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10th Sustainable Mountain Development Summit to focus on COVID-19, climate in Himalayas- The New Indian Express

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By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: The tenth edition of the Sustainable Mountain Development Summit (SMDS) started on Friday and will continue till 20th November.

Organised by the Integrated Mountain Initiative (IMI), the three day summit is being hosted this year by the Darjeeling-Kalimpong Chapter of IMI and will focus on COVID-19 pandemic, inter-linkages between biodiversity, ecosystem, human health, migration, climate resilience and disaster risk reduction in the Indian Himalayas.

Due to COVID-19 pandemic and the protocols, the tenth SMDS session this year is being held online. The theme for this year’s SMDS is “One Health Making our Mountains Resilient”.

“The wellbeing of mountain people is inextricably linked to biodiversity. With the COVID-19 pandemic, inter-linkages between biodiversity, ecosystem, and human health have become starkly apparent. The pandemic also showed us that outbreaks and spread of diseases are not just a health risk, but regress human civilization by disrupting social life, economy, education, livelihoods, and rob people of basic dignity and wellbeing,” said the Integrated Mountain Initiative, a non profit organisation. 

The main objectives for SMDS tenth series is to focus on to advocate for resilient and sustainable policies and programmes in the IHR in averting future impacts of climate change, disasters and pandemics, share knowledge and inform policy and decision makers about the interconnectedness of the selected themes and the importance of One Health approaches in all aspects of development in the IHR.

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November saw fewer Covid deaths in Pimpri-Chinchwad, zero fatalities on eight days

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Even as two passengers from Pimpri-Chinchwad who returned from high-risk countries have tested positive for Covid, the month of November brought some relief to the industrial city as it witnessed fewer deaths due to infectious disease compared to the last few months.

According to PCMC health officials, 22 citizens succumbed to Covid-19 in November, the lowest figure in the last four months. In August, 54 died while in September, the figure was 39. In October, the deaths doubled as 83 lost their lives.

According to health officials, in the month of November, on at least 8 days, Pimpri-Chinchwad did not register a single death. “Otherwise, mostly the city registered a solitary death on most days,” officials said.

The first Covid death was registered last year on April 11. To date, there have been 4,511 related deaths in the industrial city.

The health officials said the Covid positivity rate has also gone down considerably in the month of November. “The COVID positivity rate is now below one per cent,” said Dr Laxman Gofane, medical officer. The current positivity rate is 0.78 per cent and the overall positivity rate is 12.67 per cent.

Officials said vaccination has also picked momentum with 25 lakh citizens so far receiving either first or both vaccine doses. Every day 10-15,000 citizens are receiving their vaccine doses at 200 civic and private vaccination centres.

Besides, in November, more patients recovered than the number of those admitted.

Municipal Commissioner Rajesh Patil said, “Since last one month, Covid deaths and positivity rate have come down. However, citizens should continue to observe Covid appropriate behaviour. Wearing mask, maintaining social distancing and washing hands regularly is essential to keep COVID at bay.”

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Internet swoons over Joe Biden’s bodyguard, comparing him to Tom Cruise in Top Gun

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Joe Biden’s security team is making headlines across the globe — but not for any act of bravery.

A member of his security detail took the attention off the US President during his Thanksgiving trip to Nantucket, thanks to his dashing good looks and striking similarity to a Hollywood superstar.

The unknown agent, who has been dubbed the “Tom Cruise” of the secret service, has now gone viral after footage of him was posted on social media.

The video, posted by TikTok user @life_with_Matt, has already notched up more than 400,000 views.

“Forget about the President, the Secret Service be looking fine,” he wrote on the video caption.

Other TikTok users seemed to agree, posting hundreds of comments, before they were promptly turned off.

However the video was reposted by another user, who left the comments on.

“Defending the nation with hotness,” one person wrote.

“That man is too fine,” wrote another.

Joe Biden’s security team is making headlines across the globe — but not for any act of bravery.
Camera IconJoe Biden’s security team is making headlines across the globe — but not for any act of bravery. Credit: TikTok

Another said: “I am a heterosexual man but this video made me feel things.”

The agent, casually dressed in khaki pants, a knit sweater, a black trench coat, and classic black Wayfarers, drew just as many comparisons to Tom Cruise.

“He’s conveying Tom Cruise to me in Top Gun vibes,” noted one fan.

The Bidens are back at the White House but visited the tiny Massachusetts island at the weekend to celebrate Thanksgiving.

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omicron: Japan starts booster Covid-19 vaccinations amid omicron scare

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TOKYO: Japan on Wednesday started offering coronavirus vaccine booster shots to health care workers amid growing concerns over a new variant of the virus that has already been detected in the country.
Japan’s initial vaccination drive kicked off in mid-February and some medical workers who received jabs more than nine months ago are now eager to get additional protection ahead of a possible next wave of infections especially after the new variant known as omicron, which was first reported in South Africa last week, was found in Japan on Tuesday.
At Tokyo Medical Center, a group of nurses and doctors received booster shots.
“It’s an important first step for our patients and their families to be treated with a sense of safety,” said hospital chief Kazuhiro Araki.
Even though vaccine efficacy against the new variant is still being examined, booster shots are important, Araki said, because the vaccines remain effective against other strains of the virus, including delta, which put heavy pressure on Japan’s health care systems this summer.
In principle, those who received their second shot eight months ago are eligible for a third shot to prevent breakthrough infections. Eligibility may be shortened to six months if there is a resurgence of infections, officials said.
Japan’s vaccination rollout got off to a slow start but surged from late May onward and now about 77% of the population has been fully vaccinated a main reason experts cite for Japan’s steady slowing of infections since September.
Booster shots for elderly people, who received their initial inoculations starting in April, are expected to begin in January.
The booster vaccination drive began amid a global scare over the new variant. The first case of omicron in Japan was detected Tuesday in a Namibian diplomat who recently arrived from that country.
Japan banned all foreign visitors starting Tuesday as an emergency precaution against the new variant. The ban tentatively extends through the end of the year. The government is also requiring Japanese nationals arriving in the country to quarantine for up to 14 days.
The World Health Organization warned Monday that the global risk from the omicron variant is “very high” based on the early evidence, saying it could lead to surges with “severe consequences.”

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