News, May 30th

COVID-19 virus emerged from gene shuffling across bats, pangolin:  Study

By analyzing 43 complete genome sequences from three strains of SARS-CoV-2-like coronaviruses from bats and pangolins, Li and colleagues delineated which strains were most and least similar to the novel coronavirus, with a special focus on genes related to the virus’ spike protein complex, – a critical component that facilitates viral entry into host cells.

They found evidence of strong evolutionary selection around the RBM among the bat, pangolin, and human coronaviruses they studied.

Amino acid sequences from these viruses and SARS-CoV-2 were identical or nearly identical in the regions adjacent to the RBM, suggesting that common evolutionary mechanisms shaped these distinct viral strains.

Together, evolutionary selection and frequent recombination among coronaviruses from bats, pangolins, and humans may have allowed the closely related viruses to readily jump between species, leading to the introduction of SARS-CoV-2 in humans.

While the precise origin of SARS-CoV-2 remains a mystery, this study makes clear “that reducing or eliminating direct human contact with wild animals is critical to preventing new coronavirus zoonoses in the future”

From fighting with guns to fighting the pandemic

In countries suffering from conflict, readjusting to life in a peaceful society is a challenge, both for former fighters and the wider community. Since the spread of the COVID-19 crisis, the UN is having to refocus many of its programs, aimed at reducing violence in communities, and rehabilitating combatants.

“Before I did not have a trade but, thanks to this training, I am becoming a valuable asset to my country”, says Nassira Zakaria, from Kaga Bandoro, a northern market town in the Central African Republic (CAR).

Ms. Zakaria, a trainee seamstress in a Community Violence Reduction program, run by the UN peacekeeping mission in CAR, MINUSCA, says that she is glad to be able to turn away from armed conflict, learn new skills and, above all, be of use to her community. “By making face masks, I can contribute to the fight against COVID-19”.

Just over a year ago, a peace agreement was signed by the CAR Government, and officially armed groups in the country. Since then, progress has been slow, and the situation in CAR, one of the world’s poorest countries, remains fragile.

Community Violence Reduction programs are one of the tools used by the UN to prevent a return to conflict, and support communities. The peace process has been marred by a lack of political will from some of the armed groups, but MINUSCA has still managed to disarm and demobilize over 1,300 ex-combatants.

Projects involve vocational training in trades such as plumbing, electrical work and construction: in CAR, some 3,124 people have learned new skills. Today, the focus of these programs has shifted to COVID-19 prevention: trainees are sewing masks for the local population, making soap, constructing handwashing facilities, converting buildings into COVID-19 isolation wards, and learning more about the virus.

Karyakartas will also take letter written by Modi ji to 10 crore families of the country:  JP Nadda

Addressing a virtual press conference at party headquarter in New Delhi, BJP National President  Shri Jagat Prakash Nadda on May 30  extended  hearty congratulations on his behalf and on behalf of the party  & its crores  of workers to  Hon. Prime Minister and all members of the government for successfully completing first year of second tenure of the government. On the occasion, he also released Kamal Sandesh`s special issue on government`s achievements.

He said, Under the leadership of Narendra Modi, India has become self-sufficient and is marching towards self-reliant country for last six years. He added, it is the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi under whom India with self-dignity has made a distinguished and decisive image in the world.

He said, “The party through karyakartas along with Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji will take all the work done by government in the interest of common man to the people. Karyakartas will also take the letter written by Modi ji to 10 crore families of the country.”

Thailand’s poor on their knees as Covid-19 shrivels economy

Thailand has long paraded low unemployment as a symbol of its economic success. But millions like the Noidee family rely on informal work or day wages for survival, jobs imperiled by a feared 6-7 per cent contraction in the economy.

Two months after the lockdown and with the outbreak under control, Bangkok is gradually creeping back to life.

But Papassorn’s work has not returned while her husband has seen the roughly 1,000 baht (US$31) he earns each day as a motorcycle taxi driver more than halved because of a fall in customers.

The family have depended on the nearby Holy Redeemer Church for daily food handouts – a charity service which is being closed down as the city reopens. “Without food donations, I’ll have to fight harder for my family to survive,” said Thanapat as he moved on his knees inside his lodgings, occasionally knocking his head on the ceiling.

Vietnam co-chairs debate on protecting environment in armed conflicts

NDO/VNA – Protecting the environment in conflicts is a crucial need and a shared responsibility of the international community, Ambassador Dang Dinh Quy, head of the Vietnamese Mission to the United Nations, has affirmed.

Quy made the statement at an online discussion jointly held by the Vietnamese Mission to the UN, the Swiss Mission to the UN, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the UN Environment Program (UNEP) and the peace organization PAX on May 29 in response to the UN Protection of Civilians Week.

He stressed the need for States to pay attention to restore the environment after conflicts to help civilians soon stabilize their life and maintain sustainable peace.

He told participants that Agent Orange/dioxin has caused serious impact on Vietnam’s population and the environment, as over 3 million Vietnamese people are dioxin victims and hundreds of thousands of hectares of land are contaminated by the chemical.

Meanwhile, addressing dioxin consequences needs huge resources and time, he added.

Published by jim

Curator of things...

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