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Kapil Gujjar, who fired gun at demonstration in Shaheen Bagh, expelled from BJP hours after joining


The BJP unit in Uttar Pradesh’s Ghaziabad said they did not know of his antecedents when he joined the party.

The man named Kapil Gujjar, who fired a gun at the demonstration against the citizenship law in Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh last year, has been expelled from the BJP hours after joining the party.

The BJP unit in Uttar Pradesh’s Ghaziabad said they did not know of his antecedents when he joined the party.

“Kapil Gujjar was among some people who were inducted into the party from the Bahujan Samaj Party. We had no idea of his involvement in the controversial Shaheen Bagh incident. On finding out, his joining has been cancelled with immediate effect,” the BJP’s Ghaziabad chief Sanjeev Sharma said in a statement.

Gujjar fired three bullets in the air after warning protesters to vacate the spot. He also raised communal slogans. According to the police, the accused was annoyed over the protest at Shaheen Bagh and the ensuing road blockade for nearly 50 days now.

Gujjar chanted Jai Shri Ram and said, “Humare desh me aur kisi ki nahi chalegi, sirf Hindu ki chalegi (only Hindus shall have a say in our country, no one else),” as he was taken into custody by the Delhi Police.

Delhi Police had claimed that Kapil Gujjar is learnt to be a member of the ruling Aam Aadmi Party.

The revelation has been made by the Crime Branch which is interrogating Gujjar, a resident of Dallupura village in east Delhi, who fired shots at Shaheen Bagh on February 1.

Clarifying on the photographs released, Kapil’s father had told ANI: “Neither me nor my family has anything to do with AAP. They came to campaign during the Lok Sabha election (last year) and made us all wear AAP caps and that is what the photo is.”




Keeping with spirit of ‘Shramev Jayate’, Government committed to welfare of labour: PM Modi


In his message, the Prime Minister, while congratulating Bureau on the release of the special stamp in its centenary year, also highlighted that for the last hundred years, Bureau has been generating labour, price and employment statistics with great allegiance and dedication.

Minister of State for Labour & Employment Santosh Kumar Gangwar released a special stamp on Labour Bureau on the occasion of centenary year celebrations of the Labour Bureau in an event held here today.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave a special message to Labour Bureau on this occasion.

In his message, the Prime Minister, while congratulating Bureau on the release of the special stamp in its centenary year, also highlighted that for the last hundred years, Bureau has been generating labour, price and employment statistics with great allegiance and dedication.

The message also stated that in keeping with the spirit of the mantra of “Shramev Jayate”, the Government committed to the welfare of labour has taken continuous and integrated steps for labour.

The Prime Minister also opined that the three historic labour codes will not only protect the interests of hardworking workers but will also form the basis for increasing productivity to higher levels.

The Prime Minister also stated in his message that the availability of reliable statistics on labour and labourers are vital for effective policymaking and planning for the welfare of labour.

Given the significance of data and its increasing usage in various fields, the Bureau’s rich legacy of data generation needs to be fully capitalized for better policymaking in the field of labour and employment.

He also expressed firm belief that Bureau will continue to upgrade its working by embracing the latest technologies in the field of data collection, analysis and dissemination. The Prime Minister also conveyed his best wishes for all the future endeavours of the Bureau.

The Minister of State for Labour & Employment Gangwar, while addressing the participants said that besides its mandate of generating various price and labour related statistics.

“The Bureau has also earned appreciation for successfully undertaking in record time, all the surveys & studies entrusted to it by the Governments from time to time. When employment data used to be available in our country only once in five years, Bureau became the first-ever Government organization in the country to produce annual data on employment and unemployment through its annual All India Household Surveys on Employment Unemployment. The Bureau also conducted first of its kind Quarterly Employment Surveys (QES) of enterprises which will be relaunched in a new format very soon. Bureau was also entrusted with the task of estimating employment generated under the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY) which it carried out in record time,” he said.




Seven US lawmakers write to Mike Pompeo urging him to raise issue of farmers protest in India


This is an issue of particular concern to Sikh Americans linked to Punjab, although it also heavily impacts the Indian Americans belonging to other Indian states, the lawmakers said in their letter to Pompeo.

A group of seven influential US lawmakers, including Indian-American Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, have written to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, urging him to raise the issue of farmers” protest in India with his Indian counterpart.

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

“We have seen some ill-informed comments…relating to farmers in India. Such comments are unwarranted, especially when pertaining to the internal affairs of a democratic country,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said earlier this month.

This is an issue of particular concern to Sikh Americans linked to Punjab, although it also heavily impacts the Indian Americans belonging to other Indian states, the lawmakers said in their letter to Pompeo dated December 23.

“Many Indian Americans are directly affected as they have family members and ancestral land in Punjab and are concerned for the well-being of their families in India. In view of this serious situation, we urge you to contact your Indian counterpart to reinforce the United States” commitment to the freedom of political speech abroad,” they said.

In their letter, the lawmakers said that the US as a nation that is familiar with political protests can offer counsel to India during their current period of social disturbance.

“As national legislators, we respect the right of the government of India to determine national policy, in compliance with existing law. We also acknowledge the rights of those in India and abroad who are currently protesting peacefully against agricultural laws that many Indian farmers see as an attack on their economic security,” the lawmakers said.

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. There have been multiple rounds of talks between representatives of the protestors and the Indian government but the logjam continues.

In addition to Jayapal, the letter has been signed by Congressmen Donald Norcross, Brendan F Boyle, Brian Fitzpatrick, Mary Gay Scanlon, Debbie Dingell and David Trone.

Over the past few weeks, more than a dozen US Congressmen have expressed their concerns on the ongoing protest by the farmers in India.

Earlier this month, Congressman John Garamendi, Co-Chair of the American Sikh Caucus, along with Congressman Jim Costa and Congresswoman Shelia Jackson Lee -members of the American Sikh Caucus- sent a letter to Indian Ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu, expressing solidarity with the protestors and defending their right to peaceful protest.

Democratic American lawmaker David Trone on Tuesday urged the Indian government to provide safety to the protesting farmers and hailed the recent offers of dialogue and a proposal from India”s Supreme Court to set up mediation.




PM Modi to address nine crore farmers today to clarify centre’s position on farm laws


PM Modi will also release the next batch of financial aid of Rs 18,000 crore from the PM-Kisan scheme.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address nine crore farmers today and clarify the centre’s position on the farm laws.

PM’s address will coincide with former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s birthday today. In order to mark the day, party chief JP Nadda has directed union ministers, MPs and MLAs to participate in the address.

PM Modi will also release the next batch of financial aid of Rs 18,000 crore from the PM-Kisan scheme.

For the event, JP Nadda has ordered big screens to be arranged for listening to PM’s address at every block development centre.

District-level programs will be held an hour before the PM’s speech.

As per the reports, these programs will consist of BJP officer-bearers and public representatives extolling the benefits of schemes started by the Modi government.

Specially-printed leaflets will also be distributed; the content is to be translated into local languages, but no editing will be allowed to info drafted by the centre.




Turkey to receive its first shipment of China’s coronavirus vaccine after tests show 91% effectiveness


Turkey will initially receive three million doses of Sinovac and have the option for 50 million more as it begins inoculations next month, starting with healthcare workers and the most vulnerable.

Turkey will receive its first shipment of China’s Sinovac coronavirus vaccine within days as preliminary domestic tests showed it was 91% effective, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Thursday.

Ankara in the next few days will also sign a deal with Pfizer/BioNTech for 4.5 million doses, with the option to buy 30 million more from the US pharmaceutical giant and its German partner, Koca said.

Turkey will initially receive three million doses of Sinovac and have the option for 50 million more as it begins inoculations next month, starting with healthcare workers and the most vulnerable.

Koca said the first shipments of the Chinese vaccine will be sent to Turkey on Sunday.

The preliminary tests on 7,371 volunteers in Turkey showed that the Chinese vaccine was 91.25 per cent effective, although phase three tests were still not complete.

Turkey “will be able to vaccinate 1.5 million or even two million people per day,” Koca said, adding that the “first stage” of vaccinations would cover nine million people.

The nation of 83 million has officially recorded 19,115 Covid-19 deaths and 2.2 million virus infections.




‘The deal is done’: Boris Johnson after Britain, European Union struck post-Brexit trade deal


‘We have finally found an agreement,’ the president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said.

Britain and the European Union struck a post-Brexit trade deal Thursday that they hope will cushion the economic blow of the UK’s imminent departure from the bloc after months of tortuous negotiations.

“The deal is done,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted, declaring that the UK would remain Europe’s ally and “number one market”.


“We have finally found an agreement,” the president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said.

“It was a long and winding road, but we have a good deal at the end of it,” she said. “The single market will be fair and remain so.”

Britain formally left the EU in January after a deeply divisive referendum in 2016, the first country to split from the political and economic project that was born as the continent rebuilt in the aftermath of World War II.

But London remains tied to the EU’s rules during a transition period that runs until midnight on December 31, when the UK will leave the bloc’s single market and customs union.

The final 2,000-page agreement was held up by last-minute wrangling over fishing as both sides haggled over the access EU fishermen will get to Britain’s waters after the end of the year.

Von der Leyen thanked the British negotiators and said that although the UK would become a “third country” it would be a trusted partner.

“This agreement is in the United Kingdom’s interest, it will set solid foundations for a new start with a long term friend,” she said.

“And it means that we can finally put Brexit behind us and Europe is continuing to move forward,” she said.

Irish premier Micheal Martin — whose EU member state would have been hard hit by a no-deal — said the accord was “very welcome”.

“While we will miss the UK from the European Union, the fact that a deal is now in place means we can focus on how we manage good relationship in the years ahead,” he said on Twitter.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she was “confident” that the deal was a “good outcome” as it now goes over to EU member states to agree.

EU states to ratify

Following the announcement of the political accord, von der Leyen’s Commission will send the text to the European capitals.

They are expected to take two or three days to analyse the agreement and decide whether to approve its provisional implementation.

The UK parliament will also have to interrupt its end of year holidays to vote on the deal before the December 31 cut-off.

Once it is signed off and the text published in the EU’s official journal it will go into effect on January 1 when Britain has left the bloc’s single market.

The European Parliament will then have a chance to retrospectively approve the deal at some point in 2021, speaker David Sassoli said.

Assuming the process goes as planned, the negotiating teams will have agreed the mammoth deal in record time.

And the 11th hour accord heads off the threat that Britain could crash out of the club after 47 years of shared history with no follow-on rules.

With Britain outside the EU single market and customs area, cross-Channel traders will still face a battery of new regulations and delays.

Economists expect both economies, already weakened by the coronavirus epidemic, to take a hit as supply chains are disrupted and costs mount.

But the threat of a return to tariffs will have been removed, and relations between the former partners will rest on a surer footing.

It is also a success for von der Leyen and her chief negotiator Michel Barnier, who led almost ten months of intense talks with Britain’s David Frost.

After the 2016 referendum, in which British voters chose to leave the union, Brexiteers boasted that they could win the “easiest trade deal in history”.

The argument was that, after conducting business according to EU standards and regulations for so long, the economies would be a good fit for each other.

But European capitals were concerned that if such a large rival on their doorstep were to deregulate its industry their firms would face unfair competition.

Brussels insisted the only way to keep the land border between Ireland and the UK open was to keep Northern Ireland, a British province, within its customs union.

And members balked at giving up access to Britain’s rich fishing waters, which support fleets in France, Belgium, Denmark, Ireland and the Netherlands.

It was the question of fish that emerged as the last stumbling block as late as this week, when member states — led by France — rejected a UK offer.

London pushed to reduce EU fishing fleets’ share of the estimated 650-million-euro annual haul by more than a third, with changes phased in over three years.

The EU, in particular countries with northern fishing fleets like France, Denmark and the Netherlands — was insisting on 25 percent over at least six years.

It is not yet clear what the numbers are in the final deal, but European diplomats stressed that they would not have signed off on it unless the UK gave ground.

But Barnier insisted after the deal was struck that the EU “will support its fishermen and women. It will accompany them”.




‘Will sleep only after lotus blooms in Bengal’: Suvendu Adhikari


The former TMC leader is considered the backbone of the movement in Nandigram that played a crucial role in Mamata Banerjee coming to power in the state in 2011, defeating the Left Front.

Suvendu Adhikari said on Thursday that he has made the right decision to join the BJP and the move has people’s approval.

Leading a mammoth roadshow in his home ground Kanthi, Mr Adhikari also announced that he will address a rally in Nandigram on January 8, a day after a similar programme is likely to be held by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

“The roadshow has shown that I have made the right decision and have the people’s approval,” he said.

The roadshow took nearly three hours to cover the 5-km distance from Mecheda bypass to the Central Bus Stand, where he addressed a public meeting. It started around 2.30 pm and ended at 5.30 pm as thousands of people caused the roads of this small town in the Purba Medinipur district to choke.

“You (Mamata Banerjee) are most welcome to come to Nandigram on January 7 and I will reply to what you will say there on the next day,” Mr Adhikari said, addressing his first rally in his home base as a BJP leader.

Mr Adhikari claimed that Ms Banerjee has never gone to Nandigram on January 7, March 14 or November 10, the days that mark the turning points in the Nandigram movement of 2007 against the then Left Front government.

The former TMC leader is considered the backbone of the movement in Nandigram that played a crucial role in Mamata Banerjee coming to power in the state in 2011, defeating the Left Front.

Mr Adhikari questioned why the TMC leadership was worried and sending so many of its leaders every week to Purba Medinipur if they really think that his exit does not matter.

Criticising state minister Firhad Hakim who addressed a rally in the area on Wednesday, Mr Adhikari said that he had failed to manage the situation in Kolkata as its mayor after cyclone Amphan and that the Army, and disaster management teams from Odisha had to be called in to restore normalcy.

Claiming that it was a fight between a village lad and four-five people from south Kolkata, he said, “Of the 60 departments in the state government, 40 are in the hands of these few people.”

Mr Adhikari said that having been at the forefront of the Nandigram movement and having confronted Maoists and its leader Kishenji in Jangalmahal, he is not worried about these people.

He said that Saugata Roy, who has accused him of deserting the TMC, was a Congress candidate against Mamata Banerjee in south Kolkata constituency in the 1998 Lok Sabha elections, which the TMC supremo fought in alliance with Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led BJP.

Mr Adhikari said that he had been a saviour of the TMC by fighting Left Front leaders Kiranmoy Nanda and Lakshman Seth in the assembly and Lok Sabha elections, when no one in the TMC was willing to take on them in the 90s’ and the early 2000s. He asserted that along with BJP state president Dilip Ghosh, he will ensure that the BJP wins all 35 seats in Purba and Paschim Medinipur districts.

“Me and Dilip Ghosh of Gopiballavpur in Paschim Medinipur have united the sandy soil of the Bay of Bengal coast and the red soil of Jangalmahal and we will sleep only after the lotus blooms,” he said.

Maintaining that his family played a crucial role in the TMC’s wins from seats in Purba Medinipur, Mr Adhikari said that Mamata Banerjee’s party will come second in the 2021 assembly elections in the state, while the pole position will be taken by the BJP.

Suvendu’s father Sisir Adhikari is a TMC Member of Parliament from Kanthi, while his brother Dibyendu is a party MP from neighbouring Tamluk. Another brother Soumendu is the chairman of Kanthi Municipality held by the TMC.

Accusing the TMC leadership of step-motherly attitude towards Kanthi, he said, “While Diamond Harbour gets two universities and two medical colleges, Kanthi did not get anything.”

Diamond Harbour Lok Sabha seat is held by Abhishek Banerjee, nephew of the TMC chief.




Sensex crashes 1,407 points, Nifty holds 13,300 as new COVID-19 strain spooks D-street


1. ONGC led the losers by tanking around 9 per cent. IndusInd Bank, M&M, SBI, NTPC, ITC, Axis Bank and PowerGrid shed up to 7 per cent.
2. India has suspended all flights from the UK between December 23-31.

Equity benchmarks, Sensex and Nifty plunged 3 per cent on Monday as panic over a new strain of coronavirus in the UK led to a massive selloff in global equities.

The S&P BSE Sensex tanked 1,406.73 points or 3 per cent to close at 45,553.96 with all 30 components ending in the red.

ONGC led the losers by tanking around 9 per cent. IndusInd Bank, M&M, SBI, NTPC, ITC, Axis Bank and PowerGrid shed up to 7 per cent.

Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty crashed 432.15 points or 3.14 per cent to 13,328.40 levels.

“Domestic equities witnessed sharp selling pressure today and wiped out more than Rs 7 trillion of investors’ wealth in a single day,” said Binod Modi, Head- Strategy at Reliance Securities.

On the broader market, the BSE MidCap and SmallCap ended with losses at 4.14 per cent and 4.57 per cent respectively.

Concerns of new COVID-19 strain in the UK and emerging doubts over the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccination dented investors’ sentiments globally, he said, adding that Indian market was among the worst performers as profit-booking also took place at higher levels.

Notably, volatility index witnessed a sharp jump of 25 per cent, indicating more volatility ahead, he asserted.

Several European countries, including France, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria and Italy, have banned flights from the UK with the British government warning that the potent new strain of the virus was “out of control”. The UK has imposed a stringent new stay-at-home lockdown from Sunday in London and other regions.

India too has suspended all flights from the UK between December 23-31.

Stock exchanges in Paris, Frankfurt and London were trading up to 2.50 per lower in early deals.

Elsewhere in Asia, bourses in Hong Kong and Tokyo ended in the red, while Shanghai and Seoul settled with mild gains.

Global oil benchmark Brent crude futures plummetted 5.30 per cent to USD 49.49 per barrel.




BJP MP Saumitra Khan to send divorce notice to wife Sujata Khan after she joins TMC


Addressing the press, Saumitra Khan said that his wife “made a mistake” and blamed TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee for “breaking my family”.

BJP MP Saumitra Khan on Monday announced that she will send a divorce notice to her wife Sujata Mondal Khan moments after she joined TMC in Kolkata.

Addressing the press, the Bishnupur lawmaker said that his wife “made a mistake” and blamed TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee for “breaking my family”.

“You were respected as a BJP MP’s wife. TMC can break families…You [Sujata Mondal Khan] have got me votes and are a part of my victory. but I now release her from my name and surname. Those who broke our house…we will not forgive them,” Khan said as quoted by India Today.

“I request my wife Sujata to stay well and fight out. You have made a mistake, Sujata. I want to tell Abhishek Banerjee, Sujata was my only weakness and now I will sacrifice everything for my party [BJP].

“I will be sending a divorce notice. I will fight TMC. I want to tell TMC that you should be ashamed for breaking my family. There have been so many fights but [I] did not think this will happen,” he added.

Sujata joined Mamata Banerjee-led party at the presence of Kunal Ghosh and veteran Saugata Roy. She also wished for her TMC-turncoat husband to follow suit soon.

“I hope good sense prevails in him. Let’s hope for the best,” said Sujata about Saumitra, who had served as TMC’s youth wing secretary before changing his loyalty.

Sujata took a dig at BJP and said only opportunists had a place there now. “Now there are only opportunist and tainted people on the top. There was no respect in the BJP for me,” she said.

“I don’t understand what kind of soap is it that is used to purifying the tainted leaders. I had fought for BJP and my husband [Saumitra Khan]…we got them [BJP and Saumitra Khan] a victory in the Lok Sabha polls. I think they have only been opportunists.”

However, Bengali portal The Wall repored that there had been a rift in the relationship between Saumitra and Sujata after the latter demanded to be made the president of BJP’s Mahila Morcha.

As Home Minister Amit Shah boasted about the intolerance of the saffron party to nepotism, TMC took the advantage with a hope to untether a fierce campaign against Saumitra, the former president of TMC’s youth wing.

Sujata had proved to be instrumental in BJP’s success in the 2019 Parliamentary polls in Bankura after Saumitra was stopped by the court from entering the district.

Sujata had shouldered the responsibility of BJP’s campaign in Bankura. It was riding on her effortless campaigning that hindutva brigade gained massive inroads on the land of red soil.

How much will Sujata’s induction help West Bengal’s governning party in the ballots remains to be seen. But it’ll certainly act as a moral booster to the TMC cadres who have been demotivated recently with massive defections led by Suvendu Adhikari.




Boris Johnson to chair crisis meeting as countries blocked flights to Britain over coronavirus strain


The World Health Organization also called for stronger containment measures across Europe, which has passed 500,000 deaths from Covid-19.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson was to chair a crisis meeting Monday as a growing number of countries from France to Argentina blocked flights to Britain over a new highly infectious coronavirus strain the UK said was “out of control”.

The World Health Organization also called for stronger containment measures across Europe, which has passed 500,000 deaths from Covid-19.

But there was positive news across the Atlantic where US lawmakers reached a deal for a nearly $900 billion Covid-19 financial package to help struggling Americans.

In London, Johnson called the COBR emergencies committee meeting to “discuss the situation regarding international travel, in particular the steady flow of freight into and out of the UK”, a spokesman said.

More than a dozen European nations have already banned flights and travellers from Britain, with more expected to take action.

Crucial transit country France moved to block people and goods crossing the Channel, while the Netherlands said passengers arriving by ferry would be denied entry.

The ban on all but unaccompanied freight crossing to France comes as companies scramble to shift merchandise with days to go until Britain finally quits European Union trade structures in the wake of Brexit.

Late Sunday, Britain’s critical south coast port at Dover said it was closing to all accompanied freight and passengers due to the French border restrictions “until further notice”.

Alarm bells were ringing across Europe as the new, even more infectious strain of the virus appeared to be raging in parts of Britain.

A WHO spokeswoman told AFP that “across Europe, where transmission is intense and widespread, countries need to redouble their control and prevention approaches.”

A German government source said restrictions on air travel from Britain could be adopted by the entire 27-member EU and that countries were also discussing a joint response over sea, road and rail links.

French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and EU chiefs Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel held a conference call on Sunday about the matter, Macron’s office said.

Later Sunday, bans on flights from Britain were imposed in the Americas, including by Canada, Chile and Argentina.

US officials, however, signalled they were holding off on the move for now, while Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he was confident existing 14-day quarantine rules for arrivals were sufficient to handle the threat.

Despite growing concerns about the new strain, EU experts believe it will not impact the effectiveness of existing vaccines, Germany’s health minister Jens Spahn said.

The assessment was shared by Britain’s chief medical officer Chris Whitty.

UK U-turn

Johnson said the infectiousness of the new strain had forced him into locking down much of England over the Christmas period.

“Unfortunately the new strain was out of control. We have got to get it under control,” Health Secretary Matt Hancock told Sky News.

Scientists first discovered the new variant — which they believe is 70 percent more transmissible — in a patient in September. Public Health England notified the government on Friday when modelling revealed its full seriousness.

The novel coronavirus has killed more than 1.68 million people since the outbreak emerged in China last December, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP.

And with the onset of colder winter weather in the northern hemisphere — when respiratory diseases flourish — countries are bracing for new waves of Covid-19 with tighter restrictions, despite the economic damage such lockdowns wrought earlier this year.

The Netherlands is under a five-week lockdown until mid-January with schools and all non-essential shops closed.

Italy also announced a new regime of restrictions until January 6 that included limits on people leaving their homes more than once a day, closing non-essential shops, bars and restaurants and curbs on regional travel.

Vaccination roll-out

In the US, the $900 billion package agreed Sunday is expected to include aid for vaccine distribution and logistics, extra jobless benefits of $300 per week, and a new round of $600 stimulus checks.

Congress is expected to soon approve the measure as the country copes with the world’s highest death toll from the virus.

Around the world, the rapid roll-out of vaccinations is now seen as the only effective way to end the crisis.

Europe is expected to start a massive vaccination campaign after Christmas, following the United States and Britain which have begun giving jabs with an approved Pfizer-BioNTech shot, one of several leading candidates.

A US expert panel recommended Sunday that those aged 75 and older should be the next vaccinated against the virus, along with 30 million “frontline essential workers,” including teachers, grocery store employees and police.

Initial doses have focused on frontline health-care workers and the elderly in nursing homes.

Russia and China have also started giving out jabs with their own domestically produced vaccines.





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