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Thursday, 2 December 2021

NIA Court Rejects Anand Teltumbde's Plea For Bail to Be With Family After Brother's Death

 Milind Teltumbde, a top-rung leader of the banned CPI (Maoist) organisation, died in a gunbattle in November.

 NIA Court Rejects Anand Teltumbde's Plea For Bail to Be With Family After Brother's Death 

File image: Activist and scholar Anand Teltumbde arrives to surrender before the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in connection with the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case, in Mumbai, Tuesday, April 14, 2020. Photo: PTI/Files

 

New Delhi: A special National Investigation Agency court has rejected a plea by scholar and activist Anand Teltumbde for temporary bail to visit his family in the aftermath of the death of his brother Milind.

In November, Milind Teltumbde, a top-rung leader of the banned CPI (Maoist) organisation, was one of 26 alleged Maoists who were killed in Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli district in a nearly 12-hour operation by security forces.

Anand Teltumbde was arrested in April 2020 as an accused in the 2018 Elgar Parishad case. He is yet to face trial.

Bar and Bench has reported that Anand submitted in his bail application that his family had lost all touch with Milind in the mid-1990s and had had no contact with him since then. He pleaded for 15 days’ bail to be with his mother in the aftermath of news reaching his family on his brother’s death.

A special judge had, last week, granted Anand no more than five minutes to speak to his mother, who has been in a state of shock since hearing of her son’s death.

In July 2020, Teltumbde had sought bail under section 167 (2) of Code of Criminal Procedure on July 13 as the NIA failed to file a chargesheet against him within 90 days as mandated under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). But the special NIA court had rejected default bail for him.

SOURCE ; THE WIRE

 

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Contract labour and firm growth in India

 

Author Image

Nick Tsivanidis

University of California at Berkeley

ntsivanidis@berkeley.edu

There is considerable evidence indicating that the Industrial Disputes Act (IDA), 1947 – which made it illegal for large companies to downsize – had a powerful disincentive effect for entrepreneurs in India. Using Annual Survey of Industries data, this article shows that constraints on large firms diminished since the early 2000s largely due to exploitation of a loophole pertaining to contract labour, rather than a de jure change in the labour laws.

In the late 1940s, newly independent India, fearful of the job losses if large British companies were to leave the country, passed a law that made it illegal for large companies to downsize. This law, which became known as the Industrial Disputes Act (IDA), 1947, was likely successful in ameliorating the immediate crisis, but it also likely distorted incentives for Indian entrepreneurs. Who would want to invest if one was stuck paying workers that are no longer needed if the investment turned out to be unsuccessful?

There is considerable evidence that the IDA did, in fact, have this powerful disincentive effect. First, the Indian manufacturing sector is characterised by a large number of informal firms, a small number of large firms, and a high marginal product of labour1 in large firms. Second, while US manufacturing firms typically grow by a factor of eight over three decades, the typical manufacturing firm in India does not grow at all over its life cycle2. These facts suggest that a law like the IDA discourages Indian entrepreneurs from growing, and consequently there are few large productive firms and too many small unproductive firms.

Relaxation of labour constraints among Indian firms

In a recent study (Bertrand et al. 2021), we show that constraints on large firms appear to have diminished since the early 2000s, despite the fact that there has been no change in the IDA. The reforms that started in 1991 largely dismantled reservations for small-scale industries, and the industrial licensing laws, but left the IDA untouched. Consider the evidence in Figures 1 and 2, drawn from the micro-data of India’s Annual Survey of Industries. Figure 1 plots the distribution of employment by firm size in Indian manufacturing. It shows that the employment share of large Indian firms increased between 2000 and 2015. Figure 2 shows that average value-added (VA) per worker is increasing in firm employment in 2000 and 2015, but this relationship is more attenuated in 2015 compared to 2000, particularly for firms with more than 100 workers. If the marginal product is proportional to the average product of labour, and profit-maximising firms equate the marginal product of labour to the cost of labour, then this suggests that the effective cost of labour has diminished for larger Indian firms compared to smaller firms.

Figure 1. Firm size distribution, 2000 versus 2015

Notes: (i) Figure shows employment-weighted distribution of firm employment. (ii) Right panel shows coefficients and 95% confidence intervals from non-parametric regressions of log VA/worker on log employment using Epanochnikov kernel with a bandwidth of 0.6. (iii) Employment here is defined as the number of non-managerial workers. (iv) Log VA/worker is residualised by industry and year fixed effects.

Figure 2. Value added per worker by size, 2000 versus 2015

Notes: (i) Figure shows coefficients and 95% confidence intervals3 from non-parametric regressions of log VA/worker on log employment using Epanochnikov kernel with a bandwidth of 0.6. (ii) Employment here is defined as the number of non-managerial workers. Log VA/worker is residualised by industry and year fixed effects4.

The decline in the bite of the IDA does not come from a de jure change in Indian labour laws, but rather due to a workaround from the rapid development of the labour contracting industry in India since the early 2000s. The IDA only applies to a firm's full-time employees; workers supplied through third-party intermediaries are not the firm's employees for the purposes of the IDA. Contract workers are employees of the staffing companies, and the staffing companies are required to abide by the IDA. This loophole provides customer firms with the flexibility to return the contract workers to the staffing company without being in violation of the IDA. Figure 3 shows the probability that contract workers account for more than 50% of total firm employment as a function of total firm employment. Among smaller firms, there has been no discernible increase in the share of firms where contract labour is at least 50% of the workforce. In contrast, there has been a dramatic increase among larger firms, particularly those with more than 100 workers. We trace this increase to a 2001 decision by the Supreme Court of India that made large firms less reticent to rely on a large pool of contract workers for ‘core’ activities5.

Figure 3. Contract labour use and firm size: 2000 versus 2015

Note: Plot shows point estimates and 95% confidence intervals from non-parametric regression of the probability a plant hires more than 50% of its non-managerial workers through contractors on (log) non-managerial employment.

In sum, the relaxation of labour constraints facing large Indian firms since the early 2000s came from exploiting a loophole rather than a de jure change in Indian labour laws. In this sense, this episode is another example of what many people in India call jugaad, which very roughly, means finding informal solutions to problems. But as with all informal solutions, it potentially raises other costs that may make further progress difficult. In particular, one may be concerned about further growth potential when most productive firms rely on contract labour for such a large share of their workforce. Future work should also consider the implications of this development for labour training, skill upgrading, and bargaining power.

A version of this article first appeared on VoxEU.

Notes:

  1. Marginal product of labour is the increase in a firm’s production when an additional unit of labour is added.
  2. See Hsieh and Olken (2014) on the firm-size distribution in India, and Hsieh and Klenow (2014) for evidence on low life-cycle growth in Indian manufacturing.
  3. A confidence interval is a way of expressing uncertainty about estimated effects. A 95% confidence interval, means that if you were to repeat the experiment over and over with new samples, 95% of the time the calculated confidence interval would contain the true effect.
  4. Fixed effects control for time-invariant unobserved individual characteristics.
  5. The 2001 Supreme Court decision made it explicit that firms that employed contract workers did not have to absorb these workers in the event of a downsizing. Prior to this decision, Indian labour law was not clear on this point.

Further Reading

  • Bertrand, M, C Hsieh and N Tsivanidis (2021), ‘Contract Labor and Firm Growth in India’, NBER Working Paper No. 29151.
  • Hsieh, Chang-tai and Peter Klenow (2014), “The Life-Cycle of Manufacturing Plants in India and Mexico”, Quarterly Journal of Economics, 129(3): 89-108.
  • Hsieh, Chang-tai and Benjamin Olken (2014), “The Missing “Missing Middle”, Journal of Economic Perspectives, 28(3): 1403-1448. 

 

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Global need for humanitarian aid to 'skyrocket' in 2022

 

UN humanitarian agency OCHA has estimated that 274 million people worldwide would need some form of emergency assistance next year, up 17 percent on an already record-breaking 2021.

The report by OCHA  presented a depressing picture of soaring needs brought on by conflicts and worsening instability in places like Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Yemen, Syria, and Myanmar.
The report by OCHA presented a depressing picture of soaring needs brought on by conflicts and worsening instability in places like Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Yemen, Syria, and Myanmar. (Reuters)

The United Nations has warned that the need for humanitarian aid is skyrocketing worldwide, as the pandemic continues to rage, and climate change and conflicts push more people to the brink of famine.

One in 29 people will need help next year, the UN's humanitarian agency OCHA found in its Global Humanitarian Overview report published on Wednesday.

This marks a 250-percent-increase since 2015 when one in 95 needed assistance.

OCHA estimated that 274 million people worldwide would need some form of emergency assistance in 2022, up 17 percent on an already record-breaking 2021.

The number of people in need "has never been as high as this", UN aid chief Martin Griffiths told reporters.

The annual appeal said that providing aid to the 183 million most vulnerable people across 63 countries next year would require $41 billion, up from the $35 billion requested for 2021.


Covid-19, climate crisis

The report pointed out that the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic along with measures aimed at reining in the virus, had pushed some 20 million more people into extreme poverty.

It has also devastated health systems worldwide, with testing for HIV, tuberculosis and malaria plunging 43 percent, and 23 million children worldwide missing basic childhood vaccines in 2021.

The report also warned that by 2050 as many as 216 million people could be forced to move within their own countries due to the effects of global warming.

"Without sustained and immediate action, 2022 could be catastrophic," it cautioned, pointing out that as many as 811 million people worldwide are already undernourished.


Heavy toll of conflicts

The appeal warned that more than 24 million people — 65 percent of the Afghan population — needed aid, including around nine million people expected to be on the brink of famine.

It requested $4.5 billion to help the 22 million most vulnerable people in Afghanistan in 2022 — tripling its ask from a year ago.

Billions of dollars were also requested to help the many millions of people impacted by the drawn-out conflicts in Syria and Yemen.

And the appeal highlighted swelling needs in Ethiopia, where thousands have died and millions have been displaced since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sent troops into the northern Tigray region more than a year ago.

Griffiths said the situation in Ethiopia was perhaps the world's "most alarming" with an estimated 26 million people requiring humanitarian aid.


 Source: AFP

 

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How the BJP’s Manoeuvres in J&K Have Caused Political Chaos From the Grassroots to the Top

 

The dismantling of the region's democratic structures since Governor's Rule in 2018 has resulted in the disempowerment of the politically inclined and a series of defections from prominent parties.

Peerzada Muzamil

Srinagar: “I do not go to my village when it is dark,” said Mushtaq Ahmad Khan, a village head from Central Kashmir’s Beerwah area. 

The sarpanch barely remembers the last time he spent a night in his Budgam district village. That is because Khan currently resides in a government-facilitated accommodation in Srinagar, where he feels relatively safer than he does in his village.

Like Khan, scores of panchs (members of a panchayat or village council) and sarpanchs have been holed up in ‘safe’ accommodations for years due to apprehensions of being soft targets for militants. Khan himself, for example, has not spent a single night in his village since 1999. Others were placed in government accommodation at various times over the past two decades – just before the District Development Council (DDC) polls last year, after the DDC polls, in 2018 at the time Governor’s Rule was declared in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) and so on. Their fears have worsened since August 9 this year, when suspected militants killed a sarpanch named Ghulam Rasool Dar, along with his wife Jawahira, in the Anantnag district of South Kashmir. The recent spate of ‘target killings’ by militants in the Union Territory of J&K has added to their anguish.

Apart from creating an atmosphere of fear at the grassroots level, the security issue has also placed the work of panchayats in a state of limbo. Groundwork has been reduced to a bare minimum, said Khan, whose credibility among his fellow villagers is at stake.

“How do we face the people from whom we have sought votes?” he asked.

Sarpanchs, who are paid very little, have felt disempowered since the DDC polls of 2020, said Khan, who is also the Panchayat Conference’s provincial president for Kashmir.

The DDC elections were the first major electoral flex in the erstwhile state of J&K after the region lost its semi-autonomy and statehood in August 2019 when Article 370 of the constitution, which conferred J&K with a special status, was read down, as was Article 35A, which allowed the state legislature to define the ‘permanent residents’ of the state so as to grant them special rights and privileges. 


The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) then needed to show the world that the Narendra Modi-led Union government had kicked off the electoral process and opened up democratic space in the restive region. It was also important for the saffron party to win the DDC polls by huge margins to prove that the sweeping changes it had enacted in J&K since August 2019 were approved by locals.

But it came as a shock to the BJP when the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) decided to contest the election. This new political formation comprised the National Conference (NC), People’s Democratic Party (PDP), People’s Conference (PC; it later pulled out from the alliance), Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI(M)), Awami National Conference and Jammu Kashmir People’s Movement came together to demand the restoration of Articles 370 and 35A.

The results of the polls were exactly the opposite of the BJP’s expectations. The saffron party bagged 75 out of 235 seats while the PAGD won 110. And only three of these 75 were in the Kashmir Valley. In fact, as previously reported by The Wire, the BJP’s vote share showed a marked decline even in the Jammu region, which is considered a strong electoral platform for the ruling party.

“The DDC polls backfired for the BJP-led Centre, as PAGD’s sweeping victory sent out a clear message to the world that people are unhappy with the status quo,” the NC spokesperson, Ifra Jan, told The Wire.

She added: “Holding the DDC polls in the region was not just a political gimmick to seek validation for the abrogation of the special status of the state, but it was also a manoeuvre to test the waters. The DDC elects do not have a speck of power in their hands.”

Although the BJP overplayed its three-seat victory in the DDC polls to claim that the democratic process had been successful, political analysts like professor Sheikh Showkat Hussain, an expert in human rights and international law, argue that “democracy cannot be restored from the bottom or the grassroots. It always trickles down from the top”.

“They [the BJP-led government] dismantled every democratic structure that existed at the top and tried to replace it with a panchayat raj. It was bound to fail. And fail it did,” said Hussain.

According to his assessment, every move that the BJP has made since the nullification of Article 370 has brought them “back to square one.”

A woman casts her vote in the first phase of the District Development Council in Jammu and Kashmir on November 28. Photo: PTI

Turning back the clock

Since June 2018, Jammu and Kashmir has been ruled directly by New Delhi. On June 19, 2018, the BJP withdrew its support to the coalition government headed by the Mehbooba Mufti-led PDP. The then J&K governor N.N. Vohra put the state legislative assembly under ‘suspended animation’, leading to the imposition of governor’s rule in the region. On November 21, 2018, the newly-appointed governor, Satya Pal Malik, dissolved the state assembly minutes after Mehbooba Mufti shared a letter on Twitter which said she sought to form a government with her political archrivals, the NC and the Congress.

The following year, ominous events unfolded one after another. Subsequent to the deadly Pulwama attack on February 14, 2019, the BJP-led Union government proscribed Jamat-e-Islami, a leading sociopolitical organisation, and the Yasin Malik-led pro-independence Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF). A crackdown on J&K’s resistance leadership through the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) followed. 

In the last week of July 2019, the Indian government deployed more troops to Kashmir. The administration led by Satya Pal Malik issued several orders directing tourists, non-local migrant workers, pilgrims and students to leave the valley with immediate effect. All these events created panic and uncertainty among the people of J&K. This was followed by a complete communications blackout imposed during the intervening night of August 4 and 5.

On the dawn of August 5, 2019, Amit Shah, the Union minister for home affairs, announced the annulment of the provisions of Articles 370 and 35A on the floor of parliament. The Jammu and Kashmir Re-Organisation Bill was also introduced and became an Act after receiving presidential assent on August 9.

While this happened, the BJP government incarcerated almost all the mainstream Kashmiri leadership, including three former chief ministers. Most of the politicians were booked under frivolous cases while others were jailed under draconian laws such as the Public Safety Act (PSA).

Mainstream politicians expressed explicit dismay at the Union government’s move, calling it unilateral and unconstitutional. Challenging the decisions of the BJP-led government, some of Kashmir’s prominent leaders filed writ petitions in the Supreme Court.  

Jammu and Kashmir’s leading Communist leader, Mohammed Yousuf Tarigami, disparaged the BJP’s actions with respect to Kashmir and described the August 5 move as an unprecedented “breach of trust”. 

“A unique treatment was meted out to the people of Jammu & Kashmir. It was a breach of trust and an unprecedented assault on the Constitution of India,” Tarigami told The Wire. “There were no debates with the stakeholders, civil society etc.”

Tarigami, who is also the chief spokesperson and convener of the PAGD, added: “Many writ petitions are lingering on the tables of the Supreme Court and we haven’t been given a single hearing till date.”

Tarigami filed another affidavit in the Supreme Court in August this year, hoping for an early hearing to his petitions that challenge the Centre’s decision to revoke provisions of Articles 370 and 35A while adversely introducing the J&K Reorganisation Act 2019.

Mohd Yusuf Tarigami. Photo: PTI/Files

Uncertainties ahead

While unionists anticipate that New Delhi will hold assembly elections in J&K and also restore the region’s statehood, the road ahead is bumpy and fraught with uncertainties. One of these anxieties resides in the delimitation of assembly constituencies.

Tarigami’s petition mentions the “illegal” constitution of the Delimitation Commission executed by the Union government to alter the number of seats in the legislative assembly from 87 to 94 before any elections are held in J&K.

Although the process of carrying out the delimitation by redrawing the borders of the Lok Sabha and the assembly segments in a state based on the preceding census is seen as routine in the Indian political fabric, it is very sensitive in Jammu and Kashmir due to apprehensions that the BJP might use the process to its advantage. One of the concerns is that the political centrality of Kashmir Valley will be diluted as the number of seats increases in the Jammu region.

“The process of delimitation comes from the womb of the J&K Reorganisation Act, which several petitioners and I have challenged in the Supreme Court,” Tarigami asserted.

When the Delimitation Commission arrived in Kashmir on July 6, the PDP boycotted the meeting, citing concerns that it was aimed to alter the outcomes of the future assembly elections. In all likelihood, the move carries the potential of augmenting the BJP’s tally of seats, which in 2014 was 25, all from the Jammu division.

For PDP’s spokesperson Najmu Saqib, the post-delimitation scenario is uncertain and hampers their work on the ground. 

“Every political party is confused right now, for they do not know where their constituencies will lie tomorrow. It’s not just the delimitation, it is also the reorganisation. Today, we know where a particular segment lies, but we do not know where that seat will be tomorrow. Some constituencies will be reserved, some reorganised and some carved out of thin air,” Saqib told The Wire.

Saqib’s concern is valid. In an article published in the Daily Excelsior, it was revealed that Ashwani Kumar Chrungoo, a Kashmiri Pandit and BJP leader, had suggested that the Delimitation Commission reserve five seats in the Kashmir division for minorities – three for Kashmiri Pandits, one for Sikhs, and one for non-Kashmiri-speaking Hindus.

Meanwhile, in Kashmir, there are fears that in the Jammu belt, and particularly in Muslim-dominated areas like Chenab Valley, the BJP will carve out new constituencies that will further fragment the Muslim vote. 

On similar lines, major political groups like the NC and the PDP are apprehensive that the opaque process will systematically weaken their foothold in the Kashmir region as well. 

“The BJP’s proxies are being taken on board. They have some idea of how and where these constituencies are going to be reorganised,” Saqib said.

The saga of defections

In the eyes of the PDP and the NC, smaller parties like the Altaf Bukhari-led Apni Party and the Sajad Lone-led PC are the BJP’s all-weather friends. After performing well as a single unit in the DDC elections, the PAGD developed fissures within and Sajad Lone pulled out of the alliance, alleging that some constituents of the new grouping had fielded proxy candidates in the DDC polls.

Syed Altaf Bukhari floated his Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party with the majority of its members coming from the PDP from which Bukhari had been expelled in 2018.

Soon, a pattern emerged with several NC and PDP leaders deserting their respective parties and joining the Apni Party or PC instead. In this shuffle of defections, the PDP suffered the most, as many prominent names dumped the party and joined Lone’s party.

Altaf Bukhari with two DDC polls candidates who joined J&K Apni Party in Shopian. Photo: Twitter/@Apnipartyonline

Adnan Ashraf Mir, the spokesperson for the PC, denied all allegations that his party is an ally of the BJP. 

“It’s mere political rhetoric that they [the NC and PDP] resort to when they are not in power,” Mir told The Wire during an interview in Srinagar. He added that “mudslinging on the PC” would not hide the past blunders of the PDP and the NC.

Although analysts see defections as a commonplace occurrence in politics, the dynamics within Kashmir’s sticky political landscape are different. Professor Noor Ahmad Baba, a senior political scientist, argued that the PC attracted deserters because “politically adventurous people always flock towards greener and safer pastures”.

“The PC is safe for them [the defectors] because they know that ED or NIA raids won’t happen there,” Ifra Jan, the NC spokesperson, said.

The traditional parties of Kashmir accuse the BJP of misusing agencies like the NIA and the ED to weaken, threaten and silence them.

Recently, Mehbooba Mufti’s brother Tassaduq Hussain was summoned by the ED in an alleged money laundering case. The summons arrived a day after Mufti protested the controversial Hyderpora shootout in which four people were killed. Earlier this year, on July 6, the ED issued a summons to Mufti’s mother in an alleged money laundering case. The summons came almost immediately after Mufti’s party decided to boycott the meeting with the Delimitation Commission in Srinagar.

“The moment I raise my voice against any wrongdoing, there is a summons waiting for someone from my family,” the Press Trust of India quoted Mufti as saying.

Meanwhile, about 20 Congress leaders considered close to former J&K chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad submitted their resignations to the party high command last week, citing as a reason the “incapable leadership” of Ghulam Ahmad Mir, the president of the J&K Pradesh Congress Committee. 

Given Azad’s fractured relationship with the INC, speculations are rife that a new party, with Azad leading the frontline, will be floated ahead of the assembly polls, mainly to contest in the Chenab Valley and Pir Panjal regions. If that turns out to be the case, the regional Muslim vote will be further fragmented.


Only time will tell whether the mass resignations are a pressure tactic to seek the ouster of Mir or a ploy to help realise the BJP’s dream of installing a Hindu chief minister in J&K.

Peerzada Sheikh Muzamil is a Srinagar-based freelance journalist. He tweets @Peerzadamuzamil.

source ; the wire

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First case of Omicron found in US – latest updates

 

Covid-19 has infected more than 263M people and killed over 5.2M worldwide. Here are the latest coronavirus-related developments:

Public health officials said the infected person, who had mild and improving symptoms, returned to the United States from South Africa on November 22 and tested positive seven days later.
Public health officials said the infected person, who had mild and improving symptoms, returned to the United States from South Africa on November 22 and tested positive seven days later. (AFP)

Thursday, December 2, 2021

US reports its first known Omicron case

The United States has identified its first known Covid case caused by the Omicron variant, discovered in a fully vaccinated patient who traveled to South Africa, as scientists continue to study the risks the new version could pose.

Public health officials said the infected person, who had mild and improving symptoms, returned to the United States from South Africa on November 22 and tested positive seven days later.

That patient was fully vaccinated but did not have a booster shot, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top US infectious disease official, who briefed reporters at the White House.

The person is in self-quarantine and all of the patient's close contacts have tested negative, he said.

South Korea sees more than 5,000 new cases

South Korea's daily coronavirus case numbers have risen to a new high, as authorities halted quarantine exemptions for fully vaccinated inbound travellers for two weeks in a bid to fend off the Omicron variant.

The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) reported 5,266 new cases, a day after the daily tally rose above 5,000 for the first time amid concerns over a sharp rise in patients with severe symptoms.

South Korea will require a 10-day quarantine for all inbound travellers for two weeks starting on Friday, halting exemptions given earlier to fully vaccinated people, the KDCA said.

South Africa 'punished' with travel ban for detecting new variants quicker

South Africa's president has said that the latest round of Covid-19-related travel bans is akin to punishing the country for its advanced genomic sequencing and ability to detect new variants quicker.

"Excellent science should be applauded and not punished," Cyril Ramaphosa said in his opening remarks during a state visit to Nigeria.

Last week, South African scientists announced that they had discovered a new Covid-19 variant with a large number of mutations compared to previous variants and reported it to the World Health Organization, which named it Omicron.

Days later, a number of countries imposed travel bans on South Africa and other southern African countries, including Namibia, Lesotho, Botswana, Eswatini, Malawi, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique.

Facebook hits anti-vaccine campaign harassing doctors

Facebook's parent company Meta has said it derailed an anti-vaccine campaign that harassed medical workers, journalists, and elected officials, in a signal of the ongoing pressure from coronavirus pandemic-tied misinformation.

The social media giant took down accounts in France and Italy that were linked to a conspiracy movement called "V_V", which inundated pro-vaccine posts with potentially tens of thousands of comments.

"V-V" supporters also "mass-harassed" people on YouTube, Twitter, VKontakte, and other online platforms, using swastikas or other images as well as calling doctors and media workers "Nazi supporters" for backing vaccines, Meta said.

The company's update regarding efforts to counter misinformation and harassment on its platform comes as the tech giant battles accusations that it puts profit over user safety.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies 

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Social media looks at the big picture.

 Social media is interested in every detail.

social media is curious.

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Social media is irreplaceable.

But never irrelevant.

Social media is you.

(With input from news agency language)

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