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India bracing for a third wave of COVID-19

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After India’s COVID cases and deaths soared in April and May – the nation is bracing for a third wave

A major New Delhi’s Hospital and several others ran so short of oxygen that many patients in the capital suffocated to death during the outbreaks in the second quarter of 2021/

As the nation recovers slowly from its second wave of infections and many COVID patients are discharged from hospital – health experts have attributed the turnaround as ‘thanks to growing levels of immunity from natural infection and vaccinations’.

A medic prepares a dose of the Covaxin vaccine during a vaccination drive at Hindu Rao Hospital, on February 16, in New Delhi, India. Sanchit Khanna/Hindustan Times

However the worst is yet to come, according to top medical experts

Hospitals have learned from a grim experience during the second wave, when funeral homes burned bodies non-stop and the deceased littered the banks of the holy Ganges river, too.

Now, the country is bracing for another possible surge in infections around its September-November festival season.

Hospital beds have been added at facilities around the country and hospitals are working to ensure ample supplies of oxygen.

Ganga Ram hospital is raising its oxygen storage capacity by 50 percent

The hospital laid a one-km-long pipeline carrying the gas directly to COVID-19 ICUs, and is installing equipment to keep the oxygen flow high.

It has also ordered an on-site oxygen-generation plant, which are mostly made in Europe and can take months to arrive given the surge in demand globally.

Could we see another new strain of COVID?

Almost all states in India are preparing special paediatric wards as some experts warn unvaccinated children could be vulnerable to any new virus mutations.

States including Madhya Pradesh are also stocking up on anti-viral drugs such as Remdesivir.

But with a government survey estimating as many as two-thirds of Indians already have COVID-fighting antibodies through natural infection, as well as 57 percent of its adults with at least an initial vaccine dose, many experts believe any new outbreak of infections could be much less devastating than the second wave.

Anthony Lucas is reporter, presenter and social media producer with ticker News. Anthony holds a Bachelor of Professional Communication, with a major in Journalism from RMIT University as well as a Diploma of Arts and Entertainment journalism from Collarts. He’s previously worked for 9 News, ONE FM Radio and Southern Cross Austerio’s Hit Radio Network. 

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Australian Football League ditches white uniform for women and girls

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The women’s football league in Australia has made a landmark move to scrap white shorts on field

The AFL has decided to ditch the white on field uniform for women and girls, in a bid to ease their anxiety surrounding periods.

It’s hoping the decision will ease feelings of anxiety for women and girls about their menstrual cycle when playing.

“I’m proud of the position the AFL has taken with this decision and thank our players for their leadership and passion…

Whilst this is a policy change for women and girls in AFL-run competitions, the ripple effect for community sport for women and girls is immense…

We want to lead to remove any barriers that prevent women and girls participating in Australian football.”

Nicole Livingstone- AFL general manager of women’s football
Credit: Traveller.com.au

The bold ban inspired by Wimbledon, means females will now wear coloured shorts.

The AFL received numerous reports of women and girls not wanting to participate in the sport because of worry tied to their period.

Now, they’re breaking down those barriers.

“Australian football has progressed since the introduction of AFLW, and this change of policy showcases the commitment to the integration of women’s football and its unique needs.”

NICOLE LIVINGSTONE- AFL GENERAL MANAGER OF WOMEN’S FOOTBALL

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Saudi Arabia signs Huawei deal during historic visit by President Xi

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Saudi Arabia and China are deepening their ties during President Xi Jinping’s visit to the Kingdom

Chinese President Xi Jinping received a lavish welcome as he forged a fresh partnership with King Salman of Saudi Arabia.

The pair signed a memorandum of understanding with Huawei Technologies, which covers cloud computing, and the possibility for high-tech infrastructure in Saudi Arabia.

The U.S. has raised concerns over security risks linked to the Chinese company’s technology.

Xi said Beijing sees Riyadh as “an important force in the multipolar world”.

He explained China and the Arabian region will “continue to hold high the banner of non-interference in internal affairs”.

President Xi’s vehicle was escorted to the king’s palace by members of the Saudi Royal Guard.

They were carrying Chinese and Saudi flags, before the two leaders sat down for a banquet.

U.S. National Security spokesperson, John Kirby said it is “not a surprise” that President Xi is travelling abroad, after his recent visit to Indonesia for the G20 Summit.

“We are mindful of the influence that China is trying to grow around the world. The Middle East is certainly one of those regions where they want to deepen their level of influence,” he said.

The two nations also signed 34 historic deals in relation to green energy, information technology, transport, and construction.

It is understood the agreements amount to $30 billion.

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Brittney Griner-Viktor Bout exchange leaves former U.S. Marine in Russia

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Former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan left behind by Biden administration during two separate prisoner exchanges with Kremlin

The United States government on Thursday completed a prisoner exchange with Russia after months of negotiations that resulted in the release of Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout for American women’s basketball athlete Brittney Griner.

The professional athlete was arrested in Russia in February 2022 after airport officials discovered cannabis oil in her vape cartridges.

Meanwhile, Bout is known as the ‘Merchant of Death’ and many critics say he is still a very dangerous man and was too great a prize to give Russia.

Additionally, former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan has been left behind by the Biden administration for a second time. Initially, the Biden administration was working to release both Griner and Whelan for the Bout who has served 11 years of a 25-year conviction.

But, the Kremlin ultimately handed the U.S. the choice of only Griner’s return or no deal at all.

In Russian custody for nearly four years, Whelan was convicted on charges of espionage and spying for the U.S. government. The 52-year-old was sentenced to 16 years in prison and remains imprisoned at a labor camp.

Both Whelan and the U.S. deny the charges.

U.S. President Joe Biden was asked about why Whelan was left behind. He said, “

Whelan’s brother told media outlets he is hopeful the Biden administration will also secure the release of his brother soon.

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