China on Friday ordered the closure of the US consulate in Chengdu, days after United States ordered China to shut its Houston, Texas consulate.
On Thursday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday called on “free nations” to triumph over the threat of what he said was a “new tyranny” from China.
“Today, China is increasingly authoritarian at home, and more aggressive in its hostility to freedom everywhere else,” Pompeo said. “If the free world doesn’t change Communist China, Communist China will change us,” he said at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library in Yorba Linda, California.
The speech marked a new level in the hard-line approach toward China by President Donald Trump’s administration.
On Wednesday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin called the consulate action an “outrageous and unjustified move which will sabotage China-US relations.” And on Thursday, he said the charges against the four researchers amounted to “naked political persecution.”
“China will take necessary measures to safeguard Chinese citizens’ safety and legitimate rights,” Wang said.
The UK government on Tuesday announced that the human trial of a potential COVID-19 candidate vaccine being developed by researchers at University of Oxford will begin from Thursday.
Scientists at the University of Oxford last week promised a super-fast vaccine during a virtual press conference, saying the vaccine will be available by September. According to lead researcher Professor Sarah Gilbert, their ”ChAdOx1” vaccine can work against the coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2.
UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock, during the daily press conference at 10 Downing Street, said the government will provide 20 million pounds to the Oxford research team to help fund their clinical trials, with a further 22.5 million pounds for researchers at Imperial College London, reports The Independent.
“The team have accelerated that trials process, working with the regulator the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency), who have been brilliant. As a result, I can announce that the vaccine from the Oxford project will be trialled in people from this Thursday,” said Hancock.
In normal course of time, a vaccine takes anytime between 12-18 months.
What probably separates ChAdOx1 – known as recombinant viral vector vaccine – from the rest is the time it promises to take in order to deliver mass quantities.
Professor Andrew Pollard, a member of the Oxford team, told Sky News: “If you had a sailing wind and absolutely nothing goes wrong in all of that complex technical process and you have all the facilities available, you could have millions of doses by the autumn of this year”.
In late March, Professor Gilbert received 2.2 million pounds as funding from the UK government for vaccine development and trials.
Researchers enrolled over 500 healthy volunteers to test if their vaccine can prevent the novel coronavirus.
The vaccine is an adenovirus vaccine vector and was developed at Oxford”s Jenner Institute. Adenoviral vectors are a very well-studied vaccine type, having been used safely in thousands of participants, from 1 week to 90 years of age, in vaccines targeting over 10 different diseases.
According to Hancock, in the long run “the best way to defeat coronavirus is through a vaccine”.
“This is a new disease, this is uncertain science, but I”m certain that we will throw everything we”ve got at developing a vaccine,” he added.
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) also pitched for the Oxford vaccine on Sunday, saying ”ChAdOX1” is the frontrunner in the race to take on the deadly COVID-19 virus.
- If they were knowingly responsible then there should be consequences: Trump
- If sleepy Joe Biden wins, China will own the United States: Trump
US President Donald Trump has warned China of consequences if it was “knowingly responsible” for the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Trump, who has expressed his disappointment over the handling of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) by China, alleged non-transparency and initial non-cooperation with the US on this issue.
“If they were knowingly responsible, yeah, then there should be consequences,” he told reporters at a White House news conference on Saturday. “You’re talking about, you know, potentially lives like nobody’s seen since 1917.”
Trump said his relationship with China was very good till the time the deadly COVID-19 swept the world.
“The relationship was good when we were signing that, but then, all of a sudden, you hear about this. So, it’s a big difference.
“You know, the question was asked would you be angry at China. Well, the answer very well might be a very resounding, yes, but it depends,” Trump said.
The president underlined that there was a big difference between a mistake that got out of control or something is done deliberately.
“In either event, they should have let us go in. You know, we asked to go in very early and they didn’t want us in. I think they knew it was something bad and I think they were embarrassed,” Trump said.
He claimed that China was pitching for former vice president Joe Biden, who is the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party for the presidential election.
“If sleepy Joe Biden wins, China will own the United States,” Trump said, adding that his administration had gained billions of dollars from China due to his assertive trade policies.
“We had the greatest economy in the world by far. China isn’t even close. Go back two months. And we’re going to keep it that way,” he said.
Trump asserted that Iran was now a much different country than it was before.
“When I first came in, Iran was going to take over the entire Middle East,” he said. “Right now, they just want to survive.”
In Sri Lanka, curfew in 19 out of 25 districts has been relaxed since this morning as part of the exit strategy out of the COVID crisis even as 17 people were tested positive on Sunday.
Curfew in these low-risk districts except few police areas will be relaxed from 5 AM to 8 PM daily. Curfew in high-risk districts including Colombo and Jaffna will be relaxed from Wednesday except for affected police areas.
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has stressed that the measures to contain the COVID-19 will follow despite the curfew being relaxed. He noted that the objective of relaxing the curfew is to reactivate the economy and urged the public to adhere to the health guidelines and act responsibly for the safety of society at large.
The curfew was imposed a month ago throughout the country which has seen 271 infections so far. Seven persons have died and 96 recovered while 168 are under active treatment.
Government has said it will run 5700 buses and 400 trains but only employees of institutions declared as essential services will be allowed to travel via public transportation.
The general public has been advised not to come out unless essential. Meanwhile, a meeting of election commission is scheduled today to discuss the prevailing issues and a possible date for holding the General election.
The Election date scheduled for April 25 was postponed in the wake of the COVID crisis.
The government has favored holding elections before the stipulated time of May end while some opposition parties have termed it dangerous to hold elections under the current circumstances.
The Ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) has won 16 seats out of 18 in National Assembly, the upper house of parliament. Its alliance partner Rashtriya Janata Party Nepal has bagged the remaining two seats.
The election for 18 vacant seats of the National Assembly was held in all seven provinces of Nepal on Thursday. A total 45 candidates from six political parties were in the fray.
The main opposition Nepali Congress could not win a single seat. This is perhaps the first time in the political history of the Himalayan nation that the Nepali Congress could not get a single seat in the election. The two-year tenure of 19 lawmakers of the National Assembly is expiring on March 3.
One seat will be filled by the presidential appointment on the recommendation of the government. The National Assembly has in total 59 seats and one-third of the seats remain vacant every two years. The members are elected by an electoral college comprising lawmakers from all seven provincial assemblies and representatives from local bodies.
US President Trump says Iran shut down internet trying to hide ‘Death and Tragedy’ amid protests
US President Donald Trump today accused Iran’s government of shutting down internet access to cover up death amid a wave of street protests.
Trump tweeted that Iran has become so unstable that the regime has shut down their entire Internet System so that the Iranian people cannot talk about the tremendous violence taking place within the country.
He said, the Iranian government want no transparency and thinking that the world will not find out the death and tragedy that the Regime is causing. Over 106 people reported to be killed in ongoing protests.
Demonstrations erupted in Iran on Friday last week, hours after the price of petrol was raised by as much as 200 percent and including the Capital Tehran, it spread to across the country.