Donald Trump may nominate Indian American to IDFC Board

Donald Trump may nominate Indian American to IDFC Board

US President Donald Trump on Friday announced his intention to nominate Indian American Deven Parekh as a member of the Board of Directors of the International Development Finance Corporation.

The nomination of Parekh, who is the managing director at software investment firm Insight Partners will be for a period of three years.

Parekh previously served on the Overseas Private Investment Corporation board from 2016 to 2018 and was a member of the advisory board of the United States Export-Import Bank from 2010 to 2012.

A leading Indian American global venture capitalist, Parekh received his BS in Economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.


Last month, he co-hosted a virtual fundraiser for former vice president Joe Biden, who is the Democratic presidential nominee against Trump.

Parekh was a major fundraiser also for former President Barack Obama.

He held a number of positions at Berenson Minella & Company between 1992 and 2000, including those of principal and vice president. Previously, from 1991 to 1992, he was a financial analyst for the Blackstone Group.

As managing director at Insight Partners, Parekh manages investments in application software, data, and consumer internet businesses globally. He has actively worked for investments in Europe, Israel, China, India, Latin America, and Russia. In India, among others, he has invested in BharatPe.


Twitter 'permanently suspends' far-right British activist Katie Hopkins for promoting hate speech

Twitter 'permanently suspends' far-right British activist Katie Hopkins for promoting hate speech

Far-right British activist has been ‘permanently suspended’ from microblogging site Twitter, the company said in a statement on Friday.

Hopkins, 45, had been earlier suspended this year for a 10-day period, due to her tweets that have on several occasions been accused of promoting hate speech.

Twitter, however, did not disclose which tweets Hopkins had posted, to result in the ban. "Keeping Twitter safe is a top priority for us - abuse and hateful conduct have no place on our service and we will continue to take action when our rules are broken," it said.

Notably, Hopkins has been well-known for her far-right views and has even been retweeted by US President Donald Trump on several occasions. Only on Friday, Twitter marked a video shared by Trump as ‘manipulated media.’ The microblogging site and the US President have been at loggerheads with each other, ever since the murder of George Floyd, an African American from Minneapolis. Floyd was killed by a police officer, sparking global outrage and subsequent protests over the fundamental rights of black people.

Twitterati had mixed reactions at Hopkins’ ‘expulsion’ from the site. Here is how they reacted:

If you needed any more proof twitter is bias, banning #katiehopkins is the final straw.

No one can call a minority out for their own actions.

Twitter is just a session pool for leftists.

8:37 PM - Jun 19, 2020
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Tazeen Syed
 · 7h
Choose your employers right, because when the world is going through a revolution you want to be on the right side of history. @jack @Twitter ???????? …


???? Minneapolis
????️ @FredTJoseph

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Tazeen Syed
Another example, Twitter has permanently banned Katie Hopkins from the platform. It takes guts to do this, these are the companies that we will remember that supported in making the world better! ????????????????????????

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6:50 PM - Jun 19, 2020
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Roger Helmer

Genuinely shocked (though I suppose I shouldn’t be) to see Katie Hopkins dumped by Twitter. You don’t have to agree with her to defend her right to free speech. And apparently any amount of offensive bile is just fine so long as it comes from the left.

10:17 AM - Jun 19, 2020
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I’m so glad #katiehopkins has been banned from twitter. It’s about time the numbers were evened out after all those left wing accounts advocating violence were banned.......oh wait

3:14 PM - Jun 19, 2020
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Death threats can be made towards @POTUS and remain unscathed but Twitter suspends Katie Hopkins?

4:10 PM - Jun 19, 2020
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Recently, Twitter in India had even withheld the account of former journalist and columnist Aakar Patel over his call for a US-like protest in India. The withholding of the account came after the Bengaluru police reportedly filed an FIR following a complaint regarding the tweet. Patel’s Twitter account, however, has been restored .However, Bollywood actress Kangana Ranaut’s sister Rangoli Chandel was not so lucky. She put out an Islamophobic tweet that was flagged by several people, prompting Twitter to ban her from using the site again.

Brazil tops 1 million cases as coronavirus spreads inland

Brazil tops 1 million cases as coronavirus spreads inland

Brazil's government confirmed on Friday that the country has risen above 1 million confirmed coronavirus cases, second only to the United States.

The country's health ministry said that the total now stood at 1,032,913, up more than 50,000 from Thursday. The ministry said the sharp increase was due to corrections of previous days' underreported numbers.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro still downplays the risks of the virus after nearly 50,000 deaths from COVID-19 in three months, saying the impact of social isolation measures on the economy could be worse than the disease itself.

Specialists believe the actual number of cases in Brazil could be up to seven times higher than the official statistic. Johns Hopkins University says Brazil is performing an average of 14 tests per 100,000 people each day, and health experts say that number is up to 20 times less than needed to track the virus.


Official data show a downward trend of the virus in Brazil's north, including the hard-hit region of the Amazon, a plateau in cases and deaths in the countries' biggest cities near the Atlantic coast, but a rising curve in the south.

In the Brazilian countryside, which is much less prepared to handle a crisis, the pandemic is clearly growing. Many smaller cities have weaker health care systems and basic sanitation that's insufficient to prevent contagion.

"There is a lot of regional inequality in our public health system and a shortage of professionals in the interior," said Miguel Lago, executive director of Brazil's Institute for Health Policy Studies, which advises public health officials.

"That creates many health care deserts, with people going long distances to get attention. When they leave the hospital, the virus can go with them." The cattle-producing state of Mato Grosso was barely touched by the virus when it hit the nation's biggest cities in March. Sitting far from the coast, between the Bolivian border and Brazil's capital of Brasilia, its 3.3 million residents led a mostly normal life until May. But now its people live under lockdown and meat producers have dozens of infected workers.


In Tangará da Serra, a city of 103,000 people in Mato Grosso, the mayor decided Friday to forbid the sale of alcoholic drinks for two weeks as an incentive for people to stay home.

Fábio Junqueira said the measure was needed after a spike in COVID-19 cases that filled 80% of the city's 54 intensive care beds. The city has had nearly 300 cases of the disease, plus three fatalities.

In Rondonópolis, only 300 miles away from Tangará da Serra and home to a thriving economy, health authorities closed the local meatpacking industry after 92 cases were confirmed there. The city of 144,000 inhabitants counted 21 deaths from the virus and more than 600 cases. The mayor has also decided to limit sales of alcoholic beverages.

Even regions once considered examples of successful efforts against the virus are now struggling.


Porto Alegre, home to about 1.4 million people, had success in slowing the virus' spread over the last three months. But now its mayor is considering increasing social isolation measures after ICU occupancy in the city jumped to 80% this month.

"We were already making projections for schools to come back," Mayor Nelson Marchezan Jr. told The Associated Press. "Now the trend is to impose more restrictions." Outside Sao Paulo city, five regions of the state's countryside will have to close shops starting Monday due to a rise in coronavirus cases. Gov. João Doria announced the decision Friday.

Dr. Mike Ryan, the World Health Organization's executive director, said at a news conference that Brazil needs to increase its efforts to stop the spread of infections.

"The epidemic is still quite severe in Brazil. I believe health workers are working extremely hard and under pressure to be able to deal with the number of cases that they see on a daily basis," Ryan said.

"Certainly the rise is not as exponential as it was previously, so there are some signs that the situation is stabilizing. But we've seen this before in other epidemics in other countries." Margareth Dalcolmo, a clinical researcher and professor of respiratory medicine at the state-funded Oswaldo Cruz Foundation in Rio de Janeiro, believes the reopening in major cities and the virus traveling by road into Brazil's heartland will keep the pressure on the country's health system.

"The risk in the interior now is very big," she said. "Our health system just can't solve the most serious cases of COVID in many places of the countryside."


Global COVID-19 cases rise to 8.3 million: Johns Hopkins University

Global COVID-19 cases rise to 8.3 million: Johns Hopkins University

Washington: The overall number of global COVID-19 cases has topped to over 8.3 million, while the deaths have surged to more than 448,000, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

As of Thursday morning, the total number of cases stood at 8,329,221, while the fatalities increased to 448,474, the University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed in its latest update. With 2,162,851 cases and 117,713 deaths, the US continues with the world's highest number of COVID-19 infections and fatalities, according to the CSSE.

In terms of cases, Brazil comes in the second place with 955,377 infections. This was followed by Russia (552,549), India (354,065), the UK (300,717), Spain (244,683), Peru (240,908), Italy (237,828), Chile (220,628), Iran (195,051), France (194,805), Germany (188,604), Turkey (182,727), Mexico (159,793), Pakistan (154,760), Saudi Arabia (141,234) and Canada (101,491), the CSSE figures showed.

With 46,510 COVID-19 deaths, Brazil accounts for the second highest number of fatalities in the world. The other countries with over 10,000 deaths are the UK (42,238), Italy (34,448), France (29,578), Spain (27,136), Mexico (19,080) and India (11,903).

China reports 28 new coronavirus cases, Beijing ramps up testing as COVID-19 infections spike

China reports 28 new coronavirus cases, Beijing ramps up testing as COVID-19 infections spike

China has reported 28 new confirmed coronavirus cases, including 24 in Beijing, taking the total number of infections in the last few days to 161 as the capital city ramped up testing 3.56 lakh residents and cancelling hundreds of flights to stem the spread of the COVID-19, the health authorities said on Thursday.

According to China's National Health Commission (NHC) it received reports of 28 new confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country on Wednesday.

Of the domestically transmitted cases, 21 cases were reported in Beijing, two in Hebei Province, and one in Tianjin Municipality, the NHC said in its daily report.

No deaths related to the disease were reported on Wednesday, according to the commission.

Beijing reported 21 new confirmed cases and four asymptomatic cases on Wednesday, the city municipal health commission said on Thursday.

There were still 158 patients receiving medical treatment and 15 asymptomatic cases were under medical observation, it said.

So far, 174 imported cases have been reported in Beijing, it reported.

The NHC said there were 265 patients still being treated in the country, including nine in severe condition.

Altogether 78,394 patients have been cured and discharged from hospitals by Wednesday, the report said.

As of Wednesday, a total of 83,293 confirmed COVID-19 cases were reported on the mainland, among which 4,634 had died of the disease.

By Wednesday, Beijing reported 578 confirmed domestically transmitted cases since January, including 411 who have been discharged from hospitals after recovery and nine deaths.

Beijing moved on a war footing on Wednesday, cancelling hundreds of domestic flights, testing 3.56 lakh residents, suspending sports events and closing certain gyms as China's capital city reported 31 new COVID-19 cases, pushing the tally to 137.

Two airports in Beijing have cancelled 1,255 domestic flights, nearly 70 per cent of the scheduled trips, the official media reported. Beijing currently does not operate international flights.

The national railway operator will allow passengers, who have booked train tickets in and out of Beijing as of Tuesday, to refund without any extra charges.

An epidemic-control official in Beijing said on Wednesday that the capital has tested about 3.56 lakh residents since Saturday, after more than 100 locally-transmitted COVID-19 cases were spotted in the city.

Zhang Qiang, a member of the city's epidemic-control office who oversees nucleic acid testing efforts, said those tested include workers at the sprawling Xinfadi food wholesale market in southern Beijing, where an employee was confirmed infected on Sunday, as well as residents living in nearby residential communities and people who travelled near the region.

Currently, the city is testing an average of 400,000 people a day and plans to step up testing capacity, Zhang said at a news conference here.

The Beijing Municipal Bureau of Sports issued an urgent notice on Wednesday, suspending sports events, as well as closing certain gyms as the capital city, upgraded its emergency response to COVID-19 from level III to II.

Since Wednesday, Beijing halted return to campus and resumed online courses for middle and primary school students, as well as suspend college students' return to campus, the reports said.

Beijing has asked libraries, museums, parks to limit visitors up to 30 per cent of full flow and halted cross-province group tours, the reports said.

US FDA withdraws emergency use authorisation of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 patients

US FDA withdraws emergency use authorisation of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 patients

The US food and drug regulatory body on Monday withdrew the emergency use authorisation of anti-malarial drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine in the treatment of COVID-19 patients after concluding that they may not be effective to cure the virus infections.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said its decision is based on new information, including clinical trial data results, that have led it to conclude that the drugs may not be effective to treat COVID-19 and that its potential benefits for such use do not outweigh its known and potential risks.

FDA chief scientist Denise Hinton, in a letter dated June 15 to Gary Disbrow of Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), said as of the date of this letter, the oral formulations of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) and (chloroquine) CQ are no longer authorised by the FDA to treat COVID-19.

On March 28, FDA had issued emergency use authorization (EUA) for use of oral formulations of chloroquine phosphate (CQ) and hydroxychloroquine sulfate (HCQ) to be distributed from the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS).

Hinton said that FDA now believes that the suggested dosing regimens for CQ and HCQ are unlikely to produce an antiviral effect.

"Earlier observations of decreased viral shedding with HCQ or CQ treatment have not been consistently replicated and recent data from a randomised controlled trial assessing probability of negative conversion showed no difference between HCQ and standard of care alone," he said.

Current US treatment guidelines do not recommend the use of CQ or HCQ in hospitalised patients with COVID-19 outside of a clinical trial, and the NIH guidelines now recommend against such use outside of a clinical trial, the FDA said.

"Recent data from a large randomised controlled trial showed no evidence of benefit for mortality or other outcomes such as hospital length of stay or need for mechanical ventilation of HCQ treatment in hospitalised patients with COVID-19," the letter said.

Hinton said that while HCQ, that has been distributed from SNS, is no longer authorised under the EUA to treat hospitalised patients for COVID-19, FDA-approved HCQ can be distributed in interstate commerce.

Hydroxychloroquine is one of the oldest and best-known anti-malarial drugs. US President Donald Trump had called hydroxychloroquine a "game-changer" drug in the fight against COVID-19.

At Trump's request, India in April allowed the export of 50 million HCQ tablets to treat COVID-19 patients in America, the worst-hit country by the pandemic.

Trump had on May 18 disclosed that he was taking hydroxychloroquine daily to ward off the deadly coronavirus.

Defending the drug, he had said that hydroxychloroquine was a "line of defence" against the coronavirus.

"It is a very powerful drug I guess but it doesn't harm you and so I thought as a frontline defence, possibly it would be good, and I have had no impact from it," Trump had said, adding that the antimalaria drug has received tremendous reviews from doctors all over the world.

However, doctors can still prescribe anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine to patients, US Health Secretary Alex Azar said, hours after the FDA withdrew the emergency use authorisation of chloroquine and HCQ in the treatment of COVID 19 patients.

"At this point, hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) and chloroquine are just like any other approved drug in the United States. They may be used in hospital, they may be used in out-patient, they may be used at home, all subject to a doctor's prescription," Azar said.

"In fact, the FDA's removal of the Emergency Use Authorization takes away what had been a significant misunderstanding by many that had made people think that somehow it could only be used in a hospital setting, and we've tried to make that clear throughout," he said in response to a question.

During a White House media appearance with President Donald Trump, Azar asserted that HCQ was approved in the United States.

"If a doctor wishes to prescribe it, working with a patient, they may prescribe it for any purpose that they wish to do so. And, this (FDA's decision) actually removes a potential barrier to them," the health secretary said.

According to the Johns Hopkins University data, US has over 2.1 million COVID-19 cases with more than 1,15,000 deaths.

Black Lives Matter protesters vandalise Christopher Columbus statue in Boston

Black Lives Matter protesters vandalise Christopher Columbus statue in Boston

Britain has ‘support bubbles’ for people living alone

Britain has ‘support bubbles’ for people living alone

People living alone in England will be able to stay at one other household as part of a further easing of the coronavirus restrictions, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said.

He announced that, from Saturday, single adults can spend the night at another house in a so-called "support bubble", which means all members of the bubble must self isolate in case any one member develops symptoms of COVID-19.

He said the change aims to help combat loneliness and allow for some further relaxation to the rules, which so far only allow for a gathering of up to six outdoors.

"All those in a support bubble will be able to act as if they live in the same household, meaning they can spend time together inside each others' homes and do not need to stay two metres apart," Johnson explained.

"I want to stress that support bubbles must be exclusive, meaning you can't switch the household you are in a bubble with or connect with multiple households. And if any member of the support bubble develops symptoms, all members of the bubble will need to follow the normal advice on household isolation," he said.

One part of the bubble has to be a single household, or be a single parent to children aged under 18. It does not apply to grandparents who live together, people living in houses of multiple occupancy, such as flat shares, or to couples who already live together.

Those who are "shielding" due to other underlying health conditions, are not advised to form a bubble.


Donald Trump will hold his first post-corona rally in Oklahoma next Friday

Donald Trump will hold his first post-corona rally in Oklahoma next Friday

US President Donald Trump has announced to resume his election rallies from Oklahoma next Friday, followed by a series of others in the States of Texas, Florida, Arizona and North Carolina.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, he had suspended his election rallies for the past three months.

Trump, 77, is seeking his re-election in the November presidential elections. Former vice president Joe Biden is his main challenger from the opposition Democratic party.

"We're going to start our rallies back up now. We've had a tremendous run at rallies," he told reporters at the White House.

"I don't think there has been an empty seat since we came down on the escalator," the President said on Wednesday, referring to his historic flight down the escalator along with First Lady Melania Trump at the Trump Towers in New York in 2015 announcing the launch of his 2016 presidential campaign.

"It's been an amazing thing to behold, and we're going to be starting our rallies. The first one, we believe will be probably -- we're just starting to call up -- will be in Oklahoma, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a beautiful new venue, brand-new," he said.

"We're going to be coming into Florida, do a big one in Florida, big one in Texas. They're all going to be big. We're going to Arizona. We're going to North Carolina at the appropriate time," Trump said. The 45th President of the United States has been the biggest crowd puller of his Republican Party and so far has drawn much larger crowd that his main rival Biden.

Biden, 77, the Democratic presidential nominee, is, however, leading the average of major national polls by more than eight percentage points, according to Real Clear Politics.

Traditionally, Republican leaders and the Trump Campaign have doubted the reliability of major national polls, given that in 2016 presidential polls every major poll had written him off against his then main rival Hillary Clinton.

During his White House interaction with reporters, Trump was critical of the Democratic Governor from North Carolina, where the Republican Party is scheduled to hold the National Convention in August. The North Carolina Governor, he said, is slow in opening the State from coronavirus.

"The governor is a little backward there. He's a little bit behind, and unfortunately we're going to probably be having no choice but to move the Republican Convention to another location. That will be announced shortly, but we'll have no choice," he said.

"We wanted to stay in North Carolina very badly. We love it. It's a great state, a state I won. Many, many friends, many relatives, frankly, that live there. And we'll see how it all works out, but the governor doesn't want to give an inch, and what he's doing is losing hundreds of millions of dollars for his state. But we'll probably have no other recourse but to move it to another state," he said.

Pakistan's former PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi tests positive for coronavirus

Pakistan's former PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi tests positive for coronavirus

Pakistan's former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and incumbent Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad were tested positive for the novel coronavirus on Monday, making them the latest amongst the country's top politicians to contract the virus that has infected over one lakh people in the country.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) spokesperson Maryam Aurangzeb confirmed that 61-year-old Abbasi was infected by the virus.

Abbasi, who is the Senior Vice President of the PML-N, served as the prime minister from August 2017 to May 2018 after his party leader Nawaz Sharif was de-seated by a court ruling in a corruption case.

He has gone into self-isolation at his house after receiving a positive COVID-19 test report on Monday, his party officials said.

PML-N chief Shehbaz Sharif wished Abbasi a speedy recovery.

Railways Minister Ahmad was tested positive for the novel coronavirus, according to a statement by his office.

"Sheikh Rashid has tested positive for COVID-19," the statement said, adding that he has gone into self-isolation and will remain in quarantine for two weeks as per doctors' advice.

Pakistan People's Party (PPP) leader and former provincial minister Sharjeel Memon was tested positive for coronavirus on Sunday.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf's provincial lawmaker Chaudhry Ali Akhtar was also tested positive for the virus, his spokesperson said.