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Why no to covid booster shot, Delhi High Court asks Centre

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The Delhi High Court on Thursday said the decision on administering booster doses of the Covid-19 vaccine should not be based on economics, and directed the Centre to apprise the court of its stand on this issue.

The court asked why shots to boost waning immune response were not being made available in India when other countries such as the United States and those in Europe were permitting and encouraging such inoculation. It asked the Centre to submit a timeline of the proposed rollout of booster doses, if a booster was considered necessary.

The division bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Jasmeet Singh took note of conflicting media reports and medical opinions on the need and effectiveness of boosters. It noted that experts in India were of the view that there is as yet no medical evidence to support the administering of these shots.

“The decision should not be based on economics because no doubt it is an expensive proposition and the government is doing it free for most and not many people are having to pay for it. Maybe that is the consideration that the government does not want to give this at this stage, but then we don’t want to land in a situation that we are overly conservative on this, and we land up in a situation like we were in the second wave. We will actually lose the advantage of this vaccination,” the bench said while hearing a matter in which it has been monitoring Delhi’s Covid-19 situation.

Many people, especially those who are old and suffering from other diseases, are anxious to know if they would require a booster, and when it would be permitted, the court said. “There are also reports that a large number of vaccine doses are lying unused whose shelf life would expire in some time to come,” it said.

The court also referred to the ongoing debate on the question of vaccinating children. “The other aspect is with regard to the vaccination below the age of 18 years,” it said.

Many developed countries have vaccinated their children and younger population against the virus. With schools across the country returning to in-person classes, there is concern that children might trigger a new wave of infections.

Earlier in the hearing, Justice Sanghi had mentioned concerns expressed by a section of the medical community that the country may face another “onslaught” if boosters were not administered. “If you don’t give booster now, jo kiya hai sab pe paani phir jayega,” he said, quoting a doctor. “It needs to be looked into. How is it that the western world is encouraging boosters, getting boosters, and we are not even permitting those who voluntarily want to take it?” he said.

AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria had said on Tuesday that booster shots were not needed in India immediately, and that the possibility of a “huge third wave” is “declining each passing day”. The court made a mention of Dr Guleria’s statement on Thursday.

ICMR chief Dr Balram Bhargava too has said there is no scientific evidence so far to establish that a booster dose is needed for further protection against Covid-19.

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Mehreen likely to be cast in Nagarjuna’s ‘The Ghost?’

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Akkineni Nagarjuna’s upcoming movie ‘The Ghost’ is being helmed by Praveen Sattaru. With two schedules of shooting wrapped up, the makers of ‘The Ghost’ are still uncertain on whom to cast opposite Nagarjuna in an important role.

Months ago, actress Kajal Aggarwal walked out of the project, citing personal reasons. After that, there were reports that actress Ileana D’Cruz would step into her shoes, which turned out to be false. Now, the latest grapevine is that Mehreen Pirzada has joined the team of this upcoming movie, which is billed to be a thriller. The makers are to soon make an official announcement regarding the same.

Mehreen, who has been part of films like ‘Manchi Rojulochaie’ recently, is busy with her upcoming movie ‘F3’, starring Venkatesh and Varun Tej. Director Praveen Sataaru, who got instant fame with his thriller ‘Garuda Vega’ seems to be quite confident of this movie.

‘The Ghost’ has Gul Panag and Anikha Surendran in key roles. Nagarjuna, who is currently busy with his upcoming family entertainer ‘Bangarraju’, will soon join the sets of ‘The Ghost’.

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Netflix Confirms February Release Date for Season 2 of Popular Superhero Series

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One of Netflix’s most popular superhero TV shows is finally returning for a second season. Raising Dion, based on the comic by Dennis A. Liu and executive produced by Michael B. Jordan, first debuted on Netflix in 2019 and told the story of a young boy who suddenly develops superpowers, and his mother who tries to help guide him through his new life. The series resonated with audiences and, in early 2020, Netflix announced that it would be bringing the show back for a second season. 

Things have been fairly quiet on the Raising Dion front, but Netflix finally shared some new information on Tuesday morning, revealing the release date for the second season. Raising Dion Season 2, which consists of eight episodes, will debut on Netflix on February 1, 2022. 

Stars Alisha Wainwright and Ja’Siah Young will be returning for Raising Dion Season 2, along with creator Carol Barbee, who will continue to serve as showrunner.

“I started this project many years ago because I wanted to see more diverse representation on film and television and I’m excited to partner with Netflix, who I know shares that commitment,” Liu said in a statement back when the series was first announced. “More than ever, we need more stories told from different points of view and my hope with Raising Dion is to create a cinematic experience for all families that will lift your spirits and make you laugh and cry.”

You can check out the official synopsis for Raising Dion Season 2 below.

“Raising Dion follows the story of Nicole (Alisha Wainwright) and her son Dion (Ja’Siah Young) after Dion starts to manifest several mysterious, superhero-like abilities. Two years after defeating the Crooked Man (Jason Ritter), Season Two follows Dion as he continues honing his powers with the support of his mom and Tevin (Rome Flynn), his Biona trainer who catches Nicole’s eye. After befriending new student Brayden (Griffin Robert Faulkner) – a fellow powered kid – a series of alarming events unfold, and Dion learns that danger is still looming. Navigating twists, turns, and surprise visitors, Dion and Nicole must prevail again — not just to save themselves, but the entire city of Atlanta.”

Are you looking forward to the second season of Raising Dion on Netflix? Were you expecting the new episodes to arrive so early in 2022? Let us know in the comments!

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Trevor Noah blasts Joe Biden’s South Africa travel ban as ‘bulls***’

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Trevor Noah has hit out as President Joe Biden’s ban on travel from South Africa and multiple other countries over the spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19.

Last Friday (26 November), the White House announced new rules that restricted travel between the US and several African nations as the virus continued to spread across the region.

Comedian Noah, criticised the decision on The Daily Show. He stated: “As a South African, I think this travel ban is total bulls***.”

He added: “Omicron has already been done in over a dozen countries around the world. We don’t know where it started. We don’t know how long it’s been around. It’s everywhere – from Hong Kong, to Israel, to Spain.”

Noah also slammed the decision to only ban travel between the US and African countries despite the fact the variant has already spread across the globe, including to the UK. Noah said: “Why aren’t you banning travel from all of those countries too? Huh? Only the African countries? I still don’t get the logic. You think Omicron is going to get to Europe and then just decide to stay there?”

He also said that the decision to ban travel between countries will also negatively affect the reporting of new variants of the virus: “You do realise that other countries are paying attention. And they realise that if they’re going to get punished for telling the world about new variants, they’re going to stop telling the world whenever their scientists discover new variants.”

As well as South Africa, Biden’s travel ban affects Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi, Lesotho, Eswatini and Namibia.

South Africa’s president, Cyril Ramaphosa, has also criticised the travel ban. He said there was no scientific basis for the ban and would further damage South Africa’s economy.

Ramaphosa said: “The only thing the prohibition on travel will do is to further damage the economies of the affected countries and undermine their ability to respond to, and recover from, the pandemic.”

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