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149 killed as Ethiopian Airline Boeing crashes on way to Kenya

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Ethopian Airlines

Addis Ababa, March 10 (IANS) All 149 passengers on the Ethiopian Airlines flight to Nairobi in neighbouring Kenya died as the Boeing 737 aircraft crashed shortly after take-off from here on Sunday, the airlines said.

Flight ET302 from Addis Ababa to Nairobi was believed to have 149 passengers and eight crew members on board, as per the airline, the BBC reported.

The plane crashed around 8.44 a.m., six minutes after taking off. The cause of the accident was not known yet.

The passengers were said to be from 33 different countries.

The first confirmation of the deaths came when Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed expressed his “deepest condolences” on Twitter.

In an earlier statement, the airline said that search and rescue operations were underway near the crash site around the town of Bishoftu, 60 km from here.

“Ethiopian Airlines staff will be sent to the accident scene and will do everything possible to assist the emergency services,” the statement added.

Boeing tweeted that it was “closely monitoring the situation”.

Its 737 Max-8 aircraft is relatively new to the skies, having been launched in 2016. It became a part of the Ethiopian Airlines fleet in July 2018.

Election

Biden, Harris appear together for 1st time as running mates

Harris, the daughter of a Jamaican immigrant father and an Indian immigrant mother, later took to the podium saying she was “incredibly honored by this responsibility” of the vice presidency, and that she was “ready to work.”

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joe biden kamala harris

WASHINGTON, Aug. 12 : U.S. presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden attended Wednesday a campaign event in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, together with Kamala Harris, his choice of Democratic vice presidential candidate, in what was the duo’s first public appearance as running mates.

Postponed for several hours due to power outage on site, the event, held in a basketball venue, finally saw the former vice president and the senator from California walk out side by side, both donning masks.

“I picked the right person to join me as the next vice president of the United States of America and that’s senator Kamala Harris,” Biden said, praising the first African as well as South Asian-American woman to be nominated for vice president in a major party as being “smart,” “tough,” “experienced,” and “a proven fighter for the backbone of this country – the middle class.”

Sitting next to the podium and keeping social distance with Biden as he spoke, Harris, however, took off the mask as she listened to Biden, who spoke without wearing the mask either.

Biden in his remarks pledged that a “Joe Biden and Kamala Harris administration will have a comprehensive plan to meet the challenge of Covid-19 and turn the corner on this pandemic,” adding that they will adhere to “masking, clear science-based guidance,” meanwhile “dramatically scaling up testing, getting states and local governments the resources they need to open the schools and businesses safely.”

Harris, the daughter of a Jamaican immigrant father and an Indian immigrant mother, later took to the podium saying she was “incredibly honored by this responsibility” of the vice presidency, and that she was “ready to work.”

She said she was “so mindful of all the heroic and ambitious women before me whose sacrifice, determination and resilience make my presence here today even possible.”

The California Democrat, who on Tuesday emerged from about 10 women finalists to become Biden’s vice presidential pick, bluntly blamed President Donald Trump for his “mismanagement” of the coronavirus, claiming that as a result of Trump’s failures, “our economy has taken one of the biggest hits out of all the major industrialized nations.”

Recalling how her parents met each other while protesting for civil rights in Oakland, California, in the 1960s, Harris said her mom and dad would bring her to protests as a little girl “strapped tightly in my stroller.”

Being someone who spent most of her political career as a prosecutor, Harris suggested that it was the family tradition that made her devote her life to “making real the words carved into the United State Supreme Court: Equal justice under law.”

While Biden said he and Harris “were in a battle for the soul of the nation,” Harris said the moment right now “is a moment of real consequence for America,” encouraging voters to “vote like never before because we need more than a victory on November 3rd.”

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Health

Russia to begin COVID-19 vaccine production within 2 weeks

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COVID-19 Vaccine

MOSCOW, Aug. 12 : Russia will start the production of its COVID-19 vaccine within two weeks, the country’s health minister Mikhail Murashko said Wednesday.

“First of all, the production facilities in Russia will be oriented towards the domestic market, to meet the need of our citizens,” Murashko said during a news conference.

Russia will offer the vaccine to other countries when it has sufficient amounts, the minister said, adding that foreign nations’ doubts about the effectiveness of the vaccine are unfounded.

The platform where the vaccine was created has been thoroughly studied and its authors have accumulated a sufficient amount of scientific data to guarantee its safety, he added.

The world’s first registered vaccine against the novel coronavirus was announced by President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday during an online meeting with government officials.

The vaccine, named Sputnik V, was developed by the Gamaleya National Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology, alongside the Russian Direct Investment Fund.

Russia plans to produce at least five million doses of the vaccine a month from December through January, according to Alexander Gintsburg, director of the Gamaleya National Research Center.

He said that the center is also preparing documents to obtain permission to test the vaccine on children.

The vaccine for children will be the same as the one for adults, but will likely be administered in a different dosage, requiring additional testing, Gintsburg added.

So far, Russia has tallied a total of 902,701 COVID-19 cases, including 15,260 deaths and 710,298 recoveries.

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Putin, Macron discuss situation in Lebanon, Ukraine by phone

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron held a phone conversation, discussing the situation in Lebanon, Ukraine and Belarus, the Kremlin said in a statement.

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Emmanuel Macron

Moscow: “Putin and Macron discussed in detail the situation in the Republic of Lebanon, focusing on the steps taken by Russia and France to provide humanitarian assistance to the people in Lebanon after the explosion in the port of Beirut on August 4,” the statement released on Wednesday said, Xinhua news agency reported.

Macron shared the impressions of his recent visit to Lebanon, as well as the results of a videoconference organised by France on August 9 to rally international aid for that country.

“During the exchange of views on internal political developments in Lebanon, the Russian side reaffirmed its position in support of the republic’s national unity and sovereignty,” said the statement.

The need to resolve any controversy via a process consisting of and led by the Lebanese, based on constructive dialogue and without external interference, was also underscored, it added.

The presidents also considered various aspects of the situation in Ukraine. They praised the additional ceasefire measures that were approved at the Minsk contact group meeting on July 22.

Putin reiterated the importance of strict fulfillment by Ukraine of its obligations concerning the political aspects of the Minsk Agreements. It was agreed to continue this joint work within the Normandy format.

The current situation in Belarus was also touched on, according to the statement.

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