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Active Covid caseload falls below 4-lakh mark, recoveries surge to 91.39 lakh


The total coronavirus cases mounted to 96,77,203 with 32,981 new infections being reported in a day, while the death toll rose to 1,40,573 with 391 new fatalities.

The active Covid caseload fell below 4 lakh and the recoveries surged to 91.39 lakh, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Monday. The total coronavirus infections rose to 96.77 lakh.

The total coronavirus cases mounted to 96,77,203 with 32,981 new infections being reported in a day, while the death toll rose to 1,40,573 with 391 new fatalities, the data showed.

There are 3,96,729 active coronavirus infections in the country which comprises 4.10 per cent of the total caseload, the data stated.

India showed the recovery rate of 94.45 per cent and the number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 91,39,901.

The COVID-19 case fatality rate stands at 1.45 per cent.

India’s COVID-19 tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on August 7, 30 lakh on August 23 and 40 lakh on September 5. It went past 50 lakh on September 16, 60 lakh on September 28, 70 lakh on October 11, crossed 80 lakh on October 29, and surpassed 90 lakh on November 20.

According to the ICMR, 14,77,87,656 samples have been tested up to December 6 with 8,01,081 samples being tested on Sunday.




US lawmakers voice support for agitating farmers in India; urge they must be allowed to protest peacefully


India has called the remarks by foreign leaders on protests by farmers as “ill-informed” and “unwarranted” as the matter pertained to the internal affairs of a democratic country.

Several US lawmakers have voiced their support for farmers agitating in India against the new farm laws and urged that they be allowed to protest peacefully.

India has called the remarks by foreign leaders on protests by farmers as “ill-informed” and “unwarranted” as the matter pertained to the internal affairs of a democratic country.

“I stand in solidarity with the Punjabi farmers in India protesting for their livelihoods and protection from misguided, manipulative government regulations,” Congressman Doug LaMalfa said on Monday.

“Punjabi farmers must be allowed to protest peacefully against their government without fear of violence,” said the Republican lawmaker who represents Californian’s first Congressional district.

Thousands of farmers from Punjab, Haryana and several other states have been protesting on various borders of Delhi since November 26, seeking repeal of three farm laws enacted in September.

Dubbing these laws as “anti-farmer”, these farmers claim that the newly enacted legislations would pave the way for the dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the “mercy” of big corporations.

However, the government has maintained that the new laws will bring farmers better opportunities and usher in new technologies in agriculture.

“India is the world’s largest Democracy – they owe it to their citizens to allow peaceful protest. I encourage these folks and PM (Narendra) Modi to have peaceful, productive discussions,” Democratic Congressman Josh Harder said.

Congressman T J Cox said India must uphold the right to peaceful demonstration and ensure their citizens” safety.

The rights of farmers protesting must be respected and meaningful dialogue is the way forward, the Democratic leader asserted.

Congressman Andy Levin said he is inspired by the movement of farmers in India.

“I see it as a harbinger of a people power year in 2021,” the Democratic lawmaker said.

The farmers protest has also caught the attention of the mainstream US media.

“The protests have spread beyond New Delhi. Farmers marched and waved banners in the southern states of Kerala and Karnataka and in the northeastern state of Assam. Sugarcane farmers in Uttar Pradesh, who would be less affected by the farm overhaul, set up a protest camp in solidarity, clogging a central artery on the state’s border with Delhi,” The New York Times reported.

According to a CNN report, “Tens of thousands of farmers have swarmed India’s capital where they intend to camp out for weeks to protest new agricultural laws that they say could destroy their livelihoods.




Joe Biden choses retired General Lloyd Austin as secretary of defense, first African-American to take post


A veteran of conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, the retired four-star army general, 67, beat out the favorite for the job, former under-secretary of defense Michele Flournoy, amid pressure on Biden to nominate more minorities for positions in his cabinet.

Lloyd Austin, who led US troops into Baghdad in 2003 and rose to head the US Central Command, has been chosen by President-elect Joe Biden to be the first African-American secretary of defense, US media reported Monday.

A veteran of conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, the retired four-star army general, 67, beat out the favorite for the job, former under-secretary of defense Michele Flournoy, amid pressure on Biden to nominate more minorities for positions in his cabinet.

CNN, Politico and the New York Times cited unnamed sources familiar with the decision, after Biden said earlier Monday that he had made his choice and would announce it on Friday. Austin would require Senate confirmation to take up the post.

He spent four decades in the army, graduating from the West Point Military Academy and following a career with a wide range of assignments, from leading platoons to running logistics groups and overseeing recruiting, to senior Pentagon jobs.

In March 2003 he was the assistant division commander of the 3rd Infantry Division when it marched from Kuwait into Baghdad in the US invasion of Iraq.

From late 2003 to 2005, he was in Afghanistan commanding the Combined Joint Task Force 180, the principle US-led operation seeking to stabilize the security situation in the country.

In 2010 he was made commanding general of US forces in Iraq, and two years later became the commander of the Central Command, in charge of all Pentagon operations in the Middle East and Afghanistan.

Few African Americans in command jobs

Austin retired from the military in 2016, and joined the board of directors of Raytheon Technologies, one of the Pentagon’s largest contractors.

He would require special approval from the Senate due to federal law that requires military officers to wait seven years after retirement before serving as the Pentagon chief.

The waiver has happened twice — most recently for general Jim Mattis, the first defense secretary in the administration of President Donald Trump.

But members of the Senate agreed begrudgingly, amid concerns over Trump’s views on the military, and several said at the time that they wouldn’t want to do it again.

“He shouldn’t be considered for the same reason that Sec. Mattis shouldn’t have been,” said Congressman Justin Amash in a tweet.

“The law prohibits recently retired members of the Armed Forces from serving in this civilian capacity. Biden would be the second president in a row to violate this norm.”

Austin would take responsibility for the 1.2 million active service members, of which about 16 percent are Black.

But Blacks serve disproportionately in the lower ranks and few have achieved high command positions.

The issue became more clear over the past year when African American servicemen and women expressed support for the national Black Lives Matter movement against police racism and abuse.

Former defense secretary Mark Esper said he held numerous listening sessions to make White soldiers understand what the Black colleagues felt.




Arvind Kejriwal to visit Delhi-Haryana border today, will review arrangements for protesting farmers


Kejriwal is among the several opposition leaders who have extended support for “Bharat bandh”, which has been called for by the thousands of protesting farmers.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is likely to visit the Delhi-Haryana border today to review arrangements made for protesting farmers camping there, officials said.

Delhi CM will visit the Singhu border along with his cabinet members at 10 am, they said.

Kejriwal is among the several opposition leaders who have extended support for “Bharat bandh”, which has been called for by the thousands of protesting farmers.

“The Aam Aadmi Party fully supports the Bharat Bandh call made by farmers on 8 December. AAP workers across the country will support it peacefully. There is an appeal to all countrymen that everyone should support the farmers and participate in it,” Kejriwal had tweeted.

Yesterday, Congress had also expressed its whole-hearted support to the ‘Bharat Bandh’ called on December 8 by farmer unions.

The representatives of thousands of agitating farmers have said their call for a ‘Bharat Bandh’ on December 8 would be observed with full force.

Coming out in support of the farmers, the Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera while addressing the media at the AICC headquarters said, “I would also like to announce that the Congress party extends its whole-hearted support to the Bharat Bandh on December 8.”

Protests are underway at both the Singhu and Tikri borders, where farmers had gathered from Punjab and Haryana for more than 10 days.

The protesting farmers and the centre will meet for the sixth round of talks on Wednesday as the successive rounds of talks failed to bring out any conclusive results.

After the Saturday’s meeting, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar had said that a new proposal would be placed before the farmers after discussions within the government.

The centre has offered to amend sections of the laws, but the farmers, thousands of whom are camped out around Delhi’s borders and have threatened a blockade of the national capital – insist they must be scrapped.




Thousands of people protest in central London in support of farmers in India, several arrested


Several police officers in face masks asked people to disperse from the “We stand with farmers of Punjab” demonstration, having warned that strict regulations remain in place.

The agitating farmers in India got support from London as thousands of people protested in central London on Sunday over the Indian government’s agricultural reforms that have triggered a massive demonstration by farmers. Several people were arrested by the police for violating COVID-19 rules, news agency PTI reported.

As per the reports, several police officers in face masks asked people to disperse from the “We stand with farmers of Punjab” demonstration, having warned that strict regulations remain in place to help prevent the spread of coronavirus and therefore demonstrations of larger than 30 risk arrests and fines.

“Our High Commission has been coordinating closely with the authorities concerned and we will, together with them, address the issues that have come up – for example how this gathering of thousands could take place without specific permission,” an Indian High Commission spokesperson was quoted as saying by PTI.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is likely to visit the Delhi-Haryana border today to review arrangements made for protesting farmers camping there, officials said.

Delhi CM will visit the Singhu border along with his cabinet members at 10 am, they said.

Kejriwal is among the several opposition leaders who have extended support for “Bharat bandh”, which has been called for by the thousands of protesting farmers.

“The Aam Aadmi Party fully supports the Bharat Bandh call made by farmers on 8 December. AAP workers across the country will support it peacefully. There is an appeal to all countrymen that everyone should support the farmers and participate in it,” Kejriwal had tweeted.

Yesterday, Congress had also expressed its whole-hearted support to the ‘Bharat Bandh’ called on December 8 by farmer unions.

The representatives of thousands of agitating farmers have said their call for a ‘Bharat Bandh’ on December 8 would be observed with full force.

Coming out in support of the farmers, the Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera while addressing the media at the AICC headquarters said, “I would also like to announce that the Congress party extends its whole-hearted support to the Bharat Bandh on December 8.”

Protests are underway at both the Singhu and Tikri borders, where farmers had gathered from Punjab and Haryana for more than 10 days.

The protesting farmers and the centre will meet for the sixth round of talks on Wednesday as the successive rounds of talks failed to bring out any conclusive results.

After the Saturday’s meeting, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar had said that a new proposal would be placed before the farmers after discussions within the government.

The centre has offered to amend sections of the laws, but the farmers, thousands of whom are camped out around Delhi’s borders and have threatened a blockade of the national capital – insist they must be scrapped.




Donald Trump says his lawyer Rudy Giuliani has tested positive for ‘China virus’


It was unclear whether Giuliani was experiencing symptoms, but at age 76 the former New York mayor is considered part of a high-risk group.

Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani has tested positive for Covid-19, the president said Sunday, the latest member of his inner circle to contract the disease.

It was unclear whether Giuliani was experiencing symptoms, but at age 76 the former New York mayor is considered part of a high-risk group.

He has been seen frequently without a mask — CNN showed film of him Thursday in Atlanta walking maskless down a hall chatting with several other people whose faces were uncovered — and other members of his legal team presumably have been exposed.

“Giuliani, by far the greatest mayor in the history of NYC, and who has been working tirelessly exposing the most corrupt election (by far!) in the history of the USA, has tested positive for the China Virus,” Trump tweeted, using a term he applies to the coronavirus that has outraged Beijing.

Giuliani’s diagnosis comes as he has been leading the president’s defiant — and unsuccessful — effort to undo Joe Biden’s victory in the November 3 presidential election.

If the legal tean hews to health guidance, anyone thus exposed should self-quarantine for at least a week, which could cripple Trump’s already fading efforts to challenge his election loss.

The diagnosis was also a day after Trump, who long played down the severity of the pandemic and even mocked those who wore masks, held his first big political rally since the election — before a tightly packed crowd of thousands of largely unmasked supporters in Georgia.

The United States — the country with the most coronavirus cases and deaths in the world — has seen a dramatic resurgence in its epidemic in recent weeks.

For the third day in a row, the United States on Saturday notched a record number of coronavirus cases in 24 hours, reaching nearly 230,000 new infections, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

A series of members of Trump’s inner circle have contracted the disease since the president himself caught it weeks before the election.

They include his wife Melania, his son Donald Jr., his son Barron, his press secretary, some of his advisors, his campaign manager as well as several Republican members of Congress.

Many of them, including Giuliani, followed Trump’s example, often ignoring health experts’ guidance and attending White House and political events without masks.

Giuliani’s son Andrew, who works in the White House, tested positive for the virus late last month.

David Gergen, a senior advisor in four US administrations, noted on CNN that while dozens of people around Trump had now contracted the virus, only one or two in Biden’s camp had done so.

The lesson, Gergen said: “The cavalier attitude taken by the Trump people is only going to get you closer to catching this stuff…

“It’s just as plain as it can be.”




Active Covid caseload falls below 4 lakh, recovery rate stands over 94%


The total coronavirus cases mounted to 96,77,203 with 32,981 new infections being reported in a day, while the death toll rose to 1,40,573 with 391 new fatalities.

India’s coronavirus infections rose to 96.77 lakh, while the active caseload fell below 4 lakh and the recoveries surged to 91.39 lakh, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Monday.

The total coronavirus cases mounted to 96,77,203 with 32,981 new infections being reported in a day, while the death toll rose to 1,40,573 with 391 new fatalities, the data updated at 8 am showed.

There are 3,96,729 active coronavirus infections in the country which comprises 4.10 per cent of the total caseload, the data stated.

The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 91,39,901 pushing the national recovery rate to 94.45 per cent, while the COVID-19 case fatality rate stands at 1.45 per cent.

India’s COVID-19 tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on August 7, 30 lakh on August 23 and 40 lakh on September 5. It went past 50 lakh on September 16, 60 lakh on September 28, 70 lakh on October 11, crossed 80 lakh on October 29, and surpassed 90 lakh on November 20.

According to the ICMR, 14,77,87,656 samples have been tested up to December 6 with 8,01,081 samples being tested on Sunday.




Delhi’s third Covid wave on the wane: Arvind Kejriwal


City is emerging ‘victorious in war against coronavirus’ as it records 2,706 fresh cases from over 73K tests with positivity rate plummeting to 3.68 pc, says Jain.

Delhi today recorded 2,706 fresh cases of coronavirus infections (Covid19), which took its caseload to 5,92,250, according to the Delhi government’s latest health bulletin.

These cases were identified from 73,536 tests, with the positivity rate coming down to 3.68 per cent.

The national capital logged 69 fresh Covid fatalities, which pushed its toll to 9,643, the health bulletin said. The count of the coronavirus patients who recovered during the last 24 hours in the city was 4,622, which took the cumulative tally of such recoveries to 5,57,914. The recovery rate rose to 94.20 per cent.

There were 24,693 active Covid cases, including 15,276 patients undergoing treatment on home isolation.

The number of containment zones in the city stood at 6,173, the bulletin stated. In a tweet, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said, “I am glad that the third wave also seems to be getting weak. Delhi fought a v difficult war against corona.”

Delhi health minister Satyendar Jain tweeted, “Positivity rate in Delhi today has fallen down further to 3.65 per cent. Delhi is emerging victorious in this war against the virus. I would request you all to continue following the three commandments — mask, social distancing and sanitisation! Be safe, Delhi.”

The national capital had yesterday recorded 3,419 coronavirus infections, with more than 80,000 tests conducted for the second consecutive day. The city had then logged 77 Covid fatalities, which pushed its death toll to 9,574.

Yesterday’s coronavirus cases were reportedly detected out of 81,473 tests, including 35,352 RT-PCR tests. The positivity rate was then 4.2 per cent. The national capital’s coronavirus positivity rate last Friday and on Thursday was 4.78 per cent and 4.96 per cent respectively.

Delhi had on Friday recorded 4,067 coronavirus cases, logging 73 Covid deaths. These cases were detected out of a record 85,003 tests including 40,191 RT-PCR tests — the city’s highest in a day so far.

The national capital had on Thursday recorded 3,734 coronavirus infections detected from 75,230 tests. It had recorded 82 Covid fatalities. The positivity rate had then dipped to 4.96 per cent from Wednesday’s 5 per cent.

Delhi’s Covid positivity rate has sharply decreased over the last several days, dipping from 8.65 per cent on 26 November to 3.68 per cent today. Its positivity rate has been steadily dropping since 26 November, except on 29 November when it marginally rose to 7.64 per cent as compared to 7.24 per cent on 28 November, as per the official figures released by the Delhi health department.

The city’s positivity rate was 8.65 per cent on 26 November when 5,475 fresh cases were recorded, and 8.51 per cent on 27 November when 5,482 cases were reported. On 30 November, the positivity rate again dropped to 7.35 per cent.

It came down to 6.85 per cent on 1 December and 5 per cent on 2 December. Delhi’s positivity rate was 15.26 per cent on 7 November. There has been thus a reduction of 76 per cent in it since then.




Farmers, government to hold third round of talks; protests continue at Delhi borders


Today’s meeting will take place at 2 pm at Delhi’s Vigyan Bhawan. 

After the successive meetings between the farmers and the government which remained unsuccessful, the two parties are set to meet for the third time today to resolve the deadlock.

Today’s meeting will take place at 2 pm at Delhi’s Vigyan Bhawan.

Last evening, the protesting farmers have called for a ‘Bharat band’ on December 8 in order to mark their protest.

40 farmers’ union met at Delhi-Haryana border last evening and they also said that they’ll block all roads to the national capital, adding they’ll also occupy all highway toll gates across the country.

In a separate development, a petition has been filed in the Supreme Court sought immediate removal or shifting of the protesting farmers.

“Life of lakhs of people protesting at Delhi Borders is at immediate threat. If by chance this coronavirus disease takes the shape of community spread, it will cause a havoc in the country,” said the petition.

Marathon talks between the Centre and the agitating farmer unions on Thursday failed to end the standoff over the new farm laws as the protestors refused to budge on their demands and another round of discussions will be held later in a bid to forge a resolution.

The government side, led by Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, said that they were ready to bring some amendments to the laws, but the other side stuck to their demand of repealing the three ”hastily-passed” farm laws, saying there were several loopholes and deficiencies.

Agitating farmers had on Wednesday demanded that the Centre convene a special session of Parliament and repeal the new farm laws as they threatened to block other roads in Delhi and ”take more steps” if it failed to do so.




Bahrain becomes second country to approve Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine


Manama did not specify when it would begin the rollout of the vaccine by US pharmaceuticals giant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech.

Bahrain announced on Friday that it had approved the emergency use of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine, becoming the second country after Britain to green-light the drug.

“The approval of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine will add a further important layer to the kingdom’s national Covid-19 response,” said Mariam al-Jalahma, CEO of the National Health Regulatory Authority, according to a statement carried by the official Bahrain News Agency (BNA).

Manama did not specify when it would begin the rollout of the vaccine by US pharmaceuticals giant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech.

Britain on Wednesday said it approved the Covid-19 vaccine for general use, with plans to start rolling it out next week.

In November, the small Gulf kingdom of Bahrain approved the use of China’s Sinopharm vaccine on frontline healthcare workers.

Bahrain has so far recorded more than 87,000 novel coronavirus cases, including 341 deaths.

“This authorisation is a goal we have been working toward since we first declared that science will win,” said Lindsey Dietschi, Pfizer representative in the Gulf, according to BNA.

Britain insisted Friday its world-first approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine met all safety standards, striving to tamp down any public unease after US and European officials queried the rapid process.

Companies have been racing to find a vaccine for the coronavirus, which has killed over 1.5 million people and infected more than 65 million since it emerged in China in December of last year.





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