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The Daily Brief: UK Approves First Covid-19 Antiviral Pill

The UK has approved an oral antiviral drug made by Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics that fights mild to moderate cases of Covid-19.

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CDC/ Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAM, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Summary:

  • The UK has approved an oral antiviral pill made jointly by Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics that will be administered as a capsule to fight against Covid-19.
  • This is the first oral antiviral medicine to be approved for Covid-19, allowing it to be given outside a hospital setting. It will be sold under the name Lagevrio in the UK.
  • The UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) stated that the drug is “safe and effective at reducing the risk of hospitalization and death” in mild to moderate cases.
  • Clinical studies done by Merck showed that the drug reduced the risk of hospitalizations or death by 50% for mild to moderate cases of Covid-19.
  • According to MHRA, the drug prevents the virus from “multiplying, keeping virus levels low in the body and therefore reducing the severity of the disease.”
  • The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is meeting at the end of the month to discuss the drug.
  • The drug is most effective when taken within the early stages of infection, with the MHRA recommending it be taken within five days of a positive Covid test.
  • The World Health Organization warned that Europe could hit half a million deaths this winter, with much of Europe seeing spikes in infection rates.

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OPEC+ Maintains Production Levels Amidst Pressure From US

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Rama, CC BY-SA 2.0 FR , via Wikimedia Commons

  • The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC+) has decided to maintain their level of oil production, even amidst pressure from the US to boost output in order to meet demands.
  • Demand is higher due to reduced Covid-19 restrictions, but OPEC+ is set on gradually increasing oil production by 400,000 barrels per day each month, and nothing more.
  • President Joe Biden blamed OPEC+ for their explanation against an increase in production, stating that “The idea that Russia and Saudi Arabia and other major producers are not going to pump more oil so people can have gasoline to get to and from work, for example, is not right,”

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One Year Later and Civil War Continues to Ravage Ethiopia

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  • On November 4th, 2020, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, ordered what was supposed to be a swift military takeover of those who supported the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) in the northern region of Tigray, Ethiopia. 
  • One year since the war began, Ethiopia is now facing a humanitarian crisis, with reports of thousands killed, humanitarian aid and food being denied to those in need, and numerous human rights violations from both sides of the conflict. 
  • With TPLF gradually gaining momentum and continuing to inch towards the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, Ahmed has urged civilians to take up arms and fight TPLF fighters; a move that has shocked many as Ahmed won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019 and noted his detest for war. 
  • Both sides have been condemned internationally and are urged to a ceasefire as the conflict continues to spiral out of control. 

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US Based Russian Analyst Indicted For Lying to FBI 

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  • 43-year-old Russian national, Igor Danchenko was taken into custody Thursday on five counts of making false statements to the FBI in relation to the Trump and Russia investigation. 
  • Danchenko is considered a key player in the 2017 Steele dossier, which is a collection of reports that contained claims and allegations that Trump and those in his inner circle conspired with Russia to win the 2016 US presidential elections. 
  • The FBI claims that after the Steele dossier was released, Danchenko was interviewed several times and lied during those interviews.
  • Danchenko is the 3rd person arrested in relation to the Trump-Russia probe since FBI investigator John Durham was appointed special counsel in 2019. 

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British MP Owen Paterson Steps Down Amid Lobbying Controversy 

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  • British Parliamentarian, Owen Paterson, has resigned after the House of Commons, Standard Committee suggested Paterson be suspended for 30 days after they found that he used his position to promote two companies that paid him three times his annual parliamentary salary. 
  • Paterson denies any wrongdoing and that all decisions he made were with the public’s health and safety in mind. 
  • On Wednesday, prior to Paterson’s resignation, British PM, Boris Johnson, and his conservative party voted against the Standards Committee’s suggested punishment but later reversed their decision in less than 24 hours in the wake of the immense backlash. 
  • Paterson stated he will continue to be a public servant but “outside the cruel world of politics.”

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Over 40 Countries Pledge To Stop Using Coal at COP26 Climate Conference

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Adrem68, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

  • On day five of the UN COP26 Climate Conference in Glasgow, UK, over 40 countries, including Poland, Vietnam, and Chile, have pledged to stop investing in new coal power generators and intend to phase out coal use by the 2030s for larger economies and the 2040s for smaller economies. 
  • Many organizations have also signed pledges with major banks to stop financing the coal industry in the future.
  • China and the US, the world’s largest coal-dependent nations, have declined to sign the pledge.
  • Scientists believe coal power is the highest contributor to climate change with 37% of the world’s electricity coming from coal in 2019. 

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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

India playing the “All religions matter” card in the UN

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In a recent event that marked the first anniversary of the International Day of Countering Hate Speech, Ambassador Tirumurti from India urged the UN that fighting religiophobia should not be a “selective exercise” that involves only one or two religions but one that should be applied equally to phobias against non-Abrahamic religions as well. He had also addressed terrorism concerns that have been plaguing India due to the cross-border tensions that are on the rise.

It is ironic that such statements were made during an event whose sole purpose is to counter hate in a country where religiophobia against people practising Abrahamic religions is at an all-time high. Last week, India was in the news for all the wrong reasons due to comments made against the Prophet Muhammad (saw) by the official spokesperson of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), one of India’s major political parties. Clashes erupted around the country in retaliation and houses that belonged to Muslim activists were bulldozed and razed to the ground simply because they had raised objections against the ruling party for the hateful comments made. Even though the cause for all that is happening in India is predominantly Islamaphobia, it is surprising how the religion of Islam was not mentioned anywhere in the list of Abrahamic religions given by Mr Tirumurti[1] . Leaving out the religion of Islam takes us back to the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and The National Register of Citizens (NRC) bill that was passed but not implemented yet required Muslims living in India to submit documents showing that they are indeed the citizens of India.

Mr Tirumurti also mentioned that India follows pluralism as it was recognised by the UAE and Egypt to promote fraternity on the International Day of Fraternity[2] . He defines Pluralism as “where every religion is respected, is a sine qua non of tolerance and harmony,”. However, what happened in India a few days prior is a stark contrast to the definition that he read out during the event.

“Till this is done, such international days will never achieve their objectives. There cannot be double standards on religiophobia,” stated the Ambassador. His remarks on how all religions must be treated equally to combat religiophobia are similar in nature to the “All Lives Matter” slogan created for the sole purpose of undermining the ‘Black Lives Matter movement. India needs to look back at itself to understand the definition of double standards as the country itself has become the epitome of the word by denying the extremist allegations while executing the same on minorities.[3] 

Regarding the statement given by Mr Tirumurti in the UN, Mahmooda, a Muslim citizen of India, living in Chennai said, “This is yet another flag of insignificance being pinned upon the Muslims”. This is a testament to the fact on how the government of India and the majority is still undermining and undervaluing the lives of Muslims who have made India their home for several decades now. 

“Fascism is always denied when it’s being perpetrated. Furthermore, there’s a convenient narrative orchestrated through different avenues to justify the hostility against the persecuted” remarked Aslam who is a 35 year old non-residential Indian living in the UAE.

Safura, a Muslim in her mid-20’s said that she understands that all religions must be considered equal in the religiophobia narrative and that “one cannot value one’s human life more than the other”, but it baffled her that Islam was left out of the conversation in an event that strives to fight against religiophobia despite the fact that Muslims are the most persecuted around the world. 

This makes us wonder if India believes that Muslims are the reason why religiophobia still exists and hence all the other religions must be saved from it? Unfortunately, the answer to this question can be provided by Mr Tirumurti alone.


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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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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  • 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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