Pakistanis bid farewell to nation’s most prominent activist

Asma Jahangir served as chairwoman of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and was widely respected for her outspoken criticism of militant and extremist groups. (AP)
Updated 13 February 2018

Pakistanis bid farewell to nation’s most prominent activist

LAHORE, Pakistan: Pakistan has bid farewell to rest one of the country’s most prominent human rights activists, Asma Jahangir, who died this week of a heart attack in the eastern city of Lahore.
Thousands attended the funeral service at the city’s Qaddafi Stadium — including Jahangir’s family and relatives, friends, prominent lawyers, judges, politicians and human rights activists.
A Muslim cleric led the prayers. Jahangir is to be buried at a more private ceremony later Tuesday.
Jahangir, who was 66, served as chairwoman of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and was widely respected for her outspoken criticism of militant and extremist groups.
She was also president of the Supreme Court’s Bar Association and a UN rapporteur on human rights. She was on Time magazine’s list of 100 most influential women.


Lavrov says Russia will respond in kind to any new US sanctions — Ifax

Updated 02 March 2021

Lavrov says Russia will respond in kind to any new US sanctions — Ifax

  • Two US sources familiar with the matter have said that the United States is likely to impose sanctions as early as Tuesday to punish Russia for the poisoning of Navalny

MOSCOW: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday that Moscow would respond in kind to any new US sanctions over the treatment of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, the Interfax news agency reported.
Two US sources familiar with the matter have said that the United States is likely to impose sanctions as early as Tuesday to punish Russia for the poisoning of Navalny. The Kremlin has denied any role in Navalny’s illness last year and said it had seen no proof he was poisoned.


UK rollout data on AstraZeneca shot ‘should guide’ other countries

Updated 02 March 2021

UK rollout data on AstraZeneca shot ‘should guide’ other countries

  • Britain has been rolling out the vaccine since January, beginning with the elderly and health workers, after approving its use for all adults

LONDON: Data from Britain’s vaccine rollout on the effectiveness of the AstraZeneca/Oxford University COVID-19 shot in older people should help other countries reassess their use of it, the head of the university’s vaccine research group said on Tuesday.
Britain has been rolling out the vaccine since January, beginning with the elderly and health workers, after approving its use for all adults.
Many European countries have advised that the vaccine should not be given to over-65s due to a lack of clinical trial data on its efficacy in that age group, and a significant proportion of doses of the vaccine that they have acquired have gone unused.
In the face of shortages of other vaccines, France is easing those restrictions to allow some people aged 65-74 to receive the shot.
Though efficacy data was limited in clinical trials, real world data from being generated by Britain’s vaccine rollout, has shown both AstraZeneca and Pfizer’s shot are both more than 80% effective in preventing hospitalizations in over-80s after one shot.
Public Health England (PHE) also said that protection against symptomatic COVID in those over-70 is between 60-73 percent four weeks after the first shot of Oxford-AstraZeneca’s vaccine, compared to 57-61% for one dose of Pfizer-BioNTech’s one.
Asked if other countries should look at real world data from Public Health England and reassess how they use the shot, Oxford Vaccine Group’s Andrew Pollard said: “I think that the scientific committees in each of these countries will be doing exactly that over the days ahead.”
“The strength of evidence that we’re now seeing... all of that is being accessed by scientific committees in different countries, and I’m sure will help support their decision-making,” he told BBC radio.
On Monday, England’s deputy chief medical officer said that the PHE approach vindicated the belief in Britain that the vaccine would give protection to older people despite the initial lack of data.


Turkey’s reopening relieves restaurants but worries doctors

Updated 02 March 2021

Turkey’s reopening relieves restaurants but worries doctors

  • Cafe and restaurant owners have long urged a reopening of in-house dining after sector revenues dropped 65%

ISTANBUL: Turkish restaurants reopened and many children returned to school on Tuesday after the government announced steps to ease COVID-19 curbs even as cases edged higher, raising concerns in the top medical association.
On Monday evening, President Tayyip Erdogan lifted weekend lockdowns in low- and medium-risk cities and limited lockdowns to Sundays in those deemed higher risk under what he called a “controlled normalization.”
Cafe and restaurant owners, limited to takeaway service for much of last year, have long urged a reopening of in-house dining after sector revenues dropped 65%. They also want relief from growing debt, and from social security and tax payments.
“We were serving 4,000-5,000 people a week. Now with takeaway services we are serving only 500 people,” Istanbul-based Pideban restaurant owner Yusuf Kaptanoglu said before the easing measures were announced.
“I did not benefit from any support including loan support,” he said.
Across Turkey, pre- and primary schools as well as grades 8-12 resumed partial in-person education.
Yet the moves come as new daily coronavirus cases rose to 9,891 on Monday, the highest since Jan. 11 and up from 8,424 a day earlier, according to official data. Cases were around 6,000 in late January.
“The number of mutant virus cases is increasingly rising. We do not see conditions to return to an old ‘normal’,” the Turkish Medics’ Association said on Twitter, calling for higher rates of testing and inoculation.
“Political and economic interests must not take precedence over human life and science,” it added.
Turkey, with a population of 83 million, has administered 8.96 million vaccines in a campaign that began in mid-January. More than 7 million people have received a first shot and 1.89 million have received a second.


S.Korea says up to medical personnel to extract extra doses of COVID vaccine from vial

Updated 02 March 2021

S.Korea says up to medical personnel to extract extra doses of COVID vaccine from vial

  • South Korea has reported 344 new cases on Monday, adding to the total tally of 90,372, with 1,606 deaths

SEOUL: A decision by South Korean health authorities to allow more doses to be extracted from coronavirus vaccine vials sparked controversy on Tuesday as the country ramped up its vaccinations of health care workers and the elderly.
The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) had allowed health care workers to use the remaining doses if they can squeeze more out of each vial with low dead space syringes, which minimize the amount of vaccine left in the syringe after use.
While offering discretion over the use of remaining doses, KDCA made clear the authorities will not make the extraction of the extra doses a new standard or mandatory as it can burden the health care workers on site.
Experts were divided about the decision for permitting up to seven doses to be extracted from Pfizer vaccine vials which are made to contain only six using the low dead space syringes, and up to 12 doses from AstraZeneca’s vaccine, which would otherwise inoculate 10 people with normal syringes.
Eom Joong-sik, professor of infectious diseases at Gachon University Gil Medical Center, warned of the risk of contamination during inaccurate extraction of the extra seventh dose.
A worker trying to combine leftovers from two vials to make a full dose could lead to such problems, Eom said in a Facebook post.
The government hasn’t made it mandatory to squeeze extra dose out of a vial and there is a designated person in charge of extraction in large medical centers, which makes it easier for them to draw an extra dose safely, said Ki Mo-ran, professor of cancer control and population health at National Cancer Center.
KDCA said 23,086 people were given first doses of AstraZeneca and Pfizer shots by Monday midnight.
South Korea has reported 344 new cases on Monday, adding to the total tally of 90,372, with 1,606 deaths.


Men accused of aiding Ghosn escape arrive in Japan after extradition

Updated 02 March 2021

Men accused of aiding Ghosn escape arrive in Japan after extradition

TOKYO: The American father and son accused of helping former Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. Chairman Carlos Ghosn flee Japan while awaiting trial have arrived in Japan following their extradition from the United States, according to Nippon TV.
A Reuters witness saw the landing of the plane believed to be carrying the two men.