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Pakistani PM Imran Khan writes to Facebook CEO seeking ban on Islamophobic content

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Imran Khan Pakistan PM

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s prime minister has written a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg seeking a ban on Islamophobic content on the site, warning of an increase in radicalisisation amongst Muslims, the government said on Sunday.

In the letter, shared by the Pakistani government on Twitter, Imran Khan said that “growing Islamophobia” is encouraging extremism and violence across the world — especially through social media platforms such as Facebook.

“I would ask you to place a similar ban on Islamophobia and hate against Islam for Facebook that you have put in place for the Holocaust,” Khan said.

Facebook said this month it was updating its hate speech policy to ban any content that denied or distorted the Holocaust.

Facebook did not immediately reply to Reuters’ request for comment on Khan’s letter.

“One cannot send a message that while hate messages against some are unacceptable, these are acceptable against others,” Khan said, adding that this was “reflective of prejudice and bias that will encourage further radicalisation”.

Khan in his letter made reference to the situation in France, where, he said, Islam was being associated with terrorism.

Earlier on Sunday, Khan said that French President Emmanuel Macron had “attacked Islam” by encouraging the display of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammad.

Khan’s comments came after Macron paid tribute to a French history teacher beheaded by an Islamist radical who wanted to avenge the use of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammad in a class on freedom of expression.

Health

Russia: Putin orders mass COVID-19 vaccinations; health minister claims one lakh already received Sputnik V

Museums, theatres and concert halls would be closed to the public in the city of more than 5 million people for the duration of Russia’s New Year holidays, from December 30 to January 10.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin

Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko on Wednesday said more than 100,000 people had already been vaccinated against COVID-19, as Moscow presented its Sputnik V vaccine to the United Nations over video link.

President Vladimir Putin earlier ordered authorities to begin mass voluntary vaccinations next week. Russia will have produced two million vaccine doses within the next few days, Putin said.

Russia said last month that its Sputnik V jab was 92% effective at protecting people from COVID-19 according to interim results.

“Let’s agree on this – you will not report to me next week, but you will start mass vaccination…let’s get to work already,” Putin told Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova.

Golikova said large-scale vaccination could begin on a voluntary basis in December.

The rise in infections has slowed since reaching a high on November 27, with 25,345 new cases reported on Wednesday.

Russia has resisted imposing lockdowns during the second wave of the virus, preferring targeted regional curbs.

With 2,347,401 infections, Russia has the fourth-largest number of COVID-19 cases in the world behind the United States, India and Brazil. It has recorded 41,053 deaths related to COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.

The Kremlin earlier gave assurances that Russians were first in line to be vaccinated, with Moscow also discussing supply deals with other countries.

“The absolute priority are Russians,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. “Production within Russia, which is already being developed, will meet the needs of Russians.”

Authorities in St Petersburg, which reported 3,684 new infections on Wednesday, ordered bars and restaurants to close from December 30 until January 3, to combat the rise in cases there, the RIA news agency reported.

Museums, theatres and concert halls would be closed to the public in the city of more than 5 million people for the duration of Russia’s New Year holidays, from December 30 to January 10.

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International Day of Persons with Disabilities: Theme, Date and history of the day

International Day of Persons with Disabilities: It aims to increase public awareness, understanding and acceptance of people with disabilities and celebrate their achievements and contributions.

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International Day of Persons with Disabilities

International Day of Persons with Disabilities is an international observance promoted by the United Nations since 1992. It is celebrated on December 3 all around the world. It aims to increase public awareness, understanding and acceptance of people with disabilities and celebrate their achievements and contributions.

IDPD mobilizes support for critical issues relating to the inclusion of persons with disabilities, promotes awareness-raising about disability issues and draws attention to the benefits of an inclusive and accessible society for all.

UN agencies, civil society organizations, academic institutions and the private sector are motivated to support IDPD by collaborating with organizations for people with disabilities to arrange events and activities.

International Day of People with Disability: Theme

The theme for IDPwD 2020 is “Building Back Better: toward a disability-inclusive, accessible and sustainable post COVID-19 World”.

Every year the UN announces a theme to observe for International Day of People with Disability. The annual theme provides an overarching focus on how society can strive for inclusivity through the removal of physical, technological and attitudinal barriers for people with disabilities.

This has been occurring since 1992 when the General Assembly announced 3 December as the International Day of Disabled Persons.

National Disability Strategy 2010–2020

In Australia, the National Disability Strategy 2010–2020 commits all governments to a nationwide approach aimed at improving the lives of disabled people, their families and carers.

The Strategy’s ten-year national framework for reform concentrates on better inclusion for people with disabilities and seeks to create a society that enables people with disabilities to fulfill their potential as equal citizens.

On the 2012 International Day of People with Disability, the United Kingdom government introduced mandatory work for disabled people who received welfare benefits in order to “Improve disabled peoples chances of getting work by mandatory employment”.

A program is also launched on December 3 across India to serve the differently-able community of the country as an initiative called Accessible India Campaign under the Article 9 of UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD)

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UK Approves Pfizer-BioNTech Covid Vaccine For Use, First In The World

The country has ordered up to 40 million doses of the vaccine that is said to offer 95 per cent protection.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Pfizer and BioNTech say they’ve won permission Wednesday for emergency use of their Covid-19 vaccine in Britain, the world’s first coronavirus shot that’s backed by rigorous science — and a major step toward eventually ending the pandemic.

The move makes Britain one of the first countries to begin vaccinating its population as it tries to curb Europe’s deadliest Covid-19 outbreak.

Other countries aren’t far behind: The U.S. and the European Union also are vetting the Pfizer shot along with a similar vaccine made by competitor Moderna Inc.

Pfizer said it would immediately begin shipping limited supplies to the U.K. — and has been gearing up for even wider distribution if given a similar nod by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, a decision expected as early as next week.

But doses everywhere are scarce, and initial supplies will be rationed until more is manufactured in the first several months of next year.

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla called the U.K. decision “a historic moment.”

“We are focusing on moving with the same level of urgency to safely supply a high-quality vaccine around the world,” Bourla said in a statement.

While the U.K. has ordered enough Pfizer vaccine for 20 million people, it’s not clear how many will arrive by year’s end and adding to the distribution challenges is that it must be stored at ultra-cold temperatures.

Two doses three weeks apart are required for protection. First in line, the U.K. government says, are frontline health care workers and nursing home residents, followed by older adults.

British regulators also are considering another shot made by AstraZeneca and Oxford University. But Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned “we must first navigate a hard winter” of restrictions to try to curb the virus until there’s enough vaccine to go around.

Every country has different rules for determining when an experimental vaccine is safe and effective enough to use. Intense political pressure to be the first to roll out a rigorously scientifically tested shot coloured the race in the U.S. and Britain, even as researchers pledged to cut no corners. In contrast, China and Russia have offered different vaccinations to their citizens ahead of late-stage testing.

The shots made by U.S.-based Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech were tested in tens of thousands of people. And while that study isn’t complete, early results suggest the vaccine is 95% effective at preventing mild to severe Covid-19 disease. The companies told regulators that of the first 170 infections detected in study volunteers, only eight were among people who’d received the actual vaccine and the rest had gotten a dummy shot.

“This is an extraordinarily strong protection,” Dr. Ugur Sahin, BioNTech’s CEO, recently told The Associated Press.

The companies also reported no serious side effects, although vaccine recipients may experience temporary pain and flu-like reactions immediately after injections.

But experts caution that a vaccine cleared for emergency use is still experimental and the final testing must be completed. Still to be determined is whether the Pfizer-BioNTech shots protect against people spreading the coronavirus without showing symptoms. Another question is how long protection lasts.

The vaccine also has been tested in only a small number of children, none younger than 12, and there’s no information on its effects in pregnant women.

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Corona Virus (COVID-19) Live Data

COVID-19 affects different people in different ways. Most infected people will develop mild to moderate illness and recover without hospitalization.