Did US Buy Substandard Drugs For COVID-19?

Bayer AG made a hefty donation of chloroquine drugs after the President Donald Trump touted the tablet as a “gamechanger” in their fight against COVID-19. But the chief of staff of the US Food and Drug Administration, Keagan Lenihan, was found alerting the government about the need for 3-4 days of testing of the drugs.

FDA alerts the US government

Reuters reviewed the emails among federal health officials in which the FDA chief was seen alerting the administration. Bayer had since donated 3 million tablets of Resochin to add to the US stockpile of COVID-19 drugs. Also, the US government approved use of those medicines on an emergency basis. But three US government sources raised serious concerns about the quality of the drugs.

Concerns raised by US officials

The drug Resochin is made in India and Pakistan and according to the sources, the FDA dropped its quality-standards to get the drugs. But the fact is that the plants that make Resochin in India and Pakistan have never been registered or inspected by FDA.

Drugs Regulatory Authority of Pakistan noticed gross failure in manufacturing process of Resochin in a Pakistani plant in 2015. In India, Resochi is made in Indore. The US agency that inspected that plant found serious deficiencies including falsification of records during 2014 to 2019.

On questioning about the email messages by Reuters, the FDA spokesperson Michael Felberbaum said that the agency didn’t respond to the leaked emails. Also, the spokesperson said that the donated drugs met the quality standards of FDA.

Source: https://bit.ly/2Vhs5XF

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White House Follows Narendra Modi On Twitter

The only world leader, White House follows on Twitter is Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. White House is official residence of President of US and a major power center in the world.

World leaders followed by White House

The White House boasts of having 21 million followers on Twitter but it follows only 19 people and 16 of those are Americans. And the exception remaining three includes PM Narendra Modi. It proves that US gives priority to India over other countries.

In addition to PM Modi, the White House also follows President Ramnath Kovind and Prime Minister’s Office. It also follows Indian Embassy in USA and Indians in USA.

Modi Trump bonhomie

Both the leaders share a good rapport. They have met several times on different occasions. Also, they have jointly addressed two massive informal gatherings – first in the US and the second in India.

Earlier this week, President Trump said that he would be surprised, if the PM Modi stood firm on his ban on the export of hydroxychloroquine that is an anti-malaria drug but considered useful for treating COVID-19 patients.

Trump threatened Modi of retaliation

US President Donald Trump was speaking to media persons at White House when he indirectly threatened India of retaliation, if his demand for drugs wasn’t fulfilled. He said that he talked to PM Modi and that Modi assured him of help.

Hours after the press briefing, India lifted the ban from hydroxychloroquine and allowed its export to USA and other countries. The US President said that he bought more than 29 million tablets.

Source: https://bit.ly/34tbVND

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Trump Accuses WHO Of Bias And Threatens To Cut Funding

US President Donald Trump accused the World Health Organization of bias towards China during the coronavirus pandemic and said that he could cut US funding to the WHO for its biased behavior.

Trump threatened WHO

Donald Trump said WHO, the UN body, could see a very powerful hold on funding from the US. It is well-known that the US is the biggest contributor of funds to WHO.

Trump pursues an America First policy and he has criticized WHO and other UN and multinational organizations in pursuance of his policy. But he revealed no details about the amount of fund to be withheld. On the contrary, he said that he was not saying, he was going to do that. He would look at ending the funding, added Trump.

Trump accuses WHO of bias

Donald Trump accused WHO of being very China centric while giving a faulty recommendation against curtailing international travel to stop the virus that first spread in China. He said that fortunately he rejected their advice on keeping the US borders open to China early on.

China also faced criticism from Republicans for mishandling the pandemic and Trump had expressed doubt over the statistics of coronavirus cases and deaths shared by China. Also, the Trump is facing criticism for initially downplaying the virus.

Trump likened the novel coronavirus to an ordinary flu and said that it was under control in the US. But soon he accepted that it was a national health emergency.

Source: https://bit.ly/2xYkqnI

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Pakistan Salutes To Air India Flights Carrying COVID-19 Relief Material

National Carrier Air India received accolades from the world community for its relief and evacuation flight in these difficult times. The countries that praised Air India for its effort include Pakistan that even helped in operating the flights.

Pakistan praised Air India

On April 2, Air India operated two flights from Mumbai to Frankfurt in Germany to evacuate European nationals stranded in India and carry relief materials. The flight took at 1430 hours and entered Pakistan airspace at 1700 hours. The flight captain contacted the Pakistan ATC that replied “As-salamu alaykum” (Peace be upon you). That was Karachi control welcoming Air India flight.

The Air India captain was asked to confirm that he was operating a relief flight. The Air India captain confirmed. Also, the Pakistan ATC told the Indian pilots that they were proud of Indian pilots operating flights in difficult times. They also bode Good Luck to Air India flight operators.

Pakistan ATC saved Air India 15 minutes flying time by allowing the flight to fly closer to Karachi. Also, the Pakistan ATC came forward to help Air India flight enter Iranian airspace. When Air India reached Iran, it tried to contact Iran authorities but couldn’t. Then Pakistan ATC came for help. They contacted Iran and saved many flying hours to Air India.

Air India received praises from the world

Turkish and German Air Traffic Controllers also praised Air India for carrying relief material. The flight was scheduled to reach Frankfurt at 0915 hours but it landed at 0835 hours.

Source:- https://bit.ly/3aOnIbK

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Indian H-1B Visa Holders Fear Layoff

Foreign technology professionals holding H-1B visas want their permissible post-job loss limit to stay in the US from existing 60 days to 180 days. They fear massive layoffs due to the coronavirus crisis.

H-1B visa federal rules

It is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to hire professionals from foreign countries from countries like India and China. According to present rules, the US administration allows foreign professionals to leave the country within 60 days of losing their jobs.

Economic experts have expressed fear of massive layoffs in the job sector due to slowdown of the economy due to coronavirus crisis that is affecting every sector of the society. Already 3.3 million Americans have filed initial jobless claims till March 21. But the peak of coronavirus and joblessness is yet to come. It is estimated that approximately 47 million people will lose their jobs in America.

But H-1B visa holders are kept out of employment benefits. Also, they aren’t entitled for social security benefits even after making contributions to social security. The initial figures of jobless people show that most of the jobless people will be H-1B visa holders. Companies have already started informing their employees about the layoff.

Future of H-1B visa holders

The visa holders have demanded the Trump government to extend their grace period from 60 to 180 days. They have started a campaign on the White House website regarding the same. The petition has attracted more than 20,000 signatures but it requires a minimum of 100,000 signatures to get a response from the government.

Source: https://bit.ly/2w15kgA

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The US Reached The Cap Of 65,0000 H-1B Work Visas For 2021

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced closure of H-1B visas for the fiscal year 2021. The federal agency that screens and allocates H-1B visa applications said that it had reached the congressional mandated limit of 65,000 visa cap.

USCIS reached H-1B visa cap

Enough requests from corporations and businesses were received said the federal agency. It further said that it had reached the cap. USCIS randomly selected applicants among the registrations properly selected.

The agency received electronic registrations during the initial period to reach the FY 2021 H-1B numerical allocations. The fiscal year begins from October 1, 2020. The agency is now in the process of notifying the successful applicants.

USCIS said that the successful H-1B visa applicants that include both businessmen and companies would be notified by the agency before March 31. The applicants could file an H-1B cap subject petition after getting the notification.

Deadline for H-1B visa application

The new H-1B Electronic Registration Process implemented was rolled out before the start of the application filing season on April 1. The interested parties including businesses and companies were asked to send their applications on before March 20 that was the last date for registering for H-1B visa with USCIS. Earlier, the last date of visa application was June 30.

The federal agency also issues additional visas to those that have earned masters and higher degrees from a US institution. It has the power to issue 20,000 H-1B visas to students of higher studies.

Source: https://bit.ly/2WS15iw

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IMF Projects Recovery From Recession In 2021

International Monetary Fund (IMF) said that the world had entered a recession due to the coronavirus pandemic.But the IMF projects a recovery next year.

IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said that they have reassessed the prospects for growth for 2020 and 2021. It was clear that the world had entered a recession as bad or worse than in 2009. Also, they projected recovery in 2021.

Recovery from COVID-19 in 2021

IMF managing director emerged from the meeting of the governing body of IMF and Financial Committee that represent 189 members. The meeting was to discuss the unprecedented challenge posed by COVID-19.

She said that the key to recovery was only if the international community succeeded in containing the virus and prevent liquidity problems. The US was in recession, as was the rest of the advanced economies of the world. Also, the developing economies were in recession. They were working on their projections for 2020 said Georgieva in the answer to a question.

Georgieva stressed the need for virus containment for the economy to stand still. She said that containment was very necessary to come out of this phase. Also, she highlighted the key concern of the long-lasting impact of the sudden stop of the world economy.

She said that there was a risk of bankruptcies and layoffs that not only could undermine the recovery but also could erode the fabric of the society. She further said that many countries had started taking measures like addressing their healthcare and cushion their economies to mitigate the effect of recession.

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University Of Hawaii Athletics Refunding Tickets Of Cancelled Matches Due To COVID-19

Following the NCAA announcement on March 12, 2020, the Big West Board of Directors decided to cancel all spring conference and non-conference competition and championship events for the 2020 season. The NCAA announced cancelling of all 2020 spring championships.

Athletics Director David Matlin’s opinion on the cancelling of championships

He said he was truly heartbroken for his student-athletes, especially seniors, many of whom won’t be able to experience their senior day game. Be he supported the decision of NCAA and the Big West Conference to cancel the winter and spring seasons. He further said that it was a disappointing news but their top priority was for the health and safety of student-athletes and staff. Also, he thanked the fans that supported UH Athletes. Updated information is provided on HawaiiAthletics.com.

2020 Baseball & Men’s Volleyball Refund Policy and Procedures

Season Ticket Holders for Baseball & Men’s Volleyball

Viewers are provided 3 prorated refund options

  1. Prorated refund: A refund cheque to the tune of the amount for tickets bought with cash or cheque will be mailed to address of the buyers in 6-10 weeks from the April 10 deadline.
  2. Credit towards 2021 season tickets in the same sport.
  3. Buyers can credit their refund towards 2020-2021 H-Club membership.

Buyers are asked to choose their options before April 10, 2020.

Season Parking and MVB VIP Lounge Pass Refunds

Purchaser will get refund through cheques mailed to their addresses in 6-8 weeks starting April 10, 2020.

Single Game Ticket Purchasers

Buyers will get full refund of their tickets for the cancelled games.

Source: https://bit.ly/2xPyVtX

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United Way Creating Pandemic Response Fund To Fight COVID-19

The United Way of Miami is working with funders to create a fund to help combat the ongoing outbreak of COVID-19. The President & CEO Maria Alonso of this nonprofit said in an email that the organization was working with funders to activate a Miami-Dade Pandemic Response Fund to help individuals, organizations and charities.

Maria Alonso explained the fund

He said that the fund would be used to allocated resources to those battling the COVID-19 pandemic in different ways from short-term impacts to long-term resilience of the community. The community invited hundreds of seniors to identify people that need home meal-delivery services. The organization is also working Miami-Dade County Public Schools with the district’s meal outreach.

The volunteers and staffers of the organization provide help in sorting, packing and handout meals to students and families of different schools including Comstock Elementary School, Miami MacArthur Educational Center, North Miami Elementary School and Santa Clara Elementary School.

Also, the United Way has created a web page for convenience of its users. The page will provide information about volunteer needs. Also, it will allow people to sing up for volunteer service for future events.

United Way findings

The nonprofit organization found that 59% of community families were living on one emergency away from poverty that make them potential to COVID-19. Reduced hours, business closures and potential layoffs are really worrisome and it highlights the existing needs of families. The United Way wants to serve all these families.

Source: https://bit.ly/3a2HsYJ

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US Summoned Chinese Ambassador Over His Tween On US Army’s Role In Coronavirus

Taking serious note of a senior Chinese official tweeting that the US military started the COVID-19 pandemic, the US on Friday summoned China’s ambassador, Cui Tiankai. Also, the top US diplomat for Asia, David Stilwell, made a stern presentation to Cui.

US sent summon to China

The China was trying to deflect criticism its role in starting a global pandemic and not telling the world, said a State Department official. He further said that spreading conspiracy theories was dangerous and that they won’t tolerate that for the good of Chinese people and the world.

Tweet of Chinese official

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian tweeted that patient zero in the global pandemic might have come from the United States – not the Chinese metropolis Wuhan that was the epicenter of the pandemic.

Tweeting in both Mandarin and English, he said that it might be the US army that brought the epidemic to Wuhan. He further asked US to make its data public to be transparent. But Zhao has a history of making provocative statements on social media.

Cui’s response to US

Ambassador Cui Tiankai is known for his diplomatic approach that is in stark contrast with Zhao. The ambassador said that the China looked forward to work closely with the US to fight COVID-19 for a secure future.

Conspiracy theories

Earlier there was a theory that Russia had systematically spread disinformation that US was behind the coronavirus in an effort to damage US reputation. Similarly, Iran’s firebrand former president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, asked WHO to investigate why adversaries of US are hardest hit with virus.

Source: https://bit.ly/3cRPjtY

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