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  • 20-Mar-2020
  • $100 Billion coronavirus relief package signed by Donald Trump

    To ensure sick leave to Americans workers who fall ill from the new coronavirus, President of the United States, Donald Trump has signed a $100-billion emergency aid package. The $100 Billion coronavirus relief package aims to strengthen the protective measures against the pandemic caused by COVID-19.

    In the United States, the service sector have been hit hard after the closure of hotels, travel and entertainment sectors and the restrictions on restaurants and malls. The relief package will facilitate free coronavirus testing for those who need it, sick pay and paid family leave. The relief package will also bolster unemployment insurance for millions of Americans. It also includes the medical benefits and food aid for those affected by the pandemic.

  • Iraqi President appoints Adnan al-Zurfi as new PM-designate

    Iraqi President Barham Salih has appointed Adnan al-Zurfi as the country’s new prime minister. Al-Zurfi has 30 days to form his cabinet which he must then put to a vote of confidence in Iraq’s fractious Parliament. He will succeed Mohammed Allawi, the 1st politician named by the president as PM-designate who withdrew his candidacy for the post. Al-Zurfi was a former governor of the holy Shia city of Najaf & heads the Nasr parliamentary group of former Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.

    Adel Abdul Mahdi was an interim PM who withdrew his candidature in December 2019 after heavy protest where 40 people were killed by security forces.

  • 19-Mar-2020
  • Phase-I clinical Human trial of coronavirus vaccine begins in US

    The United State has begun phase one of the clinical Human trial of an investigational vaccine designed to protect against the coronavirus disease which has claimed the lives of over 7,000 people globally.

    Important Facts of Covid-19 vaccine trial:

    • The trial began at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (KPWHRI) in Seattle as the first participant received the investigational vaccine.
    • The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is funding the trial.
    • The open-label trial will enrol 45 healthy adult volunteers aged 18 to 55 years over approximately six weeks.
    • The study participants will receive two doses of the vaccine via intramuscular injection in the upper arm approximately 28 days apart.
    • The vaccine is called mRNA-1273 and was developed by the NIAID scientists and their collaborators at the biotechnology company Moderna, Inc., based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
    • The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) supported the manufacturing of the vaccine candidate for the Phase 1 clinical trial. CEPI so far has secured USD 760 million toward its USD 1 billion funding target, with multi-year funding from Norway, the UK, Germany, Japan, Canada, Ethiopia, Australia, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Wellcome.
    • The CEPI set up to accelerate the development of vaccines against emerging infectious diseases, made an urgent call for USD 2 billion to support the development of a vaccine against the virus responsible for COVID-19.
  • 18-Mar-2020
  • Philippines becomes 1st country to suspend all financial markets

    The Phillipines has become the first country of the world to suspend all financial markets. The financial shutdown was confirmed from the statements from the Philippine Stock Exchange and the Bankers Association of the Philippines. The Philippine Stock Exchange was closed on 17th of March indefinitely, while currency and bond trading were suspended. The decision to suspend the financial markets was taken in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Phillipines authorities cited risks to the safety of traders as the key reason of shutdown.

    The decision to suspend the financial markets is expected to be followed by other exchanges amid a broad lockdown in the Philippines.

  • Top tech giants to jointly fight against COVID-19 misinformation

    The top tech giants of the world will jointly fight against the fake news and misinformation related to COVID-19 on their platforms. The top giants which have announced a fight against the fake news includes Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Reddit, Twitter and YouTube. These companies are working closely to have a check on the fake news and misinformation related to COVID-19.

    These companies are jointly combating fraud and misinformation about the virus as well as elevating authoritative content on their platforms. They are also focusing on sharing the critical updates in coordination with government healthcare agencies around the world.

    Among the above tech giants, Facebook and Instagram have already started banning the ads and commerce listings selling medical face masks on their platforms to stop people from exploiting the emergency caused by COVID-19  pandemic.

  • 17-Mar-2020
  • Niue declared as world’s first ‘Dark Sky Nation’

    Niue has become the world’s first whole country recognised as a ‘Dark Sky Place’ by the International Dark-Sky Association’s (IDA), which has approved the island’s application for the protection of its sky, land and sea. Niue is a small island nation in the South Pacific Ocean.

    Niue to be the first country to become a dark sky nation was a massive accomplishment for a small Pacific nation with a population of just over 1600 people. Niue now has dark-sky status from the southern edge of Mutalau Village to the northern edge of Hakupu Village.

  • 13-Mar-2020
  • ‘Joy Bangla’ declared as national slogan of Bangladesh

    The High Court of Bangladesh has ordered that ‘Joy Bangla’ will be the national slogan of Bangladesh. The court also directed the authorities to ensure that teachers and students use the slogan after assembly. The two-judge bench of High Court asked the authorities to take necessary steps so that all the people holding constitutional posts and state officials use ‘Joy Bangla’ after their speeches on national days and other appropriate occasions.

    ‘Joy Bangla’ was the main slogan during the liberation war of Bangladesh fought against Pakistan in 1971. The first President of Bangladesh Sheikh Mujibur Rahman also used ‘Joy Bangla’ in his speeches and especially during his historic 7th March speech in 1971 declaring the goal of independence for Bangladesh.

  • WHO officially declares COVID-19 as a pandemic

    The World Health Organization has officially declared COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus as a pandemic as it spreads freely in more than 100 countries around the world.

    The virus, which originated in China, has infected more than 113,000 people worldwide and killed more than 4,000, according to the WHO. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines a pandemic as an epidemic a sudden increase in the number of cases of a disease that has “spread over several countries or continents, usually affecting a large number of people.”

    What is a pandemic?

    According to the World Health Organization, a pandemic is declared when a new disease for which people do not have immunity spreads around the world beyond expectations. Declaring a pandemic has nothing to do with changes to the characteristics of a disease, but is instead associated with concerns over its geographic spread.

  • 12-Mar-2020
  • “COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator” fund launched

    A new fund named as “COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator” has been launched by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome and Mastercard. The $125 Million fund has been launched to accelerate technologies to fight against the COVID-19 epidemic.

    About “COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator”:

    “COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator” fund has been designed to identify, assess, develop and scale treatments to the COVID-19 disease outbreak. The fund aims to assess new and repurposed drugs and biologics to cure patients suffering from COVID-19 in the immediate term, and also capable of curing other viral pathogens in the future.

    The COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator will also work along the World Health Organization, government and private sector funders and various other organizations as well as regulators and policy-setting institutions.

  • 11-Mar-2020
  • Ashraf Ghani Sworn in for Second Term as Afghanistan President

    Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani was sworn in for a second term today as his rival Abdullah Abdullah held a parallel inauguration that could plunge the country deeper into crisis ahead of peace talks with the Taliban.

    The oath-taking ceremony of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani was attended by hundreds of people, including visiting foreign dignitaries, diplomats and senior political figures.

    Ghani was declared as the winner of the election held last September, but Abdullah Abdullah, who disputed the vote, held a parallel ceremony surrounded by hundreds of supporters.

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