Saina Nehwal, HS Prannoy to take part in Thailand Open
• Saina Nehwal and HS Prannoy were given a go ahead to take part in the ongoing Thailand Open by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) and Badminton Association of Thailand (BAT) on January 12, 2021.
• The two Indian shuttlers had earlier tested positive for coronavirus along with two other players including Jones Ralfy Jansen from Germany and Adham Hatem Elgamal from Egypt. While, Nehwal and Prannoy were taken to hospital, Jansen and Elgamal were asked to self-quarantine in the hotel. Indian shuttler Parupalli Kashyap was also asked to self-quarantine, as he is married to Nehwal.
• Upon retesting, Prannoy, Jansen and Elgamal tested negative and Nehwal was found to be positive. The four players then underwent another PCR test and an antibody blood test. Again Nehwal, Prannoy and Jansen tested positive but their antibody IgG also came out to be positive.
• A positive antibody test means a person was infected with the COVID-19 virus at some point in the past. It does not mean they are currently infected. So, the three players may have contracted COVID-19 in late 2020.
• A working committee of six doctors that has been formed for the tournament was satisfied that the three players are not infected and do not pose a danger to the tournament.
• The fourth player, Elgamal, however, tested positive in the PCR test and tested negative in the antibody IgG test. This indicates he has no antibodies for the virus and has not contracted COVID-19 before. Hence, the committee advised BWF for the player to be withdrawn.
Air India flies in first consignment of Covaxin from Hyderabad to Delhi
• Air India brought in the first consignment of Covaxin developed by Bharat Biotech from Hyderabad to Delhi on January 13, 2021.
• Both Covaxin and Covishield vaccines, which have received Emergency Use Authorisation (EAU), have been tested on thousands of people and side-effects are negligible and are noted to be the safest of all vaccines.
• The first phase of the COVID-19 vaccination drive will begin across India from January 16. The centre is closely collaborating with states and union territories for the vaccine roll-out.
YouTube bars US President Donald Trump’s account from uploading videos for one week
• YouTube on January 12, 2021 barred the US President Donald Trump’s channel from uploading any new content for at least a week due to a violation of its policies. The latest crackdown comes after violence and riots at the US Capitol building last week by a pro-Trump mob.
• YouTube said in a statement that after review and in the view of concerns regarding the ongoing potential for violence, it has removed new content uploaded to Donald J. Trump’s channel for violating its policies.
• YouTube said that this is the first strike on the channel and it will now be temporarily prevented from uploading any new content for a minimum of 7 days. The comments section has also been disabled. The decision comes days after Twitter permanently banned Trump’s personal Twitter account -@realDonaldTrump.
Odisha to host memorable 2023 Hockey World Cup
• Hockey India and the Odisha government are gearing up to host the FIH Men’s Hockey World Cup in 2023 for a record fourth time since the inception of the tournament in 1971.
• The 2023 FIH Men’s Hockey World Cup is scheduled to be held in Bhubaneswar and Rourkela in Odisha from January 13-29, 2023.
• The hosting of the tournament in 2023 holds great significance, as India will be completing 75 years of independence in 2023 and Hockey India did not want to miss out on the opportunity to showcase the growth of the sport in the country in the landmark year.
• India had also hosted the 14th edition of the Men’s Hockey World Cup in 2018, when all the matches were held at the Kalinga Hockey Stadium in Bhubaneswar.
US Vice President Mike Pence refuses to invoke 25th Amendment
• US Vice President Mike Pence said recently that he will not yield to pressure to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove President Donald Trump from his post.
• The Vice President, in a letter to Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives, condemned last week’s riots at the US Capitol but said that he will not yield to pressure to exert power beyond his constitutional authority to determine the outcome of the Presidential election.
• Pence further said that he did not believe that impeachment is in the best interest of the nation or consistent with the US constitution. He also said that just eight days are left in the President’s term.
• He further reiterated his commitment to work in good faith with the incoming administration to ensure an orderly transition of power. His letter was sent to the Speaker of the House of Representatives just hours before the House was scheduled to vote on a resolution that called upon the Vice President to invoke 25th Amendment.