Russia has developed ‘first’ coronavirus vaccine: Putin

A scientist prepares samples during the research and development of a vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at a laboratory of BIOCAD biotechnology company in Saint Petersburg, Russia June 11, 2020. (Reuters file photo)
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Updated 11 August 2020

Russia has developed ‘first’ coronavirus vaccine: Putin

  • Russia said 20 countries have pre-ordered a billion doses of vaccine

MOSCOW: Russia has developed the first vaccine offering “sustainable immunity” against the coronavirus, President Vladimir Putin announced Tuesday.
“This morning, for the first time in the world, a vaccine against the new coronavirus was registered” in Russia, he said during a televised video conference call with government ministers.
Putin emphasized that the vaccine underwent the necessary tests. He added that one of his two daughters has received a shot of the vaccine and is feeling well.
Russian authorities have said that medical workers, teachers and other risk groups will be the first to be inoculated.
Russia said 20 countries have pre-ordered a billion doses of vaccine named ‘Sputnik V’ for foreign markets, a reference to the world’s first satellite.
Russia is the first country to register a coronavirus vaccine. Many scientists in the country and abroad have been skeptical, however, questioning the decision to register the vaccine before Phase 3 trials that normally last for months and involve thousands of people.


Pakistan Hindus rally in Islamabad over India migrant deaths

Updated 25 September 2020

Pakistan Hindus rally in Islamabad over India migrant deaths

  • The dead migrants’ relatives have held small rallies in Pakistan’s southern Sindh province but this was the first time they had taken their demonstration to the country’s capital
  • The protesters accuse India’s secret service of poisoning the 11 Hindus

ISLAMABAD : Pakistan’s minority Hindus rallied late on Thursday in Islamabad, briefly clashing with the police, to protest the deaths of 11 members of a Hindu migrant family who died in India last month under mysterious circumstances.
Since then, the dead migrants’ relatives have held small rallies in Pakistan’s southern Sindh province but this was the first time they had taken their demonstration to the country’s capital, vowing to stage a sit-in near the Indian Embassy.
The protesters accuse India’s secret service of poisoning the 11 Hindus, who were found dead at a farmhouse in India’s Jodhpur district in Rajasthan state. The demonstrators arrived in Islamabad around midnight, chanting, “We want justice.” They briefly skirmished with officers who prevented them from reaching the embassy site.
After the Aug. 9 deaths, Indian media reports suggested the Hindu family members, originally from Pakistan, had taken their own lives. Official Islamabad says New Delhi had not shared any reports of the case.
Thursday’s rally was an unusual move for Pakistan’s Hindus, who have mostly lived without conflict with the country’s predominantly Muslim majority. Earlier this year under pressure from radical Muslims, Pakistani authorities halted construction of a Hindu temple in Islamabad.
Ramesh Kumar, a top leader of the Hindu community who led Thursday’s protest, met on Wednesday with Pakistan’s foreign minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, seeking his help in pressuring India to release results of the initial police probe into the case.
Pakistan has also asked for access to a Hindu worker who was at the Jodhpur farm at the time of the deaths, according to government officials.
In his meeting with Qureshi, Kumar said Shrimati Mukhi, the daughter of the head of the family that died, had levelled the poisoning accusations. She earlier this month told local media that India allegedly pressured the family to issue a statement denouncing Pakistan’s government. There was no official comment from India on the allegations.
Last week, Pakistan summoned an Indian diplomat to convey concerns over the “Jodhpur incident.” A subsequent ministry statement said India had “failed to share any substantive details regarding the cause and circumstances of the deaths” of the Hindus and asked for a comprehensive investigation.
Nuclear armed rivals Pakistan and India have a history of bitter relations. Pakistan’s military said Wednesday that two of its soldiers were killed by Indian fire in a cease-fire violation in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir. The region is split between the two countries but claimed by both in its entirety. India and Pakistan have fought two out of their three wars over Kashmir since gaining independence in 1947.

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