Australian gallery removes Widodo portrait after executions

Updated 01 May 2015

Australian gallery removes Widodo portrait after executions

SYDNEY: Canberra’s National Portrait Gallery has taken down an image of Indonesian President Joko Widodo following the execution of two Australian drug smugglers, saying it feared for the artwork’s safety.
Andrew Chan, 31, and Myuran Sukumaran, 34, were shot by firing squad in Indonesia on Wednesday over their role in the so-called “Bali Nine” heroin smuggling ring.
The executions of the two Australians, along with five other foreigners and one Indonesian, went ahead despite international criticism and calls for mercy from Canberra.
National Portrait Gallery director Angus Trumble said in a statement late Thursday he had removed the photographic portrait of Widodo given the strength of feeling about the executions.
“My feeling yesterday, on Wednesday morning, was that in view of the circumstances and our operations, and my best assessment of the risk of damage to the work of art, it was necessary to remove it from public display,” he said in a statement.
“Also, I was swayed by the statements of both the prime minister and the leader of the opposition and of course the position of the Parliament and the recall of our ambassador.”
Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Australia deplored the killing of the men which he said was “both cruel and unnecessary,” and recalled its ambassador to Indonesia.
Trumble said the removal of the image was a “temporary measure” and there had been no incidents relating to the work.
“My primary responsibility is the care of the works in our collection and the safety of our visitors,” he said.
Trumble said he respectfully disagreed with the views of the artist who created the portrait, Adam Ferguson, “who feels the work should remain on display.”


Russia aims to produce ‘millions’ of virus doses by 2021

Updated 03 August 2020

Russia aims to produce ‘millions’ of virus doses by 2021

  • The Gamaleya institute came under fire after researchers and directors injected themselves with the prototype months ago
  • Scientists have told AFP that Russia will struggle to adapt the vaccine to mass production because the country lacks raw materials, adequate facilities and experience

MOSCOW: Russia said Monday it aims to launch mass production of a coronavirus vaccine next month and turn out “several million” doses per month by next year.
The country is pushing ahead with several vaccine prototypes and one prepared at the Gamaleya institute in Moscow has reached advanced stages of development.
“We are very much counting on starting mass production in September,” industry minister Denis Manturov said in an interview published by TASS news agency.
“We will be able to ensure production volumes of several hundred thousand a month, with an eventual increase to several million by the start of next year,” he said, adding that one developer is preparing production technology at three locations in central Russia.
Health Minister Mikhail Murashko on Saturday said the Gamaleya vaccine had “completed clinical trials” and that documents were being prepared to register it with the state.
Another vaccine, developed by Siberia-based Vektor lab, is currently undergoing clinical trials and two more will begin human testing within the next two months, Murashko said.
Gamaleya’s vaccine is a so-called viral vector vaccine, meaning it employs another virus to carry the DNA encoding of the needed immune response into cells.
Gamaleya’s vaccine employs the adenovirus, a similar technology to the coronavirus vaccine prototype developed by China’s CanSino, currently in the advanced stage of clinical trials.
The Gamaleya institute came under fire after researchers and directors injected themselves with the prototype months ago, with specialists criticizing the move as an unorthodox and rushed way of starting human trials.
Scientists have told AFP that Russia will struggle to adapt the vaccine to mass production because the country lacks raw materials, adequate facilities and experience, particularly with advanced technology like viral vector.
Some Russian officials have boasted that the country will be the first to come up with the vaccine, even comparing it to the space race to produce the first satellite in the Soviet era.
Moscow has dismissed allegations from the UK, the United States and Canada that a hacking group linked to Russian intelligence services tried to steal information about a coronavirus vaccine from labs in the West.
Russia’s coronavirus caseload is currently fourth in the world after the United States, Brazil and India.