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US Envoy John Kerry Starts Climate Talks in China

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US climate envoy John Kerry met with his Chinese counterparts in Shanghai on Thursday, in the first visit to China by an official from a Biden administration seeking to re-establish America’s leadership on the environment.

The trip is seen as a chance to put aside high political tensions — following a heated initial meeting last month between diplomats in the US — and focus on areas of potential climate collaboration.

The two sides clashed in Alaska over accusations about China’s policies in Hong Kong and its treatment of Uyghurs in the northwestern Xinjiang region, criticisms China rejects as interference in its domestic affairs.

In Shanghai, officials are expected to discuss environmental challenges, areas which both China and the US say are top priorities, as well as the upcoming UN-led climate talks to be held in Glasgow at the end of the year.

President Joe Biden has made scuttling the climate-sceptic policy of his predecessor Donald Trump a priority.

He has rejoined the 2015 Paris accord, and is hosting a virtual summit of world leaders next week which the US hopes will result in stronger climate pledges.

China’s leader Xi Jinping is yet to confirm if he will attend the summit.

The US consulate said Kerry arrived in China and will meet with his Chinese counterparts at a Shanghai hotel in a day of closed-door talks.

“At this point understanding each others’ expectations and ambition levels, and agreeing how to use those commitments to move the international climate negotiations forward would already be an important first step,” Lauri Myllyvirta, lead analyst at the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air told AFP.

China, the world’s biggest polluter, announced an ambitious target to be carbon-neutral by 2060, but analysts have warned high reliance on coal and modest short-term targets could scupper the ambition.

– ‘Long way to go’ –

As Trump turned away from the national climate agenda, Xi made bold promises to cut emissions.

China “now shouldered the responsibility of global climate governance” and won’t be part of a US-centred climate campaign, the nationalistic Global Times cited experts saying Thursday.

Biden has yet to announce any new targets under the Paris agreement.

“Both countries have a long way to go to firm up their targets and commitments for this decade,” said Myllyvirta.

No global solution on climate change is likely without both the US and China on board, since the world’s top two economies together account for nearly half of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions.

Li Shuo from Greenpeace China said he hoped the talks might yield agreements on China’s huge use of polluting coal.

“China is the largest coal consumer, it is still building coal-fired power plants, both domestically and along the Belt and Road region,” he told AFP, referring to China’s sprawling international infrastructure plan.

“There needs to be a reverse on that. In terms of potential outcomes, that would be top on my list.”

While Beijing and Washington have clashed over Hong Kong and Xinjiang, the climate issue is seen as a shared interest which cuts through the rancour.

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Israeli actress Gal Gadot wishes for safety for Israel, gets hate from Islamists and ‘liberals’ in return

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Amid the conflict between Israel and Hamas and Palestinian Islamic jihadis, Israeli actress Gal Gadot put up a tweet praying for peace.

She tweeted that her country (Israel) is at war and she worries for her family and friends and the people of Israel. “This is a vicious cycle that has been going on for far too long. Israel deserves to live as a free and safe nation. Our neighbors deserve the same. I pray for the victims and their families. I pray for this unimaginable hostility to end, I pray for our leaders to find the solution so we can live side by side in peace,” she tweeted.

However, soon the ‘liberals’ and Islamists descended upon her timeline with angry, hateful tweets, accusing her of being a genocide enabler.

Despite the fact that the Palestinian terrorists were attacking Israel with rockets and missiles, the Islamists accused Israel of ‘perpetrating a televised and documented ethnic cleansing’.

They also gave a call to boycott her movies and called her a ‘murderer’.

Some Islamists even claimed that Israel as a country does not exist and hence there is no ‘my country’ that she mentions in the tweet.

One Twitter user, whose heart apparently pains for ‘Palestine’, wished death upon Gal Gadot for wishing for peace upon her country.

Some also used this opportunity to hate on Jews.

Some ‘liberals’ also felt that her pray for peace for her country was ‘meaningless’.

All this while choosing to overlook the terrorism inflicted by Hamas on Israeli people. Gadot served as a soldier in the Israel Defence Forces for two years before taking a plunge into modelling and acting.

In December 2020, Gadot had hailed the ‘Shaheen Bagh Dadi’ Bilkis Bano, who was one of the prominent faces in the anti-CAA protests which culminated into anti-Hindu riots in February 2020. Bilkis was a prominent part of the protests that were organized as India decided to give citizenship to religiously prosecuted people from neighbouring Islamic countries of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

However, she soon deleted her Instagram story hailing Bilkis while the post continued to be up on her profile.

Israel-Palestine conflict

Conflict between Israel and Palestine escalated when Palestinian terror unit Hamas fired multiple rockets at Jerusalem, and the Israeli Defense Forces responding back in kind. The main reason behind the current conflict is the Sheikh Jarrah property dispute, a dispute which can lead to the evictions of around 300 Palestinians from the East Jerusalem neighborhood.

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More Than 24 Covid-19 Patients May Have Died in Chamarajanagar Due to Oxygen Crisis: HC Panel

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The number of deaths of Covid-19 patients for want of oxygen at Chamarajanagar district hospital in Karnataka could be higher than 24, according to a high court-appointed panel.

The three-member panel confirmed that 24 Covid-19 patients died in the hospital on the intervening night of May 2-3 as oxygen was not available for four hours from 10.30 pm, The Times of India reported.

Headed by retired HC judge Justice AN Venugopala Gowda, the panel noted that 62 died in the hospital between May 4 and May 10, and at least 36 were in-patients on May 2.

The panel, which submitted its report before the court on Tuesday, said the death of these 36 in-patients could be attributed to non-availability of oxygen supply during the night of May 2 and early hours of May 3.

The Karnataka High Court on Wednesday said it would consider the report on Thursday.

Chamarajanagar DC failed ‘miserably’

The HC panel also flagged the absence of guidelines that day, and noted that recording case-sheets maintained by doctors and nurses at the hospital on the two dates looks sketchy.

The panel, however, absolved the Mysuru deputy commissioner of any anomalies, and pinned the blame on the deputy commissioner, Chamarajanagar, saying he “has not exhibited the dynamism and leadership qualities expected of a district head in a dire crisis situation…”

It said as the chairman of the District Disaster Management Committee, “he has miserably failed to guide and supervise the crisis situation arising out of the extreme demand for oxygen”.

“On the contrary, he has indulged in an unsavoury blame game accusing the DC of Mysore of causing hindrance for oxygen supply without any basis,” it added.

Although refilling plants on which the district hospital was dependent for its oxygen replenishment are located in Mysuru, which comes under the jurisdiction of Mysuru DC, the panel said that only on that basis it cannot be said that the Mysuru DC had any control over supply of oxygen to other districts.

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For Those Recovering from the Virus, Here is How Long to Wait Before Taking the Covid-19 Vaccine

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With India’s vaccination drive slowly gathering pace and the number of infections refusing to die down, there are many who are testing positive for the virus after being partially inoculated. There are others who are recovering and need to be vaccinated.

The concern now is on the number of days that recovering individuals need to wait before going for the jab.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests a wait for 90 days from the day one tests positive for Covid-19 if he/she has not received the vaccine.

A report by The Indian Express quoted immunologist Dr Vineeta Bal from the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), infection-triggered immunity is likely to last for a few months, and it would be advisable to wait for 6-8 weeks after recovery.

Vaccine scientist Dr Gagandeep Kang told Indian Express that data from the UK shows there is 80% protection following a natural infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. It is fine to even wait up to six months, she said.

This is in line with the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO) which reviewed data and said it was all right to delay vaccination for six months after a natural infection, as natural antibodies are likely to persist in the body until then.

For those infected after the first dose, the second dose can be given eight weeks after the person tests positive.

The body starts producing antibodies after the infection and it is akin to getting a vaccine. However it is advisable to wait for at least eight weeks before taking the second dose, experts recommend.

Scientists are still learning about natural and vaccine-induced immunity. According to the CDC, it typically takes two weeks for the body to build protection after vaccination, and hence it is possible to get infected.

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