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Australia Walks Back ‘Racist’ India Ban, Jail Threat After Backlash

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Australia’s prime minister fended off accusations of racism and having blood on his hands Tuesday, as he retreated from a threat to jail Australians trying to escape Covid-wracked India.

Scott Morrison’s government moved to ban travellers from India from entering Australia until May 15, threatening rule-breakers — including Australian citizens — with prison time. 

Amid a widespread backlash, Morrison on Tuesday said it was “highly unlikely” that Australians who skirted a ban would be jailed.

“I think the likelihood of any of that occurring is pretty much zero,” Morrison said in a breakfast-time media blitz on Tuesday.

Around 9,000 Australians are believed to be in India, where hundreds of thousands of new coronavirus cases are being detected every day and the death toll is soaring.

Among those trapped are some of Australia’s most high profile sporting stars — cricketers playing in the lucrative Indian Premier League.

Commentator and former Test cricket star Michael Slater was among those who pilloried Morrison’s decision, saying it was a “disgrace”.

“Blood on your hands PM. How dare you treat us like this,” he tweeted. “If our Government cared for the safety of Aussies they would allow us to get home.”

Morrison said the idea he had blood on his hands was “absurd”. 

“The buck stops here when it comes to these decisions, and I’m going to take decisions that I believe are going to protect Australia from a third wave,” he said.

“I’m working to bring them home safely,” he added, indicating that repatriation flights could begin soon after May 15.

The decision came into force on Monday and was denounced by rights groups and some of Morrison’s most prominent allies including Sky News commentator Andrew Bolt who said it “stinks of racism”.

Australia has largely avoided the worst of the pandemic through some of the strictest border controls in the world. 

There is a blanket ban on travel to-and-from the country unless an exemption is secured.

Non-residents are mostly banned from entering and anyone who does come into the country must carry out a mandatory 14-day hotel quarantine.

But that system has come under increasing strain as the virus has jumped from quarantine facilities and caused a series of outbreaks in the largely unvaccinated community. 

The conservative prime minister faces reelection in the next 12 months, and had hoped Australia’s relatively successful handling of the pandemic would propel him to victory.

But the India travel ban and a glacial vaccine rollout have prompted criticism.

Australia has administered 2.2 million vaccine doses out of a population of 25 million people, who each need two doses to be fully immunised.

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Underwater Quake Shakes West Indonesia, No Tsunami Warning

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A strong undersea earthquake shook western Indonesia on Friday, but no tsunami warning was issued and no damage was immediately reported.

People were running from their houses,” said a local disaster mitigation agency official, Hiramo, who goes by a single name.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the magnitude 6.6 quake struck at a depth of 10 kilometers (6 miles) and was centered 257 kilometers (159 miles) south of Sinabang, a town on the east coast of Simeulue Island, which lies off the western coast of Sumatra.

No tsunami warning was issued by the Indonesian Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency, and no casualties were immediately reported.

Indonesia, a vast archipelago of 271 million people, is frequently struck by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis because of its location on the Ring of Fire, an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin.

Indonesia’s latest major earthquake was in January, when a magnitude 6.2 earthquake killed at least 105 people and injured nearly 6,500, while displacing more than 92,000, in West Sulawesi province.

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Pro-Palestine protesters attack man wearing Star of David necklace

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Footage from a Pro-Palestine protest in Manhattan, New York depicting a bloodied man wearing a Star of David necklace escaping the protestors went viral on social media on Tuesday. Allegedly, the victim made hateful comments to the protestors, which led to the protestors throwing a metal chair towards the victim’s face and then chasing him. It is not clear what such alleged comments might have been.

The video appears to depict a police officer escorting the victim, who has not yet been identified, with a bloodied face across the street. The incident took place on Tuesday evening.

The video showcases a pro-Palestine protestor woman accusing the victim of making hateful comments. “He said really hateful comments,” the woman says.

As a police officer tries to escort the bloodied victim to safety, someone can be heard shouting intensely ‘Run p***y’ as the man darts across the street, with several protestors carrying the Palestinian flag chasing them.

The bloodied man winds up in a local store as a woman repeats ‘f*** you’ towards him.

Reporter Elad Eliahu, who was covering this situation as it was unfolding, said that the NYPD riot squad managed to catch up to the alleged chair-thrower, but ultimately decided to let him go.

According to the NYPD’s statement to DailyMail.com, “Police observed a verbal altercation with a crowd of people. The complainant entered the crowd and was struck in the head with a metal chair by an unknown individual, causing a laceration to their head. “

‘The complainant was removed to Bellevue Hospital,’ the NYPD continued. ‘There are no arrests at this time.’

The NYPD confirmed that the investigation into the incident remains ongoing. 

Situation in Israel

According to the BBC, at least 103 people have been killed in Gaza and seven in Israel since violence between the two sides was renewed. Gaza authorities claim that at least 27 of those who have died were civilian children. However, Israel has said that many of the deaths were of Gaza militants or due to rocket misfires from Gaza. 

On Thursday, three rockets were fired from Lebanon into the sea off of northern Israel, according to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). No group has claimed responsibility for those rockets yet.

Israel’s military said on Thursday that it hit several targets in Gaza, including intelligence buildings and homes, as well as businesses that were allegedly being utilized by militants.

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Russian-made Sputnik V launched by Dr Reddy, to cost Rs.995 per dose

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Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, the Indian partner of Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), said it has commenced Sputnik V’s India rollout, with the first doses being administered in Hyderabad on Friday on a limited basis.

Deepak Sapra,, the global head of Custom Pharma Services at Dr Reddy’s Lab became the first person to receive the Sputnik V shot at Hyderabad today.

According to the reports, the Hyderabad-based company said the Russian vaccine – Sputnik V would be priced at Rs 948 per dose with an additional 5% GST to be charged on it, putting the price at around Rs 995.4.

“As part of a limited pilot, the soft launch of the vaccine has commenced, and the first dose of the vaccine was administered in Hyderabad today on May 14, 2021. The imported doses of the vaccine are presently priced at an MRP of Rs 948 + 5% GST per dose, with the possibility of a lower price point when local supply begins,” the company said in its regulatory filing.

Further, the company also said that the first consignment of imported doses that landed in India on May 1, 2021, has received regulatory clearance from the Central Drugs Laboratory, Kasauli, on Thursday, May 13, 2021.

The pharmaceutical company expects more consignments of imported doses in the upcoming months. In later months, the supply of the Sputnik V vaccine produced by the Indian manufacturing partners is also expected to commence. Currently, the Russian vaccine manufacturing company is working closely with its six manufacturing partners in India to fulfil regulatory requirements to ensure a smooth and timely supply.

“Dr Reddy’s will work closely with stakeholders in the government and private sector in India to ensure the widest possible reach of the Sputnik V vaccine as part of the national inoculation effort,” the Hyderabad-based pharma company said.

The rollout of the Sputnik V vaccine at market rates, without any subsidy or philanthropic rate slash, comes at a time when left-liberals are waging war against Indian-made vaccines over its alleged ‘higher costs’ while batting for much costlier foreign vaccines.

Propaganda against Indian vaccines

Ever since various pharmaceutical companies developed vaccines for Covid-19, the left-liberals, joining hands with the opposition parties, have launched a vested campaign against Indian companies. The left-liberals have been attacking the Indian origin Covaxin made by Bharat Biotech and SII’s Covishield over its prices while forcing both the government and manufacturers to slash the prices.

The left-liberals had accused Indian companies of making huge profits at the expense of common people by keeping the prices of their vaccines high. In realilty the Indian made vaccines are among the cheapest in the wolrd.

It is interesting to see how the opposition parties and its left-wing media ecosystem reacts to the roll-out of Russian-made Sputnik V vaccines that cost around Rs.1,000, which is nearly costlier than the two Indian-made vaccines – Covaxin and Covishield.

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