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The Daily Brief: Interim Clinical Trials Conducted by US drug-maker Merck show Covid deaths and hospitalizations cut in half by antiviral pill

Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, a US pharmaceutical company, has announced positive results from their experimental clinical trials involving an antiviral Covid tablet named molnupiravir.

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The Daily Brief Interim Clinical Trials Conducted by US drug maker Merck show Covid deaths and hospitalizations cut in half by antiviral pill

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Summary:

  • Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, a US pharmaceutical company, has announced positive results from their experimental clinical trials involving an antiviral Covid tablet named molnupiravir.
  • Molnupiravir was administered twice daily to patients recently diagnosed with Covid-19 and interim analysis showed that the tablet “reduced the risk of hospitalization or death by approximately 50%.”
  • Merck’s news release states that “7.3% of patients who received molnupiravir were either hospitalized or died through Day 29 following randomization (28/385), compared with 14.1% of placebo-treated patients (53/377). Through Day 29, no deaths were reported in patients who received molnupiravir, as compared to 8 deaths in patients who received placebo.”
  • The results of the study were so positive that outside monitors requested Merck to halt the trials early. Merck will apply for emergency use authorization in the US “as soon as possible.”
  • Molnupiravar was developed from an influenza pill which works by targeting an enzyme the virus uses to make copies of itself.
  • Trial results suggest that molnupiravir must be taken soon after symptoms develop to be effective in the treatment of Covid patients. 
  • Merck’s clinical results have only been published in a press release and have yet to be peer reviewed.
  • If the FDA grants molnupiravir emergency approval then it would become the first oral antiviral medication to fight Covid-19.
  • Sources:

BBC

MERCK

  • Tweets:

Kashmiri Group Accuses Social Media Giants of Censorship

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  • US-based Kashmiri diaspora group “Stand With Kashmir” (SWK) has accused Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms of silencing Kashmiri voices through content removal, account suspensions, and “algorithmic manipulation of content critical of India’s military occupation and settler colonialism in the region.”
  • The 30-page SWK report details digitally suppressive acts conducted by media platforms since 2017 which block Kashmiris from the digital space and reinforce “India’s suppression of Kashmiri digital rights.”
  • According to Access Now, an international internet access tracking organization, India tops the list of internet shutdowns in the world with 109 of 155 total internet shutdowns taking place in the country. 
  • India also holds the record for the longest internet suspension to take place in a democracy with their August 2019 communications and internet blockade in Kashmir which lasted for months on end.
  • Sources:

Al Jazeera

SWK

  • Tweets:

Australia To Ease COVID Restrictions On Borders In November 

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https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?search=Melbourne+airport&title=Special:MediaSearch&type=image

  • Australian citizens and permanent residents will be allowed to travel internationally starting November, ending an 18-month travel ban. 
  • Vaccinated citizens will be allowed to complete a 7-day quarantine in their homes once they return to Australia, while unvaccinated citizens will be forced to quarantine for 14 days in a hotel on their return. 
  • International travelers are still banned from entering Australia, however, the process is being discussed. 
  • Australia has been praised for its COVID response and shutting its borders in March 2020, however, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison feels that “it’s time to give Australians their lives back.”
  • Sources:

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-58757888

https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/australia-ease-international-travel-curbs-sources-2021-10-01/

  • Tweets:

Biden’s Infrastructure Bill Suffers A Significant Setback As House Delays Vote

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  • The US House has delayed a crucial vote on the 1 trillion dollars bipartisan infrastructure bill meant to fund transportation, internet, water, and other projects on Thursday.  
  • Members of Biden’s Democratic party have refused to vote on the infrastructure bill until a separate 3.5 trillion dollars welfare and climate change bill aimed to fund social programs such as paid medical leave, education, climate funding, etc, is also passed in Congress. 
  • Democrats who have refused to vote on the infrastructure bill, feel that the funding of the welfare and climate change bill is the heart of their party and without a reconciliation bill, there can be no infrastructure bill.
  • Biden has canceled his previously planned visit to Chicago and will visit Congress and work with the Democrats to get his infrastructure bill passed on Friday.  
  • The US Congress and House have approved a temporary measure to fund the US federal government until December.  
  • Sources: 

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-58758738

  • Tweets:

Princess Mako of Japan Set to Marry “Commoner” in October

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https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Princess_Mako_and_Princess_Kako_at_the_Tokyo_Imperial_Palace_(cropped).jpg

  • The 29-year-old granddaughter of former Emperor Akihito of Japan, Princess Mako, announced on Friday that she will be marrying her “commoner” fiance, Kei Komuro, on October 26th. 
  • Once married, Mako will relinquish her royal status and will move to New York, where Komuro is an attorney. 
  • Mako has already stated she will forgo a $1 Million lump sum that was set to assist her in her life after royalty. 
  • The couple first met in 2012 while attending International Christian University in Tokyo and were engaged in 2017.
  • Source:

https://www.cnn.com/2021/10/01/asia/princess-mako-japan-wedding-intl-hnk/index.html

  • Tweet:

Energy Crunch Impacts Global Economy and Climate

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  • The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) announced this week that they will need $11.8 trillion in investments in oil sectors to keep up with demand until the year 2045.  
  • In the same week that 90% of the UK petrol stations ran out of gas, Brent Crude Oil hit $80 a barrel, the highest it has been in three years. 
  • China also saw blackouts this week as the nation faces an energy shortage. 
  • Although there has been a global effort to “go green,” experts say that prices for oil, natural gas, and coal will continue to soar and may reign supreme for decades. 
  • Source:

https://www.aljazeera.com/economy/2021/10/1/global-energy-crunch-us-burnout-and-opecs-no-1-call

  • Tweets: 

Guinea: Mamady Doumbouya Is Sworn as Interim President

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  • Mamady Doumbouya, leader of the coup in Guinea which overthrew former president Alpha Conde, was sworn in as interim president on Friday.
  • The Presidential Ceremony took place at Mohamed V Palace, despite the absence of other West African state leaders.  
  • His mission is to rebuild the state by providing a new constitution, fighting corruption, bringing reforms to the electoral system, as well as organizing free and credible elections. 
  • Sources: 

https://www.france24.com/en/africa/20211001-guinea-coup-leader-sworn-in-as-interim-president

https://www.cnn.com/2021/10/01/africa/guinea-coup-leader-sworn-president-intl/index.html

Lebanon Faces Growing Starvation Crisis 

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  • According to the UN, 78% of the Lebanese population lives below the poverty line and 36% are living in extreme poverty. Furthermore 25% of the population was unable to meet basic dietary needs. 
  • The lebanese pound has also lost 90% of its value amid the economic crisis over the last two years 
  • According to other sources, pharmacies, grocery stores, and various businesses have been forced to shut down. 
  • Civilians who once lived comfortably are now unable to pay school fees due to the economy’s failed recovery.
  • Sources: 

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/10/1/un-lebanon-reforms-extreme-poverty-economic-crisis

https://www.dailysabah.com/world/mid-east/lebanon-on-brink-of-starvation-amid-growing-economic-crisis

  • Twitter:

Former Georgian President Arrested After Returning From Exile 

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  • Georgia’s former President, Mikheil Saakashvili, has returned from exile with the intention to “save” his country during the upcoming elections. 
  • Saakashvili urged supporters to vote for the opposition and rally in the capital after elections on Sunday. 
  • Upon discovery of Saakashvili’s presence in the country he was hunted down, arrested, and sent to a detention facility. 
  • Previously in 2018 Saakashvili was charged with 6 years in prison after being convicted of office abuse in absentia.  
  • Sources:

https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/georgian-ex-leader-says-he-is-back-home-despite-jail-threat-authorities-deny-2021-10-01/

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/10/1/georgia-arrests-ex-president-mikheil-saakashvili-return-exile

Former French Police Officer Involved In Series of Murders and Rape

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https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?search=French+police+officer+&title=Special:MediaSearch&go=Go&type=image

  • After 35 years of searching for the person behind several murder and rape crimes, a former policeman has been identified as the perpetrator. 
  • The man took his own life earlier this week. Officials were searching for the suspect of five crimes between 1985-1994. 
  • The criminal, Francois Vérove (59), was reported missing by his wife on September 27th and was found dead 2 days later. 
  • Sources:

https://www.cnn.com/2021/10/01/europe/france-police-rape-murder-dna-investigation-scli-intl/index.html

https://www.france24.com/en/europe/20211001-former-policeman-s-suicide-ends-35-year-hunt-for-french-serial-killer

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Daily Brief

Trump Knew His Supporters Were Armed in Jan. 6 Capitol Riots

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  • Former White House aid, Cassidy Hutchinson, stated that former US President Donald Trump was aware that rioters were armed on January 6th, 2021 when they stormed the US Capitol, but he did not want to stop them.
  • Hutchinson worked as a top advisor to Mr Trump’s chief of staff, and testified at a hearing to a select House committee that was in charge of investigating the Jan 6th riot at the US Capitol.
  • Hutchinson recounted how Mr. Trump said that rioters were “not here to hurt me” and that security should “let them in.” She also stated that he lunged at the driver of the limousine in a rage when he was told he could not be taken to the Capitol.
  • Mr Trump denied several parts of Hutchinson’s testimony, stating, “I didn’t want or request that we make room for people with guns to watch my speech.”

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Fire During Colombia Prison Riot Kills 51

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  • A fire broke out in a Colombian prison during a riot, killing 51 inmates and injuring dozens. The fire was started by an inmate setting a mattress ablaze during the commotion and the flames spreading.
  • Colombian President Ivan Duque requested a “quick investigation to explain this terrible situation” and expressed his solidarity “to the families of the victims.”
  • No prisoners seem to have escaped and the fire is now under control. Twenty four people are currently in the hospital.
  • Prisons in Colombia are extremely overcrowded, as it was in this case, making riots and fighting amongst inmates a common occurrence.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Daily Brief

50 Migrants Found Dead Near the US-Mexico Border

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U.S
  • Fifty migrants were found dead near the US-Mexico border in an abandoned semi truck due to “poverty and desperation,” according to Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
  • The vehicle in which the victims were found was lacking air conditioning and water and, coupled with the extremely hot climate, it is suspected that they likely died from dehydration and heat stroke.
  • Migrants from Mexico, Honduras, and Guatemala were among the victims. Sixteen people survived the incident and were taken to the hospital.
  • US President Joe Biden spoke about the incident, stating that his administration “will continue to do everything possible to stop human smugglers and traffickers from taking advantage of people who are seeking to enter the United States between ports of entry.”

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Daily Brief

Credit Suisse Found Guilty for Involvement in Money Laundering Scheme

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800px Credit Suisse Zurich
  • Switzerland’s Federal Criminal Court found Credit Suisse, Switzerland’s second largest bank, guilty for its involvement in a money laundering scheme involving a Bulgarian drug trafficking gang.
  • The bank is being fined 21 million Swiss francs ($22 million) due to its poor monitoring and implementation of anti-money laundering rules. More than 12 million francs worth of assets are also being confiscated due to their connection with the criminal group.
  • Credit Suisse has denied any wrongdoings and stated that it has been “continuously testing its anti-money laundering framework and has been strengthening it over time, in accordance with evolving regulatory standards.”
  • This case originated from actions taken by a former employee in 2007 and 2008, and two other Bulgarian citizens’ actions in 2005 and 2009. Some of their sentences and fines were suspended due to the amount of time passed since the crimes took place.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Chlorine Gas Leak in Jordan Port City Kills Thirteen People

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Port Of Aqaba City
  • A gas leak in Aqaba, Jordan killed at least thirteen people and injured more than 250. A storage container carrying between 25 and 30 tonnes of chlorine gas fell as it was being exported to Djibouti, releasing the gas.
  • A video of the incident on state TV shows the container being dropped onto the deck of the ship and a yellow colored gas spreading through the air as people try to evacuate. The accident seems to be a result of the crane malfunctioning.
  • If chlorine is inhaled at high levels, it can cause life-threatening damage. A nearby beach in Aqaba was evacuated as a safety precaution, and residents who live in the nearest residential area, about 25 kilometers (15 miles) away, were advised to stay inside and close windows.
  • Jordan’s Prime Minister Bisher al-Khasawneh traveled to Aqaba and visited some of the injured at the hospital. He also formed a team led by the interior minister to investigate the incident.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Russian Missile Sets Ukraine Shopping Center on Fire

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781px Nevsky Centre Shopping Mall in Russia
  • A busy shopping center in Ukraine was set on fire by Russian missiles on Monday, killing at least thirteen people and injuring dozens. The total number of casualties is still unknown.
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stated that “The number of victims is impossible to imagine” and that there could have been up to 1,000 people in the mall.
  • The attack came during the G7 summit, where world leaders condemned recent atrocities and promised to support Ukraine “for as long as it takes” in a joint statement. President Zelensky spoke to the leaders at the summit and stated that he wants the war to end before winter.
  • NATO has decided to increase the number of troops in its rapid reaction force from 40,000 to 300,000, more than eightfold. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg stated this move is part of the “biggest overhaul of collective defense and deterrence since the Cold War.”
  • The United States has announced that it will provide Ukraine with advanced medium and long-range air defense capabilities.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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