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.

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.

 

 

Foreigners Forced to do 50 Push-Ups for not Wearing Masks in Bali

Foreigners Forced to do 50 Push-Ups for not Wearing Masks in Bali

Foreigners Forced to do 50 Push-Ups for not Wearing Masks in Bali

Several foreigners were caught for not wearing face masks on an Indonesian resort and were made to pay a fine; those without money had to do push-ups.

Police authorities in Bali took to a surprise when they made a sudden visit to a resort and caught foreigners for not wearing a mask.

A Video footage circulating on social media shows tourists in T-shirts and shorts being made to do the exercise in sweltering tropical heat as masked security officials stood over them.

Foreigners Forced to do 50 Push-Ups for not Wearing Masks in Bali

Meanwhile, more than 70 people paid a fine of 100,000 rupiah ($7), however, about 30 foreigners said that they did not have the cash, hence they were ordered to do push-ups.

Those who were not carrying a mask had to do up to 50 while those who were wearing a mask improperly were punished with 15 push-ups. Bali’s authorities have also warned that foreigners who break virus regulations could be thrown out of the country, although so far there have no reports of anyone being deported for failing to wear a mask.

The island, which has been hammered by the epidemic, remains officially closed to overseas tourists but is home to many long-term residents from abroad, however, foreigners living elsewhere in Indonesia can still visit.

The authorities made wearing a face mask in public mandatory in 2020 as Indonesia battled a raging Covid-19 outbreak. It is to be mentioned that 60 per cent of Bali’s (GDP) gross domestic product used to come from tourism.

Foreigners Forced to do 50 Push-Ups for not Wearing Masks in Bali

However, the island’s economy has been the hardest hit in Indonesia by the coronavirus pandemic. The government has imposed restrictions on international arrivals from certain countries since April last year and completely shut down the country last month amid reports on the new strain of coronavirus from the United Kingdom.

Apart from coronavirus, Indonesia has also experienced a series of natural disasters that include landslides, floods, and volcanic eruptions over the past week.

However, environmentalists blame the deforestation done by mining, palm oil, and agricultural industries for these calamities. Bali is an Indonesian island known for its forested volcanic mountains, iconic rice paddies, beaches and coral reefs.

Freezing weather hits much

Freezing weather hits much of Europe, from Poland to Turkey

Freezing weather hits much of Europe, from Poland to Turkey

Extreme cold has hit large parts of Europe, with freezing temperatures cracking railroad tracks in Poland, snow blanketing the Turkish city of Istanbul and smog spiking as coal was being burned to generate heat.

In Switzerland, a skier who had been buried by an avalanche on the weekend died in a hospital of his injuries, authorities said Monday.

The country had issued avalanche warnings several days earlier after heavy snowfall hit various regions. Officials said the skier and his two companions were buried by an avalanche while they were skiing off marked trails in the Gstaad area on Sunday afternoon.

One man was able to free himself from the snow and then extricate one of the others, but the third man could only be found by rescue crews who arrived later on the scene. He was taken to a hospital in critical condition and died a short time later, authorities said.

Temperatures dropped to minus 28 degrees Celsius (minus 18 Fahrenheit) in some Polish areas overnight, the coldest night in 11 years.

Freezing weather hits much

Many trains were delayed on Monday after tracks at two Warsaw railway stations cracked. Hand-in-hand with the cold came a spike in smog in Warsaw and other parts of Poland, as the cold prompted an increase in burning coal for heat.

Air pollution levels were so high in Warsaw that city officials urged people to remain indoors. Just across Poland’s southwestern border, the Czech Republic experienced the coldest night this year with temperatures dropping below minus 20 degrees Celsius (minus 4 Fahrenheit) in many places.

The lowest temperature, of minus 27 degrees Celsius (minus 16 Fahrenheit), was recorded Monday in Orlicke Zahori, a mountainous village 160 kilometers (100 miles) east of Prague and near the Polish border, according to the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute.

The freezing weather was expected to ease and be replaced by heavy snowfall in the northeastern Czech Republic, the institute said.

Wintry weather and freezing temperatures have also been reported throughout the Balkans in the past days, which has created problems with power supplies in some parts of Serbia and brought some snow even to Croatia’s Adriatic Sea islands.

In eastern Albania temperatures dipped as low as minus 13 degrees Celsius (9 Fahrenheit) in Peshkopi, 110 kilometers (70 miles) east of the capital Tirana. The deep freeze has caused water supply pipes to freeze and created dangerous driving conditions.

Freezing weather hits much

The icy roads in the city of Pogradec prevented firefighters from arriving in time at a home fire in which a man died early Monday. The man’s brother, Nikolin Xhukellari, told the Balkanweb online portal that he managed to get his two children and wife out of the building but his brother, who was on the second floor, could not escape.

In Istanbul, traffic was brought to a halt by the layer of snow covering the city, with cars stalled or skidding on the roads. In Germany, fresh snow, slippery roads and fallen trees led to several car accidents on Sunday and overnight, the dpa news agency reported.

A driver died in southwestern Germany after his car shot over a mound of snow. The Nordic region also saw snow and subfreezing temperatures, with the coldest temperatures predictably recorded in the Arctic.

Norway’s meteorological institute tweeted a tongue-in-cheek message on Monday, saying: “we encourage all knitting lovers to send woolen clothes to their friends in the north.” In Denmark, police said 17 people were found ice bathing naked Sunday morning in a lake near Roskilde, 40 kilometers (25 miles) west of Copenhagen.

Everyone in the group, aged between 26 and 51, was preliminary charged with violating pandemic restrictions banning the public gathering of more than five people. Police said they will all receive a fine, which is 2,500 kroner ($405) for first-time offenders. News: ABC

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Trump explodes at Nixon comparisons as he prepares to leave office

Trump explodes at Nixon comparisons as he prepares to leave office

(TN) In his final days in office, President Donald Trump has found the parts of the job he loved replaced by cold legal warnings, forced video addresses and a shrinking circle of downtrodden aides, all anxiously wondering what life will be like after noon on January 20. Gone are the clicks of flashing cameras.

Absent is the roar of a cheering crowd. Instead of a commanding final full week of winning, the President is playing the role of victim and not a gracious leader departing office.

Trump has been consumed by the unraveling of his presidency during his last days in office, according to people around him, which included a casual discussion among advisers recently about a possible resignation.

Trump shut the idea down almost immediately. And he has made clear to aides in separate conversations that mere mention of President Richard Nixon, the last president to resign, was banned.

He told one adviser during an expletive-laden conversation recently never to bring up the ex-president ever again.

During the passing mention of resigning this week, Trump told people he couldn’t count on Vice President Mike Pence to pardon him like Gerald Ford did Nixon, anyway.

Eager for a final taste of the pomp of being president, Trump has asked for a major send-off on Inauguration Day next week, according to people familiar with the matter, before one last presidential flight to Palm Beach.

But the signs of his impending departure are everywhere  including right outside his window. Workers hung bunting Thursday that read “2021 Biden-Harris Inauguration” from temporary stands across from the White House North Portico.

It was visible from his third-story residence. Inside the building, Trump has been weathering a second impeachment and growing isolation from his onetime allies in sullen desolation.

He has grown more and more worried about what legal or financial calamities may await him when he is no longer president, people who have spoken to him said, fueled by warnings from lawyers and advisers.

He is weighing pardons, including for himself and his family, as he attempts to muster a legal team for another impeachment trial. And he is resentful of Republicans who he feels abandoned him in his hour of need, including the GOP leaders of the House and Senate.

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President Trump’s disastrous end to his shocking presidency

President Trump’s disastrous end to his shocking presidency

President Donald Trump is leaving America in a vortex of violence, sickness and death and more internally estranged than it has been for 150 years. News: CNN

The disorientating end to his shocking term has the nation reeling from a Washington insurrection. The FBI warned Monday of armed protests by pro-Trump thugs in 50 states, which raise the awful prospect of a domestic insurgency.

Health officials fear 5,000 Americans could soon be dying every day from the pandemic Trump ignored. Hospitals are swamped and medical workers are shattered amid a faltering rollout of the vaccine supposed to end the crisis.

It took 200 years for the country to rack up its first two presidential impeachments. Trump’s malfeasance has led the country down that awful, divisive path twice in just more than a year.

With House Democrats expected to formally impeach the President for inciting a mob assault on Congress on Wednesday, he will rely on the Republican enablers who refused to rein in his lawlessness to save him from conviction again.

Millions of Americans have bought into the delusional, poisoned fiction that an election Trump lost was stolen, and there are signs that some police and military forces have been radicalized by the grievance he stokes.

The city Trump has called home for four years is being turned into an armed camp incongruous with the mood of joy and renewal that pulsates through most inaugurations. In a symbol of a democracy under siege, the people’s buildings — the White House and the US Capitol — are caged behind ugly iron and cement barriers.

This is the legacy President-elect Joe Biden will inherit in eight days when he swears to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution  an oath that Trump trampled when inciting the Capitol attack last week from behind a bulletproof screen while buckling the cherished US chain of peaceful transfers of power.

With unintended irony, Biden’s team has picked “America United” as the inaugural theme  a motto that is now more apt in defining Biden’s hoped for destination rather than the splintered land he will begin to lead.

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FBI warns- Trump supporters planning armed protests ahead of Biden inauguration

FBI warns- Trump supporters planning armed protests ahead of Biden inauguration

The FBI has warned of possible armed protests being held across the US as Trump supporters and far-right groups call for demonstrations before Joe Biden is sworn in as president. News- BBC

There are reports of armed groups planning to gather at all 50 state capitols and in Washington DC in the run-up to his 20 January inauguration.

Security will be tight for the event after a pro-Trump mob stormed Congress. House Democrats say a vote to impeach the president will happen on Wednesday.

They accuse President Trump of “incitement of insurrection” and say the vote will be held unless Vice-President Mike Pence invokes constitutional powers to remove Mr Trump from office. There is no sign Mr Pence is prepared to do so.

Mr Biden and Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris are expected to be sworn in at a ceremony at the Capitol. The Biden team had already urged Americans to avoid travelling to the capital because of the Covid-19 pandemic, a call that is now being repeated by local authorities.

Security officials have said there will be no repeat of the breach seen on 6 January, when thousands of pro-Trump supporters were able to break into the building where members of Congress were voting to certify the election result.

Five people died in the riot, which happened after Mr Trump repeated unsubstantiated claims of fraud in the November vote and encouraged his supporters to march on the Capitol.

Since then, calls for Mr Trump’s resignation, removal from office or impeachment have grown among Democrats and some Republicans. Mr Trump has made no public statements since he was banned from several social media platforms – including Twitter – on Friday.

He became the third US president to be impeached in December 2019 over charges of breaking the law by asking Ukraine to investigate his rival in the presidential election. The Senate cleared him.

corona update 12

Worldwide coronavirus cases surpassed 90 million on Monday

Worldwide coronavirus cases surpassed 90 million on Monday

Worldwide coronavirus cases surpassed 90 million on Monday, according to Reuters tally, as nations around the globe scramble to procure vaccines and continue to extend or reinstate lockdowns to fight new coronavirus variants.

The new Covid-19 variants discovered initially in the United Kingdom and South Africa are rapidly spreading globally.

The novel coronavirus has picked up pace in the past few months with about one-third of total cases registered in the last 48 days, according to a Reuters tally.

Europe, which became the first region to report 25 million cases last week, remains the worst-affected area in the world, followed by North and Latin Americas with 22.4 million and 16.3 million cases respectively.

Europe has reported around 31 per cent of about 1.93 million coronavirus-related deaths globally. The United Kingdom, the worst-affected European country, crossed 3 million cases last Friday.

The nation is on course to have immunized its most vulnerable people against Covid-19 by mid-February and plans to offer a shot to every adult by autumn.

To control the spread of new coronavirus variant, countries across the globe have started to extend movement and business restrictions.

In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel and state premiers last week agreed to restrict non-essential travel for residents of hard-hit areas all over Germany for the first time, after a lockdown decreed in December failed to significantly reduce infection numbers.

French authorities imposed a stricter evening curfew in Marseille after authorities said the new variant of the Covid-19 virus initially found in the UK had been discovered in the Mediterranean city.

The United States, world’s worst-affected country, reported its highest death toll on Wednesday, with over 4,000 fatalities in a single day. The nation has recorded more than 22 million cases since the pandemic started, reporting on average 245,000 new infections a day over the last seven days, according to a Reuters analysis.

In Asia, India crossed 150,000 deaths last Tuesday, becoming the third nation to reach the grim milestone. The south Asian nation has approved two Covid-19 vaccines and will start its vaccination drive from January 16 with priority given to about 30 million healthcare and frontline workers.

suicide attack

A suicide bombing in the Somali capital

A suicide bombing in the Somali capital

A suicide bombing in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, on Saturday killed five people including two Turks, the Turkish health minister said. The al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab extremist group claimed responsibility for the attack.

The Somalia-based group often targets Mogadishu with suicide bombings and other attacks, and it has exploded bombs against the Turkish military and other targets there in the past, reports AP.

Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca tweeted that 14 people, including three Turks, were wounded and are being treated in a Mogadishu hospital named after Turkey’s president. He did not give the nationalities of the other three people who died.

“We strongly condemn this heinous attack targeting the employees of a Turkish company that undertook the Mogadishu-Afgoye road construction and contributes to the development and prosperity of Somalia,” a foreign ministry statement said.

Turkish security sources said the suicide attacker used a motorcycle. They said the attack took place 15 kilometers (8 miles) away from a Turkish military base, which was not affected.

The base is Turkey’s largest military installation abroad. Turkey is active in Somalia in the military, development, health and education fields.