News Wrap


From Maharashtra to West Bengal, Covid-19 is resurging dreadfully. Calcutta High Court (Coram Radha Krishnan, CJ, and Arijit Banerjee) has directed West Bengal's chief electoral officer and all District Magistrates to abide by the norms relating to Covid-19, and endorsed by the Election Commission. The Court's four-point guidelines for immediate implementation are mandatory masks at all gatherings, liberal distribution of sanitisers, safe distance norms, and a direction to the administration to ensure large congregations are avoided. Daily Covid-19 cases in India have crossed the 3 lac mark. Eight states, namely Maharashtra, Chattisgarh, Karna-taka, Kerala, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, account for 84% of the cases. Big rallies in the Assembly polls of March and April 2021, added to the spread of the pandemic. Various religious gatherings along the Ganges in Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh, have contributed to the second wave of Covid-19. The Kolkata International Film Festival of Jan 2021, without any Covid-19 preventive seating arrangement has been a super spreader.

Coronavirus And Vaccines
India's prime minister, Narendra Modi convened a virtual SAARC leaders meeting in 2020, and followed it up by sending vaccines to neighbouring countries under a "Maitree" programme. As of April 2021, India has supplied 60 million doses to the world -wide community. Of these, 10.4 million were grants, 35.7 million on a commercial basis, and 18.2 million under the Covax initiative. When India faces a vaccine shortage now, India is exporting to other countries without prioritising the Indian population first. Also, private sector participation is only partial.

Vccine Materials
United States had committed at the Quad Summit of March 2021 of "joining forces" in the production of the raw material for Covid-19 Vaccine. The sealing up of the vaccine production in India is hampered by the shortage of the intermediate material such as filters, solutions and plastic bags which come from United States. The US Administration has banned the export of vaccine material under its Defence Production Act. India's biggest vaccine manufacturer, the Serum Institute of India is seriously affected.

Kobani Trial
On April 19, 2021, 108 citizens, members, deputies, and co-chairs of the People's Democratic Party (HDP) will stand trial in Ankara in a case that will determine fate of the democratic struggle in Turkey.

The trial known as the 'Kobani Case' accuses the defendants for a Twitter post from October 2014 that called for solidarity with the people of Kobani against lethal attacks by the Islamic State (ISIS) and local Turkish police.

The London-based progressive International is said to have sent a delegation to Ankara to witness the historic trial of Kobani case while seeking solidarity from liberals and democrats across the world. Lasting 45 days, the Kobani trial will call on all progressive forces everywhere to stand up for the values of democracy, peace and pluralism.

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Vol. 53, No. 46, May 16 - 22, 2021