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Beijing slams Aussie think tank that says China caused birth rate decline in Xinjiang — RT World News From “RT World News”



The Chinese Foreign Ministry has dismissed an Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) publication that claims Chinese policies have led to a sharp decline in birth rates in Xinjiang. Beijing advises a review of the facts.

Speaking on Thursday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying questioned the reliability of the Australian think tank and how it came to its conclusions. “I don’t know the paper made by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. The so-called Xinjiang birth rate has dropped by 48.74%. Where did this conclusion come from?” she asked, adding that ASPI “fabricates data and distorts facts.” Hua said the Uighur population of Xinjiang, a predominantly Muslim people whom the West claims are the subject of genocide by Beijing, has continued to grow year on year. “From 2010 to 2018, the Uighur population has grown 25%, which is significantly higher than the 2% increase in the Han population,” she stated, adding that, over the past 40 years, the number of Uighurs in Xinjiang has more than doubled. 

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Citing census data published on Tuesday, she said the population of ethnic minorities had increased by 10.26%, while the population of the Han Chinese has increased by only 4.93%.ASPI claimed in its publication on Wednesday that there had been an “unprecedented and precipitous drop in official birth rates in Xinjiang since 2017,” when Beijing allegedly commenced a campaign to control rates in the region. The group says birth rates there fell by nearly half from 2017 to 2019.Data from China’s census has been widely evaluated and reported on by the Western media, which claims the country’s lack of population growth over the past decade is a sign that Beijing is faltering. The census showed that, in the past decade, the population of mainland China increased by 5.38% to 1.41 billion. However, it is widely expected to decline in the coming years. The average growth rate of 0.53% is the slowest since the 1950s.If you like this story, share it with a friend!







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Germany relaxes quarantine rules for travelers from popular tourist spots as Covid-19 infection rate declines — RT World News From “RT World News”



Germany will allow people coming from nations such as Spain and Italy to present a proof of vaccination status or negative Covid-19 test if they want to skip quarantine on arrival.

From Thursday onwards, people coming from around 100 countries can avoid quarantine if they have been fully vaccinated at least 15 days before their trip, or have tested negative for the virus. A PCR test must be taken no more than 72 hours before travel, or a rapid antigen test no more than 48 hours before travel.Travelers must be vaccinated with one of four EU-approved vaccines: Pfizer/BioNTech, AstraZeneca/Oxford, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson.People over the age of 28 can also skip quarantine if they have been diagnosed with Covid-19 within the past six months and have recovered. The quarantine requirement has also been lifted for those frequently traveling across the border for work.According to the RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland news website, the rules apply to popular tourist destination spots such as Spain, Italy, Greece, and Austria. Travelers from neighboring France, which is listed by Germany as a nation with a “particularly high risk of infection” still have to quarantine on arrival.

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The seven-day incidence rate of Covid-19 has been steadily decreasing in Germany. On Thursday, the Robert Koch Institute reported 17,419 new cases, which is roughly 4,500 cases lower than was recorded a week ago.The positive dynamic was noted by Health Minister Jens Spahn, who said last week that the third wave of the infections in Germany appeared to have been “broken.”Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!







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Asia markets slump, with Japan's Nikkei lower by 2.5% after Wall Street dives on rate hike fears From “International: Top News And Analysis”



Investors are awaiting tech giant Alibaba’s first-quarter and full fiscal year results that will be released on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. HK/SIN.







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Smearing yourself in cow dung won’t cure Covid, Indian doctors warn, as country’s seven-day case rate hits new high — RT World News From “RT World News”



The head of the Indian Medical Association has warned his fellow citizens against the practice of covering themselves in cow dung as a treatment for Covid-19, as the nation’s seven-day case rate reaches a new high.

On Tuesday, India’s seven-day average case count for Covid-19 reached a record high of 390,995 as the World Health Organization labeled the Indian strain of the virus a “variant of concern.” With hospitals already at breaking point and oxygen supplies being rationed, doctors have reiterated their warning against alternative treatments and preventative measures which have become popular across India.The practice of applying a cow dung and urine mixture to one’s skin and waiting for it to dry, before washing it off with milk or buttermilk, is particularly concerning to doctors.  

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“There is no concrete scientific evidence that cow dung or urine work to boost immunity against Covid-19, it is based entirely on belief,” Dr JA Jayalal, national president at the Indian Medical Association, told Reuters on Tuesday.“There are also health risks involved in smearing or consuming these products – other diseases can spread from the animal to humans,” he added.Those involved in the ritual either hug or honor the cows while the pack is drying, and even practice yoga in their presence to boost energy levels.Gautam Manilal Borisa, an associate manager at a pharmaceuticals company, told Reuters that the practice helped him recover from Covid-19 last year. “We see … even doctors come here. Their belief is that this therapy improves their immunity and they can go and tend to patients with no fear.”In March, Madhya Pradesh Culture Minister Usha Thakur claimed that ‘havan’ (ritual burning) of cow dung could sanitize a house from Covid-19 for 12 hours. 

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More than 1,000 test positive for Covid-19 in just 48 hours as Indian pilgrims descend on holy city in ‘super-spreader’ event

For Hindus, who form around 80% of India’s 1.3 billion population, the cow is a sacred animal and has been incorporated into several religious rituals. It is believed that the cow is representative of divine and natural beneficence. Cow’s dung is even used to clean homes and in prayer rituals.In March and April, millions of Hindus descended on Haridwar and the Ganges river where the Kumbh Mela pilgrimage was being observed. Thousands of Covid-19 cases were recorded as millions of pilgrims travelled to the city to take a dip in the holy river.According to the health ministry, there were a further 329,942 on Tuesday. Deaths from the disease rose by 3,876.If you like this story, share it with a friend!







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Hospitals across India report Covid-19 patients with rare deadly black fungus that decays brains and lungs. Dozens of hospitals across India have started to report cases of Coronavirus patients being hit by a rare black fungus which has a mortality rate of about 50 per cent. : worldnews From “World News”



When hospitals give oxygen to patients, they run the oxygen through water (usually sterilized water) to give it humidity.There is a risk that the fungus can contaminate the water or the equipment and be transferred to the patient’s airways.Fungus grow well in damp, dark place, just like our respiratory system is.







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‘Are we in trouble? Absolutely’: Alberta battles worst Covid rate in North America | Canada From “World news | The Guardian”



In an open field outside the prairie town of Bowden, Alberta, hundreds of people braved chilly winds and the threat of spring rain to attend their first rodeo in more than a year.For the unmasked attendees cheering on as riders clung into bucking horses, the gathering this weekend must have seemed like a long-awaited return to normality.But the province is currently battling the worst coronavirus outbreak in North America: this week, Alberta had an active case rate of 534 per 100,000 – more than double the country’s average, and one of the worst in the world.And the illegal “No More Lockdowns Rodeo Rally” highlighted the challenges officials face in containing a brutal third wave in a province long averse to perceived governmental overreach.On Wednesday, the province became the first in Canada to offer the Pfizer vaccine to residents aged over 12, beginning next week, a day after premier Jason Kenney announced online schooling, increased fines for lockdown violations, and the closure of some businesses in areas with high case rates.“We will not permit our healthcare system to be overwhelmed. We must not and we will not force our doctors and nurses to decide who gets care and who doesn’t,” Kenney said during a televised address on Tuesday.Police are reviewing the rodeo, but local reports suggest that no officers were dispatched to break up the event, and it is unclear if any organizers or attendees had received fines for breaking the province’s rules, which limit outdoor gatherings to 10 people.“The reason we are at this critical stage of the pandemic in Alberta, with record high daily case counts and intensive care numbers, is precisely because, for whatever reason, too many Albertans are ignoring the rules we have in place,” Kenney told reporter on Monday, adding that it was “astounding” that more than a year into the pandemic, many in the province believe the virus is a hoax or government conspiracy.One recent poll found that 75% of Albertans believed the premier was doing a bad job of handling the pandemic – but a portion of that displeasure came from groups who feel Kenney has gone too far.Even though the conservative leader has been wary to implement aggressive restrictions seen in other provinces Kenney has faced insurrection from within his own party, with 16 lawmakers recently publishing a letter criticizing restrictions on retail and dining.But an unwillingness to bring in strict measures has led to a “predictable and preventable” new surge in cases, said Joe Vipond, an emergency room doctor in Calgary.“The science was clear from the beginning. If we didn’t aim for ‘Covid zero’ and if we started to relax our restrictions in the face of variants, this is where we would end up,” said Vipond. “It was always a fool’s errand to try and vaccinate our way out of a third wave. It’s just not mathematically possible.”With the province’s ICUs filling up, officials have said they have prepared plans to ration care if the number of patients outstrips the hospital capacity.“I don’t care how robust your systems are, I don’t care how great your training processes are. There is no system in the world that can out-expand the exponential growth of Covid,” said Vipond. “Are we in trouble? Absolutely.”For more wary residents, frustrations over those who ignore scientific advice are part of daily life.On the same day as the rodeo, Amanda, a nurse who lives in the Calgary, celebrated her son’s first birthday by waving to family gathered outside their window.Days earlier, the nurse and her husband were told there were outbreaks in both her son’s daycare and her daughter’s class, dashing any hopes she could safely see family.“My dad got really choked up. He’s a proud grandparent and not being able to hug his own grandkids is just so hard,” she said. “We have so many things to celebrate, new babies in the family and retirements, and we can’t we can’t do anything.”On Tuesday, she and her family tested positive for the virus.As a healthcare worker, she recognizes that a worsening situation could mean she’s redeployed to more dangerous work.“Being in healthcare, I see the effects that people’s actions have on our patients,” she said. “I think people are frustrated, and doing whatever they want. And I don’t think things are gonna get better.”Even with new restrictions in place, critics worry the measures might not be enough and aggressive case growth in the coming weeks is already baked in.“For somebody who went into medicine with a view to protecting life and health of my fellow citizens, the hardest part about this is knowing that every single illness that we see now, every single death is a preventable one,” said Vipond.“Unless something dramatically changes with the numbers, it’s hard to imagine how we get out of this without a healthcare disaster on our hands.”







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Brazil’s central bank raises interest rate, promises June hike | Business and Economy News From “Al Jazeera – Breaking News, World News and Video from Al Jazeera”



The bank is acting to rein in inflation that has surged above the target ceiling to a four-year high as food and fuel costs jump.By Maria Eloisa CapurroBloombergBrazil’s central bank lifted its benchmark interest rate by 75 basis points and promised another hike of the same magnitude in June as it moves to bring inflation forecasts back down to target.
The central bank on Wednesday unanimously voted to raise the Selic by 75 basis points to 3.5%, in line with estimates from all 39 economists in a Bloomberg survey and also the guidance given by policy makers at their prior meeting in March.

“For the next meeting the Committee foresees the continuation of the partial normalization process with another adjustment of the same magnitude in the degree of monetary stimulus,” the bank’s board said in a statement accompanying the decision.
The bank, led by its President Roberto Campos Neto, is acting to rein in inflation that’s surged above the target ceiling to a four-year high. Food and fuel costs have jumped in recent months, and the government recently restarted emergency aid that will firm up demand. Put together, analysts see consumer prices above target this year and next despite an incipient recovery.
“It’s the right decision since there are still risks in the inflation outlook,” David Beker, chief Brazil economist at Bank of America Corp, said before the bank’s announcement, pointing to energy and wholesale goods as top inflation drivers.
Helping policy makers’ inflation fight is a stronger real. The Brazilian currency has jumped 5.5% in the past month, the biggest gain among emerging market currencies, making imports less expensive.
Yet consumer prices rose 6.17% in the year through mid-April, and many economists see that reading approaching 8% in May. The central bank targets annual inflation at 3.75% this year, with a tolerance range of plus or minus 1.5 percentage points.
Last month, President Jair Bolsonaro’s administration started paying out another round of monthly stipends at a total cost of 44 billion reais ($8.2 billion). Lawmakers have recently indicated they will seek an extension of that aid if the government does not accelerate plans for a new social program as the coronavirus continues to spread through the country.







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Covid-19 mortality rate has DOUBLED among young people in Brazil, Pan-American health watchdog warns — RT World News From “RT World News”



Hospitalizations and deaths of younger people linked to Covid-19 are on the rise across the Americas, the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) has warned, adding that the situation in Brazil is particularly alarming.

“In Brazil, mortality rates have doubled among those younger than 39, quadrupled among those in their 40s and tripled for those in their 50s between December 2020 and March 2021,” PAHO Director Carissa Etienne said on Wednesday during a weekly media briefing.In 🇧🇷, mortality rates have doubled among those younger than 39, quadrupled among those in their 40s, and tripled for those in their 50s between Dec. 2020 – March 2021.This is tragic and the consequences are dire for our families, our societies, and our future 🌎@DirOPSPAHO— PAHO/WHO (@pahowho) May 5, 2021However, Brazil is not the only nation facing such difficulties. In Chile, hospitalization rates among people aged under 39 diagnosed with Covid-19 rose by more than 70% over the past few months, according to the health watchdog.The organization also reported infection rates increasing dramatically in the Guyanas and across Argentina and Colombia.Costa Rica is also said to be reporting “record-high” infections. In Anguilla – a small British Overseas Territory which includes several isles in the Caribbean – nearly 70 percent of the total number of Covid-19 cases recorded since the start of the pandemic were reported in the last 10 days alone.In some areas of the US, more people in their 20s are now being hospitalized for Covid-19 than people in their 70s.According to the UN health agency, Covid-19 now poses a significant threat to people of all age groups. “Adults of all ages – including young people – are becoming seriously ill. Many of them are dying,” Etienne told journalists.Countries need to further increase their intensive-care-unit capacity if the infection rates continue to rise at their current pace, the PAHO warned, adding that nearly 40% of global Covid-19 deaths registered last week were reported in the Americas. Younger people also might remain in hospitals for a longer period of time – sometimes for weeks, although they still have a better chance of survival than older patients, the organization said in a statement.

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With coronavirus surging, Brazil tells women not to get pregnant until a ‘better moment’

It also pointed out that vaccinating against Covid-19 will not prevent infection rates from further increasing in the short term. The PAHO called on governments in the region to focus on prevention, contact-tracing and testing to stem the spread of the virus.“While vaccines are being rolled out as fast as possible, they are not a short-term solution – we can’t rely on vaccines to bring down infections when there’s not enough vaccines to go around,” Etienne said.More than 1.3 million new infections were reported across the Americas in the last week, and more than 36,000 people died from the disease or complications related to Covid-19.Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!







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US birth rate sees biggest fall for nearly 50 years | US news From “World news | The Guardian”



The US birth rate has fallen 4% in the largest single-year drop in nearly 50 years, according to a government report.The rate dropped for mothers of every major race and ethnicity, and in nearly all age groups, falling to the lowest point since federal health officials started tracking it more than a century ago, the report due to be published on Wednesday said.Births have been declining in younger women for years, as many postponed motherhood and had smaller families.Birth rates for women in their late 30s and in their 40s have been inching up. But not last year.The US once was among only a few developed countries with a fertility rate above the 2.1 children per woman that ensured each generation had enough children to replace itself. But the rate has been sliding for more than 10 years and last year dropped to about 1.6, the lowest rate on record. “The fact that you saw declines in births even for older moms is quite striking,” said lead author of the report, Brady Hamilton, of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.The figures suggest that the current generation will not have enough children to replace itself.The CDC report is based on a review of more than 99% of birth certificates issued last year. The findings echo a recent Associated Press analysis of 2020 data from 25 states showing that births had fallen during the coronavirus outbreak.The pandemic contribute to last year’s big decline, experts said. Anxiety about Covid-19 and its impact on the economy likely caused many couples to think that it was not the right time to have a baby.But many of the 2020 pregnancies began well before the US epidemic. CDC researchers are working on a follow-up report to better parse out how the decline unfolded, Hamilton said.Other highlights from the CDC report include:
About 3.6 million babies were born in the US last year, down from about 3.75 million in 2019. When births were booming in 2007, the US recorded 4.3 million births.
The US birth rate dropped to about 56 births per 1,000 women of child-bearing age, the lowest rate on record. The rate is half of what it was in the early 1960s.
The birth rate for 15 to 19-year-olds dropped 8% from 2019. It has fallen almost every year since 1991.
Birth rates fell 8% for Asian-American women; 3% for Hispanic women; 4% for Black and white women; and 6% for mothers who were American Indians or Alaska Natives.
The caesarean delivery rate rose slightly to about 32%. It had generally been declining since 2009.
The percentage of infants born small and premature – at less less than 37 weeks of gestation – fell slightly to 10% after rising five years in a row.







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Asia-Pacific markets edge higher; RBA rate decision ahead From “International: Top News And Analysis”



SINGAPORE — Stocks in Asia-Pacific rose in Tuesday morning trade with major markets in Japan and China still closed for holidays.South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.14% in early trade. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 edged 0.18% higher.MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.12% higher.Looking ahead, the Reserve Bank of Australia is set to announce its interest rate decision at 12:30 p.m. HK/SIN. Australia’s trade data for March is slated to be released at 9:30 a.m. HK/SIN.Investors will continue to monitor the Covid-19 situation in India as it shows little signs of slowing down. The World Health Organization said last week that one in every three new coronavirus cases globally is being reported in India.Markets in China, Japan and Thailand are closed on Tuesday for holidays.Overnight stateside, the Dow Jones Industrial Average surged 238.38 points to close at 34,113.23 while the S&P 500 gained 0.27% to finish its trading day at 4,192.66. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite lagged as it declined 0.5% to close at 13,895.12.Currencies and oilThe U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 91 following an earlier drop from above 91.2.The Japanese yen traded at 109.10 per dollar, still weaker than levels below 108.6 against the greenback seen last week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7759, following levels below $0.772 seen yesterday.Oil prices were higher in the morning of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 0.28% to $67.75 per barrel. U.S. crude futures gained 0.29% to $64.68 per barrel.Here’s a look at what’s on tap:Australia: Reserve Bank of Australia’s interest rate decision at 12:30 p.m. HK/SIN, trade data for March at 9:30 a.m. HK/SIN— CNBC’s Saheli Roy Choudhury contributed to this report.







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