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The World This Morning: January 4, 2021

INDIAN DRUG REGULATORS APPROVED TWO VACCINES. ONE IS A COMPLETELY INDIGENOUS COMPANY BHARAT BIOTECH AND THE OTHER IS OXFORD/ASTRAZENECA

Prime Minister Narendra Modi called it "a decisive turning point". India plans to inoculate some 300 million people on a priority list this year. It has recorded the second-highest number of infections in the world, with more than 10.3 million confirmed cases to date. Nearly 150,000 people have died. On Saturday India held nationwide drills to prepare more than 90,000 health care workers to administer vaccines across the country, which has a population of 1.3 billion people.

THE UK MAY SEE STRICTER LOCKDOWN WITH 54,990 NEW COVID-19 CASES.

The UK also saw 454 new deaths in the last 28 days. Coronavirus cases in Britain are at record levels and the increase in numbers is fuelled by a new and more transmissible variant of the virus. The government has cancelled the planned reopening of schools in and around London but teaching unions want wider closures.

AS UK STARES AT TOUGHER LOCKDOWNS THE BRITISH PRIME MINISTER BORIS JOHNSON HAS SAID HE EXPECTS "TENS OF MILLIONS" OF COVID-19 VACCINATIONS WILL BE GIVEN OVER THE NEXT THREE MONTHS.

People across the UK will start to receive the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine from today when 530,000 doses will be ready at hospitals. But questions remain over the policy shift on when the second dose of the Oxford and Pfizer jabs is given. The UK has moved to accelerate its vaccination rollout, amid a rise in coronavirus cases driven by a new Covid variant.

INDONESIA STARTED THE DISTRIBUTION OF SINOVAC COVID-19 VACCINE

On Sunday, the distribution of a vaccine developed by a Chinese firm Sinovac Biotech was initiated. The Public will get access to the vaccine later this month. The distribution started after Indonesian vaccine producer Bio Farma received 1.2 million doses of the vaccine on Dec 6, 2020, & 1.8 million doses on Dec 31 2020.

WISCONSIN'S MEDICAL WORKER FIRED AFTER DESTROYING 500 DOSES OF COVID-19 VACCINE DELIBERATELY

Wisconsin hospital's medical worker was accused of intentionally removing 57 vials of a COVID-19 vaccine from a pharmacy's refrigerator. On Thursday, the local police put him behind bars. Police said that the accused has been arrested on three recommended charges: First Degree Recklessly Endangering Safety, Adulterating a Prescription Drug and Criminal Damage to Property, all of which are felonies. The accused has agreed that he did on purpose take out the vials from the refrigerator.

THAILAND'S ECONOMIC CONDITIONS ARE FAST DETERIORATING AND LIKELY TO WORSEN AMIDST THE PANDEMIC

According to a national survey, Thailand's GDP shrank by 6.6% in 2020. The economic conditions have deteriorated as the nation battles a surge in the covid-19 cases. Allegedly, the economy will worsen this year as the impact of Covid-19 may be deadlier than in 2020. The covid-19 outbreak has affected more than 3,000 people since the middle of December. Thailand will impose a new set of guidelines on businesses in 28 of its worst-affected provinces in effect from today. Bangkok, home to more than 10 million people has shut down its pubs, bars, gyms and entertainment venues. Amidst the pandemic,

7TH ROUND OF TALKS BETWEEN FARMERS PROTESTING AGAINST THE NEW FARM BILL PROPOSED BY THE GOVERNMENT OF INDIA ARE GOING TO BE HELD TODAY

Joginder Singh, the President of Bharatiya Kisan Union has termed the attitude of the BJP led government as stubborn and has also added that there is little hope for any breakthrough on revoking the farm laws. Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Tomar has said that while he hopes for a positive meeting, he cannot comment on whether the meeting is going to be a final one.

GROUP OF PRO-TRUMP SENATORS TO OBJECT TO BIDEN US ELECTION WIN

On Saturday, the 11 senators released a statement confirming their rejection of the election result. They will launch an independent commission into the president's claim of voter fraud. They are demanding an investigation into the alleged fraud. In December, Biden made a clear win after gaining 306 votes whereas Trump was defeated with 232 votes. The supporters of Trump will be joining Missouri's Josh Hawley in rejecting Biden when Congress reconvenes to officially validate the Electoral College votes on January 6.

EL SALVADOR EXPERIENCED A DROP IN HOMICIDES IN 2020

According to figures released by the National Civil Police, the number of homicides fell by 44.9% in comparison to 2019. The government attributes the progress to tighter territorial control, which includes increased police and military forces in municipalities with the highest crime rates. There has been a constant drop in the homicide rate since 2015 when the homicide rate stood at 81/100,000 to nearly 36 in 2019. The homicide rate in El Salvador is 7 times that of the United States of America.

PRESIDENT MADURO AUTHORIZES THE OPENING OF BANK ACCOUNTS IN FOREIGN CURRENCY AND THE DIGITIZATION OF THEIR ECONOMY

Many experts point to the increased use of the US Dollar in the economically shattered nation as the reason behind President Nicolás Maduro's announcement that will authorize Venezuelan banks to create accounts for the payment of digital currency. Despite the popularity of the US Dollar in daily cash operations, Maduro claimed 77.3% of commercial transactions in the country are still made in bolivars through digital payment methods. The controversial president added that Venezuela is headed toward a 100% digital economy and said there is no conflict, but complementation, between the usage of the national currency (the bolivar) and the US Dollar.


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