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‘300m people in Asia-Pacific have no improved access to water’

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Asia Water Forum 2018

Manila, Oct 2 (IANS) At least 300 million people in the Asia-Pacific region have no improved access to water, the Asia Development Bank (ADB) said on Tuesday.

“About 300 million people in the Asia and Pacific region do not have improved access to water and 1.7 billion lack access to basic sanitation,” ADB President Takehiko Nakao said at the Asia Water 2018 forum in Manila.

According to ADB estimates, water demand in the Asia and Pacific region was poised to grow by more than half by 2050, leaving up to 3.4 billion people facing water insecurity, Xinhua news agency reported.

Moreover, the ADB said disaster-related losses in Asia totalled $87 billion in 2016, of which about 25 per cent was connected to flooding. And over the past 20 years, Asia has incurred half of the estimated global economic cost of water-related disasters.

“Innovations and new technologies provide the means to help ADB developing member countries advance their water management including river basin management, flood control and water pollution and service delivery such as water supply, sanitation, and irrigation,” said the ADB President.

More than 800 gathered on Tuesday at the ADB headquarters in Manila for the opening of the Asia Water Forum 2018, focusing on “information, innovation and technology”.

Participants included government officials, water and development professionals and representatives from the private sector, academia, civil society and the media.

The ADB said this year’s forum featured over four days of a series of panels, leadership discussions, technical sessions and workshops.

Since its founding in 1966, the Manila-based bank said it has spent a total of $45.88 billion on water projects.

ADB’s active water sector operations amount to nearly $14 billion and this is growing — another $14 billion in water sector investments was planned for future, it said.

Health

PM Modi to interact with fitness enthusiasts during Fit India Dialogue

Envisioned by Prime Minister Modi as a people’s movement, the Fit India Dialogue is yet another endeavour to involve citizens of the country to draw out a plan to make India a fit nation, it added.

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Narendra Modi

New Delhi, Sep 21 : Prime Minister Narendra Modi will on Thursday interact with fitness influencers and citizens during a nation-wide online Fit India Dialogue which is being organised to celebrate the first anniversary of the Fit India Movement.

The online interaction will see participants sharing anecdotes and tips of their own fitness journey while drawing out guidance from the prime minister on his thoughts about fitness and good health. Among those who will participate range from Virat Kohli to Milind Soman to Rujuta Diwekar in addition to other fitness influencers, stated a PIB media release.

“In times of Covid-19 pandemic, fitness has become an even more important aspect of life. The dialogue will see a timely and fruitful conversation on nutrition, wellness and various other aspects on fitness.”

Envisioned by Prime Minister Modi as a people’s movement, the Fit India Dialogue is yet another endeavour to involve citizens of the country to draw out a plan to make India a fit nation, it added.

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Modi Government Sometimes Blames God, Sometimes People, But Not Its ‘Misrule’: Rahul Gandhi

“The blind arrogance of the Modi government sometimes blames god, sometimes people for the plight of the country, but not its own misrule and wrong policies.”

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Rahul Gandhi

New Delhi: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday attacked the Centre over Union Minister Harsh Vardhan’s remarks that people’s “irresponsible behaviour” has resulted in a surge in Covid-19 spread, saying the Modi government’s “blind arrogance” sometimes blames god, sometimes people, but not its own “misrule”.

Gandhi’s attack on the government came a day after Health Minister Vardhan, while replying to a special discussion on the coronavirus pandemic in Lok Sabha, said that there is a surge in the spread of Covid-19 in the country due to societal “irresponsible behaviour”.

Tagging a media report on Vardhan’s remarks, Gandhi tweeted, “The blind arrogance of the Modi government sometimes blames god, sometimes people for the plight of the country, but not its own misrule and wrong policies.”

“How many more ‘Act Of Modi’ will the country bear?” he said in the tweet in Hindi.

Gandhi has been critical of the government over the handling of the Covid-19 crisis and accused it of failing to tackle the situation. The government has dismissed all such claims in the past.

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Health

Over 60K sign up for Russian Covid vax, 700 injected

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Covid 19 Vaccine

More than 60,000 people have applied to volunteer for the coronavirus vaccine trials in Moscow and over 700 people have been injected with the coronavirus vaccine, the media reported

Sputnik V, an adenovirus vector-based vaccine, was developed by the Gamaleya Scientific Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, along with the Russian Direct Investment Fund and registered on August 11.

Over 60,000 people have signed up as volunteers, several thousand people have passed the required medical tests to be registered as potential candidates for carrying out the tests,” Mayor Sergei Sobyanin was quoted as saying in reports on Sunday.

According to Russian Tass news agency, more than 700 people have been injected with the coronavirus vaccine.

“All of them are feeling good,” Sobyanin said.

The vaccine was developed on a platform that had been used for a number of other vaccines.

On August 15, the Russian Health Ministry announced the launch of the vaccine production.

The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and Dr Reddy’s Laboratories Limited, a global pharmaceutical company headquartered in India, have also agreed to cooperate on clinical trials and distribution of Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine in India.

“On regulatory approval in India, RDIF shall supply to Dr Reddy’s 100 million doses of the vaccine. The Sputnik V vaccine, which is based on well-studied human adenoviral vector platform with proven safety, is undergoing clinical trials for the coronavirus pandemic,” said a statement from the fund.

The Russian Direct Investment Fund said that the deliveries could potentially begin in late 2020 subject to completion of successful trials and registration of the vaccine by regulatory authorities in India.

Earlier this month, a study published in the peer-reviewed journal The Lancet said a Russian Covid-19 vaccine has shown no serious side effects and elicited an immune response in early human trials.

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