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Pressure mounts on Priti Patel to grant asylum to Sudanese girl

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London, July 11 : UK Home Secretary Priti Patel has been urged by former judges and politicians to grant asylum to an 11-year-old Sudanese girl who would be at high risk of female genital mutilation (FGM) if taken abroad.

Around 300 people including politicians, judges and activists have signed an open letter to Patel.

The case of the Sudanese girl, Jasmine, gathered enormous support since it was reported by the The Guardian newspaper last week that she remained at risk of deportation to Sudan via Bahrain despite being the subject of an FGM protection order.

Labour MP Helena Kennedy, former chief prosecutor Nazir Afzal and more than 30 MPs have added their names to the letter published by the the Good Law Project, a not-for-profit membership organisation.

The letter is spearheaded by activist Hooda Ali who herself is a victim of FGM and has witnessed life-changing consequences after being cut aged seven.

Ali said: “Jasmine will be aware of FGM because her mother has been cut, her aunties died after being cut. She will have been taught in school that her body belongs to her… But at home she hears of risk of FGM, that is incredibly confusing and scary.”

Patel mounted a legal challenge around the case, which was dismissed at a hearing last month in the court of appeal.

Kennedy said: “This case has been fought hard by the Home Office because it lives in terror that if it becomes too easy to flee FGM and get asylum, the UK will be flooded with applicants. But every case should be decided on its own merit. It is very important our courts take a tough position on Female Genital Mutilation, which is a form of torture.”

Jasmine was brought to the UK at the age of three by her mother, who is also a victim of FGM and whose two sisters died after being cut in their native Sudan.

The single mother”s claim for asylum failed but inquiries by the family court into her daughter”s welfare led a judge to conclude: “It is difficult to think of a clearer or more serious case where the risk of FGM is so high.”

Health

US strikes $1.5bn deal for 100mn doses of Moderna Covid vax

The US government has announced that consistent with its commitment to free access to Covid-19 vaccines, Americans will receive mRNA-1273 at no cost for the vaccine itself.

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Covid 19 Vaccine

New York, Aug 12 : The US government has entered into a $1.5 billion deal with biotechnology company Moderna for the manufacturing and delivery of 100 million doses of its potential Covid-19 vaccine, mRNA-1273.

With the previous award of up to $955 million for the development of the vaccine to licensure, the new announcement brings the US government’s commitments for early access to mRNA-1273 to up to $2.48 billion, Moderna said on Tuesday.

Under the terms of the agreement, the US government will also have the option to purchase up to an additional 400 million doses of mRNA-1273 from Moderna.

The US government has announced that consistent with its commitment to free access to Covid-19 vaccines, Americans will receive mRNA-1273 at no cost for the vaccine itself.

As is customary with all government-purchased vaccines, healthcare professionals could charge for the cost of administering the vaccine.

“We appreciate the confidence of the US government in our mRNA vaccine platform and the continued support,” Stephane Bancel, Moderna’s Chief Executive Officer, said in a statement.

A Phase 3 study of mRNA-1273, being conducted in collaboration with the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), began on July 27.

BARDA is part of the office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) within the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Enrollment for the study is on track to complete in September, Moderna said.

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Donald will trump, predicts Kerala numerologist

Damodaran sid Trump’s ‘occult number’ is 48, which adds up to 3. “Since the election will be held on November 3, it augurs well for Trump,” the numerologist said.

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Donald Trump MSNBC

Donald Trump may be trailing his Democrat rival Joe Biden in US polls in the run-up to the presidential poll, but a 68-year-old Kerala numerologist is ready to place his bet on Trump’s re-election as the US President in November for the second term.

MK Damodaran, a retired Kerala government employee, said his numerological calculations and analysis based on ‘fate and occult numbers’ and Trump’s date of birth etc had made him predict Trump’s victory.

“November 3, 2020 is the day of the US presidential election, which is strongly lucky for incumbent President Trump. His date of birth is June 14, 1946. As such, his birth number is 5 (1 + 4). Besides, he was born in the sun sign Gemini that is ruled by planet Mercury. Number 5 is represented by planet Mercury,” Damodaran told IANS.

He further said that the coming election is the 59th such held after every four years.

“The number 59 again represents 5 (5+9=14, 1+4=5). The US got independence on July 4, 1776. The fate number of that day is also 5. (7 + 4 + 1 + 7 + 7 + 6=32, 3+2=5). The number 5 plays a key role for Trump.”

Analysing further, Damodaran said that “the ‘fate number’ of Trump is 4 (6+1+4+1+9+4+6=31, 3+1=4). The year 2020 also represents number 4 (2+0+2+0=4). So year 2020 is lucky for Trump”.

Damodaran sid Trump’s ‘occult number’ is 48, which adds up to 3. “Since the election will be held on November 3, it augurs well for Trump,” the numerologist said.

He said that he had used such calculations to successfully make predictions about cricketing icon Sachin Tendulkar, India’s victory at the 2011 World Cup etc. In 2012, he said, he had predicted that the US will top the medal tally in the London Olympics. The prediction was based on the lucky numbers of President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle Obama.

Damodaran said that an analysis of Biden’s numbers indicated that his chances to get elected as the US President are “very remote”.

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Politics

Harris’s Indian and African-Jamaican heritages create American dream

In this, there are echoes of the life stories of the last two Democratic presidents, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Their fathers were divorced from their mothers and virtually estranged from them.

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 Kamala Harris

New York, Aug 12 : Kamala Devi Harris has deftly melded her dominant African American identity with that of her Indian background as a Tamil to create the evergreen American classic of the immigrant dream.

Born in the US to immigrants, cancer researcher Shyamala Gopalan from India and economics professor Donald Harris from Jamaica, Harris has leaped in a generation to running for a position that could put her a heartbeat away from the presidency.

She wrote in her memoir, “The Truths We Hold,” that she was raised in “a place where people believed in the most basic tenet of the American Dream: that if you worked hard and do right by the world, your kids will be better of than you were.”

On Tuesday Joe Biden, who is to be the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate, announced that she would be on his ticket at the nominee for vice president.

Her multiracial background – which includes a layer of a White Jewish husband, Douglas Emhoff, and two step children – gives her a degree of identity fluidity to navigate American society riven by race and ethnicity.

After her parents divorced when she was only seven, Harris was brought up by her mother, whomAshe has described as “tough and fierce and protective” yet “generous and loyal and funny,” and credits her for her success.

In her memoir, “The Truths We Hold,” Harris wrote that the lesson “it was service to others that gave life purpose and meaning” that she inherited from her mother came from her grandmother Rajam, who had not completed high school but was a fiery protector of victims of domestic abuse.

Moving from New Delhi to Berkeley for her PhD in the tumultuous era of the 1960s civil rights movements, Shyamala Gopalan joined the protests “with a sense of justice imprinted on her soul,” Harris wrote.

Her relationship with fellow-activist Donald Harris grew under the clamour of the protests and Kamala Harris recalls, “My parents often brought me in a stroller with them to civil rights marches.”

In this environment, she wrote, “My mother understood very well that she was raising two Black daughters. She knew that her adopted homeland would see Maya as Black girls, and she she was determined to make sure we would grow into confident, proud black women.”

Her sister Maya is also a lawyer.

One of her experiences from her childhood popped up in her memorable confrontation with Biden during a debate last year when she was running for president against him – and almost 20 others – in the initial phases of the Democratic presidential race.

Questioning his credentials on racism, she said that while he opposed efforts to racially integrate schools by transporting children by bus from their racially segregated areas to schools in another place to break down racial barriers, she was one of the children on those buses.

That also brought out the age difference between them. If he wins, he will be the oldest president to take office next year at 78 when she would be only 55.

Hence, one of the criteria for his vice president pick was for her to be younger, but with enough experience and capability to become president if the need arose.

While the African American identity became the dominant one – and, in fact, the one that boosted her chances to the get the vice presidential nomination – Harris wrote, “Our classical Indian names harked back to our heritage and we were raised with a strong awareness of and appreciation for Indian culture.”

She wrote, “My mother, grandparents, aunts and uncle instilled us with pride in our Souh Asian roots.”

“I was also very close to my mother’s brother, Balu, and her two sisters, Sarala and Chinni (whom I called Chittis, which means ‘younger mother’ [in Tamil]),” she recalled.

Her uncle, G Balachandran is a retired academic, who has a PhD from the US. Her aunt Sarala is a retired obstetrician and the other aunt, whose formal name is Mahalaxmi, was an information scientist in Canada.

She made a humorous video with actor-director Mindy Kaling about making masala dosaiAand it was released during her campaign for presidential nomination.AA

Her father P V Gopalan was born in Painganadu in Tamil Nadu and joined government service under the British and his work took him and the family to Mumbai, Kolkatta, Delhi and Lusaka, Zamibia, before he retired to Chennai.

Harris writes that her grandfather had also been a “freedom-fighter.”

She recalls visiting him as a child in Luska, where he had been sent by the Indian government in the late 1960s to help that young nation deal with a refugee crisis brought on by a renegade White supremacist government breaking away from Britain in neighbouring Southern Rhodesia, which became Zimbabwer after overthrowing them.

Shyamala Gopalan moved to Canada to teach at McGill University in Montreal when Harris was about 12. Harris rounded off her international exposure going to high school in Quebec. But returned to the US to study at Howard University, an African American institution in Washington.

But she does not have appear to have close ties to her father.

When she was asked the about 1,900 convictions her office obtained for offences relating to marijuana when she was the San Fracisco prosecutor, she admitted smoking it and reportedly joked, “Half my family’s from Jamaica. Are you kidding me?”

Her father rebuked her saying, according to Jamaica Global, “Myself and my immediate Jamaican family, we wish to categorically dissociate ourselves from this travesty.”

He accused her of bringing up “the fraudulent stereotype of a pot-smoking joy seeker and in the pursuit of identity politics.”

The publication said that according to some Jamaicans, “Harris tends to downplay her Jamaican heritage when it suits her, crediting her Tamil Indian mother with the most significant influence on her life and outlook and rarely talks about her father’s influence. Her father Donald, hardly ever gets credit except when mentioned alongside her mother, but rarely as an individual.”

In this, there are echoes of the life stories of the last two Democratic presidents, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Their fathers were divorced from their mothers and virtually estranged from them.

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