In Brief: May 2, 2021

India launches effort to inoculate all adults against COVID-19

NEW DELHI — In hopes of taming a monstrous spike in COVID-19 infections, India opened vaccinations to all adults Saturday, launching a huge inoculation effort that was sure to tax the limits of the federal government, the country’s vaccine factories and the patience of its 1.4 billion people.

ADVERTISING


The world’s largest maker of vaccines was still short of critical supplies — the result of lagging manufacturing and raw material shortages that delayed the rollout in several states. And even in places where the shots were in stock, the country’s wide economic disparities made access to the vaccine inconsistent.

The country’s ambitious effort was also partly overshadowed Saturday by a fire in a COVID-19 ward in western India that killed 18 patients, and the death of 12 COVID-19 patients at a hospital in New Delhi after the facility ran out of oxygen for 80 minutes.

Only a fraction of India’s population will be able to afford the prices charged by private hospitals for the shot, experts said, meaning that states will be saddled with immunizing the 600 million Indian adults younger than 45, while the federal government gives shots to 300 million health care and front-line workers and people older than 45.

So far, government vaccines have been free, and private hospitals have been permitted to sell shots at a price capped at 250 rupees, or around $3. That practice will now change: Prices for state governments and private hospitals will be determined by vaccine companies. Some states might not be able to provide vaccines for free since they are paying twice as much as the federal government for the same shot, and prices at private hospitals could rise.

___

Bid to censure Romney for Trump impeachment votes fails

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Republicans booed Sen. Mitt Romney but ultimately rejected a motion to censure him Saturday for his votes at President Donald Trump’s impeachment trials.

The measure narrowly failed, 798 to 711, in a vote by delegates to the state GOP convention, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.

Romney drew heavy boos when he came to the podium earlier in the day.

Davis County delegate Don Guymon, who authored the resolution, said Romney’s votes to remove Trump from office “hurt the Constitution and hurt the party.”

“This was a process driven by Democrats who hated Trump,” Guymon said. “Romney’s vote in the first impeachment emboldened Democrats who continued to harass Trump.”

From wire sources

More perilous phase ahead for Biden after his 1st 100 days

WASHINGTON — Joe Biden’s presidency is entering a new and more perilous phase where he is almost certain to face stiffer Republican opposition and also have difficulty keeping Democrats united as he pushes for $4 trillion in additional spending on programs that have echoes of the New Deal and the Great Society.

Past the 100-day mark, with positive approval ratings and a far-reaching, nearly $2 trillion COVID-19 relief bill to show for it, Biden is now facing far more uncertain terrain. The president is racing against the calendar, governing with the most slender of majorities on Capitol Hill while knowing that historically the party that holds the White House loses seats in midterm elections, which would cost Democrats control of Congress after the 2022 vote.

His next 100 days will feature his first foreign trip but will be dominated by his push to pass his expansive plans on infrastructure and children, families and education, which would expand the social safety net for children, increase taxes on the wealthy and fund projects that his critics say are infrastructure in name only.

Overall, his approach is less about stimulating the economy than stabilizing it over the long term with middle-class jobs, and proving that a democracy, even a bitterly divided one, remains capable of doing big things.

“In another era when our democracy was tested, Franklin Roosevelt reminded us: In America, we do our part,” Biden said in his address to Congress on Wednesday night. “That’s all I’m asking. That we all do our part. And if we do, then we will meet the central challenge of the age by proving that democracy is durable and strong.”

10 boys and teens among the dead in Israel festival stampede

JERUSALEM — At least 10 children and teens younger than 18 were among 45 ultra-Orthodox Jews killed in a stampede at a religious festival in northern Israel, according to a partial list of names published Saturday as the identification of victims in Israel’s deadliest civilian disaster continued.

Four Americans, a Canadian and a man from Argentina were also among those killed. Two families each lost two children. The youngest victim was nine years old.

Meanwhile, calls were growing louder Saturday for establishing an official commission of inquiry, in part to gauge the responsibility of politicians and senior decision-makers for allowing the mass gathering to take place, despite repeated warnings over the years about safety lapses. In an initial response, the country’s Cabinet minister who oversees the nation’s police force defended the police’s handling of the event.

ADVERTISING


The stampede early Friday had cut short the annual festival of Lag BaOmer on Israel’s Mount Meron. The festival had drawn some 100,000 people in the largest gathering so far this year as Israel’s successful vaccination campaign allowed the country to emerge from coronavirus restrictions.

As large numbers of people began to leave one of the events at the festival, they thronged a narrow tunnel-like passage that sloped downward and ended with a series of steps. The floor had become slippery with spilled water and juice, according to witnesses. As some in the crowd slipped, those behind them fell on top of those on the ground.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Star-Advertiser's TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email hawaiiwarriorworld@staradvertiser.com.