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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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  • 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.

Daily Brief

Salman Rushdie Severely Stabbed due to his Publication of the Book “The Satanic Verses”

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Salman Rushdie 2014
  • Salman Rushdie, an author, was severely stabbed in his neck and abdomen on stage by a suspect named Hadi Matar, causing him to be on a ventilator and potentially losing an eye.
  • An Iranian leader back in the 20th century wanted Rushdie killed because of his novel, Satanic Verses, that many Muslims found disrespectful. This led Salman to go into hiding for almost a decade.
  • Translators from different countries reading this book were harshly stabbed to death when the book came out and Iranian leader, Ayatollah Khomeini called for Salman’s execution for three million dollars.
  • The Iranian government has not yet responded to this issue, but many Iranians in the media claim him to be an apostate who later became an atheist.

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

China Threatens Consequences if Pelosi Visits Taiwan

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  • US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi has landed inTaiwan. Prior to the visit, China’s Foreign Ministry has voiced their disapproval, stating that “China will take resolute responses and strong countermeasures to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
  • US Secretary of State Antony Blinken emphasized in response  that “The speaker will make her own decisions about whether or not to visit Taiwan,” and that the US is looking to Beijing to “act responsibly and not to engage in any escalation going forward.”
  • The US has made it clear that members of Congress routinely visit Taiwan and that this trip is non-threatening and has precedent. Even so, some officials have expressed concern that China may invade Taiwan’s air defense zone or send missiles near Taiwan in retaliation.
  • Pelosi has criticized China’s leadership and vocalized support for Taiwan in the past. She is currently on her tour of Asia, with scheduled visits to Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan.

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

First Grain Ship Departs Ukraine After Six Months of Russian Blockade

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  • The first shipment of grain departed the port of Odesa on Monday after Russia’s blockade of Ukrainian ports for the last six months trapped around 20 million metric tons of wheat and corn.
  • Russia recently made a deal with Ukraine, brokered by the UN and Turkey, allowing grain exports to resume, appeasing fears of a global food supply crisis and rising prices.
  • Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba celebrated the shipment, calling it a “day of relief for the world, especially for our friends in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa.”
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was more hesitant to celebrate the shipment, stating “it is too early to draw any conclusions and make any forecasts” and he wants to “see how the agreement works and whether security will be really guaranteed.”

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

Concerns Rise As US Teeters on the Brink of Recession

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US Stock Market Investing in the United States
  • The US economy declines for the second quarter in a row, causing, what other countries would consider, an economic recession. 
  • The prices for groceries, gas, and other basics are rising at the fastest pace since 1981. The US Central Bank is quickly trying to raise borrowing costs in order to cool the economy and ease the prices on goods, but with the contraction, at the annual rate of 0.9% in the 3 months to July, many are still getting concerned. 
  • President Biden struggles to convince the public that the economy is sound, with the unemployment rate at a low 3.6%. But with inflation in the US hitting 9.1% in June, the fastest price appreciation in 4 months, consumer spending has slowed at an annual rate of 1%. 
  • Many other countries, such as China and the UK, have been hit harder by the surge in energy prices and the War in Ukraine, causing risks from abroad. Other countries are facing much more serious problems and once they’re hit, their problems can spill over and affect the US. 

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

North Korea Could Possibly Be Preparing another Nuclear Test

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  • North Korea could be preparing a seventh nuclear test, especially after Mr. Kim announced that the country is fully ready for any military confrontation with the US at a Korean War Anniversary event. 
  • A US special representative in North Korea states that Jong-Un has tested an unprecedented number of missiles this year—31 to 25. Jong-Un also stated that threats from the US required North Korea to achieve the urgent historical task of strengthening its self-defense. 
  • Jong-un also stated that South Korea is reviving a plan to counter North Korea’s threat by mounting precautionary strikes; in June alone, South Korea launched 8 missiles of its own.
  • The North Korean regime is especially angry with South Korea’s new president Yoon Suk-yeol and his so-called Kill Chain strategy. This strategy allows South Korea to launch ballistic missiles and air strikes on North Korean targets if it ever feels threatened. 
  • North Korea has also not been getting as much engagement with Washington ever since Biden replaced Trump, and could be hinting at some sort of deliberate escalation by the North, and preparations have been underway at the Punggye Ri test site since March.

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

Russia Limits Gas Supply to Germany

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Black Sea port of Theodosiya panoramio
  • Gazprom, a major Russian energy provider, has stated it will reduce the supply of gas to Germany by half via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline due to repair work. 
  • Germany has said that they see no technical reason for the decrease in gas supply. The European Union continues to accuse Russia of weaponizing energy, with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stating, “This is an open gas war that Russia is waging against a united Europe.”
  • Ukraine and Russia signed an agreement to allow the export of grain via the Black Sea after Russia continued to block millions of tonnes from being exported. The next day, Russia struck missiles at the port, some of which hit the infrastructure of the port.
  • The US and Ukraine are optimistic that the agreement will still be implemented, with the US State Department stating, “Despite these attacks, we do understand that the parties are continuing preparations to open Ukraine’s Black Sea ports for food and fertilizer exports…we also continue to expect that the Black Sea agreement will be implemented.”

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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