The evidence doesn’t suggest the presence of COVID ‘XE’ mutant in India, government sources said on Wednesday and denied media reports that claimed the first case of the variant had been detected in the country.
The government sources said that FastQ files of the sample, being said to be ‘XE’ variant, was analysed by INSACOG (Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium) which inferred that the genomic constitution of this variant doesn’t correlate with the genomic picture of ‘XE’. “Present evidence does not suggest that it is ‘XE’ variant of COVID-19,” a source said.
The Greater Mumbai Municipal Corporation had earlier in the day said that “one patient is affected by ‘Kappa’ variant and another by ‘XE’ variant” based on regular testing of samples.
The World Health Organisation had recently said that a new COVID mutant ‘XE’ has been found in the UK and noted that it may be more transmissible than the BA.2 sublineage of COVID-19. However, the virologists in India have said that it is not clear that the variant is strong enough to cause another COVID wave in the country even as they advised to exercise caution and follow COVID-appropriate behaviour.
XE is recombinant of Omicron BA.1 and BA.2 sublineages of COVID-19. “The XE recombinant (BA.1-BA.2), was first detected in the United Kingdom on January 19 and >600 sequences have been reported and confirmed since,” the WHO had said.
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Bihar, UNICEF learn Delhi model to boost child protection
The Government of Bihar is committed to strengthening its child protection mechanisms and towards this; it is open to learning the good practices in other states. A delegation of nine child protection functionaries that include members of the Child Welfare Committee, District Child Protection Unit, State Child Protection Society, Social Welfare Department, and Child Protection Officer from UNICEF Bihar visited Delhi over 3 days (18-21 May 2022). The learning visit was facilitated by Delhi-based NGO, Udayan Care which runs Udayan Ghars, a unique model of child and youth care with aftercare being integrated into its design and implementation.
During the visit, the delegates were given exposure to the Udayan Ghar unique model, they also visited the aftercare homes for boys and girls, being managed by the Govt of Delhi and had an interaction with the officers of the Delhi government’s State Child Protection Society. The delegates also met the key officials at institutes such as Aurobindo Ashram and GMR, which provides skilling and employability opportunities to the youth.
Aftercare is a critical yet unaddressed area of child protection in India. This is evident from the findings of the “Beyond 18” research study that was conducted by Udayan Care in 2019. There is enough evidence globally and nationally that children growing up in care institutions are not adequately prepared to leave care and are not ready for independent living. Their transition planning and training, during their last years in the Child Care Institutions (CCIs), are often lacking due to the lack of knowledge of the provisions in the existing juvenile laws as well as skills in addressing transition requirements of youth leaving care among child protection functionaries. Often children have turned away on turning 18 without guidance and support or continue to extend their stay in such institutions without any rehabilitation plan. Children nearing adulthood have expressed their feelings by saying, “I felt like a plant being uprooted” to “it’s my life but for social workers, it’s just their job”.
Udayan Care has been working to change the way we care for our children and ensure that they receive continued support and their transition from childcare institutions to independent living is smooth and such young people, also known as care leavers, feel they have a strong ecosystem around them till they get reintegrated as contributing citizens of society. Towards this, it is being supported by UNICEF to work closely in partnership with the Government of Bihar to improve the Aftercare work in the state.
Since 2019, several child protection functionaries have been trained in transition planning and aftercare and have enhanced their skills in the rehabilitation of such youth. Individual Care Plans (ICP), assessments of disability, mapping of the competencies, skills, and interests of children and youth, and life skills workshops have been imparted in two districts, Patna and Gaya. Stitching centres have been opened in the CCIs in Patna and Gaya to provide skilling to children and they have been engaged in learning several arts and crafts that enhance their skills. Partnerships with Upendra Maharathi Anusandhan Sansthan (UMAS) institute and Lemon Tree Hotel in Patna have led to young persons being placed for jobs.
It is hoped that this interaction will be mutually beneficial for officers of both states and will reinforce their conviction to work with children and youth in more non-institutional approaches.
WHY IMMIGRANTS ARE MORE LIKELY TO BECOME ENTREPRENEURS
What do Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jan Koum, Sergey Brin, Arianna Huffington, and Elon Musk have in common? They all are immigrants who despite cultural differences and language barriers, succeeded and established their names in a foreign land.
Such success stories lay the foundation of the idea that you too can similarly succeed. Recent trends suggest that in the United States, immigrants are almost twice as likely to become entrepreneurs as U.S.-born citizens. Out of the total 44.9 million immigrants in the U.S., which is 13 percent of the total population, more than 12 million people are entrepreneurs. This shows that immigrants not only have higher chances of success but, essentially, are driven to take the risk.
In past decades, the rise in immigrant contributions to entrepreneurship in such developed nations is unprecedented. There are multiple reasons for this change. This includes the fact that their talents and skills are appreciated and recognized more in foreign countries compared to their own. Developed countries also serve as a solid platform for globalized industries and societies, acting as a meeting point for people of varied cultural backgrounds and migrant origins. The past two decades have witnessed the highest number of migrants living thousands of miles away from their homes, from 173 million in 2000 to 281 million in 2020. Furthermore, about one-fourth of all technology companies or startups established in the U.S. or Canada have at least one founder who is an immigrant.
THE GROWING CONSCIOUSNESS
Access to world-class education, ease of doing business, advanced infrastructure, global mobility, and a better quality of life has always been the key reasons behind immigration. The Covid-19 pandemic and the uncertainty brought by it have further made people realize the importance of living in a safe and economically stable country.
Countries such as the U.S., Canada, the U.K, and the EU are among the most popular destinations for immigrant entrepreneurs. A recent study by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs study showed that two-thirds of the world’s immigrant population is concentrated in 20 countries.
CHANGING IMMIGRATION LANDSCAPE
Immigrant entrepreneurs looking for a permanent residency in Canada do so through three critical pathways – Canada Startup Visa, Intra-Company Transfer (C-11) visa, and Canada Provincial Entrepreneur Visa.
The U.S. offers an E-2 visa that allows foreign nationals to invest and carry out business activities in America. Though it is important to note that Indians cannot directly apply for the E-2 visa. They first have to obtain Grenada Citizenship by doing an investment to be eligible for the route. Further, the EB-5 Program permits the applicants to apply for US Green Card via investment.
The current Biden administration considered more welcoming towards immigrants than the Trump administration, has introduced the International Entrepreneur Parole (IEP) Programme. The Program will allow DHS to exercise its parole authority and issue a temporary visa to foreign entrepreneurs coming to the United States to launch innovative startups with solid job-creation potential.
Similarly, the EU Golden Visa Programs have also been around for less than a decade and doing well in attracting foreign nationals seeking to invest in Europe. Europe Startups and Entrepreneur Visa programs are making a significant impact on foreign nationals, whether they are just looking for a business expansion or have a business idea.
Golden Visa programs also have a lower minimum investment amount than other countries.
The United Kingdom is also changing its immigration landscape by inviting more foreign entrepreneurs in the post-Brexit era. It may present more opportunities in the coming times for Indians planning to relocate to the United Kingdom.
Australia is also attracting immigrant entrepreneurs through investment programs like the Business Innovation and Investment Programme, Global Talent Programme, and Employer-Sponsored Programme.
THE BOTTOM LINE
One of the most compelling reasons for these entrepreneurs’ rise in developed nations is their Cross-Culture experience. It helps them identify better business opportunities and draft competitive business plans. Their various businesses and cultural expertise help them launch new products, be more creative, offer better services, and prioritize customer preferences. The exposure also allows them to efficiently transfer their knowledge related to customer issues. Many successful immigrant entrepreneurs show similar traits.
The author is President and Founder-Abhinav Immigration Services Private Limited
HOW THIS BRAND OFFERS ONE-STOP SHOP SOLUTION FOR CLEAN BEAUTY PRODUCTS
In an interaction with The Daily Guardian Review, Naina Ruhail, CIO & Co-founder, Vanity Wagon, shares that they are aligned to offering the best in class to their consumers. As of 2022, they have launched their scratch-built mobile native app, thus making shopping seamless and more convenient for users.
Q: How has your journey been so far as an entrepreneur? What compelled you to get into the clean beauty space?
A: So far, my journey as an entrepreneur has been that of learning and evolution. At every step, the immense response that the brand has received from its consumers has helped us understand the purchasing outlook of consumers much better along with consumer preference for brands & specific ingredients.
The idea of a clean beauty marketplace was conceived in 2017, a year before the actual work started. It stemmed from my learning’s of the Clean Beauty Industry in the UK and the exponential growth the clean beauty industry was experiencing. With the rapid growth in the Clean Beauty space in India as well, existing e-tailers were unable to offer the right push to these new generation beauty brands and that created a void, where the number of brands and products in the space continued to grow but they didn’t capture relevant market share. Indian Clean Beauty Market was in a nascent stage with no clear market leader for such products and that’s when Vanity Wagon was born.
Q: Vanity Wagon is the first-ever clean beauty marketplace. What challenges did you face setting up this marketplace? How has Covid-19 impacted the business? What are your strategies to navigate through this and what’s working best for you?
A: Challenges come in all shapes and sizes, be it getting the right resources, partnering with suitable brands, or something as simple as building customer trust. From building a stable high performing team to also streamlining our marketing systems, Vanity has gone through its fair share of challenges. One of the toughest challenges is to make customers understand Clean Beauty and convince them to switch to healthier and safer alternatives and also that every product they purchase is genuine and directly sourced from brands. This is due to the influx of duplicate products online, on several top portals too. Having said that, with the right kind of content, information, and persistence, we have aimed for and are on a continuous path upwards.
In the last couple of years, a lot of B2C buyers and sellers have gone digital colossally. Even though the brands and business owners are trying to eke out, Vanity Wagon- India’s first and largest direct-to-consumer e-commerce clean beauty marketplace, proved relatively resilient. With the safety of shopping in the comfort of one’s home, the online retail industry has seen multi-fold growth in the last couple of years, especially during the pandemic, the brand withstood the storm and came out stronger with an ever-growing team and ever-evolving strategies to cater the consumer better through experiential marketing. Challenges came in the form of, disruption of the supply chain (upstream mostly) and also managing a company that thrives on its people through work-from-home modules. But thankfully it is a young and resilient team that helped us evolve and adapt to situations faster.
Q: What is the future for clean beauty in India? What are your thoughts on the evolving sustainability beauty trend in India?
A: Consumers, these days, are taking a much closer look at what they put in and on their bodies which has pushed the brands to remove perceived harmful ingredients from their products. This beauty trend is seeing elevated growth rates over conventional beauty. Looking ahead, we are expecting more brands to become plastic neutral, vegan, and cruelty-free to make them more sustainable and eco-conscious. We see a skyrocketing increase in online search terms and the popularity of sustainable beauty. Cruelty-Free has also been driving the conversation and has immense gains during past years. Hence, it is safe to say that the clean beauty trend is more than skin deep.
Q: How are you planning to expand yourselves? Where do you see yourselves in the next 5 years?
A: The 5-years horizon for Vanity Wagon should put us in contention as one of the leading beauty marketplaces in India and APAC. We have already started our operations in Singapore. The next 2 years should see us covering 2 more major destinations in APAC and 2 in the Middle East. Further, once our base is solidified in these regions, we would look to launch in the European and American Markets.
We are also targeting to open offline stores in the next few years and strategically acquire 10-15 brands by 2024.
At Vanity Wagon, we are aligned to offering the best in class to our consumers. As of 2022, we have launched our scratch-built mobile native app, thus making shopping seamless and more convenient for users. Further, we are in motion of developing an AI engine that enables users to digitally try and understand products, the same should be deployed by late 2022.
Q: What is the skin care regime you follow in your daily routine? Any tips or quick beauty hacks you would like to share?
A: For me, less is more. I believe a skincare routine should be minimal yet effective. Instead of incorporating a wide range of products and steps to skincare, I stick to the basics to keep my skin healthy. Apart from a daily CTM routine, serums and sunscreens are what I cannot do without.
ED probe reveals Nawab Malik’s links with D-company
Maharashtra Minister and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Nawab Malik has had links with fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim’s D-company for a long time, according to the investigation of the Enforcement Directorate against him in connection with a money laundering case.
The Enforcement Directorate has filed a prosecution complaint (chargesheet) before the Special PMLA court in Mumbai. In the prosecution complaint, the ED elaborately mentioned Malik’s alleged link to the D-company, and purported conspiracy to “usurp” the Goawala building compound in Kurla West in 1996.
Dawood Ibrahim’s nephew Alishah Parkar was questioned by Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials in Mumbai on Monday, regarding the gangs active in Mumbai and other areas of the country. Alishah is the son of Dawood’s sister, Haseena Parkar, who died in 2014 after suffering a heart attack.
Dawood Ibrahim’s nephew Alishah Parkar has given a statement to ED under Section 50 of the PMLA Act during the investigation of the PMLA case against Malik. In the statement, Alishah has said that until her death, his mother was involved in financial transactions with Dawood Ibrahim for a long time. He also mentioned Salim Patel who was one of his mother’s associates. Salim Patel was an onion trader and dabbled in property dealings with his mother.
Alishah further said that Haseena Parkar and Salim Patel had settled the dispute in Goawala Building and took over part of the compound by opening an office there.
Alishah added that later, Parkar sold a portion of the Goawala Building controlled by her to Nawab Malik. He was not aware of the money paid by Nawab Malik to his mother and Patel, the chargesheet pointed out.
A special court on Friday took cognisance of the Enforcement Directorate’s chargesheet against Nationalist Congress Party’s leader Nawab Malik and said there is prima facie evidence to indicate Malik was directly and knowingly involved in the money laundering and criminal conspiracy with others to usurp Goawala compound in Kurla. The court has issued a process against him and the 1993 bomb blast case accused Sardar Shahwali Khan, who is also named in the case.
Ahead of Amarnath Yatra, police review security arrangements
Ahead of the Shri Amarnath Ji Yatra 2022, Deputy Inspector General of Police North Kashmir Range (NKR) Baramulla Udayabhaskar Billa, along with SSP Bandipora Mohammad Zahid visited Transit Camp Shadipora Sumbal and took stock of security arrangements there.
On this occasion, CO 45 BN CRPF and senior officers of the Army, and Police were also present.
During the visit, detailed arrangements and security review of all locations, en route including Transit camp Shadipora were discussed.
Senior officers also reviewed traffic management for smooth passage of Yatra convoys and the availability of parking places.
Moreover, SSP Bandipora was briefed in detail about security arrangements put in place on the yatra route and Transit Camp Shadipora for smooth upcoming Yatra-2022.
Further, DIG NKR directed all the officers to maintain the highest level of alertness and ensure proper access control and all necessary facilities to Yatries.
The officers reiterated better coordination at all levels for a smooth and peaceful Amaranth Yatra.
Earlier on Saturday, Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha reviewed the preparations for Amarnath Yatra at a high-level meeting in Raj Bhawan.
The Lt Governor fixed June 15 as the timeline for completing all works pertaining to Amarnath Yatra. He further directed officials to regularly monitor specific works in Anantnag and Ganderbal.
Sinha directed that adequate field staff of the Departments like Jal Shakti and Power should remain available for providing continuous services during the Yatra.
Pertinently, the Amarnath Yatra will commence on June 30 this year from both Pahalgam and Baltal routes.
NIA LIKELY TO VISIT DHAKA TO PROBE ISI-BACKED FAKE CURRENCY CASE
KOLKATA: On the direction of India’s Ministry of Home Affairs, a special team of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) sleuths is reportedly travelling to Bangladesh, to probe the Fake Indian Currency Note (FICN) scam which was unearthed last year. NIA is going to Dhaka to find the source of the network, which apparently operates in Pakistan and is supported by Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in a bid to “destabilize the economy of India” by supplying counterfeit currency.
The FICN scam came to light amid the questioning of two Bangladeshi FICN smugglers Fatema Akhtar Aapi and her associate Sk Md Abu Taleb by the Bangladesh Police on November 26, 2021.
As the case was linked to India, the Bangladesh authorities had contacted India and shared information that they have seized FICN worth Rs 7.35 crore in the denomination of Rs 500 from Aapi, a resident of Kasba in Bangladesh.
The Bangladesh police informed India that it seized counterfeit currency worth Rs 50,000 from Aapi on November 26, 2021. Upon searching her house, the police also recovered fake currency worth Rs 7,34,50,000 in the denomination of Rs 500 notes.
Subsequently, Aapi and Taleb were arrested by the Bangladesh Police.
During the interrogation of the two accused, it was learnt that the FICN seized in Bangladesh was arranged and further shipped to Bangladesh by two Pakistani nationals— Sultan and Safi.
“It is suspected that the FICN has been printed in the neighbouring country and shipped to Bangladesh for further smuggling into India by international smugglers based in Pakistan to destabilize the economy of lndia,” the NIA FIR had mentioned.
The Bangladesh Police had registered a case under section 2S-A(B) of the Special Power Act, 1974 of Bangladesh on November 26 last year.
The NIA later said it re-registered the case based on inputs shared by the Bangladesh Police under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and a thorough probe was started.
According to sources, the probing team will include NIA investigators as well as the officials of BSF and the Central Investigation Agency.
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