1st polio vaccination drive in Afghanistan since Taliban takeover

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Kabul, Oct 18 | A country-wide polio vaccination drive will begin in Afghanistan on November 8 for the first time since the Taliban took over the country in August, the Unicef announced on Monday.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and Unicef welcome the decision by the Taliban, who support the resumption of house-to-house drive across the country, the agency said in a statement.

The campaign will be the first in over three years to reach all children in Afghanistan, including more than 3.3 million kids in parts of the country who have “previously remained inaccessible to vaccination campaigns”, Xinhua news agency quoted the statement as saying.

“A second nationwide polio vaccination campaign has also been agreed and will be synchronised with Pakistan’s own polio campaign planned in December,” according to the statement.

“This is an extremely important step in the right direction,” said Dapeng Luo, WHO Representative in Afghanistan.

“We know that multiple doses of oral polio vaccine offer the best protection, so we are pleased to see that there is another campaign planned before the end of this year. Sustained access to all children is essential to end polio for good. This must remain a top priority,” he said.

“This decision will allow us to make a giant stride in the efforts to eradicate polio,” said Herve Ludovic De Lys, Unicef Representative in Afghanistan.

“To eliminate polio completely, every child in every household across Afghanistan must be vaccinated, and with our partners, this is what we are setting out to do,” he said.

Afghanistan and Pakistan are the only two remaining polio endemic countries in the world.

Source: IANS

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60K trucks carrying non-essentials inspected, 31 impounded: Delhi govt

60K trucks carrying non-essentials inspected, 31 impounded: Delhi govt

New Delhi, Dec 7 | A total of 63,727 trucks carrying non-essential commodities have been inspected and 31 impounded since the implementation of the CAQM’s guideline to bar entry of non-CNG and non-electric trucks in the national capital to prevent further deterioration of air quality.

This data was shared in a compiled Action Taken Report (ATR) with regard to directions taken by the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) on December 17 under section 5 of Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 “in public interest to curb high air pollution in Delhi”.

As per the initial guidelines, the entry of trucks in Delhi except those carrying essential commodities, till November 21 (subject to further review for extension) was stopped.

On November 24, Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai, following the commission’s order, announced the further extension of the ban till December 3. “We have decided that starting November 27, CNG and electric trucks will be allowed to enter. Other trucks will remain banned till December 3. From November 27, CNG and electric trucks, as well as essential service vehicles, will be allowed to enter and the others will remain banned till December 3,” he had told media in a conference.

The order was further extended till December 7 to reduce vehicular emission in the city.

Meanwhile, to control the dust pollution, up until December 5, a total of 576 sites have been visited by the Commission’s Flying Squads and based on serious violations and non-compliances observed in such sites across different sectors namely, industries, industrial areas, construction & demolition (C&D) sites, DG sets in commercial, residential setups and other miscellaneous sectors, etc., a total of 111 units sites have been identified for immediate closure, which include 28 Industrial sites, 42 Construction & Demolition (C&D) sites and 41 Diesel Generator (DG) sets.

In terms of geographical jurisdiction, 30 of these sites are in Delhi, 23 in Haryana (NCR), 43 in Uttar Pradesh (NCR) and 15 in NCR of Rajasthan.

There is a blanket ban on all the construction and demolition (C&D) activities in the city until further orders.

While stubble burning in the neighbouring states of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab is reported to be a major source of pollution in the capital, dust from the construction and demolition activities, vehicular emission and pollution from open burning contribute as the city’s own source of pollution.

Delhi’s air quality started deteriorating in the first week of November due to change in the wind direction, increase in stubble burning in its neighbouring states and bursting of firecrackers during Diwali. Its AQI continued to settle in the ‘hazardous’ category for about a week. Post which the Supreme Court took notice of the matter, directing the Delhi government to come up with scientific measures to bring the pollution level down.

It is only after a complete month that Delhi’s AQI began to settle in the lower end of the very poor category. On Tuesday morning, its AQI stood at 314 with the level of PM 2.5 and PM 10 pollutants at very poor and moderate categories, respectively.

Source: IANS

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Djokovic confirmed for ATP Cup: drops hint he will compete at Australian Open

Djokovic confirmed for ATP Cup: drops hint he will compete at Australian Open

Melbourne, Dec 8 | Djokovic confirmed for ATP Cup: drops hint he will compete at Australian Open. Serbia’s world No. 1 Novak Djokovic has confirmed himself for January’s ATP Cup tournament in Sydney, dropping a hint that he could compete in the season-opening major, the Australian Open, commencing on January 17.

Djokovic — who finished year-end world No. 1 for the record-breaking seventh time, moving ahead of his idol, American legend Pete Sampras (six years) — has perhaps given the clearest hint that he will be there in Melbourne to defend his Australian Open title in January.

A total of 16 countries will compete in the third edition of the ATP Cup beginning January 1, 2022, with four groups announced at the official tournament draw on Tuesday, according to sen.com.au.

“18 of the top 20 tennis players in the world will feature in the tournament set to run from January 1-9 as the main ATP precursor to the Australian Open.”

Djokovic has so far kept the Australian Open organisers and his fans guessing about his Covid-19 vaccination status, adding to the uncertainty over whether he will compete in the major.

Djokovic’s father Srdjan recently said that Novak “probably won’t” play the Australian Open as the tournament organisers’ decision to not allow unvaccinated players — or players who don’t share their Covid-19 vaccination status — amounts to “blackmail”.

The Australian Open director Craig Tiley has stated that only fully vaccinated players will be allowed to compete in the tournament. Djokovic, the nine-time and defending Australian Open champion, has refused to divulge his vaccination status, or whether he intends to get vaccinated before the event.

West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell to join Melbourne Stars for Big Bash…

Djokovic celebrated his 350th week atop the ATP Rankings on Tuesday, extending his record for the most weeks in the top spot, even as the Serbian set sights on Germany’s women’s tennis great Steffi Graf’s record of 377 weeks at the top of the WTA rankings.

Among the other top players who have confirmed their participation in the ATP Cup for their respective countries are, Dominic Thiem, Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev.

The event will see four winning countries advance to the semifinals following the group stage.

Source: IANS

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