UK approves Covishield as qualified vaccine for travel but...

News Network
September 22, 2021

There is confusion over the UK government's vaccine recognition process for Indian travellers as even though Oxford/AstraZeneca Covishield, the India-manufactured Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, is on an updated international travel advisory, India is not yet on a list of 17 approved countries.

The UK's Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) have said on Wednesday that they are unable to confirm this and will require further clarifications even though the advisory states: “Formulations of the 4 listed vaccines, such as AstraZeneca Covishield, AstraZeneca Vaxzevria and Moderna Takeda, qualify as approved vaccines.”

There has been widespread condemnation of the Serum Institute of India manufactured vaccines not being included in a list of eligible Covid-19 vaccines recognised under Britain's reviewed international travel norms, effective from October 4.

From October 4, England’s current traffic light system of red, amber and green countries based on levels of Covid-19 risk will be scrapped and replaced with one red list only. However, there is a lack of clarity over whether Indians vaccinated with any vaccines in India – including Covishield – fall within the UK’s eligibility criteria or not.

“We have to see how it goes. But if we do not get satisfaction we would be within our rights to impose reciprocal measures,” Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said in response to a question on the issue in New Delhi on Tuesday.

“The basic issue is that here is a vaccine, Covishield, which is a licensed product of the UK company, manufactured in India of which we have supplied five million doses to the UK at the request of the government of the UK. We understand that this is being used under the national health system, and, therefore, non-recognition of Covishield is a discriminatory policy and does impact those of our citizens travelling to the UK,” he said.

Covishield and other Indian vaccines being covered as eligible would mean that a pre-departure PCR test is no longer required as long as vaccinated travellers pre-book a day two test post-arrival in England and complete the compulsory passenger locator form in advance.

From October 4, travellers from 17 additional countries with eligible vaccines, including Australia, Japan, Singapore and Malaysia, will fall under the UK’s list of recognised jabs of Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer BioNTech, Moderna or Janssen vaccines. The DHSC has said this list is reviewed fortnightly.

So far it means, under the new rules from October 4, travellers from India must take a Covid-19 test three days before departure and book in advance for two Covid-19 tests to be taken upon arrival in England. On arrival in England, the passengers must self-isolate in the place they have confirmed on their passenger locator form for 10 days.

A privately paid-for "Test to Release" option does exist at day five, which allows an early end to the 10-day quarantine with a negative PCR test.

The Indian government has said it is working with several countries to recognise India’s vaccine certification on a “mutual reciprocal basis”.

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News Network
October 22,2021

Mumbai, Oct 22: Despite the uproar over Ananya Panday's grilling by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), official sources hinted on Friday that there is apparently no evidence of any 'drug-related exchanges' in her alleged WhatsApp chats with Aryan Khan, the son of Bollywood megastar Shah Rukh Khan.

The sources reluctantly divulged that there are 'no traces or references' of any Marijuana (Ganja) or weed-related chat in the two star kids' WhatsApp communication being scanned in-depth by the NCB.

More likely, Ananya is being questioned for her version by the NCB for some different leads it has collected in the case, but the officials declined to elaborate.

The latest disclosure comes in the wake of certain unconfirmed media reports claiming the emergence of at least three purported WhatsApp chats between the two star-kids allegedly discussing drugs, etc. which the NCB was probing now.

In a surprise addition to the ongoing investigations into the October 2 rave party raid aboard a cruise ship, the NCB 'visited' the home of Ananya Panday and slapped her with a summons.

Acting promptly on Thursday, accompanied by her father and veteran actor Chunky Panday, Ananya went to the NCB and was questioned for over 2 hours by half a dozen officials, and has been summoned again this day (October 22).

The developments came even as a Special NDPS Court Judge VV Patil extended the judicial custody of Khan and 7 others arrested on October 3, till October 30. Khan's bail plea will come up before the Bombay High Court on October 26.

Earlier on Thursday, Shah Rukh Khan had visited Aryan in the Arthur Road Central Jail where he spent a few minutes with him, and later an NCB team 'visited' his Bandra bungalow.

This prompted the veteran Bollywood actress and TV hostess Simi Garewal, 75, to come out in indirect support of Aryan, Ananya and others vide a cryptic tweet: "In a population of 1,397,642,731 - they can only find these 6 or 8 young Bollywood stars to target for drugs??"

Meanwhile, after nabbing at least 20 people to date in the cruise ship raid case, the NCB has not ruled out making further arrests as the investigations widen and progress. 

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News Network
October 16,2021

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British Member of Parliament David Amess, 69, has died after being stabbed several times during a meeting with his constituents at a church in eastern England. A 25-year-old suspect has been arrested.

Reports said a man walked into Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, south Essex, where Amess was holding a surgery with locals on Friday and attacked the politician.

“He was treated by emergency services but, sadly, died at the scene,” police said. “A 25-year-old man was quickly arrested after officers arrived at the scene on suspicion of murder and a knife was recovered.”

In a statement, the Metropolitan Police has said that the murder Amess has been declared as a “terrorist incident”, with the investigation being led by its Terrorism Command, the agency said in a statement posted on social media.

 Detectives said they were not looking for anyone else in connection with the incident. There was no detail about the motivation for the attack but the chief constable of Essex police later said counterterrorism officers are leading the investigation.

“The investigation is in its very early stages and is being led by officers from the specialist counterterrorism command,” Ben-Julian Harrington told reporters.

“It will be for investigators to determine whether or not this is a terrorist incident.”

Colleagues from across parliament expressed their shock and sorrow and paid tribute to Amess, who held regular meetings with voters on the first and third Fridays of the month, saying he was diligent in his duties to his local area. Amess leaves behind a wife and five children.

Flags in Downing Street were lowered in tribute.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he and his cabinet were “deeply shocked and heart-stricken”.

“David was a man who believed passionately in this country and in its future, and we’ve lost today a fine public servant and a much-loved friend and colleague,” Johnson said.

The prime minister would not say whether the attack meant politicians needed tighter security, saying, “We must really leave the police to get on with their investigation.”

Amess has been a member of parliament for Southend West, which includes Leigh-on-Sea, since 1997, but has been a lawmaker since 1983.

He was a well-liked member of parliament, best known for his ceaseless campaign to have Southend declared a city.

His website lists his main interests as “animal welfare and pro-life issues”.

Violence against British politicians is rare, but two other British lawmakers have been attacked this century during their “surgeries”, regular meetings where constituents can present concerns and complaints.

In June 2016, Labour Party lawmaker Jo Cox was fatally stabbed and shot in her northern England constituency. A member of the far right was convicted of her murder.

In 2010, Labour lawmaker Stephen Timms survived a stabbing in his constituency office.

Jacqui Smith, chair of the Jo Cox Foundation, said in a statement on Twitter that Amess’s death is a “tragic loss for those who knew and loved Sir David”.

“I knew him as a generous and dedicated colleague in Parliament. Public life must be safe for those we ask to serve in our democracy – that is a responsibility for us all.”

Leader of the Labour Party Keir Starmer said on Twitter that David was a “dedicated public servant”.

“Informed by his faith, David had a profound sense of duty, that I witnessed first hand in parliament,” Starmer said.

“We will show once more that violence, intimidation and threats to our democracy will never prevail over the tireless commitment of public servants simply doing their jobs.”

Chris Doyle, the director of the Council for Arab-British Understanding – who knew both Amess and Cox – said that the killing of Amess would have a “chilling effect on British politics – the way in which you get that vital interchange between an elected member of parliament, part of the legislature, and the constituents that they represent.”

“There are 650 British MPs that will now be thinking ‘that could have been me’,” he said.

“They will be looking over their shoulders, they will be thinking ‘how can we improve our security. But above all of course the main sentiment is for David’s family and friends – to have lost him in such a way is just beyond belief.”

British lawmakers are protected by armed police when they are inside Parliament, but have no such protection in their constituencies. Amess published the times and locations of his open meetings with constituents on his website.

“Questions are rightly being asked about the safety of our country’s elected representatives and I will provide updates in due course,” Home Secretary Priti Patel said on Friday. 

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coastaldigest.com news network
October 12,2021

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Mangaluru, Oct 12: Greeshma Nayak, the topper in the SSLC supplementary exams, had reportedly tried to end her life only a few months ago. That was when she was not allowed to take a crack at the (Secondary School Leaving Certificate) SSLC main exam merely because she was unable to clear her school’s dues.

On Monday, she showed her mettle when the results of the SSLC 2021 supplementary examinations were announced. Greeshma, hailing from a village in Koratagere taluk of Tumakuru district and a student of Alvas English Medium School in Moodbidri, topped the state by securing 599 out of 625.

Despite repeated requests, Greeshma was denied an admission ticket to write the main exams.

Even the then education minister S Suresh Kumar’s visit to the girl’s house did not help as he could only assure her of an opportunity to appear for the supplementary examinations.

A disappointed Greeshma had then reportedly tried to end her life.

However, the girl was allowed to appear for the supplementary exams only after giving in writing that her dues will be cleared during the issue of the transfer certificate.

Greeshma said, “I was expecting high marks but never thought I would be the topper.” Greeshma said she wants to take up science and pursue medicine.

Meanwhile, MD Shanawaz from Grammar Multimedia School, Kalaburagi secured the second place with 592 out of 625 and the third place was secured by Gowri Manohari of Sudarshana High School, Mysuru with a score of 591 out of 625.

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