Building deeper relationships

first_imgWhat is in it for the developer Tags: Betsson By sharing our unique data and insights with our developer partner, and combining this with our own development talent and that of the studio, we created a chart-topping slot in the region.  AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter This approach allows us to understand player behaviours and ensure that future game releases tap into their psyche and deliver the experience they are seeking.  Player preferences in Latin America are different to player preferences in the Nordics and operators must understand this regional diversity if they are to succeed in each country.  Megaways is obviously riding an unprecedented wave of success right now, so we realised there was huge potential by combining the two.  In addition to data and insights, the developer can also gain incredible exposure across our game lobbies which is particularly powerful for new studios trying to make a name for themselves.  To create this game, we looked back at our data and found that Joker-themed slots were hugely popular with players in the region – one in two active players had played a Joker-themed slot.  Paul Malt, head of games at Betsson Group, explains the operator’s new approach to finding content for its casino sites. And we see this as the star ingredient in our recipe for success.  This means partnering with a huge number of developers, which for Betsson currently stands at over 170 different slot studios, but we are taking this a step further by also working with developers to create exclusive games for our players.  Below, I discuss what we look for in a development partner and some of the benefits they can access by working with us to create bespoke and exclusive games.  One of the most important factors we consider when identifying a developer partner is their passion and dedication to creating truly excellent slot games.  Trust is also a big factor for us as we share data, experience and knowledge with our developer partners to ensure the games we create together are a success.  This not only means that we can diversify our content offering and stand out from our rivals, but that we can also tailor content to the specific needs of players at each brand and in each market.  But we do not believe that is the best option. An in-house studio requires incredible investment and ultimately stems the flow of creativity and innovation when it comes to game creation.  What we look for in a developer partner Operators understand the value of exclusive, bespoke and localised games and many have invested in their own studios to create this content at the scale they require.  Why Betsson Group is taking this approachcenter_img 4th December 2020 | By Robin Harrison We take an art and science approach to game development, combining reams and reams of player data with the creativity and talent of our in-house team and that of our developer partner.  Let me explain by way of example. In Q2 2020, we launched over 500 new games to players in the Nordics and the most popular was an exclusive title, Joker Megaways.  For Betsson Group, regional diversity is an absolute priority – we have over 20 brands live across 15 regulated markets and go to great lengths to localise the game lobby for each brand in each market.  There are plenty of upsides for the developer, from gaining additional exposure across our brands and game lobbies to being granted access to unique data and insights.  Building deeper relationships Topics: Casino & games Online casino Product & technology It also helps to foster a much stronger relationship between the studio and our casino team, and improves the chance of having their in-house, market-wide titles stocked in our lobbies.  We want to see that our ambitions and visions are aligned, and that the team behind the studio is smart and committed and shares our love for online casino.  One of the greatest challenges faced by operators with an international footprint is ensuring that the content they offer players in each market they are active is properly localised.  Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter It does not matter whether the studio is established or new, large or small – we just want to see enthusiasm, creativity and talent as well as an understanding of regional diversity.  At present, we are working with a small number of developers to create this content, but are looking to expand this number to around eight or ten over the coming months.   While we are selective with the developers that we work with and seek out those we believe to be a good fit, we are also interested in hearing from studios that would like to work with us.  Betsson’s goal is to have the most regionally diverse game portfolio of any platform in the market which ultimately means that the experience our players receive is tailored to their preferences more so than at any other brand available in their country.  Product & technology By taking the approach of partnering with a small number of developers, we gain access to the best talent and expertise in the market which in turn allows us to deliver superior content.  Email Addresslast_img read more

FTSE 100: 3 of the best shares to buy today

first_img See all posts by Rupert Hargreaves I’m sure you’ll agree that’s quite the statement from Motley Fool Co-Founder Tom Gardner.But since our US analyst team first recommended shares in this unique tech stock back in 2016, the value has soared.What’s more, we firmly believe there’s still plenty of upside in its future. In fact, even throughout the current coronavirus crisis, its performance has been beating Wall St expectations.And right now, we’re giving you a chance to discover exactly what has got our analysts all fired up about this niche industry phenomenon, in our FREE special report, A Top US Share From The Motley Fool. Image source: Getty Images I think some of the best shares to buy today are FTSE 100 companies set to benefit from the booming tech industry over the next few years. With that in mind, here are my top picks that I’d buy today. FTSE 100 tech investmentOne of the most prominent technology businesses in the FTSE 100 is Just Eat Takeaway (LSE: JET). Last year, the food delivery business reported a 42% increase in the number of orders placed on its platform. This growth yielded a 54% increase in revenues. Profits also jumped. Earnings before interest tax depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose 18% to €256m in 2020.5G is here – and shares of this ‘sleeping giant’ could be a great way for you to potentially profit!According to one leading industry firm, the 5G boom could create a global industry worth US$12.3 TRILLION out of thin air…And if you click here we’ll show you something that could be key to unlocking 5G’s full potential…Management is optimistic the company can build on this growth in 2021. However, despite its positive outlook, the stock has fallen by around a third since October of last year. I’d take advantage of this decline to buy the stock for my portfolio today. However, Just Eat faces risks and the primary one is competition. The online delivery market is becoming increasingly competitive, and profit margins across the sector are coming under pressure. The group’s going to have to spend more and more to stay on top. This could depress shareholder returns and potentially lead to lower growth rates in the long run.Best shares to buyAnother FTSE 100 company I’d buy with exposure to the tech sector is BAE Systems (LSE: BA).This might not be the first organisation many investors think of when looking for tech stocks. However, the company is one of the largest cybersecurity businesses in the country. The group is also heavily involved in developing technology for the UK defence industry. I think this is one of the best shares to buy, thanks to its technology exposure and defence sector income. Income from defence contracts tends to be tied to multi-year agreements, which provides a steady stream of income for the group.One of the biggest challenges BAE faces are the ethical considerations of the defence sector. The sector is also highly regulated, which means the firm can’t act with complete flexibility. The group may also be subject to sanctions and overseas sales restrictions, two risks other companies may not have to deal with. Delivery growthThe final company on my list of the best shares to buy now to profit from the tech revolution over the next few years is retailer Ocado (LSE: OCDO). Last year, the company reported a sharp rise in orders as consumers were forced to shop online during lockdowns. As well as its retail business, the company also sells the technology used to create robotic warehouses.The pandemic has exposed the risks of having humans in a supply chain, and I think this could lead to increased demand for the company’s automotive technology over the next few years. I think these twin tailwinds of rising brand awareness, coupled with higher demand for its technology, could drive the FTSE 100 stock higher. That’s why I’d buy the stock for my portfolio today. But it’s unlikely to be plain sailing for the group. The biggest challenge it faces is a copyright claim against its automated warehouse technology currently in process. Its automation division is also running at a loss. This could weigh on shareholder returns as Ocado tries to juggle two businesses under one roof.  FTSE 100: 3 of the best shares to buy today Rupert Hargreaves | Tuesday, 23rd March, 2021 | More on: BA JET OCDO Renowned stock-picker Mark Rogers and his analyst team at The Motley Fool UK have named 6 shares that they believe UK investors should consider buying NOW.So if you’re looking for more stock ideas to try and best position your portfolio today, then it might be a good day for you. Because we’re offering a full 33% off your first year of membership to our flagship share-tipping service, backed by our ‘no quibbles’ 30-day subscription fee refund guarantee. Click here to claim your copy now — and we’ll tell you the name of this Top US Share… free of charge!center_img Simply click below to discover how you can take advantage of this. I would like to receive emails from you about product information and offers from The Fool and its business partners. Each of these emails will provide a link to unsubscribe from future emails. More information about how The Fool collects, stores, and handles personal data is available in its Privacy Statement. Enter Your Email Address “This Stock Could Be Like Buying Amazon in 1997” Rupert Hargreaves owns no share mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Just Eat N.V. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Our 6 ‘Best Buys Now’ Shareslast_img read more

USA Sevens 2015 Wrap – Wonder tries, Highlights, Fiji’s victory and more

first_imgTuesday Feb 17, 2015 USA Sevens 2015 Wrap – Wonder tries, Highlights, Fiji’s victory and more Fiji stunned Wellington Sevens winners New Zealand with a convincing 35-19 cup final rout at the USA Sevens on the weekend. There were some sensational tries scored over the course of the tournament, so here is a look at the best, plus highlights and more. New Zealand were missing a few players due to injury but Fiji came out flying, thanks in part to the hoards of Fijian fans that took to the Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas.“It means a lot for us. We’ve talked about improving our defence and discipline and today it has paid off,” captain Osea Kolinisau said.View the highlightsThey raced off to a 21-0 lead at the break, before New Zealand scored 19 points in vain.“I thought we came back brilliantly at the end to score 19 points,” said coach Gordon Tietjens.“It’s been a tough week. It was always going to be quite demanding getting into a final, 10 minutes each way against a team like Fiji, but we learn from that. We started slowly and you can’t start slowly against a team like Fiji. They got a lot of loose ball, they’ve got a lovely set of skills and they scored some great tries.”Jerry Tuwai Vunisa and Semi Kunatani scored two tries each, with another from Savenaca Rawaca.Australia beat England to win the Plate, while France beat Argentina 29-5 to take the Bowl, and Canada eased past Samoa 26-10 to win the Shield.The next tournament, the sixth of nine, is in Hong Kong on March 27-29. South Africa remain top of the standings with 93 points following their 31-0 third place play off victory over hosts USA.New Zealand are in second place overall on 88 points, with Fiji two points adrift in third.Below are Seven of the Best tries from the tournament, featuring some outstanding pieces of play (look at Brazil’s try!). After the jump you can see the highlights from the final day, including the knockout stages and the Cup final. Which is your favourite try? Highlights from the finalADVERTISEMENT Posted By: rugbydump Share Send Thanks Sorry there has been an error Sevens Related Articles 66 WEEKS AGO Part three of the award winning USA 7s documentary… 107 WEEKS AGO Table topping Fiji fly past Australia to… 114 WEEKS AGO WATCH: Touching jersey ceremony for young… From the WebThis Video Will Soon Be Banned. Watch Before It’s DeletedSecrets RevealedUrologists Stunned: Forget the Blue Pill, This “Fixes” Your EDSmart Life ReportsYou Won’t Believe What the World’s Most Beautiful Girl Looks Like TodayNueeyIf You Have Ringing Ears Do This Immediately (Ends Tinnitus)Healthier LivingGranny Stuns Doctors by Removing Her Wrinkles with This Inexpensive TipSmart Life Reports30+ Everyday Items with a Secret Hidden PurposeNueeyThe content you see here is paid for by the advertiser or content provider whose link you click on, and is recommended to you by Revcontent. As the leading platform for native advertising and content recommendation, Revcontent uses interest based targeting to select content that we think will be of particular interest to you. We encourage you to view your opt out options in Revcontent’s Privacy PolicyWant your content to appear on sites like this?Increase Your Engagement Now!Want to report this publisher’s content as misinformation?Submit a ReportGot it, thanks!Remove Content Link?Please choose a reason below:Fake NewsMisleadingNot InterestedOffensiveRepetitiveSubmitCancellast_img read more

Residual legacies soar past pre-recession peak

first_img  34 total views,  1 views today AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to EmailEmailShare to WhatsAppWhatsAppShare to MessengerMessengerShare to MoreAddThis1 Photo: my will by alexskopje on AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to EmailEmailShare to WhatsAppWhatsAppShare to MessengerMessengerShare to MoreAddThis1 Howard Lake | 19 May 2014 | News Residual legacies soar past pre-recession peakcenter_img Tagged with: legacies About Howard Lake Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world’s first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp and co-founder of Researching massive growth in giving. Residual legacies to charities have undergone a sharp increase in the last financial year to take them “well above” their pre-recession peak, latest figures from the Legacy Monitor Consortium show.The average residual (or residuary) legacy – everything left over in a testator’s estate that hasn’t been specifically attributed –  stood at £55,600 at the end of March. The increase from £52,000 at 1 April last year has taken average residual values past the pre-recession peak of £53,400.Average residual value (£000) 2004-2014The Legacy Monitor Consortium says the increase in residual values is being driven by the buoyant housing market, which is seeing an increase in average house prices, and is largely responsible for the 7.15 per cent rise in total charitable bequest income last year.Forty of the benchmarking programme’s 67 charities – who account for more than half the charitable bequest market – saw their legacy income increase in 2013-14, taking the overall total to £1.15 billion.Legacy Monitor Consortium is a research programme set up in 2008 to analyse, benchmark and debate trends in the legacy market.Seven charities have joined the programme this year: Alzheimer’s Research UK, the Brooke, Greenpeace, Livability, the National Deaf Children’s Society, Shelter and National Trust for Scotland. New members will be invited to join in September 2014.last_img read more

Charitable Travel to generate unrestricted funds for charities

first_img Social enterprise Charitable Travel is to launch in April this year offering travel agency and tour operator services and donating a share of its income to charities that partner with it.The Charitable Travel brand has been developed by the not-for-private-profit social enterprise Fundraising Futures CIC. It will offer an array of worldwide holidays, hotels, flights and ancillary products.It has begun approaching charities who wish to partner with it in terms of inviting their supporters to book with them and generate a donation. Customers booking with Charitable Travel will be able to donate to the charity of their choice. In addition, as a social enterprise, the company will donate surplus profits to support disadvantaged communities in destinations where tourism is key to the local economy.  912 total views,  9 views today AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to EmailEmailShare to WhatsAppWhatsAppShare to MessengerMessengerShare to MoreAddThis Advertisement Travelling for good, with Charitable Travel Charitable Travel to generate unrestricted funds for charities Tilling’s preparations for working with charities includes undertaking a Masters in charity management, hence her recognition of the value to charities of earning unrestricted income.She is keen to point out that the company is not an overseas challenge event provider. Charitable Travel will launch as part of national independent travel consortium Worldchoice, which will ensure “a wide selection of quality and value travel products… and that the financial security needed when booking a holiday is assured.” Howard Lake | 27 January 2020 | News Melissa TillingCharitable Travel is led by Chief Executive Melissa Tilling, a fellow of the Institute of Travel & Tourism, who founded the CIC after stepping down as managing director of leading tour operator Funway Holidays in August last year, after 11 years with the company.She has over 30 years’ experience leading and delivering holiday and short breaks to UK travel consumers.She told UK Fundraising why she set up the enterprise, saying: “I have enjoyed my commercial career immensely but now want to devote my travel industry future to working hard offering our travel-for-good message.“My intention is to blend commercial success with underlying compassion, selling a wide variety of quality and competitively priced travel products as a way of fundraising to benefit charity and giving rather than simply to create private profit”.center_img AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to EmailEmailShare to WhatsAppWhatsAppShare to MessengerMessengerShare to MoreAddThis A different way to raise funds for your charity  911 total views,  8 views today Tagged with: Fundraising ideas social enterprise travel Social enterprise modelCharitable Travel has been recognised pre-launch as a certified member of Social Enterprise UK and is seemingly the first ‘mainstream’ travel company member to be certified by SEUK in the UK.Charitable Travel also holds an ‘Aspiring’ Social Enterprise Mark with the international accreditation body. About Howard Lake Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world’s first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp and co-founder of Researching massive growth in giving.last_img read more

RSF decries arrests of three activist bloggers in Vietnam

first_img News Nguyen Van Oai, Tran Thi Nga and Nguyen Van Hoa Receive email alerts VietnamAsia – Pacific Condemning abusesOnline freedoms WomenPredatorsImprisonedCitizen-journalistsInternet Organisation The latest victim is Tran Thi Nga, a blogger also known as Thuy Nga, who was arrested at her home in the northern province of Ha Nam on 21 January. The mother of two children, Nga uses her blog to defend migrant workers and those whose land has been seized by the authorities. Accused of posting “anti-state” content online, she has been charged under article 88 of the penal code, which provides for sentences of three to 20 years in prison for “propaganda against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.” Nguyen Van Oai, a citizen journalist who has been jailed in the past, was arrested on 19 January in the central province of Nghe An for allegedly resisting police officers and for leaving his home while on probation. Arrested in 2011 and sentenced to four years in prison plus three years of home surveillance under penal code article 79 (penalizing “activities aimed at overthrowing the people’s administration”), Oai was released in August 2015 on completing the jail term. Articles 79 and 88 are the two that are most often used to gag bloggers and online activists.Citizen journalist Nguyen Van Hoa, who was working for Radio Free Asia’s Vietnamese service, was held incommunicado for more than a week after his arrest on 11 January, with the result that his family learned only two days ago that he is in the regime’s custody and has been charged under article 258, which punishes “abusing democratic freedoms to infringe upon the interests of the state.”Hoa recently covered protests against Formosa Ha Tinh Steel, a Taiwanese-owned steel plant responsible for a toxic spill that caused the deaths of thousands of tons of fish in April 2016.“This wave of arrests ahead of the Vietnamese New Year celebrations betrays the state of tension within the regime whenever civil society has an opportunity to express itself freely about violations of its rights and human rights in general,” said Benjamin Ismaïl, the head of RSF’s Asia-Pacific desk.“These bloggers and citizen journalists did nothing more than cover protests and express views about violations of the rights of their fellow citizens. In other words, they defended the general interest. However, it is terrible to see that defence of the general interest and human rights is branded as anti-state propaganda in Vietnam. We ask the international community to press for their immediate release.”As well as harassing, threatening and physically attacking outspoken bloggers and their loved-ones, the Vietnamese Communist Party also readily resorts to preventive arrests ¬– arrests often amounting to enforced disappearances – in order to silence its critics in the run-up to national events.Last October, RSF condemned the Vietnamese government’s policy of isolating journalists and bloggers and its systematic reprisals against those who dare to get in touch with the outside world.Vietnam is ranked 175th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2016 World Press Freedom Index. Help by sharing this information to go further News January 25, 2017 – Updated on February 2, 2017 RSF decries arrests of three activist bloggers in Vietnam April 22, 2021 Find out more April 27, 2021 Find out morecenter_img Reporters Without Borders condemns the “preventive” arrests of three bloggers and citizen journalists in the past few days in the run-up to the Vietnamese New Year, known as the Tet, and calls for their immediate release and the withdrawal of all charges against them. News Three more independent reporters arrested in Vietnam News RSF laureates support jailed Vietnamese journalist Pham Doan Trang RSF_en VietnamAsia – Pacific Condemning abusesOnline freedoms WomenPredatorsImprisonedCitizen-journalistsInternet Follow the news on Vietnam Vietnam sentences journalist Tran Thi Tuyet Dieu to eight years in prison April 7, 2021 Find out morelast_img read more

Two Supreme Court Judgments Killed The Working Class & Converted India Into A Country Of Slaves: Colin Gonsalves In KG Kannabiran Lecture

first_imgColumnsTwo Supreme Court Judgments Killed The Working Class & Converted India Into A Country Of Slaves: Colin Gonsalves In KG Kannabiran Lecture Dr Colin Gonsalves, Senior Advocate24 Jan 2021 1:40 AMShare This – x[This lecture, originally titled “Educate, Agitate and Litigate” was delivered on 11 January 2021 as part of the KG Kannabiran Lectures on Law, Justice and Human Rights – organised by the family of KG Kannabiran (1929-2010) to celebrate his life, work and its futures]. Abstract: Senior Advocate Colin Gonsalves speaks on challenges in our times and the way ahead – reflecting…Your free access to Live Law has expiredTo read the article, get a premium account.Your Subscription Supports Independent JournalismSubscription starts from ₹ 599+GST (For 6 Months)View PlansPremium account gives you:Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.Subscribe NowAlready a subscriber?Login[This lecture, originally titled “Educate, Agitate and Litigate” was delivered on 11 January 2021 as part of the KG Kannabiran Lectures on Law, Justice and Human Rights – organised by the family of KG Kannabiran (1929-2010) to celebrate his life, work and its futures]. Abstract: Senior Advocate Colin Gonsalves speaks on challenges in our times and the way ahead – reflecting on his long years in labour courts, with trade uinion movements and as a human rights advocate.Dear friends, colleagues and comrades, I was so happy when I received this invitation from Kalpana to do this video and to talk about the main lesson that I received from Kanna. In my speech I would like to talk about how he directly influenced me in my work, which is law for the poor. I would also talk about my journey in law and in human rights, my personal cases, and our stories. This is perhaps relevant today because of the very tough times in which we find ourselves today and the enormous things which are needed to be done. ‘Kanna’ I can almost anticipate what Kanna would have done today. He would, of course, have resisted the present draconian regime and would have gone to jail. He would have been put in jail like so many lawyers and he would have been charged with sedition and for waging war against the state. His only weapons would be his tongue and his brain – no machine-gun, no bomb and no knife. But his thinking and his words were as lethal as any of these weapons, so to speak, and I am certain he would be in jail along with the Bhima Koregaon lawyers were he alive. The most important lesson that I learnt from Kanna was very early in my career. Before moving to Delhi in the year 2000, I spent 10 years in the Labour Courts doing Trial Court work, then practiced in the Bombay High Court for 10 years and finally came to Delhi to practice in the Supreme Court. I was very alone and I had no one to guide me and no one to help me. I would so often come out of the court during the lunch break and call Kanna and ask him for his guidance on cases. Sometimes I would have known the answer but I wanted to hear his reassuring voice telling me that I was on the right track. Equally often he would correct me. But he was such a source of consolation that I could talk to him and go back to court after lunch and be totally confident in what I was saying because I had checked with Kanna. As a young lawyer one tends to over emphasize case law. Young lawyers often make the mistake of citing precedents and reading judgments before explaining the facts and clearly stating the main submissions. I too made this mistake several times. I meticulously maintained a case law diary running into several volumes and I had a judgment for every conceivable situation – or so I thought. This is partly due to the legal education system at that time (perhaps today as well) where original thinking and thinking against the mainstream (revolutionary thinking) hardly exist in the law universities. The first thing Kanna told me was not to start with case law. The first thing, he said, was to think of how the letter of the law and justice fits together. What does your conscience tell you? What does your heart tell you? Then, he would say, develop your arguments on the basis of first principles. Even if a Supreme Court decision is cited against you, one must have the mental strength and courage to say that it is wrong. In short, become a young thinking lawyer – a conceptually argumentative lawyer. “You are a young, thinking lawyer, a dreamer of revolution, and a political person”, he would say, “You understand social change and revolution”. Therefore, “Think like a revolutionary even in law. Think radically differently. After that, focus on convincing the judge that you are conceptually correct and that your argument fits with the statute. Then look at case law, searching for judgments that would help you get around the bad judgment cited against you. Remember always to develop your concept independently, and be totally convinced about the point you want to make. Then make it fearlessly.” It took me sometime to shift to that approach. Initially I was apprehensive. Later I realized that good lawyers are generators of case laws and not mere followers. One has to think radically, from the pro-poor and working-class point of view. One has to argue from the point of view of Dalits, workers, slum dwellers, tribals and women. One must understand that young lawyers could possibly be, despite their inexperience, manufacturers of radical case law. He told me and others, to dive deep into our experiences in social movements and to draw from our interactions with workers, Dalits, and tribals. “You have seen their suffering and anger”, he would say, “Let it mould your thinking. Draw from your experience in movements, and then make your own case law. Your words would be different. It would have a true ring-a genuine ring to it, and you would get judgments from the Courts for others to follow.” I really miss Kanna. He had a truly revolutionary approach to law. I picked up a tiny bit of that from him. The power of the working class I was studying in IIT Bombay when the Emergency was imposed by Indira Gandhi. There was a huge railway strike. At midnight the railway workers and their families were thrown out of their quarters by Indira Gandhi. As a young student, I remember seeing Praful Bidwai and others trying to help the families find a place to stay. Praful went on to establish himself as a prolific journalist. My mind was troubled by scenes of repression. Then there was a massive strike of textile workers. Millions of workers joined Datta Samant’s call just as the country mobilized against Indira Gandhi when Jayaprakash Narayan gave his war cry to the people for a ‘Sampoorna Kranti’. That slogan, valid and relevant even today, would probably land all of us in jail for sedition. In these days, I experienced and internalized the awesome power of the people. These movements affected everyone. Leaders of opposition were thrown in jail. Millions of workers protested and the Prime Minister was bought down. I began to understand the power of the people to force massive social and economic change through people’s power. I understood that this was where the core of political change lay. During this period, working class people suffered torture by the police. Their slums were demolished. They were denied education and healthcare and yet they showed an indomitable spirit to resist. This is something people generally don’t see unless they live through a period of revolution. During periods of uprising, people in the movements are thrown in jail, they are separated from their families, they face bullets, and yet they retain an absolute power to conquer adversity. Courts do not always understand social movements Let me now talk about the interrelationship between the courts and the movements. I remember the Hon’ble Justice S.C. Pratap, of the Bombay High Court. He was a reasonable judge who had the misfortune of having the Dr Datta Samant Recognition of Union case land up on his table. Now, there was no doubt that all the textile workers of Mumbai were members of his Union – the Maharashtra Girni Kamghar Union – and that the opposing “chamcha” Union – the Rashtriya Mill Mazdoor Sangh – had only a handful of workers but complete state support. The statute was an ass that granted recognition on the basis of paper work created by the management and the chamcha union. Judges, however, are not supposed to be led by asses. A good Judge, searches for the truth, fashions new weapons and does complete justice. Justice Pratap was just not up to this task. Going by the fake paper work and ignoring the massive rallies of millions of textile worker, he delivered judgment in favour of the chamcha union granting them recognition and making them the sole bargaining union. As he read his judgment, the workers reacted with fury throwing chairs at the Judge who beat a hasty retreat. Until then, I really believed in the legal system; all young lawyers do but it only takes one such experience to shatter the myth of rule of law. Dr Samant went on to expand massively in the city of Bombay and elsewhere. As a young law student and a member of his union, I saw that the Court system exposed for what it was – an instrument of state power, corrupted by the Corporations, lacking spine and integrity with the exception of a few well-meaning judges. I saw wage adjudication done so painfully and slowly that workmen received a miserly increase of Rs 200 after 5 years litigation. Then Dr Samant came on the scene and told the unions to never go to the Courts. He organized them at the factory gates and made the lives of the management miserable forcing them to part with massive increases in wages (which they could well afford) rendering wage adjudication by Courts obsolete. There were complaints of strong-arm tactics. Naturally. When the rule of law breaks down, the working people will take the law into their own hands. The fault lies not with the people but with the Courts and the manipulation of this institution by people with power. Indian Judges and Courts functioned reasonably well till the 1980s. Perhaps the reason for this is to be found in the fact that judges of that period still had memories of the freedom struggle and the power of the people to change the destiny of this great nation. But as time passed that memory faded with each successive generation. Then came globalization. Globalization can be summarized in three words, “subsidies-are-bad”. Under social democracy (the period up to 1980) the dominant notion in governance was that the entire country rich and poor alike should be taken forward and although equality was not possible under capitalism some “trickle down” would take place so that working people remained partially satisfied. This too is a rotten concept and a poor substitute for genuine social democracy. But globalization got rid of even this “crumbs off the table” economical and political policy. Under globalization, BJP and Congress version alike, the State was only responsible for promoting entrepreneurship and capitalism which would, in turn, supposedly generate employment which would put money in the workers’ pockets with which they could buy education, housing, healthcare and food. These social activities would no longer be the duties of the state. The Judges who today fill the ranks of the Indian Judiciary are wedded to this notion of globalization. Talk of socialism would be like committing a capital sin. With such a regressive social outlook nothing of value can be expected. This is especially so because with globalized economic planning government subsidies that went to the poor for housing, food, education and healthcare were drastically pruned and flowed upwards for funding projects for the rich and middle classes. India had come a full circle- from the “trickle down” of social democracy to the upward flow of globalization. Naturally this saw GDP increase to 7% while hunger, poverty, homelessness, ill-health, illiteracy and environmental degradation increased exponentially. Healthcare needs 6% of GDP, the Union budget provides for 0.9%. Food needs 3%; what is provided for is less than 1%. Education needs 6% but gets only 2%. This is why you have schools without teachers, hospitals without medicines and equipment and India earns the dubious distinction of being the hunger capital of the world. Supreme Court judgments which are against working class I would now talk about two judgments that killed the working class and converted India into a country of slaves. These two judgments are the Steel Authority of India (SAIL) case and Uma Devi. SAIL (RK Panda vs. SAIL) related to the interpretation of the provisions of the Contract Labour Act, 1970. The provisions were simple. If the work of the establishment was of a permanent and perennial nature, then the workers should be permanent and not kept as contractual as if their employer was a contractor and not the establishment. A Bench of the Supreme Court in AIR India Statutory Corporation made a brilliant decision saying so but this was not liked by the Industrialists. Miraculously a larger Bench was set up by then then Chief Justice which promptly went about declaring that the abolishment of the Contract Labour System would result in the abolishment of the labour itself! In other words, by workers winning their case before the Contract Labour Board and establishing that the work was perennial, the workers would lose their jobs! It’s like saying that “Garibi Hatao” is not the abolition of poverty but the doing away of poor people! This one judgment affected and continues to affect millions of workers who toil in permanent work positions as if temporary and ad hoc. Thus the judgment created millions of slaves.     Then we have the Uma Devi judgment relating to casual workers in government departments who had worked as ad-hoc for decades. The earlier judgments were brilliant and simply stated that after a period of time – say 5 years, such ad-hoc workers should be made permanent. This was not liked by government and so a second miracle occurs. Another Constitutional Bench of the Supreme Court is established which laid down that even if a workman has worked all his life as ad hoc, he can never be regularized. So now we have millions of ad-hoc workers in public enterprises and government departments working on minimum wages and having no security of tenure. These two judgments effectively created India as a country of slaves. Courts failing to understand agony of working class I would now talk about the misconduct cases. Globalization created another kind of Court – the Cruel Court. The earlier principle followed was that a workman would not have his services terminated for a minor misconduct, because termination was considered as economic death. For a few days’ absenteeism, for sleeping once during a night shift and so on, workmen would not have their services terminated, but were given minor punishments such as warnings and a fine. Then came the new generation of judges. Termination of services became the rule and these were shockingly disproportionate. The most prominent of these were the Bus Conductor cases. If the bus conductor while tallying the money received and the tickets sold had Rs 3/- more than he should have, his services were terminated on account of corruption and the Supreme Court waxed eloquent on corruption being corruption whether big or small, and advised that corruption had to be dealt with an iron fist. While corruption spread like a cancer through the legal system the poor bus conductors were singled out for special treatment. No Judge could understand the implication of termination of services. Once terminated, the workmen would take their children out of school, sell their jewelry and vessels, and the family would shrivel away and probably die of starvation. Supreme Court privatizes education Coming to Globalization and the Supreme Court. Let me take you to the TMA Pai judgment. In Unnikrishnan v State of AP case, the Supreme Court said that education is a fundamental right and the state had to take a socialist approach to education. This was obviously not liked by capitalists in the country who realized the enormous potential of commercializing education. So, a third miracle occurs. A larger Bench of the Supreme Court was constituted to set aside Unnikrishnan’s socialistic approach (education is not meant for making profits). In TMA Pai v. State of Karnataka, the Supreme Court opened the doors for capitalist money power to enter education. Resultantly huge increases in fees began and spread across in the country. Crass commercialization spread like a cancer. The “mission approach” died. All in all, the social viewpoint of the judiciary is like that of our capitalists. This was unlike some of the capitalists of Europe who understood that for good quality production a healthy and content workforce was necessary, that workers should have decent housing and healthcare facilities and scientific training so that they can produce high quality products. The attitude of Indian capitalists is often (not always) like the slave-traders of before. Providing safety equipment is hardly ever done. The working-class lives in disease-infected slums. Paying below the minimum wage is the norm. Falsification of workers records is routine. Inspectors are bribed. All this could have been corrected and India could have become a top-class manufacturer of quality products. What Indian capitalists do not understand is that without justice at the workplace, India has no future. What the Indian Judiciary does not understand is that without justice in the Court system, India will surely die. Without a moral and spiritual backbone, this country has no future. COVID-19 Now let me come to COVID and the turning point in Indian labour history. When millions of migrant workers last year decided to walk hundreds of kilometers with their wives and children to try and get back to their homes in the villages, they went through the greatest education of their lives. They saw Indian capitalism naked and cruel not bothering if they lived or died. They learnt that no one in power was to be trusted and that Indians had lost their ability to speak the truth. The working people could trust no one. A fundamental rupture took place in the Indian society between the rich and the poor. First, the factories were closed overnight without any preparation to arrange for transportation to send the workers home. The public distribution system which provided subsidized food grains to the poor closed down. Workers who were unable to pay for rent since their factories were closed were thrown out by the landlords, and were on the streets. They waited for a couple of months hoping that their factories would reopen and when they were on the brink of starvation a huge migration of millions of starving workers on foot began. A number of public-spirited individuals and organizations moved the Supreme Court seeking reliefs for migrant workers in public interest but they were turned down by a Court indifferent to the plight of the workmen. The working class will remember this treachery of the State and the politicians of all political parties. They will remember that the Supreme Court was no longer the institution it once was where the poor could petition the judges in times of despair. One can only hope that this despair converts to solidarity and revolutionary fervor to build a new India. I would say in periods of darkness, a breakthrough of light is imminent. A darkness of this sort will result in a fundamental reset in our evaluation of what Indian democracy is and of how worthless it has become and why it’s necessary for us to mobilize, organize, educate, litigate, and fight tooth and nail against this kind of system. Criminal Injustice in the Courts Before I end, I want to talk about two things in criminal law. First is sedition which is used by the State in criminal prosecution everywhere. If you’re a cartoonist and you draw a cartoon of our great political leaders, then sedition. I want to bring to your notice two cases which may help you in the Courts in defending cases of sedition. The first is Balwant Singh v. State of Punjab (1995) 3 SCC 214 and the second is Bilal Ahmed Kalu (1997) 7 SCC 431. These are very important judgments which can be used to fight against frivolous sedition cases where every criticism of the government results in criminal prosecution for sedition. During the colonial period. British law needed only strong words against the Monarchy to justify a criminal prosecution for sedition. After Independence and during the last four decades almost every country which had sedition in its Penal Code, repealed the section. India retains the section. It was constitutionally challenged in Kedar Nath’s case and read down but the drafting of the decision is very wishy-washy. It basically says that sedition as interpreted by the Indian Courts differs from sedition under colonial law in that in the latter case, words expressing a desire to overthrow the government would by themselves be enough to arrive at a conviction of the accused. Under Indian law, sedition would additionally require an overt act to overthrow the government by force and violence. The two judgments mentioned earlier relating to sedition deal with a case from Punjab and one from Kashmir. In the Punjab case, the accused came out onto the streets and said “Khalistan Zindabad!” “We should gather guns and fight for an independent country”. In the Kashmir case, the accused shouted in a public place “Azaadi! Gather weapons and fight for independent Kashmir”. Both the accused were convicted for sedition. When the matter came to the Supreme Court, the Court asked as to what was actually done apart from the provocative slogans. When informed that no overt act had taken place, the accused were acquitted. The lesson to be learnt from these two judgments is that words, even provocative words hostile to the government cannot amount to sedition. Posters calling for revolution cannot, in the absence of the overt act, amount to sedition. Provocative cartoons do not amount to sedition. There are at least 100 cases of sedition pending in the country today of this nature designed to intimidate human rights activists and obstruct the exercise of free speech. Leading Human Rights lawyers in jail In this period of naked fascism, the State has resorted to an extreme action never taken before and has jailed human rights lawyers of repute who have spent all their lives defending the defenseless. What stands between them and freedom is an obnoxious judgment of the Supreme Court in NIA vs. Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali where the Supreme Court held, contrary to a long line of decisions of the Supreme Court, that while deciding bail applications the prosecution was entitled to rely on documents that would not be legally admissible during the trial. Such an astonishing proposition has never been heard, let alone accepted, before. In Sudha’s case, this is a letter not recovered from her, not in her handwriting, not signed by her and yet used against her to reject her bail applications. In Stan Swamy’s case and in Surendra Gadling’s case these documents are police insertions in the laptops after arrest and seizure of the laptops. All of you must read the sterling dissent of Justice D.Y Chandrachud in the Bhima Koregaon case where he said that the Maharashtra police ought not to be investigating this case and an investigation by an independent agency should be ordered. A ray of hope Let’s talk about the Gujarat Mazdoor Sabha casewhich was delivered by the Supreme Court on a petition challenging a statute made by the Central Government proposing to increase the hours of work without appropriate compensation. The Supreme Court said, “The State can’t eliminate provisions promoting dignity and equity at the workplace…The State can’t force workers an already worn-down class of society into the chains of servitude.” In times of darkness such as these, a little ray of hope. Little Diyas So my dear friends, on this note, I’ll stop. There is so much to be done in the Courts. No matter how bad things may be, always remember, that there are some Judges who are good human beings still in our system. We must hope that by fighting we inspire other Judges to change their way of thinking. Because otherwise, against this fascist government, there is no hope. The only thing that stands between us and jail, is the Judiciary. The only thing that can save democracy is the sturdy, robust organizing of labour and the people. It will happen. I don’t know how soon, but I have this certainty that it will happen. That a day will come, when things will change dramatically. I want to end with a little story of Sardar Jaswant Singh Khalra (1952-1995). He had found the list of those extra-judicially executed in Punjab by the Punjab police. Hundreds of Punjabi boys were killed by the police. When they disappeared, KPS Gill laughed at the accusations and said that all these boys had migrated to Canada, America and Europe and were now making false accusations. He said that they were all abroad. Jaswant Khalra went to the crematoriums of Punjab and found that the dead bodies had been brought there by the police after execution. So, while on the one hand saying that the Punjab police had no idea where these boys were, the police was cremating the bodies of the disappeared. The Hawaldars who were carrying the bodies for cremation in trucks were so foolish as to give their buckle numbers to the crematorium in-charge. Sardar Jaswant Singh Khalra took this evidence to Canada and told his story before the Canadian Parliament and it spread across the world. When the time came for him to go back, he got a phone call from the Punjab police saying “Khalra saab, you want to know from the Punjab police how many boys were killed? You come back to India. We’ll give you that number, plus one.” He returned against advice. Before he left, in April 1995, he gave a speech in Punjabi which he said, “We are in a period of darkness. There is darkness all around. I am only a little diya, and I spread my light as much as I can. But if all of us are to be like little diyas, we would be brighter than the sun!” Thank you. Case Citations AIR India Statutory Corporation vs. United Labour Union & Ors. (1997) (9) SCC 377 Balwant Singh v. State of Punjab (1995) (3) SCC 214 Bilal Ahmed Kalu (1997) 7 SCC 431 Gujarat Mazdoor Sabha and Anr v. State of Gujarat Writ Petition (Civil) No. 708 of 2020. Kedar Nath Singh vs. State of Bihar 1962 AIR 955 NIA vs. Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali 2019 (5) SCC R.K Panda & Ors. vs. Steel Authority of India & Ors. 1994(5) SCC 304 Shri Ganpati Bus service, Thirunelveli vs. Presiding officer, labour court & Ors. 2001 (2) SCC 602. TMA Pai vs. State of Karnataka (1994) (2) SCC 199 Uma Devi vs. State of Karnataka (2006) (4) SCC 1 Unnikrishnan vs. State of A.P. (1993) 1 SCC 645 Kedar Nath Singh vs. State of Bihar 1962 AIR 955 Gujarat Mazdoor Sabha vs. State of Gujarat, W.P (C) 708 of 2020 Colin Gonsalves is the Founder of Human Rights Law Network (HRLN) and developed it into a national organization operating out of 28 offices spread throughout India. He has practised in the Labour Courts in Maharashtra and the Bombay High Court where he was designated as Senior Advocate, before moving to the Supreme Court of India in 2001. Colin Gonsalves received the Right Livelihood Award in 2017. This is the ninth lecture of K G Kannabiran memorial lecture series.First Lecture by Justice B Sudershan Reddy, former Supreme Court Judge -Death Of Democratic Institutions: The Inevitable Logic of Neo-Liberal Political Economy & Abandonment of Directive Principles of State Policy.Second lecture by Advocate B Nalin Kumar -‘A Lawyer With High Principles’ : A Junior Remembers His Senior KG KannabiranThird lecture by Mihir Desai, Senior Advocate -Preventive Detention Laws Allow State To Carve Out Exception For Its LawlessnessFourth lecture by Nithya Ramakrishnan – Trial Lessons From K G Kannabiran: Nitya Ramakrishnan Remembers Parliament Attack CaseFifth lecture by Justice K Chandru : Need For More Kannabirans Felt Now With Ever Increasing Human Rights Violations : Justice K ChandruSixth lecture by Advocate BB Mohan : Criminal Law and Human Rights: ‘Distinctive Discrimination’ and Article 21 Rights to Fair TrialSeventh lecture by Advocate V Raghu : The Constitution and Scheduled Tribes in Composite State of APEighth lecture by Justice J Chelameswar, former Supreme Court judge : Periodic Audit Of Performance Of Individual Judges & Judiciary Needed To Maintain Standards : Justice Chelameswar Next Storylast_img read more

COVID- Delhi High Court Issue Directions To Ensure Immediate Availability Of Tocilizumab For Critically Ill Patients

first_imgNews UpdatesCOVID- Delhi High Court Issue Directions To Ensure Immediate Availability Of Tocilizumab For Critically Ill Patients Nupur Thapliyal5 May 2021 9:38 AMShare This – xWhile observing that the lack of supplies from foreign shores and no local manufacturing of the covid drug Tocilizumab is completely unacceptable in the pandemic situation, the Delhi High Court on Monday issued slew of directions for its availability in India. A single judge bench comprising of Justice Pratibha M Singh directed the Centre to inform the Court about the stock available for distribution of the said drug to various Hospitals and Medical Establishments in Delhi. It also directed the Centre to place on record details of entities to whom approvals have been granted of Tocilizumab for manufacturing, marketing, importing or selling in India. The development came in a petition filed by brother of one Sudhir Kumar Agarwal, a covid 19 patient admitted in Malik Radix Health Care Hospital, Nirman Vihar, New Delhi praying for directions on GNCTD and Union of India to urgently supply the Tocilizumab injection – Actemra 400 mg to the said hospital, so that the same can be administered to the patient urgently. Agarwal was diagnosed with multiple patchy areas in his lungs and with COVID-19 pneumonitis and was admitted in the hospital on 3rd May after his condition worsened. He was later prescribed Tocilizumab 400 mg, however, despite repeated efforts, the said drug/ injection has not been made available for its administration to Agarwal. Noting that the Supreme Court while dealing with the suo moto writ petition titled In Re: Distribution of Essential Supplies and Services during the pandemic and also the Delhi High Court orders observed that there is a severe shortage of the drug Tocilizumab across the country, the Court observed thus: “A reading of the above orders also shows that the issues relating to pricing, shortages and steps to be taken at the National level, including by the Central Government are being considered therein. In Delhi too there is shortage and several critical patients are being prescribed this drug.” Furthermore, the Court also went ahead to observe that there is an imminent need for the said drug in Delhi for critically ill patients who are being prescribed the same. “From the publicly available records it is clear that certain patents are stated to have been granted in respect of this drug. The order of the Supreme Court clearly records that the drug is not being manufactured in India. Considering the demand for the drug, even to those patients who are willing to pay and purchase the same, it is clear that adequate quantities are not being made available. The rationing of critical medicines in this manner, owing to lack of supplies from foreign shores and no local manufacturing, is completely unacceptable in a pandemic situation, especially when the consumers are willing to purchase the drug.” The Court observed at the outset. In view of this, the Court issued the following directions to ensure immediate availability of the drug for administration to critically ill patients: – The Union of India to inform this Court, on the next date of hearing, as to how much further stock of Tocilizumab is available for distribution to the hospitals/medical establishments in Delhi – The UOI to also place on record the details of entities to whom approvals have been granted of Tocilizumab for manufacturing, marketing, importing or selling in India – Qua the 500 vials of Tocilizumab, which were already allocated to the GNCTD by the Union of India, the GNCTD to inform this Court as to how much of the said stock has been consumed, and if any of the said stock is currently available for administration to any further patients who are being treated in smaller hospitals/ medical establishments, as also to the hospitals where the initial quantity of allocation could not be distributed. – Place data before the Court as to: A. Whether immediate quantities of the drug Tocilizumab can be obtained from any of the manufacturing units engaged in manufacture of the said drug, and made available in India, for the purpose of administration to Covid-19 patients in India? B. The quantities of the drug Tocilizumab to be made available in India either through itself or through its licensee(s) in India on a monthly basis for the next four months. C. What is the total quantity of this drugTocilizumab, that has been imported/sold in India since March 2020 – either by the company itself or through its licensee(s) or approved importer(s) in India.The matter will now be heard on 6th May 2021. Click Here To Read OrderTagsdelhi high court covid 19 second covid wave Tocilizumab covid medicines local manufacturing Justice Pratibha M Singh Next Storylast_img read more

‘She planned to use them to hurt people’: Florida woman arrested after 24 pipe bombs found in home

first_imgHillsborough County Sheriffs Office (NEW YORK) —  A Florida woman is behind bars and facing 24 counts of making a destructive device with an attempt to harm after being turned in by her parents.Just after 5 p.m. Thursday, the parents of 27-year-old Michelle Kolts called 911 after allegedly finding bomb-making materials in their home, officials said. When deputies entered Kolts’ room, they found dozens of weapons including 24 pipe bombs, smokeless pistol powder, fuse materials, 23 knives, two hatches, two BB-type rifles, six BB-type handguns, nunchucks and “dozens of books and DVDs about murder, mass killing, domestic terrorism and bomb-making,” according to Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister.“If used, these bombs could have caused catastrophic damage to hundreds even thousands of people,” and that’s precisely what she intended to do, Chronister said a press conference Friday.To make matters worse, the sheriff said many of the bombs contained nails and metallic pellets or a combination of both. “She made the devices and she planned to use them to hurt people,” he said.Kolts was arrested Thursday night without incident at her job. Chronister said Kolts’ parents are heroes for calling 911 to report their daughter. He said it’s hard to know how many lives were saved had the parents not “found the courage” to call the sheriff’s office and seek help.She is being held in the Hillsborough County Jail on $180,000 bond. At this time, the sheriff’s office said they do not know if she has retained any counsel. Kolts will appear in court for her first appearance on Saturday morning.In August 2018, Chronister said authorities were called to Kolts’ home. An online printing company called authorities last year, saying it was suspicious that she ordered several manifestos, books about anarchists and books about bomb-making. They said she was consumed with Columbine and the Oklahoma City killings, but Kolts wasn’t diagnosed with any type of mental health issue, and deputies believed her intentions were not to harm, Chronister said.He said Kolts was on their radar, but until yesterday was never perceived as a real threat to the Tampa Bay community.“It’s because of these parents that a catastrophic event didn’t happen,” Chronister said. “I stand here proud that something tremendous was prevented.”Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

Coronavirus live updates: CDC announces alternatives to 14-day quarantine

first_imgnarvikk/iStockBy MORGAN WINSOR, ERIN SCHUMAKER, IVAN PEREIRA and EMILY SHAPIRO, ABC News(NEW YORK) — A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now infected more than 64 million people and killed over 1.4 million worldwide, according to real-time data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.Here’s how the news is developing Wednesday. All times Eastern:Dec 02, 12:49 pmNY expects to get 170,000 doses of Pfizer’s vaccine in weeksNew York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he expects the state to receive 170,000 doses of Pfizer’s vaccine on Dec. 15 if all safety and efficacy approvals are granted.Cuomo said he expects additional doses of Pfizer’s vaccine as well as initial allocations of Moderna’s vaccine, if approved, later this month.Cuomo says effective widespread immunization could take until June through September.Meanwhile, Cuomo says New York faces “another mountain” in the fight against rising cases and hospitalizations.The governor reiterated that small gatherings are the No. 1 cause of COVID-19 spread in the state.Of the over 193,000 tests reported in New York on Tuesday, 4.63% were positive, Cuomo said.-ABC News’ J. Gabriel WareDec 02, 12:08 pmCDC announces alternatives to 14-day quarantineThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday announced alternatives to its two-week recommended quarantine for people who have been exposed to COVID-19. Quarantine can now end after 10 days without a test if the individual has not reported any symptoms, or after seven days with a negative COVID-19 test and no reported symptoms, said Henry Walke, the CDC’s COVID-19 incident manager. Walke said the move “may make it easier for people to take this critical public health action by reducing the economic hardship associated with a longer period, especially if they cannot work during that time.”People should continue to monitor for symptoms for the full 14 days after being exposed to the virus “especially if quarantine is discontinued early,” he said.A 14-day quarantine remains the best way to prevent spread, according to the CDC.Walke added, “Everyone should follow this specific guidance from their local public health authorities about how long they should quarantine.”-ABC News’ Sophie TatumDec 02, 11:26 amRisk at ‘historic high,’ White House Task Force warnsIn this week’s briefing for governors, the White House Coronavirus Task Force urged all Americans over the age of 65 or with significant health conditions to avoid “any indoor public spaces where anyone is unmasked.”The briefing said those under 40 years old who saw anyone outside their household for Thanksgiving should assume they’re infected and must isolate.“The COVID risk to all Americans is at a historic high,” according to the briefing, which was obtained by ABC News. “The national daily COVID incidence after Memorial Day, but before the summer surge, was fewer than 25,000 new cases/day and is now more than 180,000 new cases/day; COVID inpatients then were fewer than 30,000 but are now more than 90,000; fatalities have more than doubled.”“We are in a very dangerous place due to the current, extremely high COVID baseline and limited hospital capacity; a further post-Thanksgiving surge will compromise COVID patient care, as well as medical care overall,” the briefing said.-ABC News’ Josh Margolin and Brian HartmanDec 02, 9:08 amLarge-scale vaccinations to begin in Russia next week, Putin saysRussian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that large-scale COVID-19 vaccinations will begin in Russia next week.Dec 02, 7:42 amOperation Warp Speed’s chief science adviser hopes Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is approved next weekDr. Moncef Slaoui, chief science adviser to Operation Warp Speed, said he expects the U.S. Food and Drug Administration “to reach a similar conclusion” to the United Kingdom’s approval of a COVID-19 vaccine developed by U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech.“I hope by the 10th or 11th of December the Pfizer vaccine is approved,” Slaoui told ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos in an interview Wednesday on Good Morning America.Slaoui urged Americans to “listen to the experts” and trust the vaccine approval process.“No corners have been cut,” he said. “The [vaccine] development has been done very quickly because we had great science to allow us to do all the discovery work in weeks rather than in years. And then the clinical work, the most important part that demonstrates the effectiveness of the vaccine and its safety, has been done to a higher standard than what’s done normally in larger number of people but will be assessed and studied in an ongoing basis.”Slaoui described a vaccine as “an insurance against this virus.”“This is what will get us out of the pandemic,” he said.Dec 02, 4:54 amUS reports over 180,000 new casesThere were 180,098 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed in the United States on Tuesday, according to a real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.It’s the 29th straight day that the country has reported over 100,000 newly diagnosed infections. Tuesday’s count is down from a peak of 205,557 new cases last Friday.An additional 2,597 fatalities from COVID-19 were also registered nationwide on Tuesday, just under the all-time high of 2,609 new deaths on April 15.COVID-19 data may be skewed in the coming days and weeks due to possible lags in reporting over Thanksgiving followed by a potentially very large backlog from the holiday.A total of 13,725,917 people in the United States have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and at least 270,669 of them have died, according to Johns Hopkins. The cases include people from all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C. and other U.S. territories as well as repatriated citizens.Much of the country was under lockdown by the end of March as the first wave of pandemic hit. By May 20, all U.S. states had begun lifting stay-at-home orders and other restrictions put in place to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. The day-to-day increase in the country’s cases then hovered around 20,000 for a couple of weeks before shooting back up over the summer.The numbers lingered around 40,000 to 50,000 from mid-August through early October before surging again to record levels, crossing 100,000 for the first time on Nov. 4 and reaching 200,000 for the first time on Nov. 27.Dec 02, 3:44 amUK authorizes Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, rollout to begin next weekA COVID-19 vaccine developed by U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech has been approved for use in the United Kingdom.The U.K. Department of Health and Social Care announced Wednesday that it has accepted the recommendation from the country’s drug regulator to grant a temporary authorization for emergency use of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, called BNT162b2. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) concluded that the vaccine met its standards of safety, quality and effectiveness.“The vaccine will be made available across the U.K. from next week,” a Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said in a statement, adding that the National Health Service, the publicly-funded healthcare system, “will begin putting their extensive preparations into action to provide care and support to all those eligible for vaccination.”The United Kingdom is the first country in the world to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. The companies said in a joint press release Wednesday that they are anticipating further regulatory decisions across the globe in the coming days and weeks and are ready to deliver vaccine doses pending authorizations or approvals.“Today’s Emergency Use Authorization in the U.K. marks a historic moment in the fight against COVID-19,” Pfizer chairman and CEO Albert Bourla said in a statement. “As we anticipate further authorizations and approvals, we are focused on moving with the same level of urgency to safely supply a high-quality vaccine around the world. With thousands of people becoming infected, every day matters in the collective race to end this devastating pandemic.”The MHRA made its recommendation based on a rolling submission, including data from the Phase 3 trial which demonstrated a vaccine efficacy rate of 95%. The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was generally well tolerated, with no serious safety concerns reported to date.Pfizer and BioNTech had already agreed to supply the United Kingdom with 40 million doses of BNT162b2 once authorized for emergency use. Now that the vaccine is authorized, the companies will immediately begin delivering doses, the first of which are expected to arrive on U.K. soil in the coming days. The rest of the doses will arrive in stages, with complete delivery fulfillment expected in 2021, according to the press release.Pfizer and BioNTech said the distribution of their vaccine in the United Kingdom will be prioritized according to the populations identified in guidance from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, an independent expert group that advises the U.K. government on immunization.“The Emergency Use Authorization in the U.K. will mark the first time citizens outside of the trials will have the opportunity to be immunized against COVID-19,” BioNTech CEO and co-founder Ugur Sahin said in a statement. “We believe that the roll-out of the vaccination program in the U.K. will reduce the number of people in the high-risk population being hospitalized.”The companies have also filed a request for emergency use authorization with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and have submitted an application for conditional marketing authorization with the European Medicines Agency.Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. 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