France Detects First Case Of Indian Variant In South Of Country

A case of the Indian variant of the coronavirus was detected in southwestern France , the regional health agency of the New Aquitaine region announced on Thursday .

“We have identified that it was the Indian variant” in the case of infection “in a patient who had returned from India,” Benoît Elleboode, the agency’s regional director, told BFMTV and CNews television.

The French Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, had declared on Tuesday that “in metropolitan France” no case of the variant of Indian origin had been detected.

The WHO warns: any country could be in the situation of India before the covid-19
According to Elleboode, “it is the first case in France, in any case it is the first confirmed case in our Lot-et-Garonne region”.

Tracking device
According to the person in charge, the case was detected in “a patient who had returned from India and who was undergoing a test again because he had to go abroad again.”

“We identified that it was the Indian variant and the entire device for tracking contacts, isolating and protecting all people was put into operation,” he added.

In CNews, the regional director added that a second suspected case had been detected in Bordeaux (southwest). “The virus is being sequenced […] and in principle we will have the answer tomorrow,” Friday, he explained.

India surpasses 200,000 deaths with pandemic out of control
The Indian variant of the coronavirus is considered responsible, in part, for a second wave of the epidemic in India.

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced on Tuesday that this mutation of the virus had been identified in 17 countries, several of them European .

New peak of cases in India
India this Friday registered a new record in the numbers of daily infections by coronavirus with more than 380,000 in the last 24 hours, while the number of deaths experienced a slight decrease with almost 3,500 deaths.

India sets new record for COVID-19 deaths
Specifically, the country reported 386,452 new infections in the last 24 hours, raising the total to more than 18.7 million cases since the beginning of the pandemic, which keeps India as the second most affected nation in absolute terms alone. behind the United States.

The number of deaths from covid-19 fell, however, slightly to stand at 3,498, after yesterday reaching a historical maximum of more than 3,600 deaths in one day , according to the daily report issued by the Indian Ministry of Health.

India is at the global epicenter of a pandemic that is advancing by leaps and bounds : in these last seven days, the average number of daily infections exceeded 357,000, while the average number of deaths exceeded, for the first time, the threshold of 3,000.

Soaring positivity
In this sense, the total number of active cases grew by 3.6% compared to last week while the positivity rate increased to 20.9%, while just a month ago that figure was below 6%.

The World Health Organization (WHO) considers the pandemic to be under control in a country if the positivity rate is below the 5% threshold.

Despite the fact that in the first wave of the pandemic, India’s recovery rate was one of the highest in the world, with 97% of cases detected, it is now 82.1%.

The covid is hitting New Delhi with special virulence , which with 24,235 new infections in the last day, reported 395 deaths, the highest mortality rate it has suffered so far.


Sabadell Reduces Profit By 22.1% But Recovers Profits In British Subsidiary

The Banc Sabadell obtained in the first quarter of this year net profit of 73 million euros, representing 22.1% less than a year ago. But, in any case, the return of its British subsidiary, TSB , to the profits and the positive contribution to the group (two million euros), after three years of losses, stands out .

These quarterly accounts are the first since César González-Bueno took over the reins of the bank as CEO, replacing Jaume Guardiola and stand out for “an excellent result of the commercial activity” , as well as for the containment of costs and the increase of credit investment , “attending to the needs of companies and families “, as stated in a note sent to the National Securities Market Commission (CNMV).

In turn, Leopoldo Alvear , also incorporated with González-Bueno as financial manager, underlines the improvement “in the risk profile” and places it in line with the rest of the sector, thanks to the “actions carried out in the fourth quarter. At the same time, it expects” an improvement in results in Spain thanks to the expected good evolution of revenue lines and the positive impact of cost savings from the second quarter “.

In fact, the entity closed last year with a net result of just two million euros, with a decrease of 99%, after making provisions for 2,275 million to “clean up . ” Sabadell will present its new strategic plan on May 28 . It will be the roadmap for the new CEO, which was launched with a reorganization with a more agile structure and resorting to internal promotion .

Investment funds
Revenues from the banking business in the first quarter of this year, which include net interest income and commissions , reached 1,175 million between January and March, 4.8% less than a year ago due to the lower incidence of the pandemic in the comparison period (the state of alarm and the total confinement only covers 15 days of March 2020).

Net interest income, 833 million, fell 5.8% year-on-year, although it was 2.4% in the quarter. Net commissions, 342 million, decreased 2.2% due to the sale of Sabadell Asset Management , although those corresponding to investment funds and demand accounts increased 2.5%.

Total costs fell 1.2%, to 769 million due to the improvement of those related to personnel. The entity carried out the reduction of 1,817 jobs in the fourth quarter of last year. In a quarterly comparison, the total cost cut is 28.4%, thanks to the workforce adjustment, which represents a cost saving of 141 million.

Mortgage production
The bank highlights the increase in gross live loan investment to 150,334 million, which represents a year-on-year increase of 5.9% and 3.4% in the quarter. In addition to the increase in loans to companies, SMEs and the self-employed , mortgage production stands out, with an increase of 35%, ” with the best month of March in production in the history of Sabadell” .

As of March 31, 8,847 million had been arranged in ICO financing for companies and the self-employed and the outstanding balance of credit defaults stood at 2,218 million. The bank underlines the ” progressive acceleration of the digitization of customers in Spain”. In this sense, 45% of loan sales were ‘online’ and 94% of the main service operations.

According to data from the entity, problem assets at the end of March reached a balance of 7,507 million, of which 6,127 million were doubtful and 1,373 million were awarded. The coverage of problem assets stands at 52.8% and that of foreclosed assets, at 37%. The group’s NPL ratio was 3.7% during the period.

The British subsidiary TSB, which the bank has ruled out selling for now , has obtained a net profit of 10 million, which will contribute a positive two million to the group, after improving efficiency and reducing staff by 353 people and closing 70 offices in the first quarter .


Brazil Asks Women Who Want To Become Pregnant To Delay It

Brazil asks women who want to become pregnant to delay it due to the virulence of variants of the coronavirus.

The Ministry of Health of Brazil have recommended Friday that women postpone their pregnancy plans due to progress rampant pandemic Covid-19 and the emergence of new strains of the virus in the country, living a lethal second wave of health emergency.

According to the secretary of Primary Health Care of the portfolio, Raphael Camara, said in a press conference, the new variants , including the Brazilian one (P1), have been more aggressive in pregnant women , which is why he oriented women to postpone your pregnancies until the “situation is calmer.”

“If possible, (we recommend) postponing pregnancy a little for a better time, so that they can have a calmer pregnancy (…) For a young woman who can choose her moment of pregnancy, the best thing to do is wait a little until the situation is somewhat calmer, “he said.

Faced with the advance of new strains of the coronavirus, the secretary also recommended that pregnant women who appear in the priority groups in the immunization schedule against Covid be vaccinated .

“The clinical vision of specialists shows that the new variant has a more aggressive action in pregnant women . Before it was linked to the end of pregnancy, but now a more serious evolution is noted in the second, even in the first trimester,” said Camara .

Brazil is one of the countries hardest hit by the Covid-19 crisis, with a total of 368,749 deaths and 13.8 million infected , and has one of the highest mortality rates among pregnant women and postpartum women in the world (7 , 78%).

According to the data presented by the portfolio, so far this year 433 pregnant women or those who have just given birth have died from the disease, compared to the 546 deaths registered throughout the year of 2020.

Although international studies link pregnancy and the puerperium to an increased risk of complications from Covid-19, a report by the Brazilian Obstetric Observatory Covid-19 pointed out that the main reason behind the data is the lack of assistance to these women , since that 22.6% were never admitted to intensive care.


Raúl Castro Announces Retirement As Head Of Communist Party Of Cuba

The Communist Party of Cuba has confirmed this Friday that Raúl Castro will cease to be its secretary general , after ten years at the head of the formation, within the framework of the celebration of the VII Congress held in Havana.

During the presentation of his report, Castro highlighted the progress made in the last five years, but he also recognized the need to “create greater dynamism” in solving the problems the island faces.

According to the party’s website, Castro has shown his “satisfaction” knowing that he is leaving the leadership of the country “to a group of prepared leaders, hardened by decades of experience” and “committed to the ethics of the Revolution.”

Castro deplores US hostility and offers “uncompromising” dialogue
In addition, Castro on Friday denounced the increase in hostility from the United States in recent years and insisted on the will of his country to promote a respectful dialogue “without concessions inherent to its sovereignty and independence.”

Castro, who during his last term as president (2013-2018) promoted the thaw process with the neighboring country, deplored during his speech at the opening of the VIII Congress of the PCC (only) the tightening of Washington’s sanctions , even during the coronavirus pandemic.

It is expected that at the end of this Congress, which will last four days and is the main conclave of Cuban communists, the 89-year-old Army General will permanently withdraw from politics and hand over the leadership of the formation to the current president of the country. Miguel Díaz-Canel.

According to the first secretary of the PCC, quoted by the state agency Prensa Latina – the Congress is held behind closed doors and without access to the foreign press – the more than two hundred measures against Cuba imposed during the term of the previous US president, Donald Trump , manifest the “ruthless nature of imperialism.”

The Republican president abolished the legal channels for sending remittances, tightened the requirements to travel to the island, vetoed cruises, banned flights to all Cuban airports except Havana, and reincorporated the Caribbean island in the US list of countries. sponsors of terrorism.

Castro argued that US policy harms Cuba’s economic relations with practically all the nations of the planet, spoke of a “real hunt” and criticized that Washington seeks to “sabotage the business system, break the management of the State and promote chaos, strangle the country and cause a social explosion. ”

In Cuba, which is going through an acute economic crisis, the arrival of Democrat Joe Biden to the White House last January was expected to ease the bilateral tensions experienced with Trump and promote a new rapprochement.

In contrast, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki, when asked today by the conclave of Cuban communists, reiterated that changing policy towards Havana is not a priority for Biden’s foreign policy.


Declassified CIA Documents Reveal Two Attempts To Assassinate Fidel

The CIA unsuccessfully planned two plots to assassinate Cuban leaders Fidel and Raúl Castro in the 1960s, according to documents declassified today by the National Security Archive.

On the occasion of the inauguration of the VIII Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC), which is expected to mean the political farewell of Raúl Castro, documents were released about a plot to fake an accident on a flight between Prague and Havana and another linked to the Bay of Pigs invasion of 1961.

Workers raise a giant concrete Cuban flag in front of the US embassy in Havana. Cuba ‘challenges’ Washington with a huge concrete flag in front of the US embassy in Havana.

The documents, six in total and which include memos and telegrams, account for the arrangements made by intelligence agency officials, which included the offer of a payment of “$ 10,000 or a reasonable amount in excess of that figure” to “incur at risk of organizing an ” air accident.”

The head of the CIA in Cuba in 1960, William J. Murray, discussed this plan with the Cuban pilot José Raúl Martínez, who worked for Cubana Airlines, the company contracted for a charter flight to Prague in which Raúl Castro and other members of the communist party.

“The pilot, who the CIA had previously recruited as an intelligence asset in Cuba, ‘asked to be assured that in the event of his [own] death , the United States would see to it that his two sons received a university education,'” he said. the National Security Archive.

The plot was never carried out because the aviator “had no opportunity to organize an accident” on the return leg of the flight, which took place on July 21, 1960.

Those involved had analyzed the possibility of an engine overheating on land or of a splashdown “about three hours from Cuba.” Previously, Murray had received a countermanding annulling the plot, but had no opportunity to communicate with the pilot.

Another attempt, but this time to assassinate Fidel Castro , began to be hatched weeks after the plan against Raúl Castro, the National Security Archive noted.

In August 1960, the CIA’s director of covert operations, Richard Bissell, authorized “a delicate mission” that required action like that of organized gangs, with the aim of liquidating Fidel Castro and “increasing the chances of success.” of the Bay of Pigs operation, in which Cubans trained and financed by the United States participated in 1961 and which ultimately failed.

For operation, the Technical Services Division of the CIA “developed a pill that had the elements of rapid solubility, high content lethal and little or no traceability”, of which there were six expected him they were given to Fidel Castro with some food or drink.

The plot, which did not come to fruition, “was called off shortly after the Bay of Pigs episode.”

Peter Kornbluh, who heads the US National Security Archive’s Cuba project, noted that, “like the defeat of the CIA-led invaders at the Bay of Pigs marked a historic turning point for the young revolution.” , the “official beginning of the post-Castro era marks an important turning point for the future of Cuba.”


La Soufriere Volcano Continues To Release Ash At 8000 Meters High

La Soufriere volcano continues to release ash at 8,000 meters high.

The La Soufriere volcano, located in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, continues active this Friday with the expulsion of an ash column that reaches 8,000 meters in height , as reported by the University’s Seismic Research Center (SRC) of the West Indies (UWI).

The SRC has detailed in a statement that the eruption this Friday began at 06:15 local time (10.15 GMT).

The scientific entity, which has been monitoring the La Soufriere eruptions since their first major outbreak a week ago, has indicated that seismic activity continues in the area .

Lesson learned: never presume you know exactly what a volcano is going to do. Explosion at #LaSoufriere at 6:16 am. Photo by @VincieRichie More details in the scientific advisory to follow. # lasoufrière #svg #redalert #volcano

– UWISeismic Research (@uwiseismic) April 16, 2021
According to the SRC, a mild earthquake occurred on Thursday at 9:00 p.m. local time (01:00 GMT this Friday) that was possibly related to a small increase in soda vents .

“The volcano remains active even though the explosive activity appears to have ended, ” the SRC said.

Future explosions
The SRC also warned that the explosions that are accompanied by ash could restart in the future and affect the island of San Vicente – where the volcano is located – and other adjacent ones, since it is at the red alert level.

Local authorities have urged people still in danger areas to go to the shelters immediately.

The Government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines had recently warned that the relative calm of the past two days did not mean that the La Soufriere volcano eruptions had ended .

In addition, it warned of the threat of contagion by COVID-19 due to the high human concentration due to evacuations due to the natural phenomenon.


UK Gives The Green Light To Vaccinate Pregnant Women

The UK Government has given the green light to vaccinate pregnant women against the coronavirus if they so wish, reports the Mirror . Of course, they will preferably be vaccinated with Pfizer or Moderna .

A new report from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) said there were no “specific safety concerns” identified with “any brand of Covid-19 vaccines” in relation to pregnancy.

Until now, pregnant women had been advised to consult with their GP if they were at high risk of exposure to the virus or had underlying health problems.

According to data collected in the US, around 90,000 pregnant women had received injections, mainly the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, “without posing any safety concerns.”

This is why the JCVI has said that it is “preferable” for pregnant women in the UK to be offered these two vaccines when available.

“There is no evidence to suggest that other vaccines are unsafe for pregnant women, but more research is needed.”

“There is no evidence to suggest that other vaccines are unsafe for pregnant women , but more research is needed,” the JCVI added in this regard.

As for women who are trying to have a baby , who have just given birth or are breastfeeding, they can be vaccinated with any vaccine, says the JCVI report.

They encourage vaccination
Professor Wei Shen Lim, Covid-19 President for JCVI, said: “We encourage pregnant women to discuss the risks and benefits with their doctor; people at increased risk of severe Covid-19 outcomes are encouraged to agree to Immediate offer of vaccination when offered. ”

“There have been no specific safety concerns of any brand of Covid-19 vaccines in relation to pregnancy, ” added Wei Shen Lim.

“There is more real-world safety data from the US regarding the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines in pregnant women, therefore we recommend offering these to pregnant women ,” Lim said.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunization at Public Health England (PHE), said: “The data available on the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines provide confidence that they can be safely offered to pregnant women.”

“Covid-19 vaccines continue to save thousands of lives and it is important that we encourage as many people as possible to accept the offer when it is their turn,” Ramsay said.

For his part, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “We know that vaccination offers the best protection against Covid-19, which can be extremely serious in some pregnant women.”

“I encourage all pregnant women when called for the vaccine to come forward and discuss the benefits and risks of the vaccine with a trusted source such as their GP, obstetrician or midwife,” she said.


Spain Will Have A Covid Certificate For Travel For The Summer

Spain will implement the green and digital certificate at the end of June , a QR code where it will be possible to check if a person has been vaccinated, has passed the covid-19 or has a negative diagnostic test ; It will serve to facilitate mobility, but it will not be a requirement for travel.

The secretary general of Digital Health, Alfredo González, has detailed this Thursday in a press conference together with Silvia Calzón, Secretary of State for Health, the certificate, whose regulation is negotiated in the EU, after yesterday a common position was set for prevent it from operating like a passport.

“It is not a passport, it is not a travel document, it is not a requirement to travel, it is a mechanism that facilitates mobility within the EU,” said the Secretary General for Public Health.

The certificate is a “facilitator”, but it does not replace the competence of states in public health. The traveler who arrives in Spain, for example, must submit to the restrictions established as the country of destination.

The covid passport will allow the unvaccinated to travel
The advantage of this QR code, which is free and non-discriminatory, as González stressed, is that it will facilitate border verification. Thus, “the transit will be much safer, and more agile for the traveler” and “Spain will be able to receive more people with more security”. In addition, it eliminates “any risk of falsification”, since each state will be able to verify by consulting the code that the certificate has been issued by a health authority.

Ready for summer
The Government’s goal is for it to be operational by the end of June and fully operational for the summer campaign. To do this, they must have the capacity to issue “millions of certificates in a very short time.” The autonomous communities will be in charge of issuing the certificates, with technical assistance from Health, which will also be coordinated with the European Union, which has yet to approve the regulation.

Those who have received the vaccine or have overcome the disease will receive it, which is proven by a positive diagnostic test in the past, and those who want to prove a negative test will have to request it. In addition, it will continue to live with printed certificates and with the Spain Travel Safe application. You will respect data protection and privacy.

It is also contemplated the possibility that the certificate of having received a first dose in one state serves for the administration of the second in a country other than the EU. The plan is to extend it to third countries outside the European Union. It will also be possible to include vaccines that are not authorized by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), although countries will voluntarily decide whether or not to accept said certificate.


Pfizer To Accelerate Delivery Of 50 Million Doses Of Vaccines To EU

The messenger RNA vaccine developed and manufactured by BioNTech / Pfizer has become the great hope of the European Union. The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen , stressed this Wednesday that the serum has proven its worth and the company its reliability and has announced the opening of negotiations to sign a new contract, the third, for the acquisition of 1.8 billion dose for 2022-2023.

Meanwhile, the company will advance to the second quarter the shipment of a new shipment of 50 million doses , which will allow the EU to make up for the stoppage in the supply of Janssen’s vaccine – it had to deliver 55 million doses between April and June – for the cases of thrombi detected in the United States.

There is a greater risk of suffering thrombi caused by covid than by vaccination
This new consignment, whose shipment was initially planned for the last quarter of 2021, will be distributed pro rata by population among all Member States, which means that Spain will receive an additional 5 million injections . In total, BioNTech Pfizer will ship a total of 250 million doses between April and June.

“This will help substantially to consolidate the deployment of our vaccination campaigns,” explained Von der Leyen during a short statement without questions to the press. With this new advance, the Commission is confident that it will meet the goal of vaccinating 70% of the adult population for the summer and improving the chances of containing the covid19 virus.

As he underlined, the company “has proven to be a trusted partner that has fulfilled its commitments and responds to our needs. This is of immediate benefit to the citizens of the EU ”. In this sense, Von der Leyen has announced the opening of negotiations with the laboratory to acquire an additional 1.8 billion through the joint purchasing system to guarantee EU citizens sufficient doses in 2022 and 2023.

UE will not renew contracts with Astrazeneca and Johnson & Johnson, according to La Stampa. In the photo, a box with Jansen’s vaccines.

Bet on messenger RNA vaccines
“It is clear that to defeat the virus decisively we will have to be prepared for the following. At some point we may need booster shots to strengthen and prolong immunity. If there are new variants, we will need to develop vaccines that adapt to new variants and we will need them soon and in sufficient quantities, “argued Von der Leyen, who has advanced that from now on the EU will focus on technologies that have proven their effectiveness and” messenger RNA vaccines are a clear example ”.

Words that suggest to some extent the information published this Wednesday by the Italian newspaper La Stampa, which points out that Brussels will not renew contracts with Janssen and AstraZeneca , and is committed to messenger RNA, the technology on which BioNTech / Pfizer are based , Modern and Curevac . Still, the European Commission has not closed the door to any vaccines or new contracts with other companies.

The end of the alarm widens the gap between Sánchez and his partners
Von der Leyen has used his appearance to update vaccination data in the EU. So far, the Twenty-seven have received 126 million doses and there are 100 million people who have already received a puncture . “It is a milestone of which we can be proud,” said the President of the Executive.

Of the 100 million doses put in the Twenty-seven, 25% are second doses which means that there are more than 27 million fully immunized people. “This is good news, but as we can see from the Johnson & Johnson announcement yesterday, there are still many factors that can disrupt the planned vaccine delivery schedule. It is important to act quickly, anticipate and adapt whenever possible,” he claimed.


Michel And Leyen Will Discuss The Ankara Incident This Afternoon

Michel and Von der Leyen will discuss the Ankara incident this afternoon to avoid a repeat in the future.

Von der Leyen during the visit to Turkey was relegated to a sofa while Michel occupied a chair in the center of the room on an equal basis with the Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, and the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, will meet this Monday at the first meeting they hold after the diplomatic incident in Turkey, in which they will seek to prevent this case from returning. to be repeated in the future.

Despite the fact that in Brussels he assures that it is the traditional weekly meeting between presidents, the appointment will be the first time that both leaders discuss the rudeness that Von der Leyen suffered during the visit to Turkey, where she was relegated to a sofa , while that Michel took a chair in the center of the room on an equal footing with the Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The diplomatic friction has generated a certain tension not only with Ankara but also among the community institutions themselves.

On the one hand, the European Commission points out that the protocol was broken to the detriment of Von der Leyen and attributes the organization of the event to the Council and the Turkish authorities, while on the other hand, the Council’s protocol service defends that he did not have access to the room in which the meeting was held and that the error is due to a strict interpretation of the protocol, which, according to the treaties, gives the rank of Head of State to the President of the Council and Prime Minister to the Commission on Foreign Travel .

Different interpretations
After the episode, Brussels moved and, as confirmed by spokesman Eric Mamer, sent an email to the Council, in line with Von der Leyen’s guidelines, in order to address the matter. “Our interpretation of the rules is that we have to find a common way of approaching these issues, in a harmonized way, for future events,” the spokesperson explained.

“The president requested that the services contact the Council colleagues involved in the organization of the event in Ankara through the appropriate channels to find a sustainable way to ensure that these situations do not occur in the future,” added Mamer.

In any case, he has ruled out that there is a reform of the treaties on the table and has wanted to send a message of unity, underlining that cooperation between presidents will continue to function “in the interest of the Twenty-seven and their citizens.”