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The head of UNAIDS says the global community is at a “defining moment” in the effort to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic by 2030.
“This midpoint is important for us to reflect on what was not working,” Michel Sidibe told VOA, noting this year marks the halfway point to agreed global targets. “It’s about how to deal with vulnerable communities, fragile society.”
According to 2016 data, 36.7 million people globally are living with HIV. There were nearly 2 million new infections and 1 million AIDS-related deaths.
But the good news is there has been success in expanding access to critical anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs), which reached nearly 21 million people in 2016, leading to a reduction by one-third in global AIDS-related deaths.
Eliminating mother-to-child HIV transmission through childbirth and breast-feeding also has become a real possibility by 2030. This was considered a dream just a few years ago, Sidibe said.
“Today, we are seeing after six years that we reduced by almost 61 percent the infection among children — the transmission from mother to child,” Sidibe said. “But we still have 39 percent of babies born with HIV. We want to stop that and we are working very closely with countries who are lagging behind to make sure we have a catch-up plan.”
Know your HIV status
The UNAIDS executive director says one of the most critical factors in ending the epidemic is making sure people are tested and know their HIV status. This requires lifting taboos and making testing more widely available.
“We need to reduce the price of self-testing; we need to go to community levels, family levels, to reach people where they are,” he said. “The family-centered approach and also community-based approach will become central to what we will do in the future, if we want to reach those millions of people who don’t know their status.”
A recent United Nations report on the AIDS response found that at the end of 2016, some 70 percent of people living with HIV knew their status, and 77 percent of them were accessing ARV therapy. Once on those treatments, 82 percent had suppressed the virus to undetectable levels in their systems. That is not a cure. HIV still remains in their body, but it greatly reduces the likelihood of transmission to a partner.
While there have been significant successes, progress is uneven, especially for women and adolescent girls. This is the case in sub-Saharan Africa, where females aged 15-24 accounted for 23 percent of new infections in 2016, compared to 11 percent for their male counterparts.
Sidibe says women and young girls face unique challenges, including cultural norms, child marriage and early pregnancies.
“It’s something which we need to address at not just a peripheral level, we need to deal with poverty, to deal with violence against women, to change the laws, to make sure we give them services,” he said.
In order to stop new HIV infections, other vulnerable populations also need a scaled-up response, including intravenous drug users, sex workers and men who have sex with men.
Working with at-risk groups and spreading awareness of the importance of condoms and single-needle use for drug addicts are all crucial to the fight against HIV.
Next month, thousands of experts, activists and people living with HIV/AIDS will meet in Amsterdam for the International AIDS conference. Special attention will be focused on the need to reach key populations, including in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, North Africa and the Middle East, where epidemics have grown. (IANS)
Special Powers For The Armed Forces Act Of 1958 is an act to allow personnel of the armed forces in the states of *[Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Tripura] to be granted certain special powers in troubled regions.
In protest, Nagaland has decided to put the Hornbill Festival on hold. Furthermore, the SIT investigating the event has been given a month to finish its inquiry.
The Nagaland administration has decided to petition the Home Ministry to abolish the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act in the wake of the killing of 14 people by security forces (AFSPA). On Tuesday, the decision was made during a cabinet meeting presided by Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio.
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The Special Inquiry Team (SIT) that has been formed to investigate the event, would conclude its investigation within a month, according to the meeting. In response to the innocent fatalities, the government has decided to cancel the current Hornbill Festival. The venue's stalls will stay open, and the tourist bureau will stage a brief closing ceremony.
The 10-day Hornbill Festival, the state's major tourist event, was set to culminate on December 10 at Naga Heritage Village in Kisama, near the state capital. The day's event at the location had been cancelled by the state authorities on Monday.
Following the deaths in Mon district, several tribes from eastern Nagaland and other areas of the state halted all activity at their respective Morungs.
Security forces were in the middle of an ambush when the vehicle approached the location and tried to flee when signaled to stop by the forces. It being suspected of carrying insurgents, the security forces opened fire. Later on it came into light it was a case of mistaken identity and they were civilians who worked as coal mine workers and were coming home in a car. Out of the eight individuals in the vehicle, six died instantly. This sparked additional violence in the region, which resulted in the deaths of eight more individuals (seven on Saturday and one on Sunday) and one security personnel.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah expressed remorse to Parliament on Monday, saying that on December 4 evening, "a squad of 21 para-commandos of the Indian Army planned an ambush" for terrorists in Mon area, but that it "turned out to be a case of mistaken identification." "The Government of India offers its profound condolences to the families of those who have lost their lives," he continued.
The officer in-charge of the Tizit police station in Mon district filed a suo-motu FIR on Sunday alleging that the security forces' "intention" was "to murder and hurt people."
On December 4, the coal mine laborers who were from Oting village had been returning home from Tiru in a Bolero when, "on reaching Longkhao, between Upper Tiru and Oting villages, security forces blankly open fired at the vehicle without any provocation, resulting in the death of many Oting villagers and seriously injuring many others," according to a FIR filed by Ubi Posehu Kezo, the officer in charge of the Tizit police station.
According to the FIR, there was no police guide present at the time of the event, and security personnel did not "submit a demand to the police station to supply police guide for their operation." As a result, it is clear that the security forces' goal is to kill and hurt people."
The Army has expressed great remorse for the occurrence and has convened a Court of Inquiry into it.Unsplash
Also read: World-Famous Hornbill Festival From Nagaland
The Army has expressed great remorse for the occurrence and has convened a Court of Inquiry into it. "The reason for the tragic loss of lives is being probed at the highest level by a Court of Inquiry, and necessary action will be taken in accordance with the law," it stated.
Rio had joined a rising chorus of demands for the repeal of AFSPA, which provides security personnel exceptional powers in "disturbed regions," when attending the funeral of the 14 people in Mon town on Monday.
Meanwhile, the Konyak Union (KU), Nagaland's main tribal organisation, declared a day-long bandh in the Mon district on Tuesday to condemn the deaths, and a seven-day mourning period began the next day.
The KU has advised security troops to refrain from patrolling the Konyak region during the seven-day mourning period, warning that if they do not, they would be held accountable for "any unpleasant occurrence that may occur."
In a letter sent on Monday, the union asked President Ramnath Kovind to form a Special Investigation Team (SIT) "also comprising two members of the Eastern Nagaland People's Organisation (ENPO) in it" to identify the Army personnel involved in the incident and make public the actions taken against them within 30 days.
It asked that the 27 Assam Rifles leave Mon immediately for failing to safeguard residents, as well as the removal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act from the whole Northeast.
"On Tuesday, we declared a day-long bandh in Mon district. It is proceeding in a calm manner. We've also declared a seven-day mourning period beginning on Wednesday," Howing Konyak, head of the Konyak Union, told PTI.
(Keywords: Hornbill festival, Nagaland, AFSPA)
Samsung Electronics on Tuesday replaced all three CEOs in a surprise move that, the company said, was intended to enhance competitiveness and promote future growth.
Han Jong-hee was promoted to vice chairman and CEO and will be in charge of the newly created SET division, which merged the consumer electronics and IT and mobile communications divisions, previously led by Kim Hyun-suk and Koh Dong-jin, respectively.
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An expert in TV research and development, Han played a key role in bringing the company's TV business to the top position. Samsung said he is expected to "strengthen the synergies among the different businesses in the SET division and help drive new businesses and technologies." The device solutions (DS) division will be led by Kyung Kye-hyun, who has been Samsung Electro-Mechanics CEO.
Kyung is a semiconductor design expert, having previously led the company's flash product and technology team. Samsung said he is expected to "help maintain the company's semiconductor leadership and lead innovation in the components business."
Also Read : Samsung W22 5G was scheduled to Launch on Oct 13
Kim Ki-nam, vice chairman and head of the DS division, was named chairman of Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology, reports Yonhap news agency.
The tech giant said in a statement the new appointments were made "for the next phase of the company's future growth and to strengthen its business competitiveness."
The reshuffle came as a surprise as it had been widely expected that the tech giant would keep its current division heads to ensure a stable management environment amid fierce global competition and potential risks associated with the ongoing trial of Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong over his role in controversial merger and accounting fraud allegations.
Lee did not get promoted to chairman of Samsung Electronics -- the crown jewel of Samsung Group. Unsplash
The three CEOs had been considered successful in leading the company to post stellar performances since 2018 and were endorsed to keep their posts during the annual shareholders meeting in Suwon, south of Seoul, in March.
But Lee, the de facto leader of the country's biggest conglomerate, Samsung Group, has hinted at making a sizable change to the company to "create a better Samsung." He also warned of the "harsh reality of the market" amid the global supply crunch and chip shortages.
The management reshuffle came a week after the company overhauled its position system and abolished the seniority-based top-down approach to nurture young talent and create a more flexible corporate culture. It scrapped mandatory years of working at certain positions, a precondition for possible promotion, and incorporated ranks to make the company structure more simplified and nimble.
Lee did not get promoted to chairman of Samsung Electronics -- the crown jewel of Samsung Group. He assumed the vice chairman position in December 2012. The chairman position has been left vacant since his father, Lee Kun-hee, died in October last year. (IANS/SP)
(Keywords : Samsung, company, competitiveness, growth, technology, reshuffle, successful, chairman.)
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India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russia's President Vladimir Putin met in New Delhi on Monday and discussed regional and global developments, including the post-pandemic global economic recovery, and the situation in Afghanistan.
Accompanied by a high-level delegation, Putin visited New Delhi for the 21st India-Russia annual summit. He extended an invitation to Modi to visit Russia for the 22nd India-Russia Annual Summit in 2022.
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The two leaders expressed satisfaction at the sustained progress in the 'Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership' between both countries despite the challenges posed by the Covid pandemic. They welcomed the holding of the first meeting of the 2+2 Dialogue of Foreign and Defence Ministers and the meeting of the Inter-Governmental Commission on Military and Military-Technical Cooperation in New Delhi.
Also Read : Journalism in Putin's Russia
The leaders underscored the need for greater economic cooperation and in this context, emphasised on new drivers of growth for long-term, predictable, and sustained economic cooperation. They appreciated the success story of mutual investments and looked forward to greater investments in each others' countries.
The role of connectivity through the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) and the proposed Chennai-Vladivostok Eastern Maritime Corridor figured in the discussions. The two leaders looked forward to greater inter-regional cooperation between various regions of Russia, in particular with the Russian Far East, with India's states.
Putin congratulated Modi for India's ongoing non-permanent membership of the UN Security Council. | Wikimedia
They appreciated the ongoing bilateral cooperation in the fight against the Covid pandemic, including humanitarian assistance extended by both countries to each other in critical times of need.
The leaders discussed regional and global developments, including the post-pandemic global economic recovery, and the situation in Afghanistan. They agreed that both countries share common perspectives and concerns on Afghanistan and appreciated the bilateral roadmap charted out at the NSA level for consultation and cooperation on Afghanistan.
They noted that both sides shared common positions on many international issues and agreed to further strengthen cooperation at multilateral fora, including at the UN Security Council.
Putin congratulated Modi for India's ongoing non-permanent membership of the UN Security Council and the successful Presidency of BRICS in 2021, while Prime Minister Modi congratulated Russia for its ongoing chairmanship of the Arctic Council.
In a joint statement, the two sides stressed that partnership for peace, progress and prosperity aptly covers the state and prospects of bilateral ties.
Coinciding with the visit, several government-to-government agreements and MoUs, as well as those between commercial and other organisations of both countries, were signed in different sectors such as trade, energy, science and technology, intellectual property, outer space, geological exploration, cultural exchange, education, and others.
This is a reflection of the multifaceted nature of our bilateral partnership, the statement said. (IANS/SP)
(Keywords : India, Russia, Vladimir Putin, Narendra Modi, Prime Minister, President, New Delhi, regional, global, developments, Afghanistan, challenges, pandemic, defence, economic, cooperation, connectivity, humanitarian, partnership, trade, education.)