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India Class 12 results by July 31: SC

New Delhi: The Supreme Court gave prima facie approval of the objective scheme submitted by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and Council for Indian School Certificate Examination (CISCE) for awarding marks to Class 12 exams, after the same stood canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The scheme was found lacking of dispute resolution mechanism for students aggrieved by the assessment under the scheme and timeline for result announcement and holding of the optional exam. The two Boards agreed to incorporate it into the scheme.

The bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari said, “After perusing the scheme we have no reservation to accept the same and permit the Boards to proceed on that basis.”

The scheme submitted by CBSE will assess students based on their performance not just in Class 12 but also in Class 10 and Class 11.

Appearing for Centre, Attorney General KK Venugopal said that 30 percent weightage will be given to the best three subjects in Class 10, 30 percent weightage to Class 11 performance and 40 percent to Class 12 performance. The assessment for Class 12 will be based on unit tests, midterm exams, and Pre Boards results.

Based on the assessment scheme a Results Committee will be formed headed by Principal of that school and two senior PGT teachers of that school along with two PGT teachers of neighboring school.

The CISCE also submitted its assessment scheme for Class 12 to the Court. Senior advocate JK Das appearing for CISCE said they would also assess students based on performance in Class 10, 11 and 12 by taking the best marks awarded in these years.

While the CISCE scheme specified announcing results by July 31, AG Venugopal said that CBSE will also announce by that date.

The Centre took the decision of canceling the Class 12 CBSE Board exams in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Even CISCE followed suit by canceling the Class 12 exams.

Nearly 14.5 lakh students of Class 12 registered with CBSE keenly awaited the scheme based on which they would be awarded marks.

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International Latest News

Travel restrictions to Canada extended to June 21

Toronto: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced that the border closure between Canada and the United States will remain in place until at least until June 21, 2021.

The Canadian border closed for non-essential travel more than one year ago.

However, essential travel, which includes trade shipments, essential workers and approved temporary foreign workers, will be allowed.

“To protect your health and limit the spread of COVID-19, we’re extending the measures currently in place by another 30 days. Non-essential travel between our two countries remains restricted until June 21st,” Trudeau tweeted.

“To fight #COVID19 spread and protect our citizens, the US is continuing restrictions on non-essential travel at land borders through June 21, while allowing essential trade & travel. We’re working closely with Canada & Mexico to safely ease restrictions as conditions improve,” the US State Department tweeted to announce the extension.

According to the COVID-19 tracker website, developed by a University of Saskatchewan student, more than 46 per cent of Canadians have received their first dose of the vaccine.

Travelers coming to Canada are required to show a negative COVID-19 test taken up to 72 hours before arriving in Canada.

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India Latest News

Second Made-in-India vax coming; deal signed for 30 crore doses

New Delhi: In another landmark move in the fight against Covid-19 pandemic, the Central government has booked 30 crore doses of another Made-in-India vaccine to be manufactured by Hyderabad-based Biological-E’s Covid vaccine, which is still in the final phase of clinical trials.

Biological-E’s vaccine is currently in Phase-3 clinical trials after showing promising results in Phase 1 and 2, and it is likely to be available in the market in the next few months, said a Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) statement.

The Ministry is learnt to have made an advance payment of Rs 1,500 crore to the firm — the second made-in-India vaccine manufacturer after Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin.

“The doses will be manufactured and stockpiled by Biological-E from August to December and are likely to be available “in the next few months,” the Ministry said.

The move is expected to be a sigh of relief for the Centre facing wide criticism amid shortage of Covid vaccine during the second wave of the pandemic.

Biological-E’s shot, the Ministry said, was given Rs 100 crore in financial assistance by the Department of Biotechnology, which also partnered with the company to conduct various studies.

This is part of the government’s mission to support five or six new COVID-19 vaccine candidates, said the statement.

Biological-E’s indigenous vaccine was recommended for approval by the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for Covid-19 or National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for Covid-19.

Biological-E also has a separate deal to produce about 600 million doses of Johnson and Johnson’s Covid-19 shot annually. The company said on Tuesday it entered into a licensing agreement with Providence Therapeutics Holdings to manufacture mRNA Covid-19 vaccines in India.

Besides Covaxin and Serum Institute of India’s Covishield, Russia’s Sputnik V will soon be used to vaccinate people as the government races towards a target of one crore vaccinations a day by August. It is also in talks with foreign makers like Pfizer and Moderna, who have insisted on an indemnity clause.

The new vaccine arrangement is “part of the wider endeavor of the government to encourage indigenous vaccine manufacturers” by providing them support in research and development and costs, the Centre said.

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International Latest News

WHO approves Sinovac for emergency use

Geneva: The World Health Organization approved the Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use — the second Chinese jab to receive the WHO’s green light.

The WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization reviewed the jab and published their advice on its usage.

“WHO recommends the vaccine for use in adults 18 years and older, in a two-dose schedule with a spacing of two to four weeks,” the agency said.

The move gives countries, funders, procuring agencies and communities “assurance that it meets international standards for safety, efficacy, and manufacturing”.

Last month Sinopharm became the first Chinese vaccine to be approved by the WHO.

WHO’s listing paves the way for countries worldwide to quickly approve and import a vaccine for distribution, especially those states without an international-standard regulator of their own.

The Sinovac jab is already in use in 22 territories around the world, according to an AFP count.

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International Latest News

UK reports zero daily coronavirus deaths since last March

London: Britain reported zero daily coronavirus-related deaths for the first time since March last year, according to official figures released on June 1.

The total number of coronavirus-related deaths in Britain remain at 127,782. These figures only include the deaths of people who died within 28 days of their first positive test.

Another 3,165 people in Britain have tested positive for Covid-19, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases in the country to 4,490,438, according to the official figures, Xinhua news agency reported.

Professor Adam Finn from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization, which advises the government on vaccine priority, said the country remains vulnerable as large numbers of people remain unvaccinated.

More than 39.4 million people, about three-quarters of adults in Britain, have been given the first jab of the coronavirus vaccine, according to the latest official figures.

Experts have warned that coronavirus may continue to evolve for years to come, and eventually, it is likely current vaccines will fail to protect against transmission, infection, or even against diseases caused by newer variants.

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International Latest News

China, BRICS stand with India in fight against Covid: Wang Yi

All five BRICS member countries, including China, will provide support to India as it battles against the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, Chinese state councilor and foreign minister Wang Yi said.

“Let me begin by once again expressing my sympathy to India over the severe impact of the new wave of Covid-19 infections,” Wang said via video link at a BRICS foreign ministers’ summit on May 31.

Wang said, “At this trying time, China stands in solidarity with India and all BRICS countries. As long as it is needed by India, I believe all BRICS partners including China will provide further support and assistance at any time. We are fully confident that India will certainly overcome the pandemic.”

The Chinese minister lauded India for conducting its role as the BRICS chair despite the raging pandemic.

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International Latest News

BRICS backs Covid-19 vaccine patent waivers

New Delhi: The BRICS grouping endorsed an India-South Africa proposal for patent waivers for Covid-19 vaccines and called for sharing of doses, transfer of technology, and development of vaccine production capacities in order to turn the tide in the fight against the coronavirus disease.

Against the backdrop of the India-China border standoff, members of the Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS) grouping reaffirmed the importance of territorial integrity and sovereignty of states and the need to resolve problems through peaceful means.

A virtual meeting of foreign ministers of BRICS states, which was chaired by external affairs minister S Jaishankar, also resolved to combat all forms of terrorism, including cross-border movement of terrorists, terror financing networks, and safe havens.

Jaishankar and his counterparts from the four other countries – China’s Wang Yi, Brazil’s Carlos Alberto Franco França, Russia’s Sergey Lavrov, and South Africa’s Grace Naledi Mandisa Pandor – focused on the response to the Covid-19 crisis and equitable access to vaccines during their deliberations.

India and South Africa have been pushing for a waiver of patent protections for Covid-19 vaccines at the World Trade Organization (WTO) since last year, and all the BRICS members agreed to support this measure as part of efforts to ensure timely, affordable and equitable access to diagnostics, vaccines, and essential health products and technologies and their components to combat the pandemic.

“The ministers reaffirmed the need to use all relevant measures…including supporting ongoing consideration in WTO on a Covid-19 vaccine intellectual property rights waiver and the use of flexibilities of the TRIPS agreement and the Doha Declaration on TRIPS Agreement and Public Health,” said a joint statement on reforming the multilateral system that was adopted at the meeting.

The ministers reiterated the need for sharing vaccine doses, transfer of technology, development of local production capacities and supply chains for medical products, and promotion of price transparency, and sought “due restraint in the implementation of measures that could hinder the flow of vaccines, health products, and essential inputs”. They also called for timely operationalization of the BRICS vaccine research and development center.

Though there was no official word on whether the India-China standoff figured in the discussions, Jaishankar said in his opening remarks that Brics strives for an inclusive and equitable multipolar international system that respects the territorial integrity of all states. (Hindustan Times)

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International Latest News

India-dominant variant found in at least 53 territories: WHO

Geneva: The India-dominant coronavirus variant has now been officially recorded in 53 territories, a World Health Organization report showed on May 26.

Additionally, the WHO has received information from unofficial sources that the B.1.617 variant has been found in seven other territories, figures in the UN health agency’s weekly epidemiological update showed, taking the total to 60.

The report said B.1.617 had shown increased transmissibility, while disease severity and risk of infection were under investigation.

Globally over the past week, the number of new cases and deaths continued to decrease, with around 4.1 million new cases and 84,000 new deaths reported — a 14 percent and two percent decrease respectively compared to the previous week.

The highest numbers of new cases in the past seven days were reported from India (1,846,055 — down 23 percent); Brazil (451,424 — up three percent); Argentina (213,046 — up 41 percent), the United States (188,410 — down 20 percent), and Colombia (107,590 — down seven percent).

The update gave information on the four mutations classed as variants of concern: those first reported in Britain (B.1.1.7), South Africa (B.1.351), Brazil (P.1) and India (B.1.617).

The WHO split up figures for the B.1.617 variant into three lineages (B.1.617.1, B.1.617.2, and B.1.617.3).

The first has been reported in a total of 41 territories, the second in 54 and the third in six: Britain, Canada, Germany, India, Russia and the United States.

Together, lineages of the B.1.617 variant were officially recorded in 53 territories and unofficially in another seven.

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International Latest News

Pakistan asks 12 Indian High Commission officials to quarantine

Islamabad: Pakistan has asked 12 officials of the Indian High Commission (IHC) here to quarantine, along with their family members and drivers, after one of them tested positive for the coronavirus since their arrival from India last week, the Foreign Office said.

A group of 12 officials and their family members crossed over to Pakistan through the Wagah Border on May 22, Foreign Office Spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said.

All 12 passengers carried negative Polymerase Chain Reaction COVID-19 reports but they were re-tested in line with the laid down COVID-19 safety protocols in Pakistan.

“The wife of an official tested positive on a rapid antigen test conducted by Pakistani health officials,” the spokesperson said.

Pakistan’s top body on the pandemic, National Command and Control Centre (NCOC) reviewed the case and advised all 12 officials, their family members, and drivers to undergo the mandatory quarantine.

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