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Russia withdraws from “Treaty on Open Skies” after the US.

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The Russian Federation Council has voted on a bill to withdraw from the International arms-control treaty, the “Treaty on Open Skies”. Head of the International Affairs Committee Grigory Karasin stated that the decision was made in response to the US’ pullout from the treaty in November 2020.

Grigory Karasin criticized the US for undermining the balance of interests and for damaging the purpose of the treaty. According to Grigory Karasin, Russia made considerable and concrete proposals for the treaty for which the US did not respond.

He further said that “Considering that our partners were not ready for reciprocal steps, and proceeding form the need to ensure national security interests, Russia has decided to withdraw from the treaty”. Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to sign the bill and officially withdraw from the treaty.

The Treaty of Open Skies signed in 2002, allows its state members to conduct short-notice unarmed aerial reconnaissance over the territories of each other. Following the decision by the US to withdraw from the treaty, Russia announced in January 2021 that they would initiate legal procedures to withdraw from the treaty.

Source: Xinhua News Agency.

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Microsoft’s Windows 11 is officially on the way.

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Microsoft has officially announced the next version of Window today, which will be Windows 11. After months of teases and leak, Windows 11 is expected to arrive in the last quarter of this year. Microsoft has promised to make it available as a free upgrade to eligible Windows 10 users and to new PC’s from this year’s holiday.

Microsoft redesigns the user interface for Windows 11, with a centred Start menu and Taskbar. Live tiles are replaced with a grid of icon that can be rearranged and pinned to Start. There are also new Widgets feature that houses things like your calendar, weather, sports leaderboard, and latest news. System Tray also was improved with a new split Notification and Quick Action user interface.

Microsoft’s Panos Panay, Chief Product Officer, Windows + Devices wrote on Microsoft blog “We’ve simplified the design and user experience to empower your productivity and inspire your creativity. It’s modern, fresh, clean and beautiful. From the new Start button and taskbar to each sound, font and icon, everything was done intentionally to put you in control and bring a sense of calm and ease. We put Start at the center and made it easier to quickly find what you need.”

One of the surprises of the event was Microsoft’s announcement that it will be using Amazon’s Appstore to bring Android apps to Windows 11. Microsoft will be utilizing Intel’s Bridge technology to make Android apps work on Windows 11.

During the closing remarks, Microsoft Chairman and CEO Satya Nadella said “Windows recognizes that there is no personal computing without personal agency. Personal computing requires choice, and we need to nurture and grow our own agency over computing itself. We want to remove the barriers that too often exist today and provide real choice and connection.”

He laid out his vision for Windows 11 as a “platform for platform creators,” and in doing so, he issued a subtle but nonetheless stinging critique of Apple.

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COVID 19

Experts warn of third wave of pandemic in India if health protocols ignored.

Adam Layaan Kurik Riza

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As the ongoing second wave of COVID-19 started a health decline in India, health experts have been giving out numerous warnings on how likely it is for there to be another wave of the outbreak, quoting the disregard for health protocol in the midst of eased restrictions and a lethargic vaccine rollout.

On Wednesday morning India reported 50,848 new cases in the last 24 hours, bringing the case tally to cross the 30 million mark and reach 30,028,709 while the death toll reached 390,660.

The recovery rate in the country has increased to 96.5 percent

Local governments across India ordered relaxations because of the declining number of daily cases but multiple amounts of experts and watch dogs have been giving warnings which have been pointing towards the possibility of a third outbreak.

The catastrophic second wave of the pandemic caught India unexpectedly and it saw the country’s hospitals overwhelmed especially in major cities and towns. The rush of patients coming in caused doctors to struggle due to the shortage of oxygen supplies and essential medicines.

The Indian authorities are the ones responsible for this according to experts for ignoring warnings and going ahead with conducting elections in several states, besides allowing a mega Hindu religious congregation called Kumbh Mela.

 

The eased restrictions in the capital Delhi caused thousands to crowd metro stations and shopping centers, prompting health experts to warn of the possible comeback of COVID-19 infections.

Last week, the Delhi high court informed that the violation of COVID-19 protocols will only hasten the third wave of the pandemic. The authorities were asked to take strict measures against violators and sensitize shopkeepers about the COVID-19 protocol.

The high court said if flouting of COVID19 continues “we will be in great trouble”.

With businesses resuming their activities in the capital, doctors have also given advice by saying that Delhi could face a “worse than second wave situation” if people are careless with a low guard and do not obey the safety norms.

Director of India’s premier health institute – All India institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Randeep Guleria said last week that the third wave of COVID-19 could hit the country in the next six to eight weeks.

V K Paul, member (health) of the Indian government’s top policy think tank, National institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog (commission), said vaccination against the COVID-19 gives at least 94 percent protection from infection and reduce the chances of hospitalization by 75-80 percent.

The nationwide vaccination against COVID-19 started in India on January 16th and so far, only about 5 million people or some 5 percent out of the country’s total adult population of 940 million, have received the two doses of the vaccine, according to the health ministry

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COVID 19

153 hospital employees in U.S. Houston resign or fired after refusing vaccination.

Adam Layaan Kurik Riza

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More than 150 healthcare workers who disobeyed the hospital system’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate have been terminated or their resignations accepted in U.S. Houston, media reported Wednesday.

According to The Texas Tribune, Houston Methodist – One of the first health systems to require the vaccine – has terminated or accepted the resignations of 153 workers, it’s spokeswoman Gale Smith said.

In April, Houston Methodist announced the requirement of its staff to get the vaccine by June 7 in order to keep their jobs, reports said. While 24,947 workers did get vaccinated, the hospital suspended 178 workers who failed to do so by the deadline, they were given two more months to prove they have been immunized. Twenty-Five of those employees did get vaccinated, Smith said.

A lawsuit brought by one of the employees stating that the policy was unlawful was dismissed by a federal district court judge at an earlier time in this month.

The CEO of Houston Methodist Marc Boom encouraged the ruling, stating that “employees and physicians made their decisions for our patients, who are always at the center of what we do.”

Following Houston Methodist’s action, a rising number of healthcare organizations based in the United States have opted to impose vaccine mandates.

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