Biden taps Vivek Murthy to co-chair Covid-19 team: Report - The Daily Guardian
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Biden taps Vivek Murthy to co-chair Covid-19 team: Report

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Rebuilding America’s coronavirus response from amidst the wreckage of the Donald Trump administration’s slash and burn strategy over the last nine months is right up there on US President-elect Joe Biden and deputy Kamala Harris’ to-do list.

On the first workday after their victory lap in Wilmington, Delaware, Biden andA Harris are tipped to begin Monday by naming a Covid Task Force, co-chaired by former US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner David Kessler and Yale professor Marcella Nunez-Smith.

This will mark the first of several top staffing decisions for the Biden-Harris team in the frenzied run up to Inauguration Day on January 20, 2021. For Murthy, this return to the White House will be especially sweet. He was asked to resign by Trump in the spring of 2017, although he was named to a four year term by former President Barack Obama, starting 2014.

Murthy served as the 19th Surgeon General from December 15, 2014 to April 21, 2017. He is the author of NYT Best Seller “Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World”.

Biden and Harris have already released their seven-point Covid response plan, which reads mostly like a repair-job after nine months of Trump’s blow-it-all-up chaos.

First: Fix Trump’s testing-and-tracing fiasco to ensure all Americans have access to regular, reliable, and free testing. Second: Fix personal protective equipment (PPE) problems for good.

Third: Provide clear, consistent, evidence-based national guidance for how communities should navigate the pandemic and the resources for schools, small businesses, and families to make it through.

Fourth: Plan for the effective, equitable distribution of treatments and vaccines because discovering isn’t enough if they get distributed like Trump’s testing and PPE fiascos. Fifth: Protect older Americans and others at high risk. Sixth: “Rebuild and expand the defenses that Trump has dismantled to predict, prevent, and mitigate pandemic threats, including those coming from China. Seventh: Implement mask mandates nationwide by working with governors and mayors and by asking the American people to do what they do best: step up in a time of crisis.

America’s top doctors have already warned of a “dark winter” ahead, where the virus hangs around longer in the wintry air and becomes particularly lethal when people are spending more time indoors with predominantly canned air circulating.

America has had its worst caseloads during election week, breaking catastrophic records—more than 100,000 cases in a single day.

 IANS

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Minister Arjun Munda felicitates Indian para archery team for performing at Fazza tournament in Dubai

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New Delhi [India], March 1 (ANI): Union Minister and President of Archery Association of India, Arjun Munda on Sunday felicitated the Indian Para archery team for their performance at the seventh Fazza World Ranking Tournament which was held in Dubai.
“I am glad to see the performance of our archers in Dubai. They have inspired us with their performance in Olympics and showed their will-power,” said the Union Minister while talking to ANI.
Munda further said: “When a player achieves something it is a matter of pride for the nation. Their achievement will motivate other players to take part in games.”

Harvinder Singh, a para archer hailing from Haryana said: “It was a very challenging experience due to the COVID-19 pandemic because we were not able to practice in that period. Fazza tournament was our first championship after the pandemic. Earlier in October 2019, We played the Asian championship in Thailand.”
While Rakesh Kumar another para archer who met with an accident in 2009 and became wheelchair-ridden won a gold medal in the individual category in the tournament said: “I met with an accident in 2009 and from there, my life changed. It was very tough for me to live a normal life. I was on bed for at least six months but after three or four years, when I recovered I realised that now I can’t move on my legs. So, I had to do something and my family’s financial condition was also not good,” Rakesh said. (ANI)

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India has multiple cultures, language; PM must respect all: Rahul Gandhi

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Tirunelveli (Tamil Nadu) [India], March 1 (ANI): Refuting Prime Minister Narendra Mondi’s claim that India has one culture, history and language, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday said the country has multiple cultures, history, and languages and urged Prime Minister to respect all of it.
“Prime Minister says India has one culture, one history and one language. Is Tamil history not Indian history or Tamil culture not Indian culture? India has multiple cultures, history and languages. Prime Minister must respect every language and culture,” Rahul said while addressing a rally in Tirunelveli.
Gandhi is touring poll-bound Tamil Nadu for the second day as part of his campaign for the April 6 assembly elections.
He also took to Twitter to slam the Central government. “GOI has turned noble professions like farming, education and healthcare into financial commodities for the benefit of a few cronies. We are fighting this without any anger, hatred or violence. And non-violence always wins,” he tweeted.
This comes ahead of the 234-member Tamil Nadu assembly elections will be held in a single phase on April 6 and the counting of votes will take place on May 2.
The ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) is contesting the polls in a pre-poll alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). MK Stalin’s Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) has joined hands with the Congress party.
Actor-turned-politician Kamal Hassan’s party Makkal Neethi Maiam (MNM) is also in the fray this time. (ANI

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Darjeeling MP asks justice for West Bengal BJP worker’s mother

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Darjeeling (West Bengal) [India], March 1 (ANI): Raju Bista, Member of Parliament from Darjeeling wrote to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee requesting her for immediate intervention to ensure justice for BJP worker Gopal Majumdar’s mother.
“Those who have perpetrated such barbarity need to be dealt with in the most strictest of terms,” he wrote.
A Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) worker in the state has alleged that workers of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) attacked his mother in North 24 Paraganas on February 27, in what appears to be another case of political violence in the poll-bound state.
BJP worker Gopal Majumdar said that three TMC workers entered his house and attacked his mother in Nimta.
Talking about the assault, Majumdar’s mother said: “They hit me on my head and neck and punched me. They hit me on my face too. I am scared, they asked me not to tell anyone about it. My whole body is in pain.”
An FIR has been registered in the case.
Political violence has been regularly making headlines in poll-bound West Bengal. The elections for the 294 Assembly seats in West Bengal will begin on March 27. The state is going to witness eight-phase Assembly polls this year. (ANI)

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Kerala Finance Minister criticises Nirmala Sitharaman over her state Budget, KIIFB remarks

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Kochi (Kerala) [India], March 1 (ANI): Reacting to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s comment over Kerala Budget and Kerala infrastructure investment fund board (KIIFB), state Finance Minister TM Thomas Issac on Sunday said she should have realized that the dignity of the position eroded when she delivers such speech without understanding.
Thomas Issac wrote a Facebook post after Sitharaman in Kochi alleged the Pinarayi Vijayan-led government in Kerala of giving all the budget money to KIIFB.
“Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman should have realized that the dignity of the position she holds is being eroded when she automatically reads (without understanding) what someone has written. She was talking nonsense about KIIFB and the state budget. Not only did she not do her homework at all, but her remarks proved that she had no idea what was being said. The Union Minister should not regret for which I am saying openly that Shame on You,” Issac wrote on Facebook.
State Finance Minister also described KIIFB and said it is a system set up to mobilize resources outside the budget.
“KIIFB is a system set up to mobilize resources outside the budget. The CAG’s criticism was that KIIFB revenue and expenditure were not part of the budget. When the criticism reached Nirmala Sitharaman, that came to the fore. All I can say is that no matter who wrote this speech, the Union Finance Minister should not have been fooled like this. A quality and serious approach is expected from that position,” he said.
Union Finance Minister yesterday lashed out at Kerala government over the state budget and accused it for giving all the budget money to KIIFB.
“Kerala budget was presented and all the money is given to KIIFB. I do not know what budget they are making if all the money is given to one organisation,” the Finance Minister said during ‘Vijaya Yathra’ in Kochi. (ANI)

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Amid surge in Covid-19 cases, Tamil Nadu extends lockdown till March 31

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Chennai (Tamil Nadu) [India], March 1 (ANI): As Tamil Nadu witnessing a sharp surge in COVID-19 cases across the state, the authorities on Sunday extended the lockdown till March 31.
District administrations have been asked to take all necessary measures to promote coronavirus appropriate behaviour and ensure wearing of face masks, hand hygiene and social distancing.
Tamil Nadu registered 486 new coronavirus cases and five deaths over the past 24 hours, the Health Department said yesterday.
According to the Health Ministry, India is all set to start the second phase of COVID-19 vaccination on Monday (March 1), 2021, for those who are over 60 years of age and for people aged 45 and above with specified co-morbid conditions.
To ramp up the COVID-19 vaccination capacity, around 10,000 private hospitals under Ayushman Bharat PMJAY and more than 600 private hospitals under the Central Government Health Scheme will be utilised.
Other private hospitals empanelled under State Govts Health Insurance Scheme can also participate as COVID-19 Vaccination Centres (CVCs). (ANI)

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BUDGET SESSION OF PUNJAB ASSEMBLY BEGINS FROM TODAY

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CHANDIGARH: The budget session of the Punjab Legislative Assembly will begin from today, with the Governor’s address. The budget for the year 2021-22 will be presented on March 5. The session will last till March 10.

This session is likely to be very stormy as this is the last budget session of this government before the Punjab Assembly elections to be held next year. Keeping this in mind, the opposition has made full preparations to corner the government. There are many issues on which opposition parties are fully prepared to target the government, including issues related to farming and electricity rates.

According to the tentative programme of the session, the budget session will begin with the Governor’s address on Monday at 11:00 am. This will be followed by the obituary references at the next sitting of the House at 2:00 pm.

The motion of thanks on Governor’s address will be presented on March 2 followed by the start of discussion on the Governor’s address. It will continue on March 3 as well. The discussion will end on the same day with the reply of Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on motion of thanks.

Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal will present the budget for the year 2021-22 on March 5, which will be debated on March 8 and the budget will be passed on the same day after the reply of the Finance Minister. According to the tentative programme, the legislative business will be held on 9 and 10 March. After this the budget session will conclude on March 10 and the house will adjourn sine-die.

Some changes may also take place in this tentative programme during the meeting of the Business Advisory Committee of the Legislative Assembly, as the final decision regarding the duration of the session is to be taken by this committee.

However, as opposition parties have made full preparations to target the government on various issues, the Congress Government is also fully prepared to counter the attacks of the Opposition.

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