Weekly Newsletter

European Union: Coronavirus Vaccines Supply Issues

The EU has been receiving denigration from member States for the slothful pace of COVID vaccinations. It has been reported that U.S. and UK are far ahead from EU in terms of ratio of population that is being vaccinated.

The EU’s vaccination scheme includes co-ordination purchase of COVID vaccines for all 27 member States.  As per European Commission, buying vaccines for all member States kills the urge of competition between Sates and they all receive the vaccines irrespective of their power of buying. EC further explains that buying vaccines in large bulks is also cost effective because then one has the power and space to negotiate. After receiving the multiple batches of vaccines, EU distributes them among the member State as per their population. EU approved the purchase of about 300 million doses of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in December but the company could not deliver 12.5 million doses by the end of December 2020 due to supply chain issues. The head of BioNTech, Uğur Şahin, explained that the cause of delay, despite company’s fast manufacturing capacity, in delivering the vaccine is because EU erroneously presumed that many vaccines will be ready at once. This has caused many States to approve Moderna or Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for their population. EU has also ordered 400 million doses from Moderna or Oxford-AstraZeneca, 300 million doses from Sanofi-GSK, 400 million doses from Johnson & Johnson, 405 million doses from CureVac along with doubling the doses of vaccine from Pfizer/BioNTech to 600 million.

Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides said that Moderna or Oxford-AstraZeneca is also falling behind is producing and delivering the vaccine on time. It is also noteworthy that The AstraZeneca vaccine is not approved by EU’s drug regulator, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) but is expecting to get the approval by the end of January 2021. Moderna or Oxford-AstraZeneca said that due to production problem EU will be receiving initial doses of the vaccine lower than expected, about a cut of 60%. EU is receiving great criticism over the slow rollout of the vaccines because only 0.29% of population in France has received vaccine jabs, whereas, Israel has successfully vaccinated 22% of its population out of nine million. Amid this, EU has issued a warning that it will constrict the rules on exporting the COVID vaccines. The health commissioner also said that ant of the companies preparing vaccines against COVID will have to issue an early warning before exporting it to any third world countries.

Indigenous Australians Protest on the National Day

On 26th January 1788, the British First Fleet led by Captain Arthur Philip arrived in Sydney Cove, to establish the British Colony in Australia. The British government established a penal colony,

as they viewed Australia to be unoccupied despite encountering settlements. The 26th January marks a public holiday in Australia, while for the Aboriginals who can trace their 50,000 years ago lineage to the continent label it as “Invasion Day”. This day symbolizes the destruction of culture of Indigenous Australians by the European colonizers. For years, the Indigenous Australians have been lobbying to move the national day to another date and have been attempting to bring attention to the despotism that they have been facing in their own land.

In 2021, the National Day ceremony in Sydney began with traditional Aboriginal dances and acknowledgement of traditions. Due to the Covid-19 restrictions few of the events were cancelled.  Considering the public health safety, the organizers of the protests have encouraged the attendees to split into smaller groups of 100 people, maintain social distancing where possible, wear masks and use sanitizers. However, social distancing during the demonstrations seemed difficult. Many protestors were seen not wearing masks and at several places the protesting groups exceeded 500 people or more. Those who did not join the protests moved to beaches or parks to celebrate the National Day.

Impassioned protestors chanted that Australia “always was, always will be Aboriginal land”. The demonstrators were heard repeating “sovereignty was never ceded” and “no justice, no peace”. Many were holding the placards displaying the slogans of “Black Lives Matter,” and “Not a Date to Celebrate”. An organizer of the protest said, “At this moment, until this nation celebrates genocide, we will not be silent, we will not stop and we will keep coming”. Despite the protests that take place every year, the Australian government has continued to support the National Day celebrations. Few polls have been indicative of the bitter reality that many Australians also favor to keep same date for National Day celebrations.

The Prime Minister of Australia, Scott Morrison said that this day is a representation of the long journey of the country since the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788. At a ceremony in Canberra he said, “There is no escaping or cancelling this fact.” Further emphasizing his views on demands of changing the date he said, “For better and worse, it was the moment where the journey to our modern nation began.” For minor offences the police has arrested five protestors. The Aboriginal’s make 3 percent of the country’s 24.6 million population, but their social conditions such as health, education or profession are not similar to rest of the Australians. Many reports supports also indicate the Indigenous people spend most of their time in prison or likely to die in police custody. Last year February, Morrison agreed that the social gap between Aboriginals and the settlers needs to be closed as it is a cause of national shame.

The Indigenous Australians want their voices to be heard, given equal opportunities in social and political structure, their traditions and past to be respected. They call for greater awareness and understanding of Australian history.

India-China Skirmishes

There are multiple global developments in 2020 and whole the world go through ups and downs, pushing the world attention towards the biggest elections on the globe the U.S. elections.

After that everyone is looking at the inauguration of U.S. President elect Joe Biden, other than that Britain’s exit from EU, and most importantly the race to administer COVID-19 vaccine across the world. All these top news and a major 8 months old military collision between world two super powers India-China. Military standoff between both the rivalries deep in Himalayas has fallen off the radar of global concern.

The current crisis began last May when China diverted its soldiers from a training exercise into Ladakh, catching the Indian Army off guard amid the pandemic. The situation gets critical when world have seen the clash between two nuclear powers in June 2020, the reasons were unclear and what makes the soldiers to fight at LAC. According to the reports 20 Indian soldiers were killed and unknown number of Chinese soldiers were killed as well.  The incident follows rising tensions, and is the first deadly clash in the border area in at least 45 years. Both the sides are blaming for the violation of LAC, India has accused China of sending thousands of troops into Ladakh’s Galwan valley and says China occupies 38,000sq km of its territory. Several rounds of talks in the last three decades have failed to resolve the boundary disputes. India has built a new road in what experts say is the most remote and vulnerable area along the LAC in Ladakh the road will help the Indian forces to move more easily and frequently.

Now, Indian and Chinese troops were involved in another fight on their disputed Himalayan border, leaving injuries on both sides this happens on 20th January 2021. The two world most populated countries and world largest democracy failed to maintain favorable diplomatic relation due to their geographical and political differences. The Indian military played down the latest skirmish as a “minor face-off” at Naku La pass, which connects Sikkim state with Tibet on the Chinese side.

The tensions has been “resolved by local commanders as per established protocols”. Four Indian troops were injured when a Chinese patrol was forced back. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said “I would like to stress though that China’s border troops are committed to upholding peace and tranquility along the border with India. We urge the Indian side to work in the same direction as us and refrain from actions that might escalate or complicate the situation along the border”. China and India have to take proper actions to manage their differences and take concrete actions to safeguard peace and stability along the border and to maintain peace in the region.

 

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The EU has been receiving denigration from member States for the slothful pace of COVID vaccinations. It has been reported that U.S. and UK are far ahead from EU in terms of ratio of population that is being vaccinated. The EU’s vaccination scheme includes co-ordination purchase of COVID vaccines for all 27 member States.  As per European Commission, buying vaccines for all member States kills the urge of competition between Sates and they all receive the vaccines irrespective of their power of buying. EC further explains that buying vaccines in large bulks is also cost effective because then one has the power and space to negotiate. After receiving the multiple batches of vaccines, EU distributes them among the member State as per their population. EU approved the purchase of about 300 million doses of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in December but the company could not deliver 12.5 million doses by the end of December 2020 due to supply chain issues. The head of BioNTech, Uğur Şahin, explained that the cause of delay, despite company’s fast manufacturing capacity, in delivering the vaccine is because EU erroneously presumed that many vaccines will be ready at once. This has caused many States to approve Moderna or Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for their population. EU has also ordered 400 million doses from Moderna or Oxford-AstraZeneca, 300 million doses from Sanofi-GSK, 400 million doses from Johnson & Johnson, 405 million doses from CureVac along with doubling the doses of vaccine from Pfizer/BioNTech to 600 million.

Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides said that Moderna or Oxford-AstraZeneca is also falling behind is producing and delivering the vaccine on time. It is also noteworthy that The AstraZeneca vaccine is not approved by the EU’s drug regulator, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) but is expecting to get approval by the end of January 2021. Moderna or Oxford-AstraZeneca said that due to production problems EU will be receiving initial doses of the vaccine lower than expected, about a cut of 60%. EU is receiving great criticism over the slow rollout of the vaccines because only 0.29% of the population in France has received vaccine jabs, whereas, Israel has successfully vaccinated 22% of its population out of nine million. Amid this, EU has issued a warning that it will constrict the rules on exporting the COVID vaccines. The health commissioner also said that ant of the companies preparing vaccines against COVID will have to issue an early warning before exporting it to any third world countries.

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