Pfizer and Moderna are safe

Pfizer and Moderna are safe and effective in pregnant women, provide antibodies to newborns

Pfizer and Moderna are safe and effective in pregnant women, provide antibodies to newborns

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are safe and effective in pregnant and lactating women and those women are able to pass protective antibodies to their newborns, according to a new study.

To come to that conclusion, researchers studied a group of 131 reproductive-age women who received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, including 84 pregnant, 31 lactating and 16 non-pregnant women and found antibody levels were similar in all three groups.

“That’s a very important piece of information to our patients,” said Dr. Andrea Edlow, co-author on the study which was published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology on Thursday.

“We know that this vaccine works for you.” Another common concern among pregnant patients is vaccine side effects. The study found no significant difference in vaccine side effects between pregnant and non-pregnant study participants.

Compared to pregnant women who had recovered from COVID, pregnant women who received the vaccine had “strikingly higher” antibody levels. Interestingly, women who received the Moderna version had greater antibody levels than those who received the Pfizer.

Vaccine-generated antibodies were present in all of the umbilical cord and breast milk samples that were tested, which suggests that pregnant and lactating women pass COVID-19 protection to their fetuses or newborns.

“That is the most comforting piece of information that’s out there,” said Galit Alter, study author and professor of medicine at the Ragon Institute.

Pfizer and Moderna are safe and provide antibodies to newborns

The antibodies that researchers found in the mother’s blood were what’s known as neutralizing, meaning they have the ability to kill SARS-CoV-2 in laboratory tests, but more research needs to be done to determine whether infants have robust immunity after receiving antibodies from their vaccinated mothers.

Future research could also help women decide when the ideal time in pregnancy to get a vaccine is for maximum protective benefits and determine whether other vaccines, like Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca, perform similarly to the two in the study.


Keira Knightley says she won't shoot nude scenes with male directors anymore

Keira Knightley says she won’t shoot nude scenes with male directors anymore

Keira Knightley says she won’t shoot nude scenes with male directors anymore

Actress Keira Knightley is no longer interested in doing sex scenes just to appeal to men, she said, calling her no-nudity decision partly a result of having two children.

But if a female director was behind the camera, that might be a different matter, the Pirates of the Caribbean star said in a podcast.

“I feel very uncomfortable now trying to portray the male gaze. Saying that, there’s times where I go, ‘Yeah, I completely see where this sex would be really good in this film and you basically just need somebody to look hot’,” Knightley said in a conversation with director Lulu Wang in a Chanel Connects podcast.

“So therefore you can use somebody else, because I’m too vain and the body has had two children now and I’d just rather not stand in front of a group of men naked,” she added.

“I don’t want it to be those horrible sex scenes where you’re all greased up and everybody is grunting. I’m not interested in doing that,”

The British actress, 35, added a no-nudity clause to her contract after having children, saying she was more vocal now than she had been as a breakout star in her early 20s in movies like Pride and Prejudice and Atonement.

“If I was making a story that was about that journey of motherhood and body acceptance, I feel like, I’m sorry, but that would have to be with a female film-maker,” Knightley said. “I don’t have an absolute ban, but I kind of do with men.”

“I don’t want it to be those horrible sex scenes where you’re all greased up and everybody is grunting. I’m not interested in doing that,” she added. Knightley gave birth to her second child with musician James Righton in 2019.

Bangladesh begins vaccination against COVID-19

Bangladesh begins vaccination against COVID-19

Runu Veronica Costa, a senior nurse of Kurmitola General Hospital, received the first shot of the Covid-19 vaccine after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina virtually inaugurated the pilot vaccination programme.

State-run BTV telecast the event live. ‘I’m glad that we have succeeded in collecting the vaccines and hope we could protect our people with the vaccination against coronavirus,’ said Hasina as she officially inaugurated the vaccination.

She also expressed her condolence at the loss of lives due to COVID-19. ‘Please work and help us to make the vaccination campaign a success,’ PM said.

While inaugurating the programme Hasina asked Runu if she was afraid and the nurse replied in the negative. ‘You are so courageous to receive the vaccine first.

We are proud of you,’ Hasina complimented her. Followed by Runu, KGH doctor Ahmed Lutful Moben, Directorate General of Health Services additional director general Nasima Sultana, police officer Didarul Islam of Dhaka Metropolitan Police and Brigadier General Emran Hamid of Bangladesh Army received the jab, which prime minister witnessed.

Bangladesh plans to begin the mass vaccination on February 7, after vaccinating about 500 healthcare providers in four other hospitals in the capital.

The vaccinated healthcare providers will be observed for a week. Bangladesh has so far secured 70 lakh doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine made by the Serum Institute of India.

Pakistan International Snowboarding Championship

Pakistan International Snowboarding Championship festival kicks off in Malam Jabba

Pakistan International Snowboarding Championship festival kicks off in Malam Jabba

Pakistan International Snowboarding Championship and Festival kicked off at the Malam Jabba tourist resort in Swat valley on Friday.

Over 44 national and international players, including four women players from Europe, Afghanistan and Pakistan, are participating, according to a statement issued here.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Culture and Tourism Authority (KP-CTA) and the Samson Group of Companies are jointly organizing the event.

Besides snowboarding, traditional foods and a music festival are also part of the gala to entertain the visitors. The statement said men and women joint slalom and parallel joint slalom competitions were held on Friday, while concluding ceremony would be held on Saturday (today).

Malam Jabba is the only civil skiing resort in Pakistan at about 8,500 height. The tourism department had also arranged the snowboarding championship at Malam Jabba last year.

A large number of people from across the country and internationally had participated in the event.

Google threatens to block Australians over media la

Google threatens to block Australians over media law

Google threatens to block Australians over media law

Google threatened on Friday to block Australians from using its search service unless the government changed landmark legislation to make the internet giant pay news outlets for their content.

Google Australia’s managing director Mel Silva warned a Senate committee in Canberra that the ‘world-first’ media law was “unworkable” and would undermine the functioning of the internet.

“If this version of the code were to become law, it would give us no real choice but to stop making Google Search available in Australia,” Silva said, the first time the company has made such a threat after months of difficult negotiations over the draft law.

The legislation was introduced last year to force Google and Facebook to pay local media organisations to host news content or face millions of dollars in fines, in one of the most aggressive moves globally to check the power of the US tech giants.

Under the laws, the firms would be required to compensate Australian media outlets, ranging from Rupert Murdoch’s giant News Corp to public broadcasters ABC and SBS, for publishing snippets of their content in search results.

The most controversial part of the law would require Google and Facebook to enter mandatory arbitration with media companies if they cannot reach agreement over the value of their content within three months.

The arbiter would then choose between the payment proposal put forward by a news outlet and that coming from the tech firm.


West Indies chose to bat first vs Bangladesh

West Indies chose to bat vs Bangladesh

West Indies opt to bat with debut for Kjorn Ottley & Bangladesh unchanged.

After being outplayed in the opening game, West Indies captain Jason Mohammed opted to bat in the second ODI in a bid to keep the series alive.

While Jason expected his batsmen to put up a good total, Bangladesh captain Tamim Iqbal said he anyway wanted to bowl first because “you never know with this wicket”.

West Indies had fielded six debutants in the first ODI. On Friday, they handed another debut, to left-hand top-order batsman Kjorn Ottley who came in place of Chemar Holder. That was the only change they made.

Bangladesh, meanwhile, went with an unchanged XI. The match is being played on the same pitch as the first ODI. So spinners are once again expected to get good purchase. There is no forecast of rain.

Bangladesh Squad :

1 Tamim Iqbal (capt), 2 Liton Das, 3 Najmul Hossain Shanto, 4 Shakib Al Hasan, 5 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 6 Mahmudullah, 7 Soumya Sarkar, 8 Mehidy Hasan Miraz, 9 Rubel Hossain, 10 Hasan Mahmud, 11 Mustafizur Rahman

West Indies Squad:

1 Sunil Ambris, 2 Kjorn Ottley, 3 Joshua Da Silva (wk), 4 Andre McCarthy, 5 Nkrumah Bonner, 6 Jason Mohammed (capt), 7 Rovman Powell, 8 Kyle Mayers, 9 Raymon Reifer, 10 Alzarri Joseph, 11 Akeal Hosein

American President Joe Biden

American President Joe Biden signs orders to end ‘Muslim ban’

American President Joe Biden signs orders to end ‘Muslim ban’

US President Joe Biden has begun to undo some of Donald Trump’s key policies, hours after being sworn in.

New President Joe Biden has signed a string of executive orders, memorandums and directives that will reverse some of his predecessor Donald Trump’s most divisive policies, including rescinding the so-called “Muslim ban”, rejoining the Paris climate accord, and ending the process to withdraw from the World Health Organization (WHO).

Just hours after his inauguration at the US Capitol on Wednesday, Biden signed 15 executive actions that his team earlier said aimed to “reverse the gravest damages of the Trump administration”.

Biden told reporters in the Oval Office that there was “no time to waste”.

“Some of the executive actions I’m going to be signing today are going to help change the course of the COVID crisis, we’re going to combat climate change in a way that we haven’t done so far and advance racial equity and support other underserved communities,” he said, as reported by the Reuters news agency.

Biden rescinded the so-called “Muslim ban”, an executive order Trump signed in 2017 that banned travelers from seven Muslim-majority nations from entering the US. The ban was changed several times amid legal challenges and ultimately upheld by the US Supreme Court in 2018. “The president put an end to the Muslim ban – a policy rooted in religious animus and xenophobia,” Biden’s White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said during a Wednesday evening briefing.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations welcomed the decision as “an important first step toward undoing the anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant policies of the previous administration”. “It is an important fulfilment of a campaign pledge to the Muslim community and its allies,” the group’s executive director, Nihad Awad, said in a statement.



Online shoppers warned about hidden price rises

Online shoppers warned about hidden price rises

Online shoppers warned about hidden price rises

Algorithms used by online marketplaces could lead to a rise in prices of goods and services, the UK’s competitions watchdog has warned.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is investigating businesses which use technology on selling platforms.

Shoppers could be “manipulated” into buying specific items, as search results favour certain brands, it said. Consumers may also be shown misleading messages on these websites, suggesting items are in short supply.

Collusion between businesses on consumer spending and browsing data could lead to “sustained higher prices for products and services”, the CMA said.

Kate Brand, its director of data science, added: “Algorithms play an important role online but, if not used responsibly, can potentially do a tremendous amount of harm to consumers and businesses.

“Assessing this harm is the first step towards being able to ensure consumers are protected, and complements our wider work in digital markets to promote greater competition and innovation online.”

‘Personalized pricing’

The effect of algorithms can be difficult for shoppers to detect, the regulator warned, adding that websites could use “nudges” including the location of a “buy” button or generating “personalized pricing”.

Online platforms might also have misleading messages which suggest a product is in short supply, the CMA added.

Another issue it wants to scrutinize is how firms can use algorithms to manipulate online review scores.

But the CMA accepted that this technology can also bring benefits, by suggesting products or services in which consumers are more likely to be interested.

It has now asked for contributions from academics and industry experts to aid the investigation.

“The majority of algorithms used by private firms online are currently subject to little or no regulatory oversight, and the research concludes that more monitoring and action is required by regulators,” the CMA said in a statement.

Rocio Concha, director of policy and advocacy at consumer group Which?, said “pressure-selling tactics” or the use of fake reviews can be harmful to customers.

“Algorithms can help consumers find suitable products and services as well as good deals, but can also be used to track and monitor behaviors in ways they are unaware of, leading to them being manipulated or misled – either accidentally or by design,” she added.

Breaking down Japan’s Go To Travel campaign

Breaking down Japan’s Go To Travel campaign

Breaking down Japan’s Go To Travel campaign

Starting on Oct. 1, the government re-included Tokyo in its Go To Travel campaign, a program subsidizing domestic travel that aims to encourage spending and boost an economy suffering the effects of a global pandemic.

Initially left out amid the capital’s rising coronavirus case numbers, Tokyoites can now take advantage of the government initiative, which covers up to half of eligible domestic travel expenses.

One of the outcomes of the pandemic has been renewed interest in domestic travel. Here’s how to take advantage of the Go To campaign, plus tips to stay safe when embarking on future trips.

What is the Go To Travel campaign?

Announced by tourism minister Kazuyoshi Akaba in a meeting on July 10, the Go To campaign is a ¥1.7 trillion initiative encompassing travel, food and entertainment industries to help stimulate Japan’s economy.

Go To Travel is one in a four-part campaign to boost local industry significantly impacted by the pandemic — the others are Go To Eat, Go To Event and Go To Shotengai (shopping streets).

The Go To Travel campaign funds up to 50% of travel expenses for domestic trips, both overnight and one-day excursions (limited to ¥20,000/person per night and ¥10,000/person per day trip, respectively), including accommodation and transport fees.

The Japanese government will subsidize 35% of the total cost; the remaining 15% is covered by discount coupons that can be used at participating hospitality, sightseeing and shopping businesses.

Here’s where it gets complicated. Travel expenses, which include transportation and accommodation costs, must make up 70% of said 50% subsidy: Therefore, 70% of the maximum ¥20,000 per day (up to ¥14,000) must be appropriated towards these expenses. The remaining 30% (maximum ¥6,000) will be awarded in the form of regional coupons. Regional coupons are issued in units of ¥1,000, and are distributed by designated travel agencies and hotels either in paper form or electronically to a smartphone device.

The coupons can be used during the period of travel in the destination prefecture and its neighboring prefectures at designated local businesses. Note that change can’t be provided for these coupons.

What trips are eligible?

All residents of Japan can apply for the campaign, which will continue through January 2021 (though it may end earlier if the budget limit is reached). Both day trips and longer overnight trips are eligible, and there’s no limitations on the number of travelers per trip, number of trips or trip length.

Travelers must make their bookings through a campaign-registered business, such as JTB, HIS and Hankyu Travel, or directly through an accommodation-booking website. You can search for participating businesses on the official Go To Travel website (Japanese only). Trips can also be reserved via Japan Wonder Travel and, both of which provide services in English.

The discounts can be used for transport expenses if booked as part of a package through a travel agency. If accommodation is booked directly through a participating hotel’s website, individually arranged transportation fees are not eligible — except cruises, night ferries and sleeper trains.

Good news for people still hoping to save money on transport is the JR East Welcome Pass 2020. Though not affiliated with the Go To campaign, the limited-time discount pass is only available to non-Japanese passport holders and allows unlimited travel for three consecutive days on all JR East trains in Tokyo, Tohoku, Nagano and Niigata. The passes are on sale until Feb. 26, 2021, and cost ¥12,000 for adults, ¥6,000 for children.

How to travel safely

So you’ve booked a trip. What should you expect?

Last week, as part of the annual Regional Committee for the Western Pacific, Dr. Takeshi Kasai (along with other experts) gave a virtual press conference, which included a regional update on COVID-19 and responses to a number of questions regarding ways to minimize risk and reduce virus transmission.

Kasai set out a number of WHO guidelines and precautions that they recommend travelers take to prevent transmission of COVID-19 while traveling, commenting that it is “very important for all people to continue to practice this healthier behavior and create and participate in this ‘new normal.’

Breaking down Japan’s Go To Travel campaign

Social distancing and good hygiene

Avoid crowded places, keep two meters apart wherever possible and wear a mask in public to protect yourself and those around you.

Travelers are urged to carry alcohol sanitizer wipes and gel to clean or disinfect surfaces that they may come into contact with, such as transportation arm rests and tables.

It may sound like a no-brainer, but do wash your hands with soap and water often and for at least 20 seconds. Also, avoid touching your face with unwashed hands and be sure to cough or sneeze toward your bent elbow. Perform daily personal health checks, such as taking your temperature every morning and evening with a personal thermometer.

Plan in advance

Be sure to research a list of local doctor offices or travel clinics at your destination, and any precautions they have in place for securing an appointment if you start to feel unwell. If severe symptoms appear, such as shortness of breath or high fever, isolate yourself, avoid public transport and seek advice from the Japan National Tourism Organization’s COVID-19 consultation hotline at 050-3816-2787 (available in English, Chinese, Korean and Japanese).

New hospitality

Many hospitality companies have completely changed the way they operate during this new wave of safe travel.

According to Hana Tsukamoto, founder of luxury guesthouse company Maana Homes in Kyoto, “With the drastic drop in foreign tourism numbers, we had to change tact, but we’ve managed to sustain a decent level of occupancy offering domestic tourists the opportunity to explore what’s on their doorstep.

Our homes are secluded, boutique spaces for travel with thorough hygiene systems in place to keep guests safe, meaning they’re perfect for this era of socially distant staycations.

Our properties accommodate private groups in their own isolated space for a more considered approach to travel. We’ve listened to our guests’ concerns and have also started working with a local restaurant to provide a dinner delivery service, too, so that guests can relax in the knowledge that they can avoid crowds if needed.”

Meanwhile, the recently opened Four Seasons Hotels’ new Otemachi property has the added benefits of its Lead With Care program, a consulting agreement with Johns Hopkins Medicine, to inform the hotel’s health and safety decisions during the pandemic.

Measures include stringent behind-the-scenes standards enforced by an onsite hygiene officer, ensuring employees have a well-informed understanding of the disease and its transmission to provide guidance on appropriate social distancing, personal protective equipment and contactless interactions via the Four Seasons app.

Regional Vice President and General Manager Andrew de Brito says, “ In this new environment, the Four Seasons experience may look a bit different, but it feels exactly the same – warm, personalized and memorable.” It is easy to forget that Japan has myriad options for domestic travel, many of which rival overseas destinations. The Go To Travel campaign is a step toward celebrating local tourism; by doing so in accordance with expert health and safety guidelines, you can embark on your next trip with confidence and safety.

How to Increase Your

How to Increase Your Stamina for Running?

How to Increase Your Stamina for Running?

Running isn’t easy. You’ll need high stamina for a long run. Read this article to know how to increase your stamina that will help you to run.

Running is not that simple as it sounds. There are some people who easily get tired after a few meters of the walk, so running becomes very difficult for them. However, there is no specific rule to increase running stamina but you can follow some guidelines that would keep you injury-free.

It is not about having as much of a longer walk but there are several other factors that determine how much you’ll be able to run.

The beginning is crucial. Don’t start to run all of a sudden without doing stretching. Warm-up and walk for a little prior to running. Maintain a constant speed while running.

It’s not necessary to run at a fast pace. You can start with faster walking and then medium pace running at a constant speed.

Make a goal that per day you need to run this many kilometers and determine the time accordingly.

How to Increase Your

How to increase stamina?

You won’t reach your goal in just a single day. So try to take baby steps and have patience and set goals. First, walk and run at a slower pace but longer distance, wear comfortable clothes and shoes, eat good food to increase stamina.

Below-mentioned is some steps that will help to increase stamina:

1. On treadmills, always play around with the interval setting and work on incline mode as well.

2. Take your trainer’s advice in order to work on flexibility and do a bit of weight, elliptical training, and cross-fit. Do squats, spinning programs, lunges, etc.

3. Relaxing is essential

4. A healthy diet is mandatory. Have food enriched in protein, calcium, vitamins, essential fats, iron, and fibre.

5. Do not skip meals. Have egg whites, green vegetables, cereals, lean meats, fish, soy fruits, milk, and nuts regularly.

6. Drink sufficient water. Hydration is a must.

7. Eat meals before and after running and rest for at least twenty minutes.

8. Avoid running with an empty stomach

9. Also, do not overeat before and after running.

10. Other physical activities like sports, cycling, dancing, swimming can aid in building stamina.

11. Outdoor running is best than going to the gym.