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Amid human rights crisis & COVID disaster Nicaragua faces criticism over space agency launch
Americas

Amid human rights crisis & COVID disaster Nicaragua faces criticism over space agency launch

Nicaragua is at the center of global criticism over the formation of a national space agency even as the country is in midst of human rights crisis and poor response and handling of the Covid-19 pandemic. The National Ministry for Extraterrestrial Space Affairs, The Moon, and Other Celestial Bodies has sparked scornful criticism as Nicaragua is having a steady human rights erosion after a brutal crackdown three years back over anti-government protests that rocked the country. 

Critics say that this agency formation is an attempt by President Daniel Ortega to distract the attention from crisis and wretched state of affairs in the Central American country. 

New agency formation was approved on Wednesday by 76 legislators in Congress that is led by Ortega’s Sandinista party. Fifteen legislators had voted against it. This is especially despicable as Nicaragua’s leadership is unable to provide food, essential resources, and Covid-19 vaccines to its people. 

The space program will be under the control of the Nicaraguan army. According to the law, the ministry of space “will promote the development of space activities, with the aim of broadening the country’s capacities in the fields of education, industry, science, and technology.” 

Geologist Jaime Incer Barquero, president of Nicaragua’s Academy of Geography and History, said, “Nicaragua does not have a scientific capacity or tradition, does not have a serious (space) observatory. We are not scientifically able as a country to undertake this type of research.”

Ortega is being criticized for always disregarding the country’s development and faring poorly in handling pandemics and doing nothing to procure any vaccines against coronavirus yet. Nicaragua has been in a deep humanitarian, social and economic crisis since 2018 after a government crackdown slashed mass protests brutally. 

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In response, human rights organizations are planning to demand Nicaragua’s leadership of “strong resolution” over its human rights crisis in the UN Human Rights Council opening session on February 22, 2021.

Fake Vaccines Doing Rounds In Countries
Americas

Fake Vaccines Doing Rounds In Countries

Earlier it was a rush for the right vaccine candidate, but now there are fake vaccines also doing rounds. In Mexico, six people were recently arrested for dealing with the sale of fake vaccines. 

The arrest, the federal Public Safety Department said was made in the northern border state of Nuevo León. They declined to confirm the nature of the fake shots or whether they had been offered for sale.

But according to Health Secretary Hugo López-Gatell, the fakes were presented as Pfizer vaccines. These have been doing rounds only in Mexico. Original vaccines are available only through government vaccination teams. It has been confirmed that the suspects have offered the vaccines for sale for the equivalent of around $2,000 per dose.

Due to the nature of levels of poverty and economic hardship in Mexico, cases of theft of medical equipment are common. But the theft of vaccines and duplication has come to light for the first time. 

Fake Covid-19 vaccine scam has been recently busted in the country where the virus originated. The leader of a multi-million dollar scam known as Kong was passing off the saline solution and mineral water as Covid-19 vaccines. He was recently arrested in China. Since August 2020, Kong and his team made a profit of 18 million yuan ($2.78 million) by putting saline solution or mineral water in syringes and hawking them as Covid vaccines.

The European Union has also set of a warning against fake vaccine doses. The European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) said it was aware of reports of fraudsters seeking to sell vaccines in the EU, including the fake ones. 

Since its investigation from March 2020, OLAF has identified over 1,000 suspicious operations and seize over 14 million items, including faulty facemasks and fake test kits. The fact that nations are running desperately to get their populations inoculated, there is a chance that fraudulent vaccine doses might start doing rounds through vendors, if not in the open market. India has tackled a unique case of data theft through a fraudulent website claiming to be the right one for inoculation registration. 

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It is a hotbed for fakes and would have to work doubly harder to prevent its eager and uneducated population from not getting caught in the web of fake vaccines. 

Boris Johnson moved out intensive care but remains in hospital for COVID treatment
Europe

Boris Johnson moved out intensive care but remains in hospital for COVID treatment

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson late Thursday was moved out of an intensive care unit as he recovers from COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus.

Downing Street said in a statement that Johnson would move to London’s St. Thomas Hospital ward, “where he will receive close monitoring during the early phase of his recovery.”

“He is in extremely good spirits,” Downing Street said.

Johnson was admitted to the hospital on Sunday after reportedly displaying “persistent” symptoms from the novel coronavirus for more than 10 day. The prime minister announced on March 27 that he had tested positive for the virus.
Johnson was moved to an intensive care unit because his condition continued to “worsen,”.

Rishi Sunak, the United Kingdom’s top finance minister, said that Johnson had been “sitting up in bed and engaging positively with the clinical team.”

The news about the Prime Minister reminds us how indiscriminate this virus is.

After Johnson was moved out of intensive care, President Trump tweeted that it was “great news.”

The U.K. has reported more than 61,500 confirmed COVID-19 cases and roughly 7,100 deaths caused by it, according to a Johns Hopkins University database. On March 23, Johnson imposed a nationwide lockdown that bars people from gatherings of more than two people and prohibits nonessential travel.

Top British officials have said that the restrictions will need to remain in effect until the U.K. sees a consistent regression in the number of cases being reported.

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