Wednesday 20 January 2021
News ID: 86141
Publish Date: 02 January 2021 - 21:14
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- President Donald Trump suffered a stinging rebuke in the U.S. Senate when fellow Republicans joined Democrats to override a presidential veto for the first time in his tenure, pushing through a defense policy bill he opposed just weeks before he leaves office. Meeting in a rare New Year’s Day session, senators voted 81-13 to secure the two-thirds majority needed to override the veto. Eight previous Trump vetoes had been upheld. The Senate also ended for now a push by Democrats to increase COVID-19 financial relief checks from $600 to $2,000, a change sought by Trump. Senator Bernie Sanders again joined Democrats in a bid to force a vote on higher payments, only to be blocked by Republicans. Republican lawmakers have largely stood by the president during his turbulent White House term.

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LONDON (Reuters) -- Britain reactivated emergency hospitals built at the start of the pandemic and shut primary schools in London to counter the rapid spread of a much more infectious variant of the coronavirus. With more than 50,000 new daily cases of COVID-19 for the last five days, the health service said it was preparing for an anticipated rush of patients and needed more beds. The announcement comes just days after the Royal London Hospital told staff in an email it was now in "disaster medicine mode” and unable to provide high standard critical care. With the capital one of the areas worst-hit by the new variant, which is up to 70% more infectious, the government also decided to close all London primary schools, reversing a decision made just two days ago.
 
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NEW DELHI (AP) — India tested its COVID-19 vaccine delivery system with a nationwide trial on Saturday as it prepares to roll out an inoculation program to stem the coronavirus pandemic. The trial included data entry into an online platform for monitoring vaccine delivery, along with testing of cold storage and transportation arrangements for the vaccine, the health ministry said in a statement. The massive exercise came a day after a government-appointed panel of experts held a meeting to review the applications of potential vaccine candidates, including front-runner Covishield, developed by Oxford University and UK-based drugmaker AstraZeneca. India’s vaccination drive is expected to start in a few days once the country’s regulator approves a vaccine.
 
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TOKYO (AP) — The Japanese capital, Tokyo, and three nearby prefectures have asked the national government to declare a state of emergency to curtail the surging spread of the coronavirus pandemic. "In the name of valuing life, we made this plea together,” said Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike after meeting for three hours on Saturday with the minister in charge of coronavirus measures, along with the governors of Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa. Japan has seen a recent rise in reported cases of COVID-19, especially in urban areas. Tokyo saw a daily record of 1,337 cases on New Year’s Eve. Worries are growing about hosting the Olympics, set for July, with 11,000 Olympic athletes set to enter Japan, as well as tens of thousands of officials and media. "Corona knows no calendar,” said Koike, referring to her worries about infection growing during the New Year’s holidays. "Hospitals are getting packed, affecting medical care for all.”
 
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NEW DELHI (Reuters) -- India’s federal territory of Jammu and Kashmir plans to attract investments worth up to $4 billion in the next two to three years and would provide security to businesses setting up shop in the insurgency-hit region, its chief said on Saturday. Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) was India’s only Muslim-majority state until August 2019, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi carved out a Buddhist-dominated enclave and designated both as federally-administered territories. Tens of thousands of security forces guard the region where India has been fighting an armed-insurgency for decades, especially in the disputed Kashmir valley that is also claimed by Pakistan. J&K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha said his administration was identifying 6,000 acres (2,400 hectares) of land for businesses and that they would make companies feel secure.

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LAHORE, Pakistan (Reuters) -- Pakistan on Saturday arrested a man accused of being a leader of a militant group blamed by the United States and India for the 2008 Mumbai attacks, a counter-terrorism official said. The arrest is in relation to terrorism financing, the official said, and not a specific militant attack. "Proscribed organization LeT (Lashkar-e-Taiba) leader Zaki ur Rehman Lakhvi (has been) arrested on charges of terrorism financing,” a spokesman for the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) of the Pakistani province of Punjab said. The suspect is said to have been running a medical dispensary to collect and disburse funds for militant activities, the spokesman said. A UN Security Council sanctions committee says Lakhvi is LeT’s chief of operations and accuses him of being involved in militant activity in a number of other regions and countries, including Chechnya, Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan. Indian authorities said the lone surviving gunman in the 2008 Mumbai siege, in which 166 people were killed, had told interrogators before his execution that the assailants were in touch with Lakhvi.



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