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Trump accuses ‘deep state’ FDA of slowing vaccine development | US & Canada News

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US President Donald Trump has attacked the government agency that oversees the safety of coronavirus vaccine development, claiming that members of the “deep state” at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) were intentionally slowing progress so a vaccine would not be available until after the November election. 

In a Twitter post, Trump said the deep state “or whoever” at the FDA was making it very difficult for drug companies to enrol people in clinical trials to test vaccines and therapies for the novel coronavirus. There is no public evidence to support the accusation and the president did not provide any. 

Trump has in the past used the term “deep state” to refer to long-serving government staff who, in the president’s eyes, are determined to undermine his agenda.

COVID-19 vaccine: Safety concerns as countries rush for cure

The comment came after Reuters news agency reported on Thursday that a top FDA official said he would resign if the Trump administration approved a vaccine before it was shown to be safe and effective. 

“Obviously, they are hoping to delay the answer until after November 3rd. Must focus on speed, and saving lives!” Trump wrote, tagging FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn in the tweet.

The accusation elicited a quick rebuke from top House Democratic Nancy Pelosi, who called the statement “dangerous” and “beyond the pale”. 

With the coronavirus dominating the 2020 campaign, scientists, public health officials and legislators are worried that the Trump administration will push the FDA to approve a vaccine in advance of the vote, even if data from clinical trials do not support its widespread use.

Threat to resign 

Peter Marks, the director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said last week on a conference call with government officials, pharmaceutical executives and academics that he would resign if the agency rubber-stamped an unproven vaccine, according to Reuters.

Marks, whose division regulates cutting-edge biotech treatments, vaccines and gene therapies, told Reuters he has not faced any political pressure and that the FDA would be guided by science alone.

Should that change, he told the news agency on Thursday, “I would feel obligated (to resign) because in doing so, I would indicate to the American public that there’s something wrong.”

WHO COVID Debrief on global coronavirus vaccine efforts

The coronavirus has to date killed more than 176,000 people in the US and infected at least 5.6 million. In terms of case and death numbers, the US is the hardest-hit country in the world. 

Several of the world’s most promising vaccines are being developed by the US, and the White House, through its operation “Warp Speed”, aims to produce 300 million vaccine doses, with the first batch available by January 21. 

The government has poured billions of dollars into private companies judged to have the best shot at developing a successful vaccine. The plan also involves scaling up manufacturing of candidates deemed the most likely to succeed even before the vaccines have proven effective and safe for widespread use. 

SOURCE:
Al Jazeera and news agencies



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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Another blow as Judge throws out Kiggundu’s lawyer Muwema

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When court sat on Friday to hear the Kiggundu’s application to stop independent audit, he did not have a written application, and Justice Henry Adonyo instead ordered the plaintiff’s lawyer Fred Muwema to go make a written application seeking court to dismiss the audit and return to court on September 30 for a hearing of the application. But this adds more pressure on Kiggundu who is choking with the loans.

On 31 August, the judge ordered the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda (ICPAU) to carry out and independent audit into the accounts of the businessman and financial statements exchanged between the two parties, and present a report to court.

When asked by journalists why he has filed for an application seeking dismissal of the audit, Fred Muwema had this to say. “We are saying that let the validity and legality of those credit facilities (loans) be decided first before you can audit” He said.

The ruling on the application of the main suit to determine whether the businessman owes loan arrears to the bank is set for 5th October 2020, after which a date for hearing of the case will be set.

Background

Hamis Kiggundu through his companies Ham enterprises and Kiggs International (U) ltd sued DTB branches in Kenya and Uganda for deducting money from his accounts something which the bank contends and said they only acted as per the loan agreement of deducting 30% from Kiggundu’s accounts to recover the credit facilities rendered to him between February 2011 and September 2016

But Court documents filed by the bank in their defense shows that Kiggundu, between February 2011 and September 2016, was granted various credit facilities by the said DTB Banks.

First, via Ham Enterprises Limited, Kiggundu obtained a loan of $6,663,453 and another Sh2.5bn from the DTB (U) to finance his projects in the real estate business.

Later, according to New Vision, he got a facility worth $4.5m through Kiggs International (U) Limited from DTB (K) and mortgaged his properties, which include Plot 328 located at Kawuku on Block 248 Kyadondo, three plots that include 36, 37 and 38 on Folio 1533 Victoria Crescent II situated in Kyadondo and land on Makerere Hill Road on LRV 3716 Folio 10 Plot 923 Block 9.

Documents show that as of January 21, 2020, Kiggundu was in default on payment obligations of $6.298m on the loan facility of $6.663m, as well as sh2.885b on the demand overdraft facility of sh1.5b and the temporary demand overdraft facility of sh1b.

The banks say that Kiggundu was in default on the payment of another $3.662m out of a total loan facility of $4m and another $458,604 on a loan facility of $500,000, as of January 21, 2020.

The DTB consequently served him with a demand notice to either pay up or lose the assets that he submitted as collateral security. The bank threatened to attach a plot on Makerere Hill Road and other prime commercial properties.

Analysts says that Kiggundu’s lawyer is playing delaying tactics aimed at stopping the independent audit as ordered by the court earlier. Kiggundu had wanted court to believe his own audit of loan transactions, but that would amount to injustice to the banks that gave him money-DTB Uganda and DTB Kenya.

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Minister Rukutana charged with attempted murder, remanded

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The state minister for Labour, Gender and Economic Development Mwesigwa Rukutana has been remanded to Kyamugorani prison in Mbarara district.

Rukutana appeared before Ntungamo Grade One magistrate Nazifah Namayanja this afternoon from where he was charged with seven offences related to attempted murder, assault, malicious damage, and threatening violence.

Rukutana was captured in a video that went viral on social media showing him grabbing a gun from one of his bodyguards and started shooting at a vehicle belonging to supporters of his political rival Naome Kabasharira. At the time of the incident, Rukutana had just lost the Rushenyi country NRM flag to Kabasharira.

The prosecution alleges that on September 5, 2020, at Kagugu village in Ntungamo district, Rukutana and others still at large assaulted Julius Niwamanya and threatened to kill or injure him together with three others. The others are Stuart Kamukama, Dan Rwibirungi, and Moses Kamukama. 

It is also alleged that Rukutana also willfully and unlawfully damaged a motor vehicle registration number UAR 840X Toyota Rav 4 type which belongs to Moses Muhumuza.

According to the Judiciary public relations officer, Jameson Karemani, Rukutana has not taken a plea of these charges against him since they can only be tried by the chief magistrate who was not in court today.

As a result, the magistrate decided to send him to Kyamugorani, awaiting his return to court on Tuesday.      





Source – observer.ug

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Lira district headquarters closed over COVID-19

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Lira district headquarters have been closed after one staff tested positive for COVID-19 last week. 

On Monday morning, district staff were blocked at the gate with only the deputy chief administrative officer, his secretary and the receptionist allowed access to their offices. 

Paul Samuel Mbiiwa, the deputy chief administrative officer says that only heads of department will be allowed at the headquarters while the rest will work from home. He adds that the restriction will help to curb the spread of the virus.

“You see corona is not a joke. We have taken a step at fighting it and that is why you are seeing the staff outside. Even in my office here I do not want people to come if there is anything we can discuss on the phone.”

Francis Okello Olwa, a senior community development officer who doubles as the district spokesperson says that the entire district offices will be fumigated and closed for two days.

Health authorities in the district are planning to take samples from all the staff because they could have interacted with the one who tested positive. Currently, there are 19 COVID-19 patients under treatment at Lira regional referral hospital.     

On Sunday four health workers at the hospital tested positive for COVID-19. Dr Patrick Odongo, a senior medical officer at the hospital also succumbed to the virus.  





Source – observer.ug

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