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Australia to manufacture ‘promising’ virus vaccine and give free to citizens

Australia has secured access to a “promising” potential coronavirus vaccine, the prime minister announced Tuesday, saying the country would manufacture it and offer free doses to the entire population.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australia had reached a deal with Swedish-British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca to receive the Covid-19 vaccine it is developing with Oxford University.

“The Oxford vaccine is one of the most advanced and promising in the world, and under this deal we have secured early access for every Australian,” he said.

“If this vaccine proves successful, we will manufacture and supply vaccines straight away under our own steam and make it free for 25 million Australians.”

The Oxford vaccine is one of five globally in Phase 3 efficacy trials, and researchers hope to have results by the end of the year.

It is the first such deal for Australia, and Morrison said his government was also in talks with “many parties around the world” over other potential vaccines as well as supporting local scientists in their efforts.

The country is yet to reach a final agreement with AstraZeneca on the cost, and a local manufacturer has not been locked in.

However, Australia has signed an Aus$25 million ($18 million) agreement with American medical technology company Becton Dickinson to buy 100 million needles and syringes to administer the doses.

Although none of the coronavirus vaccines under development has proved its efficacy yet in clinical trials, at least 5.7 billion doses have been pre-ordered around the world.

Five vaccines — three Western and two Chinese — are in Phase 3 efficacy trials involving thousands of people, including the Oxford vaccine.

AstraZeneca has also signed agreements to provide doses to the US, Europe, and Brazil.

Another deal struck by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, would see India manufacture the Oxford vaccine for distribution in 57 low- and middle-income countries.

First shipments of a Covid-19 vaccine created by Western laboratories have often been snapped up by the United States.

Morrison said Australia remained “committed” to ensuring early access to the potential vaccine for Pacific countries and regional partners in Southeast Asia.

Earlier this month he called on nations to share potential vaccines, saying any country that discovered one and did not make it available globally “would be judged terribly by history”.

Australia has recorded almost 24,000 cases of Covid-19 and 438 fatalities to date.

Early in the pandemic it was considered among the most successful at curbing the virus’s spread until an outbreak in Melbourne, the country’s second-biggest city, that authorities struggled to contain.

The outbreak — which was traced back to two hotels being used to quarantine travelers returning from overseas — has ravaged aged-care homes in the city, causing dozens of deaths.

An overnight curfew, mandatory mask-wearing and the shutdown of non-essential businesses now appear to be bringing the virus under control, with the number of new daily cases falling below 300 in recent days.

Difficulties surround Southeast Asian economies

Difficulties are surrounding Southeast Asian economies as consecutive “bad news” about the slowdown has been announced in recent days. The Southeast Asian economic slowdown also reflects serious global economic challenges.

Southeast Asian economies are experiencing a decline in growth at an unprecedented rate. The COVID-19 pandemic is considered the main cause pushing the economy of the region, which has seen dynamic growth for many decades, into trouble. Consecutive “bad news” about the economic slowdown has been announced by governments of Southeast Asian countries in recent days.

The National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC) of Thailand said on August 17 that the economic growth rate of the country has dropped its most since the Asian financial crisis in 1998. Accordingly, the gross domestic product (GDP) of Thailand has decreased by 12.2% compared to last year. NESDC also forecasts that Thailand’s economic growth in 2020 will decline by 7.3% to 7.8% compared with the previous forecast of a 5% to 6% decrease. The unemployment rate is 1.95% and there are about 1.8 million workers at risk of losing their jobs.

The Central Bank of Malaysia has just said that Malaysia’s GDP decreased by 17.1% compared to the same period last year. This is the deepest decline since the Asian financial crisis. Malaysia’s GDP is forecast to decline by 4% to 6% this year. Meanwhile, restrictive measures have created demand and supply shocks as global border controls have impacted heavily on the tourism sector.

Previously, other major economies in the region such as Singapore, Indonesia, and the Philippines also received negative statistics on economic growth. The “economic picture” of Singapore became gloomier when the Ministry of Trade and Industry announced that the country’s GDP in the second quarter of 2020 was -13.2%. It is forecasted that the GDP growth of the whole year 2020 of the “Lion City” will be between -7% and -5%.

In Indonesia, the country’s statistics agency said that the Indonesian economy declined by 5.3% in the second quarter of 2020. This is the first time the largest economy in Southeast Asia has declined since the first quarter of 1999. Meanwhile, in the second quarter of this year, the economic growth of the Philippines also dropped by 16.5% over the same period in 2019.

Other Southeast Asian economies such as Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar also experienced a decline in growth and face many difficulties, in the context that key sectors such as tourism, aviation and exports have stalled while financial and social security pressure has increased.

According to a report released by the Ministry of Tourism of Cambodia, as of July 2020, over 3,100 businesses operating in the tourism industry had to close, resulting in more than 110,000 workers losing their jobs. Cambodia is expected to take seven years to revive its tourism industry. Meanwhile, in Laos, macro-balance challenges are on the rise and economic growth is weaker due to the impact of the pandemic on both manufacturing and tourism.

In addition to the negative impact from the COVID-19 pandemic, some Southeast Asian economies also face many other economic difficulties such as weak infrastructure and logistics, reducing the competitiveness of the economy with export activities, and are under pressure due to the appreciation of local currencies.

In addition, the regional and international environment is not favorable for the development of Southeast Asian economies as the psychology of anti-globalization and supporting protectionism has increased; and regional security, instability and climate change have also negatively impacted the economic growth of the region.

Southeast Asia is known as a dynamically developing region, a “bright spot” in the world economic picture and has contributed significantly to global economic growth for many years. Therefore, the sharp decline in the growth rate of these dynamic economies shows that the global economy is facing extremely serious challenges.

The above-mentioned worrying statistics show that the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on regional economies has lasted longer than previously forecasted. It is essential that in the coming time, Southeast Asian economies must further strengthen their linkages as well as devise a more long-term joint plan in the “war” to realize the dual goal of controlling the epidemic and combating the economic depression.

Proclamation on 100th Anniversary of the Ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment

On this day in 1920, the 19th Amendment to our Constitution was ratified, securing the right to vote for women and marking a monumental step toward the “more perfect Union” envisioned by our Founders.  This milestone in American history was the product of the tireless efforts of suffragists and other advocates for women’s rights, who steadfastly pursued their vision of a more just and equal society.

In the early days of our Nation’s fight for independence, future First Lady Abigail Adams penned a letter to her husband, John Adams, urging him to “remember the ladies” as he fought to preserve the fledgling United States.  She advised him that “if particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation.”  In the decades that followed, bold trailblazers like Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Harriet Forten Purvis, and Frances Ellen Watkins Harper carried forward and fought for the fundamental right of women to vote.  The road to suffrage was long and challenging, but the faith, fortitude, and resolute determination of those committed to this noble cause brought about a victory that continues to inspire today.

As we commemorate this historic event, we also celebrate the incredible economic, political, and social contributions women have made to our Nation.  As President, I am committed to building on these accomplishments and empowering all women and girls to achieve their fullest potential.  As part of this effort, in February of last year, my Administration launched the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative, the first whole-of-government effort to advance women’s economic empowerment around the globe.  My Administration also released our Strategy on Women, Peace, and Security in June of last year to increase the political participation of women at home and abroad, recognizing that women’s participation in conflict resolution and ending violent extremism can set the course toward a more peaceful world.  We are also prioritizing the safety and well-being of women and girls through our commitment to combatting sex trafficking and empowering survivors, who are disproportionately women, and through Operation Lady Justice, the Presidential Task Force on Missing and Murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives.

My Administration also understands that empowering women means implementing an economic agenda that enhances freedom and creates opportunities for women and working families.  As part of this effort, the historic 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act doubled the Child Tax Credit, and I signed legislation that provided for the largest ever increase in funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant, which will help ease the burden of child care borne disproportionately by mothers.  Additionally, in December of last year, I signed legislation providing for 12 weeks of paid parental leave for Federal employees.  As I have since my first day in office, I continue to call on the Congress to pass a nationwide paid family leave program.

My Administration’s unprecedented investment in working families is already paying dividends.  Women’s unemployment in the United States reached the lowest level in 65 years.  And in 2019, women filled 71 percent of all new jobs in the United States.

Today, as we celebrate a major step forward for our Nation, we pay tribute to the countless women, known and unknown, throughout our history who struggled for equality.  In doing so, we recommit to ensuring our Constitution is faithfully upheld so that all Americans can pursue their dreams and fulfill their God-given potential.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim August 18, 2020, as a day in celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the Ratification of the 19th Amendment.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this eighteenth day of August, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-fifth.

Teen survives fall at hiking spot in Pennington County

A teen is recovering from broken bones after falling about 100 feet down a steep hill at a popular hiking spot in Pennington County.

The male teen was flown to Monument Health in Rapid City Sunday night for treatment of his injuries, sheriff’s officials said.

It took rescuers about an hour to reach the teen. Several agencies, including Pennington County Search and Rescue, worked to reach the teen.

Falling Rock is in the Black Hills National Forest west of Rapid City. Last year, a 6-year-old girl, Sadie Whitetwin of Pierre, died after accidentally falling from a cliff at Falling Rock.

Published by jim

Curator of things...

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