Former Maldives president Mohamed Nasheed critically injured in bomb blast

News Network
May 7, 2021

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Male, May 7: The Maldives speaker of parliament and former president, Mohamed Nasheed, was in critical care on Friday after being severely wounded in a bomb blast outside his home, hospital authorities said, in what police are treating as a terrorist attack.

Nobody has claimed responsibility for Thursday's explosion in the capital Male that has revived security concerns in the Indian Ocean islands, known for luxury resorts but which have also faced political unrest and Islamist militant violence.

Nasheed, the Maldives first democratically elected president who is now parliament speaker, had previously warned about militants infiltrating the Islamic country. He was getting into his car when the blast occurred.

Local media said the explosion was caused by a device planted on a motorcycle parked near his car.

Doctors operated to remove shrapnel from Nasheed, who is now in critical condition in intensive care, ADK hospital said.

"Over the course of the past 16 hours he had life-saving surgery on injuries to his head, chest, abdomen and limbs," the hospital said in a statement.

In 2015, former president Abdulla Yameen escaped unharmed after an explosion on his speedboat. In 2007, a blast that was blamed on Islamist militants targeted foreign tourists and injured 12 people.

Police Commissioner Mohamed Hameed said 450 officers had been deployed to investigate the latest incident.

"We are treating this as a terrorist attack," he told a news conference, adding that the national security threat level had been raised to its highest rating of 3.

The government is seeking technical support from foreign partners in the case. A team from the Australian Federal Police is expected to join the investigation on Monday.

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, a close ally of Nasheed, said Thursday's blast was an attack on nation's democracy and its economy.

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News Network
June 1,2021

Bengaluru, June 1: Universities in Karnataka have collectively urged the state government to vaccinate college students at the earliest and said that they will be unable to start regular or offline classes for the academic year 2021-22 without students being vaccinated.

The varsities stuck to the online mode of teaching during the previous year. Their demand comes even as students going abroad for higher education have sought vaccination at the earliest in the wake of foreign universities mandating the same. 

Fr V M Abraham, Vice-Chancellor, Christ University said students can be invited to campus only if they had completed both doses of vaccination. “The university is even planning to conduct convocation only after all students are vaccinated. I think it is justified in the interest of everyone’s health and safety. Until then, the institution will stick to online classes,” he said.

M R Doreswamy, Chancellor, PES University had a similar view. Whether a student was from within the state or outside the country, vaccination should be mandatory before starting offline classes, he said. While urging the government to ensure vaccination for all college students at the earliest, Doreswamy said offline classes were necessary for effective learning. “Online classes cannot replace offline classes. It can only be a temporary solution,” he observed. 

Many universities in Karnataka, especially those in Bengaluru, also see a number of foreign students. “Those travelling to India for studies will be required to produce proof of vaccination,” said Dr N V H Krishnan, Registrar, Jain Deemed-to-be University. Once the lockdown is lifted, the university will give an option to students to choose between offline and online classes, he added. 

Government universities have different challenge to face. Many of them cater to a large number of rural students. Since rural Karnataka is now seeing a spike in cases, faculty in these universities have also urged the government to vaccinate students at the earliest. 

“Unless the government takes initiative in vaccinating all these students, it will be a challenge to conduct offline classes,” said University of Mysore Vice-Chancellor G Hemantha Kumar. While the university can comfortably conduct online classes for about eight weeks in a semester, it will have to go for offline classes for the rest. “Since there will be practical work, students need to come to the campus,” he said.

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News Network
June 9,2021

New Delhi, June 9: The government has come out with comprehensive guidelines for the management of Covid-19 among children in which Remdesivir has not been recommended and rational use of HRCT imaging has been suggested.

The guidelines issued by the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) under the health ministry also said that steroids are harmful in asymptomatic and mild cases of infection.

The DGHS recommended steroids only in hospitalised moderately severe and critically ill Covid-19 cases under strict supervision.

"Steroids should be used at the right time, in the right dose and for the right duration. Self-medication of steroids must be avoided," it said.

The guidelines also said Remdesivir (an emergency use authorization drug) is not recommended in children.

"There is lack of sufficient safety and efficacy data with respect to Remdesivir in children below 18 years of age," the guidelines said.

The guidelines suggested rational use of High-resolution CT (HRCT) for seeing the extent and nature of lung involvement in patients with Covid-19.

"However, any additional information gained from HRCT scan of the chest often has little impact on treatment decisions, which are based almost entirely on clinical severity and physiological impairment.

"Therefore, treating physicians should be highly selective in ordering HRCT imaging of the chest in Covid-19 patients," the guidelines said.

They said Covid-19 is a viral infection, and antimicrobials have no role in the prevention or treatment of uncomplicated Covid-19 infection.

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

Hospital admission increases the risk of healthcare-associated infections with multidrug-resistant organisms.

For asymptomatic infection among children, the guidelines recommended no specific medication and promoted Covid-appropriate behaviour (mask, strict hand hygiene, physical distancing) and suggested giving nutritious diet.

The guidelines said that for mild infection paracetamol 10-15mg/kg/dose may be given every 4-6 hours for fever and throat soothing agents and warm saline gargles in older children and adolescents have been recommended for cough.

In case of moderate infection, the guidelines suggested initiating immediate oxygen therapy.

"Corticosteroids are not required in all children with moderate illness; they may be administered in rapidly progressive disease and anticoagulants may also be indicated," the guidelines said.

For severe Covid-19 among children, the guidelines said if Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) develops, necessary management to be initiated.

"In case shock develops, necessary management should be initiated. Antimicrobials to be administered if there is evidence/strong suspicion of superadded bacterial infection.  May need organ support in case of organ dysfunction, e.g. renal replacement therapy," it said.

The guidelines also recommended a six-minute walk test for children above 12 years under the supervision of parents/guardians.

"It is a simple clinical test to assess cardiopulmonary exercise tolerance and is used to unmask hypoxia.  Attach a pulse oximeter to his/her finger and ask the child to walk in the confines of their room for six minutes continuously," it said. 

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News Network
June 5,2021

Bengaluru, June 5: At least 43 of around 35,000 depositors that are struggling to get their hard-earned money back from the Sri Guru Raghavendra Sahakara Bank Niyamitha (SGRSBN) have passed away in last one and half years. 

In January 2020, the Reserve Bank of India, had invoked Section 35 A of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 along with Section 56 of the Banking Regulation Act, after a scam worth Rs 1,400 crore had come to light. 

According to official sources, at least 43 depositors died since then without getting their money back. While some of them died due to covid-19, some others due to other reasons. 

The RBI had also imposed a withdrawal limit of Rs 35,000 citing the bank’s bad loans. The ceiling was raised to Rs 1 lakh later.

Satish Karanth, a mechanical engineer and resident of Kathriguppe, lost his 56-yearold wife Savithri Karanth in March due to breathing issues. “The bank assured good interest rates. We trusted the bank as it was run by our community people. We invested Rs 1 crore, including my mother’s Rs 20 lakh. Now, she despairs every day over the lost money and I don’t know how to console her,” he said.

Vijay Gururaj, a Nagarbhavi resident, said his mother Gayathri Gururaja had deposited Rs 6 lakh. “She was dependent on the interest money for her medical expenses. She was not happy to take money from us. After her deposit was stuck, she became depressed. On March 18, while heading to a hospital, she met with a road accident and died. She did not find peace in her death but was worried about losing money,” said Vijay, an accountant.

Online protest

Hit by Covid-19, the depositors have called for an online protest. It will be organised on Facebook Live — https:// www.facebook.com/SGRSBNDepositors/ — at 8pm on June 6.

Harish Venkataramaiah, a depositor leading the protest, said there has been no development in the last one-andhalf-year with regard to the money. 

“Initially, the heads promised to revive the bank but later an administrator was appointed by the Registrar of Cooperative Societies in Karnataka but that was also of no use. People who defaulted on their loans have been roaming free and the poor depositors are paying a heavy price for it,” he rued.

The bank’s case of irregularities was handed over to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), which is yet to file a chargesheet. A police official said the CID had collected data of the victims but later Covid-19 situation slowed down the probe.

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