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Fire Kills Eight Coronavirus Patients In Indian Hospital

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In India, at least eight Coronavirus patients have been killed on Thursday after a fire engulfed the critical care unit of a hospital in Ahmedabad city in the western Gujarat state.

An officer, Yusuf Khan told AP news agency that it took firefighters half an hour to contain the blaze at Shrey Hospital in Ahmadabad and 35 patients had been moved to other hospitals.

Officials said the victims included five men and three women as investigation has been launched to find out the cause of the fire.

Moreover, according to emergency services, the fire was caused by a medical staff member’s personal protective equipment (PPE) after it caught fire.

Rajesh Bhatt, an additional chief fire officer of the Ahmedabad Fire and Emergency Services said “a staffer whose PPE caught fire ran out of the ward to douse it, but the fire spread rapidly to the whole ward.”

Reacting to the incident, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted he is “saddened by the tragic hospital fire in Ahmedabad. Condolences to the bereaved families… Administration is providing all possible assistance to the affected.”

Fires are common in buildings in India because of poor safety standards with inadequate fire extinguishers, smoke detectors and fire alarm systems.

The country’s Health Ministry on Wednesday said India has more than 1.9 million Coronavirus cases after recording another 56,282 new cases. Also more than 40,500 persons have died due to the virus.

African News

Nine African Nations In Debt To UN Lose Voting Rights

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Nine African countries, who are owing membership dues to the United Nations, are about to lose their voting rights in the general assembly.  Niger, Central African Republic, Somalia, Comoros, Libya, the Congo, Zimbabwe, South Sudan and Sao Tome and Principe are reported to be indebted to the United Nations.

U.N. Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, says the African nations, and Iran, should lose their voting rights as required under the U.N. Charter after defaulting on payment of their dues to the united nations’ operating budget.

Guterres listed in a letter to the United Nations General Assembly president, Volkan Bozkir, on monday, the minimum each country must pay for their voting rights to be restored.

The U.N. Charter gives the 193-member general assembly the authority to decide “that the failure to pay is due to conditions beyond the control of the member,” and in that case a country can continue to vote. That has not been invoked in these cases.

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World News

America Prepares For Presidential Inauguration Amid Fears Of Insider Attacks

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The United States is preparing for an unprecedented presidential inauguration on Wednesday.  Prompted by the Capitol insurrection twelve days ago, more than twenty-five thousand national guards troops have been brought into Washington, DC to provide security for the event.

US defense officials have also expressed fear of an insider attack or other threats from security troops assigned to provide protection during the inauguration.

Small protests also took place at heavily fortified state houses around the country.  There were widespread fears of violence against state capitols across the country like the siege on the U.S. Capitol. There has been no report of violence.

Some have described the scenes of national guard troops taking over the streets around the US Capitol, as looking like the war zones of Afghanistan or the Middle East.

Amid this background, Joe Biden will deliver his inaugural address of national unity when he is sworn in on Wednesday.  He plans to immediately jump into action after swearing-in.  He plans immediate moves to combat the coronavirus pandemic that has claimed more than four hundred thousand American lives.  He also promised to issue many executive orders to undo some of Donald Trump’s most controversial policies.

He says his first order of business would be an executive order signing America back into the Paris Climate Accord.  He will also revoke Trump’s immigration ban on some majority-Muslim countries.

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Health News

23 Norwegians Dead After Taking COVID-19 Vaccine

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The New York Post has quoted Norwegian health officials as saying twenty-three persons have died within days of receiving the first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.  Thirteen of the deaths are said to be related to side effects of the shots.  All thirteen were nursing home patients who were at least eighty years old.

The newspaper quoted the chief physician at the Norwegian medicines agency, Sigurd Hortemo, as saying in a statement on Friday, common reactions to the vaccine, including fever and nausea, may have contributed to a fatal outcome in some frail patients.

This has forced officials to adjust their guidance on who should receive the vaccine, but they are not expressing serious concern.

The country has inoculated more than thirty-thousand citizens with the first shot of the Pfizer or Moderna coronavirus vaccine since last month.

Norwegian medicines agency medical director, Steinar Madsen, says the agency is not alarmed. He says the vaccines have very little risk.

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