29 MAY 2021 – Starvision News 3D PRO

EU approves Pfizer jab for 12-15 year olds

The EU’s medicines agency (EMA) has approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for 12-15 year olds – the first jab allowed for this age group in the bloc. Individual member states must now decide if they will offer the jab to children. German leaders gave the green light on Thursday.

The US and Canada approved the Pfizer jab for adolescents earlier this month.

Friday’s announcement came as the World Health Organization (WHO) said Europe needed to speed up its vaccine rollout.

WHO Europe director Hans Kluge warned that the pandemic would not be over until at least 70% of the population had been vaccinated. Earlier on Friday, he warned that the vaccine rollout across Europe was still “too slow”. Mr Kluge said he remained concerned about the increased contagiousness of new variants, adding that speed was of the essence.

What is EMA’s evidence on vaccinating children?

Marco Cavaleri, the EMA’s head of vaccine strategy, said the 12-15 age group would require two doses with an interval of at least three weeks. He said trials showed that the Pfizer vaccine was “highly preventative” for Covid-19 in children.

“From a safety perspective, the vaccine was well tolerated and the side effects in this age group were very much similar to what we have seen in young adults and not raising major concerns at this point in time,” he added.

The EU has already approved the Pfizer vaccine for those aged 16 and older. German federal and state leaders agreed on Thursday that children over 12 could start receiving Covid jabs from 7 June.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said the vaccine would not be compulsory for teenagers and one survey suggested that only 51% of parents wanted their children to have the jab.

Florian Hoffmann, the head of Germany’s Association for Intensive and Emergency Medicine, has said that adults should be prioritised “because they have a much higher risk of getting a serious course of the virus which could see them end up in intensive care”.

French oil giant gets green rebrand

Oil and gas group Total won more than 90% backing for its climate plan to gradually reduce its emissions on Friday, when shareholders also voted overwhelmingly in favour of its rebrand as TotalEnergies to mark its shift to renewable energy. Some shareholders had campaigned to reject Total’s green goals as not ambitious enough, echoing growing investor rebellions in the sector.

Demands for oil companies to speed up the shift from fossil fuel reached a crescendo this week as a Dutch court ordered Royal Dutch Shell to greatly increase greenhouse emission cuts and Exxon Mobil battled with an activist investor over its record on climate change. Total’s climate strategy, which lays out its aim to reach carbon neutrality by 2050, was backed by 91.88% of shareholders voting at its annual meeting.

The rebranding, which takes effect immediately, was backed by 99.88% of votes. Total is investing in a pivot towards renewable energy with solar or wind power projects. It is seeking to derive revenues from electricity production, and reduce its reliance on oil products, including with staggered targets to 2030, and mirroring moves by rivals to try to cut emissions.

Bahrain Industry Ministry announces closure of beauty salon

Industry, Commerce and Tourism Ministry today announced the closure of a women’s beauty salon, adding that the necessary legal actions are being taken. The salon continued receiving customers and delivering its regular services in violation of the decision to close some industrial and commercial outlets in order to limit the spread of the novel Coronavirus pandemic. The decision came into effect as of today.

Assistant Undersecretary for Control and Resources at the Industry Ministry, Abdulaziz Al-Ashraf, said that the teams of the Inspection Directorate will continue their inspection visits across the kingdom. He underlined the importance of taking the decisions seriously, pledging zero tolerance for violations of the rules and decisions to curb the spread of the pandemic.

German President Steinmeier ready to stand for second term in office

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Friday he planned to stand for a second term for the largely ceremonial post. A former foreign minister and senior adviser to centre-left Social Democrat (SPD) Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, the 65-year-old Steinmeier has occupied the president’s office since 2017, said dpa.

A trained lawyer, Steinmeier’s term is due to expire in 2022, which is after the next election in September, when a new national parliament will to be voted in. Born in western Germany, Steinmeier also headed up the SPD’s election campaign in 2009 as the party’s chancellor candidate, losing to the conservative Christian Democrats headed by Chancellor Angela Merkel. Announcing his plans, Steinmeier said he hoped to accompany the country into its post-pandemic future.

He said he wanted to ensure the pandemic does not leave German society divided and to try to build bridges between different groups. The German president is elected by a special forum of voters comprising members of the government and parliament, as well as leading public figures. A key feature of Steinmeier’s term has been his call for a strengthening of parliamentary democracy, both in Germany and around the world. More recently, however, his term has been dominated by the global pandemic and its tragic consequences, with Steinmeier regularly addressing the population in video messages.

Saudi Arabia makes big changes to education system

Saudi Arabia has announced radical changes to its education system by introducing new subjects that will be taught for the first time, local media reported. The new subjects that will be taught starting next year include digital skills, English for elementary grades, social studies, self-defense and critical thinking.

Also, according to the new changes, the two-semester school system will now be converted into three with short vacations, in order to keep pace with international best practices, local media reported.

Dr. Hamad Al Sheikh, Saudi Minister of Education, said that this transformation would also include the development of curricula and educational plans. “Over two years of continuous work in the Ministry of Education, and based on careful studies carried out by specialized teams, a major conclusion was reached that the current education system needed a real and deep reform. Comparisons with developed countries have also shown a gap with regards to the number of actual school days,” he said.

Long weekends

Al Sheikh added that the academic school semester would extend over 13 weeks with seven-day breaks. The year will also include 12 holidays, incorporating long weekends and an increased number of school days. The academic year will start on August 30 and end on July 1 next year.

The Minister of Education described the development process as “necessary” to complete the goals of the Saudi Vision 2030, to reach global competitiveness in various fields, and to keep pace with best practices.

He also urged education workers to receive at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose before the August 1 deadline in order to ensure the health and safety of staff and students in the classroom.

Africa urgently needs 20 million vaccine doses for second jabs: WHO

Africa urgently needs 20 million doses of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine to make sure everyone who has had a first jab can get a second within the recommended eight- to twelve-week window, the World Health Organization (WHO) said. Another 200 million doses of any coronavirus vaccine are needed to get 10 percent of the continent’s population vaccinated by September, the WHO said.

WHO data shows 28 million doses from various manufacturers have reached Africa, which corresponds to fewer than two doses per 100 people, the Deutsche Presse Agentur (DPA) reported. Meanwhile, 1.5 billion coronavirus vaccine doses have been administered globally.

“However, we know that cases are rising, and the clock is ticking so we urgently appeal to countries that have vaccinated their high-risk groups to speed up the dose-sharing to fully protect the most vulnerable people.”

The European Union and its member states have agreed to give more than 100 million doses to low-income countries by the end of 2021, and the United States has also agreed to make 80 million doses available for low-income countries. (Reuters)

Russia says US decision not to rejoin Open Skies arms pact is ‘political mistake’

Russia said on Friday a U.S. decision not to rejoin the Open Skies arms control pact, which allows unarmed surveillance flights over member states, is a “political mistake” ahead of a summit between the countries’ presidents. The original U.S. decision to quit the pact was taken last year by the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump, but Moscow had hoped his successor Joe Biden would reverse it.

On Thursday, however, the Biden administration informed Moscow that it would not re-enter the pact, accusing Russia of violating it, something Moscow denied. Sergei Ryabkov, Russia’s deputy foreign minister, said on Friday that Washington’s move was a missed opportunity to bolster security in Europe.

“The U.S. has made another political mistake, inflicting a new blow to the European security system,” TASS quoted him as saying. “We gave them a good chance, which they did not take. They continue circulating fabrications about Russia’s violations of this agreement, which is completely absurd.”

Separately, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Moscow regretted the U.S. decision, saying the Open Skies accord would lose much of its utility without the participation of Russia and the United States. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Biden are due to hold a summit in Geneva next month and Ryabkov was cited as saying that the U.S. refusal to rejoin Open Skies did not create an atmosphere conducive to arms control discussions at the summit.

In January, Russia announced its own plans to leave the pact, and the government submitted legislation to parliament this month to formalise its departure. At that time, a Kremlin spokesman said one reason was that the United States was still able to receive information acquired via the treaty from its NATO allies.

U.S. officials have said Russia has violated the pact’s terms by restricting U.S. overflights of Russia’s neighbour Georgia and the Russian enclave in Kaliningrad on the Baltic coast. Russia denies committing any violations. The treaty, which was signed in 1992 and took effect in 2002, allows countries to conduct short-notice, unarmed surveillance flights over the entire territory of other parties and collect information on one another’s military forces. Its objective is to increase transparency and build confidence among countries. (Reuters)

BRAVE CF 51’s Muhammad Mokaev opens up on his relationship with his father

BRAVE Combat Federation’s Muhammad Mokaev is arguably one of the biggest up-and-coming international MMA stars today. The 20-year-old has been standing out from the pack since his amateur days and now, as an undefeated professional Mixed Martial Artist, he’s been drawing more and more attention.

But that doesn’t mean that it was all rainbows and unicorns for the MMA prodigy, as he made clear in an exclusive unseen footage from his Road To Greatness interview, a mini documentary produced by BRAVE Films.

The level of abdication in order to thrive in the highly competitive Mixed Martial Arts world left some marks in Mokaev’s life, including his relationship with his father, who preferred he had followed an academic career instead of one in sports.

Especially after Mokaev’s decision of dropping out of college to pursue a career in MMA, which led to his father’s disapproval, this particular dynamic became pivotal in his personality.

“Honestly, I knew back then that if I had a job, a regular job, I could make more money — at least at that point,” Mokaev said. “But I wanted to do something that I loved, something that I was passionate about. Training for me is not like work, it is something that I enjoy and also I get better, I make history.”

And that’s the plot twist in Mokaev’s history. Up to this point, one might be thinking that the relationship of the young MMA star with his father was an obstacle to his success, when, actually, it was the fuel that kept the fire burning. “And I wanted to make history for my dad,” he continued.

“I wanted to show him that I was capable, that I could be one of the greats. And I knew that I couldn’t do so through education but I know that I am more than able to do it in sports, in Mixed Martial Arts, I will make my dad proud.”

Muhammad Mokaev’s next challenge will take place on June 4th, in Minsk, Belarus. “The Punisher”, as he’s also known as, will take on Ibragim Navruzov in a featured catchweight bout, looking to remain undefeated in his career and expand his professional record to 5-0, in addition to a percent 23-0 amateur record, with two IMMAF World Championships gold medals.

Pakistan PM launches special economic zone

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday inaugurated the Rashakai Special Economic Zone (SEZ) that would create at least 200,000 job opportunities and give new impetus to Pakistan’s export-oriented industrialisation. Rashakai will begin a new era of industrialisation in Pakistan, PM Imran Khan said.

The SEZ is being constructed in Nowshera, Pakistan’s northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. The zone is being built at the cost of $242 million with the collaboration of China’s state enterprise China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) and KP Economic Zone Development and Management Company (KPEZDMC).

PM Imran Khan says the government is taking all-out steps to incentivise investors for the promotion of industrialisation and exports in the country. There will be one-window operation to make it an investor-friendly zone and to remove the hurdles by facilitating local and foreign investors. Rashakai SEZ is a landmark project that would help attract direct foreign investment, bolster industrialisation, create new jobs for the skilled workforce, and increase exports, he said.

Industrial development and jobs

The location of the economic zone, close to Afghanistan and Central Asian States (CARs) would accelerate the pace of economic and industrial development and take the country’s exports to new heights, and transform the KP province into a hub of trade and investment, the premier stated. Speaking at the ceremony, Chinese Ambassador Nong Rong said the Rashakai SEZ would drive “industrial development in Pakistan”, create more jobs for youth and accelerate economic progress. It will also help enhance economic cooperation between Pakistan and China, he said.

Trade and investment hub

The Rashakai SEZ is prioritised as a special economic park spreading over an area of about 1,000 acres near the provincial capital of Peshawar. The zone under the CPEC framework will become an important trade hub for the region with the collaboration of Pakistan and China, says CEO of KPEZDMC Javed Khattak. The project will be completed in three phases. It had attracted $128 million Chinese investment, according to special assistant to KP chief minister on industries Abdul Karim Khan said. Rashakai SEZ has attracted the interest of more than 2,000 potential investors, according to the government. CPEC Authority chairman Asim Saleem Bajwa said Phase 2 of CPEC includes “industrialisation through establishing export-oriented SEZs”.

Saudi Education Minister receives Bahraini Ambassador

The Minister of Education of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Dr. Hamad bin Mohammad Al Al-Sheikh, received at the Ministry’s headquarters the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Bahrain in Riyadh, Shaikh Hmood bin Abdullah Al Khalifa, in the presence of the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Education for International Cooperation, Dr. Saleh Ibrahim Al-Qasoumi, and the Undersecretary for Public Education, Dr. Mohammed Saud Al-Muqbel, and the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Education for Scholarships, Dr. Lina Muhammad Al-Toaimi.

During the meeting, the solid fraternal relations between the Kingdom of Bahrain and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and their steady growth in all fields were reviewed.

The two sides also discussed the aspects of joint academic and research cooperation in higher education, stressing the importance of exchanging scientific expertise and educational activities to serve common interests and fulfill the aspirations of both countries and peoples.

Shaikh Hmood bin Abdullah Al Khalifa expressed the Kingdom of Bahrain’s great pride in and appreciation of the constructive and fruitful bilateral cooperation in the scientific and educational field, expressing his sincere thanks for the continuous support and cooperation.

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