we commit to act with urgency to provide a healthy, clean and sustainable environment for our children and grandchildren and generations to come.

"The world is reeling from COVID-19. As of September 12, 2020, there have been more than 28 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and the disease has claimed the lives of more than 900,000 people across the world.

"The pandemic has disrupted the regular life of our citizens, disproportionately hurt our most vulnerable communities and at-risk populations, including women and children, and destabilized our economies.

"We declare that our response to COVID-19, including vaccine development and its equitable distribution, will be based on science and medicine, focused on wide access rather than profitability, and informed by the knowledge that the pandemic will continue until it is addressed worldwide," said the declaration.

"As G7 nations, we have a moral, scientific and economic duty to serve as the standard-bearer for this global commitment.

"Unfortunately, the climate crisis does not pause as governments address the pandemic. Our nations cannot choose to ignore the climate emergency while we address the immediate crisis presented by the Covid-19 pandemic.

"Both the health and climate crises have and will continue to require unprecedented government action.

"As Parliaments develop legislation to rebound from the economic crisis caused by the pandemic, clean energy and other climate investments can power short- and long-term economic recovery.

"The climate crisis is the existential threat of our time, jeopardizing the health and well-being of every family in every community around the world.

"Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations in 2020 are among the highest averages ever recorded. The planet suffered through the second hottest year ever in 2019. As the earth heats up, climate-related impacts, including heat waves, hurricanes, wildfires, droughts, and flooding, are worsening," it said.

The statement went on to say: "The great rivers of our world are beginning to dry up, depriving millions of water, food, jobs, transportation and commerce. The degradation of the oceans is also a great matter of concern as we stated in Brest last year.

"We shall also pay particular attention to environmental justice for economically vulnerable and frontline communities.

"Committing to fight against environmental injustice requires providing a healthy environment, equal opportunity and meaningful involvement in environmental decisions to all people, regardless of race, colour, gender, orientation, national origin, belief, or socio-economic condition.

"Climate policy can end the perpetuation of systemic inequalities.

"We reaffirm the central role played by parliaments in democratic life. Parliaments, which are the assemblies that bring together all the components of society, are the key institutions of democracy: parliaments represent the expression of the people through their legislative and oversight roles.

"We therefore call upon all parties to take action on the climate crisis in accordance with the Paris Agreement.

"We pledge that we will maintain contacts between parliaments to ensure a high level of mobilization concerning the COVID-19 pandemic and the climate, the regular raising of questions linked to these crises and the dissemination of good practices.

"We believe that our parliaments must play a pivotal role in the response and recovery to COVID-19 and the fight to address the climate crisis with economic and environmental justice for all."

In the run-up to the G7 Speakers' meeting, Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama in a video message informed the participating nations that they should think of the whole world as interdependent and of the entire seven billion human beings as one human community.

"Global warming is very serious. Many people suffer. We must pay more attention," he said.

The participants comprised US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of Canada's House of Commons, Canada Anthony Rota, President of the European Parliament David Maria Sassoli, President of French National Assembly Richard Ferrand, President of the German Bundestag Wolfgang SchAuble, President of Italy's Chamber of Deputies Roberto Fico, Speaker of Japan's House of Representatives Tadamori Oshima and Speaker of UK's House of Commons Lindsay Hoyle.

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News Network
September 17,2020

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New Delhi, Sept 17: Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his 70th birthday and said that India is successfully moving along the path of socio-economic, scientific and technical development under his leadership.

In a message posted by the Russian Embassy on its Facebook page, Putin said he looks forward to continuing constructive dialogue with PM Modi and work closely together on topical issues of the bilateral and international agenda.

Besides Putin, Chairman of the Russian Government, Mikhail Mishustin, and Russian Ambassador Nikolay Kudashev extended their wishes to Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he turned 70.

"Kindly accept my heartfelt congratulations on your 70th birth anniversary. Under your leadership, India is successfully moving along the path of socio-economic, scientific and technical development. It is hard to overestimate your personal contribution to the strengthening of the special and privileged strategic partnership between our countries," Putin said in the message.

"I value the kind, friendly relations that have developed between us. I look forward to continuing constructive dialogue with you and work closely together on topical issues of the bilateral and international agenda. From the bottom of my heart, I wish you good health, happiness, well-being and every success," he added.

Meanwhile, Mishustin greeted the Indian leader and lauded Prime Minister Modi's considerable personal contribution to the enhancement of the Russia-Indian relations based on the principles of the friendship of mutual trust and strategic partnership.

"On behalf of the Government of the Russian Federation and personally I would like to congratulate you on your 70th birth anniversary. Under your leadership, the Government of India is implementing large-scale programmes aimed at developing the national economy and strengthening international cooperation," he said in a message.

"I would especially emphasize your considerable personal contribution towards the enhancement of the Russian-Indian relations based on the principles of friendship, mutual trust and strategic partnership. Our cooperation in the spheres of trade and economy, investments, science and technology, culture and humanitarian issues is consistently expanding, promising bilateral projects are successfully coming into life," he added

Wishes poured in for Prime Minister Narendra Modi from all corners of the world on his birthday. The leaders across parties greeted him. President Ram Nath Kovind was among the first one to wish the Prime Minister.

Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin are among the foreign leaders who have extended their greetings to the Indian Prime Minister.

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