India ‘categorically’ denies reports of sending troops to Sri Lanka

Colombo [Sri Lanka]: The Indian High Commission on Wednesday “categorically” denied media reports about New Delhi sending its troops to Colombo, stating that the country is fully supportive of Sri Lanka’s democracy, stability and economic recovery.

Sri Lanka is struggling with acute food and electricity shortages, forcing the country to seek help from its neighbours. The economic situation has led to huge protests with demands for the resignation of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
“The High Commission would like to categorically deny speculative reports in sections of media & social media about India sending her troops to Sri Lanka. These reports and such views are also not in keeping with the position of the Govt of India,” the Indian mission said in a Tweet.

“The Spokesperson of Ministry of External Affairs of India clearly stated yesterday that #India is fully supportive of Sri Lanka’s democracy, stability and economic recovery,” it said in another tweet.

Yesterday, India denied rumours circulating in sections of media and social media that certain Sri Lankan political persons and their families have fled to India.

In view of the current situation in Sri Lanka, India earlier today said it is fully supportive of the democracy, stability, and economic recovery of the island nation.

Sri Lanka on Tuesday ordered the country’s armed forces to open fire on anyone looting public property or causing harm to others following a day of violent clashes.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa also urged people to remain calm, and refrain from violence and acts of revenge against others.

A number of violent incidents have been reported in the country after pro-government groups clashed with anti-government protesters on Monday, leaving eight people dead and over 200 injured.

A nationwide curfew was imposed from Monday until Wednesday and the military was deployed to maintain law and order.

Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned as Sri Lanka’s PM on Monday as violent protests broke out. (ANI)

Sri Lankan President declares public emergency after unrest

Colombo [Sri Lanka]: Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Friday issued an extraordinary gazette declaring a public emergency in the island nation with effect, local media reported.

The Gazette has been issued considering the prevailing situation in the country and in the interests of public security, the protection of public order and the maintenance of supplies and services essential to the life of the community, Daily Mirror reported.
It further reported that Sri Lankan President has issued the gazette under the powers vested in him by Section 2 of the Public Security Ordinance (Chapter 40), as amended by Act. No. 8 of 1959. Law No. 6 of 1978 and Act, No.28 of 1988.

Moreover, Sri Lanka has also imposed a police curfew in Western Province for six hours.

“Police curfew will be in effect within the Western Province from midnight until 6.00 a.m. April 2 (tomorrow),” Police Spokesperson said, according to Daily Mirror.

Several protestors gathered outside the residence of Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Thursday as the island nation faces an unprecedented economic crisis.

The protest was staged over the government’s failure to address the existing issues in the island nation. The protesters clashed with the police outside the residence of President Rajapaksa in Mirihana.

After the protest, at least ten people were injured including journalists.

Sri Lanka’s economy has been in a free fall since the COVID-19 pandemic due to the crash of the tourism sector.

Sri Lanka is presently facing a foreign exchange shortage which has led to a food, fuel, power and gas shortage and has sought the assistance of friendly countries for economic assistance.

Sri Lanka is witnessing at least 10-hour daily power cuts. Sri Lanka’s currency has been also devalued by almost SLR 90 against the US dollar since March 8. (ANI)

Kazakhstan’s President imposes state of emergency, curfew in Nur-Sultan

Nur-Sultan [Kazakhstan]: Kazakhstan’s President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev imposed a state of emergency in capital city Nur-Sultan from January 5-19 amid protests in the country.
“Due to a serious and direct threat to the citizens’ safety, in order to ensure social security, restore law and order, protect the rights and freedoms of citizens, we introduce a state of emergency within the city of Nur-Sultan for the period from 16:00 p.m. of January 5, 2022 till 12 a.m. of January 19, 2022,” a presidential decree read. During the state of emergency, entry and exit from Nur-Sultan will be restricted, protests will be prohibited, and weapons will be seized from individuals, according to the decree.

Biden declares state of emergency in Kentucky after hit by tornadoes

Washington [US]: US President Joe Biden on Friday (local time) declared that an emergency exists in Kentucky after it was struck by several tornadoes.
He ordered federal assistance to supplement Kentucky and local response efforts due to the emergency conditions resulting from severe storms, straight-line winds, flooding, and tornadoes beginning on December 10, 2021, and continuing, read the US President Statement. The President’s action authorizes the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to coordinate all disaster relief efforts which have the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population.
It will provide appropriate assistance required for emergency measures, authorized under Title V of the Stafford Act, to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety, and to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in the counties of Breckenridge, Bullitt, Caldwell, Fulton, Graves, Grayson, Hickman, Hopkins, Lyon, Meade, Muhlenberg, Ohio, Shelby, Spencer, and Warren, read the statement.
Specifically, FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency. Emergency protective measures, including direct federal assistance, will be provided at 75 per cent Federal funding.
Deanne Criswell, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Homeland Security, named John Brogan as the Federal Coordinating Officer for Federal recovery operations in the affected areas, added the statement.
At least 70 people are likely dead after multiple tornadoes barreled through southwestern Kentucky on Friday.
“Now we are certain that that number is more than 70, it may, in fact, end up exceeding a hundred before the day is done,” CNN reported citing Governor Andy Beshear.
The devastating outbreak of 30 tornadoes ripped through six US states on Saturday, namely Arkansas, Mississippi, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee and Missouri.

Pak envoy meets Taliban’s acting FM, discusses bilateral cooperation

Kabul [Afghanistan] : Pakistan’s envoy to Afghanistan Mansoor Ahmad Khan met Taliban acting foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi and discussed bilateral cooperation between both countries.
“Pakistan Ambassador Mansoor Ahmad Khan met w/acting FM Amir Khan Muttaqi & discussed bilateral cooperation, Khan said. Pakistan has decided that wheat & emergency medicine provided by India can be transported from Wagah port in Pakistan on Afghan trucks to Afghanistan,” Tolo News reported. Earlier, Pakistan’s envoy and the Taliban acting foreign minister met in the month of September where both sides discussed strengthening bilateral cooperation particularly facilitating humanitarian, economic and people to people exchange.
Pakistan, along with China were among the first countries that began engaging with Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover in August this year.
The meeting came amid the Taliban’s repeated appeal for wider international recognition. Pakistan is among the very few which seem to have started engaging with the outfit. Other members of the international community are taking a wait and watch approach.

Covaxin for 2-18 yrs: Centre examining Expert Committee recommendations

New Delhi [India] : The Central government is examining the recommendation of the Subject Expert Committee (SEC) regarding the grant of market authorization of Covaxin for the age group of 2 to 18 years for restricted use in an emergency situation subject to various conditions, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHF) told Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.
Union Minister of State for Health Bharati Pravin Pawar shared the information through a written reply, mentioning “this recommendation is being examined and additional information has been requested at the level of Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO)”. “The Interim Phase II/III clinical trial data of COVAXIN on healthy volunteers aged 2 to 18 years submitted by Bharat Biotech was deliberated in the meeting of Subject Expert Committee (SEC),” Pawar said.
“The committee recommended for grant of market authorization for the age group of 2 to 18 years for Restricted Use in Emergency Situation subject to various conditions,” the MoS added.
The Minister was replying to the question asked by Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader and Rajya Sabha member Tiruchi Siva.
The MP had asked whether it is a fact that the expert panel has recommended Bharat Biotech’s COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin for use on children between the ages 2-18 years and the time taken for starting vaccination programme for children helping them in recovering from the fear of COVID-19 and opening of schools fully.
Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin for Children, the vaccine against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) for children, is being eagerly awaited as schools are now opening.
Amid growing concern of a new Omicron variant of the COVID-19, authorization of the COVID-19 vaccine for children will be significant.

Pakistan agrees to provide life-saving drugs to Afghanistan

Islamabad [Pakistan] : Pakistan has agreed to provide life-saving drugs to Afghanistan, which is witnessing a severe humanitarian crisis under the Taliban.
A delegation of the Afghan health ministry visited Pakistan, requesting the country’s government to provide the country with life-saving drugs on an emergency footing. Afghanistan’s Minister for Public Health Dr Qalandar Jihad, along with a delegation, met government and non-government figures during a recently concluded trip to Pakistan, sources told Geo News.
The Taliban delegation made a request for an immediate provision of life-saving medicines, as well as described the conditions of hospitals in Afghanistan, which have been rendered dysfunctional amid the recent political turmoil in the country.
Responding to the request, Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (PPMA) promised the Afghan government multiple containers of life-saving drugs.
The United Nations, in September, said Afghanistan’s health system is on the brink of collapse,
“Allowing Afghanistan’s healthcare delivery system to fall apart would be disastrous,” said the head of the World Health Organisation Martin Griffiths. “People across the country would be denied access to primary healthcare such as emergency caesarean sections and trauma care.”
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus had said that international funding cuts had forced health providers to decide “who to save and who to let die”.
Tedros explained that a lack of financial support for the country’s largest health project, Sehetmandi, had left thousands of facilities unable to buy medical supplies and pay salaries.

Is US Covid Rebound bad?

Washington [US] : The latest US Covid-19 wave is taking its toll on some states’ intensive-care units, with several parts of the country seeing outbreaks that are as bad as ever. In 15 states, patients with confirmed or suspected Covid are taking up more ICU beds than a year earlier, according to Department of Health and Human Services data. Colorado, Minnesota and Michigan have 41 per cent, 37 per cent and 34 per cent of ICU beds occupied by Covid-19 patients, respectively, the data show. The dramatic uptick means there’s proportionately less space in hospitals for those suffering from other potentially deadly ailments. “Many of our physicians are at a breaking point,” said Ali Mokdad, a professor with the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. “It’s not easy to be day in and day out in an emergency room, in an ICU, looking at someone who is dying because he or she is not vaccinated.” The numbers are a sobering reminder of how brutal the pandemic remains for the US health-care system, and could augur trouble ahead for Northeast states, where cases began surging a few weeks after the Midwest and Rocky Mountains. Despite the widespread availability of vaccines, the fast-spreading delta variant has shown a frightening capacity to find the most vulnerable people in society. Meanwhile, most states have returned to a semblance of their pre-pandemic lifestyles. Michigan, which has the highest per-capita case rate in the nation, is encouraging people to get vaccinated and mask up. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services issued a mask advisory on November 19. But Governor Gretchen Whitmer does not plan to issue any new restrictions on public gatherings, said spokesman Bobby Leddy. The surge begs the question of when the US will finally be able to turn the page on the pandemic. A new Covid-19 pill from Pfizer Inc. is bound to help, as will other therapeutics in the pipeline. Speaking at the Bloomberg New Economy Forum last week in Singapore, Microsoft Corp. founder Bill Gates predicted that the combination of vaccine-induced and natural immunity worldwide and the new oral treatments would bring Covid’s impact to flu-like levels by mid-2022 — a remarkable turnaround if he’s right.

The US has been reporting more than 1,000 average deaths from Covid every day for more than three months. Increases in fatalities typically follow increases in infections. In the meantime, it’s not clear to what extent any hospital system is safe. Many of the states getting hit now have average vaccination rates — neither spectacularly high like parts of the Northeast nor especially low like parts of the South. Michigan’s 54 per cent full vaccination rate trails the national average of 59 per cent, but Colorado and Minnesota are both doing slightly better than the country as a whole. In New York, rural areas are seeing positive-test rates of more than 8 per cent, while New York City remains below 2 per cent. State officials have reopened 13 mass vaccination sites and have 200 pop-up sites all over the state to get the vaccines into communities. “We are heading into a very vulnerable time,” New York Governor Kathy Hochul said on Monday at a turkey distribution event. “The good news compared from last year to this year, is that we now have the weapons to fight back.” The vaccines continue to work very well at protecting those who take them, but the societal impact is another matter. Unvaccinated people continue to show a vastly higher rate of hospitalization with Covid-19, according to the latest data from the CDC’s Covid-Net surveillance network, which was updated Friday and now includes figures through the end of September.

Hospitalizations in New Jersey, meanwhile, have jumped by 15 per cent in the past week, with those in ICUs up 24 per cent, Governor Phil Murphy said Monday at a virus briefing

SC asks Centre to convene emergency meeting with NCR states on air pollution

New Delhi [India] : The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Central government to call for an “emergency meeting” on November 16 with Punjab, Delhi, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh and sought an action plan to curb the air pollution in Delhi-NCR.
A Bench of Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, Justices DY Chandrachud and Surya Kant concluded that the major culprits of air pollution in the national capital are construction activities, industries, power plants, and vehicular transportation apart from stubble burning in some areas. It said that the hue and cry over farmers stubble burning is without factual basis as according to Centre it contributed to less than 10 per cent of the air pollution in Delhi.
The Bench directed the Centre that its Committee, set up to look into air pollution issue, convene an emergency meeting with Chief Secretaries of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi and take into account issues suggested by it like stopping construction, non-essential transport, power plants and implement work from home to deal with air pollution in Delhi-NCR.
Posting the matter for hearing on November 17, the top court asked Haryana and Punjab governments to persuade the farmers to stop the stubble burning for a week.
“The commission under the Act has not indicated what steps will be taken to control the pollution-causing elements. This is not the way we expected an executive emergency meeting will be held. It’s very unfortunate that we have to set an agenda for them. We direct the Centre to have an emergency meeting tomorrow and take into account points cited by us,” the Bench said.
Please decide which industries can be stopped, which vehicles can be prevented from plying and which power plants can be stopped and how you can provide alternative power by then, it told the Solicitor General.
During the hearing, the Solicitor General told the apex court that stubble burning is not the major cause of pollution at present in Delhi and northern states as it contributes only 10 per cent of the pollution.
Dust is a major cause of pollution now and dust control measures are taken at the construction site, Mehta said.
The apex court asked the Centre about drastic steps which are scientifically proven and are taken to bring down pollution.
Mehta said three drastic steps are — the introduction of odd-even vehicle scheme, ban of trucks entry in Delhi, and the severest will be lockdown.
The Bench, hearing the case relating to rising pollution levels in Delhi-NCR, asked Mehta, “Are you agreeing in principle that stubble burning is not the major cause and hue and cry has no scientific basis? Why not apply the ban on entry of all vehicles to and fro Delhi?”
As per Centre’s affidavit, 75 per cent of the pollution according to scientific study is due to industries, heavy vehicular traffic and dust, thus it’s not stubble burning and these three factors have to be reduced, observed the Bench.
It said if timely steps can be taken by the government, the pollution can be kept to manageable levels.
Perusing the Delhi government’s affidavit, the top court observed that the affidavit is all about bashing farmers and how the entire cause is stubble burning.
The Bench slammed the Delhi government saying it’s passing the buck to Municipal Commissioner. “This kind of lame excuses will force us to hold an audit of the revenue you are earning and spend on popularity slogans,” it added
Senior advocate Rahul Mehra, appearing for the Delhi government, told the Bench that all construction activities are banned in the national capital.
He added that the Delhi government is ready to impose lockdown but since it doesn’t have air boundaries central government can consider having it in the entire NCR and lockdown has to be imposed as a whole.

Remains of all nine victims of Russian An-12 plane crash found near Irkutsk

Moscow [Russia] : The remains of all the nine victims of the Russian An-12 transport plane crash were found at the site of the crash, as well as the second flight recorder, a representative of emergency services told Sputnik on Friday.
The transport plane of the Belarusian company Grodno Avia crashed near Irkutsk on Wednesday. Emergency services believe the incident is most likely connected to a technical failure or poor weather conditions. Investigation is going on. “The Irkutsk regional bureau of forensic medicine confirmed the discovery of the bodies and remains of all the nine victims,” the spokesman said.
He added that rescuers also found the second flight recorded at the site of the crash.

Ethiopia declares state of emergency to protect civilians from Tigray rebels

Addis Ababa [Ethiopia]: The Ethiopian cabinet has declared a state of emergency across the country as part of measures to protect the civilian population from the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), national media reported on Tuesday.
The decision is to be approved by the parliament’s lower house within the next 24 hours, the Fana broadcaster reported. The emergency comes after the government said on Monday that TPLF rebels killed more than 100 young people living in the northern city of Kombolcha, captured by the insurgents over the past weekend.
The north of the African country has been engulfed in hostilities between government forces and the TPLF for almost a year. In November 2020, the authorities accused the TPLF of attacking a military base and launched a counter-operation supported by neighbouring Eritrea.
In spring 2021, Ethiopia announced the withdrawal of Eritrean troops from the Tigray region. In June, the rebels seized the administrative center of Tigray, Mekelle, prompting the government to declare a ceasefire. However, the insurgents later claimed to have gone on the offensive and established control of a large part of the south of Tigray.

UNICEF delivers fuel to 3 Haitian hospitals, more supplies expected

Washington [US] : The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has delivered 6,000 gallons of fuel to three hospitals in Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, on Friday and Saturday and more support is expected on Sunday, UNICEF Haiti’s Chief of Communications Ndiaga Seck told Sputnik.
“Yesterday and today, UNICEF was able to deliver at least 6,000 gallons of much-needed fuel to three hospitals in Port-au-Prince despite insecurity and gang criminality,” Seck said on Saturday. “This new provision of fuel will enable them to resume their lifesaving services, especially to newborns and pregnant women.” The spokesman told Sputnik that on Sunday a fourth hospital is expected to receive fuel provided through the UNICEF.
“Nevertheless, some health centres are still running out of fuel, which disrupted their emergency medical services,” Seck stressed.
Earlier this week, Seck described the present conditions in Haiti as being in distress as a result of fuel shortages caused by insecurity in the country that particularly endangers the lives of women and children, as well as COVID-19 patients. He told Sputnik that UNICEF had made a contract with a local provider to bring 10,000 gallons of fuel to four major hospitals in Port-au-Prince. The provider said deliveries were not possible in the rest of the country, but later said that it was not going to carry out Port-au-Prince deliveries anymore either.
Seck told Sputnik that fuel shortages have impacted almost every aspect of life in Haiti. The country suffered from a devastating earthquake in August, which killed over 2,000 people and caused signification damage. Poverty, gang violence, and the political crisis exacerbated by the assassination of President Jovenel Moise last July, are making the drastic situation even worse.
UNICEF says it has received distress messages from several hospitals in Haiti because they have no fuel to run the generators and ensure the proper functioning of their emergency services.

WHO’s advisory group to meet on Oct 26 to consider Covaxin’s emergency usage

Geneva [Switzerland]: Dr Soumya Swaminathan, World Health Organisation (WHO) chief scientist on Sunday informed that WHO’s technical advisory group will meet on October 26 to consider emergency use listing (EUL) for Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech’s COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin.
Taking to Twitter, Swaminathan said the WHO has been working closely with Bharat Biotech to complete the dossier. “The technical advisory group will meet on Oct 26th to consider EUL for #Covaxin. @WHO has been working closely with @BharatBiotech to complete the dossier. Our goal is to have a broad portfolio of vaccines approved for emergency use & to expand access to populations everywhere,” Dr Swaminathan tweeted.
Covaxin has been submitting data to WHO on a rolling basis and submitted additional information at WHO’s request on September 27.
“Covaxin manufacturer, Bharat Biotech, has been submitting data to WHO on a rolling basis & submitted additional info at WHO’s request on 27 September. WHO experts are currently reviewing this info & if it addresses all questions raised, WHO assessment will be finalized next week,” WHO had tweeted earlier this month.
Covaxin, India’s first vaccine candidate for Covid-19 was developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the National Institute of Virology (NIV).

Japan to end COVID-19 emergency measures nationwide this week, says PM Suga

Tokyo [Japan]: The Japanese government will end this week the COVID-19 state of emergency in Tokyo and 18 prefectures as well as the quasi-state of emergency in other areas, as the number of infections declined steadily, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said on Tuesday.
Japan’s coronavirus advisory panel has approved a government plan to end the state of emergency and quasi-measures on Thursday as scheduled. It would be the first time since April 4 that none of Japan’s 47 prefectures is under either a state of emergency or a quasi-state of emergency.
“The number of new COVID-19 cases and patients with severe symptoms have dramatically declined,” Suga said at a committee meeting at the House of Representatives.
He said, “We will enhance social response to the spread of infections through vaccinations and health care system enhancement among other steps and work on balancing antivirus measures and restoring normal lives.”
As Suga said on Monday, all the society must continue to be highly cautious and need to ease restrictions gradually, including for dining, and the government would relax restrictions in stages with local governors having responsibilities to make decisions during the lifting process.
“Serving alcohol will be made possible, but governors will decide on that appropriately,” Yasutoshi Nishimura, minister in charge of Japan’s COVID-19 response, said at the experts’ panel meeting.
Under the state of emergency, establishments serving alcohol or offering karaoke services are asked to suspend their business, and those not serving liquor are requested to close at 8:00 p.m. local time.
The central government would continue to ask foods establishments to close by 8 p.m. and those taking sufficient anti-COVID-19 measures by 9 p.m. for one more month, but no restrictions on serving alcohol.
Establishments that continue to comply with such requests would receive financial support from the government, Nishimura said, adding that such shortening of opening hours would be eased gradually.
He also said that the maximum number of spectators allowed for major sporting events would be raised to 10,000 or half of the venue’s capacity from the current 5,000 once the emergency statuses end.
However, as winter approaches, Japan still has the risk of another wave of infections. Nishimura said at the panel meeting if the number of infections rebounded again, the government would take necessary measures including implementing a quasi-state of emergency.
Due to a resurgence of COVID-19 infections, a state of emergency was declared for Tokyo on July 12, covering the full period of Olympics and Paralympics and consequently leading to few or no spectators at the games’ venues.
In August, with the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant, the nationwide daily infections peaked at about 25,000, and many other areas introduced the emergency measure.
Suga, who announced his intent to resign earlier this month, said at a Liberal Democratic Party gathering in the morning, “Thanks to the cooperation of many people, I can lift the state of emergency during my tenure.”
His successor is set to be elected on Wednesday.

Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari to inaugurate Emergency Landing Facility at NH-925A in Rajasthan on Thursday

New Delhi [India], September 8: Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari will inaugurate Emergency Landing Facility on Satta-Gandhav stretch of National Highway (NH) 925A in Rajasthan’s Barmer, on Thursday, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways informed on Wednesday.
This is the first time that the National Highway will be used for emergency landing of aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF). According to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) had developed a three kilometers section of the Satta-Gandhav stretch of NH-925A from Km. 41/430 to Km. 44/430 as an Emergency Landing Facility (ELF) for the Indian Air Force, which is part of the newly developed two-lane paved shoulder of Gagariya-Bakhasar and Satta-Gandhav Section having a total length of 196.97 kilometers and costing of Rs 765.52 crores under Bharatmala Pariyojana.
“This project will improve connectivity between villages of Barmer and Jalore districts located on the international borders. The stretch is located in the western border area will facilitate the vigilance of the Indian Army as well as strengthen the basic infrastructure of the country,” said the official statement.
Apart from this Emergency Landing Strip, 3 helipads (size 100 x 30 meters each) have been constructed in Kundanpura, Singhania and Bakhasar villages in this project according to the requirements of the Air Force/Indian Army, which will be the basis for strengthening the Indian Army and security network on the western international border of the country.
The ELF was constructed in a time span of 19 months. The work for this ELF was commenced in July 2019 and was completed in January 2021. The work was carried out by GHV India Pvt. Ltd under the supervision of IAF and NHAI.
“During the normal time, the ELF will be used for smooth flow of road traffic. But during the operations of ELF for Indian Air Force orders, the service road will be used for smooth flow of road traffic. It has been constructed in 3.5 Km length. This landing strip will be able to facilitate the landing of all types of aircraft of IAF,” said the ministry.
The development of roadways as key infrastructure has led to the construction of high-quality highways and expressways that could be utilised as runways along with some modifications and construction of limited additional infrastructure for the operation of various types of aircraft during emergencies.

India introduces ‘e-Emergency X-Misc Visa’ in view of current situation in Afghanistan

New Delhi [India]: Taking cognizance of the current situation in Afghanistan, India has reviewed visa provisions and introduced a new category of electronic visa called “e-Emergency X-Misc Visa” with an aim to fast-track visa applications for entry into India.
Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), the nodal ministry to handle visa-related issues, took the decision and made the announcement on Tuesday, two days after the Taliban’s stunning and rapid takeover of Afghanistan. “MHA reviews visa provisions in view of the current situation in Afghanistan. A new category of electronic visa called “e-Emergency X-Misc Visa” introduced to fast-track visa applications for entry into India,” MHA Spokesperson said in a statement.
As many Indians are stuck in Afghanistan, India’s decision to ease out and cut short visa application process seems to be very helpful in providing quick help to the needy.
Taliban terrorists are assuming control of the Afghan capital of Kabul and have taken control of the presidential palace after the country’s president Ashraf Ghani left for Tajikistan on Sunday.
Later, several countries evacuated their diplomatic personnel from the country, and hundreds of people flocked to the Kabul airport in an attempt to leave Afghanistan.

US FDA allows emergency use of 3rd dose of COVID-19 vaccines for immunocompromised people

Washington, Aug 13: The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized the emergency use of a third dose of both Moderna and Pfizer vaccines against COVID-19 for immunocompromised people.
“The country has entered yet another wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the FDA is especially cognizant that immunocompromised people are particularly at risk for severe disease. After a thorough review of the available data, the FDA determined that this small, vulnerable group may benefit from a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna Vaccines,” acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock said on late Thursday, as quoted by the body’s statement.
“Today’s action allows doctors to boost immunity in certain immunocompromised individuals who need extra protection from COVID-19. As we’ve previously stated, other individuals who are fully vaccinated are adequately protected and do not need an additional dose of COVID-19 vaccine at this time,” Woodcock added.

German district declares first-ever hacking emergency

A district authority in the eastern German state of Saxony-Anhalt has declared the country’s first ever hacking emergency, after a cyberattack paralyzed its computer systems.

Berlin : “The administrator of the Anhalt-Bitterfeld district declared a disaster, effective 11:00 a.m. on July 9th, 2021,” the district council said in a statement.
The administration said it was working with other agencies to mount a coordinated response to the cyberattack. The federal IT watchdog BSI is involved.
The public broadcaster Deutschlandfunk said hackers may have used ransomware to scramble data and demand money for the keys that will unlock the systems.
The authorities reportedly said it will take about two weeks to bring its systems back online. It will not be able to pay welfare benefits in the area with a population of some 157,000.

Japan Under The Fourth Covid-19 State Of Emergency

The Japanese government has decided to place capital Tokyo under the fourth Covid-19 state of emergency, covering the entire duration of the upcoming Olympics, in an effort to curb a recent surge in infections.

The government announced on Thursday that the emergency will be effective from July 12 to August 22, which may cause the Summer Olympic Games to be held without spectators at venues in the capital, Xinhua news agency reported.

Addressing a news conference here, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said that the occupancy rate of hospital beds and the number of patients in serious condition remain low due to the vaccine rollout, but infection cases in Tokyo were rising due to the spread of the Delta variant.

“We must avoid another outbreak starting in Tokyo. With that in mind, we decided to take preemptive measures, and declare a state of emergency for Tokyo once again,” Suga was quoted as saying by the public broadcaster, NHK.

With two weeks until the Olympic Games, Suga pledged safety above all.

“Holding a safe and secure Games amid the coronavirus pandemic is a good opportunity to show our global unity to overcome the current difficulties together,” he said.

Infection cases in the capital have been going up.

Health authorities reported 896 new infections on Thursday, marking the 19th straight day cases have gone up compared to the week before.

Japan has so far reported 811,712 coronavirus cases, with 14,897 deaths.

At least 37,214,200 vaccine doses against Covid-19 have been administered in the country till date.

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