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Sunday,12-July-2020

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Narendra Modi thanks UAE for highest civilian award

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday thanked the government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for honouring him with the nation’s highest civilian honour — the Order of Zayed — for boosting bilateral relations between the two countries.

“I would like to thank the government of UAE and people of UAE for honouring me with the Zayed medal. This is not an award given to Modi but to the Indian people,” he said at a rally in Uttar Pradesh’s Amroha.

The announcement of the award was made by Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan on Thursday.

The Crown Prince described Modi as a “dear friend” and said he had played a pivotal role in enhancing bilateral ties.

Modi is expected to visit the UAE to receive the award. He has already been conferred with Saudi Arabia’s highest civilian honour — the King Abdulaziz Sash.

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WHO acknowledges Dharavi’s success over Covid-19

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In a major to the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation and Maharashtra government’s morale, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has lauded their success over the Covid-19 outbreak in Dharavi – Asia’s largest slum.

WHO Director-General Tedros A. Ghebreyesus, at a press conference late on Friday, referred to the achievements made in the Dharavi among other similar examples globally.

“Even in Dharavi, a densely packed area in Mumbai, a strong focus on community engagement and the basics of testing, tracing, isolating and treating all those that are sick is key to breaking the chains of transmission, and suppressing the virus,” Ghebreyesus said.

In this context, he pointed out that there are many, many examples from around the world that have shown that even if the Covid-19 outbreak is very intense, it can still be brought back under control, as in Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, New Zealand, Italy, Spain and South Korea.

Responding quickly, the BMC said: “Thank You, WHO for acknowledging #Mission Dharavi where it partnered with citizens to ‘Chase the Virus’ from one of the most populous blocks of the city”.

“With your guidelines and Mumbai’s community efforts, we will beat Covid-19 one block at a time by Tracing, Tracking, Testing and Treating,” the BMC’s return tweet said.

Ghebreyesus also stressed the need for community participation and collective solidarity – akin to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s appeal two days ago for forming Corona Vigilance Committees right down to the village levels, and asking NGOs to adopt Mumbai slums with public partnership to beat the Coronavirus.

Reacting to the WHO DG’s comments, Health Minister Rajesh Tope admitted that “we have worked very hard from day one along with the people of Dharavi” and even in Malegaon, Nashik, and now the results are showing in both places.

“It was an aggressive fight, surveillance of the population, early detection of symptoms, isolation in government quarantine centres in a huge way, all precautions like fogging the area regularly, disinfecting public toilets repeatedly daily, starting fever clinics, providing portable chest x-ray machines, temperature guns, etc, even in Malegaon,” Tope told IANS.

He said that in both places, “we have managed to flatten the curve, we don’t expect it to worsen any further, but we also can’t take chances so will continue to remain vigilant”.

Education Minister and MLA from Dharavi Varsha Gaikwad said she was “proud of all Dharavians.. as today they have set an example for the world.

“WHO has recognized and praised our efforts against this war (vis-A-vis) Corona… Let’s keep up the good work and we will fight in the strongest way,” a thrilled Gaikwad tweeted.

The WHO head also cautioned that from countries where there is exponential growth to places that are loosening restrictions, are “now starting to see cases rise”.

For this, Ghebreyesus assured that WHO will continue to work with partners to ensure that the poorest and most marginalized are prioritized.

“That means restarting routine immunization and ensuring that medical supplies reach health workers across the worlda Only aggressive action combined with national unity and global solidarity can turn the Covid-19 pandemic around,” Ghebreyesus asserted.

After the success in Dharavi — chronicled in a series of reports by IANS over the past three months — the model is being replicated in north Mumbai where there has been a huge spike in recent weeks with a public-private-partnership.

However, both Maharashtra and Mumbai have a long way to go yet as the state has 9,893 deaths and 238,461 cases while Mumbai stands at 5,205 fatalities and 90,461 cases till date.

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International News

Donald Trump expected to refile paperwork to end DACA program

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US President Donald Trump is expected to refile paperwork this week to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that offers protections for thousands of young immigrants and work lawfully.

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows hinted in an interview on Monday that the President was readying executive action on immigration issues, but he did not offer specifics, reports Xinhua news agency.

The US Supreme Court, which ruled last month that the Trump administration failed to give an adequate justification for terminating the program as required by federal law, made clear that the President had the authority to rescind the program.

“We have to refile,” the President told Fox News days after the ruling.

“And everything’s going to work out for DACA and the young people, who aren’t so young, if you want to know the truth.”

DACA was established via an administrative memo in 2012 when Barack Obama was in office.

The Trump administration in 2017 rescinded DACA, which shields certain undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children from deportation.

The move was a central feature of the President’s initial efforts to restrict immigration upon taking office, The Hill news website said in a report on Monday.

Trump’s 2017 rescission of the program gave Congress six months to create a statutory replacement for DACA, while shutting down new applications and renewals, but without prematurely ending the two-year permits granted by the program.

It was unlikely that a new rescission would abruptly end benefits for current DACA recipients.

Trump has in recent weeks turned to immigration issues to appeal to his core supporters as he scuffles in polls, analysts observed.

If the Trump administration refiles this week, the new DACA policy will coincide with the official visit of Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

Mexico is the country of origin for a majority of DACA recipients.

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Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi tests COVID-19 positive

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Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi confirmed that he has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, but was feeling “strong and energetic”.

In a tweet on Friday, Qureshi said that he had a slight fever earlier on Friday and had immediately quarantined himself at home, reports Dawn news.

“I have now tested positive for COVID-19… I feel strong and energetic. I will continue to carry on my duties from home…”

Several politicians, including members of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), have been diagnosed with the virus over the past few months as it continues to spread in Pakistan.

Prominent political leaders who have contracted the virus so far include National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser, Sindh Governor Imran Ismail, PPP leader Saeed Ghani and Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid, all of whom have recovered.

In June, PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif had also tested positive for the virus.

Former Balochistan governor Syed Fazal Agha, PTI Punjab MPA Shaheen Raza, Sindh Minister for Human Settlements Ghulam Murtaza Baloch, MNA Munir Khan Orakzai and PTI’s Mian Jamshedud Din Kakakhel are among politicians who passed away after contracting the virus.

Pakistan, one of the worst hit South Asian countries, has so far reported 221,896 COVID-19 cases, with 4,551 deaths.

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