U.S. Government Watchdog Harshly Criticizes Drug Enforcement Agency for its Response to Opioid Crisis

A U.S. government watchdog on Tuesday harshly criticized the Drug Enforcement Agency for its response to the opioid crisis

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In this Feb. 19, 2013 photo, OxyContin pills are arranged at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vermont. VOA

A U.S. government watchdog on Tuesday harshly criticized the Drug Enforcement Agency for its response to the opioid crisis, saying that amid a surge in opioid-related deaths the agency failed to use its most powerful deterrent and authorized an increase in pain pill output.

A report released by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, whose office is an internal government watchdog, found the DEA was “slow to respond to the dramatic increase in opioid abuse” since 2000.

The report criticized the DEA for cutting back on use of an enforcement tool known as “immediate suspension orders,” which allows it to halt pill shipments, between 2013 and 2017.

Horowitz’s report also found that between 2002 and 2013 the DEA authorized a 400% increase in production of the opioid oxycodone, and that the agency did not significantly reduce production of the pain pill until 2017.

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FILE – U.S. JUSTICE DEPARTMENT INSPECTOR GENERAL MICHAEL HOROWITZ TESTIFIES BEFORE THE HOUSE OVERSIGHT AND GOVERNMENT REFORM COMMITTEE ON CAPITOL HILL IN WASHINGTON, SEPT. 18, 2019. VOA

Nearly 400,000 deaths in the United States have been linked to overdoses of opioids from 1990 to 2017, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The DEA said in a statement that it appreciated Horowitz’s assessment and that it has made improvements intended to control the diversion of opioids.

“Working with United States Attorneys’ Offices across the country, an increasing number of individuals and corporations are facing civil and criminal charges for actions that have fueled the opioid crisis,” the DEA added.

Horowitz’s report said that the DEA, which is part of the Justice Department, had recently taken steps to address the opioid epidemic, including increasing its intelligence sharing with local law enforcement agencies and launching “community outreach efforts” to raise awareness of the dangers of opioids.

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Horowitz found that more progress was needed, however, and that the DEA should establish “measurable performance metrics” to determine if some of its efforts were working.

Companies like drug distributor McKesson Corp and Oxicontin maker Purdue Pharma, which have been accused of enabling opioid abuse in many pending lawsuits, have long argued that they abided by the DEA’s production quotas and that it was not their place to second-guess the agency’s determinations. (VOA)

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Odisha Govt to Hold Rath Yatra Without Devotees this Year

Rath Yatra is said to be held in the absence of devotees this year

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Odisha government has ensured non-arrival of devotees to Puri. Wikimedia Commons

The annual Rath Yatra of Odisha government and his siblings could be performed provided the Odisha government ensured non-arrival of devotees to Puri, said Puri Gajapati Dibya Singha Deb, here on Saturday.

The Ratha Yatra could be organised with minimum servitors and without devotees if the Odisha government granted permission for the 9-day sojourn of deities, said the Puri Gajapati after a meeting of Shree Jagannath Temple Managing Committee during the day.

As part of Rath Yatra and Bahuda Yatra, three chariots would be pulled on the Badadanda (grand road) in presence of servitors, officials and policemen. Snana Yatra, scheduled on June 5, could be performed inside temple premises, he said.

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The Ratha Yatra could be organised with minimum servitors and without devotees. Wikiimedia Commons

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He said the temple would remain closed till Niladribije in view of Covid-19 pandemic.

The Information and Public Relations Department will make arrangements for live telecast of Snana Yatra and Rath Yatra rituals. “I request devotees to stay safe at home and watch the telecast on television,” the Puri Gajapati said. (IANS)

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Tamil Nadu Relaxes TV Serial Shooting Restrictions Further

Tamil Nadu has relaxed conditions for TV serial shooting

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Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K. Palaniswami has announced relaxation in TV serial shooting norms in the state. Wikimedia Commons

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K. Palaniswami on Saturday announced further relaxation in television shooting in the state.

In a statement issued here he said the television serial shooting will be allowed from May 31 onwards with a maximum of 60 persons at the spot including actors and technicians.

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Initially the government had fixed the number of persons at the shooting spot at 20. Pixabay

The other conditions that the government had earlier laid down were: Shooting is allowed only indoors or in the houses having compound walls; No shooting is allowed in public places, except in rural and on COVID-19 containment areas; No permission for onlookers; Spraying of disinfectant before and after the shooting at the shoot spots; Barring actors, all others should wear masks and maintain social distance.

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During breaks actors too should wear masks; All equipments, vehicles coming to the shooting spots should be sanitized. (IANS)

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US Lawmaker Proposes Bill in Congress to Recognise Tibet and Hong-Kong as Independent Nations

US and China ties may face further deterioration amid Coronavirus tension

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US lawmaker has introduced a bill in Congress to declare Tibet as an independent country. Pixabay

As tensions rise between the United States of America and the People’s Republic of China, a bill is proposed in the Congress by a US lawmaker, allowing American President to recognise Tibet as an independent nation, according to International News.

The bill was tabled by the US Congressman Scott Perry, who happens to be a military veteran and a Republican from Pennsylvania. He also introduced a similar bill, to declare Hong Kong, another Chinese-ruled region as an independent territory.

Both the bills could further escalate tensions between two countries.

The two bills introduced by the Republican from Pennsylvania have been referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs as published by Opindia.

Tibet is highest region on earth and is located in the south-west of China. The highest elevation in Tibet is Mount Everest. China invaded Tibet in 1949 and completely occupied the territory in 1959. Since then the Tibetan population has accused the Communist country of carrying out large scale human right violations and demographic changes.

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China invaded Tibet in 1949 and completely occupied the territory in 1959. Pixabay

The bill which has been welcomed by many Tibetan activists will have to be passed in both the House of Representatives and the Senate before getting assent from the President to be an act.

US Senate to delist Chinese companies from American stock exchanges

A bill, introduced by Senator John Kennedy, a Republican from Louisiana, and Chris Van Hollen, a Democrat from Maryland initiated to block Chinese firms from getting listed on the American stock exchanges which are not abiding by the US accounting laws.

Reportedly, the Chinese companies listed at the New York Stock Exchange do not report earnings just like American companies do as published by opindia.

There has been some controversy in the US Chinese companies such as Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Baidu Inc. amid increasingly tense relations between the world’s two largest economies.

In a major escalation, the Trump administration had issued a new rule on barring Huawei and its suppliers from using American technology and software according to the article published by opindia.

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There has been some controversy in the US regarding Chinese companies like Alibaba,etc. Pixabay

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in a statement said that the rule change is to “prevent U.S. technologies from enabling malign activities contrary to US national security and foreign policy interests”. He also added that Huawei and its affiliates “have stepped-up efforts to undermine these national security-based restrictions.”

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“We Could Cut Off The Whole Relationship”, Says Trump on China

US President Donald Trump had earlier said that he had lost all interest in speaking to his chinese counterpart Chinese President Xi Jinping. He also said that US could even cut ties with China following the outbreak of deadly pandemic of the Wuhan Coronavirus.

Donald Trump had said he was very disappointed with China’s failure to contain the disease and that the pandemic had cast a shadow over the US-China trade deal in his conversation with Fox News on Thursday.