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Sunday,19-September-2021

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We are very close to a vaccine: US President Donald Trump

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US President Donald Trump while addressing the daily White House coronavirus briefing said “we are very close to a vaccine”, after noting vaccine trials taking place in the US, Germany, the United Kingdom and China.

He was joined by Vice-President Mike Pence and Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus taskforce co-ordinator, the BBC reported.

“We have a lot of great, brilliant minds working on this,” he said.

“Unfortunately we’re not very close to testing because when testing starts it takes a period of time, but we’ll get it done.”

Dr Anthony Fauci, the US government’s top infectious diseases expert, had previously said that a vaccine will likely take 12-18 months to be approved for widespread use. Most health experts also agree that it would take at least 12-18 months before a vaccine is ready.

After Trump, Vice-President Mike Pence said the data continues to show “promising signs of progress” in the US fight against coronavirus.

Major virus hotspots including the New York Metro Area, New Jersey, Connecticut, Detroit and New Orleans “all appear to be past their peak”, Pence said.

“Our only conclusion is that we’re getting there, America,” he added.

“If we continue these mitigation efforts in the days ahead… we do believe by early summer we could be in a much better place as a nation, with much of this coronavirus epidemic behind us.”

He says 16 states have released formal reopening plans so far.

Vice-President said that 4.93 million coronavirus tests have been completed across the US, adding that commercial labs surpassed 100,000 tests yesterday.

Pence says that he is “encouraged” by states’ “phased approach” to reopening their economies.

“We’re slowing the spread, we’re protecting the most vulnerable, we’re saving lives and every single day we are one day closer to opening up America again,” Pence said.

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3 terror groups still operating in Afghanistan against Pak

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Three terrorist organisations are still operating in Afghanistan against Pakistan, Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Friday, after the Taliban had assured the Afghan soil would not be used against any state, Geo TV reported.

Addressing a joint press conference along with Tajikistan’s President Emomali Rehman in Dushanbe on Friday, Khan said he will try to convince the Afghan Taliban as there were concerns about the situation in Panjshir.

He added that Pakistan and Tajikistan wanted the issue in the valley to be resolved through talks.

On the other hand, President Rehman said that he will use his influence in bringing the Tajik leadership of Afghanistan to the negotiating table to resolve their differences peacefully.

Stressing the need for an inclusive government in Afghanistan, Khan warned that instability in the war-torn country could affect all the neighbouring countries, Geo TV reported.

In an interview to Russia Today (RT) television, the Prime Minister said that inclusive government is the only way to peace and stability in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan was going through a crucial period, the prime minister said, adding that either it would move towards stability after wars for four decades or it would go in a wrong direction and resultantly chaos and huge humanitarian and refugee crises would affect all the neighbours of the country, the report added.

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Acting Afghan PM Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund calls on former officials to return home

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Afghanistan’s new Acting Prime Minister Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund has called on former officials who fled when the Taliban seized power last month to return to the country, saying the group “will guarantee their security and safety”, Al Jazeera reported.

In an interview with Al Jazeera on Wednesday, Akhund also said that the caretaker government would guarantee the security of diplomats, embassies and humanitarian relief institutions, stressing that the group wanted to establish positive and strong relations with countries in the region and beyond.

Akhund, a close associate and political adviser to the late Mullah Omar, the founder of the Taliban and its first supreme leader, said the movement’s leaders faced “a great responsibility and test” towards the Afghan people.

“We have suffered huge losses in money and lives for this historical moment in the history of Afghanistan,” Akhund added.

“The stage of bloodshed, killing and contempt for people in Afghanistan has ended, and we have paid dearly for this.”

Akhund also reiterated the Taliban’s promise of amnesty for anyone who has worked alongside the US and the administration it backed following its 2001 invasion, the report said.

“No one will be able to prove that he was subjected to revenge. And in such tense circumstances, it is easy to do what you want. But the movement is disciplined and controls its gunmen. And, we have not harmed anyone because of his previous actions,” he said.

On Tuesday night, the Taliban announced the formation of Afghanistan’s caretaker government, with Akhund appointed as Acting Prime Minister.

In a statement following the announcement, the Taliban’s supreme leader, Haibatullah Akhundzada, said the urgent task would be to carry out reconstruction and rehabilitation, and the country would seek “strong and healthy relations” with its neighbours and all other countries.

Besides the appointment of Akhund, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and Abdul Salam Hanafi were named acting Deputy Prime Ministers, while Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob, son of Mullah Omar, was appointed as Acting Defense Minister.

Amir Khan Muttaqi was appointed as Acting Foreign Minister, and Sarajuddin Haqqani, son of the founder of the Haqqani Network terror group, was named Acting Interior Minister.

According to the Taliban, the appointments were not final as these were acting positions, and the remaining posts would be announced later.

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Beware of anti-liberation forces’ conspiracy against nation: Sheikh Hasina

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Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday urged the people to remain alert as “anti-liberation forces”, along with their associates, are still conspiring against the country, “taking assistance from abroad”.

“War criminals, defeated forces, August 15 killers, and their children are still conspiring against Bangladesh. They’re plotting against the country,” she said in her address at a programme of Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL), the student wing of her Awami League, at Krishibid Institution, Bangladesh (KIB) to mark the National Mourning Day.

“Evil forces are pampered by some international forces which had acted against Bangladesh’s Liberation War. The nation must remain alert about it,” she said, joining the programme virtually from her official residence Ganobhaban.

At the beginning of the programme, a one-minute silence was observed to show respect to the martyrs of the August 15, 1975 massacre, where her father, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and most of the family were killed.

Hasina, the chief patron of BCL, asked its members and ruling party activists and leaders to work for the country being imbued with patriotism and follow the ideals of Bangabandhu, the Father of the Nation.

Referring to his hectic nation-building hectic effort, she said the defeated forces staged the August 15 massacre when they saw Bangladesh cannot be stopped from its economic march forward. “We’ve to move forward keeping that in our mind.”

She said the defeated forces of 1971 took their revenge with the August 15 carnage and distorted the history of Bangladesh after that, including its liberation struggle.

About Ziaur Rahman, who seized power after Sheikh Mujib’s assassination, and his engagement in the Liberation War in 1971, Hasina said there is no instance that he fired a single shot at the Pakistani forces. “No one can prove that.”

She mentioned that Mustaq, Rashid and Farooq, proclaimed killers of Sheikh Mujib, in their interviews with the BBC, admitted that Ziaur Rahman was always with them. “Zia was the source of all power (for them), he betrayed Sheikh Mujib,” she stressed.

The PM said she is surprised that these people, who had always visited Bangabandhu’s house for various purposes, including personal matters, killed him. “How could they do that!”

She also highlighted the sacrifice of her mother Bangamata Fazilatunnesa Mujib.

“My father could fully engage in the service of the country as he got such a companion beside him… this is a rare instance,” she said.

The Prime Minister stressed all that Bangladesh has many enemies and massive hurdles in every step of its development journey

“Our path of progress is not smooth. It is rather full of hurdles, but we’ve to move forward overcoming all the odds and obstacles, and we’re doing that,” she said, adding Bangladesh has stood out on the world stage in the last 12 years.

The Prime Minister earlier unveiled a book titled “Matribhumi” and the “Joy Bangla Magazine”.

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