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45 more special flights to India from UAE, 44 of them to Kerala

Few days back, 25 flights, including eight to Kerala, were added as part of the last leg of phase-2 from June 9 to 19. There will be 45 special flights to India from the UAE during the third phase of ‘Vande Bharat Mission’, with 44 of them operating to Kerala and a lone service to…

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Few days back, 25 flights, including eight to Kerala, were added as part of the last leg of phase-2 from June 9 to 19.

There will be 45 special flights to India from the UAE during the third phase of ‘Vande Bharat Mission’, with 44 of them operating to Kerala and a lone service to Odisha.
Few days back, 25 flights, including eight to Kerala, were added as part of the last leg of phase-2 from June 9 to 19. As per revised schedule, five of them – Delhi, Chandigarh, Jaipur, Hyderabad and Lucknow – will fly between June 21 and 23.
But new announcements and revisions have met with stoic silence from stranded passengers from states other than Kerala. Thousands of stranded Indians are all prayers hoping for seat in any of the flights in the second phase as they see none for their states in third phase.
‘My mother is no more’
Al Dhafra-based worker Arun Kumar is inconsolable. He lost his mother back home in Uttar Pradesh on Monday.
“I want to leave urgently. I am waiting helplessly here.”
Kumar hails from Deoria district of Uttar Pradesh and the next available flight to Lucknow is on June 23. But that’s too late for him to perform the last rites.
“I can land in any northern states. Kindly help me see my mother one last time.” Kumar is left with a photo of mother’s mortal remains and her memories.
‘Baby is on ventilator’
Jafar Abdul is tensed and looking forward to Dubai-Hyderabad flight on Friday. He became a father on May 29 but his baby boy is put on ventilator.
“My baby was born with breathing issues due to complications during pregnancy. My wife and baby need me now. I can’t afford to miss that flight. For past 11 days I am mailing to all officials but I didn’t receive any response. This is the worst time of my life.”
Abdul landed in Abu Dhabi on a mission visa but stuck since his job got over in March. “My company will provide air tickets. I just need our officials to add me to priority list.”
Couple sells gold to live
There are people who are staring at uncertain days as no flights are scheduled in next phase to their states.
Radheshym Yadav and Chhaya are tourist couple, who got stuck in Dubai and had to sell gold ornaments to foot daily bills. They hail from Mumbai and came to Dubai in February. Money in hand ran dry and Chhaya had to sell her gold rings and chain.
“My wife also has health issues and anxiety as to where we are headed. We didn’t get call for Thursday’s flight to Mumbai and there are no more flights announced.”
Distressed Indians are hopeful there will be additions made to the third phase and more destinations covered.
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Ashwani Kumar

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Florida schools reopened en mass, but a surge in coronavirus didn’t follow, a USA TODAY analysis found.

CLOSENaples High School students return to class on Monday, Aug. 31, 2020. (Photo: Jon Austria)Many teachers and families feared a spike in COVID-19 cases when Florida made the controversial push to reopen schools in August with in-person instruction.But a USA TODAY analysis shows the state’s positive case count among kids aged 5 to 17 declined through…

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CLOSENaples High School students return to class on Monday, Aug. 31, 2020. (Photo: Jon Austria)Many teachers and families feared a spike in COVID-19 cases when Florida made the controversial push to reopen schools in August with in-person instruction.But a USA TODAY analysis shows the state’s positive case count among kids aged 5 to 17 declined through late September after a peak in July. Among the counties seeing surges in overall cases, it’s college-age adults – not school children – driving the trend, the analysis found.The early results in Florida show the success of rigorous mask-wearing, social distancing, isolating contacts, and quick contact tracing when necessary, said health experts.“Many of the schools that have been able to successfully open have also been implementing control measures that are an important part of managing spread in these schools,” said Dr. Nathaniel Beers, who serves on the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on School Health.The experts caution, however, that just because things went well for schools early doesn’t mean they can’t be the source of future problems. And they warned against reading the data as a reason to reopen all schools or abandon safety measures.Hundreds of students and staff still contracted the novel coronavirus despite the precautionary measures. The Florida Department of Health published a report last month showing 559 COVID-19 cases related to elementary, middle and high schools logged between Aug. 10 and Aug. 23. State health officials quickly retracted the report, though, saying it was a draft and “inadvertently made available.” And despite the bright spots in the data showing school-aged cases declining from their summertime peak, there was one troubling trend: The rate of decline slowed in many places after schools reopened. That might mean cases have plateaued and schools have not fueled new, large outbreaks. But it also might mean those counties are at the bottom of a U and could soon turn upward again.“It’s one of those things where it’s not a problem until there is a problem,” said Dr. Katherine Auger, an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine who studied the lives saved by spring school closures.All eyes on FloridaHealth researchers and educational experts are watching Florida for cues about what works to keep students, staff and the broader community safe amid a global pandemic.Most of the largest school districts around the country – including those in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and Las Vegas – reopened with virtual learning plans. Florida, meanwhile, mandated public schools offer face-to-face instruction and that campuses reopen no later than Aug. 31, a decision that drew an unsuccessful lawsuit from the state teachers union.More than half of Florida families opted to return their children to school in-person, state education officials said. The rest chose remote learning.But as weeks ticked by and the surge of school-linked cases did not materialize, requests to return remote learners to the classroom have surged in some places.In Martin County, along the Atlantic Coast, the school district logged more than 160 such requests so far. That’s nearly four times as many as those asking to switch from in-person to remote. Caitlynne Palmieri was among the Martin County parents wanting to return her child to the classroom. She initially enrolled her 9-year-old in the remote learning option because of high community infection rates at the time. But her son, a fourth-grader, had trouble focusing on school work from home. When she saw how safety measures were being implemented and adhered to, Palmieri opted to send him back to the classroom.“I knew it was right for us,” she said. “He wanted to be back, and I felt safe.”Schools in Martin County reopened Aug. 11, one of Florida’s first to return to campus. In the four weeks prior, the state health department reported 69 coronavirus cases among school-aged children. In the four weeks after opening, the data shows 62 cases in that age group.Students make their way down the hall to the cafeteria on Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020, on the first day of school at Stuart Middle School in Stuart. All students and faculty must wear masks and undergo temperature checks. (Photo: Patrick Dove)In Florida, unlike most states, there is one school district for each county, making it easier to analyze the impact of reopening schools on county coronavirus cases.The local health department in Martin County has seen little evidence of in-classroom transmission within the school district, department spokesperson Renay Rouse said. Instead, transmission is being linked to students’ out-of-school or social activities. COVID-19 cases “are leveling off and the trends are going in the right direction (and) the preventative measures adopted by the school district community have been an essential part in stopping the spread of the virus,” Rouse said.Lesley Fidler, whose son attends kindergarten at Jensen Beach Elementary School – which has issued no quarantine orders – praised the school’s safety measures.“My family was against sending him to in-person schooling, but (the district) has it seamlessly laid out,” Fidler said. “I’m super impressed with the teachers. Students are spaced out, everyone is wearing a mask (and) the principal and assistant principal have been very positive.”The decision of whether or not to send kids back to school is a difficult one even for experts thinking about their own kids, said Jason Salemi, an epidemiologist and professor at the University of South Florida. He emphasized the importance of the mitigation efforts school districts put in place before reopening.“Schools have worked so hard to put these measures in place,” Salemi said. “We need to stay vigilant. You can see the writing on the wall. Cases have spread pretty rapidly in college towns.”A tale of two campusesWhile state data does not show dramatic increases in positive tests among kids, the rate of infection has grown among some adults, primarily 18-to-25 year-olds. Only two counties – Alachua, with the University of Florida, and Leon, with Florida State University and Florida A&M – set records for cases in September. But the number of young adult cases are rising even in counties without large campuses, the USA TODAY analysis found.Many factors likely influence the contrast between college- and school-aged cases, experts said. When children go to school, they’re often in one classroom and under close supervision for most of the day. When they return home, many families are still limiting social interactions. Young adults, however, might attend college classes with strict coronavirus precautions for only a couple hours each day. The rest of the time, people in that age group tend to socialize with a broad group of people and work service jobs where they interact with dozens of strangers in a single shift.A student walks past a sign at the University of Florida as the first day of classes begin on Aug. 31. Gov. Ron DeSantis thinks some university policies go too far in disciplining students for socializing amid the pandemic. (Photo: Brad McClenny)Those additional contacts, as well as, perhaps, a relaxed approach to precautions, could explain their exploding case counts nationwide.The differences between kids and young adults can be seen in the coronavirus data throughout Florida for the past couple months.In Jacksonville, in the northeast corner of the state, Duval County education stakeholders braced themselves when in-person school resumed on Aug. 20. Elementary students attended daily, with a hybrid schedule for middle and high schoolers that brought them to campus on alternating days. All grade levels had an option to take full-time virtual classes instead, although less than a third of students did.Since then, Duval Schools Superintendent Diana Greene has called the number of cases – 94 as of Friday – “manageable” for the district of about 111,000 students.Still, the number and rate of K-12 aged cases in Duval County has remained consistently lower than college-aged young adults since the start of fall semester. The community is home to several colleges, each of which is tracking COVID-19 cases differently.In the month before K-12 students returned to campus in Duval, 608 school-aged children tested positive and so did 974 young adults. In the month after school reopened, the state logged 312 cases among school-aged children and 747 among young adults, according to the USA TODAY analysis. More than half of COVID-19 cases reported by the school district are at elementary schools, where all instruction was in-person. With the district expected to fully transition to daily in-person classes for secondary schools this week, some stakeholders worry the case numbers will pick up.”The dashboard is starting to show some higher case counts at certain schools and particularly among staff,” said Dr. Jennifer Cowart, a local physician and parent. “If staff are already being affected at these schools under hybrid, and we go full brick and mortar, what happens to students and staff then?”Safety at the cost of learningThe USA TODAY analysis for Florida mirrored findings from a nationwide survey of hundreds of schools by Brown University in partnership with the American Association of School Superintendents and other organizations.The first set of data released last week showed low infection rates at 351 schools offering in-person instruction either daily or as part of a hybrid model: Just 0.08% of students and 0.14% of staff had a confirmed coronavirus infection in the past two weeks.For perspective, about 0.17% of all Floridians tested positive in the past two weeks, according to state figures. During the state’s July peak, the figure was 0.74%.As more schools join the anonymous, voluntary data collection effort, Brown University experts said they hope to provide more insight about which mitigation measures are most effective.But in many places, the very steps schools must take to ensure the health of students and staff can prove a significant disruption.Bradford County in north central Florida, for example, has seen 43 students and 40 teachers test positive for COVID-19 since classrooms reopened the last week of August, Assistant Superintendent David Harris said. Those positive cases have resulted in about 640 students being sent home to isolate. Story Collins and her mother protest at Duval County school board meeting on July 14, against in-person plans for the upcoming school year with COVID-19 infections surging (Photo: Bob Self, AP)“Very, very few – less than five – of the kids who were quarantined tested positive,” he said. “We’re sending a lot of kids out of school for 14 days that don’t need to be. That’s our biggest issue. That’s a huge problem. …They’re falling behind.”In some places, school leaders described a growing appetite, if not demand, from parents to roll back some of the new safety policies because massive outbreaks have rarely been linked with school-based transmission and because so many students who are not ill have had to miss classes.Last week, the school board in Miami-Dade County – one of Florida’s three districts granted an exemption to in-person learning due to high coronavirus case counts – voted to return to classrooms in mid-October. It has been instructing children virtually thus far. Other schools plan to roll back some safety precautions as cases continue to drop.“Our positivity rates are declining and if we can maintain and hold lower positivity rates, it is very possible that we could revise recommendations,” Kristine Hollingsworth, a spokeswoman for the health department in Collier County in southwest Florida, wrote in an email.When Collier’s reopening plan was announced, County Department of Health Director Stephanie Vick released guidelines that the district’s safety measures, like masks, may be incrementally phased out or reduced once positivity falls.More than five dozen positive cases were reported in Collier schools since nearly two-thirds of the district’s 47,000 students returned to classes on Aug. 31, according to the district’s COVID-19 dashboard.Even with those relatively low case numbers, some Collier school board members worry that the number of students isolated due to close contact with an infected person is starting to impact learning.“I’m still hearing from people who want restrictions to roll backwards,” board member Stephanie Lucarelli said.Yet not even the county’s school board members have seen the numbers on students and staff who’ve had to be quarantined. The district has not released that data to the public.”To focus on quarantine numbers could lead to a series of inferences about COVID-19 positivity that may not be the case,” Chad Oliver, Collier’s district spokesman, wrote in an email. “We are mindful that positive cases and positivity rates are analytically different from students who may have to be quarantined that are not COVID positive.” Yet just as an absence of information hampers Collier’s debate about quarantine practices, health researchers hope the emergence of more data will help them answer the questions school leaders and parents have about what to do.“Do you really need to shut down the whole classroom? Or do you only need to isolate a couple children who sat next to the infected person?” asked Auger, the doctor and researcher from Ohio. “We don’t know yet. We need more research.”Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/investigations/2020/09/28/florida-schools-reopened-en-mass-feared-covid-surge-hasnt-followed/3557417001/Find New & Used CarsNew CarsUsed CarsofPowered by Cars.com
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China Must Prepare for ‘Long Tech March’ Following US Restrictions on SMIC: State Media

China must engage in a new “long march” in the technology sector now that the US has imposed export restrictions on Semiconductor Manufacturing, the country’s largest chip manufacturer, Chinese state-backed tabloid the Global Times wrote on Sunday.The unnamed author of an op-ed in the paper argues that the US’ dominance of the global semiconductor industry…

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China must engage in a new “long march” in the technology sector now that the US has imposed export restrictions on Semiconductor Manufacturing, the country’s largest chip manufacturer, Chinese state-backed tabloid the Global Times wrote on Sunday.The unnamed author of an op-ed in the paper argues that the US’ dominance of the global semiconductor industry supply chain is a “fundamental threat” to China.”It now appears that China will need to control all research and production chains of the semiconductor industry, and rid itself of being dependent on the US,” the author wrote.On Saturday, Reuters reported that the US had sent letters to companies informing them that they must obtain a license to supply SMIC.The letter stated that SMIC and its subsidiaries “may pose an unacceptable risk of diversion to a military end use.” SMIC has denied any ties to China’s military.The restrictions against SMIC, and earlier ones against Huawei, the op-ed author argues, illustrate that the US is leading a protracted battle of “high-tech suppression” against China.Although companies such as Tencent and Beijing ByteDance have made some tech breakthroughs, they are based on US chip technology, the op-ed argues.”The foundation of the entire industry is still in Americans’ hands. For now at least. China must leap from zero to one to provide solid support for the country’s competition with the US,” the author wrote.The Global Times is a tabloid published by the People’s Daily, the official newspaper of China’s ruling Communist Party, but does not speak on behalf of the party and government, unlike its parent publication.© Thomson Reuters 2020Are Apple Watch SE, iPad 8th Gen the Perfect ‘Affordable’ Products for India? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.

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Nagorno-Karabakh: Armenia-Azerbaijan fighting rages in disputed region

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Publishedduration39 minutes agomedia captionTanks ablaze as fighting erupts over disputed regionFierce fighting between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces is raging on in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, with each side claiming an upper hand.The region is internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan but is run by ethnic Armenians.The separatist authorities there said 31 of its soldiers had now died, and some lost positions had been retaken. Azerbaijan said 26 civilians had been injured in heavy Armenian shelling. It earlier reported at least five deaths.Both Armenia and Azerbaijan have already declared general mobilisation and martial law in some areas.The fighting is the heaviest seen in the long-running conflict since 2016, when at least 200 people were killed in clashes.It has sparked international calls for diplomacy, amid fears that regional powers could be drawn into the conflict in the strategically important Caucasus region.Turkey has already declared its support for Azerbaijan, while Russia – which has military bases in Armenia – called for an immediate ceasefire.The territorial dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh is one of the world’s oldest conflicts.When Nagorno-Karabakh broke away from Azerbaijan in the early 1990s, tens of thousands died in fighting, and many ethnic Azerbaijanis were forced to flee their homes.It is now a de facto independent region, relying heavily on support from Armenia. But it is not recognised by any UN member, including Armenia.Nagorno-Karabakh – key factsA mountainous region of about 4,400 sq km (1,700 sq miles)Traditionally inhabited by Christian Armenians and Muslim TurksIn Soviet times, it became an autonomous region within the republic of AzerbaijanInternationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan, but majority of population is ethnic ArmenianAn estimated one million people displaced by 1990s war, and about 30,000 killedSeparatist forces captured some extra territory around the enclave in Azerbaijan in the 1990s warStalemate has largely prevailed since a 1994 ceasefireTurkey openly supports AzerbaijanRussia has military bases in ArmeniaWhat’s the latest from the battlefield?On Monday, authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh said another 15 of its soldiers had been killed. It had reported 16 fatalities among the military on Sunday.More than 100 people have been wounded.image copyrightEPAimage captionArmenia published photos of what it said were destroyed Azerbaijani tanksThe self-proclaimed republic also said its forces had destroyed four Azeri helicopters, 36 tanks and armoured personnel vehicles, according to the Armenpress news agency.It also said it had killed many Azerbaijani troops, but this could not be verified.image copyrightEPAimage captionAzerbaijan released images of what it said were damaged Armenian armoured vehiclesAzerbaijan’s defence ministry confirmed the loss of one helicopter but said the crew had survived, and reported that 12 Armenian air defence systems had been destroyed. It denied other losses.Azerbaijan said 26 civilians were injured in Armenian shelling, accusing Armenia of targeting densely populated areas. On Sunday, Azerbaijan said five members of the same family had been killed by Armenian shelling.In July, at least 16 people died in border clashes, prompting the largest demonstration in years in the Azerbaijani capital Baku, where there were calls for the region’s recapture.The international reactionUN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was “extremely concerned”, urging both sides to stop fightingRussia’s foreign minister held urgent talks both with the Armenian and Azeri leadershipFrance, which has a large Armenian community, called for an immediate ceasefire and dialogueIran, which borders both Azerbaijan and Armenia, offered to broker peace talksPresident Donald Trump said the US was seeking to stop the violenceWhat’s the background?In 1988, towards the end of Soviet rule, Azerbaijani troops and Armenian secessionists began a bloody war which left Nagorno-Karabakh in the hands of ethnic Armenians when a truce was signed in 1994.Swathes of Azeri territory around the enclave are also under Armenian control.Negotiations have so far failed to produce a permanent peace agreement, and the dispute in the region remains one of post-Soviet Europe’s “frozen conflicts.”Karabakh is the Russian rendering of an Azeri word meaning “black garden”, while Nagorno is a Russian word meaning “mountainous”. Ethnic Armenians prefer to call the region Artsakh, an ancient Armenian name for the area.Over the years both sides have had soldiers killed in sporadic breaches of the ceasefire. Landlocked Armenia has suffered severe economic problems due to the closure of borders with Turkey and Azerbaijan. Russia, France and the US co-chair the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s Minsk Group, which has been attempting to broker an end to the dispute.
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