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PM’s vaccine Review: 1st stop at Zydus facility in Gujarat


The PM was also given a brief inspection of the plant where the corona vaccine is being developed.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi began his three-city vaccine tour on Saturday starting with pharma major Zydus Cadila’s plant in Gujarat to review the development of the much-awaited coronavirus inoculation and its manufacturing process.

The PM’s visit to the Changodar facility followed his arrival at the Ahmedabad airport at around 9.20 a.m. on Saturday, where he was welcomed by the Chief Secretary of Gujarat Anil Mukim.

His three city tours will also include Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh where pharmaceutical companies are into preparation of the vaccine against Covid-19, Pune’s Serum Institute of India (SII) and Hyderabad’s Bharat Biotech being the next two destinations.

From the Ahmedabad airport he was flown to Changodar by the Indian Air Force chopper. From Changodar, he was taken to Zydus Cadila pharma company’s Biotech plant via road.

At the Zydus Cadila Biotech plant, the PM was welcomed by the pharmaceutical company’s chairman Pankaj Patel and his son and the company’s MD Sharvil Patel.

Modi also had a chat with Sharvil Patel’s children.

Before a detailed meeting with the company’s chairman, MD and scientists, Modi watched the presentation about the coronavirus vaccine development.

Vaccine trials and distribution were discussed during the almost half an hour meeting at the Biotech plant.

The Zydus company is into its second phase of clinical trials of the vaccine called the ZyCov-D. Shortly, the third phase clinical trials are expected by the company in December.

The PM was also given a brief inspection of the plant where the corona vaccine is being developed.

A special Helipad was prepared at Changodar for the PM’s chopper to land. More than 500 police personnel were deployed at Changodar to oversee and maintain security, including 4 Superintendent of Police (SP), 10 DySP, 12 Police Inspector (PI) and 40 Police Sub Inspectors (PSI). Apart from that, the BDDS, SOG and LCB personnel were also there.

His other stop in Hyderabad is for Bharat Biotech which is into its third phase of trials of it’s vaccine, ‘Covaxine’, which is being developed in collaboration with Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) to be carried out in many parts of the country, including Ahmedabad.

PM will be in Pune’s Serum Institute of India also in its second phases of trials of the vaccine, which is being developed in collaboration with the Oxford university.

 




PM Modi to visit three top vaccine hubs today, will review development of coronavirus vaccine


As per the Prime Minister Office, PM will visit the Zydus Biotech Park in Ahmedabad, Bharat Biotech in Hyderabad and Serum Institute of India in Pune.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit India’s top vaccine hubs today to review the development of coronavirus vaccine and the manufacturing process.

As per the Prime Minister Office, PM will visit the Zydus Biotech Park in Ahmedabad, Bharat Biotech in Hyderabad and Serum Institute of India in Pune.

As India enters a decisive phase of the fight against COVID-19, The Prime Minister’s visit to these facilities and discussions with the scientists will help him get a first-hand perspective of the preparations, challenges and roadmap in India’s endeavour to vaccinate its citizens.

From Ahmedabad, PM will fly to Pune’s Serum Institute of India (SII). PM Modi is likely to review the status of the vaccine, including its launch, production and distribution mechanisms during the visit.

Later, he will travel to Hyderabad and visit Bharat BioTech, which is working on Covaxin, pitched as India’s first indigenous vaccine candidate.

Prime Minister had chaired a high-level meeting with Chief Ministers of States and UTs on Tuesday via video conferencing to review the status and preparedness of COVID-19 response and management with special emphasis on eight high focus states.

The Prime Minister remarked that the country has faced the pandemic through concerted efforts and in terms of both recovery rate and fatality rate, the situation in India is better than most other countries.

He said that efforts are on to make medical colleges and district hospitals self-sufficient in terms of oxygen generation and informed that the process for establishing more than 160 new oxygen plants is underway.




Day after getting permission for protest in Delhi, farmers still camping around border


The protesters have said they have enough essentials to continue their protests for up to six months. At least three highways that lead to Delhi remain blocked amid the protests.

A day after the Delhi government allows farmers to protest in the national capital, a large number of farmers are still camping around the Delhi border.

The protesters have said they have enough essentials to continue their protests for up to six months. At least three highways that lead to Delhi remain blocked amid the protests.

Yesterday, thousands of farmers were allowed to enter Delhi for their planned protest against farm laws.

The decision comes after a morning of clashes with the police at the Haryana border.

As per the reports, groups of farmers, walking with tractors carrying stocks of food and essential supplies, are trying to enter Delhi from multiple points, defying barricades.

Haryana police have dug trenches at various crossing points in order to stop the marching farmers.

Delhi Police used water cannon and tear gas shells to disperse protesting farmers at Tikri border near Delhi-Bahadurgarh highway.

Farmers were seen clashing with security forces, as they tried to head towards Delhi as part of their protest march.

Delhi Police had seek permission from Delhi Government to convert nine stadiums into temporary prisons, in view of ongoing protest. However, the permission by denied.

Protesting farmers will be allowed to enter the national capital. They will have the permission to protest at the Nirankari Samagam Ground in the Burari area, Delhi Police Commissioner said.

The Delhi Police Commissioner has appealed to the farmers to maintain order and demonstrate peacefully.

“After discussion with farmer leaders, the protesting farmers have been permitted inside Delhi to hold peaceful protest at Nirankari ground in Burari. Delhi Police appeals to them to maintain peace,” said Eish Singhal PRO Delhi police.

The agitating farmers earlier entered into a confrontation with the Delhi Police and there was mild lathi-charge and some rounds of tear gas shells used besides water cannons to push the farmers from Singhu and Tikri borders along Delhi-Haryana.




UP Governor gives assent to ordinance against forcible religious conversions


The state cabinet presided over by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had earlier this week approved the draft ordinance to curb forcible or “dishonest” religious conversions including those for the sake of marriage, which could land violators in jail for up to 10 years.

Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel on Saturday gave assent to an ordinance against forcible or “dishonest” religious conversions, an official said.

The Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020 has been issued with the approval of the Governor, the official said.

The state cabinet presided over by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had earlier this week approved the draft ordinance to curb forcible or “dishonest” religious conversions including those for the sake of marriage, which could land violators in jail for up to 10 years.

According to it, a marriage will be declared “null and void” if the conversion of a woman is solely for that purpose, and those wishing to change their religion after marriage need to apply to the district magistrate.

In recent weeks, BJP-run states like Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh have revealed plans to enact laws to counter alleged attempts to convert Hindu women to Islam in the guise of marriage, which party leaders often refer to as ‘love jihad’.




First since abrogation of Article 370, polling for DDC in J-K begins today


There was lukewarm response to the polling in the valley due to the chilly weather, however, the turnout is expected to increase as the temperature would increase later in the day.

After the abrogation of Article 370, the first polling in Jammu and Kashmir for the District Development Council (DDC) has begun on Saturday.

The polls is being seen as a triangular contest between the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), including the National Conference (NC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which are seeking the restoration of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status revoked by the Centre last year, and the BJP, and Apni Party floated by former finance minister Altaf Bukhari.

Due to the cold weather, little enthusiasm was seen at the polling stations as the voting began at 7 am, officials said according to PTI.

However, the turnout is expected to increase as the temperature rises through the day, they said.

Campaigning for the first phase came to an end on Thursday, with elaborate arrangements having been made for the smooth conduct of the democratic exercise, especially in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, officials said.

The polling has begun for the DDC polls and bypolls to panchyats and urban local bodies across Jammu and Kashmir for the first phase of the eight phase process, the officials said.

There was lukewarm response to the polling in the valley due to the chilly weather, however, the turnout is expected to increase as the temperature would increase later in the day, they said.

As many as 1,475 candidates are in the fray for the first phase of the polls, the officials said.

Out of these, 296 candidates are contesting the first phase of the DDC polls in the union territory, they said, adding 172 were from the Kashmir valley and 124 from the Jammu region.

In the first phase of the DDC elections, 43 constituencies will go to polls, including 25 in Kashmir and 18 in Jammu, the officials said.

For the bypolls to Panchayats, 899 candidates are in the fray for the Panch seats and 280 for the sarpanch seats, they added.

A total of 2,644 polling stations have been set up and there are 7,03,620 electors for this phase, the officials said.

The bypolls are also being held for four wards of the Srinagar Municipal Corporation and the municipal bodies of Pahalgam and Aishmuqam in Anantnag district. The voting for the first phase will end at 2 pm, they said.

There are 280 DDC seats in the Union Territory including 140 each in Jammu and Kashmir regions, the officials said. Fourteen constituencies have been earmarked in each of the 20 districts of the UT, they said.

The bypolls to the 12,153 Panchayat constituencies are also taking place along with the DDC polls. Out of these a major portion 11,814 are in the Kashmir valley, while 339 are in Jammu, they said.

(With inputs from PTI)




Farmers move close to Delhi, Police seeks permission to convert nine stadiums into temporary prisons


Amid the protest, the Delhi Metro has closed the exit gates of some metro stations at Green Line.

The protest of the farmers against the three farm bills continues on the second day also after they were disallowed to march towards Delhi.

They faced lathi-charge and tear gas early this morning at the Haryana-Delhi border.

As per the reports, groups of farmers, walking with tractors carrying stocks of food and essential supplies, are trying to enter Delhi from multiple points, defying barricades.

Haryana police have dug trenches at various crossing points in order to stop the marching farmers.

Amid the protest, the Delhi Metro has closed the exit gates of some metro stations at Green line.

Delhi Police used water cannon and tear gas shells to disperse protesting farmers at Tikri border near Delhi-Bahadurgarh highway.

Farmers were seen clashing with security forces, as they tried to head towards Delhi as part of their protest march.

Delhi Police seeks permission from Delhi Government to convert nine stadiums into temporary prisons, in view of ongoing protest.




MiG-29K trainer aircraft lost over Arabian Sea; one pilot rescued, search for another underway


As per the Navy, the incident took place yesterday at around 5 pm in the Arabian Sea and a high-level inquiry has been ordered to investigate the matter.

A MiG-29K trainer aircraft has been lost over the Arabian Sea last evening and one pilot has been rescued while a search by air and surface units are in progress for the second pilot, Indian Navy said.

As per the Navy, the incident took place at around 5 pm in the Arabian Sea and a high-level inquiry has been ordered to investigate the matter.

“A MiG-29K trainer aircraft operating at sea met with an accident at about 1700 hrs on 26 November. One pilot has been recovered and search by air and surface units in progress for the second pilot. An inquiry has been ordered to investigate the incident,” the Indian Navy said.




‘Would leave White House if Joe Biden is officially confirmed winner’: Donald Trump


Trump has made an unprecedented attempt to defy the results of the election by refusing to concede, spreading wild theories about stolen ballots and launching baseless legal challenges that have been thrown out by courts.

President Donald Trump said Thursday for the first time that he would leave the White House if Joe Biden is officially confirmed the winner of the US election, even as he railed against the “rigged” vote.

Trump has made an unprecedented attempt to defy the results of the election by refusing to concede, spreading wild theories about stolen ballots and launching baseless legal challenges that have been thrown out by courts.

Answering his first questions from reporters since the November 3 vote, the president moved closer to accepting that he would serve only one term in office before Biden is inaugurated on January 20.

When asked if he would leave the White House if the Electoral College confirmed Biden’s victory, Trump said, “Certainly I will. And you know that.”

But “if they do, they made a mistake,” he said, adding, “It’s going to be a very hard thing to concede.”

“I think that there will be a lot of things happening between now and (January) 20th,” he said.

The Electoral College, which determines the White House winner, will meet on December 14 to certify Biden’s victory, with Biden receiving 306 votes to Trump’s 232.

“This election was a fraud,” Trump said, again without providing any evidence during his remarks to reporters at the White House after he spoke to military personnel via video-link on the Thanksgiving holiday.

He described the US voting infrastructure as “like a third-world country.”

Earlier in the day he tweeted that “this was a 100% RIGGED ELECTION,” while on Wednesday he called on his Republican supporters “to turn the election over.”

President-elect Biden has said that Americans “won’t stand” for attempts to derail the vote outcome, and urged for Americans to unite to fight the worsening pandemic.

More than 260,000 people have died in the US from Covid-19, with daily death tolls surging to 2,000 on recent days.

Trump’s refusal to concede the election to Biden has added to the countless norms he has torn up during his four years in power.

Supporters suggest he is already eyeing a run for president in 2024.

Trump, 74, is alleging — among other conspiracy theories — that voting machines deliberately deleted millions of his votes, though the government election security agency declared it “the most secure” election in US history.

Under pressure from some senior Republicans, Trump this week ended his blockade of government assistance to ease Biden’s preparation for assuming the presidency.

Trump said Thursday he would soon travel to Georgia to campaign ahead of two key runoff elections that will decide which party controls the Senate.

Biden, 78, this week introduced a slate of veteran diplomats and policy-makers who will make up his national security and foreign policy team, saying: “America is back, ready to lead the world.”

He said that in his first 100 days in office, he would tackle the Covid crisis, scrap Trump policies “damaging” the environment and push legislation offering millions of undocumented US residents a route to citizenship.




Covid-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca, Oxford University is safe: Serum Institute of India


The comments came after AstraZeneca and Oxford University acknowledged a manufacturing error that is raising questions about preliminary results of their experimental COVID-19 vaccine.

Vaccine major Serum Institute of India on Thursday said the COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University is safe and effective, and the Indian trials are progressing smoothly with strict adherence to all protocols.

The comments came after AstraZeneca and Oxford University acknowledged a manufacturing error that is raising questions about preliminary results of their experimental COVID-19 vaccine.

A statement describing the error came days after the company and the university described the shots as “highly effective” and made no mention of why some study participants did not receive as much vaccine in the first of two shots as expected.

Asking people to be patient and not panic, the Serum Institute of India (SII) said in a statement, “The AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine is safe and effective. Even the lowest efficacy results are at 60-70%, making it a viable vaccine against the virus.”

That said, varied age groups with different dosage forms will result in slight variations and efficacy. “We must be patient and not panic,” it added.

SII is conducting clinical trials of AstraZeneca-Oxford’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate in India.

“The Indian trials are running smoothly with strict adherence to all the necessary processes and protocols. So far, there are no concerns. However, we are going through the data that is available and will make further statement, if needed,” SII said.

Earlier this week, AstraZeneca said an interim analysis of clinical trials of its COVID-19 vaccine in the UK and Brazil showed that it was 70 per cent effective on average, becoming the third drugmaker to announce promising results to contain the deadly virus.

The company had also said that the vaccine, developed with the University of Oxford, showed 90 per cent efficacy in one dosing regimen when the vaccine was given as a half dose, followed by a full dose at least a month later, while another dosing regimen showed 62 per cent efficacy when given as two full doses at least one month apart.

“The combined analysis from both dosing regimens resulted in an average efficacy of 70 per cent,” it had said.




ED arrests Cox & Kings promoter Peter Kerkar in money laundering case linked to Yes Bank


The case relates to ED’s money laundering probe in which the central probe agency had said that Yes Bank had a total outstanding of Rs 3,642 crore against Cox & Kings Group of Companies (CKG).

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday arrested Cox & Kings promoter Peter Kerkar in a money laundering case linked to the alleged loan default at the Yes Bank, officials said.

Peter Kerkar alias Ajay Ajit Peter was arrested in Mumbai under various sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and will be produced before a court there on Friday.

The case relates to ED’s money laundering probe in which the central probe agency had said that Yes Bank had a total outstanding of ₹ 3,642 crore against Cox & Kings Group of Companies (CKG).

The role of Peter Kerkar is under probe with regard to alleged loan defaults with a number of banks including the Yes Bank, official sources said.

The agency had raided a number to former executives of the beleaguered tours and travel services firm along with Peter Kerkar in June as part of multiple searches conducted by it in Mumbai.

It has also arrested its ex-chief financial officer Anil Khandelwal and internal auditor Naresh Jain in October in this case.

The company at present is undergoing corporate insolvency resolution process.

The ED had alleged AnilKhandelwal and Naresh Jain had “purchased various immovable properties from the funds diverted from Cox & Kings Group (CKG).”

“CKG forged its consolidated financials by manipulating the balance sheets of overseas subsidiaries. In addition, some board resolutions submitted to banks for sanctioning the loans were also found to be forged,” the ED had claimed.

Probe revealed that the loan sanction from Yes bank was driven by the then CMD Rana Kapoor and was given “bypassing” the norms, it said.

“ED gathered the evidences regarding clear instruction of Rana Kapoor to the concerned bank officials to get the said loan continued and not to take efforts to recover it,” it alleged.

“During financial year 2015-2019, sales of ₹ 3,908 crore was made to 15 non-existent/fictitious customers,” the ED had said after it arrested the two.

It had said Cox & King Limited “diverted ₹ 1,100 crore to another stressed company without any approval of board which has no business relationship with the company.”

Yes Bank co-promoter Rana Kapoor and and DHFL promoters Kapil Wadhawan and Dheeraj Wadhawan have been arrested in this case by the ED early this year.

It had booked Kapoor, his family members and others under the PMLA after studying a CBI FIR that alleged that dubious multi-crore loans were given by Yes Bank to various entities in contravention of the law and in lieu of purported kickbacks given to the Kapoor family.





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