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Vangelis: Chariots of Fire and Blade Runner composer dies at age 79

The Greek musician won an Oscar for the 1981 film...

The new US ambassador to Ukraine has experience in countries shaped by Soviet rule.

Bridget Brink, who was unanimously confirmed by the US Senate...
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Vangelis: Chariots of Fire and Blade Runner composer dies at age 79

The Greek musician won an Oscar for the 1981 film theme and also wrote the soundtrack to Blade Runner. Source link

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Vangelis: Chariots of Fire and Blade Runner composer dies at age 79

The Greek musician won an Oscar for the 1981 film theme and also wrote the soundtrack to Blade...

The new US ambassador to Ukraine has experience in countries shaped by Soviet rule.

Bridget Brink, who was unanimously confirmed by the US Senate this week as US Ambassador to Ukraine, is...

Senate approves $40 billion in aid to Ukraine and sends bill to Biden

Placeholder while article actions are loadingThe Senate voted Thursday to deliver more than $40 billion in new military...

S&P 500 falls into choppy trading as it fights to avoid a bear market

The S&P 500 fell in tumultuous trading Thursday as the benchmark battled to avoid a bear market. ...

Global markets stumble over recession fears, rising inflation

<!-- -->Leading European and Asian stock indices closed in the red.London: European and Asian markets took a beating...

Jordanian king places half-brother under house arrest

King Abdullah II says Prince Hamzah will not be given "room to offend the nation" as the royal...

Bank credit grows by 10.82 pc; deposits rise 9.71 pc: RBI data

Bank lending grew 10.82 percent to Rs 120.46 lakh crore and deposits grew 9.71 percent to Rs 166.95...

As COVID subsides, tuberculosis deaths should become visible

Opinion by Angelique Luabeya Kany Kany (Cape Town, South Africa†Thursday 19 May 2022Inter Press ServiceCAPE TOWN, South Africa,...

Pakistan bans imports of all non-essential luxury goods – Times of India

Luxury cosmetics are included in the list of import bansKARACHI: Pakistan has banned imports of all non-essential luxury...

Scientists discover a dark web of online spider sales

At first, it looks like any other unboxing video on YouTube: A young man presents the viewer with...

McDonald’s announces buyer for Russian company

The hamburger giant, which is leaving Russia after more than 30 years, has sold its restaurants to a...

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Vangelis: Chariots of Fire and Blade Runner composer dies at age 79


The Greek musician won an Oscar for the 1981 film theme and also wrote the soundtrack to Blade Runner.

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The new US ambassador to Ukraine has experience in countries shaped by Soviet rule.


Bridget Brink, who was unanimously confirmed by the US Senate this week as US Ambassador to Ukraine, is an accomplished diplomat, fluent in Russian, born in Michigan and with extensive experience in European countries ravaged by Soviet subjugation and the legacy of the Soviet Union. Cold War.

In 2019, while swearing in her current role as Ambassador to Slovakia, Ms Brink emphasized her family’s European ties and her personal ties to Europe, noting that she was a student in London in 1989 on the day the Berlin Wall fell. .

Graduated from the London School of Economics, where she obtained a master’s degree in international relations and political theory, Ambassador Brink joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1996 and has served in Cyprus, Serbia, but also in Uzbekistan and Georgia, two former Soviet republics.

She is the mother of two boys and her husband, Nicholas Higgins, also works for the US foreign service.

In her new role, Ms Brink fills a vacancy that has been vacant for three years. Her confirmation came just hours after the United States reopened its embassy in Kiev after a three-month shutdown, underscoring how the war-ravaged Ukrainian capital is gradually returning to some semblance of normalcy after Russian forces failed to capture it. , albeit with a very fragile sense of security.

Ms. Brink’s conformation will further strengthen relations between Washington and Kiev, but the return of high-profile US diplomats to the country, even hours from the front lines to western and central cities, inevitably carries a measure of danger.

Ms. Brink is the first Senate-confirmed ambassador to hold the position since mid-2019, when President Donald J. Trump fired Marie L. Yovanovitch, a career diplomat and anti-corruption attorney who was criticized by Mr. Trump’s personal attorney, Rudolph W. Giuliani and his associates as Mr. Giuliani tried to dig up dirt in the country about Mr. Biden, Hunter.

In February, Ms Brink visited the border between Ukraine and Slovakia to witness the arrival of Ukrainian refugees. “My heart is with every victim of this senseless war,” she said, according to a press release from the State Department.

Her family has long ties to Europe.

When she was sworn in as ambassador to Slovakia in 2019, she recalled that her grandfather Donald Brink, according to family lore, played a role in paving the way for Dwight D. Eisenhower’s promotion to four-star general before becoming the architect of the Normandy invasion. , which helped pave the way for ending World War II.

Ms. Brink said that during the war her grandfather, a US Army physician, treated Mr Eisenhower, one of several physicians who gave him a physical exam to determine if he was eligible for promotion to his fourth star.

“According to family history, my grandfather took General Eisenhower’s blood pressure and it was a little high,” she recalls. “General,” he said, “lie down for a few minutes and think of happy thoughts.” He did, and my grandfather was able to report that General Eisenhower passed his physical,’ explained Ms. Brink. “The rest, they say, is history.”

She also noted that she had connections to Europe through her husband’s family. “Almost 80 years ago, my husband’s grandmother, Ada McIntyre, survived the Manchester Blitz, while her husband, Bernard McIntyre, valiantly helped evacuate the soldiers trapped in Dunkirk as members of the Royal Navy,” she explained. .



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Senate approves $40 billion in aid to Ukraine and sends bill to Biden



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The Senate voted Thursday to deliver more than $40 billion in new military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine, sending the measure to President Biden after a week-long delay caused by a lone senator’s objection.

The vote was 86 to 11 and all opposition to the package came from Republicans.

The new package comes as the pipeline of US aid to Ukraine threatens to dry up within days, amid a war that has entered a grueling new phase three months after Russia’s first invasion. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his Western allies are preparing for a protracted battle in the east and south of the country that will last months or years to fend off Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forces.

The bill provides for a combined $20.1 billion in military aid that is expected to allow for the transfer of advanced weapons systems, such as Patriot anti-aircraft missiles and long-range artillery. Also included in the bill is more than $8 billion in general economic support for Ukraine, nearly $5 billion in global food aid to address potential food shortages due to the collapse of Ukraine’s agricultural economy and more than $1 billion in combined aid for refugees.

Support for the bill is strongly bipartisan — senators voted 88 to 11 on Tuesday in a test vote to move the bill forward — but party leaders were forced to maneuver procedural hurdles for a week due to Senator Rand Paul (R- Ky.), who objected to the bill on fiscal and geopolitical grounds.

House approves nearly $40 billion in aid to Ukraine as it fights Russian aggression

His delaying tactics vexed leaders of both parties, who last week had attempted to speed up the bill through a process that required the consent of all 100 senators.

“This should have been over by now, but it is abhorrent that a member from the other side…chose to make a show and impede Ukraine’s funding knowing full well that he couldn’t really stop its passage” , majority leader Charles E. Schumer (DN.Y.) said Wednesday. “If Senator Paul delays funding Ukraine for purely political reasons, it will only strengthen Putin’s hand.”

Paul defended his objection on Tuesday, calling U.S. support for Ukraine “no doubt a noble cause — one for which I have great sympathy and support — but one that the Constitution does not approve or approve.”

“Yes, our national security is threatened — not by Russia’s war against Ukraine, but by Congress’s war against American taxpayers,” he said. “The vast majority of Americans sympathize with Ukraine and want them to fend off the Russian invaders. But if Congress was fair, they would either get the money from elsewhere in the budget or ask Americans to pay higher taxes or, heaven forbid, lend the money to Ukraine instead of giving it to Ukraine. But Congress will do what Congress does best: spend other people’s money.”

Paul offered to lift his grip if Senate leaders approved an amendment that would put an existing federal watchdog, the Pentagon’s Special Inspector General for Reconstruction of Afghanistan, overseeing the new aid. But Democrats opposed that request, arguing that any changes to the bill would delay it further by requiring the House to re-approve it. Some also opposed a reassignment of the current Inspector General of Afghanistan to Ukraine.

Paul’s views sparked backlash from within his own party, including from Mitch McConnell, fellow Republican Senate Senate leader, who argued on Tuesday that “America’s decision to support Ukraine is not a frivolous act of charity.”

“It serves our own national security and strategic interests,” he said, “that international borders continue to mean something. It serves our own security and interest to impose enormous costs on Putin’s long-running campaign of violent imperialism. And it serves directly and strongly our national interest to deter potential future wars of aggression before they begin.”

McConnell and three other Republicans made an unannounced visit to Kiev last weekend, where they met Zelensky. In comments clearly aimed at opponents in his own party, McConnell said on Thursday: “Anyone concerned about the cost of supporting a Ukrainian victory should consider the much higher cost if Ukraine loses.”

In addition to Paul, ten other Republicans this week opposed the aid package in procedural votes, most citing fiscal objections, but none opposed speeding the bill to a final vote.

The package is a total of $7 billion more than the $33 billion Biden originally requested. It went up in the House last week after Biden said earlier this month that he wanted aid to Ukraine moved to Capitol Hill separately from another emergency spending request — for at least $10 billion in covid aid — that got caught up in party politics.

“This aid has been critical to Ukraine’s success on the battlefield,” Biden said in a May 9 statement. “We cannot allow our aid shipments to stop while we await further action from Congress.”

The House voted last week to advance the aid package by a vote of 368 to 57, with all House Democrats and 149 Republicans voting in favor. Fifty-seven House Republicans opposed the bill.

Thursday’s vote came on the heels of the Senate confirmation Wednesday of career diplomat Bridget A. Brink to serve as US ambassador to Ukraine — making Brink the first full-fledged ambassador to Kiev since May 2019, when then-President Donald Trump became ambassador. Marie Yovanovitch recalled .

Formerly Ambassador to Slovakia, Brink was confirmed by a vote less than a month after Biden first nominated her for the Ukrainian post and less than two weeks after Brink had her confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee — a rapid pace due to the Russian invasion and the growing US commitment to aid.

Brink told the committee on May 10 that her top priority was to coordinate the flow of military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine during the ongoing Russian invasion.

Schumer said on Wednesday that Brink would be an “outstanding” envoy and help Ukraine defeat Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion.

“Not having an ambassador really hinders our relationship in a way that no one would want to see,” he said, adding that Brink would serve as a “critical link as the United States continues to help the Ukrainian people withstand Russia’s brutal and vicious attacks.” .” †

While key lawmakers said it was too early to predict what further resources Congress might need to engage with the conflict in Ukraine, they acknowledged that more would almost certainly be needed.

But the next major Ukraine-related issue to hit Capitol Hill this year may not be funding, but Finland and Sweden’s entry into NATO — a move sparked by the Russian invasion, which prompted a reassessment among Finns. and Sweden who have long been wary of joining the transatlantic alliance for fear of provoking Russia, with whom the two nations share a border.

Senators from both sides predicted this week that the Senate would act quickly to ratify the Scandinavian countries’ applications, making them the first new NATO members since Montenegro was admitted in 2017. But it remained unclear whether the vote would be unanimous.

Paul, who voted against Montenegro’s admission with Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) in 2017, said this week he was still investigating the matter. And Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), who had voiced geopolitical objections to NATO expansion before the invasion of Ukraine, said on Wednesday he was “not an automatic yes” to Finland and Sweden’s admission.



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S&P 500 falls into choppy trading as it fights to avoid a bear market


The S&P 500 fell in tumultuous trading Thursday as the benchmark battled to avoid a bear market. Investors continued to dump stocks for fear that Federal Reserve rate hikes to combat rapid inflation would send the economy into recession.

The broad market index fell 0.8%, about 19% below the intraday record set in January. It is also more than 18% below its record level. A close of 20% or more below its all-time high would mark a bear market, the first since the pandemic sell-off in March 2020.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 348 points, or 1.1%, a day after experiencing its biggest one-day decline since 2020. The Nasdaq Composite was down 0.3%, though it fluctuated between gains and losses on Thursday.

“The most important thing for investors is to brace themselves for sustained volatility,” said Greg Bassuk, CEO of AXS Investments. “We believe volatility will be investors’ story for the second quarter balance and frankly, for the 2022 balance.”

On Wednesday, the Dow fell more than 1,100 points, marking its worst sell-off in nearly two years. The S&P 500 also suffered its worst one-day decline since June 2020, losing about 4%, and the Nasdaq Composite was down 4.7%.

Those losses were driven in part by successive quarterly reports from Target and Walmart showing higher fuel costs and subdued consumer demand that hurt results amid the highest inflation in decades. Even after dropping 24% on Wednesday, Target shares were down 2% again on Thursday.

“The sharp sell-off in these companies (and other commodity/consumer businesses this quarter) shows that inflationary pressures are finally impacting earnings,” Maneesh S. Deshpande, head of US equity strategy at Barclays, said in a statement. Thursday note. “Despite elevated inflation for a greater part of a year, [S&P 500] margins and future earnings have remained resilient, which no longer appears to be the case.”

Cisco was the last major company to pounce on the results, with the tech clock falling 13% on Thursday. Cisco said after the bell on Wednesday that quarterly revenue has fallen short of analyst expectations and warned that revenue in the current quarter would disappoint.

A rebound in some tech stocks boosted the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite several times during Thursday’s trading. Shares of Synopsys gained 11% on Thursday after the software company posted a profit margin. Shares of cloud company Datadog rose 11%.

Stocks have been under pressure throughout the year, with investors first turning away from high-value, low-profit technology stocks. But the sell-off has since spread to more sectors of the economy, including banks and retail, as growing fears of a recession deterred investors.

Several notable stocks in the S&P 500 hit new 52-week lows on Thursday. Target stocks are trading at lows not seen since November 2020. Walmart stocks are at their lowest point since July 2020. Shares of Bank of America stocks have fallen to their worst level since February 2021. Shares of Charles Schwab are at their lowest point since February 2021 Intel has fallen to a low since October 2017.

“The problem now is that there really doesn’t seem to be any hiding place,” wrote Jonathan Krinsky, chief market engineer at BTIG. On Wednesday, “came in for consumer names, but they still sold slowed growth. In other words, money rotates in cash rather than between different sectors.”

“Though it won’t be a straight line, [this] is confirmation that selling rallies in bear markets is much easier than buying dips,” Krinsky said.

Several Wall Street strategists have made gloomy forecasts for stocks if the Fed’s rate hikes send the economy into recession. GDP fell by 1.4% in the first quarter, so some slowdown is already visible.

Deutsche Bank lowered its official target for the S&P 500 overnight, but said a recession would mean even bigger losses.

“In the event that we enter a recession soon, we see that the market sell-off goes well beyond the average, i.e. into the upper half of the historical range and given the increased initial overvaluation, -35% to -40% or S&P 500 3000,” Binky Chadha, Deutsche Bank’s chief global strategist, wrote in a note.

At a Wall Street Journal conference earlier this week, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell reiterated his remarks that “there will be no hesitation whatsoever” in cutting inflation.

Meanwhile, weekly jobless claims in the US rose to 218,000 for the week ending May 14, the Labor Department said Thursday, the latest indication that economic growth is slowing.

The Dow has fallen for seven consecutive weeks, falling 14% in 2022. The Nasdaq is down 27% this year. The S&P 500 lost 18%.



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Global markets stumble over recession fears, rising inflation


Leading European and Asian stock indices closed in the red.

London:

European and Asian markets took a beating on Thursday after Wall Street suffered one of its worst blows in two years on fears of a recession after decades of high inflation.

Retailers’ bleak earnings reports have heightened concerns about consumer resilience at a time of rising interest rates, soaring energy prices, lockdowns in China and the war in Ukraine.

“Inflation is catching up and profit margins are taking a hit. But soon those higher costs will be passed on and consumers will stop saving and become more cautious about their spending,” said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at OANDA.

“The question is whether we will see a slowdown or a recession,” he said.

Leading European and Asian stock indices closed in the red.

On Wall Street, the Dow was lower in late morning trading, but both the broader S&P 500 and tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite were higher.

Shares in Chinese tech giants plunged after Tencent reported disappointing earnings, sparking increased concerns about China’s economic prospects.

Tencent shares fell more than eight percent in early trading before curbing losses somewhat, a day after it posted its slowest sales gain since its IPO in 2004.

Among other tech titans, Alibaba fell more than six percent.

On Wall Street on Wednesday, all three major US indices plunged, with the Dow falling more than 1,150 points, or 3.6 percent.

The Nasdaq fell 4.7 percent at the close.

“Consumer confidence is likely to fall further as incomes come under pressure. Those big declines in stocks from retailers — Target and Walmart — and others like Amazon and Apple that we saw on Wednesday certainly point in the direction of this trend,” he said. Fawad Razaqzada, market researcher. analyst at City Index and FOREX.com.

“Inflation is not likely to decline significantly any time soon, while the economic outlook also looks bleak.”

Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets, said the US dollar also suffered “on Thursday from lower interest rates as concerns about the resilience of the US economy mount over the course of the year.”

In some of his most aggressive remarks yet, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said this week the US central bank would raise interest rates until there is “clear and convincing” evidence that inflation is declining.

But higher borrowing costs increase debt, putting further pressure on consumers and businesses.

The United States is experiencing the fastest rate of inflation in four decades, as is Britain, which has prompted the Bank of England to raise interest rates as well.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.)



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https://www.rt.com/news/555759-bundestag-germany-schroeder-russia/German MPs limit ex-leader’s privileges


Gerhard Schroeder no longer has money for his office and staff, but can keep his pension

The Bundestag’s budget committee voted on Thursday to cut funding for the staff and offices of former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. He continues to receive his pension and has access to security information. The new rule does not bring up Schroeder’s work with Russia, and the way it is worded could pose problems for Angela Merkel as well.

It was customary for Germany to provide a state-funded office and staff to former chancellors so that they can continue their political work. Schroeder, now 78, was chancellor from 1998 to 2005. According to German media, his office’s staff and travel costs last year were €400,000 (about $425,000), and were more than half a million before the pandemic.

The motion to strip Schroeder of the benefits came from the ruling ‘traffic light coalition’, which also includes his own SPD party. The opposition CDU supported the proposal and even wanted to withdraw Schroeder’s pension, but it was not clear whether that would be legal.

Schroeder has been criticized in recent months for his partnership with Russia, including oil and gas conglomerates Rosneft and Gazprom, and the Nord Stream pipeline. However, his connections to Moscow were not mentioned by the Bundestag, allegedly due to legal concerns.

Officially, the Bundestag has passed a rule that finances former chancellors “will be based on the ongoing obligation from the office” instead of their status, green legislator Sven Kindler explained on Twitter.

The move was criticized by the Augsburger Allgemeine newspaper as amounting to: “Lex Schroder”, a law aimed at a specific individual over political opinions rather than being universally applicable. The newspaper pointed out that Merkel, who retired in December 2021, “not yet taken on any major missions in the service of the country”, but has a “significantly bigger and almost twice as expensive” staff.

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Jordanian king places half-brother under house arrest


King Abdullah II says Prince Hamzah will not be given “room to offend the nation” as the royal divide widens.

Jordanian King Abdullah II has imposed restrictions on the movements, whereabouts and communications of his estranged half-brother Prince Hamzah, widening a royal divide in the kingdom.

In a forcefully worded public letter published Thursday, King Abdullah II said he had enacted the measures because of Hamzah’s “irregular behavior and aspirations”.

“We will provide Hamzah with everything he needs to live a comfortable life, but he will not be given the space he once abused to offend the nation, its institutions and his family, nor to threaten the stability of Jordan.” undermine,” he said.

Abdullah added that in the past year his half-brother had “exhausted every opportunity to put himself back on the right path”.

The announcement marked the latest chapter in an ongoing palace feud that saw the junior royal placed under a form of detention last year and the royal family’s internal disputes came into the public eye.

Abdullah and Hamzah are sons of King Hussein, who ruled Jordan for nearly half a century before his death in 1999.

Abdullah had appointed Hamzah as crown prince after his succession, but later stripped him of that title and instead appointed his own son as heir, as stipulated in the country’s constitution.

Alleged plot to destabilize the monarchy

Hamzah was placed under house arrest last year after he was accused of trying to destabilize the monarchy, a close ally of the West, in a foreign-inspired plot.

He was later spared a sentence after swearing allegiance to the king, but a former chief royal adviser, Bassem Awadallah, and a minor royal family were sentenced to 15 years in prison for their involvement in the alleged plan.

According to the Royal Court, Hamzah said in an apology sent to Abdullah in March that he hoped “we can turn the page of this chapter in the history of our country and our family”.

Restrictions on Hamza’s movements were eased after he issued the mea culpa, pledging not to act against the interests of Jordanian rulers.

But last month he announced that he was relinquishing his royal title, saying his beliefs were inconsistent with the “current approaches, policies and methods” of Jordanian institutions. That move angered the palace, which says titles can only be revoked by the monarch under royal family laws.

In Thursday’s letter, Abdullah lashed out at his half-brother, saying he would “never allow our country to be held hostage at the whim of someone who has done nothing to serve. [it]†

The monarch’s strongly worded public condemnation marked a potentially risky move. Hamzah enjoys great popularity in Jordan, especially among the tribes, who have traditionally been a mainstay of the royal family.



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Bank credit grows by 10.82 pc; deposits rise 9.71 pc: RBI data



Bank lending grew 10.82 percent to Rs 120.46 lakh crore and deposits grew 9.71 percent to Rs 166.95 lakh crore in the two weeks ended May 6, 2022, RBI data shows.

In the two weeks ended May 7, 2021, bank deposits amounted to Rs 108.70 lakh crore and deposits at Rs 152.16 lakh crore, according to the RBI’s scheduled position statement in India on May 6, which was released Thursday.

Bank advances increased by 10.07 percent to Rs 119.54 lakh crore and deposits by 9.84 percent to Rs 166.24 lakh crore in the past two weeks ending April 22, 2022.

In FY 2021-2022, bank lending increased by 8.59 percent and deposits by 8.94 percent.



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As COVID subsides, tuberculosis deaths should become visible


Tuberculosis killed 1.5 million people in 2020 – mainly in African and Asian countries – while two million people worldwide died from COVID-19 in the same period. Credit: Athar Parvaiz/IPS
  • Opinion by Angelique Luabeya Kany Kany (Cape Town, South Africa
  • Inter Press Service

As we emerge from the devastating toll of the pandemic on people’s lives and on global economies, we must wake up to face the staggering toll of 1.5 million tuberculosis deaths and 10 million new infections by 2020. And these deaths were mainly in African and Asian countries. Nations.

These deaths were largely invisible as we battled COVID-19. Even as countries lift COVID-19 restrictions due to declining numbers, we know that tuberculosis will continue to spread.

Access to tuberculosis care was also hampered by the pandemic constraints and COVID-19 priority for diagnostics and care in healthcare facilities. The goal of the World Health Organization (WHO) is to reduce the number of new TB cases by 90% and the number of TB deaths by 95% by 2035. We still have 13 years to reach that milestone.

The harsh reality is that we still don’t have a protective vaccine and there are more and more cases of drug-resistant TB. While research is underway, a critical factor hindering progress is lack of funding. The only available TB vaccine, Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG), developed in 1920, has limited efficacy.

The relatively rapid availability of various vaccines, treatments and diagnoses for COVID-19 illustrates how billions of dollars in funding can accelerate vaccine development against a new deadly disease. For example, the funding available for the development of COVID-19 vaccines is estimated at $107 billion, while only 0.117 billion is available for tuberculosis.

Yet tuberculosis killed 1.5 million people in 2020 – mainly in African and Asian countries – while two million people worldwide died from COVID-19 in the same period. To date, there are 109 vaccine candidates for COVID-19 and only 14 for TB. As noted, we only have one vaccine against tuberculosis while there are 18 vaccines available for COVID 19

Tuberculosis research needs at least $15 billion to meet the 2035 target. At the moment, researchers only have half of this amount at their disposal.

Why is there no funding for a deadly and age-old disease?

It can be argued that research into tuberculosis is too expensive. We have different phases for testing new drugs or vaccines in clinical trials. Before new drugs and vaccines are tested on humans, they are tested on animals for adequate safety and immune response. Then there are at least four phases of testing in clinical trials. The next cost implication is that there are different strains of the Tuberculosis bacteria, which increases the cost of testing.

Tuberculosis is a chronic disease with a slow progression from infection to disease. Measuring vaccine efficacy requires resources, time, and a large sample size of people participating in these studies. These steps increase the complexity and cost of developing tuberculosis vaccines. But these costs are small compared to what we spend on COVID-19 research.

Could the reluctance in funding be the result of the tuberculosis burden largely shifting to the poor countries of the South? Tuberculosis is not a pandemic, so the global drive to find a vaccine or drugs is different.

Pharmaceutical companies usually invest in drugs and vaccines that allow them to make a profit. Rich countries therefore have different health priorities. While rich countries have been hit by COVID-19, tuberculosis is largely managed there.

Unfortunately, most people at risk for tuberculosis come from low- and middle-income countries that cannot afford expensive vaccines or drugs. The incentive for these large pharmaceutical companies to invest in the development of tuberculosis vaccines is low.

In the 2016 report of “The catalytic framework to end AIDS, TB and Eliminate Malaria in Africa by 2030”, the African Union (AU) itself noted that “funding for research and innovation is not a priority among AU members, intra-African cooperation is lagging behind and partnerships are still largely drawn outside of Africa.” While external financing is critical, African countries need to strengthen and rethink their strategies to accelerate the development of tuberculosis vaccines and drugs.

As we roll out COVID-19 vaccines and ARVs are made available to HIV patients, we must renew our efforts to do the same with tuberculosis. Tuberculosis carries a high cost of infection, treatment and death. It is the leading cause of death for HIV patients.

African and Asian countries should invest in vaccine search and drug development as they bear the brunt of the burden. In addition, they need to strengthen weak health systems and step up efforts to detect and adequately treat cases of tuberculosis to stop transmission.

HIV and COVID-19 pandemics have shown that money can be freed up when humanity is threatened. The rapid spread of SARS-CoV2 illustrates the fact that the modern world is a global village.

The world should wake up to the rise of microbial resistance, including Tuberculosis Drug-resistant Tuberculosis is a real threat to humanity.

We should not wait for a COVID-like crisis to occur. We must harness the partnerships of this pandemic to prevent another. A world without tuberculosis feels like a dream. An efficient vaccine can make it happen.

Dr Angelique Luabeya Kany Kany is the Chief Research Officer at the South African Tuberculosis Vaccine Initiative, University of Cape Town. dr. Luabeya is the principal investigator of several clinical trials of new TB vaccines, two trials of COVID 19 vaccines, and diagnostic trials. She is a WHO-TDR Clinical Research and Development Fellow.

© Inter Press Service (2022) — All rights reservedOriginal source: Inter Press Service



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Pakistan bans imports of all non-essential luxury goods – Times of India


Luxury cosmetics are included in the list of import bans

KARACHI: Pakistan has banned imports of all non-essential luxury goods in an effort to stabilize the economy, the information minister said on Thursday, describing the situation as an economic emergency.
Pakistan’s current account deficit has spiraled out of control and its foreign exchange reserves have plummeted, while the Pakistani rupee has fallen to historic lows against the US dollar.
“All those non-essential luxuries that are not used by the general public have been banned completely on their imports,” Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb told reporters.
She said the measures are aimed at tackling fiscal instability, which she blamed on Prime Minister Imran Khan’s previous government, who was ousted last month in a no-confidence vote over allegations of mishandling the country’s economy. .
“There is an emergency in the country,” she said.
Among a large number of imports to be banned are cars, mobile phones, household appliances and cosmetics.
It was not immediately clear how long the ban will be in effect, but Aurangzeb said it, along with other fiscal measures, would help conserve crucial foreign exchange reserves for the next two months. She said the steps would save $6 billion annually.
Pakistan’s main imports are fuel and edible oil and pulses, which will remain unaffected.
According to some forecasts, Pakistan’s current account deficit will reach about $17 billion or more than 4.5% of GDP this fiscal year with a rising import bill and rising global commodity prices.
Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves have fallen rapidly, with central bank holdings falling $6 billion from $16.3 billion at the end of February to just over $10 billion in May.
Pakistan’s finance team is in talks with the International Monetary Fund in the Qatari capital Doha to restart a funding program it started in 2019 but has been stalled by Pakistan’s implementation of policies needed to raise funds. receive.

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