Global Covid-19 Aid from 14 Countries Reach Indian Hospitals, Boost Fight Against Catastrophic Second Wave


Global aid has now started reaching Indian hospitals, helping in the fight against a devastating second wave of coronavirus.

According to an exclusive report by the Indian Express, white House’s Covid-19 testing kits are in New Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital, an Italian oxygen plant is in the ITBP hospital in Greater Noida, a French oxygen plant is at Indraprastha Apollo hospital in New Delhi and Irish oxygen concentrators are in PGI, Chandigarh.

Help from 14 countries has reached India.

Union Health Ministry has said 1,764 oxygen concentrators, 1,760 oxygen cylinders, seven oxygen generation plants, 450 ventilators, and over 1.35 lakh Remdesivir vials have been received as aid from abroad between April 27 and May 4 in 38 medical institutions across 31 states and union territories. India has been receiving medical supplies and equipment for COVID-19 relief since April 27 from different countries, including the United Kingdom, Ireland, Romania, Russia, the UAE, the USA, Taiwan, Kuwait, France, Thailand, Germany, Uzbekistan, Belgium and Italy.

“All items received up to May 4 are allocated to states and institutions, and a substantial part of it stands delivered. This is an ongoing exercise,” the health ministry said in its statement. A streamlined and systematic mechanism for allocation of the support supplies received by India has been put into place by the Central government for effective distribution of medical and other relief and support material, it said.

The supplies have reached 38 tertiary care institutions across 31 states and union territories in the first tranche between April 27 and May 4.

A standard operating procedure for this purpose has been framed and implemented by the Health Ministry since May 2. A dedicated coordination cell has been created in the Health Ministry to coordinate the receipt and allocation of foreign COVID relief material as grants, aid and donations.

About the distribution of the COVID relief material, the ministry said, “This is done considering certain criteria like the number of active cases, case fatality rate, positivity rate and need among others.”

“This will help to supplement the medical infrastructure of these institutions and 31 states and UTs, and strengthen their clinical management capacities for prompt and effective clinical management of the hospitalised COVID19 patients,” the ministry stated. Cargo clearance and deliveries are facilitated without delay in coordination with the agencies concerned. Deliveries and further installations, if required, are also being monitored by the health ministry on a regular basis, it said.

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Switzerland says Moderna COVID-19 vaccine deliveries will be delayed


ZURICH (Reuters) – Moderna has warned Switzerland that its COVID-19 vaccine deliveries would be delayed, the Swiss health ministry said on Thursday, leading to February shortfalls that the country expects the U.S. company to make up in March.

The delays follow European supply issues with vaccine maker AstraZeneca, as well as Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech, as demand for COVID-19 shots is sky high but supplies remain tight and production limited.

Switzerland, which has received a combined 531,600 vaccines so far from Moderna and from Pfizer and BioNTech, said it still expects first-quarter vaccine deliveries to meet their contractual requirements.

It had hoped to get 1 million doses in February, though with Moderna’s delay it could miss that target.

The Swiss Federal Health Ministry did not give a reason for the delays, referring questions to Moderna.

Moderna did not return messages seeking comment.

The delay to Moderna’s shipments was first reported by Swiss newspaper Blick, which said a planned 300,000-dose shipment due Feb. 1 would likely fall short.

Some of Switzerland’s 26 cantons, like European countries, have already received fewer Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine doses than they had planned, leading them to alter vaccination schedules.

“The next shipments from Pfizer and Moderna arrive in the first week of February,” a Swiss Federal Health Ministry spokeswoman told Reuters.

“The cantons will be informed soon so they can plan their vaccination activities.”

Switzerland, with 8.6 million people, hopes to vaccinate everyone who wants a COVID-19 shot by summer.

Swiss contract drugmaker Lonza, which manufactures ingredients for Moderna’s mRNA vaccine, said on Wednesday it may be “a couple of months” before new Swiss plants dedicated to producing the shots will be at “cruising speed”.

Moderna’s Europe-bound vaccine must make a winding journey from Lonza in Switzerland to fill-and-finish facilities in Spain, before being trucked to a Belgian logistics center, from where it is distributed to individual countries.

Reporting by John Miller; editing by Jason Neely and Hugh Lawson



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Hansi Flick Favourite to be Germany’s Next Coach With Bierhoff’s Backing


Outgoing Bayern Munich trainer Hansi Flick is the hot favourite to become Germany’s next head coach after receiving the backing of Oliver Bierhoff, who will ultimately decide Joachim Loew’s replacement, in a podcast Wednesday.

Flick, Loew’s assistant coach when Germany won the 2014 World Cup, has told Bayern he wants to leave at the end of the season despite winning seven titles in the last 18 months.

Loew will step down after 15 years in charge of Germany after the Euro 2020 finals and last week the German FA (DFB) said they want to speak to Flick about taking over.

In a podcast by German daily Bild on Wednesday, Bierhoff, director of the Germany team, replied “you could say that” when asked if Flick is his favourite to replace Loew.

Bierhoff worked alongside Flick as team manager in Loew’s coaching staff which masterminded Germany’s World Cup triumph in Brazil seven years ago.

“Now the way is clear to talk to him. We know each other very well and you don’t have to be a great expert to say that Hansi would make an excellent national team coach,” Bierhoff added.

“Hansi Flick knows the (German Football) Association. He is someone who creates atmosphere and brings people together.”

Bierhoff, 53, said the focus is on the Germans doing well at the European championships, from June 11-July 11, after their 6-0 thrashing by Spain last November, then a shock 2-1 home defeat to North Macedonia in March.

Bierhoff made it clear he is under no time pressure to name a head coach before their World Cup qualifiers in September, Germany’s first matches after the Euros, but it would “be good to get the matter resolved”.

“The aim, of course, is to focus on the team and the tournament – and not on peripheral stories,” he Bierhoff.

Bayern have already named Julian Nagelsmann, 33, as Flick’s replacement as their head coach next season. Bierhoff welcomed the fact that “things are not dragging out”.

Flick was Loew’s assistant coach with Germany from 2006 until 2014, when he then became sports director of the German FA until January 2017.

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Six Western hostages now held in Africa’s troubled Sahel region



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A French journalist kidnapped by an Al-Qaeda linked group brings to six the number of Western hostages known to be held in the troubled Sahel region on the southern fringes of the Sahara.

Iulian Ghergut

Romanian mineworker Iulian Ghergut was grabbed by armed men in Burkina Faso on April 4, 2015. He had been working in a manganese mine near the border with Mali and Niger.

His kidnapping was claimed by Al-Qaeda-linked Islamist group Al-Mourabitoun prominent in the Sahel.

Arthur Kenneth Elliott

The 82-year-old Australian surgeon was kidnapped in Burkina Faso on January 15, 2016 with his wife Jocelyn by the jihadist group Ansar Dine. Jocelyn Elliott was freed a month later.

On the third anniversary of her husband’s captivity she sent a message to his captors asking for his release, which she repeated in May 2020.

Jeffery Woodke

American aid worker Jeffery Woodke was kidnapped in the central Niger town of Abalak on October 14, 2016 where he had been working for an NGO. He is now believed to be in Mali.

Niger’s then-president Mahamadou Issoufou said in September 2019 that Woodke was alive and in good health.

Gloria Cecilia Argoti

The Colombian nun was kidnapped on February 7, 2017 by armed men who had entered her congregation in the village of Karangasso, southern Mali.

She appeared on a video in January 2018 appealing for help from Pope Francis. In September that year she featured in another video with French hostage Sophie Petronin, who was freed in 2020.

Jorg Lange

German aid worker Jorg Lange was kidnapped on April 11, 2018, in western Niger and taken to the north, not far from the border with Mali.

In 2018 during a visit to Paris, Issoufou said Lange was alive.

Olivier Dubois

French journalist Olivier Dubois appeared in a short video on social media Wednesday saying he had been abducted in Gao, central Mali on April 8 by the Group to Support Islam and Muslims (GSIM), the biggest jihadist alliance in the Sahel.

(AFP)



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Nameberry reveals Australia’s most searched baby names for 2021


While names like Charlotte, Oliver and Noah topped birth registries in Australia last year it seems expectant parents are now thinking more outside the box.

Baby name search engine site Nameberry have released the most-searched for names in Australia, with Luna coming out on top for girls while Arlo was the number one search for boys.

Luna, which means moon in Italian, has grown in popularity since Chrissy Teigen and John Legend welcomed daughter Luna Simone in 2016.

Arlo, which comes from the Celtic word Aherlow which means “between two highlands”, has grown in popularity in the last 10 years especially in the UK and US.

RELATED: Australia’s most popular baby names for 2020

Top five searched-for Australian girls’ names

1. Luna

2. Isla

3. Aurora

4. Mia

5. Maeve

Top five searched-for Australian boys’ names

1. Arlo

2. Hugo

3. Oscar

4. Leo

5. Theodore

RELATED: Most bogan baby names revealed

In New Zealand, Aurora is the most-searched for name for girls, followed by Luna, Ivy, Hazel and Mabel.

For the boys, Arlo is also the top choice there followed by Asher, Felix, Leo and Milo.

In the US, Silas is the top search for boys while Luna remains the most popular searched name for girls.

Like Australia, in the UK both Luna and Arlo are the top-searched girls’ and boys’ names on Nameberry.

But the other names in the top five searches for girls are all different, with Luna followed by Ophelia, Elodie, Iris and Maeve, while the boys’ top five are rounded out by Oscar, Hugo, Albie and Atticus.

Here’s how the rest of the world fares:

Brazil

Girls’ names

1. Luna

2. Olivia

3. Lyra

4. Helena

5. Lavinia

Boys’ names

1. Santiago

2. Ethan

3. Kai

4. Mateo

5. Rafael

Canada

Girls’ names

1. Luna

2. Maeve

3. Chloe

4. Ophelia

5. Ivy

Boys’ names

1. Arlo

2. Silas

3. Levi

4. Finn

5. Atticus

China

Girls’ names

1. Kailani

2. Lisann

3. Luna

4. Teagan

5. Juliann

Boys’ names

1. Jordi

2. Milo

3. Arlo

4. Ethan

5. Asher

Finland

Girls’ names

1. Aurora

2. Mila

3. Iida

4. Luna

5. Noa

Boys’ names

1. Atlas

2. Mason

3. Rufus

4. Severus

5. Ari

France

Girls’ names

1. Ava

2. Niamh

3. Esme

4. Penelope

5. Anouk

Boys’ names

1. Arlo

2. Ezra

3. Tobias

4. Emrys

5. Xavier

Germany

Girls’ names

1. Luna

2. Anna

3. Anastasia

4. Aurora

5. Josephine

Boys’ names

1. Hugo

2. Leo

3. Archie

4. Felix

5. Otto

Ghana

Girls’ names

1. Abena

2. Kayla

3. Akosua

4. Bridget

5. Adelaide

Boys’ names

1. Jayden

2. Denzel

3. Kofi

4. Dominic

5. Samuel

India

Girls’ names

1. Anjali

2. Reshma

3. Kavya

4. Kiara

5. Niharika

Boys’ names

1. Aarav

2. Aryan

3. Danger

4. Sahil

5. Reyansh

Ireland

Girls’ names

1. Fiadh

2. Ada

3. Caoimhe

4. Eabha

5. Zoe

Boys’ names

1. Tadhg

2. Cormac

3. Ronan

4. Eoin

5. Atticus

Israel

Girls’ names

1. Ellie

2. Maya

3. Mia

4. Ivy

5. Thea

Boys’ names

1. Eli

2. Ben

3. Arlo

4. Ethan

5. Tai

Italy

Girls’ names

1. Enola

2. Alice

3. Elena

4. Bianca

5. Giulia

Boys’ names

1. Soren

2. Elias

3. Cassius

4. Marco

5. Orion

Japan

Girls’ names

1. Luna

2. Aurora

3. Mia

4. Mina

5. Rio

Boys’ names

1. Kai

2. Lorenzo

3. Eneko

4. Ezra

5. Jiro

New Zealand

Girls’ names

1. Aurora

2. Luna

3. Ivy

4. Hazel

5. Mabel

Boys’ names

1. Arlo

2. Asher

3. Felix

4. Leo

5. Milo

Nigeria

Girls’ names

1. Jasmine

2. Olivia

3. Zara

4. Rebecca

5. Aisha

Boys’ names

1. Jayden

2. Denzel

3. Francis

4. Adriel

5. Bryan

Pakistan

Girls’ names

1. Alizeh

2. Esha

3. Zara

4. Alisha

5. Reyna

Boys’ names

1. Ludo

2. Danger

3. Qadir

4. Jhon

5. William

Philippines

Girls’ names

1. Luna

2. Maeve

3. Astrid

4. Athena

5. Mae

Boys’ names

1. Azriel

2. Zachary

3. Abiah

4. Asher

5. Ethan

Poland

Girls’ names

1. Alice

2. Clara

3. Julia

4. Violet

5. Diana

Boys’ names

1. Charles

2. Dorian

3. Lucifer

4. Theodore

5. Adam

Russia

Girls’ names

1. Lilibet

2. Lilith

3. Polina

4. Anastasia

5. Elena

Boys’ names

1. Victor

2. Igor

3. Remus

4. Joey

5. Emrys

South Africa

Girls’ names

1. Pedi

2. Luna

3. Swati

4. Amara

5. Keziah

Boys’ names

1. Jayden

2. Kai

3. Leo

4. Micah

5. Zuko

Spain

Girls’ names

1. Aria

2. Ava

3. Luna

4. Maya

5. Olivia

Boys’ names

1. Santiago

2. Louis

3. Jack

4. Elias

5. Hugo

Sweden

Girls’ names

1. Anastasia

2. Cora

3. Julia

4. Celia

5. Nora

Boys’ names

1. Finn

2. Silas

3. Caspian

4. Adrian

5. Atlas

United Arab Emirates

Girls’ names

1. Aria

2. Liya

3. Mariam

4. Noor

5. Zara

Boys’ names

1. Aryan

2. Silas

3. Jonah

4. Vihaan

5. Malakai

United Kingdom

Girls’ names

1. Luna

2. Ophelia

3. Elodie

4. Iris

5. Maeve

Boys’ names

1. Arlo

2. Oscar

3. Hugo

4. Albie

5. Atticus

United States

Girls’ names

1. Luna

2. Maeve

3. Aurora

4. Isla

5. Aurelia

Boys’ names

1. Silas

2. Atticus

3. Arlo

4. Theodore

5. Finn



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India’s FIH Hockey Pro League Matches vs Spain, Germany in Europe Postponed


India’s upcoming FIH Hockey Pro League away fixtures against Spain and Germany later this month have been postponed due to the international travel restrictions imposed in the wake of surging COVID-19 cases in the Asian country, the world body (FIH) informed on Tuesday. The Indian men’s hockey team was scheduled to play against Spain on May 15 and 16, followed by the two-leg tie in Germany on May 23 and 24.

“FIH, Hockey India as well as the Hockey National Associations of Germany, Spain and Great Britain since the matches initially planned in London on 8-9 May were also postponed – are currently looking at all potential options to rearrange these matches at a later date,” the International Hockey Federation (FIH) said in a statement.

“On behalf of the global hockey community, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) would like to express its support and strong sympathy to the Indian hockey community, as well as their families and friends. At this very hard time for India, a country so much linked to the history as well as the current development of hockey, our thoughts are with all Indian people,” it added.

Last month, India’s FIH Hockey Pro League matches against Great Britain, scheduled for May 8-9 in London, were postponed following the UK government’s decision to add India to the travel ‘red list’ due to the surging COVID-19 cases there. With India recording more than 3 lakh COVID-19 cases and 3,000 deaths daily for quite some time now, most of the foreign countries, including Australia, Malaysia, Germany, Singapore, New Zealand, UK etc, have suspended international flights from the country.

India is currently fourth in the FIH Pro League standings with 15 points from eight matches behind Netherlands, Germany and leaders Belgium.

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India’s FIH Pro League games in Europe postponed


Lausanne [Switzerland], May 4 (ANI): India’s upcoming FIH Hockey Pro League away matches against Spain and Germany, scheduled to be played on May 15, 16, and May 22, 23 respectively, have been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, the FIH said on Tuesday.

“FIH, Hockey India as well as the Hockey National Associations of Germany, Spain and Great Britain – since the matches initially planned in London on 8-9 May were also postponed – are currently looking at all potential options to rearrange these matches at a later date,” the International Hockey Federation (FIH) said in a statement.

“On behalf of the global hockey community, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) would like to express its support and strong sympathy to the Indian hockey community, as well as their families and friends.””At this very hard time for India, a country so much linked to the history as well as the current development of hockey, our thoughts are with all Indian people,” it added.

Last month, India’s matches against Great Britain, slated to be played on May 8 and 9, were postponed due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis. (ANI)



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Jaishankar to Join G7 Ministers to Agree on Action Against Threats to Democracy


External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar will have his first interaction with the G7 leaders in London on Tuesday evening, when he joins foreign ministers from some of the world’s leading democracies to agree on decisive action on the most critical global issues such as threats to democracy.

In the first major in-person diplomatic gathering since the coronavirus pandemic began and the first gathering of G7 Foreign Ministers since 2019, UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab will lead discussions on pressing geopolitical issues that threaten to undermine democracy, freedoms and human rights. This includes relations with Russia, China, and Iran as well as the crisis in Myanmar, the violence in Ethiopia and the ongoing war in Syria.

At the end of a daylong set of sessions at Lancaster House in London involving foreign ministers from the G7 countries Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, US, UK and the European Union (EU)ministers from guest countries India, Australia, the Republic of Korea and South Africa and the Chair of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting will join the discussions at a working dinner for the first time as the focus shifts to the Indo-Pacific region. The UK’s presidency of the G7 is an opportunity to bring together open, democratic societies and demonstrate unity at a time when it is much needed to tackle shared challenges and rising threats, Raab said.

“The addition of our friends from Australia, India, the Republic of Korea and South Africa, as well as the chair of ASEAN reflects the growing significance of the Indo Pacific region for the G7,” he said.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) said the UK, as the host nation, will use the working dinner to outline Britain’s vision for cooperation between the G7 and the nations of the Indo-Pacific region to develop stronger trade ties, ensure stability and tackle climate change. Jaishankar, who arrived in London on Monday, is scheduled for a bilateral meeting with Raab on Thursday at Chevening in Kent, around 50 km from London.

The G7 Foreign and Development Ministers’ discussions during the day on Tuesday will cover the coup in Myanmar as attendees watch a video from the National Unity Government which will update them on the situation on the ground. Raab will urge G7 nations to take stronger action against the military junta. This includes expanding targeted sanctions against individuals and entities connected to the junta; support for arms embargoes and increased humanitarian assistance for the most vulnerable in the country. The discussions will then turn to the situation in Libya and the ongoing war in Syria.

The afternoon session will cover the situation in Ethiopia as well as Somalia, the Sahel and Western Balkans. The foreign ministers will also discuss Russia’s ongoing “malign activity”, including through the build-up of troops on the border with Ukraine and its imprisonment of opposition figure Alexei Navalny and the situation in Belarus.

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Europe shows no growth, France has 0.4% for last quarter


FRANKFURT, Germany: While the United States and China reported solid economic growth in 2021, Europe’s economy shrank 0.6 percent during the first three months of the year.

Officials attributed Europe’s poor showing to its slow progress in vaccinating its public, resulting in extended lockdowns of the population and continuing closures of businesses.

The European contraction, however, was less than the 1 percent expected by authorities.

By contrast, the U.S. economy grew 1.6 percent during the first quarter, driven by strong consumer demand. On an annualized basis, the U.S. grew at a rate of 6.4 percent.

For Europe, this is the second straight quarter of falling output, and experts warn that the continent has fallen back into a recession. At the same time, other officials spoke with growing confidence about the expected economic growth in April and May.

Also, there was some good economic news in Europe. France reported growth of 0.4 percent, compared to the quarter before. However, experts were surprised by Germany, where the economy shrank by a larger-than-expected 1.7 percent. It was noted that the German manufacturing sector suffered a slowdown due to disruptions of parts supplies.

French authorities are cautiously optimistic, as they say larger segments of the population are being vaccinated against COVID-19. Additionally, lockdown restrictions are slowly being lifted, as outdoor terraces of French cafes and restaurants will be allowed to reopen on May 19, along with museums, cinemas, theaters and concert halls, while practicing Covid precautions.

However, Italy, Spain and Greece are bracing for the loss of the second summer tourist season.



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German police bust darknet child porn network ‘with 400,000 members’



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German police said Monday they had shut down “one of the biggest darknet child pornography platforms in the world” and arrested four of its members in a series of raids in mid-April.

The platform, named as “Boystown”, had existed since 2019, counted over 400,000 members and was “set up for the worldwide exchange of child pornography“, federal police said in a statement.

The darknet forum allowed users to communicate with others and share graphic image and video content which included “serious sexual abuse of toddlers“, the statement said.

Three men between the ages of 40 and 64 were arrested in seven raids in Germany, while a further suspect was detained in Paraguay on the request of German authorities.

The suspect in Paraguay’s Concepcion region, also a German citizen, is to be extradited back to Germany on the basis of an international arrest warrant issued by a court in Frankfurt.

Three of the men are accused of having managed the platform as administrators, providing technical support and advice to members on how to avoid being discovered by the authorities, while another was “one of the platform’s most active users”, police said.

Investigators added that the months-long, German-instigated operation had been coordinated by Europol and supported by law enforcement in the Netherlands, Sweden, the United States and Canada.

Both “Boystown” and other chat platforms were taken offline following the raids.

(AFP)



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