International News

International News (599)

23
October

The UK is allowing temporary use of the Flublok flu vaccine and ordering millions of doses as it seeks to get more vaccines into the public during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

The surge in demand for a vaccine to prevent winter flu is causing a crisis in several European cities, increasing the risk of a "dual pandemic", which has the potential to cause death, as COVID-19 infections increase.

 

The UK is targeting vaccinations for over 30 million people, nearly half of the population.

 

The government also said it would authorize the supply of Flublock, which was used in the United States for the past three winters.

 

"Flublock is commonly used in the United States and evidence shows it is very good," said the deputy head of the UK's medical advisory, Jonathan Van Tam.

 

"I want to make sure to all parties that all vaccines have passed reliable clinical trials and rigorous regulatory checks to ensure they are safe, effective, and of high quality," he said.

 

Flublok has a permit for temporary supplies from the Health and Drug Regulatory Agency (MHRA). The MHRA is authorized to take such steps once a drug is confirmed to be safe and effective in responding to threats to public health.

 

Regulators are given extra powers during a pandemic, such as being able to give temporary clearance of any COVID-19 vaccine that meets safety and quality standards before being fully licensed. (Antaranews)

21
October

The Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) Malaysia limits only 10 percent of management and supervisors who may work in the office (Work From Office/WFO) when implementing the Conditional Movement Control Order (PKPB).

 

"The government has agreed to allow management and supervisors who are in office for states (provinces) that undergo PKPB," said Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali in Putrajaya, Wednesday.

 

The Malaysian government has implemented a PKPB in the State of Selangor, the Kuala Lumpur Alliance Region, and Putrajaya from 14 October to 27 October 2020 related to the increase in COVID-19.

 

Those who are allowed by WFO include tasks involving accounting, finance, administration, legislation/law, planning, and Information Communication Technology (ICT).

 

"This decision was taken as a shared responsibility to protect the health of the people and workers," he said.

 

He said they were justified in being in the office, limited to only four hours from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. for three days a week.

For this purpose, said Mohamed Azmin, companies do not need to submit requests.

 

"Management only needs to issue travel permits for each staff member who may work throughout the PKPB period.

Employers also need to set guidelines following the needs of their respective companies," he said.

 

MITI implemented a decision by the State Security Council (MKN) to have industry introduce a Work From Home (WFH) basis for management and supervisory staff.

 

Azmin said that based on the MITI COVID-19 Intelligent Management System (CIMS) database system, the number of workers registered in the production, service, and construction sectors in Sabah, Labuan, Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, and Putrajaya was 3.1 million people. (Antaranews)

20
October

Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Monday (19/10), said 184 countries have joined the COVAX facility.

 

The program will finance the COVID-19 vaccine and distribute it evenly, to both rich and poor countries.

 

"The equitable distribution of vaccines is the fastest way to protect high-risk communities, stabilize health systems and promote a truly global economic recovery," Tedros said during a press conference in Geneva.

 

Ecuador and Uruguay were the last countries to recently join the COVAX facility, he said. (Antaranews)

19
October

France is preparing to expel 231 foreigners on a government watch list for suspected extremist religious beliefs.

 

Radio Europe 1 reported on Sunday, two days after a Russian-born citizen beheaded a teacher.

 

The French Interior Ministry, which is responsible for expels foreigners, declined to comment.

 

President Emmanuel Macron's centrist government has come under pressure from conservative parties and the right to take a tougher stance against citizens he sees as posing a security threat.

 

Macron held a Defense Council meeting with senior cabinet ministers on Sunday.

 

Earlier a man armed with a knife on Friday killed a high school history teacher by slitting his throat in front of the school where he teaches on the outskirts of Paris, police said.

 

We consider the attack an act of terrorism. The attacker was shot dead by police on patrol nearby.

 

The teacher shows cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad to his students in the class, which Muslims see as blasphemy, according to police sources.

 

French anti-terror prosecutors said they were investigating the attack, which took place at Conflans Sainte-Honorine, northwest of Paris.

 

President Emmanuel Macron arrived at the scene on Friday evening.

 

French broadcaster BFMTV reported that the suspected attacker was 18 years old and born in Moscow.

 

The incident echoes an attack five years ago on the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo that published caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad. The publication of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad caused problems in French society.

 

Less than a month ago, a Pakistani man used a butcher knife to attack and injure two people smoking outside the office where Charlie Hebdo was based at the time of the 2015 attack.

 

In Friday's attack, police sources said that witnesses heard the attacker shout "Allahu Akbar", or "God is great." A police spokesman said the information was being checked.

 

Another police source also said that the victim was beheaded in the attack, but this has not been confirmed. The attack took place on the street in front of the secondary school where the victim worked.

 

France attacked "Tonight, France was attacked, a teacher was brutally murdered," wrote French Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer on his Twitter account.

 

"Our unity and our determination are our only response to this act of terrorism," a Twitter thread posted on October 9 alleged that a history teacher at Conflans Sainte-Honorine showed cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad to his students.

 

The thread contains a video of a man saying his daughter, a Muslim, is one of the students in the class. He was shocked and irritated by his teacher's actions. The man in the video urged Twitter users to complain to the authorities. (Antaranews)

16
October

The death tolls due to exposure to COVID-19 worldwide have reached over 1.1 million, with the highest number of deaths in the United States with 222,656 deaths.

 

Through its official website, Worldometer reports that the number of COVID-19 deaths has reached 1,101,420, as of Thursday (15/10/2020). Meanwhile, the number of COVID-19 infections worldwide stands at 39,105,472 cases.

 

Under America, the highest number of COVID-19 deaths was reported by Brazil with 152,460 deaths, followed by India with 112,144 deaths, and the fourth by Mexico with 84,898 deaths.

 

Britain recorded 43,293 deaths, Italy with 36,372 deaths, Spain with 33,553 deaths, Peru 33,512 deaths, France 33,125 deaths, and Iran with 29,605 deaths.

 

Meanwhile, for the cure rate, there are 29.3 million patients worldwide declared cured of the disease. (RRI)

16
October

Sudanese officials are discussing plans to normalize relations with Israel after Washington gave Khartoum an ultimatum to respond to it in return for economic aid and lighter sanctions, CNN reported Thursday.

 

Citing two senior Sudanese officials, CNN said that a meeting was taking place in Sudan after the US issued a 24-hour deadline to agree on a peace with Israel.

 

According to the report, Washington will reduce Sudan's international debt along with the potential to be removed from the list of state sponsors of terrorism.

 

Some $ 600 million in aid for food and medicine will be provided to Sudan under the agreement. In addition, the $ 3 billion debt owed by the US in the next fiscal year will be cut, as reported by Al Arabiya, Friday (16/10/2020).

 

Speaking to The New Arab, a source close to Sudan's transitional sovereign council denied reports published by the Israeli news site i24 News that Sudanese General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan intended to accept the offer. Burhan is the head of Sudan's transitional sovereign council.

 

The council will not discuss normalizing relations with Israel in a meeting scheduled to take place on Thursday, the source added. (RRI)

15
October

Warnings echoed in Germany for the people of Europe's largest economy to do their part in efforts to stop the spread of the new coronavirus as it grapples with a second wave of the COVID-19 outbreak.

 

The additional daily cases of COVID-19 in Germany hit a record Thursday.

 

"There is no doubt now that this is the beginning of a second wave (of the COVID-19 outbreak) which is huge," German Chancellor Angela Merkel's chief of staff, Helge Braun, told public broadcaster ARD.

 

"At the start of this second wave, the key is in our hands to stop the transmission of infection. The longer we wait and the less assertive we are, the more this virus will affect not only our health but also our economy," said Braun.

 

By European standards, Germany has so far experienced relatively low rates of coronavirus infection and death from COVID-19 during the pandemic. However, additional daily recent cases of COVID-19 have surged in recent weeks.

 

Germany's daily new COVID-19 cases have now hit a record 6,638, bringing the total cases since the start of the pandemic to 341,223, according to data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases on Thursday.

 

The previous record daily increase was 6,294 on March 28, according to RKI data. German states agreed on Wednesday night to expand restrictive measures to counter the spread of the coronavirus to larger regions of the country.

 

The decision came as new cases of COVID-19 in Germany surged, but Merkel warned that even harsher steps may be needed.

 

German Health Minister Jens Spahn warned that people's behavior in the coming days will determine whether they can celebrate Christmas with their families this year.

 

"It is important to understand that we are not powerless against this virus. We can do something, we can all make a difference every day," Spahn told Deutschlandfunk radio on Thursday.

 

"We can be a barrier to the transmission of this virus if we are careful of each other and keep the number of new infections to a level we can handle."

 

Thursday's tally showed the number of reported fatalities from COVID-19 rose by 33 to 9,710. (Antaranews)

15
October

The Malaysian Ministry of Health (KKM) stated that it is increasing the preparedness of various aspects of health in dealing with COVID-19, including increasing the capacity of 54,706 RT-PCR tests per day.

 

"This achievement is the result of a cooperation agreement between 61 laboratories under KKM, the Malaysian Army, the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, State Universities and Private Universities and private laboratories," said Malaysian Health Minister Adham Baba in Putrajaya, Thursday.

 

He said that 13 PTN laboratories under the Ministry of Higher Education and private laboratories are now pushing human resources to the maximum stage.

 

Until October 14, 2020, he said, as much as 42 percent of the country's laboratory capacity was used and that number would increase to test more samples, especially in the red zone, yellow zone, and screening and close contact detection activities by KKM.

 

"In Sabah, the Kota Kinabalu government health laboratory, the laboratory at Queen Elizabeth Hospital with a capacity of 2,500 tests a day are already operating. Meanwhile, the remaining samples from the whole of Sabah were taken by Malaysian Air Force flights to Peninsular Malaysia," he said.

 

In addition, laboratory equipment at the Tawau Kubota Health Clinic is being upgraded so that it can run RT-PCR testing and is expected to operate in the near future.

 

"In the field also early detection of positive cases of COVID-19, more RTK-Ag tests have been used," he said.

 

KKM reported that until October 14, 2020, at 12.00 there were 660 recent cases with four deaths. (Antaranews)

14
October

Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister, Sergei Ryabkov, rejected Washington's proposal to freeze Russia's and US nuclear arsenal at current levels in exchange for an extension of the Russia-US New START agreement on further reduction of strategic offensive weapons.

 

"This is an unacceptable proposal," the diplomat said, as quoted by TASS, Wednesday (14/10/2020), while commenting on the initiative, which was previously voiced yesterday by the US President's Special Envoy for Arms Control Marshall Billingslea.

 

Speaking at a videoconference, hosted by the Heritage Foundation on Tuesday (13/10/2020), Billingslea said his country is ready to extend New START if the two countries agree to limit or freeze their nuclear arsenal.

 

"We are actually willing to extend the New START Agreement for some time, on condition that they, in return, agree to a limitation or freezing of their nuclear arsenal. We are willing to do the same," he said. "We have proposed a compromise: agree with us to freeze, and we will extend New START for some period,".

 

"We are ready to reach this agreement, in fact, we can achieve it tomorrow, but Moscow has to show the political will to do it too," added Billingslea.

 

The Treaty between the United States and the Russian Federation on Measures for the Reduction and Restriction of Further Strategic Offensive Weapons (New START Agreement) entered force on 5 February 2011.

 

The document stipulates that seven years after entry into force each party must have no more than 700 intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) deployed, submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) and strategic bombers, and no more than 1,550 warheads on the ICBM deployed, SLBMs deployed, and strategic bombers and 800 deployed and non-deployed ICBM launchers, SLBM launchers, and strategic bombers.

 

The New START Agreement will remain in effect for 10 years, until 2021, unless before that date is replaced by a subsequent agreement on the reduction and limitation of strategic offensive weapons. It can also be extended for no more than 5 years (i.e. until 2026) by mutual agreement of the parties.

 

Moscow has repeatedly asked Washington not to delay the extension of the treaty it describes as the gold standard in disarmament.

 

In an interview with the Financial Times in late June 2019, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that once this agreement ceases to exist, "there will be no instruments in the world to limit the arms race.". (RRI)

13
October

President of the United States Donald Trump has been declared cured of COVID-19, following a negative test result.

 

"I can say that he tested negative on several consecutive days, using the Abbott BinaxNOW antigen card," said Presidential Doctor Sean Conley in an official statement on Monday (12/10/2020) local time reported by CNN.

 

Meanwhile, reported by AFP, although it did not clearly specify the day and location of the test, the doctor's statement stated that the negative result had taken into account several measurement methods, not just a quick test.

 

However, he confirmed that the data allowed the medical team to conclude that Trump had no potential to transmit the virus to other people.

 

This brief statement was issued while the president was on board Air Force One en route to Florida for the campaign. (RRI)

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