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Chinese President Xi Writes to PM Modi, Offers Help to Fight Covid-19 Surge in India

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Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and expressed readiness to strengthen cooperation with India to fight the pandemic and provide support and help to deal with the current surge of Covid-19 cases in the country. President Xi sent a message of sympathy to Prime Minister Modi over the Covid-19 pandemic in India, the official media here reported.

“I am very concerned about the recent situation of Covid-19 pandemic in India. On behalf of the Chinese Government and people, as well as in my own name, I would like to express sincere sympathies to the Indian Government and people,” according to the message from President Xi to Prime Minister Modi. “The Chinese side stands ready to strengthen cooperation with the Indian side in fighting the pandemic and provide support and help in this regard. I believe that under the leadership of the Indian Government, the Indian people will surely prevail over the pandemic,” Xi said. “Humanity is a community with a shared future. Only through solidarity and cooperation can countries around the world ultimately defeat the pandemic,” the Chinese president said.

India on Friday logged 3,86,452 new coronavirus infections, the highest single-day rise so far, pushing the total tally of Covid-19 cases to 1,87,62,976, while active cases crossed the 31-lakh mark. The death toll increased to 2,08,330 with 3,498 new fatalities. After Xi’s letter to Modi, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi spoke to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on the phone and offered support and cooperation to India’s efforts to deal with the massive surge of the Covid-19 in the country. Stating that China is very concerned about the new round of coronavirus cases in India, Wang said as a close neighbour and partner, China understands the challenges India is facing and is ready to provide support and assistance to the best of its ability, a press release issued by the Chinese Foreign Ministry here said.

Wang said the Red Cross Society of China, local governments, non-governmental friendship organisations and enterprises have extended assistance to the Indian side. China hopes and believes that the Indian government and people will achieve victory in the fight against the epidemic, he said. Wang said to support India’s efforts, China will continue to encourage and support Chinese enterprises to speed up production and provide anti-epidemic materials to India and facilitate customs clearance and transportation of anti-epidemic materials purchased by the Indian side. He said China will organise video exchanges between health and epidemic prevention experts of the two countries to share experience and effective measures in fighting the epidemic, the press release said. In New Delhi, Jaishankar said that he highlighted the importance of supply chains and air flights being kept open in these circumstances. Welcomed his assurances in that regard, as also more openness to Indian chartered flights.

There were reports of difficulties being faced by some US firms in sending medical shipments from China to India. Jaishankar also said he discussed with Wang the international cooperation aspects of the public health response to the difficult situation.

The messages from President Xi and Foreign Minister Wang to Prime Minister Modi and External Affairs Minister Jaishankar came amidst tensions along the disputed border between India and China. The militaries of the two countries are yet to agree on disengagement from the remaining areas of eastern Ladakh after the withdrawal of troops and weapons from the North and South banks of Pangong Lake in February following a series of military and diplomatic talks.

The two sides are now engaged in talks to extend the disengagement process to the remaining friction points. Jaishankar also said he discussed with Wang the issue of full and sincere implementation of the Moscow Agreement of complete disengagement at all friction points along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and full restoration of peace and tranquility in eastern Ladakh. “Agreed to continue discussions in this respect,” he tweeted. There was no mention of the border standoff in the Chinese foreign ministry statement on Wang’s conversation with Jaishankar.

Meanwhile, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told media briefing here on Friday that China has exported 26,000 ventilators and oxygen generators to India this month. Since April, China has exported more than 26,000 ventilators and oxygen generators, more than 15,000 medical monitors, and nearly 3,800 tonnes of medical materials and medicines to India, he said. He also said cargo flights to India are in smooth operation. In the recent two weeks, multiple flights have been conducted from China to India, he said.

On April 26, state-run Sichuan Airlines, which operates 11 cargo flights to India has suspended causing disruption of procurement of oxygen concentrators by private companies to from India to augment supplies. After media reports, the airline has retracted its decision and said it is working out a new plan to resume the services. But so far it has not announced any new schedule. China reported the first Covid-19 case in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019 and since then the deadly disease has become a pandemic, affecting more than 150,618,000 people and over 3,168,500 deaths worldwide.

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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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