News Wrap


Shaheed Jameel, an eminent virologist who had said complacency had contri-buted to the ferocity of India’s second Covid-19 wave, resigned on 16 May 2021, as chair of the scientific advisory group to a 10-lab government consortium, tracking Corona virus variants in India. The resignation comes after Jameel published a guest article in ‘The New York Times’ Covid-19 epidemic, where he wrote that his fellow scientists “are facing stubborn resistance to evidence based policy making”. The consortium’s efforts have suggested that a variant Named B1.607 observed to be more infectious than earlier variants, has contributed to the sharp surge of infections across India, since February 2021. The World Health Organi-sation designated B.1.607, as a “variant of concern” in the second week of May 2021.

Covishield And Tiny Clot
An expert panel on 17 May 2021, asserted that about six people in ten million who receive Covishield in India, risk developing bleeding or clotting. The vaccine’s benefits far outweigh this “minuscule risk”. The union health ministry has stated that the National AKM (adverse events following immunisation) committee had observed rate of 0.61 cases of thrombolic events per million doses.

Rozina Islam
Rozina Islam, a senior reporter of Bangla daily “Protham Alo”, the largest daily newspaper based on circulation, in Bangladesh, was on 17 May 2021, detained for over five hours by the Dhaka Health Ministry officials, for allegedly clicking a picture of a document with her cell phone, without permission. She was later arrested by Dhaka police. The arrest triggered protests by the human rights group and her colleagues. She was released from the Kashimpur Women’s Central Jail on 23 May 2021 evening.

Israeli Air Strikes
Since the second week of May 2021, Israel launched an intense air and ground assault on the Gaza strip, pounding targets with war planes, artillery and tank fire in a large single operation on Palestinian militants, that had been waged by airstrikes from Israel and rockets from Gaza. The violence follows a month of building tensions in Jerusalem, where the threatened eviction of Palestinian families from their homes coincided with a spate of Arab attacks against Israeli Jews, and a march through the city by right-wing extremists chanting “Death to Arabs”. The Israeli assault on 14 May 2021, targeted an under- ground Network of Tunnels used by Hamas militants to evade air strikes and surveillance. A terrifying barrage of explosions that shook buildings across the densely populated territory of Gaza, led to many fleeing their homes, for UN run schools on 14 May 2021. In Lod, a working-class city, with a mixed-Arab-Israeli population, Arab youths burned synagogues and cars, threw stones and let-off sporadic rounds of gunfire, before gangs of Jewish vigilantes counter-attacked.

An Israeli air strike destroyed a high-rise building in Gaza City that housed offices of the Associated Press and other media out lets on 15 May 2021. Israel faces furious demonstrations in at least sixty places across the West Bank, and new protests just across the borders with Jordan and Lebanon, all atop the vigilante violence between Arabs and Jews within Israel, and the continuing battle with Gaza militants. As on 14 May 2021, Israeli military has launched more than 1000 air strikes, toppling at least three high-rise apartment buildings, and has shelled some areas with tanks stationed near the frontier. Palestinian militants have fired over 3000 rockets. The death toll in Gaza has risen to over 300, over seven days of the conflict, as on 18 May 2021. After 11–day war, Israel and Hamas called for truce on 20 May 2021.

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Vol. 54, No. 9, Aug 29 - Sep 4, 2021