Train from Kuwait to Oman via UAE soon to get underway

People will soon be able to travel from Kuwait City to Muscat via Abu Dhabi as per a statement released by the UAE’s Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, Suhail Al Mazroui while inaugurating Middle East Rail’s 16th edition, calling attention to the undergoing railway network construction by the GCC countries.

Al Mazroui praised the enthusiasm taken by the late Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan in building and expanding the system in the UAE. He further added that the near future would see the expansion of the GCC Railway, which will interconnect Arab countries, whereby the citizens of these countries could travel all over the GCC using the most modern and innovative railway network. Mazroui also lauded the recently appointed president of the UAE, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, for enabling the railway work to take place in the UAE.

The minister said UAE, by 2050, aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 70 percent and one way to do that is to build a trustworthy, efficient, and supportable Etihad Rail network. He highlighted that the rising prices of energy worldwide, including fuel used for railways, are a major concern and countries need to make sure sustainability and efficiency.

Highest Number of Indian Celebs in Cannes

This year the South of France saw the highest number of Indian celebs for one of the most prestigious events in the world, the 75th Cannes Film Festival. India had its largest-ever red carpet contingent at Cannes on an inaugural day, confirming its status as the country’s first-ever march du film “Country of Honour”.

A delegation of eleven Indian celebrities led by Union Minister of Information & Broadcasting Mr Anurag Thakur walked in unity on the first day of the Festival, representing the largest Indian official delegation. This included three of the most renowned musicians on the international stage, as well as filmmakers and actors from the Indian Cinema who are representative of a kaleidoscope of diversity in various regions, languages, and mainstream and OTT-led films.

This year actress Deepika Padukone hasn’t returned to Cannes as an attendee but as a jury member. Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Pooja Hegde, Tamannah Bhatia, R Madhavan, and AR Rehman were also part of the delegation.

The festival will take place from May 17th to 28th 2022 where Indian delegations will take part in various events and high-level meetings.

Akshay Kumar too was a part of the official delegation but opted out after he tested positive for Covid-19.

PM Modi lay foundation stone for Centre of Buddhist Culture and Heritage in Lumbini

Prime Minister Narendra Modi who is on an official visit to Lumbini to celebrate the birth anniversary of Lord Buddha, laid the foundation stone for Centre of Buddhist Culture and Heritage within the Lumbini Monastic Zone and also held a meeting with Nepal Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba.

The center, after it is completed, will offer top-notch facilities to tourists and pilgrims from around the world and enlighten them with the spiritual aspects of Buddhism.

The construction of the centre is at the initiative of the International Buddhist Confederation (IBC), New Delhi, under the patronage and guidance of the Lumbini Development Trust (LDT). The agreement between the IBC and the LDT was signed in March 2022. The Centre will have the latest amenities and will be Nepal’s first NetZero Emission building in terms of waste products, energy, and water. It will have prayer halls, meditation rooms, a library, exhibition hall, cafeteria, offices, and offer other amenities.  

The event began at 2 pm with the screen displaying chants from different Buddhist sites. Monks who represented the three important Buddhist traditions, Theravada, Mahayana, and Vajrayana, conducted the “shilanyaas” ceremony after which Prime Ministers of both countries unveiled the model of the centre.

India To Observe One Day Mourning On Death Of UAE President

India has called for a one-day state mourning to be observed on Saturday following the death of UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan who died on Friday.

 Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid condolences to Sheikh Khalifa, whom he regarded as a “great statesman and visionary leader under whom India-UAE relations prospered”. As a mark of respect, the national flag will be flown at half-mast on all buildings where it is often flown and no entertainment will be allowed on the day of mourning.

Sheikh Khalifa, 73, had been battling illness for a long period.  He was the eldest son of President Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founder president of the UAE. He took charge as the president of the country and ruler of Abu Dhabi in November 2004 after he was elected to be the successor to his father, the first president of the country since 1971. His half-brother Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan will take over as the successor to the throne, Reuters reported.

Sheikh Khalifa played a huge role in giving UAE global recognition and leading the country through one of the worst financial crises that it faced in 2008.

First Eco-Solutions Manufacturing Plant Opened in Tunas, Singapore

On Monday, the first eco-solutions manufacturing plant was officially opened in Tuas, Singapore, built on a 200,000sq. Ft. In addition to biodegradable plastic bags, the Green Lab will provide compostable cutlery for food and beverage companies.

Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for Social policies launched the ceremony and toured the new facility. The chief executive and the co-founder of Green Lab, Muralikrishnan Rangan said, “We are creating employment opportunities and doing our business in a responsible manner to support the green movement. Our aim is to give companies the chance to make some changes to the way we all operate”.

The Green Lab was co-launched by print agencies Print Lab and Times Printers in Singapore. Times. The plant will have the capacity to produce highly customisable biodegradable paper bags through its fully automated machines.

As an alternative to plastic carrier bags, it will also produce Singapore’s first fully compostable plant-based bags. Additionally, the facility will become the first print agency to provide clients with PVC-free banners and stickers as the base product and provide one-stop shopping for compostable packaging for F&B firms

The company also wishes to supply clients with their services in the ASEAN region.

Britain To Celebrate Queens Platinum Jubilee

To mark Queen Elizabeth’s platinum jubilee, Britain will hold four days of celebration in June. Queen Elizabeth ascended the throne on Feb 6, 1952after her father King George VI’s death and became Britain’s longest-reigning and world’s oldest monarch.

June 2 will witness “Trooping the Colours”- a traditional parade followed on the queen’s birthday which is being followed for more than 260 years. More than 1,200 soldiers will take part with bands in London Central along with Royal Gun Salute will be fired. The parade will be joined by Ed Sheeran among 100 well-known figures from British cultural life.

On June 3rd, a national service of thanksgiving will be conducted at the St Paul’s Cathedral and its Great Paul’s bell will be rung for the first time on a royal occasion after being restored last year.

There will be a pageant in central London on June 5 with the Gold State Coach, which Elizabeth used on her coronation day in 1953 and hasn’t been seen in London for 20 years.

The event will draw 22,000 attendees, including 10,000 people allocated in a public ballot and 5,000 key workers. The lightening of beacons will remain a part of a long tradition of celebration.

Amit Dave, Danish Siddiqui And Two Others Won Pulitzer Prize For Feature Photography

Slain photojournalist Danish Siddiqui along with his three colleagues Amit Dave, Adnan Adnan Abidi and Sanna Irshad Mattoo from Reuter was awarded the 2022 Pultizer Prize in the Feature Photography category. They received the award for their work on documenting India’s battle against the Pandemic Covid-19’s second wave.

The Pultizer Prizes team congratulated the international news agency Reuters, the team members and Siddiqui’s friends and family. The Pulitzer Prize committee wrote on Twitter that their work moved from the breaking photography category by the judges, “balanced intimacy and devastating while offering viewers a heightened sense of place”.

With over three decades of experience as a photojournalist, Amit Dave was honoured for capturing a photograph of a veiled woman getting her body temperature taken by a health worker during a vaccination drive for brick kiln workers on the outskirts of Ahmedabad.

Siddiqui’s photographs captured last year at mass cremation sites in Delhi of funeral pyres of the victims of Covid-19 attracted widespread attention. He also extensively covered conflicts around the world and won the  Pultizer Prize in 2018 award for Feature Photography documenting the Rohingya Refugee Crisis.

Last year he was killed while covering the war between Afghan troops and the Taliban in Kandahar city.

Bahrain and Israeli Health Bodies Signed Collaborate Medical Research Agreement

On Sunday, Israeli and Bahraini healthcare groups signed a collaborated medical research agreement. In the presence of Bahrain’s Ambassador to Israel Mr Khaled Yousif al-Jalahma and Israel’s Ambassador to Bahrain, Eitan Na’eh, the signing ceremony took place in Bahrain.

CEO of Government Hospitals in Bahrain, Dr Ahmed al-Ansari said, “We are pleased to be embarking on this medical-research collaboration between the government hospitals in Bahrain and the Maccabi Health Fund in Israel. I am confident that together we can continue to develop medicine in the Middle East by advancing new medical technologies and conducting ground-breaking research between the countries”.

Through KSM (Kahn-Sagol-Maccabi), the Maccabi health fund and the Government Hospital of Bahrain are encouraging healthcare research and cultivating a joint medical innovation ecosystem.

Research collaborations will focus primarily on big data and clinical trials focusing specifically on personalized medicine in FemTech (women’s health), health economics, COVID-19, trauma and emergency medicine and diseases endemic to the region under the agreement.

Additionally, the collaboration plans to promote the co-development and implementation of medical innovation tools, as well as develop learning infrastructure programs and hold joint seminars and regional conferences. Joint studies will be subject to regulatory requirements, and research will be conducted in a confidential and private manner.

Plant-Based Covid Vaccine Is 70% Effective Against Variants

Candian biotechnology company developed a plant-based Covid-19 vaccine which is 70% effective against the symptomatic disease caused by five variants of the novel coronavirus.

According to the results of the human clinical trial of the preventive, the phase 3 trial was conducted on 24,141 adults who were randomly assigned to receive two intramuscular injections through 85 centres. The injections were administered either the CoVLP+AS03 vaccine or placebo 21 days apart.

Medicago’s researchers developed a vaccine that contains coronavirus-like particles (CoVLPs) produced in plants that are combined with an adjuvant (ASO3) that helps vaccines work better.

Researchers at the University of Minnesota reported that the vaccine was 69.5% effective against Covid-19 caused by five different variants of this virus in a study published on Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). 165 participants underwent polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing to confirm Covid-19.

The authors of the study noted, “The CoVLP+AS03 vaccine was effective in preventing COVID-19 caused by a spectrum of variants, with efficacy ranging from 69.5% against symptomatic infection to 78.8% against moderate-to-severe disease”. The group dint had any severe cases of infection.

They found that the median viral load for breakthrough cases was more than 100-fold lower in the vaccine group than in the placebo group.

Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Invites Montreal-based ICAO to Join International Solar Alliance

On Wednesday, India’s civil aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia invited the Montreal-based United Nations agency to join the International Solar Alliance (ISA). Scindia interacted with various national executives and representatives at the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). He also met with the president of the Executive Council of ICAO Salvatore Sciacchitano.

After his meeting, Scindia tweeted, “Together with other ICAO members, India is committed to playing an instrumental role in growing the global civil aviation market”. In his meeting, he focused on the “democratisation of civil aviation” where he tweeted that they “discussed issues related to making civil aviation more inclusive and affordable, along with the way forward for the sector”.

In 2015, India and France launched ISA who has several international and multilateral organisations as its partners. UN agencies like United Nations Development Programme, UN Environment, World Bank, European Union, and the Commonwealth Secretariat are among its other partners.

In Montreal, Scindia integrated with the Indo-Canadian community and reacted favourably to requests from the national president of the Canda India Global Forum Dr S D Dwivedi for direct flights connecting Vancouver to Chandigarh and Amritsar.

According to Scindia, there was nearly 9% penetration in India in the section of the flying population with 144 million.